Monday, July 26, 2010

HD Pictures


It's 7:30 pm and I'm sitting in my room smelling spaghetti, my favorite food, and am very hungry after a three mile run, but it's not time to eat yet. My sister and I were feeding the horses when she hopped about two feet off a hay bail. There was a loud pop and an agonized scream before she fell to the ground. She has "sprained" her ankles many times before, and we're hoping that's all this is, too, but that pop was terrible, and her foot has swollen up so much that it's purple and her toes are curling. Spaghetti is also her favorite food, so we're waiting until she gets back from the doctor before we eat! I hope she gets better ASAP and finally gets some physical therapy that will work to help prevent this from happening again.

And before I forget -- I apologize if the blog has been taking a while to load lately. I think it was the background picture that I had up of a sunset at sea. Now that I've deleted that, things seem to be loading faster... I think.

While I wait, I thought I'd share some pretty pictures. One of my graduation gifts was a Canon HD video camera, which was super cool. However, after playing around with it a bit, I discovered that it makes an annoying sound, like a hard drive writing information (except that it has no hard drive) and that the sound was in every video. It was especially noticeable in the quieter videos (like a documentary about the Commie). Thank goodness Costco allows returns! We were able to take it back without a problem. So I'm now searching for a good HD camera with minimal negatives at an affordable price. That means that, hopefully soon, our videos will be in HD!

I kept the pictures I took, so here they are! Oh, and here's one of my favorite Loreena McKennitt songs to listen to while you look. It always reminds me of summer sunsets.






Red, white and blue!


Sweet little Commie





More red, white and blue!








She just got a drink... I think. Okay, maybe she was drooling. But she's the cutest little drooling princess ever.


Froggy, her Royal Highness. She's Black the Commie's mother.


Mother and son

King Commie!


Communist toes


Peeks




Thursday, July 22, 2010

Independence Day


Happy Independence Day!

I know that was really late, but time for blogging has slipped away over the past few weeks, due to exciting career developments, new projects, and camping in the Sierra Nevada mountains. But our Fourth of July was wonderful, so I thought I'd share the proof. I hope you all had a great one, too!

Since I still don't have a camera, all these wonderful pictures were taken by Alex. :)

The cupcakes I made



Thriving sunflowers...


...in our thriving garden!

Events of the day included assembling and flying patriotic gliders, patriotic necklaces, eating cupcakes, and watching the America: The Story of Us episode on the Revolutionary War (an amazing series that I highly recommend). While waiting for evening to fall so that we could attend the local firework display, we decided to play Revolutionary War. Having watched The Patriot the night before, we assumed the roles of Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson's American character -- me) and Colonel Tavington (Jason Isaacs British soldier -- Alex). As you can tell, the war didn't exactly go to plan. And it took me a while to realize that one of the toy guns my sister had grabbed to play with was actually real.

The Revolutionary War



The fireworks are held in a field the next town over, and it's a big to do. You pay an admission price and can wander stalls of food, jumpy houses, games, live music, and then fireworks. At least that's what I hear. I've never actually been inside. One of the downsides of being part of a large family is that there are so many of us that admission and travel are expensive. As I explained to my neighbor the other day (as he told me what happened inside the fence), "I was always one of the poor kids on the outside of the fence."

And why not? You get almost as good of a show and don't have to pay admission. I perfectly understand why we did it that way for so many years. This year, however, the security ignored the fence once it got dark and the fireworks started, so for the first time in my life, I got to see the fireworks in all their glory. My mom, sister and I made a mad dash across the fence and field in the darkness between fireworks. It was so beautiful.

video

For several minutes, I was overwhelmed with emotion at the beautiful display as I thought of what we were celebrating, and just how much our ancestors sacrificed, dreamed, and fought for. Our national anthem is glorious. Our Declaration of Independence is an inspiration. We have a beautiful inheritance and should always strive to maintain the legacy of the ideals of our forefathers.

