View The Austin Gastronomist blog the traditional way– in reverse chronological order starting with the most recent post.
My friend Lauren started a blog this week. In celebration of making a new blog friend (she was already my in-person friend), I’m going to steal her idea for a post: 5 resolutions I have for the upcoming school year.
5. Be more affectionate with family, friends and boyfriend. Sometimes I have a hard time calling my friends and making plans. I’d like to get over this once and for all and hang out more with people I like. It’s hard for me to remember that relationships need nurturing, and sometimes that means picking up the phone and calling someone just to say hello.
4. Continue blogging and taking pictures. I enjoy both of these activities, so this one should be a no brainer. But I struggle to choose meditative, meaningful activities over the drivel on TV. Speaking of which, I’d like to…
3. Watch less television. Really. Seriously. I resolve to break up with Bravo’s Housewives, America’s Next Top Model, non-Cowboys pro-football, and Family Guy. It’s been real, y’all, but I’ve got to get a life. And more natural sunlight.
2. Eat better food. I have been making a lot of progress towards this resolution already. I want to build on that success by eating fewer breakfast tacos, limiting alcohol to once or twice a week, and cooking meals for myself at home instead of eating fast food.
1. Move around more. Success in this department involves effort towards goals 5, 4, 3, and 2. I have never been a gym rat, but I do feel good when I spend a little time each day moving around. Taking pictures out and about, getting active with friends, spending less time with the TV, and eating healthy food are all steps towards getting more exercise.
Looking back at my blog, these are very similar to the resolutions I have had for every birthday and New Year for the past four years. Everyone’s a work in progress, I suppose, or a hamster on a wheel.
This past weekend I made a pilgrimage to Jonesboro, Arkansas, to see one of my favorite grown-ups in the world, Dr. Ross
Dr. Ross is an oboist who teaches at Arkansas State University and also makes a really cool piece of oboe equipment called a gouger. There are lots of different gouging machines in the world, but Dr. Ross is the only man who makes the Ross gouger– one of the most popular kinds and my personal favorite. I met Dr. Ross in 2003 almost immediately after he had been diagnosed with cancer. A bad kind of cancer. We thought he only had one year to live! Luckily, he proved cancer wrong, and now we get to hang out every year when I invite myself to visit him. This year, I didn’t have to invite myself to Jonesboro because my friend Jen did it for me. She has a Ross gouger and needed a little tune up, so she made plans a couple months ago to visit Dr. Ross. Of course when I heard about this, I told her I was coming, too.
We left at 7:00 AM on Friday morning, equiped with gobs of oboe gear, lots of snacks, and a full tank of gas. We were road warriors and made it to Jonesboro in just under 11 hours. On the way, we saw this:
It’s a building shaped (sort of) like the Battelstar Pegasus from the TV show, Battlestar Galactica. Who would have imagined culture like this in Italy, Texas? Best part? The building is for lease! It’s just waiting for Lee and Duala or some other interracial, intercolonial couple to make it their home sweet home. Or for Caine and Gina to move in. I don’t know how the locals would react to a lesbian cylon, but I took the Pegasus sighting as an omen for good things to come. (To be continued…it’s time for bed tonight.)
I don’t have a desk for my apartment. This really shouldn’t be a source of internal conflict. I’m not in traditional school any more, and I certainly don’t need a dedicated place to make reeds at this point. I work at a desk all day at my job. Why should I spend more time at a desk at home?
At least that’s what my rational brain believes.
My irrational brain is flipping the hell out: “Kathryn! It’s time for school to start, and you are UNPREPARED, DAMMIT! Where will you put your pencils??! What about the notebooks???! You CANNOT SUCCEED IN LIFE without notebooks and a pencil holder!!”
My irrational brain sounds like Selma Bouvier when she talks to me.
My rational brain sounds like like Counselor Deanna Troi.
I don’t know what that means.
For most of the past 24 years, I have had a desk in my home. From infancy, my parents put a desk in my room so that I could have a special place to do homework, and I remember playing school with my big sister there. When I was 13, I discovered oboe reeds and I graduated to a two-desk system so that I could compartmentalize school work and oboe work. That was great. Through high school, my oboe desk become cluttered with knives, pieces of cane, old staples, beeswax and endless spools of thread. I felt like a mad scientist when I worked at that desk, and I loved every minute of it. My school desk, meanwhile, was a good place to hold the overflow from my oboe desk. (I didn’t really do much homework in high school.) The nostalgic memories of this arrangement make Selma happy.
