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DAMMIT! I missed day one!

I signed up for the WordCount Blogathon again this year.

Then promptly missed day one. Officially I lose. That will make the rest of the month sooo much more manageable.

Why did I sign up, knowing how many things I have going on? Because last year I loved the camaraderie and the satisfaction of writing every single day. Of sharing my voice and my perspective and driving myself to think, express and communicate.  I love writing.

And what obstacles will I face in blogging daily for the month of May?

First and foremost, I can’t keep my eyes open half the time these days. I’m 7 weeks pregnant. I’ve intentionally chosen not to call this “tired” – though sometimes I call it The Tired, because it deserves a title. I’ve been opting to call it, to myself, My Drowsy Serenity. More on My Drowsy Serenity later.

I’m also transitioning to new tasks at work – from managing our various event-based fundraising (marathons, biking tours, fundraising dinners, etc, put on by donors across the country to support cancer research) to our corporate relationships (companies who support cancer research through their corporate giving or marketing budgets). And at the moment, I’m doing both jobs, and will soon be training our new events person, once he or she is hired.

I’m also planning on taking a couple of classes during the summer term at the community college where I’ve been working on the long-put-off goal of getting my degree. I took calculus and physical geography last semester. I think, all things considered, the summer session might be devoted to something like art appreciation.

As a result of My Drowsy Serenity, I have found new ways to show compassion for myself. Naps, morning meditation, and a slower walk to work are a few. Add: not beating myself up for failing the blogathon goal on the first day. As they say in New Orleans, it is what it is. And here I am, posting on day two because It’s What I Can Do.

There are more things in my life with capital letters in my life right now.

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While I have been not writing (did I mention I got an A in my algebra class?) some of my friends have been going to town. Here are a few worthy reads and why I think you should check them out. (more…)

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Wisdom, extracted by Andreas, via Flickr Creative Commons

December 10 – Wisdom Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? – reverb10

I feel like 2010 was a cascade of decisions – things to do and not do, places to go and places to leave, what gets my time and what doesn’t. Underlying it all was my decision (acutally made right before 2010, but made in the spirit of 2010) was to begin writing One/Week. Cultivating my voice here has made so many other parts of my life this year richer. I set some goals for One/Week last year. Here’s what I wrote: (more…)

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I had a great experience at the Smithsonian Resident Associate’s program Food Writing Class with Monica Bhide. I first came across Monica and her talents as a writer and chef at Svelt Gourmand (and made a little post about it) back during the May Blogathon.

Monica’s class was part honing our food writing skills and part creatively marketing our work to viable sources. The day ended with a fantastic panel discussion with DC area food writers and publicists that has sparked a few writing ambitions in my little heart.

Monica also spent a little time on the subject of recipe development, which inspired me to take my own recipe creations a little more seriously. A few tips I learned from Monica on recipe development:

  • Eat and drink a lot of different things and be curious! Develop your palate by cooking and eating many different things.
  • There’s really no such thing as an original recipe. For a recipe to be yours, you must have at least 4 ingredients different from other similar recipes, and use a different method of preparing or combining them.
  • If your recipe is adapted from someone else’s, say so – there is nothing wrong with working from a proven recipe and adding your own touches.
  • If you tasted a recipe and then figured out how make something very close to it, use the term “inspired by” and credit the place where you tasted it.
  • Get bored with the “same old”, and be willing to try almost anything! (more…)

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Lentil tacos from Dave du Jour food truck in San Diego

While editing and picking favorite honeymoon pictures, I also caught up on my blog reading (adult onset ADD). Lots of things to make me happy are going on in the world, and I wanted to share a few with you. Who knows what bright ideas might spark the next step in our dream of abundant healthy food?

“Urban edges” can be small-scale farms for city dwellers! Outside of San Francisco, nonprofit Sustainable Agriculture Education, directed by Sibella Kraus, has partnered with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to create an 18-acre Agricultural Park where several small-scale farmers lease land and farm – feeding their own small communities or selling food back to markets. The site also serves as an educational center where school children can visit and learn more about where healthy food comes from. Kraus is working on developing such sites in other cities. I would love to see UDC’s new Urban Sustainability program try something like this! What would you grow, if you could run your own small farm?

One of my favorite sustainable food writers, Katherine Gustufson, writes that craft beer is ideologically merging with the sustainable food movement. Craft brewers (defined by the Brewer’s Association as those who brew fewer than 2 million barrels per year) are transforming the American beer landscape. I already knew microbrewers were fighting a battle against archaic distribution laws that favor the mass producers like Budwiser and Michelob – and have been mulling over a post on that subject for a while now, particularly since the Monkey and I have started playing around with simple home brewing lately. Brewers are taking the sustainable food link a step farther by including a Farm-to-Table pavilion alongside the Craft Brewing pavilion at the September 2010 Great American Beer Festival (let’s add that I now know where I want to take vacation next year). It makes sense: craft brewing is, like sustainable farming, an attempt to bring authenticity, quality and community back to the table. Do you love any microbrews? Watch for a post from me soon on my personal craft beer addictions.

Food trucks are becoming a fun link in the chain of replacing cookie-cutter, artery-clogging, earth-burning fast food with real food made by people who care about the food they serve. DC is getting its share with the Fojol Brothers, Sauca, and Curbside Cupcakes (reviews of DC area food trucks on Yelp, for interested locals). While in San Diego, my life was saved by a well-timed food truck outside the Ballast Point Brewery Tasting Room, and I ate two amazing lentil tacos. This Grist.org article highlights food trucks across the country, notably those deliberately serving up grass-fed/organic/local/seasonal goodies. I’d love to see food trucks put Micky D’s outta business! Do you have a local food truck that you love?

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The following posts really caught my attention this week. Which ones resonate with you?

Thoughts on Pollan’s Big Food Movement Essay Grist’s Tom Phillpot evaluates Michael Pollan’s essay in the New York Times Review of Books in light of two questions: where is the broader progressive “movement”? And could the “food movement” galvanize progressives to come to a single table with their varied plates? (Lame metaphor mine, not Tom’s).

Mmmm, school lunch!

Eat Lunch with Your Kid Day No it’s not a real thing, but Ed Bruske (in a post featured on Grist, The Slow Cook and La Vida Locavore) lobbed a soft-ball at the First Lady, proposing she and White House chef Sam Kass, along with parents of all the school kids out there, join the young Future of Our Nation for lunch one day. The photo of a likely entree is revolting.

Can Altruism Help Your Diet? This post meant a lot to me because I know it has been true for me. Writer Sara Reistad-Long discusses a study done by Stanford University researchers indicating that “people were far more likely to make healthier diet choices in order to protect the planet or support a whole foods movement than to improve their own health.” Antidote to cravings for bad foods just might be an understanding of the widespread harm they do – not just to us but to the world around us.

Lavender + clothesline = green and dreamy

Grist offers a GreenLaundry Challenge (with prizes!) that got me thinking about ways we could reduce laundry costs AND our carbon footprint a little. I found a cool indoor clothesline and outdoor clothesline for people with small spaces. I’m thinking of getting the collapsible outdoor line to take advantage of the 10th-floor breeze on our balcony. At $50, it is roughly the cost of 25 dryer loads of laundry, so I feel that it would pay for itself (at one load per week) before the weather got too cold to use it).  If it works, I’ll plant a little container of lavender to scent my drying laundry ala Provence.

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