Sunday, April 21, 2013

Some Winter Food

No, I didn't get the date wrong. It's still frozen and snowy here in Minnesota in late April, and today called for some special kinds of food to try to get past the cold.

This morning, Beatrix and I went to a cold Earth Day celebration by the Macalester-Groveland Community Council. One of the activities was a bird-feeder making station — with the late spring, birds returning from the south are having a hard time finding enough food. We're excited to hang Beatrix's bird feeder outside!


Tonight, it was my turn to host book club. The WAMBATS (We Are Marilyn's Book And Tea Society, named after a member who died several years back) have been meeting for...well, over 20 years now. It started as dessert and tea, and far more discussion about the selected book; it has morphed into dinner and wine, and far more discussion about our various lives. Still, I think having met monthly for over 20 years is quite an accomplishment.

Tonight, Patrick served as chef, making my favorite roasted butternut squash gnocchi. I made some mini clementine upside-down cakes; the added challenge was that the recipe was British, so the ingredients were measured in grams. Sadly, I had a lot going on so did not do the perfect food-blogger kind of post that chronicles every step of their making — but I think the final result looks almost as good as they tasted!


Clementines, though, are a winter food. Let's hope soon for some berries, and maybe asparagus...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Kiva Payback

My first Kiva loan was paid back 100% today!

Beatrix and I chose a young woman pig farmer in the Philippines, and I have to say it's exciting to know that we helped her business thrive. When I visited the Philippines, and my friend Merv's family there, I was very taken by the people and the culture.

I struggle a lot about where my charitable dollars should go. In general, I prefer to have my donations go to local (mostly arts) causes, because I think it's important to keep money in the community. I like seeing the immediate effects it has. I confess to being totally overwhelmed by freshwater wells in Africa, or malaria eradication, or any number of important causes, because it seems so far away and the issue so huge; whereas I know $25 thrown to a small theatre company here has an enormous effect.

Kiva helps me a little, though, with making that distance seem a little smaller, and a little more personal. And Beatrix like's Sunde's pigs (we've not yet told her where bacon comes from...)

Want to try it out for free?





Monday, April 15, 2013

Bad/Good

Bad - work up knowing we owe a ton in taxes today.

Good - we (just barely) have the money to pay it. Also, custard cake for breakfast.

Bad - had to call off field work on an apiary National Register nomination today because the weather is just too darn crappy.

Good - results in unexpected day with nothing scheduled, and so I have gotten a ton of work done. Like a cash flow I have been putting off, calling the IRS about SARPA registration, sending off some documents and enrolling in things, laundry, etc. It's amazing how much I can actually get done when I have the time to do it.

Bad - one of the things I did was to fill in little divots in the woodwork of the window I am painting, and I don't think the wood putty will dry today.

Good - at least I got them filled in.

Bad - enormous headache all day is limiting ability to get things done.

Good - I guess that means I need to head to the Y and work out.

And overwhelmingly GOOD - received a large and prestigious grant for one of my clients, something that I worked very hard on but that was a long-shot that I did not think we would get.



Saturday, April 13, 2013

Free via the Internet

Anyone who knows me well knows how much I like free. My stepson, Max, used to say that the best way to drive me crazy was to put me in a round room and tell me there was something free in the corner.

The internet, though, makes all of this a lot more possible. Today, we started out by having a free garden consultation at Phillips Garden. The yard of the Summit house is a badly planned (and overpriced) mess, and we need to do some serious changes, and the folks at Phillips had some great suggestions.

Then, tonight we went to an Art Swap Shanty exchange. You bring a piece of art and exchange it for something else. I've wanted to do this for a year, and it was as fun as expected. Beatrix exchanged a picture for a bead bracelet, and I exchanged a cast belt buckle for a necklace made from a stamp from Egypt.

On the way home, we kept an eye out for Little Free Libraries, and picked out a book for each of us (plus dropped some off — I'm going to start keeping books in the car to stock them as I see them).