Blue in the Sky

A lesbian wife and mother tries her hand at something new. Surely there is a hat that fits out there somewhere!

A Few Things Exercise Has Taught Me About Myself Friday May 28, 2010

Filed under: Daily Life,The Runner — The Professor @ 11:02 am
  • A combination of sweat and sunshine is very, very good for my soul
  • I have control issues (surprise, surprise)
  • There is no chance that I will ever become a gym rat – something about the gym environment is aversive – NOT a fan
  • Years of regular exercise does not change the fact that baby got back – I think this may just be the way I’m made and I’m pretty ok with that
  • My primary obstacles are mental and not physical
  • If money (and to a lesser degree time) were limitless I would do Bikram yoga every day – I LOVE it.  The ritual, the breathing, the heat, the blissful sensation of surrender, collecting hard evidence that I am unbelievably powerful just as I am
  • Long, slow runs feel more natural and satisfying to me than shorter, faster efforts
  • Loud music allows me to make it through a strength training session
  • Baker is an excellent accountability buddy – I owe a lot to that boy
  • No matter how many conversations I have with myself, I would rather do just about anything than do a workout on the elliptical (SO unbelievably boring)
 

The Help (Kathryn Stockett) Wednesday May 26, 2010

Filed under: Books,Daily Life,The Reader — The Professor @ 2:55 pm

Read this book.  You absolutely MUST read this book.  I am not bossy by nature, but this is a book that everyone should read.

I imagine you’ve heard of it by now.  The New York Times calls it ” the button-pushing, soon to be wildly popular novel about black domestic servants working in white Southern households in the early 1960s” in this review.

I have a hard time with fiction that speaks to race relations in the South, particularly those that deal with the relationship btw black and white women.  I’m still floored that so many people adored The Secret Life of Bees which seemed to reinforce a slew of stereotypes.  So, I was hesitant about this one.  It took me awhile.

I am (of course) not neutral on any of these issues and I recommend this book to you as a person with the following experiences:

  • My entire family (both sides) are from and currently live in Mississippi
  • I was raised in a Southern city that most Southerners do not view as part of the South in spite of its geography
  • I spent many of my childhood summers in Mississippi
  • My cousins went to high schools that had two homecoming queens (one black and one white)
  • My parents were in MS schools when they were integrated
  • My mother was in high school when Medger Evers was shot in his own driveway and lived in the same town as the man who shot him  (Byron De La Beckwith)
  • My research area in grad school was stereotyping and prejudice and my major professor was a black woman
  • I’ve spent the last three years as the only white female in my academic department in an HBCU (historically black college/university)

I tell you all of this to say that I think about this kind of thing a lot and this particular book didn’t feel as false as many of the ones that have gone before it.

One last thing – if you can, get the audio version.  You can probably borrow it from your library.  The narrators are fantastic and the voices really add to the authenticity of the story.

 

Channa Masala Monday May 24, 2010

Filed under: Daily Life,Food Glorious Food,The Chef — The Professor @ 4:39 pm
I stumbled on this recipe and the excellent step by step (with pictures) instructions on one of my favorite foodie   blogs.  It’s called Eat, Live, Run and has lots of great ideas.  You can find the link to the info on this recipe here.  Can’t wait  to check this one out.
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 15 ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 inch knob ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 2 tbsp butter

PREPARATION

  • In a large cast iron skillet, heat the butter. Once melted, add the onions and cook for about 15 minutes on medium low heat, or until golden brown.
  • Once the onions have caramelized, add the garlic, ginger and jalapeno and stir well. Cook for about two minutes or until it starts to smell like heaven on earth.
  • Add the tomato paste.
  • Add the coriander, cumin, cayenne and tumeric and stir well.
  • Then add the diced tomatoes, chickpeas and garam masala.
  • Cook for about five minutes or until the chickpeas have heated through.
  • Finish with a squeeze of lemon and top with plain yogurt and cilantro if desired!
 

The Second & Third Week of May

Filed under: Daily Life,The Wife & Mother — The Professor @ 3:55 pm

Life is buzzing along at great speed over here.

The biggest event in my world in the last two weeks has been the yard sale that we held Saturday.  Whew…..lots of work went into that one.  We wanted to clear out in preparation for the move and I knew that an event like a yard sale would give me a deadline and with it, less likelihood of procrastination.  The plan?  Cull the herd, wade through the stuff and separate what we really need and want from what has just been hanging around.  Then on Saturday we would sell what we could and pile what we didn’t in the car and take it directly to Goodwill.  No stopping Go, no collecting $200.

