Monday, July 14, 2008

Goin' to San Francisco and we're gonna get ma-a-a-ried

Yup. American Family Association, you can blow that up your sanctimonious holier than thou butts! Have fun boycotting McDonald's: I'm off in a few weeks to get hitched!!!

Yes, this is slightly last-minute: I just found out Thursday that, much to everyone's surprise, the budget was approved for me to go to a geekazoid conference in San Francisco the first week in August. Long story short, Partner decided to join me once it's over, we're going to have a little mini-vacation, and we're going to get married! We'd always planned to have both a small civil and a larger personal wedding, thinking we'd do the civil one in Canada on a "honeymoon" but this just moves the civil one up a bit!

Of course we'll be required to relinquish our legal rights as a married couple at the SFO security check-in, but we'll just go with the hope that in our lifetime we will see our marriage recognized in our state and by our country. It's the same hope that Mildred and Richard Loving had when they traveled to DC to marry, since their home state of VA prohibited their interracial marriage, and not only would not recognize their relationship as valid but could potentially arrest them for it, just like queerfolk could be arrested in many states until the Supreme Court finally ruled that the law has no business poking their noses into what grownups choose to do in the privacy of their own bedrooms. In the delightfully named landmark 1967 Supreme Court case, Loving vs. Virginia, the court ruled that despite Virginia's argument that it wasn't discrimination by race since both the white person and the person of color were considered to be breaking the law, and because both were free to marry someone of their own race, it was in fact discrimination, and those "radical judges" dismantled all of the laws that set race-based limits on who you were allowed to marry.

I can only hope that our country gets its head out of its ass soon and stops acting as if our loving each other is somehow going to dismantle the institution of marriage. Marriage in most countries is strictly a civil institution; we are doing what most people around the world do, which is to have a short simple civil ceremony which legally binds us, separate from a friends, family, ritual, religion, music and mojitos ceremony and reception that has no legal status. Allowing us to be married isn't going to force a homophobic minister, from a church that believes in a God who would actually damn us to hell for loving each other while taking into heaven the mass-murderer who accepted Christ in his heart just before getting zapped, to perform our wedding ceremonies. It simply will give us the right to have our relationships given the same legal status as heterosexual couples are allowed to choose.

Ok, enough rambling. Now, what the HELL am I going to wear, and where are we going to DO this, seeing how SF town hall is booked solid? Who knew that even a little short ceremony like we're having could take so much work?!?

Goin' to San Francisco, and we're... gonna get ma-a-a-ried... gee I really love you and we're... gonna get ma-a-aried...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Almost enough of a reason to eat at McDonald's

Even before I started consciously working to eat locally and reduce the amount of processed foods in my diet, I was never a big fan of Micky-D's. Even when fast food was a regular part of my diet, their fast food was usually pretty low on my list of preferences.

However, the American Family Association has just called for a boycott of McDonald's because of their"choosing to put the full weight of their corporation behind promoting [the homosexual] agenda." Yes, folks, McD's has donated a breathtaking $20,000 (that's probably a whole two minutes profit!) to an organization that lobby's at the federal level for equal protection laws. AFA was particularly outraged that McD's response to their protests was to label it hate speech. The email I received coached me through how to contact the manager of my local McDonald's (even providing a link to get the phone number) and "Tell him or her (in a polite manner) that you will be boycotting McDonald's until they stop promoting the pro-homosexual agenda."

It almost makes me want to put away the stuff I have set out for tonight's dinner -- local trout which I planned to sautee in fresh local butter with a sauce of fresh local onions, garlic, tomatoes and arugula; a salad of lettuce that I watched being picked from where it was planted tucked into little shady spots in the garden in order to get it to grow in the summer's heat, cucumbers picked this morning, herbs, and more tomatoes, garlic and arugula; and grilled tiny patty pan squash -- and go get a couple of Big Macs, fries, and super-size sodas, just to make my support for the "homosexual agenda" perfectly queer clear.

Well... maybe not. OK, definitely not. But perhaps I will send an email to McD's corporate office expressing my thanks for their support. After I finish preparing a delicious local meal for my beloved same-sex spouse and I.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Curbside recycling for dummies

Unlike folks in most urban areas, recycling is considered optional around here, and is not included in most communities' trash service. This is not surprising considering that a good many folks either don't have a trash service or privately contract with their service of choice, so outside of town or community borders, on a single block there may be six different trash services pick up during the week.

