Sunday, March 31, 2013

Coconut Cake

Growing up, I was not a big fan of Easter dinner. Things like ham or lamb or mint jello did not, and do not, appeal to me. I did, however, love my Aunt Janet's egg-shaped cupcakes that were a dessert tradition. Supposedly they were just yellow cake mix, but something about the egg shape made them really moist and tasty. I miss them since moving away (the cupcakes and the family!).

Fast forward to last year when I decided to bake a cake for Easter. Flipping through my favorite recipe book (the ever-amazing Martha Stewart Baking Book), I came upon a recipe for Coconut Cake. While the overly fussy book calls for actually making coconut flakes from scratch for the topping- as in cracking open a coconut with a hammer, which I did not do- the remainder of the recipe can be made mostly with things on hand, and finally fulfills my craving for those perfect Easter egg cupcakes. The cake is actually quite simple, and the coconut flavor, added by coconut milk and shredded coconut, is subtle, but perfect for early spring. The frosting is super smooth, and has a cool iridescent quality to it. I made the cake again this year and brought it for an early Easter dinner at my parents house, which I think now qualifies it as tradition.

Happy Easter!


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Call to Action!

Today, March 28, is the National Day to Demand Action.

It has been 100 days since Newton, CT. Please join and call your Senators to demand sensible gun control laws in our country.

Thirty-three people die every day from gun violence in America. Just last week a university student was shot during a robbery in his home here in Kansas City. Another senseless tragedy.

Call and demand universal background checks on all sales. Call and demand a ban on high capacity ammunition magazines. Call and demand stricter laws for straw purchases and gun trafficking. Call and demand a ban on assault weapons. Call and demand an end to online sales and stockpiling of ammunition.

It is harder to purchase beer than it is to purchase a gun in this country.

People say that these measures- common sense measures- won't stop the violence. Sure, speed limits don't stop all traffic deaths. Drug laws don't stop all abuse. But they do make an impact. We need to start somewhere. What if we could save just three lives a day? Twenty-one lives a week?

Gun extremists say that gun laws make their lives "inconvenient." Well, it's inconvenient to register one's car at the DMV, but we all see the benefits in having insurance and registration for automobiles. There are more gun shops than post offices in America- it is not inconvenient to prevent someone from dying. It is called being a responsible citizen. It is called caring for humanity. It is called caring for your community and for your neighbors. It is called being a patriot.

Call now. E-mail now. Be a part of the solution. Save the life of a parent, of a sister, of a child, of a friend. Your life depends on it.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March Madness

Last weekend we went to the first round of the NCAA playoffs.  We saw UNC-Villanova and KU-WKU at the Sprint Center in Kansas City's Power and Light District. Although our seats were on the upper deck, we were able to see the game really well. It was awesome to be with what was essentially a home crowd for KU- the arena was nearly full with over 18,000 people- and to cheer on the Jayhawks in their first round win.

Pre-game we had a drink with all the pep rally folks in P&L, it was chilly, but still a great day to be out with a huge crowd of KU fans.
Warming up!


KU won, but it was an exciting game (this is the final score). It made it all the more interesting to see the game on Sunday, in which we defeated UNC. Looking forward to this weekend's games- Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Rape Culture

People are often confused by the term "rape culture." The coverage of the Steubenville Rape Trial exemplifies America's rape culture.

The rape trial in Steubenville was pretty straightforward: high school football stars rape a drunk classmate, post about it to social media, text their friends, and try to deny it all later. The evidence shows their guilt- they are rapists. The courts have deemed them guilty. Their statements show their misogyny and their completely flippant attitude towards the horrific act of violence that they committed. Their language was graphic, their photos lewd. They only apologized once they realized that the victim intended to press charges, and their only true lament was that they photographed and documented their actions. They are predators. They deserve to be in prison for far longer than they will be. They deserve no sympathy for the punishment that they received for the sexual assault that will haunt their victim for so many years. They are rapists.

The sick thing is how our rape culture tries to twist the scenario- she shouldn't have had so much to drink, they shouldn't have posted their exploits to social media, they are all young and didn't know what they were doing. This is all b.s. Sure, she shouldn't have been drunk, but this is no excuse to rape. Blaming the victim is a sign of a rape culture- one where rapists are excused and the victims are made out to be the problem. The victims intoxication harmed no one but herself. She would face the consequences of a hangover, of poor health, of social embarassment. Their rape was a direct assault. The only thing it did was to harm an innocent victim. One of the Kansas City news stations called the trial a "lesson in posting to social media." This is just as twisted as blaming the victim- blaming the evidence. How about this is a lesson in not being a rapist?!? Yes, their posts and texts made for easy evidence of guilt, but the wrongdoing was in the original act, not in the evidence that they created. Yes, part of Ohio's rape laws include digital rape- the non-consentual photos- but they also physically raped their victim. And their remorse should be for the action, not for the fact that digital media and social media was what caught them.

