Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Vote Against Violence

Heal the world
      I recently moved to Minnesota where voters are preparing to vote on the same amendment to ban gay marriage that my home state of Kentucky passed 8 years ago. Unfortunately it seems that in those 8 years not enough has changed in the extreme division of people's feelings on this issue. Many arguments I hear  for a NO vote on this amendment talk about loving same sex couples and their families and how it effects them, which is a valid argument of course. What I want to address that I seldom hear is the way in which this effects the whole of the lgbt (and the other letters I know I am leaving out) community regardless of whether they are in relationships. I am talking about violence. I know, and read stories about, so many lgbt people who are violently attacked, hospitalized, and murdered for no reason other than their sexual orientation. I know you have heard these stories as well and you may not see the connection between this and banning gay marriage so I wanted to tell you how they are connected. When government singles out a group of people by taking away rights and preventing them from obtaining equal rights, that group of people become less than people. Separate but equal means less than human. For people who do have violent or even hateful feelings toward a singled out group of people, laws like this justify that behavior. It is okay to make degrading comments to that butch girl up the street or to punch that feminine boy at my school because my government does not fully accept them as people.
   The separation of church and state is set in place not just to protect the state but to protect the church as well. To protect the state from allowing religious views to dictate government rhetoric but also to protect the church from having the government tell you who you must accept. It allows you to have your exclusive club of straight people and allows you to refuse to marry anyone you do not want to marry regardless of who is legally allowed to be married. Total equality in government does not change who your church or religious organization can exclude. Total equality in government simply makes us all people. Simply being viewed as human as everyone else by your government does help people understand that we are all just as protected by law as anyone else.
     We are not voting to marry same sex couples, we are voting to single out a group of people and remove them as equals justifying the hurtful and violent actions of those that would do so.
   


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Home Cooked

So I am trying to talk my girlfriend into writing a cookbook or at least sharing her methods and recipes online. We grocery shop one day a week and the next day she spends the entire day prepping and cooking all of the meals we will eat throughout the week. This means that our weekly meals usually have a theme since the ingredients used are bought in bulk and will be similar. It saves money, time, and is healthier than eating out when you can't decide what is for dinner. I feel so lucky to be spoiled like this so I want to share with you all of the wonderful things I get to eat.


This week I am going to show you a few Indian style dishes. Let's start with cheese.

This is paneer in the making (wrapped in the cloth that is hanging). So she wanted to make palak paneer for this week but sometimes finding ethnic ingredients in the grocery stores up here in Minnesota can be a challenge. Her solution? Just make the paneer.
She made more than she needed for the palak so we also enjoyed it crumbled on this delicious lentil stew that was available for various meals throughout the week. Paired with a hunk of homemade bread of  course (this bread was made by our daughter) and sprinkled with a few roasted pumpkin seeds. There was also homemade naan to pair with a couple of the meals.
For lack of photos I will jump to the end of the week leftovers meal. Salmon over yellow rice with the last of the palak paneer and eggplant vindaloo. I love these spice filled aromatic dishes. They make you feel warm and happy all over and are perfect fall and winter dishes. They take a while to cook but like I said she does it all in one day so they are just on hand when you need them and you can wip together a quick, delicious, inexpensive meal after (or during) a long day.
This I have to share because it was my favorite part of the whole week. I love onions and this is an onion chutney. It is tomatoey and spicy and a great condiment on everything. As you can see I did not remember to get a picture of it until the end of the week after I had already eaten most of it. Yes, I do mean I because, while the other two did get some, I hoarded most of it.

There is another incredible onion condiment that I love that I will share in a future post. Until then remember to eat well and enjoy your food!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Blogging Advice

I know it may see strange for an inexperienced and infrequent blogger such as myself to offer advice on blogging but trust me. on this bit of advice I am well versed.

STOP READING BLOGGING TIPS!

 In a well intentioned attempt to write better, more regular blog posts I have unintentionally given up blogging altogether to become a full time 'How to Blog' reader. I have purchased books, e-books, and googled every bit of blogging advice the web has to offer. I will also be taking a blogging class at the end of November. Somehow I became convinced that all of that reading would magically become experience and knowledge which in turn would magically become a regular, brilliant blog. Voila!

Photo: Lauren Burke/Getty Taken from: Books Blog

There are so many rules and formulas out there and all of that information paralyzed me. I decided I would just copy the style of my favorite blogs to read and be done. Wait, all of my favorite blogs have different styles. Some follow the rules and formulas and some don't but I still enjoy them either way. The one thing they all have in common is that they are there for me to read.

Eureka! So if you are worried about whether your blog is what it should be and you want to seek advice on how to improve it, just remember one thing - if you are reading blogging advice then you are not writing blog posts.

Do I have proof that just writing posts w/out reading every last bit of advice ever offered will work? Well, yes and no.

Yes, I have been replacing reading blog tips for writing posts that I can use as I need them. Of course some of them are crap and I will never use them (I am sure the successful bloggers out there can reassure me that as I write more posts then fewer of them will be trash), but now I have back ups to post when I am too busy to write.

No, this is only like the fourth post since I had this epiphany and I have no new followers or significant traffic or any evidence that this will improve as I continue to blog.
I do have more comments though. Of course there was nothing for a reader to comment on before but I still think I'm right.