A year or two ago they started a fee-based curbside recycling program, but I didn't bother signing up. For one thing, you needed to keep four separate containers and only set certain ones out on certain days, and that was just too complex for me; it was easier to just bring stuff to the recycling center myself. Also, I thought it was really expensive - $36 a month.

Since a few months ago they switched the recycling centers over so that all you had to separate out was corrugated cardboard and old batteries and everything else could be dumped together, I figured that they might have also done the same with the curbside recycling. Finally tonight I checked, and not only did I find that I was right about now just needing a single bin, I was also seriously wrong about the cost. It wasn't $36 a month, it was $36 for six months. Buh-DOY!!!!

So we're now signed up. It's not that I minded going to the recycling center, but I never managed to go often enough to keep things from seriously piling up in here. Now I can just dump the stuff outside in the Big Can, and take it to the curb every other week.

Friday, July 4, 2008

It doesn't get much better than this

Shallots sauteed in butter until lightly brown, tossed in a handful of roughly chopped arugula and fresh tarragon, then scrambled two eggs and served veggies on top of the eggs: All local/natural/small farm except for the salt & pepper.

Porterhouse steak, potatoes cooked with turnips and garlic and mashed with butter and milk, and a salad with radish, kohlrabi, and onion: All local/natural/small farm except for olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Getting into the groove

I'm actually surprised at how natural it already feels to be doing as much local eating as we're doing. Without any specific plan or effort, almost all of our dinners for the past two weeks were based primarily on local foods, except for ingredients that aren't available locally such as salt, pepper, oil, balsamic vinegar, and lemon. The major ingredients that weren't local were either organic (polenta, lemon), or using up the last of things that were in the freezer from before this journey began (shrimp), or our only option for a meal that we could all share that our elder granddaughter would actually eat (pasta).

It feels good. I'm not putting any effort whatsoever into losing weight, but I've lost 8 pounds. I found out firsthand what my body feels like when I stuff it too full for too long with too few veggies. I'm getting to know the people who provide my food, and the farms on which it's all produced:
  • Tim and Aspen Bell at my CSA, Community Organics, who have introduced me to more new veggies than I'd imagined possible (new today: kohlrabi, which to me looks like an alien life form and feels like a bumpy lead-heavy softball) and to the joys of pastured beef.
  • Lisa and Brooks Truitt at Swallow Acres Farm, a new CSA in my town where I get flowers (last week an all-herbal bouquet) and whatever produce "Farmer Tim" doesn't have that week, and who introduced me to the joys of shallots.
  • Carolyn Donald at The Farm where I just picked up three delicious freshly processed pastured chickens from her organic chicken farm (plus an extra helping of chicken livers --seriously YUM when they're from organic chickens!)
  • Andy Meddick of Good For You Organic Market and Farm, where I get much of my other foods including things that will never be local in Delaware (citrus, avocados, and olive oils to name just a few), and delicious prepared foods made from local organic ingredients.
  • My friend Bill Stevenson of Eggs of a Feather, who has many times gifted me with eggs, chicken-poop enriched leaf mulch for my garden, the offer to teach me how to fillet fresh regionally caught bluefish, and his friendship.
What's delightful is that I now know these people. I have had enjoyable multi-faceted conversations with most of them. I have seen their farms and farming practices. I have watched them pull foods from the ground that I'm preparing and eating just a short time later. I have petted their goats, been chased by their geese, and held their babies. There is not only no substitute for truly fresh foods, there is equally no substitute for these connections to where my foods are grown, prepared, and distributed.

What's equally wonderful to me is that I'm glorying in reconnecting with what has always been one of my favorite creative outlets: Cooking. I've always loved to cook, and started doing all the cooking for my family when I was 14; I was the only kid in college who, instead of going home for a home-cooked meal, would call to say I'd be home and hear, "Oh!! Wonderful! I've been missing good food! What do you want me to pick up from the store for you to cook?" I've always been a creative cook who finds it very difficult to follow a recipe since I have an almost obsessive need to tweak it to make it my own, not always with the best results but sometimes with spectacular results. I love cookbooks, cooking magazines, cooking website sites and forums, but they exist in my life for inspiration, not to dictate how I make things.

Anyway, with cooking as my creative outlet, it feels like I'm an artist who has been cranking out paint-by-numbers for the past several years, and that I've finally once again pulled out my oils and canvases and reconnected with my muse. I never quite imagined that I'd find so much inspiration in the season's first cherry tomatoes, in an overabundance of greens, in a bunch of radishes, or in a trout that was swimming just an hour before I picked it up.

Life is good. So's the food.