Monday, January 31, 2011


Monday was filled with rumor of the impending snow storm and lots of sliding on the layer of ice that coated the area throughout Sunday night and all day Monday. Despite having to drive in the ice, seeing lots of car accidents, and slipping as I walked around, it was quite beautiful to spot this pine tree with a coating of ice.

Read me!

I should have posted this a week ago, but below is a screen shot of my latest publication, a review of the Alicia Kelly and Andrew Huffman show at Invisible Hand Gallery (which you can read online here) in Review Magazine. Yay!

The local brew

Not too far from our house is the fantastic 75th Street Brewery, where we shared dinner with family on Saturday evening, as well as a relaxing late evening beverage. How fortunate we are to live in a place that is walkable and that values local food and beverage to corporate establishments.

Lunar New Year

The Year of the Rabbit doesn't actually begin until February 3, but on Friday we went to the evening celebration at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to see the various performances and exhibits, such as the fantastic Lion Dance pictured below. We also hit up the opening of Pattern ID at the Kemper, so it was a busy arty evening in Midtown KC.

Fraser Hall

Walking through campus on a chilly Thursday, the view of Fraser Hall.

Commute by bus

Wednesday's schedule allowed me the better option- commuting by bus. The K-10 bus is definitely not as convenient as public transportation in other cities or countries, but it saves me a lot of gas money and a lot of drive time. Also, the bus has free wifi, allowing passengers time to work rather than just sit and stare at the road.

Commute by car

Tuesday's schedule left me commuting by car across the snowy sunny landscape of eastern Kansas.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Loose leaf rose-scented green tea to soothe my sore throat on a Monday.

Brew Tour

On Sunday we took the Boulevard Brewery Tour with a group of ten friends. An amazing time was had by all.

Grocery Shopping

I know that many people think that grocery shopping is a mundane chore, but it is one of my favorite routine tasks. I had a fantastic history professor in undergrad, the late Dr. Marvin Rosen, who referred to the modern grocery store as the Museum of Food. Dr. Rosen, in his engaging and entertaining lectures on European history and Marxism, would crack jokes and jump around the room, creating a memorable narrative of 16th century England, among other topics. In one of his lectures on the development of early capitalist systems, he commented on how amazing it is that we can cruise the aisles of the grocery store and pick up everything from tumeric to quinoa, coconut to couscous, all relatively affordable to the middle classes- the Museum of Food. For me, a trip to Whole Foods and our local Indian market on a Saturday is definitely a reminder of the amazing system of global capitalism (for better or worse), and how crazy it is that I can create a menu for the week that includes Indian Spiced Seitan, made with such exotic spices as tumeric, mustard seeds, and cumin, while not so long ago people kept sugar in locked cabinets and trading spices was a driving force in many regional economies.

Waitin' for the bus...

...on a cold and gray Friday, but the view of the KU Natural History Museum is nice.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Snow day

As over seven inches of snow fell from late Wednesday into early Thursday the road conditions weren't very good by Thursday's commute, so I took a snow day. Despite the fact that it snows here every year, the Kansas City-Lawrence area isn't very prepared for snow removal and it can take a day or two for driving conditions to be decent. It was nice to work from home and gaze out at the snow covered world, including the shadows from the trees on the white front yard.


On a cold and snowy day like last Wednesday, our cats fight for the prime spot on the kitchen floor in front of the heat vent, taking turns at warming themselves up.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sick day

Not much to say for Tuesday.


As I'm getting into the swing of the daily photo posts, I realize that the true essence of each day can not always be captured in a photo. Monday is a great example of this. If I were to select a single mental image of the day it would be going to Waldo Pizza with our dear friend Beth and her daughter, yet I don't have a digital photo of this because first, I was in the moment, not thinking about the daily photo challenge and second, because I don't like to post photos of other people's kiddos to the internet. So, I'll go with my first mental image of Monday, the curtains that I made late on Sunday. I love the crisp design of this fabric, and was so happy when I got the last of the bolt at the fabric store.

