Sunday, September 30, 2007

You Belong in Dublin

Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.
You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Question of the day.....

So, do we align our priorities with our life - or our life with our priorities?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Meet me in the schoolyard........

OK - I'm ready for a fight. A good one. Doesn't matter what it's about. I could care less. I just want to yell and be mean, hurt people like I've been hurt, be the enforcer instead of the one who understands and compromises - get all this crap outta my system. I'm looking for any excuse - so be careful what you say. Right now I am perfectly capable of turning the most innocent comment into an insult - and a battle. I'm tired of doing the right thing. What I want and what is right are two entirely different things right now. I'm tired of everything being so HARD. I'm just tired.
Any questions????

And yes, I realize this is the polar opposite of my September 19th post......

BTW - I don't know if I could ever become a total vegetarian. I love bacon too much. Seriously. And for just about the best bacon you'll ever eat - try Niman Ranch's Bacon. You can buy it at Trader Joe's. It's pricey, but so worth it. Come on, you don't have to eat bacon that often - right? So splurge a little when you do. :)
Check it out!!!! Yummo.

And no - I don't work for either Trader Joe's or Niman Ranch.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

THIS is why I eat at Chipotle... :)

"When I opened the doors to the first Chipotle near the University of Denver in 1993, I didn't have a grandiose political statement in mind. Just the opposite, really.
What I wanted to do was simple: apply the techniques I had learned at the Culinary Institute of America and in professional kitchens into making great tasting burritos and tacos with the best ingredients I could find. Price them reasonably and serve them up in a hip, friendly, casual environment.
The concept seemed to me straight forward and altogether needed. Done well, it would let me show that food that was made fast didn't have to be like typical fast-food.
Of course it never occurred to me that someday we'd have hundreds of restaurants, and that each would strive to offer people something a little better.
One of the reasons I've always loved cooking is that it challenges me as much as it pleases me. I'm always looking for ways to improve upon what I've done.
For years, it bothered me that our carnitas didn't taste how I wanted them to. They weren't bad, but I knew they could be better. I tinkered with the recipe, but it still wasn't what I wanted.
One day I was reading acclaimed food writer Ed Behr's newsletter, The Art of Eating. In it he wrote about Niman Ranch and Paul Willis, a farmer in Thornton, Iowa who ran his hog farming program and raised pigs the old-fashioned way. The way it was done for many years before factory farms grew prominent in the 1960s and 70s.
The pigs Behr wrote about got to frolic in open pasture or root in deeply bedded barns. They weren't given antibiotics. The farmers who raised them truly cared about the welfare - and well-being - of the animals in their care.
In short, these farmers relied on care rather than chemicals, and practiced animal husbandry the way their parents and grandparents had, and their parents and grandparents before that.
Sometimes, moving forward means taking a few steps back.
After I read Behr's article, I knew that the trouble with our carnitas wasn't the recipe. It was the commodity pork we had been using.
The majority of pigs in this country are raised in extremely inhumane conditions. Often, thousands of pigs are crowded into a single confined facility, known as a CAFO or Confined Animal Feeding Operation.
Many of them spend their days in crates that don't allow them enough room to turn around. Some are housed together in group pens, but in quarters that are still so cramped they can't exhibit their normal tendencies. Animals are more prone to disease in confinement, so they are typically given antibiotics for most of their lives.
Learning about this dark side of modern agriculture made me want to find out how we could do things differently. So I got on a plane to Iowa to visit the Niman Ranch hog farms, including Paul Willis's. And that was where my own revelation took place. It was clear to me visiting Paul's farm that his way of raising pigs was a better way to do it. That's what I wanted for Chipotle.
In 2001, we began buying our pork from family farms like Paul's that raise pigs humanely and without antibiotics.
We call this return to old school animal husbandry naturally raised, and it's an essential part of our larger Food With Integrity mission to source the highest quality ingredients from the best sources. And, in the process, to help create a more sustainable food chain that emphasizes the welfare of people, animals, and the land.
Today, in addition to all of our pork, nearly 60 percent of our chicken and more than 40 percent of our beef is raised in this way. And someday soon, all of the meats we serve will be naturally raised.
It was very gratifying for me to read a recent interview with Ed Behr in which he said that the best thing to come from anything he had ever written had been the article on Niman Ranch and Paul Willis for how it influenced Chipotle to buy naturally raised pork. Indeed, Behr's article inspired us to use our size to fashion a more sustainable agriculture through Food With Integrity. And it led directly to Chipotle buying more naturally raised meat than any other restaurant in the country.
I never aimed to be an activist for family farms or sustainable agriculture, but I'm proud of the change we've helped to achieve. The vision I started out with at our first Chipotle has never dimmed. In fact, it has grown from meeting people like Paul Willis, whose own vision exemplifies the kind of change Food With Integrity is all about.
Food With Integrity is our mission, but we know that at the end of the day, we can't judge our own integrity. That's for our customers to decide. So all I can say is that we are still leading from what we believe is right, and constantly striving to improve the way we do things.:
For more information about specifics go here.

