This year I . . .

  • rediscovered the magic of Harry Potter. Read books five through seven and went to the midnight showing - all in November.
  • learned about lacto-fermentation. My favorite concoction so far is the shredded beets with apple. So good in a veggie wrap. The sauerkraut was okay, the pickles were awesome, and I've been enjoying a fermented peach slice or two in my morning smoothie. Yum.
  • gave my dehydrator a workout. dried pears and mango = candy.
  • fit in my skinny jeans (as of today. Happy New Year to me!). I'm now in the best shape I've been able to manage since the great thyroid disaster of 2008.
  • read a lot of books. Wallace Stegner and Anne Tyler top the list of new favorite authors.
  • made a new e-friend (Hi, Miri!).
  • cooked eggplant Parmesan for the first time. Made up my own recipe. The secret's in the sauce . . . and the Japanese-style breadcrumbs.
  • ate roughly a million pounds of Swiss Chard, the most prolific plant in my garden. Still eating it in smoothies.
  • quit drinking cow's milk and gave up cheese and ice cream most of the time. My body has been throwing me a party ever since.
  • worried a lot about the present and the future, felt despair, then did some hard things.
  • danced in a studio for the first time in five years. My soul needs it.
  • didn't blog very much. I just didn't feel up to it a lot of the time.
  • celebrated my fifth anniversary. It's hard to believe. Harder still: believing that I first met Clark over ten years ago.
  • found   lots.  of.  new-to-me.  music.  I.  love.
  • learned to play a little ukulele. (lol!)
  • ate a lot of tofu sausage. and a lot of healthy bread.
  • freed my skin and hair from the tyranny of sulfates, parabens, and silicone. So what if my hair smells like a salad?
  • watched all seven seasons of The West Wing, again . . . and two seasons of Lois and Clark (yes, the new adventures of Superman - from the 90s). 
  • considered trying to find more recent sources of entertainment, then gave up and read more books.
  • sold some junk on craigslist for the first time. I'm pretty sure all your home lacks is a black futon frame that my husband pulled out of a dumpster and refurbished. It can be yours; price negotiable.
  • directed the yearly primary program - with some kick-butt dynamics.
  • learned to really like those little boogers in primary. Loving them was easy; liking them took some work for me.
  • handed my calling off to Clark. Every week I sneak a peak at him singing with the nursery kids; it's hands-down the cutest thing I have ever seen.
  • grew my biggest garden ever, thanks to neighbors who let us use part of their open field.
  • made some new friends. Really new. I'm excited to get to know them better. It's amazing what happens when I don't spend all my time hibernating, commuting, or studying.
  • didn't take my grad school comps. I was near catatonic in October; it just didn't happen. The new goal is March.
  • got a new, seemingly free heater. the old one was an oil furnace that gave out several times before we gave in. Last Christmas, Mom and I huddled under blankets for two days watching Cranford because no one was available to fix it. This year we watched Return to Cranford in relative comfort. The heater installation was done in September and we have yet to see a bill. I'm a little worried, but for the moment I'm 4k richer. and a lot warmer.
  • was proud of Clark. He worked hard at building walls, installing insulation, and doing other hard things.
  • felt support and love from people who came to help us build walls, install insulation, and do other hard things.
  • was more settled-in at work.
  • spent time alone and liked my own company.
  • taught a short grammar class to a group of sassy legal-assistant students. I hope they now understand the concept of antecedents. ^sigh^t
  • went to my ten year high school reunion. I was a little ambivalent about going, but I'm glad I went. It was a good time, and I was delighted to find all you girlfriends of mine who have grown into confident women are more beautiful now than ever. 
  • kicked out the tenant from our basement apartment.
  • learned how better to screen for tenants for our basement apartment.
  • meditated by a lake at what was possibly the best professional conference of all time.
  • finished my last class some classes for my master's degree.
  • didn't write a thesis, mourned my failure to academicize, then reconsidered the future of my academic career. Yes; I am still paralyzed by indecision.
  • took back Christmas. As opposed to the failed campaigns of 2005-2009, in 2010 we made about 90% of all of the gifts we gave.
  • didn't mail off said gifts before Christmas. There may or may not be something life-changing coming to a mailbox near you. but probably not.

