Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Dear John Letter

Dear 2005,

You know what...I had such hope for you. I thought this year would be so different. We started on such a good foot. But you know what...


Yeah we had some great that time with the car and those sheets and how about that night with the brownies, the drill, those shelves, and the hot know what I'm talking about. Don't try to get all bashful on me now. You're just as guilty as I am.

But oh the lows...oh the lows...what were you thinking!!!!

I gave you so much of my body, my soul, my love, my creativity, and most of all my heart. And what did I get for all of my generosity...a battered heart, weary and heavy.

So that's it...I'M DUMPING YOU!

It's over and nothing you can say will make me change my mind. I've got to move on. You'll see...this is the best thing for both of us.

And anyway, I've met someone new. His name is 2006. Under different circumstances I think you'd actually like him. The two of you aren't all that different.

So anyway, you need to come over and get all of your crap. I'm keeping the books and the DVDs. Oh yeah, I'll need my keys back and don't even try to get them copied. The doormen have been notified and are keeping an eye out for you.


Thursday, December 29, 2005

There is great risk

There is great risk when you ask to be loved

To accept fingers run through your hair for what they are
an expression of care and a desire to comfort

There is great risk when you ask to be loved

To lay the full lengths of your body side by side and
enjoy the warmth, the unparalleled warmth, of another human being

There is great risk when you ask to be loved

To remember kisses and caresses, feel hand on flesh and thigh and beyond
even more acutely when no one shares your bed

There is great risk when you ask to be loved

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

100 Things about me: 90-81

90. I own 41 pairs of shoes. I counted them last night. But I only wear about 9 on a regular basis.

89. I can read backwards as quickly as I can read forwards. Chalk this one up to my dyslexia.

88. I bit my nails until I was 24. I still pick at my cuticles but only when I'm bored.

87. I've been going to the same hairdresser since I was 22. Antonio at Avalon Salon. I don't know what I'd do without him.

86. I'm a stockpiler. I like to stockpile everything. You will always find extra toothbrushes, hair clips, bottles of shampoo, and bags of brown sugar in my apartment.

85. I used to have a two and a half octave vocal range. Now I'm down to about two. Does this mean that I'll be down to one and a half octaves by the time I'm 50?

84. I may or may not have a secret identity and I may or may not be keeping a secret blog that may or may not chronical the more dubious activies I partake in.

83. I once broke a boy's finger in the third grade. There was this kid, Billy Graham, who kept making fun of my friend and I. One day he just wouldn't quit his taunting. I think he was trying to make my friend cry. At one point he started pointing his finger right in my friend's face. It was all too easy. I just grabbed his finger and twisted it back and snap. I threatened to really beat him up if he told anyone about what I did. I think he told the teacher that he broke it while playing basketball. I really don't feel bad about this. He was very annoying and he tormented me from about the first grade to the fourth grade.

82. I stopped eating hot dogs in second grade. Blame it on Billy Graham. He did some really weird things with his hot dog (in hindsight it was all very homoerotic). In anycase, I couldn't eat them after one particularly graphic and horrific lunchtime episode.

81. My first kiss was with this young black boy with a bit of an acne problem. He was tall, skinny, ebony skinned, and wore glasses. He also sang tenor in the choir. propensity for the artsy boys started young.

Things to be done before the new year

HiddyHo young pirates. I hope you had a good holiday regardless of what you celebrate. It's almost 2006 and there are lots of things I need to do before the new year begins. Here's a partial list:

1. Scrub down and clean up the old homestead. I'm talking getting on my hands and knees and getting into those corners that don't normally get cleaned, like that little space between the floor lamp and the piano that I don't bother with cause it would mean that I'd have to move the lamp and the guitar and the speaker.

2. Sell off some of my losing stock so that I can report the loss on my income tax.

3. Send out all of my charitable giving. Why is it that I always wait until the last second to do this?

4. Sort through my closet and thin it out a bit. A woman always needs some space for her wardrobe to grow.

5. Go to the eye doctor and get a new perscription for my contacts.

Hope you have happy plans for the Eve of 2006.

Friday, December 23, 2005

100 Things about me: 100-91

To make up for the recent lack of posts I thought I'd play a fun little game called "100 random things about Bo". I hope you have as much fun reading this as I had thinking up these things:

Here is 100 - 91

100. I'm a blanket stealer.
99. I once stole a tube of lipgloss in the 7th grade. I still feel guilty about this.
98. I can crack all the knuckles in my toes by just wiggling them.
97. I can't sleep with clothes on. Regardless of the weather, I need to sleep nekkid. When forced to "sleep" in clothing (because I'm a guest or sharing my bed with a friend) I typically don't fall asleep. I just sort of lay there for 7 hours.
96. Once, while running a half marathon, I pooed in my shorts...but just a little...just a little. I REALLY REALLY REALLY had to go and there just wasn't any place to go. Anyone who has ever run any long distance can symphatize with the sudden urge to poo that accompanies a very hard run.
95. I'm kinda obsessive of double checking that my toaster oven/stove/rice cooker are turned off. I once travelled all the way home during my lunch break to double check that they were all off. I'm afraid that as I grow older this will become a major problem.
94. I can do a full split and then bend my back leg and place the top of my head in the sole of my foot...but only on my left side.
93. I have performed some sort of sexual act in all of the following locations: a concert tent at the Coachella Festival, a bathroom in a nightclub in Berlin, an elevator (well, several elevators), an office in an investment bank located in the Wall St. area, backstage of Hill Auditorium, in Central Park...but surprisingly enough I've never had sex in the back seat of a car or in a movie theater.
92. I have been known to open a bag of cookies and chomp away whilst waiting to checkout at the grocery store.
91. I can't watch scary movies of any kind nor can I watch violence of any kind.

Day 3 and the strike is over

I'm sure you've all heard the good news...the strike is over. Walking around this afternoon (I'm feeling better today...still a little sicky but I've never been one to sit in my apartment for days in a row, I need to get out) I even saw a few buses already rolling. It'll be nice to get my sidewalks back. I love to wander the may be one of my favoritest pastimes...but the crowds as of late have made good wandering nearly impossible.

One thing this strike has reinforced is how very civil and well-behaved New Yorkers are. We can walk for miles, cram into cabs, and sit in gridlock and hardly any reports of bad behavior. Now that's what I call a city!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Just call me sick

I'm sick! I guess my body didn't much appreciate the 4 hours of walking in 20/30 degree weather I did yesterday. It's crazy. There are so many people walking around in the streets. And the news is just strike talk 24-7. If you were watching the news in NYC one would assume that the rest of the world has come to a halt.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


I'm sure all of you have read about the NYC transit strike by now. It's weird to conceive that there are no subways running underfoot. Weird. I'll keep you posted about my experience. Wish me luck, I'm going to try and get into work on Wall St.

Friday, December 09, 2005


There is just something about Coldplay's "Fix You" that makes me want to cry.

Fix You

When you try your best but you don't succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse

And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

And high up above or down below
When you're too in love to let it go
But if you never try you'll never know
Just what you're worth

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
I will try to fix you

Tears stream down on your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
Tears stream down on your face
And I..

Tears stream down on your face
I promise you I will learn from my mistakes
Tears stream down on your face
And I..

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

Today's thunk

Be yourself, my love.
Be wholly yourself.
That is all I ask of you, my love.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


I had the girls over this weekend to bake some Christmas cookies...and boy did we bake. 20 dozen cookies to be precise. That's 240 cookies!!!! or about 5 lbs of flour, 3 lbs of butter, and 3 lbs of sugar.