There you have it. A good reason to eat at and support Chipotle.....

Oh yeah, and the food is awesome too!

The shelter of friendship.....

Thank you to my three wonderful friends who have truly been sheltering trees - I think you know who you are.... :) Your wisdom and perspective have helped tremendously! I only hope I can be that sheltering tree for someone else!

Sheltering Tree

It's been said a friend is like a mighty sheltering tree
A place of refuge we can run when trouble comes for you and me
Someone we can count on through the thick and thin
When the storms of life are blowing, there's
Just nothing like a friend
(there's just nothing like a friend)

We all need sheltering trees
Friends in our lives who'll get down on their knees
And lift us up before the king of kings
We all need sheltering trees

There've been days that I was sure that I couldn't make it through
Clouds of doubt came rolling in and I didn't know what I would do
I would've given in and said I just can't go on
If it hadn't been for a friend that helped me to be strong
(helped me to be strong)

We all need sheltering trees
Friends in our lives who'll get down on their knees
And lift us up before the king of kings
We all need sheltering trees

You can face the highest mountain and
The climb won't feel so high
Or cross the darkest valley and it won't seem so wide
Nothing is impossible when a friend is by your side

We all need sheltering trees
Friends in our lives who'll get down on their knees
And lift us up before the king of kings
We all need sheltering trees


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

God grant me serenity, courage and wisdom....

So, over all this school year is off to a much better start than most. Surprisingly. Less stress, more going with the flow. Hmmmm. What makes the difference? I'm not really sure. I'm trying to say "yes" unless I have a really good reason to say "no." I'm trying not to let people get under my skin. Trying to remember that they are people too, with joys and problems, and many, many questions. Yes, some are totally annoying. And it makes me want to put their requests on the back burner. But I am making an honest effort to treat each person, regardless of how I feel about them personally, the way I would want to be treated. I'm trying to be more available, yet maintain boundaries.

When I don't have a class in the computer lab I turn out the lights, and turn on some music and just relax and breathe. That in itself helps keep me calm and relaxed. Which makes helping people much easier.

I am trying to live in the moment this year. Be here and present. Not living in the past, wishing I could change it, or wishing I could re-live great times. Not wishing my life away in the future. Asking "what ifs" or worrying. Being patient with anticipation. Remembering today's problems are for today, I don't need to add tomorrow's or next month's. And that is helping too. That is not to say I don't make plans. But I am becoming more flexible and willing to work with conflicts as they arise.

I am also trying to be positive. Even if that means distancing myself from friends who are always negative. Obviously my being positive is not influencing them at all, and they tend to drag me down. Again, that doesn't mean I don't listen to them and love them, and help them if I can. I just don't have to be around them 24/7. Or even eat lunch with them.

Which has also helped. Pulling myself out of the complaint fest that lunch time has become I am choosing to take that time to regroup, read my email, listen to music - whatever enables me to start the afternoon on a positive note.

I'm trying not to be an enabler to chronic complainers while maintaining empathy and grace. Tall order. Not always easy. But a goal.

So, that's it. The start of my school year. And my goals of being kind, loving, grace-filled, positive and above all living in the moment. All of this demands a dependence on God, cuz I sure can't do this on my own. May I be a calm, warm, sane, safe, objective and loving presence in the lives of others around me this year.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Your results:
You are Spider-Man

Green Lantern
Wonder Woman
Iron Man
The Flash
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Friday, September 14, 2007

Food for thought......

"...Owing to synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, genetic modification, and a conversion of farming from a naturally based to a highly mechanized production system, the U.S. farmers now produce 3,900 calories per U.S. citizen, per day. That is twice what we need, and 700 calories a day more than they grew in 1980. Commodity farmers can only survive by producing their maximum yields, so they do. And here is the shocking plot twist: as farmers produced those extra calories, the food industry figured out how to get them into the bodies of people who didn't really want to eat 700 more calories a day. That is the well-oiled machine we call Late Capitalism." (emphasis mine)

from Animal Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Alice: "Well, after this I should think nothing of falling down stairs.”

OK - so last Saturday after I took my turn in the Via Christus booth at Hometown Days in Yorkville I managed to step off the edge of the blacktop path. Turning my ankle I was not able to catch myself, and gracelessly sprawled half on/half off the path. Tore my jeans, tore my skin and hit the edge of the blacktop path, that was about a inch higher than the grass, with my leg just below my knee.
It hurt like heck, but I iced it good after I drove 40 minutes home. It didn't look too bad considering. Until two days later. This is the result.

I'm still icing it, taking ibuprofen around the clock and keeping off my feet - and it still looks horrible and hurts. Especially when I had to do some tech work on my knees in the computer lab the other day. And by today bruises showed up on my ankle. Guess I'm not off my feet as much as I need to be.

Well, it was a wonderful excuse to sit on the couch and watch a full season of Heroes!! :)

Think it can get me out of cleaning this weekend???