Thursday, July 9, 2009

when i was a kid...

no, i didn't have to walk to school in the snow, with or without shoes. today i was thinking of my personal "kid foods," foods i ate, and adored, as a kid. before i give the list i must give one caveat: my mom was mother nature before mother nature went mainstream. like, we had carob as a chocolate surrogate ("it tastes just as good as chocolate, girls!") for the record it does NOT taste just as good as chocolate. it's okay, it's just not chocolatey.

okay, so junk food was not served in abundance at my house. in fact, the one time i could count on any sort of junky food at all was the last day of school before summer break. for the morning of the last day of school, you see, found my sister and i eating our choice of sugary cereal. prior to that morning we had made our yearly pilgrimage to Lopez Village Market and had picked out any cereal we wanted. each of us got our own box. and that was it. when it was gone, it was gone for the year (are you starting to see my mom's genius? not only try to convince your kids that health foods are sugary foods, but only provide sugary foods once a year so that when the inevitable whines of "we NEVER have sugar cereal" came pouring out of our mouths she could say, "oh yes we do; for the "last day of school.").

somehow, we did manage to sneak in junk food. i don't really know how. maybe when we went to friends' homes and their cheese was velveeta. or when their lunch meat was like the "meat" you get in a oscar meyer weiner (ours, on the other hand, came from an animal). or when dad took us to the grocery store to "shop".

however i came by them, i did grow to love some junk foods. here is my top 10 list:

10. fruit loops cereal
9. swanson fried chicken t.v dinner (with the fruit pie dessert)
8. swanson chicken pot pie
7. kentucky fried chicken original recipe
6. hostess pies (especially chocolate)
5. cheetos--crunchy not puffy
4. butterfinger candy bars
3. pop rocks (any flavor)
2. twinkies
1. ding dongs

what's on your list?

Friday, July 3, 2009

freedom, near and far

last week when i heard that there was a coup in honduras, wherein the president was hauled away in the dark of night wearing his pajamas, i thought: that's not good at all. maybe it's the word "coup." it conjures frightening images of blindfolds and machine guns. maybe it's the timing. with iran in chaos and north korea aiming missiles at hawaii, the honduras coup seemed like one more state going rogue. or, maybe it's the american in me. the idea that political battles can or should be won by strong arm tactics (beltway boxing matches aside) runs against the grain of my american sensibilities.

i looked into the honduras situation and discovered a surprise: some evangelical christian hondurans approve of the coup because, for them, it is about democracy. it turns out presidente is trying to do something unconstitutional: change articles in the constitution that are supposed to be unalterable. this doesn't sit well with them. deposing him means fighting for freedom and against a tyrannical leader. all of a sudden the mob with machine guns is making sense. good sense. (note to self: things aren't always as straight forward as they seem in a 30-second sound-bite or newsgroup headline.)


i've never been an activist. it's just not natural for me to picket or protest or be political in general. sure, i read and listen and even argue politics with friends over a beer, but i don't DO things (don't be silly!). until recently. over the last months i've watched our leaders take measures to grow huge government entitlement programs and spend money faster than the housewives of orange county. every time i turn on the news there is some new czar whose job it is to oversee billions of dollars or watch over a government-bailed-out company. i keep thinking of how my parents started a business and built a home during the 1970s when inflation was through the roof and interest rates were in the 20s. and i also think of my nieces and nephews having to pay off the "loans" my generation is taking out. it sickens me. i believe it is immoral to strap them with such a burden. so i'm doing something about it. tomorrow before the bbq and fireworks i'll be hitting the streets, attending a fourth of july tea party. i normally wouldn't attend a protest rally on a holiday (or ever), but this is just THAT important to me.

let freedom ring, wherever we are...happy F O U R T H of J U L Y everyone!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

eat, drink and be merry


do you ever get on food kicks, where you eat variations of a food/s for a period, not being able to get enough of it and're on to something else? currently, i'm into homemade pizza. we have plenty of basil and fresh tomatoes growing, so pizza magherita has been a mainstay. for store-bought healthy yumminess in a hurry, kashi's thin crust pizza magherita is a favorite. it's light on the cheese and the crust is cracker-like with no grease dripping off the bottom. sometimes i load it up with tons of veggies, or i merely freshen it up with fresh basil and tomatoes and either some pepper-mill cracked black pepper or red pepper flakes.

my newest homemade pizza adventure is from the culinary institute of america's grilling. the pizza, simply called "grilled pizza," has sauteed walla wall sweet onions (which come from eastern washington), mozzarella, basil and light tomato sauce (not too watery and definitely NOT sugary like sauce you get on so many delivery pizzas). the crust is thin and, as the whole thing is done on the grill, has that primeval food-by-fire taste that is especially delectable in summer. i've got a fire bowl, but haven't been so brave as to grill the pizza on an open flame! we'll see.


lately i've been into beer, probably because of my pizza kick. since i've been doing extreme p90x workouts and beer doesn't really go with those, i've tried to find a way have my beer without the beer baby tummy. (this is especially a problem because along with beer i like wine. and vodka. also not great "fitness drinks."). solution: light beer. i know. it's unthinkable for any self-respecting beer drinker to admit it, but there. i just did. the best light beer i've found is red hook's slim chance. it's delicious and as this reviewer notes, it tastes so good you may not realize it is a light beer. and, i'll be honest, light beer that doesn't taste light or look like a horse already drank it is the only kind of light beer that will do.

here's a beer contest that combines great crafted beer and a free bike: ft. collins, co based new belgium brewing company is giving away one of their signature "fat tire bikes" daily from memorial day through labor day. all ya gotta do is register online each day to be eligible for that day's giveaway. pretty fun. not sure where i'd ride such a bike, but i do have a nephew turning 8 this week who would think me the best auntie ever if this were his gift!


since i've already covered starch and booze, two things that can make one a little merry, i'll go in a different direction. are there writers in your life who never seem to let you down with the cogency, clarity and sheer genious of their writing? thomas sowell is that way for me. i dare say if he weren't married and old enough to be my father...but i digress. several sowell gems, here and here. i won't brag him up beyond saying the man is a heavy duty thinker whose demeanor is light and writing sharp. you gotta love that. you also gotta love a thinker/writer/scholar who defies the essence of "identity politics" by not being the guy who "should" be taking a view (you know, because he's the wrong gender or race or whatever). oh, and for anyone who thinks conservatism is dead and received its lethal blow once a black progressive took up residence in the white house (or when an old white guy didn't!), get to know thomas sowell. you can do that, starting here.

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