Thursday, August 28, 2014
I have written on fashion, style, and the importance of appearances many times over many years. I am frequently dismissed as superficial and frivolous - and I suspect a large part of the dismissal comes from the fact I am a woman. After all, would a sensible guy or a tomboy gal bother with such nonsense? Well, judge for yourself. I have invited my husband Gerry Seymour to write a guest post on the subject. Gerry's career spanned a variety of environments and his style runs the full gamut from Japanese pajamas to a tuxedo. Maria K. ====================================================== effect of a white lab coat * The Fast Track reports on a study published in Evolution and Human Behavior, regarding the effect of designer clothing * A study from California State, Northridge, on the effects of experimenter dress on participants * A study on the Undergraduate Research Community website, showing some of the ambiguity of casual dress in the workplace * A study on "enclothed cognition" - the impact of our clothing on our cognitive processes * Christian Jarret of 99u covers the impact of clothing on performance, including some notes from the studies above
Friday, August 22, 2014
For those of you, foodies, who don't know - andouille is a kind of spicy smoked sausage. It originated in France, was promptly adopted by the sausage lovers in Germany, and then brought over to Louisiana, where it fit right in with the Cajun cuisine. Good andouille should be used sparingly, if you are not into spicy things, but it's definitely worth including on your shopping list - precisely because a little of it goes such a long way. In addition to the more traditional uses, like jambalaya, paella, or black beans and rice, andouille can be used in less obvious ways. For example, if you like spaghetti with tomato sauce, consider finely chopping some andouille and adding it to the sauce as you warm it up. We've done this both with a store-bought sauce and with the home-made variety - and both gained a whole new dimension with that bit of spicy goodness in them. Another recipe I really enjoyed making up was to core and cut two large bell peppers in half, lengthwise; pre-cook some orzo, and saute some finely chopped onions, andouille, and mushrooms. Put the bell peppers into a casserole dish, mix orzo, onions, andouille, and mushrooms and scoop them into the bell pepper halves. Shred some sharp cheddar on top of each, cover and bake at 400 for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake another 20 minutes. The last but not the least (and probably my favorite) is sauteing andouille with onions and mushrooms, and adding it to mac n' cheese. It could be store-bought mac n' cheese, or home-made. I particularly recommend trying it with one of the incredible recipes from The Mac+Cheese Cookbook by Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade. Happy cooking!
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
my anthem. What is yours? Week 4 - don't hate the meat eater. Or a veggie eater. Generally, don't hate a consumer of specific goods, just because the goods that person chooses to consume are different from your own choices. This train of thought came out from seeing many posts on the internet - from vegan and vegetarian sites - showing the terrible conditions, in which farm animals are kept. I agree - some of those are truly awful, and this should not happen. However, why focus on one bad aspect of one industry, for no reason other than to stick it to people who eat something different than you do? The truth is - there are many processes that are great. All sorts of processes that are part of manufacturing of all sorts of goods. Some smart people got together, looked at them objectively , figured out the good, the bad, and the ugly and cleaned them up. And then there are processes that suck. Processes that haven't changed in decades. And those processes are behind many products - for people who eat meat and for people who don't eat meat. Take cotton, for example, "the fabric of our lives" - you would think, what could be less harmless than that? Right? Well, if your cotton goods come from anywhere in Central Asia or the Middle East, it is possible that the cotton for them was picked by children during some of the hottest portion of the year. Or wool. Yes, many merino sheep growers have modernized their processes and are now treating their animals in a humane and careful way. But in some cases, the deal remains the same as it was 70 years ago, as described in "Thorn Birds". Sheep are still dipped in toxic baths to rid them of external parasites, they still get a giant syringe full of meds rammed down their throats to rid them of internal pests, and they still occasionally get gouged by shears when the fleece is being collected. That's where your favorite sweater may have come from. A few years ago, the state of Georgia decided to crack down on farmers using undocumented immigrant workers. So, the state demanded that the farmers fire all their foreign workers and hire American ones instead. It was a disaster. The crops went unpicked and a lot was lost. In an interview, one of the farmers said he found his American workers sitting in the shade 2-3 hours every day, instead of working, saying the work was "too hard". It IS hard. So hard, in fact, that apparently, an American worker, after being unemployed for months, will quit that job after a few days. But immigrant workers soldier through it. So, your last salad may have been picked by the hands of someone working in 100-degree heat, with no safety regulation to protect him, no benefits, no health insurance, and no limits on how many hours a day and days a week he has to work. Instead of telling terrible things and posting terrible pictures to make one group of consumers feel bad because you disagree with their choice of food, why not look at the whole thing globally? Where is our stuff coming from? How is it produced? How are the materials delivered? What can we do, as consumers, to favor those suppliers who use better methods? Member contributions Recycle and feed the dogs - all in one. ================================================================================================ t's something we've all been talking about. The final message is were stress eating/drinking, cooking/preserving if we can (evidenced by the chocolate baked goods and berry jam at my house--never mind the shelf of Leinies). The ultimate message here. Take care of your neighbor. Who is that, you may ask? The person next door, down the street, or halfway around the world. Take care of each other, because sure as hell those in power won't do anything but take care of themselves. ================================================================================================ Anne Lamott Many mornings I check out the news as soon as I wake up, because if it turns out that the world is coming to an end that day, I am going to eat the frosting off an entire carrot cake; just for a start. Then I will move onto vats of clam dip, pots of crime brûlée, nachos, M & M's etc. Then I will max out both my credit cards. I used to think that if the world--or I--were coming to an end, I'd start smoking again, and maybe have a cool refreshing pitcher of lime Rickeys. But that's going too far, because if the world or I was saved at the last minute, I'd be back in the