Thursday, February 28, 2008

Next Steps.

I'm thinking about going back to school. This is ironic because I'm just now getting my students loans to the point where I can see that the end is in sight. So of course I want to wrack up some more debt.
Currently, I'm thinking about going back for a teaching license. The nice thing about this is, since I already have a degree, I'm 3/4 of the way there. I'd just need to take some education courses and do some student teaching. Stuff like that. I could probably have it done and ready to go in about 18 months or so. Debt would be a lot less than another 4-year degree. Plus, I'm looking at in-state colleges this time around, so I'll get the residency rate. That will also help.

I haven't yet narrowed it down to what, specifically, I'd like to do. I think early elementary, like pre-k, k-3. I've done some searching at local colleges and universities, and I have a couple friends who's brains I'll pick. I've requested some information. University of Vermont has a Library Media Studies program that kind of caught my eye. It would get me into education while letting me spend time with books and such. We'll see where I end up going.

I never particularly thought of going into education; it was never a passion of mine. But the more I think of it, the more it intrigues me. I have no idea how long this intrigue will last. I could follow this through and be your kid's next kindergarten teacher, or I could follow my next "passion" and end up meditating on a commune in Tibet.

Who knows?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Dirty Little Secret.

Some evenings, when I'm home alone and have no one to impress but myself, I drink my wine out of water glasses. 










Does this make me a bad person?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Open Letter...

Dear Upstairs Neighbor,
I think it's really great that you're into exercise. Really, I do. I could learn something from you. But really, when you do your aerobics DVD, from down below it sounds like you weigh 300 pounds. I know you don't, because I've seen you. But from where I'm sitting, all I can envision are hippos in tutus trying vainly to execute pirouettes in a graceful fashion. 

I shouldn't talk, as I've often been accused of walking heavy, but good god woman. I've seriously got nothing on you. You've driven people out of the room, nay out of the apartment. You've given me a headache. You've kept people awake. How can one small person walk so heavy?

Please, for the sanity (and wall hangings) of those who live below you, pretend you're walking on eggshells. Or at least take the Uggs off *before* you pop in your Tae-Bo.

Sincerely,
The Frustrated Neighbor Below You

PS - if you fall through the ceiling when my favorite show is on, I'm going to leave you there in the rubble until the commercial break.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Weekly Sunday Food Blog

It seems that every Sunday my blog turns into a bunch of pictures about what I'm eating this week. Well, today wasn't much of a cooking day. I just wasn't inspired to take on any challenges. Hell, I could barely find motivation to leave the house this weekend. I spent a good portion of yesterday in bed. Not necessarily sleeping, I just couldn't get up the energy to do anything. Today was slightly better, but only just. I don't know if I'm fighting off something or what. I feel fine, but the lack of energy isn't like me. That, and after walking home from a coffee date this afternoon, I was shaky. Which never happens. I ate something and felt a little better, but it wasn't as if I was starving or anything, or walked overly far. Low grade headache for a good portion of the afternoon, as well. Weirdness.
As I was uninspired, my cooking pretty much followed suit. I made hummus this morning for my breakfast bagels, and for dinner this week I'm having chili. Because you don't need to be inspired to make chili, you just have to be able to open the cans and dump everything in a pot. I also made some cornbread, following the Veganomicon recipe for skillet cornbread. Obviously I did not cook mine in a skillet, but it still turned out pretty yummy. Lunches are just going to be sandwiches using faux meat, or feat as I sometimes call it. Lazy way out, I know. Whatever. Maybe next week I'll be more inspired and turn out some gourmet cuisine worthy of a blog entry.





















You'll notice the chili is already in its tupperware home for the week; the first image was too blurry to post.

Going to collapse in a puddle on the couch now.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Pondering.

Everyone has questions that are seemingly innocuous, but are actually quite deep. Y'know, those weird questions you think up when you're riding the subway on the way to work, or when you're in the shower or something. Those times when you're brain just goes out on its own tangent.
My latest ponder is anthropological in nature. I think. It's about human nature, anyway. Well, not nature, behavior. Well, maybe both.

Okay, okay. I can hear you saying "Kate, get ON with it already!"

