Monday, March 31, 2008

March 31st, The Day of Cesar Chavez

"If you're outraged at conditions, then you can't possibly be free or happy until you devote all your time to changing them and do nothing but that," he said. "But you can't change anything if you want to hold onto a good job, a good way of life and avoid sacrifice."

Today, in eight states, is a day that is spent in remembrance of Cesar Chavez. California even shuts down their libraries. Cesar Chavez is a farmworker rights activist that died in 1993. He fought for Labor Unions, worker rights, and the rights of workers to not be exposed to pesticides. No, pesticides aren't good when we eat them, but they are even worse when you are directly exposed to them, i.e. a farm worker. Working on farms is hard enough when you can breath, but I can't imagine what it would be like in a murky fuzz of chemical spray similar to what they poured on our "enemy" in the Vietnam War.

Without healthy soil, we can not be healthy people. Plainly speaking, without people, healthy or unhealthy, maybe the earth would exist in a more balanced way. But until that happens, I'm going to fight tooth and nail to be a healthy citizen. Even if this means sacrifice. But think of the sacrifices we ask of (primarily immigrant) farmworkers every single day... wow.

"Cesar Chavez, who insisted that those who labor in the earth were entitled to share fairly in the rewards of their toil, would never be forgotten."

Long live our cause

Sunday, March 30, 2008

In Defense of Food

I just finished reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. Much of the book is devoted to the somewhat controversial discussion of "nutritionism." He aims to educate readers on eating food that is real, prepared from whole and original food stuffs. In other words, if it's wrapped in plastic and has more than five ingredients, any of which you don't recognize or can't pronounce, peel your hungry little nubs of fingers away. It's not to be reckoned with due to their false impersonations. They are more than likely only imitations of that thing we call food and rely upon for our survival.

I enjoyed the more applicable part of his book that came in the third and final section. I often struggle with validating the amount of money I spend on our household food. But Pollan makes the point:
"Is it just a coincidence that as the portion of our income spent on food has declined, spending on health care has soared? In 1960 Americans spent 17.5 percent of their income on food and 5.2 percent of national income on health care. Since then, those numbers have flipped: Spending on food has fallen to 9.9 percent, while spending on health care has climbed to 16 percent of national income. I have to think that by spending a little more on healthier food we could reduce the amount we have to spend on health care."

So now's the time, spring in tow, to research and find a local CSA- Community Supported Agriculture- where you can buy a share and in return gain a diverse and delicious assortment of fruits and vegetables. And maybe this is even the year that you plant a few herbs or a couple varieties of tomatoes!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Interviewing Josh

I was feeling a little somber. What better way to feel cheer than to interview your partner, getting into his thoughts when he otherwise is slightly inaccessible with an opposing schedule? The interview questions I copied from a blog online quite awhile ago. Me and my poor organizational tendencies lost the site address. Can I be sued for such slander? Well, here goes:

What inspires you?
Art & artists, mountains, the desert, the dalai lama, the love and support of my wife (ahhh...)

Happiness is....
Peace, close family, feeling productive in mind and body

Browsing often...
Tools and equipment

Wishing for...
Stability, the right studio, future commissions, not to mention an air compressor, slip roller, V bandsaw, portable wire feeder, and a trailer.

Listening to...
A lot of NPR

Escaping with...
Sarah on a spiritually good day, alcohol on a bad!

discipline, habit, ritual, coffee, going out for or Sarah's breakfasts.

Bustin' it out... working

Computer browsing, a little beer, nighttime reading.

What are you looking forward to?
Finishing this project and the gallery show with it.

The future is...
Hope and anxiety, freedom and a trap, a plan and the ephemeral unexpected, what I want to be, risks to find joy, family, art, exploration, food, community, metal and clay, earth and wind, and maybe horses. Definitely breakfast.

The past is...
every demon and every joy. Who I am, who we are, a collection of phenomonological experience that makes present consciousness. This is Josh's study for the gallery show coming through.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I want to return to here:

Here, I can think and not feel watched. Here, all I know from the world is what I've learned before, and what I learn in the present exists only because of that present I'm experiencing.

I'm so tired. The New York Times slideshows today included Tuberculosis hospitals in South Africa, and Tibetan riots being beat out by Nepali police. On the radio is Senator Chuck Hagel from Nebraska speaking on political strategies and Iraqi policies. My brain is so sad, my body so obliterated by journalistic bombs. My trust has been confiscated by the government.