    The best I can say for 2010 is that it's over and I did some things, felt some feelings, and learned some stuff. Sweet success?! I think it might be.

    Here's to next year, my friends. A happy 2011 to you.


      happy solstice

      Enjoy my favorite winter solstice poem - by Robert Frost.

      And my favorite Solstice-Christmas song.

      You're welcome.

      Here comes the sun.


      #reverb10 - One Word

      December 1 – One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

      This year:

      adjustment (n) (Not adjusted (adj))

      It's true that on the face of it, not much changed this year. I continued my graduate work, I celebrated my fifth anniversary, and, for the first time in my working life, I didn't have a new position this year. But there was still so much adjustment, much of it mental and emotional. I have many seemingly incompatible dreams I am extremely fond of, and I've had to adjust my expectations. It has been a rather painful process. On the other hand, other goals have come into sharper focus and have brought about some joyful anticipation.

      Next year:

      Deliberate (adj) (and, necessarily, deliberate (v))

      I want to remember to enjoy the things we learn and accomplish in the moment, to enjoy the process of becoming and the glory of being. existing. I plan to live deliberately in as many ways as I can.


      Allred for Idaho

      Last week I went to a political rally for Kieth Allred. It was an interesting event* and I was impressed with the diverse demographics of the participants. Except for the 20-somethings. They were decidedly not there, except for us and one other tablefull. But there were lots of teachers and other professionals, independents, Democrats, and a large delegation of Republicans for Allred. It was a good mix and I'm glad we went, even if it meant I learned things about Kieth Allred that I wasn't at all happy about.

      But I will vote for Allred.

      Because he wants to improve schools and he's dedicated to funding education, or rather not defunding education and has good plans about how to make it happen.  If you are an Idahoan, consider voting for Allred. If you haven't taken the time to hear from both candidates, you can read about the most recent debate here.

      I like that Allred is a consensus builder and he has good experience with a number of issues unique to the West. He's an independent running on the Democratic ticket (his story is that he was asked to run despite his unaffiliated status), though in my estimation he's quite conservative, with a relatively open mind about where to find solutions to problems. He's more Bob Bennet than John Birch. And that, my friends, is about as good as it gets in Idaho - at least since the days of Frank Church and Cecil Andrus.

      *My favorite moment from the evening was when one audience member wondered aloud why we can't just store nuclear waste in the ocean. A guy at the next table caught me with my eyes bulging out and we silently commiserated on the state of the electorate. Good times.


      even I can change

      Three facts you should know:
      • Last October, I was asked/called to teach the music in primary at church.
      • I was not at all pleased with this opportunity to learn and grow.
      • I have hated Halloween as long as I can remember, and I strive to avoid the trappings of the holiday as much as I possibly can.

      I love kids, but I love them best in groups of one, so being the primary chorister was not something I ever aspired to. But those little monsters have weaseled their way into my cold, cold heart. And it didn't even take a full year. Their high, sweet, often dissonant voices have melted my resolve. I couldn't wait to see them dressed up as green beans, puppies, pastries, and firemen.

      Which is why I went to the trunk or treat this year.

      But I still did not dress up. Because there is no such thing as mandatory fun.


      dinner conversation

      Emily (6): Why do you have so much kid stuff if you've don't have some kids?
      Clark: Well, we have it all in our house so that when our kids come it will be ready for them.
      Emily: You never had any kids?!
      Clark: No, not yet. But we will.
      Emily: Is your wife prengat?
      Clark: No, she's not.
      Emily: Does she feel like she thinks she's maybe prengat?
      Clark: No, not yet.
      David (5): Maybe if you add some toys kids would come.
      Emily: If you did have kids, they would make a mess.