We baked: Iced Cut-out cookies, Chocolate Crackle Cookies, Mexican Wedding Cookies/Russian Tea Cookies (or as we started calling them Polish Ham cookies), and Snickerdoodles.

Pictures of our little holiday bakeoff will be posted shortly.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Thanksgiving 2005

Hope all who celebrate the big-T had a good one.

Here's a snippet of a conversation I had with the mommy that might shed a bit of insight into my Thanksgiving 2005. The phone convo took place sometime last week.

Mom: Guess what?
Me: What?
Mom: We're having Thanksgiving at your place!
Me: My place?
Mom: Yup!
Me: Ummm...okay. Thanks for the one week warning.
Mom: You're welcome.

Yes, I had the whole Lee clan over for some turkey and crudite. Actually, it was much more elaborate than that. After about 4 hours of cooking my sisters, mom and I created the following:

Lemon roasted chicken (my family doesn't like turkey much)
Carmalized onion mac & cheese
Cornbread-mushroom stuffing
Kale with garlic & pepper
Sweet corn
Good-ole green bean casserole
The famous Lee family mashed potato with leeks
Jap Chae (korean noodles with veggies)
Wild mushrooms with onions korean style
Sauted morning blossoms korean style
Homemade gravy
White rice (we are korean afterall)
Grilled salted salry (it's a type of fish)

It was the perfect celebration of Neo-Korean-American tradition. I'm just amazed that 4 grown women were able to cook a full Thanksgiving meal in my tiny NY sized kitchen. Take note that all the food prepared was eaten by a total of 5 people. Yeah, we over did it just a bit...but we do that every year.

In other Thanksgiving news, I finally saw the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. I live about 4 blocks from the proceedings so it was just a quick 10 minute walk to the route. Those floats are huge! The parade is much more impressive when seen with your own eyes. TV just doesn't do it justice.

All in all it was a lovely day filled with family and laughter.

This year I'm thanksful for all the things I'm always thankful, that's right...YOU! Love you!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I don't feel a thing

This article from the NY Times about people in there 20s and 30s self-medicating on psychiatric medication caught my eye:

Young, Assured, and Playing Pharmacist to Friends

Okay, besides the obvious, that being that I can't believe there are people out there who so wantonly and callously abuse perscription drugs...Hello people!!! You're screwing around with your brain chemicals!!!...when did it become the goal of people to be perpetually happy and content?

So you feel a little sad and depressed or maybe you can't sleep for a few days. We're not wired to be happy all the time. Experiencing sadness, even depression, anxiety, and fear are all components of being a human. Of course, if you have a chronic debilitating level of any of these, by all means seek professional help and get the drugs you need (I say this because I don't want you to confuse my comments with Tom Cruise)...but I highly suspect that none of the people mentioned in the article really need the drugs. Come on, if you're lying to you doctor and exaggerating your symptoms in order to get a perscription you probably don't need the drugs.

Feeling a range of emotions is a good things...sloshing through a day and throwing yourself the occassional pity party is a'ok. Gosh, I'd be pretty damn afraid of anyone who didn't.

Non-sequitor: Sorry for the low volume of blogs in the last month. I'm kinda distracted right's all good...just a little distracted. 30 is turning out to be pretty damn exciting.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Distracted attention

It's amazing how life can sometimes move forward and fall into a certain space without you realizing it. You wake up one day, look around and realize you're 30, have a lovely home, a nice job, two new white hairs, a new boy who puts up shelves and cooks you an occassional dinner, and a cranky right hip. Doesn't it always seem that it's when your attention is distracted and focused on silly little things that life somehow figures itself out for you?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Just a thunk

Ain't it amazing how consuming a new person can be. Particularly if you are remotely attracted to this new person.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Birthday wishes from my sisters

My family is weird, silly, laid back and very comfortable. This is the email my older sent me this morning (with my little sister cced):

Subject: You are old with an o

you are old old very old now....

In response, my little sister wrote:

yup, much much older than me.

I, inturn, responded to both of them with this:

Yes, but I am still younger than *****(my older sister)….and I can touch the back of my head with the sole of my foot…how many 21 year olds can do that?

Witness to the pre-dawn

Here's my birthday poem. Please keep in mind this is only my first'll probably go through several iterations before it's any good.

Witness to the pre-dawn

Time observed mid-flight
When all seems still and lush
When the susurrus of whispers
Overwhelming cascades of laughter

And old men wait patiently
On corners and stools
For the inevitable passing
And the inevitable longing

Here is where we know
That love finds its home
Were Chinese neon lights flare
Into multicolor dimensions
Enticing us to come and savor
And suck marrow from the bone
_________________(Such an overused metaphor…But accurate and vivid)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

My last post as a 20something...

Cause tomorrow I turn 30!

Wow, I wish I had something more profound to share. Tonight I will write my annual birthday poem.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Welcome Back

This morning I woke up to the sound of someone humming. Having not fallen asleep with anyone next to me, this sort of freaked me out. It took me about 5 seconds to realize that I was the one humming!!! And I was humming the theme song to the sitcom "Welcome Back, Kotter". I haven't the slightest idea what I was dreaming about and what role the theme song to "Welcome Back, Kotter" had but it couldn't have been all bad. The song is quite cute and lovely. Here are the lyrics:

Welcome back,
Your dreams were your ticket out.

Welcome back,
To that same old place that you laughed about.

Well the names have all changed since you hung around,
But those dreams have remained and they're turned around.

Who'd have thought they'd lead ya (Who'd have thought they'd lead ya)
Here where we need ya (Here where we need ya)

Yeah we tease him a lot cause we've hot him on the spot, welcome back,
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Nice vs. Kind

Have you ever thought about the difference between someone who is "nice" vs. someone who is "kind"?

Is a person who is nice also kind? Is a person who is kind also nice? Can a person be nice without being kind? Can a person be kind without being nice?

Here are a few definitions for you:

Nice: adj; pleasant or pleasing or agreeable in nature or appearance; socially or conventionally correct; refined or virtuous

Kind: adj; having or showing a tender and considerate and helpful nature; used especially of persons and their behavior; characterized by mercy, and compassion

I recently started dating a certain person - oh about 5 weeks ago - who is very nice. Midwestern boy, good moral fiber, hard worker etc... etc... He opens doors, says thank you to waitresses, insists on paying for meals, plays with dogs on the street. Given all his positive traits, one would think that I'd be very happy to be dating this person. However, over the last 5 weeks (and 9 dates) I'm finding myself becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the boy. It's not just a "I'm not attracted to you and don't feel a click" sort of disinterest, it's far more of an internal gut dissatisfaction that borders on a "Don't date this guy anymore, he's no good." sort of thing. Then it dawned on me last night while I was out on a long run. He's a very nice person but he's not kind. DUUUUUUUUUDE!

I thought about this all night and came to this conclusion. Nice is something that can be taught and learned. It is, in its essence, superficial and based on transitiory actions. Kind is far more internal in nature and speaks to a persons ability for empathy and genuine desire to be merciful and helpful. A person can be nice without any genuine desire to help or heal.

Just a general thunk for the day.

Suffice it to say that I won't be going out on anymore dates with this boy.