Plaza Lights

Sunday left us feeling the need for some fresh air, and as not everyone in the neighborhood has shoveled their sidewalks with enough clearance for a stroller, we headed down to the Plaza to cruise the streets and gaze at the window displays. For those not familiar with Kansas City, the Plaza was built in the 1920s as the nation's first planned shopping district, an outdoor mall of sorts, that takes up an area about four by five blocks and has all varieties of chain and local shops, restaurants, and theaters built in a Spanish architectural style. We had thought that the shops would be open until 6 or 7 so we could pop in from time to time to warm up, but found that most of the stores close at 5 on Sunday. This meant that our walk was a bit shorter than we had originally intended, but it was still nice to be outside in the city. Sunday was also the last day for the Plaza holiday lights, which are quite lovely.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Two things on Saturday had me thinking about plastic.

First off, we bought new bowls for the baby. The selection was gendered- blue and green dinosaurs and cars or pink and purple butterflies and flowers. Joe joked about the connection between the dinosaur and the car, that the dino is what makes the fossil-fuel consuming car possible. Ugh. Sadly, the bowls are also part of this unsustainable chain, but hopefully they will be used and re-used enough to make their non-breakable nature worth the environmental impact.

The other incident was at the grocery store where a young girl was helping her dad select some carrots. She went to put the veggies in their cart and he loudly told her she needed to use a plastic bag, making eye contact with me, rolling his eyes and laughing. I told her, no you don't need a bag and smiled at the girls good environmental instincts. The dad then laughed again saying he would use one anyway, which disgusted me enough that I looked him in the eye and sharply stated, no need to waste is there?

Come ON people. It's bad enough that I see more than half the shoppers at the store without reuseable shopping bags. Why do you need a plastic bag for your carrots?!? First off, any germs that the carrot will encounter in your cart, at checkout, or in your grocery bag are miniscule compared to those that they encountered in the dirt, during the harvesting process, in shipping, and sitting in the produce section. Second, you will (or should) wash your vegetables upon use and with the carrot you will likely peel it. Do you really need to use up some non-renewable fossil fuels for this process? No, you don't. Please put a second of thought into your choices. I understand the use of veggie bags for greens as they are wet and easily tear in the cart, but there is no reason to waste a bag on other fruits or veggies. I was pleased to see though that his other daughter placed their cucumber in the cart sans bag. Perhaps there is some hope for the future.

City Hall

Official business took us to downtown KC on Friday. This image of Kansas City's City Hall is so Gotham-esque to me, particularly on an overcast and dark winter day. I love the 1930s style of the building and the Jackson County Courthouse, which sits just to the south. The area conjures up images of streetcars, martinis and men in hats, and generally a false nostalgia for a time when people didn't wear sweatpants in public.

Seven Days in the Art World

I finished reading Seven Days in the Art World on Thursday. While not groundbreaking, it provided a succinct introduction to the world of contemporary art and would make a nice read for someone with a casual curiosity in the subject, or for an introductory course. The book was divided into seven sections- The Auction, The Crit, The Fair, The Prize, The Magazine, The Studio Visit, and The Biennale. Thornton spins the book as an ethnography of the art world, and in this respect she introduces an interesting cast of characters and breaks down art systems in an organized, approachable fashion. A recommended reading for those with an interest or fascination with contemporary art.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


The cold continued on Wednesday so that by the time I took the dog for her evening walk it was about 5F (-15C). Even she didn't want to be out for very long. These are the nights meant for hot chocolate, a blanket and a good book.

Winter's Eve

The snow stopped late on Monday night and Tuesday was a clear and cold day, with temperatures hovering around 10F (-12C). While I love the crisp contrast of a sunny blue sky against the snow covered landscape, my favorite time of day in winter is sunset and sunrise, when the snow seems to reflect the deep blues and pinks of the atmosphere, and when the entire environment feels icy and everything has a pastel hue to it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Monday brought about six inches of snow to the Kansas City area, yay! Little man is too small to go sledding on the larger hills in the area, so we took him to a local park and dragged him around on the baby sled that my cousin gave us for the season. Pulling him up and down the small hills of the silent and snow covered Loose Park was not only fun for him, but a great workout for us (we took turns). He seemed to enjoy getting snow on his tongue and dragging his hands through the fluffy, powdery snow, and we enjoyed the time outside as well. Such a beautiful way to spend a Monday evening!