      According to these two sages, with some more toys and a carpet cleaner we'll be ready for parenthood. Who knew it could be so simple?


      . . . in other news

      • Back in August, I finished my last class for my MPA!
      • Which means I should be preparing for my comprehensive finals (in 6 weeks, and counting).
      • But I haven't been preparing because No Classes = reading whatever I'm in the mood for. So far that hasn't included administrative law, admin ethics, or public budgeting. But it must. and soon.
      • I will be teaching a short grammar course for the students in the legal assisting program late this semester. Prepping and developing the material is so. much. work. Thank you, Ms. Evans, for making me diagram hundreds of sentences and preparing so thoroughly for every class. I know it didn't seem like it, but I was paying attention. sort of.
      • Tomorrow I start training to work as a volunteer coder for the Womanstats project. I'm excited to put my education to work for this cause.
      • If the local food co-op administrators can find some grant sources, I will be helping to write a grant (or more) so it can move to a larger space and install a commercial kitchen. There have been a few hangups, but I'm optimistic that it will happen.
      • The Pocatello planning department is going to let me work on three projects as an intern, pending approval from the city council. Turns out people will let you do cool stuff if you're willing -or compelled- to work for free. I'll be working under one of my instructors who is also the head planner in Pokie. I like his perspective on the relationship between citizenship, cities, and the nature of democracy, and I'm looking forward to learning from him.
      • Last but not least, Clark won tickets to a Tom Petty concert of his choosing for the remainder of the tour. Two words: road. trip.

      three things Thursday - Now with Olive Oil!!!

      When it comes to what I put in my body, I tend to be a purist. Okay, I tend to be a purist about just about everything - and usually to a fault. I'm lucky that Clark is on board with most of it, though there was once (or thrice) a swearing incident over the extent to which I wanted  needed local eggs, not grocery store eggs, even in a pinch.

      I feel like we have found a good food groove these days. I cook, I preserve things, I bake, and I read labels. (And by "I" I mean we. Husband is game for all of these things. Even if his efforts are slightly less enthusiastic, they are still enthusiastic.) While I know there is still a lot to learn, I basically feel like I have a good routine that just needs adjusting according to the seasons.

      Now I'm on to a companion project. Since I came across this, this, and this, I've been on a mission to rid our home of synthetic chemicals. My current plan of attack involves hygienic uses of kitchen staples. Which brings me to three uses of everyone's favorite culinary wonder: olive oil. If you want to try these, you will probably want to get a dedicated bottle for the bathroom. And if you come to visit, you'll now know why I have a bottle of olive oil in the shower.

      1. Shaving aid. It is the closest shave I've ever had, and there's no need for lotion afterward. All excess oil just goes down the drain. I haven't so much tried shaving the old armpits with the aid of olive oil, but if any of you intrepid souls give it a try, let me know how it goes.

      2. Hair conditioner. I've been experimenting with a lot of different haircare combos. I use olive oil as conditioner every couple of days. Just a dab, rubbed on my palms, massaged into the ends of my hair, and rinsed. For fine hair, I imagine a lighter oil (grape seed, maybe) would do quite well.

      3. Face Wash. About two months ago I started washing my face with olive oil.

      "Wash with oil?" you ask.

      Yes, indeed. Turns out good oils don't clog pores as marketing campaigns have led us all to believe.

      Sometimes I use straight olive, other times I use an oil mixture (olive, castor, and essential oil(s)). My face feels great, my skin tone is more even, I have fewer breakouts, and I don't have to use moisturizer - a nice unintended consequence, since most moisturizers are full of synthetic chemicals and fillers.

      Many hygiene products create a need for another. If you ask me, this is a major design flaw. In the case of skin care, face wash creates a need for moisturizer - dry out your skin with synthetic chemicals, then replenish it with more synthetic chemicals that need to be washed off. Granted the synthetics are not always the main ingredients, but they are generally the "active ingredients" that are actively stripping your skin of its ability to maintain itself. It's a nice cycle for the profiteers, but not so much for your wallet or your skin.