All humans are intelligent creatures (yes, even the dumb ones), with infinite potential for infinite possibilities. Why is it, then, that some cultures and societies "advance" to a certain point and say "ok, I'm good," while others keep going with no end in sight? Why do we have some cultures who are tribal in nature, while others abandon it for the more, shall we say Western approach to society? As humans, we are all theoretically capable of inventing, creating, building, blah blah blah. So why does one culture invent ginsu knives that can cut through a pipe, while others are perfectly content with sharpened bones and stones? They could invent those ginsu knives if they wanted to, they just have no desire to. Why?

I say "advance" because, really the term is relative. Yes, cell phones are an advancement, but think of all we've lost in coming to this point. There is no more oral tradition in Western society. Everyone's talking to everyone else, but no one is listening or learning. There is so much Western society "has" that we don't need to survive. We have just trained ourselves to think we do.

Personally, I think the Earth needs more tribal cultures. Let's face it, if we non-tribal folk keep going like we are, we're gonna wipe ourselves out and the tribal peeps are going to have to re-populate the Earth. Again. 

And I really hope this post doesn't come of as discriminatory or anything because that's not my intent! 

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wisenheimer or Genius?

I think this is the best tagline I've ever come up with:
Energy efficiency tastes good with bacon.

Let's see how far it gets in the approval process, shall we?

Monday, February 18, 2008

President's Day

God bless President's Day. A day to remember our founding fathers and, well, an excuse for a 3-day weekend and to buy a car at low low prices! Act now, sale ends soon!
I digress. Saturday I went up to Robin's to help her stuff wedding invitations. They are very pretty invites. You should see them.

Yesterday I made oatmeal bars for breakfast, being too cheap to buy them myself, and some White Bean and Roasted Garlic soup from Vegan With a Vengeance. Both are super yummy and look like this:





















After I got done being all domestic, I met up with Alex and we hung out. Saw Jumpers. We both agreed that while it's never a bad thing to look at Hayden Christensen for 90 minutes, the movie didn't blow us away. Not that we were expecting that or anything, but...

Today Alex took me yarn shopping for a new project. I drove her nuts, but I ended up buying some yarn I think will knit up nicely for a shrug. It's for Robin's wedding. I already have the dress, but I need something to go over it. I think this will work nicely. Hopefully I'll have something started soon so I can show it to you. Oh! and I made some vegan lasagna too:











That's about it. Back to work tomorrow.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Durrrr....

This morning I was all set to leave the house to get to work on time. Lunch? Check. Phone? Check. Ipod? At the office. Wallet? Check. Content that I'm on time for once in my life, I head out, making sure to lock the door behind me. As soon as I get on the other side of that closed and firmly locked door. I remember. 
Keys? NOT check.

Durrrrr... I is intelligent, I is.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Okay, so there was no dining at Tiffany's, breakfast or otherwise. But MAN did I have a good time! Thank you so much Mary and Eva for opening your home to me this past weekend. It was a blast!
Friday
Flight was on time, all was well. Had dinner at a place called Tini, Italian with homemade pasta. Delish. 

Saturday
Super busy. We started by doing some shopping at H&M. I bought a cute shirt and the perfect dress for my friend Robin's wedding in May. Headed to the meatpacking district where I got a pair of shoes at MooShoes and then we had lunch at Teany's, Moby's restaurant. We both felt a little put out that Moby didn't deign to show up while we were there, but what can you do?

Saturday night started out with dinner at Chez Napoleon. Then we had drinks at a great place called Buddakan. Then we went dancing at Cielo. Dragged our tired, sorry bums home.

Sunday
More low-key. We had brunch at a restaurant who's name escapes me. Wandered around Central Park for a couple hours. Saw a movie - Persepolis. GOOD movie. You should see it. Then we went to Alice's Tea Shop for some tea. 

Returned home at 1:30am. Very tired, hence the shortness of entries. Here are some pictures for you:

Superimposed view









Robot at Teany








Vegetarian Club Sandwich from Teany











View from cab








Me, Eva and Mary at Chez Napoleon








Buddakan Wine List










Me, Mary & Eva at Cielo








Cielo in full swing








Eva and her tea








Columbus Circle

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Wheeee!