The sweetest song ever written

I'm not generally a White Stripes fan. I don't like their music. I don't like the way they dress. And although I have been accused of sun-phobia, even I think Jack is just too darn pale. However, their song "We're going to be friends" is just about the sweetest song ever written. I loved it from the moment I first stumbled upon it a few years back. I've been listening to it on repeat along with the other songs on my 'Songs that make me happy' mix. I think this is the 4th time I've heard it this evening. Why am I listening to my 'Songs that make me happy' mix, you ask? Cause I'm in a really good mood and sometimes good moods require happy music. Plus, I was doing a bit of cleaning and happy music always makes the process a bit easier. The mix also includes:

Dixie Chicks - Wide Open Spaces
Jason Mraz - I'll Do Anything
Petula Clark - Downtown (my all time favorite song in the world!!!!)
Cat Stevens - The Wind
John Denver - Rocky Mountain High
Paul Simon - Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard
Natasha Bedingfield - These Words
Salt & Pepa - Shoop
Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock - It Takes Two
Iz - Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World
Ben Harper - Blessed to Be a Witness
Sade - It's Only Love That Gets You Through
Paul Simon - Under African Skies
OutKast - So Fresh and So Clean
Billy Bragg & Natalie Merchant - I Was Born

Now if that list of songs doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will?

Lyrics to "We're Going to Be Friends"

fall is here, hear the yell
back to school, ring the bell
brand new shoes, walking blues
climb the fence, book and pens
i can tell that we are gonna be friends

walk with me, suzy lee
through the park, by the tree
we will rest upon the ground
and look at all the bugs we've found
then safely walk to school without a sound
well here we are, no one else
we walked to school all by ourselves
there's dirt on our uniforms
from chasing all the ants and worms
we clean up and now it's time to learn

numbers, letters, learn to spell
nouns, and books, and show and tell
at playtime we will throw the ball
back to class, through the hall
teacher marks our height against the wall
and we don't notice any time pass
we don't notice anything
we sit side by side in every class
teacher thinks that i sound funny
but she likes the way you sing

tonight i'll dream while i'm in bed
when silly thoughts go through my head
about the bugs and alphabet
and when i wake tomorrow i'll bet
that you and i will walk together again
cause i can tell that we are going to be friends

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Some new music

Here are a few new albums that I've been seriously digging.

Throw Down Your Arms - Sinead O'Connor
A concept that I wasn't entirely sold on until I picked this up. Take one part reggae standards + one part unique celtic vocalizing, stir in some truly smooth production and you get some seriously grooving music.

Dimanche e Bamake - Amadou & Mariam
Afro-rock at its best. Amadou & Mariam, a blind couple from the Ivory Coast with over 30 years of music under their belts, create an incredibly bouncy, tuneful album that includes the best of salsa, traditional African rhythms and beats, reggae, R&B, blues, and lots of other multi-culti flares.

Late Registration - Kanye West
What can I say? I love me some Kanye.

From Gross Domestic Product to Gross National Happiness?

This nifty article from the NY Times examines a movement to expand how we precieve the wealth of a nation.

Anyone want to move to Bhutan with me?

A New Measure of Well-Being from a Happy Little Kingdom

"The goal of life should not be limited to production, consumption, more production and more consumption," said Thakur S. Powdyel, a senior official in the Bhutanese Ministry of Education. "There is no necessary relationship between the level of possession and the level of well-being."

Year One Recapped

Hello my loved ones. I just realized this afternoon that this blog is a year old! My what a year. I feel like I just started this little journal and already she is a year old. My first blog entry was a bit of a recap, review of my year in (and out) of SF. I thought it would be a nice legacy to recap this past year - the good, the really good, and the few things that made me cry. I find that this recap helps me appreciate all that I have learned and how much I am loved. Here we go:

> Probably the thing that occupied most of my mindspace - I purchased a home.

> And a lovely red couch!
> Grew my dreams a bit wider.
> Fell in love - deeply, completely - for the very first time. And learned to fall out of love - not quite as completely but I'm getting there.
> Joined the board of a nifty
> More importantly, I gained a dear friend, mentor, and partner in arms via the board.
> Completed yet another yoga teacher training (that makes 4!)
> Started teaching two weekly yoga classes.
> Taught myself to make JAM!!!! I've made 6 batches so far - Strawberry Rhubarb, Mission Fig Rhubarb, Peach Nectarine Plum, Raspberry Blackberry, Blueberry Lemon Apricot, & Plum.
> Used this same knowledge to can some nice summer peaches (and hopefully make some apple sauce in the very near future.)
> Started taking piano lessons again...after 15 years of nearly zero playing!!!!
> Started teaching undergraduate management courses at a couple of real and virtual universities.
> Wrote three poems that I'm really proud of. Well, I wrote a ton more but the rest are just not very good.
> Started (but have yet to finish) two new paintings.
> Finished a successful first year at my job.
> Completed 10 media interviews and got quoted at least 6 times in various media outlets.
> Signed up for the Paris Marathon in April 2006. Let the training begin! already has.
> Took my yoga practice further.

I'd say it was a pretty good year.

BTW...T minus 16 days till my 30th!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Korean Feminist Movement: An Oxymoron

For all of you who ceasesly wonder why I try to distance myself from my Korean's another reason. This is so incredibly screwed up. Especially the part about feeling overweight.

Thank god my parents decided to leave that backward, soul crushing peninsula when they did.

Korean Women Among Region’s Most Insecure: Poll

Korean women are among the most insecure about their looks in Asia and thus the most open to plastic surgery, a survey suggests. The poll of 2,100 women across Asia by Unilever showed only 33 percent of Korean respondents satisfied with their appearance, the second lowest among nine countries surveyed following Japan. Of Korean respondents, 43 percent said they were overweight.

More than half or 53 percent of Korean women answered they considered having plastic surgery, the highest among surveyed countries. The cosmetic surgery rate of Korean women is already the world’s highest with 17 percent. A staggering 80 percent of plastic surgery patients said they were dissatisfied with the results.

About 42 percent of respondents appeared to put more weight on the opinions of men than their own, saying their confidence in their looks was mostly affected by their husband’s or boyfriend’s opinion. Nearly all or 98 percent of Korean women said men value a woman’s looks above everything else. Ham In-hee, a sociology professor at Ewha Women’s University, says women in patriarchal societies tend not to respect themselves. She said Korea was seeing a vicious circle whereby men who have the power in the media ceaselessly reproduce their ideal type of woman, and women try to fit themselves to that ideal.

PS: Sorry for my recent silence. I'll hopefully have more time for posting in the near future.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Kinda Cool

Wanna know what's kinda cool?

Unexpectantly bumping into a certain person and realizing that you and everything is totally okay.

Yeah...that's kinda cool.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Furniture has now arrived!

I have furniture!!!!! And it's quite lovely. It's moments like this when I wish I had a digital camera. I wish I could share the loveliness with y'all. Well, that just means you'll have to come and visit.

Hopefully soon.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Some Real Talk

Wow...this interview with Ray Nagin, Mayor of New Orleans, is probably the most candid I've ever heard from a politician.

The transcript and audio file on CNN.

Can I create public policy too?

When exactly did the FDA become a public policy making insitution? If the morning after pill is safe, what exactly is holding up their decision to make it available over-the-counter? Oh yeah, something to do with protecting minors.

Here's an interesting read from The Seattle Times.

Life in the Bottom 80 Percent

This editorial is from the New York Times...

Life in the Bottom 80 Percent
Economic growth isn't what it used to be. In 2004, the economy grew a solid 3.8 percent. But for the fifth straight year, median household income was basically flat, at $44,389 in 2004, the Census Bureau said Tuesday. That's the longest stretch of income stagnation on record.
Economic growth was also no elixir for the 800,000 additional workers who found themselves without health insurance in 2004. Were it not for increased coverage by military insurance and Medicaid, the ranks of the uninsured - now 45.8 million - would be even larger. And 1.1 million more people fell into poverty in 2004, bringing the ranks of poor Americans to 37 million.
When President Bush talks about the economy, he invariably boasts about good economic growth. But he doesn't acknowledge what is apparent from the census figures: as the very rich get even richer, their gains can mask the stagnation and deterioration at less lofty income levels.