      Olive oil also works really well as eye-makeup remover. And those tiny late-twenties wrinkles I was getting? Gone.

      So maybe now you're thinking, "That's nice, Linds. Sounds like your crazy habits might be getting a little expensive." If you were thinking that, maybe it's time to ask yourself why you are being such a pill. And then consider the cost of the following products that you may use on a frequent basis that you wouldn't need anymore if you switch to using olive oil (aka liquid gold): conditioner, face wash, astringent, shaving gel, eye makeup remover, and face and body lotions. One 16 oz bottle of olive oil will probably last you more than a month and costs maybe four dollars. Cha-ching!$!

      I'd like to expand my repertoire of uses, so let me know if you have had any escapades with olive oil.

      This ad paid for by the Tuscany Institute of Olive Oil Awareness.


      stuff that makes me laugh

      1. If you've never perused the Wait, Wait blog, you're missing out. My favorite series is sandwich Mondays. The Wait, Wait team eats some disgusting edible food-like substance and blogs about the experience as it unfolds. Here is a snippet from yesterday's entry:

      Not content to let other nationwide chains be the only ones to commit murder-by-sandwich, last week Denny's unveiled its Fried Cheese Melt. That's a grilled cheese with four deep-fried mozzarella sticks on it. Peter, Mike and I headed out to Oak Park, Ill., to give it a try.

      Mike: This obviates the need for that awkward question, "Have you decided on an appetizer?"

      Peter: Yeah, it's like, "Yes, I'll have the fried mozzarella sticks, and I'll have them encased in bread."

      2. Sometimes Linda Holmes is a comic genius. And David Hasselhoff is "the poster boy for public ambivalence." You might enjoy this if you have any feelings about Dancing with the Stars, knowledge of 1980s stars and music, or a passing interest in politics.


      rodent follow-up

      I moved the toy snakes every other day. I picked as fast as I could. But still, there were hundreds of half-eaten apricots on the ground. I've already eaten or dried all the fruit. Then I ate all the dried fruit.

      . . . and I set the pits outside for my friend, the squirrel.


      Squirrel totally won.



      Right now I am excited because my apricot tree looks like this:

      And in a few weeks, I hope to have a lot of these:

      But while I wait for those beauties to ripen fully, this has been hampering my plans:


      On Saturday I saw him sitting in the crook of the tree, fat and happy, after pillaging at least, from the looks of the ground beneath the tree, forty of my apricots. He was making contented noises and looked like he was considering a nap after the difficult work of plunder. First I threw some fallen apricots his direction, then I pulled up some gardening forums and found some helpful and some amusing anecdotes and advice. Some fell along the "get out your BB gun" lines, while others pleaded for their furry friends the squirrels. "You can get your apricots at the store - they can't!" they claimed. No way; nowhere else will I get free organic produce. That fruit is mine. 

      After being cautioned that hot pepper spray can get in beady little rodent eyes, prompting them scratch themselves to their own detriment, I opted for a kinder measure - the toy snakes method. I placed about six (florescent colored, not very realistic looking) toy snakes around the tree, and they seem to have done the trick. Apparently I'll have to move them every couple days to keep up the ruse. So for now, squirrel, you keep your eyes and I keep my apricots. May the best-adapted species win.


      three things thursday - anniversary edition

      July 28, 2005

      Yesterday was our Anniversary. But we're not celebrating officially until I finish up my last paper for my summer class (which I hope, rather than believe, will be by tomorrow evening). It was a special day nonetheless. We woke a little bit early and did a few chores together, went to work, visited our patch of garden and shared a bagel at lunch, worked on a project together, ate leftovers for dinner, and watched the end of a movie we started a few days ago. Clark brought me flowers.