By this time tomorrow evening, I will be in New York City, hanging at a pub and catching up with my friend Mary. If you're reading this, Hi Mary!
We've got a whole big weekend planned. I only kinda know the itinerary. My flight leaves at 5 from Burlington (all times are theoretical, you understand), so I should land at JFK about an hour later. Mary's going to meet me at the airport, then she's going to bring me back to her apartment so I can drop my stuff, then off to pubs we go. Only this is NYC, not the UK, so odds are good they're bars. I don't care what they call themselves, so long as I'll be able to find alcohol there. By the time we get there, I'm gonna need a good stiff drink!

During the day on Saturday, I think it's going to be a lot of walking and shopping. I want to go to Moo Shoes, and any other veg store we can find. Apparently Teany, Moby's cafe, is nearby so maybe we'll lunch with other famous veg heads. We're going to Chez Napoleon for dinner, then off to a club to get our groove thang on. I'm going pescatarian for the evening. That means I'm having the fish, mainly because there are no veg entrees and you get charged extra if you order two hor d'oeurves. I know vegetarians don't like it when people say "oh, I'm a veggie" then order fish. Because that isn't vegetarian and it gives people the wrong idea. However, I eat fish maybe twice a year, tops. When I do, I call it what it is - me going pescatarian. I'm okay with eating fish, I just don't because of all the overfishing, contaminates in the water, etc etc. So 99% of the time, I'm a vegetarian who eats a lot of vegan meals. 1% of the time I'm a pescatarian. 

Why did I feel the need to justify myself like this? I'm okay with my choices, and to quote a wise woman on the Weight Watchers vegetarian message board "what you think of me is none of my business."

So, on to Sunday. Mary wants to go ice skating in Rockefeller Plaza. Or Central Park. She wants to go ice skating. I've not skated at either of those locations, so it'll be a new experience for me! I haven't skated in years, so hopefully it's like riding a bike - one you learn, you don't forget. If I fall on my ass, I'm sure one of us will catch it on film. One of us better, at any rate!

So, I probably won't be on for a few days. I'll try to post pictures/an update on Monday, or Sunday if I'm feeling particularly spry and my plane actually arrives as scheduled.

Till then!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Lent.

It starts tomorrow, right?
I grew up Methodist, and while we academically knew it was Lent, we didn't do the Catholic thing of giving something up. I do remember that the local schools would always serve cheese pizza on Friday, so kids would have a "no meat on Friday" option if they were Catholic. I don't think they were technically supposed to do that, but who am I to complain? When I was in elementary school (like 3rd grade), every Wednesday they'd shove 3/4 of the bus-riding kids on just two buses, and use the third to ship all the catholic kids up to the church for catechism. Uh, yeah, separation of church and state, anyone? They finally put the kaibash on that, and I'd like to think I had some small part in it. I got stuck way in the back one Wednesday and the trip home took three times as long because it had to make three times as many stops. I used to get carsick a lot. See where this is heading? Let's just say I was in my 20's before I'd go near a plate of spaghetti again.

Okay, that was a tangent. I've always rather liked the idea of Lent. Of giving something up for a while. Something you think you can't do without, or a bad habit you need to break. One year I gave up french fries, another soda. I usually do it just to prove to myself that I can go without and my world doesn't end. This year I'm thinking self improvement. I think for the next 40 days, I am going to try to give up negative thinking. Yeah, how's that for setting oneself up for a fall?

I'm pretty realistic. I know there is no possible way I can go for 40 days without a single negative thought. The greater goal here is to 1) examine why I'm having the negative thought in the first place 2) decide if it's really warranted or if I'm being mean/cynical/tired etc 3) let it go and not dwell on it. I would like to stop this overly negative inner monologue I find myself feeding. Stuff like that oozes out into your life. I don't want an oozy life. 

It will also be an interesting experiment in social behavior: how long can the positive person last in a society/culture that is cynical, negative and judgmental? Will she hold her own or be forced to retaliate in kind lest she be eaten alive by the rat race?

We shall see.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Yeah, So this day sucked.

And I'm glad it's over. At least, it would be over if I could just shut off this damned inner monologue I've got going on in my head. The sad thing is, most of it doesn't actually have anything to do with the sucky day I had. It's just adding to the feel-good party that is me.
I feel like I'm caught in this vicious circle sometimes. I do the best I can at any given moment, but let's face it, I'm human and I make mistakes. I'll be the first to admit I don't always take critique, well, maturely, but I usually do see the merit in it and take it to heart. I may swear under my breath about it, but I see it. However, there is a difference between delivering positive feedback and making a person feel like they are three inches tall.