This week's census report showed that income inequality was near all-time highs in 2004, with 50.1 percent of income going to the top 20 percent of households. And additional census data obtained by the Economic Policy Institute show that only the top 5 percent of households experienced real income gains in 2004. Incomes for the other 95 percent of households were flat or falling.

Income inequality is an economic and social ill, but the administration and the Congressional majority don't seem to recognize that. When Congress returns from its monthlong summer vacation next week, two of the leadership's top priorities include renewing the push to repeal the estate tax, which affects only the wealthiest of families, and extending the tax cuts for investment income, which flow largely to the richest Americans. At the other end of the spectrum, lawmakers have stubbornly refused to raise the minimum wage: $5.15 an hour since 1997. They will also be taking up proposals for deep budget cuts in programs that ameliorate income inequality, like Medicaid, food stamps and federal student loans.
They should be ashamed of themselves.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Some thoughts on New Orleans

Like many of you, I've been pretty much glued to the TV watching the constant stream of suffering flowing out of New Orleans. Gosh, where do I begin. I can't be coherent so here are some observations.
  • There seems to be some serious media bias in the coverage of the "looting". In one instance there was a picture of a couple of black people carrying away bags of supplies, the accompanying caption called the individuals looters. In another picture a few white people were wading through water with bags of supplies. These individuals were described as looking for bread. Can we all say unconscious racism and bias?
  • Based on the images coming out of New Orleans one would think that the entire population of New Orleans is black and uneducated. This is obviously not the case. They said that 20% of the population of New Orleans remained in town after the city was ordered to evacuate. I suspect the people who remained did so not voluntarily but because they had no means to leave - no car, no money. The people who are now stranded in the Superdome and the New Orleans Convention Center are the poorest, most desperate portion of society. These are people who have lived a life of disenfranchisement. They lived on the most frayed edges of society before the hurricane hit, barely thriving in our racially divided society...and now they are pushed even further down the social laddar. If New Orleans ordered a mandatory evacuation why didn't they provide some means for the poorest to also leave. The one lesson this hurricane has taught us: if you are poor you will be left behind. This disaster lays bare the reality of race and poverty in this country - a reality that most fair-weather liberals and conservatives refuse to accept. I suspect that the struggle to rebuild from these events will be far more difficult and prolonged than anyone can comprehend.
  • Why are people making such a broohaha about people looting supplies that are ostensibly destroyed and unsalvagable to begin with? The shoes being looted wouldn't have been salvagable, nor the food supplies. Just a thought.
  • Although I know the government says they are doing everything to help New Orleans, from my perspective it does seem to be taking an extremely long time to get aid to New Orleans. If 400,000 can evacuate a city in less than 2 days (that would be the 80% of the city who were able to get out before the hurricane) why is it taking over 4 days to transport the 50,000 stranded in the Superdome and Convention Center?

Just some of my thoughts about everything that is going on. Ultimately, even though I know this is happening in my own country and even though I've visted New Orleans in the past, somehow I feel very detached from the drama unfolding down south. Was this what people felt when they observed the events of 9-11? 9-11 was so real for me and something I lived with on a daily basis for almost 6 months (the fires burned for about that long and you could smell the stench in the air continously). Was 9-11 just a very bad movie for the rest of you?

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

Please donate if you can. American Red Cross

If you can't, please take a moment to send some good prayers to the region.

A new generation of jam

I know...I know...another blog about jam. I should really just rename this blog "The house of jam".

Anyway, it's your own darn fault for coming back. You don't have to, you know.

Well, in any case, since you're here I might as well tell you what I've been thinking about. The other day while browsing through my local Indian grocery store, Kalustyan's (I live by Little India on Lexington and dropped in on monday night to pick up some spices I needed for a biryani I planned to make) I came upon a little collection of interesting flavorings and essences...jasmine essence, rose water, etc...

Doesn't blood orange marmalade with jasmine and rose sound divine?


Fresh fig with orange blossom and cardamom essence.

I've run out of jam jars (I originally bought two dozen) but I've just put in an order for two dozen more. I'll be back up to my jam making ways in about 5 - 7 business days...actually make that 2. I placed the order about a week ago.

I also came across coconut essence. I've been toying with the idea of making a pineapple-coconut jam for sometime but feared that the amount of dry coconut I'd have to use to impart a noticable coconut flavor would leave the jam horribly fiborous. Now, I think a pina-colada jam might be possible...without all the bits that could get stuck in your mouth.

BTW, if you can think of other unique/interesting jam suggestions I'm all ears.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

SS in town

SS has been in town and while I can't say I've been the best host, it's been great seeing her! I realize I'm not the biggest party person...I don't like going clubbing and that sort and I really don't like much of the city's party scene...a little too velvet rope for me. Sometimes I wonder why I'm so enamored by the city.

For whatever reason I've gone to bed later and later each night. The first night was 1am, the next 3am and last night 5am. Crazy.

Anyhoo, I've also been able to work a little cooking into the mix. I made some zucchini-carrot-coconut-walnut bread and I'm probably going to make some banana-coconut bread tonight. I'm also roasting some organic tomatoes (from my CSA) that I'll combine with some fresh mozzarella, organic zucchini, stock, and organic roasted garlic for a nice pasta dinner tonight for the two of us.

EC, if you are reading this, please come over...I've got a whole loaf of zucchini bread waiting for you in my fridge!


What's up with the comment area spamming? Does anyone know how to prevent this?

Saturday, August 27, 2005

How to make jam

Several of you have emailed me with various questions related to jam. Most of them are in the vain of "Is jam making hard?" "How do you make jam?" "Have you made any jam recently?"

Given this line of questioning, I thought I'd write a bit about the jam making process. Although I'm still quite the novice, I have made 5 batches now and the whole process seems to get easier and easier each time. Thus, for those of you who might want to make your own jam, here is my advice and notes from what I've learned.

The jam making process is actually two separate processes; jam making and sterilization.

The first thing to do is clean and sterilize any and all tools and jars you plan to use. Wash everything; jars, lids, jar band, wide mouth funnel, ladles, jar tongs, in warm soapy water. Place a big (minimum 20 quart capacity) pot on the stove and fill it with enough water so that it will cover the jars with at least one inch of water. You don't want the jars to touch the bottom of the pot so either use a jar rack or a round cake cooling rack on the bottom of the pot. Bring the water to a boil and put the jars and bands in the boiling water. Boil for a minimum of 10 minutes to ensure complete sterilization. Take the jars out with the jar tongs and the bands (this is where a lid remover comes in handy) place them on a clean towel (this prevents thermal shock). Prevent touching them with your hands (contamination) and allow them to cool.

Make the jam. As a rule of thumb I've found the following recipe suits my taste. 5.5 cups of fruit (whatever you want), 4.5 cups of sugar, the juice and rind of 2 or 3 lemons (depending on how acidic your fruit is), one pouch of liquid pectin. Place the fruit , sugar, and lemon juice and rinds in a big pot (make sure it's big...jam foams a lot in the beginning and you don't want spillage.) Bring everything to a rapid boil and then turn down the heat until you get a rolling boil. About 2 or 3 minutes into the process mix in all the pectin. Boil for the next 10 - 30 minutes until you get the consistency you want. Remember that jam is thinner when its hot so you don't want it to the exact consistency it would be when cold. It should be a bit thinner. A good way to test the consistency is to put a small plate in your freezer before you begin making the jam. When you're ready to test take the plate out and put a small amount of warm jam on the plate. Place the plate in the fridge for about 20 seconds. Take the plate out and test the consistency. This will be the consistency of your jam. If it's still a little runny boil the jam a bit further. Once your jam is the right consistency get ready to work quickly.