      I like the idea of celebrating the day by doing normal things together; the fact that it was our anniversary made me more aware of how grateful I am to have Clark's companionship in day-to-day tasks. During our engagement we confidently concluded that we could "do life together." And we have. Though the confidence part ebbs and flows, the togetherness has made my life sweeter and more doable. It sounds a little ridiculous, but many of the positive aspects of my marriage came as a surprise to me. I can't articulate what I expected from marriage, but I can convey that I'm often surprised by joy.

      For Clark's birthday in May I kept a journal. Every day for the month before his birthday I wrote down a few paragraphs about the things he had done that day that were meaningful to me and for which I was grateful. It was genuinely surprised at how much this activity changed my perspective and amplified my positive feelings. I was also astonished at all the service rendered and dismayed that it sometimes goes unnoticed. I absolutely recommend journaling your gratitude as a way to strengthen any relationship of your choosing.

      Those who know Clark know that there is are so many things to love about him. Three things I love about Clark are

      1) He has no pretense. I'm convinced he is incapable of it.
      2) He is quick to apologize . . . and utterly a better person than me, especially in this way.
      3) He makes me laugh and helps me take my life less seriously (it's only life, after all).

      Your turn. If you feel so inclined, write something you love about this guy in the comments.


      a reason to smile

      I ran across this today and thought I would share the love.


      trophy husband

      The scene: Clark and I pondering and discussing the possibility of me attending
      law school and becoming a lawyer.

      Clark - "And then I'll be your trophy husband. Well, bowling trophy, anyway.
      Probably from Goodwill."

      Me - laughing too hard to respond


      act one, part two (by J.Clark)

      Hi. J.Clark here. I’m to pen part two of the story of Linds and me. Before moving on to the Misadventures of Mormon Missionaries, I want to add my own scene – “A Complex Myopia.”
      I look upon the summer Linds has described as “the summer that was.” I have a few assorted memories of the time. The first is trying desperately to think of an excuse to visit her for the nth time. Bereft of ideas, I showed up on her doorstep with a bottle of juice to and a note. I don’t think she was home. The second memory is walking out of a mind-numbingly tedious and cheerless job at a call center. My patience and will to press forward gone, I went straight to Lindsay’s house for solace. I think we ate chocolate raisins. The third memory is going to a Buzz (Stingers? Bees?) baseball game with Linds, my brother, and a tall man whose name I don’t remember (but I insisted on calling Neil). I wasn’t having a good time, and Linds must have noticed, because she gave me a hug as we walked out onto the field for a fireworks presentation. Quite the cat, she was.
      Here is a picture of me at the time, sitting on a futon in Lindsay’s room:

      Here is physical evidence that we were still deliciously cute back then:

      Picture taken the day before Clark left on his mission.

      Thank you. Look forward to my next installment. I am renaming it Act Two – “A Veritable Dearth”


      month o' marriage

      That’s right folks, I’m setting a theme for July. In my case, a theme can be a daunting thing - if past patterns of posting serve as predictions of the future, this post may be the last one for the month. But I’ve been feeling literary of late, and I’ve been thinking a bit on the subject. So, here goes. Stay with me. If you dare.
      I married Clark five years ago this month. five. While I plan to be married to him forever after, this small landmark evokes a lot of feelings and reflections, and I thought I may as well share them. Of course I’m no expert on marriage, but my evolving sense of the meaning of marriage in general and my own unique relationship with my husband have been surprising, continuing sources of joy. I admit it's a little self-indulgent, but I'm starting with the story of us.

      Act One, part one - "more than friends"
      I met Clark when I was yet a babe. Just eighteen. Sometimes I still can’t fathom what brought me to Snow College, but I’m forever grateful that I spent my freshman year of college there – for many reasons, not the least of which is the inception of my friendship with Clark. At Snow, I lived in a dumpy apartment with three other girls, and Clark camped out with a rather hodgepodge group of boys in the next building. I worked in the campus post office and he worked at the campus radio station hosting a weekly show (among other things).
      Truth be told, Clark spent the majority of his time with the three girls who lived upstairs from me, developing a crush on each of them in turn, though nothing romantic ever blossomed.