We as a society need to stop rape culture. We need to stop blaming victims. We need to stop caring about the fate of the football players who violently assaulted a young woman. We need to start caring about the future of that young woman- the victim.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick's Day!

St. Patrick's Day is serious business here in Kansas City. 

We celebrated by attending the Brookside Warm-up Parade on Saturday, and with green beer and pub food at a local Irish family spot, Governor Stumpy's. My parents joined us and enjoyed corned beef and cabbage, we opted for veggie burgers and fish and chips. I loved that we were able to get Boulevard Wheat as the base for our green beer. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pi Day

3.14, or March 14. Happy Pi Day!!!! We're celebrating with homemade  Chocolate Banana Cream pie. Nom!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Colorado skiing

My travel posts seem to be running about a month behind this year.... 
In early February we headed out west for a long weekend of skiing at Copper Mountain in Colorado. We drove late Thursday and Friday morning, catching a few afternoon runs on Friday. It was snowy and cold at the top of the mountain on Friday, but great to get in a little bit of skiing.


The following day brought perfect blue skies and great skiing. This was the munchkins first time skiing, so we enrolled him in ski school for the day. My Dad joined us for the morning, which was great fun. 

Sunday we spent the morning skiing with the munchkin- about the cutest thing I could imagine. Joe's aunt and uncle joined us in the afternoon. The rest of the photos are ski shots, the local beers we enjoyed, and the last photo is the last run of the day, half way down the mountain, our condo visible at the bottom of the photo.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Shamrock Shakes

For a few weeks now, I've been thinking of the Shamrock Shakes I enjoyed as a kid. This was one of my favorite parts of March, and I have such fond memories of the seasonal treats. I wanted to share this memory with my own munchkin, but we avoid fast food, and I am not o.k. with a toddler eating any of the chemicals that come from McDonald's. So I was very pleased when one of my favorite blogs, Cupcakes and Cashmere, had a posting today about homemade Shamrock Shakes.  I made a quick stop on my way home to pick up some local Shatto Dairy ice cream and cream, and by 7:30 we were enjoying a fantastic after-dinner treat.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Flying Dutchman

Last weekend we went to our third opera of the 2012-2013 season, The Flying Dutchman.  We began our evening with an exquisite dinner at Affare, a contemporary German restaurant in the Crossroads. From the delectable cocktails to the perfectly crafted small plates, this restaurant was truly fabulous. We had much to celebrate- my dissertation proposal was approved by the faculty, Joe had a few successes at work, and the snow left us with high spirits. 

The opera itself was intense- Wagner isn't my favorite, as the constant drama is hard to keep up with, but the performances were definitely amazing. I love the story of the Dutchman who leads a cursed ghost ship, and the captain's daughter who is destined to fall in love with the Dutchman- it's very romantic and the basis in folklore and the high seas lends the story a dark feel. The best part of the Lyric's production was the set and costume design. The beginning scene on the sea was created with digital projection, which was seamlessly integrated with the large-scale ship on the stage. It was really interesting to see a classic opera updated with digital technology. The costumes were created locally, and were gorgeous; together, the set and costumes really lent to the feel of a northern European fishing village, and made the performance rich and engaging. All in all, a fantastic night in Kansas City.

Friday, March 08, 2013


This week I taught the Kamakura period in my Japanese Art History course. It was still pretty chilly out, and the snow still remains on the ground, though it is beginning to melt. While all the fashion blogs and magazines are showing spring wear, it just isn't practical yet in this corner of the Midwest. Boots are still called for on many days. A favorite warm weather combination of mine is a dark grey cashmere sweater with a black velvet blazer over dark jeans and black boots. It's warm, comfy, and practical, but still great to wear to work. The gold polish that matches is a favorite of mine from this winter. Perhaps the thing that made my work week was teaching about Sanjusangendo- a Kyoto temple from the 12th and 13th centuries- which contains 1,001 sculptures of the bodhisattva Kannon. The sculptures are covered in gold, which made for a fun comparison (in my mind) to my gold-coated nails.  

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Snow Blog

Check out the blog I created for snow creations here in Kansas City:

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Snow day 2

Last week brought snow storm number two. It started on Monday afternoon with rain and light snow as I left Midtown- the light snow on Magdalena Abakanowicz' Standing Figures was lovely, and there were very few people around to see the standing headless sculptures in front of the Nelson-Atkins.

It continued to snow, bringing over eight inches. This on top of the remnants of the previous weeks ten inches. The snow was better packing snow than the previous storm's, so we made a snow Buddha (more on that later).