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After the show, however, I was reminded of how far we've come from our original audacity. We parked about a mile away from the fireworks and began to walk back to the car with a group of about 30 people who were leaving the show on foot. A cop was at the intersection before us, directing the traffic and letting the cars that had been stopped for long minutes go. We hadn't been waiting 5 minutes before a fat, impatient blond woman shouted, "Hey, can we go yet?" which incited another fat, impatient man to shout, "Who taught you to direct traffic?!"

I shared an incredulous look with my sister and we both had to bite our tongues to keep from shouting at them to have some patience because, you know, they weren't the only people in the world. But apparently that was asking too much, and the fat man continued with a "C'mon, we've got children here!" Um, he had like, a teenager with him who looked more content to wait than he did. Another woman turned to him and said, "They come last in this country, get real."

So I assume she's upset about education budgets getting slashed, I get it. My university was so affected by the furloughs and budget cuts that it felt like a different place, so I get it, too. But for heaven's sake, our kids have it better than those of almost every other nation in the world. I mean (and I know I'm obsessing over this, but I have a point) every person who shouted something was overweight. In our country, we have the luxury of being overweight. I get so sick of complacent Americans and their entitlement issues. "I don't want to have to wait so I will start shouting at a cop because I know sooooo much more than he does about directing traffic because I am sooo special." That attitude is a plague in this country, and it needs to be wiped out.

I'm obsessing over the fact that these people were overweight because I've realized that I'm a fattist. Yet it's not the appearance of the obese that irks me -- it's the attitudes shown by people who happen to be obese. No, wait, they don't "happen to be" because they became that way due to their attitude: "I want what I want, and I want it now." Fat, therefore, is not an accurate description of this type of person. Wasichu is. Wasichu is a Lakota (Sioux) word, commonly used for "white people," however the literal translation is "takes the fat." These peoples bodies and minds are reflective of the ugliest of American traits -- greed and selfishness. I know everyone on the planet suffers from these attributes, but think about it. We enslaved blacks out of economic greed, we committed genocide against a continent of people out of lust for land, we oppressed women for centuries out of the selfishness of wanting all the power to lie with one gender. Hell, even football, our most celebrated sport, is a clash over gaining scraps of land.

If more wasichus stopped to reflect on just how much they have, and just how very lucky they are, some of their entitlement would fade, and they could, hopefully, continue to pursue the ideals of our forefathers and foremothers.

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When we got home, we ate some of our yum dessert that my mom made. Isn't it gorgeous? It tasted amazing, too. The crust was like shortbread, the fluff in the middle like a sugar frosting with a soft hint of cream cheese, and the strawberries, well, they're always delicious.


Tracie --
Thanks for the link! That section about horses and nomadic cultures was really interesting. And yes, the dogs at all of the corn on the cob! It was pretty funny.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Food!

Lately, Alex and I have been trying out new dishes and using our family as guinea pigs. Check out our concoctions! My menu consisted of toasted pita shrimp salad, brushetta, and lemon linguine.

Sit back, listen to "Mambo Gelato," and get inspired to try some of these dishes!




Brushetta

Lemon linguine with arugula and fresh basil

Broiled and ready for the buscetta sauce!

The final result!


Yum!

When not cooking, we went to the beach, made these retarded sand castles, dubbed them the Ghana World Cup team, and stomped on them.

Then it was Alex's turn to cook! She really challenged herself by first making a very complicated dessert that we've never had before: tiramisu.

Making the chocolate sponge cake


Making the dark chocolate layer

Lining the bowl with the sponge cake


Coated!

Next was the layer of mascarpone cheese, dark chocolate shavings, and orange zest


It made a small mess...

Fresh basil from the garden makes all the difference!

Next, she made individual pizzas the traditional Italian method of frying the dough.

The dough

Frying the dough and preparing the sauce

Ready to bake!

Delicious!

Topped off with a slice of tiramisu!

Both recipes that Alex used were from Jaimie Oliver and were delicious and nutritious. We've been following his lead and weaning out the little processed food that has lingered in our diet. And speaking of food, check out what we discovered about the dogs. They like cooked corn on the cob, especially when we hold it for them.



Hopefully we'll have more delicious food pictures to post soon. In the meantime, I've realized that if writing doesn't work out, at least we could open a restaurant!