I am happy to tell you that is exactly what we did and it feels good.  We won’t be mindlessly dragging along a bunch of stuff behind us as we get our start in our new town.  Nice deep breath…..

The move will not be all about letting go though, there are quite a few things that we have been acquiring.  The most exciting new addition has been this sofa:

in THIS color:

Toad and the Professor are stepping out people.  Red leather!  Watch out.

 

Sarah’s Key (Tatiana De Rosnay) Wednesday May 12, 2010

Filed under: Books,Daily Life,The Reader — The Professor @ 10:44 am

Loved it.  Loved it so much that I read it one day.  Yesterday.

This is a book that is getting lots of buzz in the world of women’s fiction and I’m going to buzz right along with the crowd.  In case you haven’t heard, this is the story of an American woman (Julia) living in Paris who becomes drawn into a dark and silent aspect of French history – the direct involvement of the French government in the extermination of the Jews during WWII.  Into Julia’s narrative is woven the story of a Jewish girl named Sarah who lived in Paris during the summer of 1942.  For me, this book is about the power of history, of knowing your own story and knowing that part of your story is the story of your family.

Sarah’s Key is a unique combination of thought-provoking/interesting and page-turnability.  I’m making up words here people.  It’s that good.  Usually a quick read is not always a deep read, but in this case you get both.  I devoured the story and now I want to know more about the topic.  I have French heritage and although my family (as far as I know) was Catholic, I’m eager to know more about the role that the French played in the Holocaust.  Anybody know of a good book?

 

Still Working the Wellness Tuesday May 11, 2010

Filed under: Daily Life,The Adventurer — The Professor @ 1:56 pm

In Chapter Nine, Kathy describes her plan for “personal energy management”.  Personal energy sounds like a good thing to manage, no?

Her plan?  Focus on the four R’s in order to keep your life in balance.  The 4 R’s are:

Regular

  • Here is where your everyday routine and set obligations lie.
  • Most of our energy is spent in this one domain (there is always more to do)
  • The paradox of this R is that the more you do, the more there is to be done
  • Perfectionists are particularly likely to spend all of their energy here and feel that life is about nothing more than keeping your head above water
  • Kathy’s advice – check off the items on your to-do list, but don’t worry about dotting every i and crossing every t

Relate

  • Here is where we manage the large and small relationships in our lives (managing conflict, negotiating desires and needs, etc)
  • Some of the tasks here might be learning to be more intimate and authentic, observing healthy boundaries and being responsible with your words and actions

Rejuvenate

  • Here is where we focus on self-care, which looks different for everyone
  • Ask yourself each day what you need to take of yourself in that moment acknowledging that this might change from day to day – be present with yourself

Reach

  • This is where we stretch ourselves beyond what is habitual and comfortable
  • Everyone needs to take the occasional leap
  • Anything that opens you up and makes you stronger and more self-aware

This makes sense to me.  I like the idea of thinking about each of the R’s each day.  I am a HUGE proponent of the to-do list and so it’s very easy for me to get trapped into the Regular quadrant.

The chapter closes with the following questions for reflection:

  1. In which of these areas do I most need to grow?
  2. What can I do that would support that growth?

For me at this moment, I’m thinking Reach.  I need to focus on Reach.  Humm……

 

Vegetarian Bolognese with Whole-Wheat Penne Monday May 10, 2010

Filed under: Daily Life,Food Glorious Food,The Chef — The Professor @ 6:43 pm

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4  cup  dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 1 1/2  cups  finely chopped onion
  • 1/2  cup  finely chopped carrot
  • 1/2  cup  finely chopped celery
  • 1  (8-ounce) package cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1/2  cup  dry red wine
  • 1/4  cup  warm water
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  (28-ounce) can organic crushed tomatoes with basil, undrained
  • 1  (2-inch) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind
  • 12  ounces  uncooked whole-wheat penne
  • 1/2  cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

DIRECTIONS

1. Place dried mushrooms in a spice or coffee grinder; process until finely ground.

2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and mushrooms; sauté 10 minutes.

3. Add wine; simmer 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates.

4. Add 1/4 cup warm water and next 4 ingredients (through cheese rind) to onion mixture. Stir in ground porcini. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes. Keep warm. Remove rind; discard.

5. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

6. Place 1 cup of pasta in each of 6 bowls. Top each portion with 3/4 cup sauce and about 1 tablespoon cheese.