old familiar nightmare. In 1986, grace swooped down like a mighty mud hen, and fished me out of that canal. I got the big prize. I can't risk losing it. But creme brûlée, nachos, maybe the random Buche Noel? Now you're talking. The last two weeks have been about as grim and hopeless as any of us can remember, and yet, I have not gotten out the lobster bib and fork. The drunken Russian separatists in Ukraine with their refrigerated train cars? I mean, come on. Vonnegut could not have thought this up. Dead children children on beaches, and markets, at play, in the holy land?? Stop. The two hour execution in festive Arizona? Dear God. And let's not bog down on the stuff that was already true, before Ukraine, Gaza, Arizona, like the heartbreaking scenes of young refugees at our border, the locals with their pitchforks. The people in ruins in our own families. Or the tiny problem that we have essentially destroyed the earth--I know, pick pick pick. Hasn't your mind just been blown lately, even if you try not to watch the news? Does it surprise you that a pretty girl's mind turns to thoughts of entire carrot cakes, and credit cards? My friend said recently, "It's all just too Lifey. No wonder we all love TV." Her 16 year old kid has a brain tumor. "Hey, that's just great, God. Thanks a lot. This really works for me." My brother's brand new wife has tumors of the everything. "Fabulous, God. Loving your will, Dude." My dog Lily's ear drum burst recently, for no apparent reason, with blood splatter on the walls on the entire house--on my sleeping grandson's pillow. Do you think I am well enough for that? Let me go ahead and answer. I'm not. It was CSI around here; me with my bad nerves. And it burst again last night. Crazy! Did someone here get the latest updated owner's manual? Were they handed out two weeks ago when I was getting root canal, and was kind of self-obsessed and out of it? The day before my dog's ear drum first burst? If so, is there is an index, and if so, could you look up Totally Fucking Overwhelm? I have long since weeded out people who might respond to my condition by saying cheerfully, "God's got a perfect plan." Really? Thank you! How fun. There is no one left in my circle who would dare say, brightly, "Let Go and Let God," because they know I would come after them with a fork. It's not that I don't trust God or grace or good orderly direction anymore. I do, more than ever. I trust in divine intelligence, in love energy, more than ever, no matter what things look like, or how long they take. It's just that right now cute little platitudes are not helpful. I'm not depressed. I'm overwhelmed by It All. I don't think I'm a drag. I kind of know what to do. I know that if I want to have loving feelings, I need to do loving things. It begins by putting your own oxygen mask on first: I try to keep the patient comfortable. I do the next right thing: left foot, right foot, left foot, breathe. I think Jesus had a handle on times like these: get thirsty people water. Feed the hungry. Try not to kill anyone today. Pick up some litter in your neighborhood. Lie with your old dog under the bed and tell her what a good job she is doing with the ruptured ear drum. I try to quiet the drunken Russian separatists of my own mind, with their good ideas. I pray. I meditate. I rest, as a spiritual act. I spring for organic cherries. I return phone calls. I remember the poor. I remember an image of Koko the sign-language gorilla, with the caption, "Law of the American Jungle: remain calm. Share your bananas." I remember Hushpuppy at the end of Beasts of the Southern Wild, just trying to take some food home to her daddy Wink, finally turning to face the hideous beast on the bridge, facing it down and saying, "I take care care of my own." I take care of my own. You are my own, and I am yours--I think this is what God is saying, or trying to, over the din. We are each other's. Thee are many forms of thirst, many kinds of water. ================================================================================================ This is cool... I especially like the bit where he hands the hat to the bloke and then takes a new one out of the bag, suggesting that they would be doing the same thing again somewhere else... ================================================================================================ When our old mailbox fell over and we installed a new one, I insisted on picking up one of the larger ones, even though it required a bit more finagling with installation. I use USPS Click-n-Ship all the time, and this would make it easier for me to ship slightly larger packages. Also, our mailwoman wouldn't need to drive up our precipitous driveway in her decrepit truck when delivering packages to us. Gerry recently ordered a lot of stuff, and today it ALL came in. Strapped to the stack of packages was a note from our mailwoman, "Love the new mailbox." And a smiley face. Public Service Announcements 10 Foods to help fight inflammation. ================================================================================================ The latest developments in sustainable fabrics. ================================================================================================ All! Heifer has added more options to the catalog! Consider popping in and checking out what's new. If you can't afford an entire gift, you can always buy a share. The least expensive ones - flocks of chickens and geese - are $20. Considering how many moms-to-be in second and third-world countries would have easier pregnancies and healthier babies if they had access to fresh meat and eggs on a regular basis, and how many kids could avoid calcium and protein deficiency if they had a glass of milk and some chicken soup - all these make a huge difference. There are also options to donate trees and bee hives - also fantastic ================================================================================================ Recycling an old unused building. ================================================================================================ We desperately need more of these. ================================================================================================ A huge victory for volunteer roadside libraries! ================================================================================================ Ass-kicking use of solar in Australia. Recommended reading Lighten Up by Peter Walsh Everyone Communicates - Few Connect by John Maxwell Work It! by Jesse Garza and Joe Lupo Mini-Farming by Brett Markham
Monday, July 7, 2014
Big little change at work - imagine if all people with adequate means would do this for others. After a lively discussion and a bit of research from my faithful and fierce Facebook friends, we have all come to a conclusion - you all MUST get some of these tomatoes. Plant some, grow them, and enjoy. I have some growing in my green house, and they are AMAZING. Public service announcements Another power girl with a new invention. Feed the butterflies - save the eco system. The elements - wind, water, and heat - working together to bring energy and water to the desert. Solar-powered water wheel goes to work cleaning out the Baltimore Harbor. Last year's renewable energy breakthroughs. Recommended reading - Key to living the law of attraction by Jack Canfield - The Not So Big House by Sarah Susanka