Approximately 10 minutes before the jam is ready place the jar lids in the pot of hot water. Boil for 10 minutes to warm up the gummy sealant on the lids. Take the lids out of the water with the lid remover. And let them dry a bit. Avoid touching them with your hands.

Using the sterilized wide mouth funnel and ladle, ladle the hot jam into the sterilized and dry jam jars. Fill the jars to about 1/3 inch of the rim. You want to leave some space - this space creates the vacuum seal. Repeat with all the jars. Using a clean wet cloth, wipe the rims of the jars clean. Place the sterilized lids and then use the bands to the secure the lids in place. Only tighten the bands finger tight. Using the tongs place each jar in the pot so that they don't touch each other. Boil the jars for about 15 minutes. Avoid jostling the filled jars to much after this point. Once the 15 minutes are up take the jars out carefully and place them on a towel. Allow them to cool fully before handling them. About 5 minutes after the jars come out of the boiling water you should start hearing little "clinking" noises. This is the sound of the vacuum seal forming. It's a gooooood thing.

You should now have 6 beautiful 8oz jars of jam. They should last indefinitely although i've read that you should replace the lids once a year if you plan to store them for a very long time. But who can keep homemade jam around for that long!

Happy jam making...if you are so inclined!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Something in the air

I think there is some weird bad injury mojo lingering in the air. Everyone seems to be falling or injuring themselves recently. Maybe its the tormented, confused souls of all the victims of those recent airline crashes causing chaos. Who knows.

My darling SS has been to the emergency room 3 times in the past week. My boss injured herself on an exercise machine and I dislocated my left ankle when I accidentily stepped on some uneven pavement last night. To top it all off, my ankle wouldn't pop back into place so after about a minute I had to do the unthinkable and literally shove my talus (ankle bone) back into place. Pretty fricking awful. I now have just enough mobility to hop between my bathroom, my kitchen, and my living room.

On the brightside, I get to work from home for the next couple of days.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Weekend roundup

After spending nearly all of last week in Boston (interesting town. Its best feature is my friend CK), I came home to my semi-messy apartment and promptly jumped into a crazy, fun weekend of merriment. First off was a great girl day with AC whom I hadn't seen in nearly 7 months! Then it was off to see Sufjan Stevens at the Bowery Ballroom. The Castanets opened and they were not good. Actually, they were quite painful. Sufjan Stevens finally hit the stage around midnight and made up for the Castanets. He was quite brilliant. I had loads of fun. I didn't get home until 2:30 in the AM and stayed up until 4 just doodling about. After a lazy Sunday day I met up with the parents and sister for some quality dinner. I gave away 4 jars of jam to the family. Now I'm down to 13 jars of jam.

In other news, the brilliant SS is touching down in NYC on Thursday night. I'm sure I'll have a least a few tales of debauchery by the end of the week.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

A few things I would like to do...

Here are a few random things I would like to do (some near-term, some a bit longer-term). This is not an exhaustive list.

- Travel to Antarctica
- Have sex outside during a warm summer thunderstorm (having sex in the backseat of a car is also kinda up there)
- Run the NYC Marathon
- Shave my head bald (just cause)
- Learn to drive a stick
- Finish my MFA
- Learn to decorate a cake and pull sugar

What sort of idosyncractic things would you like to do?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Zero to Sixty

Last Thursday, while sharing dinner with AI and LA, AI shared this bit of wisdom about relationships (as told to her by our mutual friend DB).

"Relationships are like driving a car. When you try to go from zero to sixty in two seconds you have to grab the wheel hard and really work to control the car. When you are going that fast any pebble or bump in the road can make you swerve off into a ditch. When you accelerate to twenty, twenty to forty, and forty to sixty...the little pebbles and bumps in the road are easy to deal with and don't affect you much."

I thought this was pretty wise stuff and I thought I'd share it with y'all.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Thunderbolts of Lightening...

Wow...what interesting weather we've had here in NYC these past few days. It's been HOT and HUMID...basically melting weather. But now a cold front is moving in and colliding with the warm front, perfect conditions for a good old thunderstorm. Warm summer thunderstorms are one of my most favorite weather occurrences. Thunder, lightening, the sound and smell of rain...what more can you ask for. My windows are thrown open and I'm sitting by the window listening, watching, and smelling the drama that is transpiring outside. If it's still raining later on I may go for a long summer rainstorm run. I love those runs the most. I can't go out just yet because I have a huge pot of peach, nectarine, shiro plum jam boiling away on the stove. I got a gigantic load of summer fruit this week in my CSA. I have to cook down the jam a bit more before I can jar it, seal it, and sterilize it. Then I shall strap on those running shoes for my run.

This was fun weekend. It was a mini-vacation weekend for me. I took Friday off and am also off tomorrow as well. The fun started on Thursday evening. I had AI and LA over for dinner (I fed them lots of veggies) and then we talked about boys, broken hearts, tentative hearts, remaining open to love, and what attending Union Theological Seminary is like. All very inspiring stuff. I laughed, I feed, I shared love...what more can a girl ask for. I spent the rest of the weekend practicing yoga, writing poetry, playing really bad acoustic guitar, sketching painting ideas, cooking some more, attending a sample sale (and scoring a beautimous winter has strawberries on it! but in a very elegant, fashion forward sort of way), having more friends over, attending a lovely UU church, and meeting up with another for a tasty brunch. A very good weekend indeed.

Alas, in reviewing my last paragraph I realize that I fail horribly when it comes to living up to the stereotype of the hot, sexy, single girl about town. No late nights of drunken debauchery, no kissing of random boys, no waking up not knowing what I did the previous night.

Eeeehhhh...I'm not all that concerned. I'm happy and surrounded by much love. What more can a girl ask for?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I'm MESSY!!!

Why do people assume that I'm neat? and why are people always surprised to see that my apartment/desk/purse are horribly cluttered?

Throughout my life, people have always expressed amused shock/pleasure upon seeing how cluttered and messy my apartment and/or desk are. As my dear, dear NG stated when seeing my apartment during senior year of college "I love it! You're messy. It makes you so human!" Is there something about my personality that communicates a certain anal persnicketiness? Do I really come off as that pulled together?

I've never been much for tidying up (as EC can attest.) I can leave unwashed laundry lying around for weeks (my ample underwear drawer is evidence of this. I'd rather buy more than wash what I have!) I can leave a stack of books on top of my kitchen table for months without reshelving them. The only thing I can't stand is a messy bathroom and kitchen and dirty dishes. I must do dirty dishes!

I'm messy and I don't much care. I don't think messy is a terrible character flaw. Smoking...that's a bad character flaw. Dirty socks...not so much. Then again, I know tons of people who would argue otherwise.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Zucchini bread success

Success! I ended up making the equivalent of 6 loaves of zucchini bread this weekend. Four loaves were baked on Saturday with my dear friend EC acting as sous chef and then I made two more loaves on Sunday night.