A little something to brighten the gray days of winter

It's been pretty drab here as of late, so I decided to brighten up the house on Sunday with some cut flowers from the supermarket, one of those little treats that makes life so much nicer.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


After an inspiring visit to Penzey's Spices on Saturday afternoon, we decided to make a batch of seitan on Saturday evening for use in meals throughout the week. Seitan is a vegetarian meat-substitute made of wheat gluten. Generally available at well-stocked supermarkets and health food stores it's far less expensive to make at home and works well as a dense and textured substitute for chicken or beef. After mixing the ingredients and kneading the dough, we boiled the seitan in cheesecloth for about an hour, during which it expands and solidifies (what you see below). We'll use it in a Cabbage Stir Fry and Thai Curry, probably with a bit left over for next week's menu.

Mark Farina

Friday night brought Mark Farina, one of our favorite djs, to the Czar Bar in Kansas City. For whatever reason, the promoters selected this space, which has a capacity of 125 people. Generally, MF plays at much larger venues, so it was a treat to see him in such an intimate space. The set was fantastic and the crowd was friendly, dancing until all hours of the night.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Art Library

Yesterday's photo could be the photo for a lot of my days- the art library.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Invisible Hand Gallery

Yesterday afternoon after running some errands, I dropped by the Invisible Hand Gallery in downtown Lawrence to see the Alicia Kelly/Andrew Huffman show "What the Hell was I thinking?" My favorite work was the Alicia Kelly installation pictured below. The show runs through January 22.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


A dragging Tuesday is saved by an Irish Cream Latte.

Monday, January 03, 2011

For the love of homemade

Today was one of those in and out busy days- appointments, errands, meetings and we didn't get home until about 8 p.m. I did have about an hour of free time this afternoon though, so I decided to make some homemade Parmesan-Rosemary Crackers to go with our quick weeknight meal of Squash and Sage Cream Sauce Pasta with a light salad. The pasta consisted of frozen squash (that we prepped back in September, but store bought would work too) that we heated in olive oil and simmered with garlic, dried sage and cream as we waited for the pasta to boil. Simple, organic, whole foods, but admittedly not our most healthful meal. The crackers, which are my new favorite homemade bread product, took all of half an hour to make, thanks to the Kitchen Aid and my Martha Stewart Baking book (shout out to my family for gifting me these things through the years!). This ties in to the NY Times recipes and article that I was perusing in the doctors office this morning about sustainable food and cooking at home. Most people claim that they don't have time to cook, but I was pleased that the article called people out and mentioned t.v. habits. I was astonished to read that the *average* American watches 35 hours of t.v. a week and that cooking at home is *decreasing*. First off, if I watch zero hours of t.v. a week, who is watching 70 to balance that out?!? Second, I hear so many people say that they don't have time to cook- um, how about you quit that full time job of t.v. watching? I know that many say that it's on in the background, or that they don't really watch that much, but the statistic just sits there. Thirty-five hours. Five hours a day. You could do a lot of cooking in 5 hours a day. I don't want to be preachy or judgmental (even though I kind of am), but just turning off that t.v. for an hour would do a world of good, and you could have cooked the meal that we had tonight. Plus, cooking at home is better for your health, for the environment,and for your pocketbook, not to mention your taste buds. Cracker, anyone?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Veggie Hoppin' John

It's a day late, but we made Vegetarian Hoppin' John for dinner tonight in the hopes that this traditional New Year's dish will bring us prosperity in 2011. Our version was quite spicy and filled with auspicious Black Eyed Peas, Tomatoes, Onion, Celery, Hot Peppers, Thyme, (non-traditional) Vegetarian Sausage, and Brown Rice. We served it with a side salad and a local Boulevard Wheat beer, but now that I've read that Collard Greens and Cornbread add more luck, I'll be sure to serve those next year. Happy New Year!

A year in photos

Many years ago I had the idea (as have many others) to take a photograph every day in order to commemorate 365 days in the life of me. I purchased a photo album and for the first few days of the year I took photographs that I thought represented that days activities, yet I found the act of uploading them to my computer and printing them out to be rather time consuming, and like so many resolutions I gave it up. Well, now that the world has gone digital, I'm trying again. I don't believe in New Year's Resolutions, so I'm just trying it as an experiment. If I miss posting for a few days, maybe I'll catch up, maybe I won't. I can't promise that this will always be interesting, or that there will be any kind of accompanying text, but perhaps that's what will make it a true record of me.

January 1st wasn't a very exciting day around here, but we did get a new coat of paint up in our bedroom, covering up the drab and dirty grey/beige that was there before. It's now dark grey with light grey trim and a deep plum accent wall.