Thursday, December 16, 2010

"'tis the season to be jolly and joyous! (fa la la!)"

~a muppet christmas carol

it is SNOWING in NC. that is twice in the month of December. Twice in the SEASON. This is big news, people. BIG. It hardly ever snows in NC. and people don't know what to do when it does.

Yesterday evening by 7pm one school district had closed entirely and the other two had already delayed two hours. Before a single flake had fallen. And this is normal behavior in NC. crazysauce.

But, it's doing a lot for making me feel like it's Christmas! (hence the title) I think it's time to call Matt and finally ask him to get out the Christmas tree. It's not up yet, but hopefully soon!

Oh and? HELLO GLOBAL WARMING. I mean, yeah the name isn't the first thing you think of when it's unseasonably friggin' cold and snowing in a state where the low in December is usually in the upper 20s or low 30s at night. Someone should really just do away with that term and call it climate change, because that makes sense to everyone.

and speaking of Global Warming...we just did our gift exchange and I totally want this. It's a "global warming" mug and the coastline erodes when you put hot water in it! I should totally own it, right? :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

choosing what to eat, part deux

you know, it baffles some people when I respond directly to anonymous comments. but I do. so, from the previous post:

I really think flexitarian is just another word for picky. Flexitarian carries no more moral, ethical, or political clout than omnivore. If you want some moral, ethical, or political clout to accompany your dietary decisions, just say you are a locavore and leave it at that.

actually, I think a flexitarian is far more than just another word for picky. as a matter of fact--being a flexitarian, in my mind, and in the mind of some other sources, differs from being an omnivore because you make an active choice to tailor your eating habits. that said, I am not a locavore. I try to be a locavore, I actively attempt to be a locavore, and I am a locavore a lot of the time, but I eat plenty that is not produced locally. And, while we're at it--let's just clear something up. I have no interest in moral, ethical or political clout. I have an active interest in improving the environment. Reducing my meat consumption does that. And that's a fact.

Furthermore, I'm a bit concerned by your post as it suggests to me that you might not be getting sufficient nutrients. You really cannot be a healthy vegetarian by simply replacing meat with dairy. It is an honest mistake. But, it is really not how healthy vegetarians eat.

Yeah, that's probably because I didn't lay out all of the other things I eat every day. I have ground flax seed every day. And plain organic yogurt. And an egg white sandwich for breakfast. I eat kale or spinach daily. (and to prove the point about--the kale, spinach and eggs and local. the rest is not). Yes, some of my protein comes from dairy. But you know there's also protein in broccoli. and rice. and bread. and bell peppers. and peanut butter. and there's even just a smidge in chocolate :) Thank you for your concern, but I have actually tracked what I eat and made sure I met my nutritional goals. You are definitely right though--you can't just replace meat with dairy and think everything will be hunky dory.

Legumes are your friend and you really should be consuming them in one form or another everyday that you don't eat meat.

I also eat edamame pretty frequently. And black beans. I definitely don't eat them every day I don't eat meat, but all of that tortilla soup? yep, had black beans. I put green beans in with my steamed squash, when they're in season. And I'm a big fan of hummus. This definitely made me think about adding them to our veggie quesadillas though. thanks!

The vegetarian times website has a great feature that allows you to search for recipes based upon your ingredients. You should give it a try.

I'll check it out! If anyone else wants to see this website, it's here. A lot of the recipes look rather complicated or call for semi-exotic ingredients, but if I find any good ones I'll let you know.

Monday, December 13, 2010

pescatarian? flexitarian? some-other-tarian?

recently I have found that I'm just not that interested in eating meat most of the time. I mean, don't get me wrong, I was super excited to have that amazing steak nicole cooked up for us last night, and I totally ate the "meat candy" (aka bacon-wrapped chicken on a toothpick) at tom's wedding on saturday. and you know I loooooove me some sushi.

but given the choice, or when planning meals, I find that I often lean towards pasta or vegetables over something else. for a while now I've been having brown rice and steamed veggies for lunch every day--for the health benefit, for the ease of prep and because it's a yummy no-brainer. (ps: any suggestions on how to steam veggies at work without using the microwave? I was fine when it was squash season, but now that it's broccoli time I've read I'll lose a ton of the nutrients by putting it in the microwave.)

I don't think I'm ready, willing or interesting in going "whole hog" vegetarian. (nice choice of words, eh?) I mean, I do like some meats and I also don't want to have to feel like my food choices place a burden on someone else. (not that anyone would actually mind, I'd just feel a little awkward) And of course, since I try very hard to eat local meats, and organic ones when possible, I feel like I'm still making pro-environmental choices. Plus, since I generally cook for two, cutting down my meat consumption means cutting down Matt's too, so in theory, it's kind of like one of use went vegetarian anyway. :)

At the same time, though, I don't know how much more meat I can cut out. When we cook meals, I'd say 2/3-3/4 of them are meatless. And those that have meat are often, say, a single breast of chicken in the whole dish, and that dish might make 4-6 servings. Last week, I took one of those dishes (my chicken tortilla soup) and just omitted the chicken.