Sunday nights loaves were a real dousy too. I decided to see if I could make a low-fat, low-sugar version of the bread. I used only 3/4 of the sugar called for in the recipe, replaced all the oil with apple sauce, and used 4 egg whites instead of the required 3 eggs. The crazy thing is that I think the loaves I made on Sunday night were infinitely better than the ones I made on Saturday night...and Saturday's batch was delicious to begin with.

So, I now only have about 2 lbs of yellow squash to eat through. Keep those fingers crossed that I don't get any more squash.

In the mean time I have about 2 lbs of cucumbers, 2 lbs of tomatoes, 5 lbs of potatoes, 1 lb of baby carrots, and 3 lbs of onions to eat through. Ack!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Trouble with a capital "T"

Sometimes, I really wonder what is wrong with me. How do I get myself into these sorts of messes? Good lawd. Someone have mercy on my soul.

(Wicked little grin ;-)

Friday, August 05, 2005

Zucchini bread anyone?

So, I finally figured out what I'm going to do with the remaining 6 lbs of zucchini and summer squash I have. I'm baking Zucchini Pineapple Walnut bread & muffins this weekend. I'll probably end up making a double batch since I have so much zucchini!

I'll be home on sunday night and baking. Give me a call and swing on over if you want a taste. Otherwise, the bulk of the goods will either be wrapped up and tucked away in the freezer or brought to my office to feed the masses.

My poor freezer. It is currently home to the following frozen items:

- 2 containers of Veggie Stew
- 1/2 a frozen Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie (baked 2 weeks ago)
- 1/2 quart of frozen blackberries (from last weekend)
- 6 carrot cake muffins (baked about 3 weeks ago)
- 1 container of Korean curry

and in the very near future - one or two loafs of zucchini bread.

I really need a family to feed pronto.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

On Loss and Letting Go

It is with extreme sadness that I inform you that I have lost something very precious and dear to me. It was with great difficulty that I let her go. She was hanging in there for so long. She wanted to stay with me but alas her time had come. So, last night, after much debate, I did it. I let her go.

Who is she, you ask?

The toenail on my right big toe.

You're probably thinking...."Eeeeeewwwwwww, why did you share that with us?"

Well...I think it's kind of amusing.

See, here's the story. About three weeks ago I did a crazy, long, wonderful run. I was out running for about 3 hours and covered 17 miles. Don't ask me what motivated me...I really don't know. I like to run (which all of you know already.) And sometimes I just need to go out there and run and sometimes it just feels so good and I continue to run until I'm completely exhausted. It was that kind of run. Anyway, about a day later, my big toe nail started hurting. Hmmm...,I thought, that's not good. A few days later, my toe started swelling a bit. Still not good. A few days after that the swelling went away but I started noticing a certain "looseness" occuring in the toe nailbed. Hmmm...weird, I thought. Then about two weeks ago I noticed that my entire nail was no longer attached to the nailbed. It didn't hurt or anything, it was just detached. I wondered how long this would go on. Well, I have an answer now. Last night when I was taking my post yoga shower my toenail finally decided to say goodbye. It wasn't painful, it wasn't very eventful...she just sort of fell out. Weird.

Anyway, now I have no toenail on my right big toe. I wonder if another will grow in? What if one doesn't? Will I be big toenailless for the rest of my life?

It looks pretty funny actually. As many of you know, I like to keep my toenails painted a nice fire engine red. Keeps my feet and my soul happy. Anyhoo, it's kinda weird to look down and see 9 sparkly red toes and one dud. Should I paint a little square red box on my flesh? It's so weird. It's also incredibly amusing. I'm kinda giddy (if you can't tell from the tone of this post.)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Veggie Stew

Food manufacturers really need to start making single people size packages of food staples.

Sunday night was cooking night for me. I made some hummus and a big pot of veggie stew. I had most of the staples in my house for the hummus - chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, roasted green onions, salt, pepper, lemon - but no tahini. I went to the grocery store to pick some up. The only size they had was a 16oz tin. All I really needed was 3 or 4 tablespoons of tahini, not 16oz. I went to another grocery store hoping they would have a slightly smaller container - no luck. After visiting a total of 4 grocery stores I finally gave up and purchased the 16oz. tin. What exactly am I supposed to do with the extra 15 ozs of tahini? I made some salad dressing last night in a desperate attempt to use a bit more of the sauce but I'm still left with 13 ozs of the stuff (give or take.)

The veggie stew turned out marvelous. I was trying to use up most of my veggies from my weekly CSA run. Last week I got 8 lbs (!!!!) of squash. Needless to say my veggie stew had squash. It also had eggplant, green peppers, new potatoes, carrots, garlic snape, spring onions, and peas - all organic! I also added a little tofu for protein and some white wine for flavor. It was all thickened with a little butter. Yummy! The only problem I have now is that I have enough veggie stew to feed a very large family...for a week!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Hot Sun + Warm Berries + Good Friends = Happiness

Blackberries 1
Originally uploaded by jboylee.
Kahlil Gibran wrote:
"And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter and the sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed."

Ah, blackberry picking was delightful. It was truly an opportunity for the sweetness of friendship to flourish. I've posted a few pics from the weekend (courtesy of the artist eye of KC) on flickr. Click on the picture to see a few more from the trip. Alas, the only regret is that GS couldn't join us due to malfunctioning technology. No worries though. There will be an autumn apple picking run to delight in.

My intention was to make blackberry jam but those little berries are soooo tasty and I very well may end up eating them all before I get around to making the jam.

All in all, a great Sunday activity. Friends, berries, laughter, and really yummy homemade spinach quiche (courtesy of MK).

Friday, July 29, 2005

Sex, Erotica, and the Blogsphere

So, my little comment the other day about keeping this site PG-13 got me think about whether people do keep blogs about their sexual exploits. I did a little research and OH MY GOD!!! There is a whole world of sex blogs out there waiting for reading pleasure...and to my surprise, a lot of it is very well written and not at all simplistic, sexist, or written completely from the perspective of the penis. AND...AND...there are tons of couples who map, step by step, their entire sex's fascinating!

Now, anyone who really knows me knows that I like my porn and erotica as much as the next sexually liberated woman...and I thought I had a fairly comprehensive collection of porn and erotica (BTW, I really need a porn buddy - that person who comes over to my place in the case of an unexpected death and clears out my porn before my parents show up)...but DUDE, the stuff on line puts my collection to shame...shame!

I'd post a few links here but then I fear I'd reveal just a little too much about my own sexual preferences...some things have to remain a mystery. ;-)

Do a little digging of your own...and report back to me! Hee hee...

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Baldness = Hottieness?

Is it just me or are bald guys hotties? I never was really attracted to bald men, but recently (if my dating history is any indicator) I'm finding them increasingly attractive. Maybe it's just a sign of my accelarating pace towards old age. In any case, the last 4 out of 5 guys I've dated since January have all possessed either a shaved head or a hairline that is very much in the hot pursuit of baldness. And current date guy shaves his head a la Moby. I am finding that bald heads are quite fun to play with.

For all my superficiality (they need to be a certain height, they must have a certain level of education, they must be able to coordinate their shoes with their pants) head hair has never been on my list of priorities. Now, body hair...well, that's a completely different story.

Could it be possible...more jam?

I'm going berry picking with some girlfriends this weekend. I'll be joined by the lovely KC, MK, and the newest friend to join us on this side of the pond, GS. Strawberry season is over but there should be some lovely blackberries to pick.

And we all know what I like to do when I have an excess of lovely fruit...Yup....JAM!

Seriously, next time I see you, you'll be getting some jam.

I'm also running out of jam jars...and I originally purchased 2 dozen! I might have to make another jam jar run!