There has to be some form of outcry. And I suppose this is it, my outcry for the 4,000 dead, the five years at war. I wait for the time when I do more, whatever that is, whatever it is that is not just me trying to be obscure and cling to my daily rituals. Because right now I am paralyzed by these real life moments, realizations that there is so much more to do than stay safely in my cove.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Turmeric: Spice of My Week

So this week I'm in love with turmeric. It gives conglomerations of food glorious color, it's full of flavors and nutrients, and it is so reminiscent of the smells and tastes of India. Turmeric is in the ginger family, and similar to its relation, it also is a rhizome.

Turmeric has many ayurvedic (medicinal Indian practice) purposes. Included in these are uses that include its antiseptic and antibacterial properties.

I have it in a handy and easy to reach glass vessel, throwing it in as the flexible and friendly bitter little spice that it is. This morning we engaged in leftover chimichurri sauce and turmeric eggs. It makes eggs just that much more sunny in the morning. And all of us here that live in Michigan know how welcome anything is that is reminiscent of sunniness. Come, spring equinox, come!

Even more interesting, what is your favorite spice right now? Do you have the pleasure of having one? If not, please, by all means borrow mine. And then look up Bong Mom's Cookbook to learn more!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Josh is having a Birthday Week

Josh turns 29 this week, so this means it is celebrate josh week- at least in my world. It's a busy month for him. He's in the midst of curating the upcoming show at Gallery Project in Ann Arbor, planning the exhibition and creating the two pieces he will contribute. But he came home a little early last night to humor my week of celebration and partake in a thursday night birthday dinner. The dinner consisted of Seared Ribeye with Chimichurri Sauce that I found on a great food blog, and extremely scrumptious and rich scalloped potatoes. Our theme was parsley, one of those obscure flavors Josh isn't terribly fond of, and porterhouse steaks cut thicker than my forearm. The parsley flavor was surprisingly a hit, savory and blended with multiple spices and extra raw garlic. Sometimes foods that are less appealing just need a bit of a makeover (like brussels sprouts, right dad?). To drink we had Red Snapper and a Cotes du Rhone wine. Delic.

And we split this chocolate guiness cupcake from Cake Nouveau for dessert.

A couple of months ago I met a photographer by the name of Marco Mancinelli at the Ann Arbor artist's market. I bought this print yesterday from him for Josh's birthday. Mother Teresa represents selflessness and real life to me. I love her starkness. The garb at her feet is what the nuns in Calcutta wore when Josh and I volunteered at Mother Teresa's. Good memories and inspiration for life are enraptured in this photo.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sticky Buns

We woke to a snowy and cold morning, grayness making its way through the blinds, so I took action for our growling bellies and decided to make sticky buns. 31 hours later, we had sticky buns. Perhaps this will teach me to read ahead in cook books before I start such lofty, hunger driven adventures? Probably not, but in the meantime we can continue to highly anticipate our baked goods that actually take time to rise... multiple times.

These were mysterious and then delicious, rich and buttery and perfect for the following day which was similar in atmosphere and chill. The layer of stickiness forms to your buttered pan, the rolls cook on top of this pecan and sugar medley, and when turned over after being cooked you have the bun and the stickiness adhered into one scrumptious comfort food. This can now go down in the records as one of my first attempts baking bread. Who knew that sticky buns would be in the bread category for novices? Well, I suppose the The Joy of Cooking knew. And I could have too, if I had read ahead.

Thrift Finds

I've started collecting clothes from my friends and co-workers with the hope of selling them at a consignment store for profit, and then donating the money I receive back to non-profit. When I was dropping some clothes off last week (wearing a nice new sweater I circumvented from the pile) I came across these two beautiful kitchen pieces, a kettle and a cast iron pot perfect for scalloped potatoes. We made the potatoes the other night, scooping from its yellow depths, feeling as though we were partaking in something very special indeed- something to partake in on holidays in our forever. And the corning wear kettle is the size of three cups of chai, creamy milk from Calder Dairy, heated directly on the stove with this honey you see in the picture, produced by the hardworking bees of Petoskey, Michigan. Seeing this kettle on our stove always makes me want to call my mom. When I was growing up she was constantly reaching for her corning wear pots and pans. Not bad finds, I say. Something used made new to me! They make me oh-so happy.