I've had my attire commented on in two separate instances. Seriously, how is one supposed to take "well, now that's a busy shirt, isn't it?" Because a little bit of embroidery is so offensive. I've had a contribution to a party publicly derided. I've even had the way I choose to eat my food commented on ("you know microwaving plastic leaches toxins into the food. That's why we have plates"). All from just one person. And this is just what I feel I can write.

I don't need constant encouragement or approval, but if there is just no way I can ever do anything right, what's the damned point? Apparently I can't even dress myself. If you keep pounding a square peg into a round hole, eventually it will fit. But look at how much of itself it ends up losing in the process. How much of me has to fall away in order to have all this shit stop?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Pictures for You.

I've been living in the apartment for 2.5 years now. I've been walking along my route for just as long. My route is essentially a section of the Burlington Bike Path that cuts through Oakledge Park (I've blogged about the park before). Every winter, these amazing ice formations pop up next to the lake. Trees that took up residence a wee too close to the water get frozen over and just are mesmerizing. For 2.5 years now, I constantly forget to bring my camera with me when I go walking along the water. Not today! So, for your enjoyment, some pictures taken today by Lake Champlain.
































Saturday, February 2, 2008

My Saturday.

It was a good Saturday. Slightly sloppy, but good. It was pretty mild, which means most of the ice on the trees and whatnot was gone by midday. Everything is melting, which is good, because it's ice, but bad because the ground is frozen and there's no place for it to go. I took this picture around 11pm last night:











The trees were all sparkly in the light. It was very pretty. It was also raining little ice pellets, which kept going down the back of my jacket. Shudder.

So today was a cooking day, sort of. I made some more scones - this time Almond Pear. They're yummy, and also currently hidden from my brother, who ate far too many of them last time. I'd post a picture, but they look just like the ones posted below, so use your imagination. I also made some more of that strange quinoa stuff I made a couple weeks ago with Robin. It came out lovely, and a bit more manageable. In case you've forgotten, here's a pic of what it looked like:










Here's the recipe, to the best of my ability. So far as I know, this is vegan. Most of the spices were just shaken in, so use your best judgement and your own tastes. As I was typing this up, I remembered that originally we also used some green beans, chopped and sauteed in with the other veggies. I didn't this time, but my bad memory shouldn't stop you!

Robin's Crazy Quinoa Concoction
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pepper in the color of your choosing, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large potato, large chop
4 cups no-chicken broth
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 bay leaf
2 tsp pasta/italian seasoning (or any Italiany seasons you like)

1. Preheat olive oil in a soup pot. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add carrots, peppers, celery and garlic and saute for a few more minutes. Add potatoes and quickly heat through. Dump in all the spices and give a quick stir.

2. Add the no-chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are just soft.

3. Add quinoa. Let simmer another 20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed.

4. Dish up, serve with some warm crusty bread, and enjoy!

Friday, February 1, 2008

It's Friday.

Yaaaayyyyy!!!!!
Haven't posted much this week. Mainly because nothing overly exciting happened. Went to work, went to the dentist (look, mom! No cavities!), went to work, went to work, went to work, hung out with various and sundry interesting people... that's about it. We did get out of work early today because of the nasty weather. Snow, sleet, freezing rain. Stupid-ass drivers thinking that just because they're in a gas guzzling 4-wheel drive the bad weather doesn't apply to them. Um yeah. That's why you're in the ditch and I'm still on the road.

Anyway. I was supposed to go out with my buds this evening, but that was cancelled due to the bad weather. It's raining pretty heavy out there right now. If you've ever been to Vermont, you'd know that rain in February is weird. But then, exactly one year ago Valentine's Day, we got socked with at least 3 feet of snow. This is a view from my bedroom window last year:











To set this up, I'm standing on a chair, leaning out of the top half of my window, about 4 feet up. The drift comes halfway up the house (that is my upstairs neighbor's balcony in the top left corner).  This was at about 10pm. Shortly after this the wind picked considerably. 6 foot snow drifts were everywhere.

What a difference a year makes, eh?

This is Two.

Monday the 21st was our 2-year wedding anniversary. We build the Matrimonial Pizza, with my brother officiating and my Chick of Honor wat...