Conspiracy Theory

I'm convinced there is a conspiracy going on in the city right now. Last night, from about 7pm - 10pm all of 3rd Ave. was shut down from 34th St. to 42nd street. The entire area was taped off by the police and there were more cops and law enforcement agents than I have ever seen before. The cops were yelling at anyone on their cell phone to "GET OFF YOUR PHONE! GET OFF YOUR PHONE NOW!!"Luckily my building is far enough off of 3rd Ave. that it wasn't taped off. I was able to access it from 2nd Ave. The people living in buildings facing 3rd Ave. were not so lucky. I overheard a cop talking to someone over his walkie talkie and there was talk about a suspicious package and bombs and "in front of the building". There are a number of foreign embassies near my home. I live fairly close to the UN. It was all very surreal.

Anyway, I waited up to watch the local evening news to see what all the action was about...but there was nothing. Not a peep. I thought maybe they couldn't get the story on the air in time. I made sure to catch the news this morning but again...NOTHING. I checked all the newspapers...and NOTHING. The only reference I could find was another NYC blogger who got caught in all the craziness.

What is going on? Furthermore, the trains were all screwed up this morning and there were tons of "switching" problems. I smell a conspiracy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Op-Art about Stanley Kunitz

stanley kunitz
Originally uploaded by jboylee.
Stanley Kunitz is a former US poet laureate. This is a beautiful ode to the man that appeared in today's NY Times. I'm assuming that the words on the wall are his own. Click on the picture to see the larger image. Hopefully, you'll be able to read the words in the image. I particularly like this portion...

"You have to fight for your poems. I write my poems in the middle of the night, fairly till dawn sometimes. In the end you are so tired, exhausted, you just jump into bed. Many of my dreams have to do with the woods and the wild creatures. When I go there now, I always try to explore so I can see what traces I can find. The surprising thing is, they have not been invaded or changed. The woods are intact."

I don't like Lance but...

A very interesting op-ed in today's NY Times by Thomas Friedman about what's so wrong with the current American approach to business and economic growth. Go check it out. It's unfortunate that Mr. Friedman chose to use Lance Armstrong as his metaphor for all that is right. I don't really like Lance all that much.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Holiday, Celebrate

I have no real reason for not posting in over a week...well, there was the whole Harry Potter fiasco but that ended sometime last week. No, my real reason for being so negligent of you, kind readers, is that I've hit a bit of a creative funk as of late. I don't know what it is really. Could it be because I've only taken 3 days off since last August? That's probably it. One needs to take a good long vacation at least once a year. This whole living frugally thing kinda sucks in that regard. Well, I'm hoping to take a short 4 day vacation next month. I probably won't be going anywhere. Just sitting in my shorts in my new apartment...maybe playing the role of tourist in the city. Catching up on a few movies that I've been meaning to see...March of the Penguins, Rize, and Hustle and Flow.

A certain friend described me as possessing bountiful energy and a joyful spirit last week...completely unsolicited too. That made me smile. It's nice to get another person's perspective every once in awhile. The human ego a little stroking from time to time. Other human parts also need stroking from time to time but I'm trying to keep this G rated (or PG-13 at a minimum).

Wish me luck. I'm going to be engaging in a couple of forced creativity hours tonight. I will paint regardless of whether or not I want to. I will paint from 9PM - 11:30PM. I am not be allowed to put the paintbrush down except to switch it for a different one. It's gonna be me, my paints, and good old Sufjan Stevens singing about Illinios in the background.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Too much jam!

I know I said I'd skip a week in my jam making...but it's so much fun. And the blueberries at the farmer's market were so beautiful and inexpensive - 4 pints for $10. So I bought the blueberries, a few lemons...and tada...lemon-blueberry-apricot jam. I know what you're thinking. Where exactly do the apricots come into play? Well, I got a whole bunch in my CSA this past week...more than I wanted to eat...and there you go.

I think I'm getting much better at this too. I made jam in just under 1.5 weeks. My first batch took me over 3 hours. And I think I used just the right amount of pectin. The consistency is nice and jammy.

Oh, and did I mention that it's quite tasty!

Now, I really need to host a brunch. I have absolutely no idea how I'm gonna get through 10 jars of jam. I suppose I could make some jam drop cookies.

If I keep making jam at this rate, jam may become my birthday, anniversary, special-day gift of choice. I'm warning you right now. And it doesn't end once summer ends. Autumn is apple, pear, and cranberry season...and late autumn brings us citrus. Cranberry-orange chutney anyone?

I've been reading some really interesting recipes that use various liquors - Chambord etc... Very interesting. I don't like alcohol but I love the flavor of alcohol in cooked foods. I wonder if can find a fig based jam that uses a nutty alcohol. Figs are awesome with walnuts and almonds.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Tonight I will...

I will not
contemplate my aloneness

I will write songs and
about the noble
billy goat men

With hair
matted and skin

tongue swollen
and hoves splintered

And when all
this luxury we call
ceases to exist

They will remember my
song of the wayward

And elaborate on
my simple tale

until my shy men

are made into kings and
Cruel in action
Wise in reason
and tainted
black heart
and wicked smile

Oh, my dear men
so gentle and long suffering
Such a fate I
do not wish for you

Oh, you who
sojourn with little more
than what you can
carry on your backs

Always ready with
a pipe for
my amusement

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

May I introduce you to...

...the singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens.

If you aren't familiar with his music, I encourage you to check him out.

He wrote a song especially for NPR. You can download the song here. Download the song. It's beautiful.

He's performing at the Bowery Ballroom on Aug. 20th. I'll be there. Will you?

They also have a few free downloads on Amazon from his new album.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

For A Friend

You're like me and sometimes all you want is for someone to acknowledge that you are not as strong as you sometimes play it, and that you need a hug and someone to stroke your hair, and make you a cup of tea with lemon and honey and maybe read you a passage from a good, old, favorite book.

While I can't do that for you right now, I can send you a big internet hug....SQUEEEEEZE

I love you babe. Whatever doubts that may cross your mind, never doubt my love for you. That will never diminish.

Harry Potter version 6.0

This note is to inform you that I will be completely disconnected from the outside world starting Saturday, July 16 @ 12:01 AM. I will be at the Borders two blocks south of my home picking up my copy of Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince. I will return to my normal life once I have completed the book. If you need to contact me, please do so before July 16th. Be prepared to discuss Harry Potter.

Although this is only a rumor, I have been informed that it may be possible to entice me away from the book with promises of homemade cheesecake or cherry pie. A nice hunk of Saint-Andre Cheese, some slices of Granny Smith apple, and good oat crackers may also do the trick. Avoid mangos at all costs. I have been known to get quite upset at the mere suggestion of mango.

Monday, July 11, 2005

CSA Week 4 Roundup and more jam stories

First things first...the weekly CSA round up:

1.5 lbs of summer squash
1/2 lb of mixed greens (kale, collard etc...)
1/2 lb of broccoli
1/2 lb of yummy, yummy baby carrots
1 fennel
12 oz. of spring onions
10 garlic scape
3 beets



I love this.

Onto some jam news.

I finally made jam this weekend...and I think I did a good job. I made strawberry-rhubarb- key lime jam and the scraps from the pan were mighty tasty. I don't like my jam very sweet so if you get a chance to taste it, it will not be very sweet. It sort of tastes like a cross between key lime marmalade and strawberry-rhubarb pie filling. Just a warning. I think I used a little too much pectin. My jam seems a little too thick! But only time will really tell and the texture shouldn't diminish the taste too much. All the seals seemed to have taken (meaning all the little cute jars have a vaccum seal on them.) Just to be on the safe side though I think I shall store them in my fridge in the crisper even though technically I could store them at room temperature. I have 6 cute 8 oz. jars in total. I think I shall skip a week and then try a second batch in a couple of weeks. If the figs at the market look lovely I might try a fig-blueberry or a fig-peach. I might actually try canning some peaches in the near future. I LOVE canned peaches.

