Thursday, April 23, 2009

More veggies

Leopold checks out the new farm-box.

This week's bounty: kale, lettuce, leeks, strawberries, sugar snap peas....

And fresh rosemary!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Itchy Feet

Every now and then I find myself with "itchy feet" - the urge to travel, or at least, the urge to get away from the commonplace in my life. The semester is grinding away into its last weeks, and we're all ready for a break around here.

As a prequel of summer heat sweeps across the valley, I've been especially feeling the travel bug. I crave the fog and cool air of the ocean. Any coastal view will do, but my heart cries for Monterey or Gualala.

But while a trip to the coast isn't quite possible at this time, I am looking forward to some summer jaunts. In June I fly to Boston to see my old college roomie and her gorgeous baby. In July I travel to Louisville for a conference. While there, hopefully I'll get to see my step-daughter and her kids.

Where are your feet itching to go?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Race Results

The official results are in!

  • #6 in my age range (30-39) of faculty/staff - I'm not sure how many people registered in this range, so this could be relatively meaningless.
  • Overall time: 35:29.7.
  • #20 overall of all faculty/staff female finishers - again, not sure how many people registered in this range, so...
  • Pace: 11.27/M.

If I can work up to running the whole way (not walking during that second mile), I think I can get my pace significantly reduced and kick some ass next year!! I'm so proud of myself.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Whip-my-butt-into-shape Update

Tonight I completed my first 5K since high school and I'm ridiculously proud of myself. I ran the first mile, walked about 2/3 of the second mile, and then ran the rest. My time was in the neighborhood of 36 minutes. Not bad!

Thwarted schadenfreude

If you haven't already seen the video of Susan Boyle, get thee to YouTube and watch it!!

This video is taking the Internet by storm, and with good reason. In a culture where we are more interested in watching regular people get humiliated on live television than in voting in political elections, it's easy to get cynical about one more frumpy middle-aged woman who thinks she's somebody. We eagerly wait for the trainwreck, and for the Simon-Cowell-esque put-downs. We want her to get told.

But Susan shocked us all. In the space of one line of her song, she completely eroded my prejedice, and by the end of her song, I was undone. What a talent. What a lesson.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ridiculously ironic.

Just seen on CNN: a news report on how there is too much media play on the story of the Obamas' new puppy.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Book Review

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows.
What a delightful book! The story unfolds in letters between an author, Juliet Ashton, and the members of the society. Also included are Juliet's letters to her editor and friends. The time is post WW II Britain. Juliet is trying to figure out what to write, and strikes up a correspondence with Dawsey Adams, a farmer on the island of Guernsey. As their friendship unfolds, Juliet becomes familiar with the society, formed during the Nazi occupation of the island. I loved the characters in this book. I felt a kinship with Juliet, and recognized the personalities of many of the others. I was also fascinated by the tales related about teh German occupation of Guernsey. While fictionalized, they gave me a look at history that I haven't seen before. I highly recommend this book!

Delicious and nutritious

One of the recipes from our "farm-box" this week: cream of jerusalem artichoke soup.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Attention Bookworms!

I just found this site today:

If you love books, like I do, check it out. It looks like a winner. And you don't have to join - you can still browse the site without putting up any dough. But if you wanted more, membership looks to be about the cost of a magazine subscription.

I'm guessing this is probably a better site to surf than celebrity gossip sites. Not that I browse celebrity gossip sites.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Box full o' good stuff

I picked up our first "farm-box" today! I was so excited that I left work a little early to head over to the pick-up place. After feeling like a trespasser to go get our box (it was in the backyard of our pick-up location!), I brought it home. When I opened it, I could hardly contain my glee.

Look at this bounty!

Nice radishes! (Why thank you - and I love your carrots.)

Pasture-fed chicken eggs.

The eggs were easily the most expensive item, at about $5 for a half-dozen. However, they are from happy chickens who are free to roam the farm. Supposedly these have a wonderful rich flavor and I can't wait to have one for breakfast tomorrow.

TH is as giddy as I am about this box, and he's all set to make me some carrot and couscous salad.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

More questions than answers

The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know; the world opens up in more directions, and I see how much more there is to think about. It's a little bit mind-blowing; and some days I can really appreciate the saying, "ignorance is bliss."

I attended a lecture at Sacramento State yesterday by Wesley J. Smith, a lawyer and writer about bioethics and related topics. His presentation was titled "Bioethics: Creating a Disposable Caste of People?" and he discussed his opinions in regards to personhood theory, bioethics, euthanasia, assisted suicide, stem-cell research, and more. Interesting lecture, passionate speaker. I haven't dabbled much in this area of study, but the organization that sponsored this presentation brings really interesting speakers and topics to the campus. For free!

So. You can read about Smith's ideas on his blog or in his books. Here are some of my (rhetorical) questions based on his talk.

  • In a world where some lives are more valued than others, who gets to decide which lives are valuable and which are not? What are the standards? Some would suggest cognition, or an ability to communicate, or an ability to care for oneself, or quality of life, or ability to feel pain.
  • What is the difference between personhood (a being who is self-aware and values its own life) and humanity (the biological state of being a living human)? Is the state of being alive, and a human, a moral value in itself? How do we define the moral value of life?
  • What is the purpose of human rights? Do they exist to protect the weak, or to protect the priveleges of the strong?
  • Is killing wrong in itself, or is it wrong because it takes away something of value from the victim? Is killing an acceptable response to human suffering? [In these questions, "killing" refers to ending life. So, is the use of the word "killing" even appropriate?]
  • Is there such a thing as a "duty to die?" If someone is too old or too young, too infirm, too disabled, too expensive to support, does that person have a duty to die?
  • Is the purpose of society to support people in living virtuous lives, or to help people avoid suffering?
  • Where is the balance, the "dynamic tension," between personal autonomy and a collective sense of morality? What is our obligation to each other as individuals with the right to make personal choices, and our obligation to each other as people in community?

I don't have the answers, nor do I expect you (my lovely readers!) to have them. But I believe there is value in thinking about these questions.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Something New

Lately I've been hearing/reading about smaller farms who will deliver a box of produce weekly to individual consumers. This is part of a movement called CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture.

I've been wanting to try it. Getting a big ol' box of produce from a local farm, instead of buying from the grocery store and getting stuff from Chile and Mexico? Sounds good for me, for local farmers, and for the environment. I figure, I live in one of the best agricultural areas in the country, what have I got to lose? So yesterday I sent in an application to a CSA farm called Eatwell. I can't wait to hear from them! TH is intrigued, too.

I signed us up for a box of produce and a half dozen eggs, to be delivered in a local neighborhood for my pick-up every other week. The cost is about $125 for this arrangement, which seems like a really good deal. Unless the box is full of radishes, eggplant, and turnips.

ADDENDUM: The $125 cost is for the introductory 4 box offer, plus a half dozen eggs with each delivery. We're spacing our deliveries out at every other week, so this trial will go for about two months. See more about their prices and plans here.