Counselor Troi’s response to this would be to point out that, since college I have been desk-less. And I am doing fine. I have been using a little bookshelf in my bedroom as a home base for paying bills, making reeds, and for storage. In some ways, this setup is more fun than a desk. I am more likely to put things away when I finish using them, I enjoy arranging things on the shelves, and it takes up less space than the traditional desk + chair arrangement.
Luckily I have a few weeks to come to a decision about the apartment-desk-Selma-Counselor Troy situation. If I still haven’t made a choice by mid-September, I’ll probably just start sleeping under the desk in my office at work.
I am feeling a little raw today. I feel like this:
I haven’t been sleeping well lately (I think I need a new pillow) and there are several pending issues on the horizon that leave me in need of a little comfort. Don’t worry about me, though. I’m going to be happy camper starting tomorrow because my buddy Jen and I are taking a little road trip to Jonesboro, Arkanas to see Dr. Ross. More about him later. For now, I am going to focus on animals. They make me feel better.
How can you frown when there’s a cat in a box?
Or a pup on a stump?
Or a lab on a rug?
I am watching Star Wars with my sister and brother-in-law and we are having a little poll. Here are the rules: choose your answer from any character in all six movies. My answer is correct because this is my blog.
Princess Leia or Queen Amidala?
Best male human protagonist
Andy: Anakin Skywalker from Episode I
Beth: Obiwan Kenobe
Kathryn: Luke Skywalker from Episode IV
Best non-human male protagonist(s)
Andy: Chewbaca is awesome.
unanimous: Darth Vader
runner up: Darth Maul
Luke or Han Solo?
Andy: Han Solo is awesome.
Beth: Han Solo, definitely.
Kathryn: Skywalker on the street. Solo in the sack.
Favorite Musical Moment
Andy: Fight scene in Ep. I between Darth Maul, Anakin, & Obi Wan Kenobe
Beth: Darth Vader theme
Kathryn: Alien klezmer band from Episode IV
R2D2 or C3P0?
Beth and Andy: R2D2
I have been thinking a lot about how I will decorate my apartment when I move in September. I get a little overwhelmed if I think about the whole thing at once, so usually I imagine one little piece of it at a time. Today I thought about what I’d like my bed to look like.
Let’s start with the Malm wall-mounted headboard from Ikea.
I already own a wonderful mattress and box spring that I love, and I think this inexpensive headboard would help dress up my sleeping area without adding too much bulk to the room. The dark veneer finish would go perfectly with the Amy Butler Bucharest Sheet Set and Bucharest Tailored Bedskirt that I love, and anchor the LifeModern Rise + Shine Duvet Set in the room.
I know from past apartments that it can be risky to put a white duvet in a bedroom with white walls and beige carpet, but I think the grey sheets and dark headboard would help balance things out. An Arstid wall lamp from Ikea mounted on either side of the headboard would look just swell, too.
The only issue with the duvet cover is that it’s manufactured by an artist in Australia and it costs $400. Details, details. The more I think I about it, I could probably get away with purchasing a cheap white duvet cover from overstock.com and using an iron on transfer and fabric paint to create my own similar design.
No woman’s bed is complete without throw pillows and a few stuffed animals. Enter etsy.com, your source for quirky, adorable handmade goods! Check these out from milkandcookiesCanada’s store:
About 6 months ago I decided I want to go back to school. Around that same time I got a promotion of sorts at my job. I moved into a position that I love, love, so I decided to get a degree online instead of attending a traditional MBA program. That allowed me to stay at work, keep living in Austin, and pursue my master’s degree, all at the same time.
So far things have been going great. I love my classes (even the math) and my current course is more challenging and rewarding than most classes in my undergrad. The only bummer is when people find out I’m getting my MBA and they ask, “What are you going to do with that?”