I am so proud of my little half dozen row of jam jars. They look like a little collective of portly, round bellied, ruby colored army of goodness and food love. I'm tickled! (I'm being very not humble right now.) Although I love my job, I never create anything tangible. Just lots and lots of paper. Jam making (and baking) allows me to create something wonderful and substantial.

If you are very good and promise me lots of hugs, I might invite you over for brunch for some freshly baked biscuits with fresh-churned butter (making your own butter is super easy and tastes much better than the store bought variety) and my jam.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Live 8, Monetary Relief, Debt Cancellation, and a Load of Bullshit

I do not support Live 8, the purpose of Live 8, and the methods used by the concert organizers of Live 8. I fear that the popular facade painted by the celebrity supporters of debt cancellation is creating a generation of kids (and adults) who actually believe that simply cancelling debt and sending more monetary aid to African nations will solve all of the continent's problems. In the last 20 years, over $500 billions of aid has been sent to Africa. Yet, Africa is the only continent where the standard of living has worsened over the same period of time. More people live in extreme poverty, civil war still ravages many nations, and now AIDS is quickly creating a dying population and a society of orphans. Debt cancellation and aid will not solve Africa's problems.

Bob Geldof and Co. reinforce every bad stereotype about celebrities. They are self-interested, self-involved, and highly misinformed. No wonder so many of them have adopted Scientology. They understand about 1% of the problem and believe themselves to be experts in the field. Don't get me started on Bono. I have no desire to see another celebrity visit Africa as an official UN ambassador.

The social structure of Africa is near completely broken. The economic structure of Africa is largely broken. Funneling money into such a broken structure will only feed existing problems. Corrupt national leaders and powerful regional and tribal leaders have been syphoning off billions of dollars of aid for decades. Aid never reaches the people it is intended to. Aid does not create a government that actually respects the value of sound fiscal and social policy. It does not create educational systems. It does not provide health education. It does not dismantal a social structures that still treats women like animals and property.

I do not have the answer to solve Africa's problems. But I do not go around telling people that I do. I plead lack of intellegence. I am not very smart. That's why I don't work for the world bank or world trade organization. But I have just enough education to realize that the Live 8 concert and its message is naive, limited in scope, and potentially dangerous.

People of the world...please take an introductory economics class.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I send out a prayer

For the world entire, but especially to the people of London.
I pray that you are safe and all your loved ones are safe...even though I know that at least 33 families will be without a loved one tonight.
I pray that you may once again travel without a forboding sense of terror...although the psychological scars may linger far after all the physical evidence has been removed, cleaned up, and polished.
I pray that you do not descend into a spiral of hatred and revenge...although recent history has shown that it is an all too common reaction.
I pray that this tragedy does not diminish your faith in the goodness of the earth...although at this moment it seems so easy to wallow in grief.

Above all, I hope that if you are reading this you know that I love you, and I miss you, and I wish that I could give you a HUGE hug. Be safe tonight, be safe tomorrow night, be safe until the next time can give you a big SQUEEEEEEEZE.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Book recommendation

I recently began reading A Million Little Pieces. It's a memoir by James Frey. Frey is a former drug addict and the book is his story of recovery.

The book is intriguing to me on so many levels but mostly because it is a world that is so foreign and removed from my reality. While I can be obsessive at times, addiction has never been a problem for me. And the use of external stimulants, depressors, and other altering chemicals is something that I cannot relate to at all. I can probably count every drink I've ever had (the number hovers around 35 or less), I've never smoked or used an illicit drug, and you can probably fit the number of OTC medicines and perscription drugs I've used into a shot glass. The last one is due largely to being blessed with good health (and an aversion to pain killers) more than anything else.

I am naive to the psychology of drug and alcohol use and abuse. Just as many people can't understand the psychology of eating disorders - no matter how much I try to explain it to them, I will never appreciate or understand the full scope of factors that drives someone to use and then absue alcohol and drugs. It's so easy for me to not use either substance. Cough medicine makes me feel wonky and weird and I couldn't imagine what stronger drugs would do to me. I don't even like the affect of caffine and have thus not consumed more than one or two cups of it in the last 5 or so years.

This is why I find the book so interesting. It exposes me to a world that I will likely never know first hand. And while I can't understand it fully, it helps me appreciate on some feeble level, what percolates beneath the surface of every recovering, surviving chemical abuser.

Playing for both teams...not if you're a guy, apparently

So, I came across this article in today's NY Times. What to say. First off, I never knew the numbers of bisexual people were so low. I have known a fair number in my day - but then again I travel in weird crowds.

I always just assumed when my gay friends said that all bi men were just gay men lying to themselves, that they were being selfish and greedy, but this study seems to give them and their cause a little backing. Of course, this study is far to limited to be conclusive in any way. God forbid if some therapist starts actually using this info and telling bisexual men that they are in denial and really gay. Could you imagine the ramifications of that?

One highlight of this article is this quote...

"Most of them seem to lean one way or the other, but that doesn't preclude them from having a relationship with the nonpreferred sex," [said Dr. Diamond.] "You may be mostly interested in women but, hey, the guy who delivers the pizza is really hot, and what are you going to do?"

I've never had quite that thought but it's close enough. I'm more likely to say..."I like mostly men but, hey, that gal dancing in the corner is really hot, oh, and she's looking my way. How do I look?"

Friday, July 01, 2005

The joy of cooking

I love to cook.

Cooking, when it is done with care, is an art form. It is one of the most fundamental acts of love when shared with another person. It is another opportunity for self expression. It is love.

My home (I like the sound of that) is filled with the most magnificant aromas right now. I am currently roasting beets, yellow summer squash, and spring scallion onions in my oven. To make good use of all the other veggies I have, I've concocted a lovely vegetable korean curry (not to be confused with a thai or indian curry) filled with tatsoi (a bok choi derivative), bok choi, carrots, onions, some garlic scape, some napa cabbage, baked tofu, and a handful of shitake mushrooms. I made enough curry to feed me for a month so I'm freezing 3/4 of it for days when I'm not in the mood to cook. The rest of the napa cabbage will likely become a coleslaw with apples and carrots and a touch of lime. I still have 4 HUGE heads of lettuce and all the tops from the beets. I can't eat that much salad.

I'm also going to bake the strawberry rhubarb pie sometime during this long weekend. LB is coming over tomorrow night and bringing along her hubby and adorable son J. I'm gonna try and make it in time for their visit. The additional 3 stalks of rhubarb finally pushed me over the edge. I've dug out my pie plate and food processor (to make the pie crust dough) and everything.

I do enjoy cooking.

I'm so easy to please.

What other 29 year old, single, hottie (sic), female spends her Friday nights roasting veggies, making curry, and sketching pictures of flowers on her bathroom walls? I'm weird.

PS: I found a place in Brooklyn that sells all the supplies I need to make jam. I'm heading over their tomorrow morning after I teach a yoga class. I'm probably not going to make jam this weekend - that'll be my adventure for next weekend. I've also found some lovely recipes for a fig-rhubarb jam.

Sorry...this is a very insipid journal entry...and that's saying a lot given the quality of my recent posts.