Monday, June 20, 2011

Day 3/320: Fav Food

Upon reading my last blog post, a good friend responded in email saying "YO! Day three shouldn’t be that hard …. It’s a carrot! Pull out that orange crayon and have at it." And she's right, about one thing. My favorite food of late is carrots. I can't seem to get enough of them, eating them by the bagful and at one point even consuming to the point that my skin began to turn a certain shade of orange.

But its not just "any" carrot. I've become quite particular about my favorite crunchy vegetable, settling for nothing less than a "Mini Peeled Carrot," preferably organic. You may be wondering why such a narrowing of the many carrot options available to me? Well, first, I like the convenience of a bag of washed and peeled, ready-to-eat carrots. They are good at home, at work, or on the go. Second, I choose the mini peeled variety, because of their flavor and texture.

Don't be fooled by impostors, "baby carrots" are not the same as "mini carrots." Even though they are similar in shape and color. The flavor and the texture is significantly different. And here's why:

Mini carrots are grown to be mini, often picked before they are fully matured to capture the concentrated flavor and sweetness. Baby carrots, however, are created from unsaleable mature carrots. Carrot growers use machinery to cut down carrots that are knotty, twisted, and unsaleable. The process was created in the late '80s by a farmer who wanted to be able to make the most of his full carrot crop, knowing that even though they were unsaleable as whole carrots, the deformed carrots were just as edible.  And so while Baby carrots are equally delicious as full grown carrots, they also have a tendency for woody centers which in my opinion makes them less edible. 

I prefer the organic variety because, like most of our fruits and vegetables, they are washed with a USDA approved blend of organic cleaners versus bleach, to clean them of bacteria and pesticides.  Granted the amount of bleach used to wash non-organic carrots is less than that in our tap water, but it still tends to wash away the carrot flavor.

How can you be sure you are getting mini carrots?  Its tricky, because some baby carrots are actually mini carrots.  And while most true baby carrot labels will read "peeled and cut," some don't.  So the best way to check is to look at the carrots.  If you can see the shoulder and the scar from the heads being lopped off, then you've got mini carrots.  No shoulder and scars? Baby carrots. 

Try 'em...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 315: Fav Animal

Remember this?  I wrote about it way back last year in July and acknowledged even then that it may take me more than 30 days: "its likely that this 30 day challenge could turn into a 43.5 day challenge plus/minus a few days."

Well, welcome to Day 315, otherwise known as Day 2.  

30 Day Drawing Challenge Day 2: Fav Animal
Initially, when I saw that day 2 was an animal, my mind went straight to my little chi, Leila.  Don't tell Henry and Ophelia (the cats), but she has over the past couple years squirmed her way in to the favorite spot amongst domesticated animals.  Acknowledging that many of you have already heard of my adoration for her and/or witnessed her quirky and adorable musings on her own Facebook page (friend her here), I decided to step outside the box and go with my favorite wild animal.  While lately I've been obsessed with the honey badger ("honey badger don't care"), my favorite wild animal is actually the giraffe.  Giraffes are amazing creatures.  Awkward, yet graceful, with their knobby knees and long neck.  I think it's their awkwardness that makes them most beautiful.  Giraffes are the tallest of all land animals and their fur serves basically as a traveling pharmacy of chemical defense with 11 aromatics serving as antibiotics and parasite repellents.  Of course, this doesn't make them all that pleasant to hang out with on a hot summer day.

And so there you have it, Day 2/315 of the 30 Day Drawing Challenge complete.  I can't say for sure when Day 3, 4, and so on will roll out.  As I shared in my last blog, this summer has brought me some unexpected changes/challenges and I'm slowly but surely embracing them.  Challenging myself to read 53 books in 11 weeks, continue the drawing challenge, work 3 part-time jobs and still allow life to happen as it will.  I'm committed to these challenges, taking them day by day and seeing what they and life will bring me tomorrow.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Remember those summers as children when we spent our afternoons at the pool and the rest of the day playing outside with siblings and friends or reading for the local library's summer reading program?  Well this is how I'm planning on spending this summer, sorta.

It's been an interesting spring with lots of changes.  Mostly for others in my life, but their change has enacted a domino effect of change in my own.  And while I've learned to welcome change and it's possibilities, I've not welcomed any of these. And accepting and adapting to these changes is a slow process.  But as one dear friend recently reminded me, "I know you need to cry...but you need to start getting engaged with your life."

So with a summer shaping up unlike anything I had thought it would be, I'm working on that life engaging thing.  I've managed (with much help from others) to cobble together three part-time jobs for July and August which will pay the rent, put Ramen on my table, and allows for very little in the way of paid entertainment.  With what will still be only a 3-4 day work week, I'll have plenty of free time on my hands.  And so the question of how to engagingly pass the hours has come to mind.

This morning, I counted 53 unread books stacked, piled, cased around my apartment.  Over half are on bookshelves, about six are stacked on my desk, another twelve or so are on a bedside table.  Some have been started and set aside for something new, were are of interest to me to read and yet here they sit.  Also, in the "kindle wars," my inner tech nerd has won out over my inner book nerd and I've decided that I'd really like the flexibility of such a gadget to enhance my reading.  However, I can not justify the expense of one, when I have 53 unread actual books in my house.  And so this summer, I will read.  By the pool, in the grass, at the park.  If you see me, there will be a book near by.  

Some may say, that this isn't exactly engaging with my life, as reading can be an isolating experience.  But I'll still be getting out for work, Second Saturday MeetUps in San Bruno, spend days exploring the city, 3rd Friday Book Club and I plan to fully engage in the reading by blogging about the books, characters, etc.  Its quite likely that there will be connections between the words on the pages and my current life status.  And the reading will hopefully lead to the further engagement of those connections and life in general.  

And so the plan is set.  53 books in 11 weeks is roughly 4-5 books a week.  That is a lot of reading.  I'm not going to force the goal of completing them all.  Instead my hope and plan is to let life happen organically this summer, with few plans other than to read as the time suits, write about what I'm reading and its connections to my life, and get out and have fun.  

First up:  Returning Home by Karen White