I understand folks’ natural curiosity, but it gets a little tiresome explaining that getting a graduate degree is a lifelong dream of mine. Also, I’d rather not be anyone’s secretary for the rest of my life, thankyouverymuch. (Just to clarify: very little of my current job is clerical in nature, but it’s really easy to get bogged down in that role if you’re not careful. Or if you’re lazy. Or if you don’t have a graduate degree.)
I really wish people would say, “That’s really exciting,” or, “Do you plan to stay in arts admnistration after you finish?” or even, “What are you learning in your classes?” Then I would have the chance to tell them about all the wonderful things I want to do with my degree. Like create a music education program to find the next Barbara Bonney:
We need more people like her in the world. Another thing I’d like to do: advocate for music education in the public schools so that more children have an experience like this one.
We need more people like them in the world. I know this is a pretty long post for Music Monday, so thanks for getting all the way through it. I really believe in this stuff. More than I believe in having a social life and making a lot of money. I also believe that next time someone gives me a blank stare and asks, “What are you gonna do with an MBA?” I’m going to tell them to come read my blog.
There’s an Urban Outfitters store near my job. I don’t really like to buy clothes there, but their book selection is always fun to browse. The store is also about a mile walk from my desk, so I really like to stop by on my lunch break when it’s not 103 degrees outside. (That means late November through March here in Texas.) Last time I was there I bought the book, to-do list by Sasha Cagen.
The book is a compilation of random, anonymous lists that were submitted to the author. It has pictures of actual people’s grocery lists, lists of life goals, lists of ex-lovers, lists of favorite songs, and lots of other kinds of lists. The book is actually just a gussied up paper version of Cagen’s blog by the same title.
Besides the voyeuristic satisfaction I get from snooping through people’s vacation packing lists and new year’s resolutions, I love the DIY ideas Cagen presents throughout the text. Listmaking ideas such as:
- Hobbies I’d like to take up
- Ten things I like about myself
- Things I should stop beating myself up about
None of these are exactly rocket science, but there’s something very satisfying about writing out a list. It makes your ideas tangible and definite. Like you have really committed to them. Anyways, look for some posts inpired by to-do list a little later in the week.
For various reasons I have been eating out a lot this week. Various reasons include (1) Long John Silver’s was sort of on my way home from work, (2) Lean Cuisine frozen pizza was too hard to cook on a weeknight, (3) Sago is a good way to celebrate Tuesday.
I love to eat out, but when I do, I miss cooking and spending time at home in the kitchen. Plus, it’s rough on the pocketbook. Today I decided to get reacquainted with the kitchen by cooking salmon, bean salad, and corn on the cob for dinner. I stopped by Central Market (also rough on the pocketbook) this afternoon and got all the goodies I would need to make dinner. Besides seeing my friend Amy P. behind the fish counter, I found delicious fresh corn on the cob and hatch chillies in the produce section there.
Here’s the bean salad recipe. It makes a ton, so there is plenty left over for lunches this week.
1 big white onion
1 enormous red tomato
1 big hatch green chile. I used mild because I’m a wimp.
1 bunch cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced. I used 1 tbs. of garlic from a jar because I’m a wimp.
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 can black beans
1 can garbanzo beans
1 can black eyed peas
salt and pepper to taste
First, open all the cans of beans and pour them into a collander. Rinse well. While the beans drain, cut the pepper in half longwise and use a spoon to scrape the seeds into the trash. Chop the pepper very finely and put it in a big bowl. Next, peel the onion and chop it so that the pieces are about the same size as the black beans. Then chop the tomato so that the pieces are about the same size as the black beans. Put the onions and tomatoes in the bowl along with the pepper. Make sure to scrape all the tomato juice off the cutting board into the bowl.
If you are a very patient person, you should remove the cilantro leaves from the stem before chopping. I am not a patient person, so I just hack off the bottom third of the bunch of cilantro and mince the rest, stems and all. Add the minced cilantro, along with the garlic and lemon juice to the other wet ingredients and mix well. Finally, add the drained beans to the big bowl and use a spatula to mix them gently. I prefer a spatula to a metal/wooden spoon because it is easier to mix the salad without crushing the beans.
Enjoy the salad! All the protein from the beans make it a perfectly acceptable vegetarian entree, and it keeps for several days in the fridge.