From a what-I-eat standpoint, I was quite pleased. I just didn't feel like eating chicken! From an environmental standpoint, I don't know that for this particular meal it really made that much of an impact omitting my single breast local, organic chicken. If it had been Big-Corporation-Beef, maybe. But as I often remind people, every little bit helps.

So, for now, we will be "flexitarians." As a matter of fact, I think we've been flexitarians for quite some time now, ever since we realized we could halve our servings of meat (e.g., share a piece of salmon or chicken) and eat more veggies, and still be full. It's less expensive, generally, per meal, and it's better for us and the earth, too. Win, win, win.

With that in mind--does anyone have any really good vegetarian recipes? We eat butternut squash pasta, broccoli and cheese with shells, veggie quesadillas, breakfast-for-dinner and all sorts of pastas regularly. I'd love to expand that list!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

the good ol' boys club...

If you haven't yet heard, I am an engineer (and a photographer). And although I would hazard that 40% of the people in my group are women, the reality is that even now, in the so-near-the-end-of-2010-it's-practically-2011 part of the year, engineering is a male-dominated field. I mean, it's no longer taboo for a woman to be a part of it, and we aren't fighting for street cred anymore, but we're still not equal.

which is fine. I mean, it is what it is, and I'm no Rosie the R!veter, at least not when it comes to this topic, so it's fine.


I'm part of an organization where I serve as Secretary. I have for three years. And I am SO not who they had in mind. Even at thirty, young-looking female me just doesn't jive well with the gray haired old men. They are stodgy and old-fashioned and half the time purposefully ignore me while I talk.

Which is annoying, for sure. And has somewhat motivated me to try to climb the ranks, both for the awesomeness of my career and for the experience of having done so. But I'm just not sure. It's a three-year commitment (Vice-Chair, Chair and Past-Chair) and with hopes of babies and life changes during that time I just don't know. And I'm not sure I want to be the young female leader of the good ol' boys club.

But, I find it a smidge ironic that in the same day I'm talking about this, I am overjoyed at having been invited to attend a happy hour tomorrow that is also for a good ol' boys club. It's different people and it's with my old mentor, but it's still a good ol' boys club. Meeting some of these people and interacting with them on a social level will be good for the longevity of my career. And I'm excited about going to hang out with a bunch of old men. Who knew?

Oh and yesterday I went to a dinner for this same organization. The speaker SANG. Like, literally brought his guitar and broke out into song--a song that he wrote, mind you. And my table consisted of four of us from my work, an older gent who was way drunk, my friend Ye, a younger guy we didn't know named Dave and--get this--the Vice President of my division. Aka my boss' boss' boss. Just sitting between the drunk guy and Dave, who had no idea he was a big wig. While we drank Heinies and watched an engineer sing songs about the environment.

it was kind of awesome, I am not going to lie.

and it reminded me of how inspired I felt then. and how I am making a difference. and how when I get caught up in the crazy busy I need to remember that it's worth it. seeing the photos of cities 40 years ago and seeing the photos of them now, and how you can SEE, and how so many of the visible pollutants are trending down, and knowing I'm a cog in that wheel made me really happy. so thanks, song-singing speaker, I needed that. :)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

i keep wanting to update.

but updating seems to require pictures. either downloading or taking.

e.g. I want to tell you about thanksgiving but I have yet to download the single picture I took.
additionally, I want to tell you about blanket progress, but alas, I keep forgetting to take a picture.

what I DO want to tell you is that I'm ready for it to get cold here. like, blisteringly chilly. I'd like snow please. and hot soup. and lots of blankets. I'd like to have power when that happens, though, if that's not too much to ask.

hands down, no contest--my least favorite thing about living in NC is that there's not a real winter here. I miss the snow. a lot. but man oh man do I love the trees here!

speaking of holiday-ish things...Matt and I really need to get on that. Our tree is still in the garage. With all of the ornaments. And I still have my super-awesome fall wreath on our door. I have a really lovely Christmas one, and it needs to go up. It's also officially time to start listening to Christmas music. :) Also, as a part of this Christmas season, my father-in-law discovered our mutual dislike for anything Christmas-related before Thanksgiving. Hence, N0rdstroms is our new favorite store. For the record, I don't count choir practicing in that list, because starting the cantata on the practice after Thanksgiving sounds like a miserable way to do it!

and now it's time to drink more mint tea. :)
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