      I dated a few people, but none for very long. Clark would occasionally pop into my apartment and charm my roommates and me with his disarming wit. We became friends and I may have even developed a crush on Clark's brother at some point (which I don't really remember, but there is some documentation to prove it in the e-mails Clark and I sent each other). In March of 2001, it became clear to me that I would move home and go to the U of U – a prospect I had mixed feelings about. I had come to love the tiny town and college and had scholarships for the next year and a position as the president of the dance co. But, my effervescent friend Katie was at the U, and though I didn’t know it then, we had some extraordinary times ahead of us.

      Home for the summer and outside our college social circles, Clark and I did all kinds of summer things together. When most of our mutual friends went back to school in August, we still had each other, and that fact provided some consolation for our feelings of abandonment. We were friends - the best of casual friends but often joked that we were "more than friends." I think we both knew that was really true, but, as you know, timing is everything.

      Up next: Act one, part two - the Misadventures of Mormon Missionaries, starring Elder Gardner and Sister Heightman (though never in the same scene).


      evidence of (academic) conversion

      This week I start the last required class of my MPA program. It feels crazy that it's ending and even crazier that it ever began. I sort of stumbled on political science and public administration as a field of study - and it has turned out to be a delightful surprise. Studying literature as an undergrad fed my soul and increased my capacity to think critically about the world around me and my ability to articulate it all. (What more could anyone want from her college experience?!) At first, I didn't feel that way about my MPA classes; I felt a little . . . empty. Okay, maybe empty is too strong a word, but it certainly didn't fill me up like studying literature and language. Until, that is, I realized that it is literature and language with all the same compelling drama and import, it's just a specialized branch with more practical applications (at least according to the economic powers that be). I often wondered - at night, when I was huddled under the covers reading literature instead of, say, doing research for a paper - if I had made the wisest choice. But now I know.

      Since spring semester finished in May I've been doing a bit of fun reading - both fiction and non-fiction of various stripes and colors. I even bought a policy analysis book for summer reading. F-U-N, right? A little beach reading, perhaps? Well, I started reading and loving it. When I went to class on yesterday, I found out that sections of my new book are required reading. And I loved my life.


      they've just stopped trying

      I have a love of food photography. I love it almost as much as I love food - almost. I love the way good food photography captures my senses - the colors and textures help me imagine the smells and flavors. I also really love bad food photography for its disgusting irony (think Betos - the purpose of those photographs on the menu clearly is not to make you want to eat the "food"). A new trend is simply to photograph bad food - nothing particularly wrong with the quality of the photograph, there's just no attempt to hide the industrial quality of the food. (I have to wonder if these ads are creating or answering incredibly low expectations.) Here are a few of my favorites:


      The strategically placed onions and the sponge on bottom really make this a work of art. And speaking of American "cheese" . . .

      . . . would you like a square in your Jack in the Box taco? Oh, and please don't forget the drizzle of french dressing . . . and some well placed lettuce on the plate for authenticity.


      And last but not least, and in a category all its own:

      Finally, some truth in advertising.


      to Zen and back

      School's out for summer two weeks, and we're already back from our vacation (okay, this post is now officially a month old). It was wonderfully diverse - maybe the best vacation ever. 
      We drove 1400 miles, flew 1600 miles, biked and walked all of Denver, hiked 5 miles, read two books, reunited with three old friends, met one beautiful baby, and took innumerable naps. We also stayed with strangers (via airbnb) and visited a couple of farmers' markets, an amusement park, a zoo, an art museum, a college campus, and a national park. There were many great moments, but the best part was spending some QT with Paul and Jess and their baby girls doing everything and nothing . . . including cooking and eating, which were our two favorite shared activities when we were neighbors. I was finally able to unwind after a ridiculously difficult, busy month of finals and other projects. I hadn't realized how crazy I was getting; I'm relieved to be feeling so much more centered again.
      The ten days we were gone, I was largely unplugged - no internet, dead phone. I didn't read the news. I didn't even remove my iPod from my luggage.  It was interesting to vacation sans camera. (My old, despised camera is now part of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem). The camera phones captured a few memorable moments, but even the phones died after a while and we were forced to live each delightful moment without the burden of documentation.  Living without a lens really helped me focus on the beauty of being, and what I thought would be an inconvenience became a learning experience. Here's to vacations and living in the moment.