Here are my top 5 favorite blogs for reference...
1. http://megansbeadeddesigns.wordpress.com/
2. http://www.stylebubble.co.uk/
3. http://thebloggess.com/
4. http://effingdykes.blogspot.com/
5. http://amandapalmer.tumblr.com/

I love discovering new blogs to read so share your favorites or your own in the comments!
(this is one of the rules)



Sunday, October 14, 2012

Home Cooked

So I am trying to talk my girlfriend into writing a cookbook or at least sharing her methods and recipes online. We grocery shop one day a week and the next day she spends the entire day prepping and cooking all of the meals we will eat throughout the week. This means that our weekly meals usually have a theme since the ingredients used are bought in bulk and will be similar. It saves money, time, and is healthier than eating out when you can't decide what is for dinner. I feel so lucky to be spoiled like this so I want to share with you all of the wonderful things I get to eat.

Last week I promised to share a couple Mediterranean dishes so...

  This is a chickpea patty (felafel) over yellow rice with a yogurt sauce similar to tzatziki, and hiding behind that is an incredible Mediterranean style broccoli salad with walnuts, kalamata olives, feta, and of course an amazing homemade dressing that has homemade tahini in it. (Remember the vita-mix?)

Of course throughout this week we had hummous, roasted red pepper hummous, and baba ganoush on hand for snacks, lunches, appetizers. Yes, everything here is made from scratch. Even the tahini started as sesame seeds. What better to go with these great dips than...

 homemade pita chips! Did you think she could get any more awesome? Well she did. She not only seasoned and baked the pita into these deliciously crunchy treats but she made the frickin pita bread!

Jealous yet? There is more to come. I will try to remember to continue taking pictures too. Sometimes my stomach takes over my brain and I am nearly finished eating before it occurs to me that I am trying to share this awesomeness.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Misty Winter's Dawn

This time every month I tell you to go vote for your favorite EBWC ( Etsy Beadweavers' Challenge) entry and post a link to the poll on the Beadweavers Blog. It occurred to me that some of you probably have no idea what I am talking about.

I belong to a team on Etsy (the online market that hosts my shop) called the Etsy Beadweavers. Each month we have a challenge to create a beadwoven piece based on a theme chosen by a previous winner. This month's theme was chosen by Tracey of Crystal Star Gems who won the 'Hot, Hot, Hot' challenge.
Here is her description of the theme she chose...
What are your favorite "Misty Winter’s Dawn" shades? Set a Mood with this chance to explore a subdued and muted dawn-in-winter colour palette using tones such as: grey/white, blues/lilacs, pale oranges/yellows, deep greens/foggy greys. Try to achieve a pale, pastel, soft, foggy, muted, subtle and subdued look in your piece. Feel free to google images to see how some muted and softer colours vary and shade together. My favorite photographs are grey/white tones.

We are not required to submit an entry every month, so occasionally I will tell you to go vote and you won't even see an entry from me. I still want to promote my team and its members of course. This month I do have an entry  if you have not already seen it...
Now that you have a little background info I want you to go vote for your favorite! Why? Because it is fun, you will get to see a range of beautiful beadwork, and you can.
The poll is open from the 9th to the 15th every month.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Home Cooked

So I am trying to talk my girlfriend into writing a cookbook or at least sharing her methods and recipes online. We grocery shop one day a week and the next day she spends the entire day prepping and cooking all of the meals we will eat throughout the week. This means that our weekly meals usually have a theme since the ingredients used are bought in bulk and will be similar. It saves money, time, and is healthier than eating out when you can't decide what is for dinner. I feel so lucky to be spoiled like this so I want to share with you all of the wonderful things I get to eat.

I will start this round with breakfast.

This is homemade cereal! It is so delicious. Toasted oats and nuts and - my favorite - pumpkin seeds. Probably some other seeds too because there are a bunch in our kitchen but I don't make it. I pour almond coconut milk over it, and of course there is coffee.


If there is no time for cereal then there is also the option of homemade granola bars. These have the oats, nuts, and seeds too with the added chewiness of dried fruits.


This is a green smoothie waiting to happen. This one has kiwi, grapes, and spinach but there are bags of these in the freezer with different combinations of fruits and greens. The vita-mix is her secret weapon. She makes tahini, peanut butter, flour, green smoothies - all kinds of stuff with this thing. 

Mmm.. sweet and healthy.


Next time I will share a couple Mediterranean dishes. Until then you should show her a little encouragement in the comments so she knows how awesome she is. 


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Beaded Failures

Well, you bead some and then you wish you had not beaded some.

Coming off a high after beading a super awesome cuff that I couldn't be happier with...
https://www.etsy.com/listing/108954073/dia-de-los-muertos-cuff

...I dive into the next project, seemingly invincible and ever prolific, and I end up with this.


This is supposed to be an orange jeweled key not an orange ice cream cone. Sometimes when I weave things I continue to add to them and they just get better. The goofier this key looked to me the more I added with the secure feeling that it would eventually only look better. No such luck. Even after this fail I still desperately want to make an orange jeweled key so, I have done what any reasonable person would  do. I purchased 12(!) skeleton keys with lovely open tops that beads can weave through so that one of them can become my orange jeweled key. The rest? Well, I guess I will just have to become inspired.