Sunday, January 25, 2009

picture books, the bad.

I came across this book in school once - it's a very easy book, meant for very low readers. We had a lot of these books around for the newbies, and pretty much all of them were boring and very simple. But this one has always amazed me. It's called The Good Life, and you can see the whole book here.

The setting is a house, where two brightly colored birds are in their cages, chatting. Kip talks about wanting to live somewhere else.


Kip's housemate Bud describes his old home, Moon Island. He flew free there, he could play in the mud. But then Bud warns that island life wasn't as good as it seems.


On Moon Island, no one gives you food! Or fresh water! Sure, he had friends, but he also had birds who ripped food right out of his mouth!


After this thoroughly convincing argument, Kip decides that maybe Moon Island is not the place to be after all. For instance, he can fly around the living room every afternoon! Living in a cage, that's the good life!

Every time I read this book, I start thinking of it as some sort of backwards reasoning for why slavery is a good idea. I mean, seriously? The good life is spending time in a cage in a LIVING ROOM for your entire life? Being free to fly around the island is such a drag? I mostly just disagree with the whole message of not following one's dream, and instead staying where things are safe, where you can be waited on, but life is boring.

So, children. Follow your dreams! Go to Moon Island, or anywhere else that can make you happy!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

maps won't show us where we're going.

1. Hey, remember that time I turned a panda into a puppet for my world traveling friend Joel? Here's a write up of his adventures! Read it and be jealous.

2. I haven't mentioned it yet, but I am typing to you from my brand spanking new macbook. It is so pretty, I gasped when I took it out of the box. (Pathetic, I know.) Then I had some issues transferring files and yadda yadda yadda but NOW everything works and ohhhhh my. Still great.

3. I'm going up north for the long weekend and I abhor packing, as usual. This is the second time using my new luggage in two weeks!

4. Uhm, stuff. That's all.

Monday, January 12, 2009

picture books, the good.

It's true, I love picture books. It's in my blood, I cannot be the daughter of an elementary school librarian and not adore them. I especially like reading them as an adult, finding the meanings that a lot of kids might miss, perhaps slyly inserted by authors for the entertainment of us older folk reading them to kids. [Imagine my surprise when my coworker saw my copy of Swimmy, and immediately noticed the little fish all swimming together to make a big fish was also a symbol for union organizing. Or socialist organizing? Either way, it makes sense...the little fish getting eaten by the big fish until they band together for a revolution!]

Right, so there's a lot to love about picture books, especially the pictures themselves. Thus, I was really excited to hear that there exists an entire museum devoted to picture books and the art within: The Eric Carle Museum Of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Oddly, I was just thinking the other day about how pages from picture books would make lovely wall hangings - but to do so you must destroy the book, which seems a travesty. So I looked through the store hoping to find prints, but all I could come up with was large posters and postcards, only in packs of ten. Guess I'll just to go to MA.

The coolness is not over, though. The online shop also sells Eric Carle inspired fabrics, and asks those who have bought it to show off their work on flickr. I looked at a bunch of pillows and quilts until I came across this:

Holy cow, a dress with the Hungry Caterpillar print! Nice. Picture books inspire us for years to come.

(This is the part where I would post a bunch of pictures from my favorite books, but they're rather hard to find on google. Sigh.)

Addendum: I actually agree with Mr. Bush on this one: "One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures." (from Top 25 Bushisms)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

sweet potato and bean enchiladas.

sweet potato bean enchilada

I've been on a sweet potato kick in the past week, but after a while I got tired of simply baking them and eating with butter, salt, and pepper. (Still absurdly delicious, though.) I remembered a recipe I made years ago from one of the Moosewood cookbooks for sweet potato and black bean enchiladas. I looked it up quickly, but the truth is, it's one of those recipes that doesn't need a recipe.

First, you take 2-3 sweet potatoes, peel and cube them, and throw them in boiling water until they're nice and soft.

While this is happening, chop some onion and garlic and saute it in oil. Add spices like cumin, chili powder, cayenne, and red pepper flakes. (And salt.) Also, drain a can of beans - black or pinto work fine.

When the potatoes are nice and mushy, drain them and mash them in a bowl. (In the original recipe, this is the part where you're supposed to use a food processor. You know what? Not necessary, as you're essentially putting tasty mush in a tortilla, so it doesn't really matter that it's perfectly smooth.) Then add the onions and the beans and mix.

Then put a nice sized amount of the mix into a tortilla, roll it up, and place in an oiled baking pan. Repeat until you run out of stuff. Bake at 350, covered with foil, for about 30 minutes. If you wanna go crazy, add shredded cheese on the enchiladas, remove the foil, and bake some more until it's all bubbly. Serve with salsa and sour cream if you want. YUM.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

happy new year.

Oh hey, kids! Happy New Year! Happy Holidays! Happy Most of December! I'm sorry I've been absent. My winter break was nice and long. New Year's was fantastic. Driving all over Wisconsin (or so it felt) wasn't super great, but the people are good!

I'm not going to talk about resolutions, I'm going to talk about goals. This is not organized at all.



- NEW BIKE '09! With a firm intention to use it and often. Also, take a bike maintenance class.
- Learn how to spell "maintenance" without spell check.
- Be more social with more people. Have more dinner parties. Dance more, karaoke more, do things that are fun.
- Stop buying things I don't love, with an increased focus on buying used or making it myself whenever possible. (Re: not buying any new clothes for a year - I just don't think I can do it, and I've already broken that resolution anyway.)
- Some kind of race longer than a 5k. Either half marathon, full (eek), or a triathlon.
- Make the absolute best of things here, or move already.

That is all I can come up with right now. Hope you are well!