      meatless monday

      A very good friend had us over for dinner some months back and quickly realized he had no idea what to cook. He managed to scour the kitchen and put together a very good, if slightly unconventional, mix of side dishes. Like others, this friend was baffled by the "what to eat?" question when meat was taken out of the equation. It was kind of amusing to me, and I thought it was incredibly sweet that he would even try.

      I can see how eating less meat can seem restrictive, but really, doing it opened up my eyes and my tastebuds, not to mention my arteries. You can make chicken into seven very different tasting meals, but you'll still be getting the exact same nutrients day after day. Choosing to eat vegetables has helped me be more creative and venturous in my cooking and eating. 

      So, how 'bout it? Can you go meatless once a week? To check out the benefits, click on the top link. It's easy to find vegetarian recipes on the internets, but I'll recommend one on the occasional Monday.This one was inspired by a recipe in my red and white checked BHG cookbook. It is called "meatless tacos" but Clark objects to it every time I propose it for dinner, so at our house, they're just "tacos" and we love 'em. An added bonus to the deliciosity - these tacos are quick to make and they're super cheap. In fact, lentils are basically free. And if you made your own tortillas or even if you used store-bought corn tortillas, you'd be eating for pennies.  (Something for your meat-eating maw to chew on :-)

      This image is of the tofu taco original. The recipe below is the "inspired by" version sans tofu.
      • 1 cup water
      • 1/2  cup lentils, rinsed and drained
      • 1/2 cup chopped onion
      • 12 taco shells or tortilla - if you use a whole grain tortilla like corn or wheat, the meal will have complete protein
      • 5 teaspoons taco seasoning mix- make your own taco seasoning - it's so easy and it will have a gazillion fewer grams of sodium (esp. important if you are using canned ingredients)
      • 1 cup black beans (either canned or soaked & cooked)
      • 1/2  cups shredded lettuce
      • 2 tomatoes, chopped and separated (or a can of diced tomatoes)
      • 1/2  cup shredded cheddar cheese optional
      • 1 avocado - or, if you're like me, 1 per person or taco  


      1. In a medium/large saucepan combine water, lentils, black beans, one tomato, taco seasoning, and onion. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes or until lentils are tender and liquid is absorbed.

      2. Spoon into taco shells. Top with lettuce, tomato, and cheese and avocado. If desired, serve with salsa.

      Makes about 12 tacos.


      may day - and another blog

      In honor of May Day, I've launched a new blog in which to write about my more controversial opinions. Visit if you like.


      small humans

      Love babies? Take your mom to see this for Mother's Day. It looks like so much fun.


      the hardest part

      At some point, blogging made its way to the bottom of mental to-do list and stayed there as other items were added to the top or inserted in the middle. The actual problem is that blogging exists on any list - I prefer to think of it as an escape from the things I'm supposed to do. But now it's been too long, and, as we all know, starting is the hardest part. Here are some random updates from my life to get started again:

      • I wrote a sixteen page final project for Org Theory yesterday. Like I said, starting is the hardest part. After I got going, it wasn't so bad. I'm starting to worry about my addiction to the adrenaline associated with my procrastination habit. Is there some kind of treatment for that? If only I had something due every day, I think I could have finished a dissertation by now.
      • Speaking of dissertations, I'm helping my Public Lands Policy professor with his - references, formatting, etc.  Between his dissertation and my research paper, it's going to be all public lands all the time. (I know; you wish you were me right now.)
      • I have developed a mini mania for the writing of Sarah Vowell and recommend her books (I've only read two, but I imagine the others are just as great). I can't wait until May, when I can feel good about reading things that have nothing to do with hardrock mining laws, the Forest Service, or cattle grazing on public lands.
      • We are going on a much needed vacation. Since the 247 Tom Petty songs on Clark's ipod are not enough to satiate his appetite for all things Tom Petty, we planned a trip to visit friends that coincided with Tom Petty Tour 2010. Three days after Clark purchased his ticket, the tour switched its dates around. Of course, this doesn't mean Clark would actually miss the tour; he's planning a pilgrimage to Canada in June so he can bask in the glory of "Free Fallin'" in the company of several thousand strangers, most of them Canadian. Under different circumstances, I might protest going such great lengths, but I have to admire that kind of dedication.
      • I have eaten an avocado and an orange almost every day for the past 4 months. It's like a little bit of sunshine every day to get a girl through the Idaho winter.
      • I'm making a surprise for Clark's birthday (May 17). We are both notoriously bad at surprises and secrets  because we just can't wait to tell each other anything exciting. I'm telling you to help me not tell him. Shhh!
      • Lately, I spend a little time each day coming up with a new life plan. Most of them include living in a big city or another country. Sometimes both. None of them includes Idaho Falls. Next step: learn Farsi, Korean, and Russian and get a job with the State Department.
      • You may have noticed here are no pictures in this post - nor will there be any personal pictures in the near future. Last time I used my camera was on a February snowshoing voyage to a ghost town near Teton National Park, an event which was well documented until said camera disappeared under melted glacier water. It may sound like near tragedy, but I actually really hated that camera.
      That's all for now. Thanks for reading!


      If your name is Nashina . . .

      Every day I pass by a flower shop on my drive home. For the past six months they've been running a cheap campaign; on the letterboard out front is an advertisement for a free rose . . . if your name is so obscure your mom can't even spell it. Last week's was my favorite:

      If your name is Nashina stop in for a free rose.


      This week, all you Delaneys are in luck. Go get your free rose at the corner of Broadway and Memorial.


      as promised

      This is long overdue; but I still wanted to write about our farm experience.

      Fun fact: the food you eat, regardless of where you get it, comes from a farm (yes, even the high-fructose corn-syrup, even though it doesn't resemble a plant anymore). Our CSA experience was a cool farm-to-table experience. I knew exactly where my food came from, how it had been grown, that the seeds weren't "roundup ready" so I wasn't eating plants genetically altered to repel or kill bugs (I know; I have problems.).

      So, what is a CSA? So glad you asked. This is how it works: you buy a "share" of the farm's spoils upfront - which is the appropriate word because there is some risk involved. In our case, we purchased our share in the winter; the farm has to plan ahead and buy seeds, equipment, etc. At our CSA, the earlier you buy, the cheaper the share is. Your share entitles you to a portion of the spoils, but if there aren't any spoils due to bad weather or pests, you lose. Once a week you pick up your share. In our case, we went directly to the farm in Victor, ID, which was fun . . . for the first 8 weeks or so (Our share lasted 17 weeks). (In other locales, with a greater infrastructure for local food, you can pick up a share at a farmers' market or other such convenient location.) We loved it. Okay, I loved it. I learned to cook new things and appreciate a diversity of vegetables and mushrooms. I acquired a love of fennel. I have to say, if you haven't ever had fresh garlic (before the skin gets papery and dry), you are missing out. The only downside is that it was so much food, and a lot of it was pretty labor-intensive to cook or preserve. I cook, and I don't mind the time in the kitchen. But harvest time is also back-to-school time, and I took a full-time course load while working full time. Clark cooks too, but his culinary vein runs along the familiar instead of the adventurous. So, some of our fresh produce went to waste, and that is my only regret.  I would do it again in a minute and recommend it to anyone who likes vegetables, cooking, and is interested in getting the most vitamin-rich, fresh food available.

      There is likely a CSA near you. You can check it out here.