Monday, November 19, 2012

too much half & half!

that's not true. there may not be a thing as too much 1/2 and 1/2. i've recently been stumbling into lots of 1/2 and 1/2... way more than i could ever put into coffee (which, i'm laying fairly low on the coffee drinking right now). so i had to get a little adventurous about how to use all that delicious high fat milk.

Caramel Custard.

make (hard) caramel. check.

pour in the custard- basically 1/2 and 1/2 and eggs. plus a little sugar. 

bake til perfectly browned.

Creamy Potato and Parsnip Soup... check!


when all else fails and you still have too much heavy milk... make cheese

Caramel Apples. 
to spite making too little to actually bring to a potluck (the original goal)- caramel apples turned out pretty easy to make. (plus i used coconut oil, not butter, so they're freegan. worked great) also- if ya wanna make caramel- i watched this great little set of videos about how to tell when its done without a candy thermometer. win win win! 

that's all. fatty fatty fat food. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

fight like hell for the living

A couple months ago, a friend passed away. 

At his service, we were all asked to make a commitment, a commitment to how we are going to continue fighting with him, to end Mountaintop Removal.

I said- I'd tell 500 people about MTR. Putting that out in firm writing, will help me keep that commitment. I don't know that counts as fighting 'like hell,' but its certainly a start.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Last Frontier

Alaskas license plates say The Last Frontier. In many ways, I think people here in the lower 48 see that as true. We go to alaska to see the wilderness, for the fresh air, the glaciers that are disappearing, the moose and bears that just roam around like the own the place (wait, they do... right?). 

If you've ever seen a beehive presentation on the True Cost of Coal, where we take a moment to explain one of our favorite little jokes, then this idea of the last frontier may be familiar in a different context. 
{punch line: once we've taken and destroyed all we've got here... then we'll just have to move on the the final frontier-- SPPPACCCEEE. Ya know... because of manifest destiny we have a god given right to do so. get it? a conestoga wagon on a rocket ship!}

Well- when we (the royal we- the beehive) were invited to talk about coal in alaska, we were into it. Obviously. What an adventure! It turns out, it's a whole lot more than that. As we started to get a grip on whats what in Alaska and extraction, we soon found out- they have more than oil and natural gas. They've got a lot of coal. Actually, Alaska has 18% of the worlds coal reserves. That is a ton of coal! 

I didn't know Alaska had coal... and it seems like a big reason for that, is until now, it mostly got to hang out in the ground. Just sitting there, cleaning the water and being millions of years old. But why is that? The coal in alaska is pretty low grade coal, which means that for the most part we can't actually burn in here in the United States 'cause it would pollute our air more than our government has deemed acceptable. SWEET! Let that stuff stay in the ground. 

Not so easy. Turns out, we live in a global economy. Other countries don't have the same standards as we do, and they can burn it. And as you maybe suspect, the demand for coal (and all other fossil fuels) is up across the globe. So that precious ancient coal that's in alaska: its now up for grabs and the coal companies are trying to move in fast to gobble it up. In the Mat-Su valley (which is an area thousands of people live, to be clear), there are 3 large strip mines proposed. We're talking 20,000 acres. 

{this image is of the Matanuska River, where mining is proposed. Taken from the website of our friends from the Castle Mountain Coalition. Check out their site for more information about whats up in the area when it comes to coal}

20,000 acres of the last frontier is headed down a finite and dangerous road of coal extraction. Folks in the area just simply ain't gonna take it. As a piece to the puzzel of organizing in their area- they brought us- to tell the cautionary tale of what coal mining looks like and how is destroys communities. Coal is running out, our mines here in the lower 48 are bigger and bigger, but there just ain't enough. Coal companies aren't going to just stop mining, they'll keep on going. All the way to the last frontier...

unless we stop 'em. 


But First! I had a little time with friends from Ohio... just hanging out... in Alaska.  
{First day in Alaska- i headed out with Sonia, Amy, and Tony to a cute little dry cabin on Lake Christiansen- not far from Denali National Park. Paddle boat was the only way to get there (or by foot, in the winter months... icy)}

{the cabin was a lovely and welcoming place to huddle in for a night.}

{11 pm-ish sunset from the porch}

{a wood-fired sauna made this lovely lake swimmable. for short stints at a time... the water was epically clear}

{dishes. they exist everywhere- even in a cabin hidden away in alaska}

{crossing a bridge on our little walk outside of Talkeetna... below us two rivers converged and you could see the difference in the water. One was gray with glacial silt, the other much clearer}


{adventuring out during a lunch break on our hike}

{sonia exploring the land of dinosaurs, we assume this is where they live at any rate}

 And then- I ran off and left my Ohio (and california) friends to have their own adventures.  And adventures they had! You can check out their photos, and a few more from my time with them on facebok. i joined up with the other bees as we all got our feet in the same place. It was a day or two of rushing around- spending an awful lot of time in the strip malls of anchorage doing silly things like making copies and all the non-fun things about being a bee. yuck!

{during my time in alaska- i had to keep up on other work- including the communications work I've recently started doing with the Alliance for Appalachia.  Agent brought me some rasberries from the path outside...}

{talking a short walk along the bike path outside of anchorage. First time I got to see the pacific ocean!}

{Talking to passer-bys at Anchorage First Friday}

{Folk singer and community organizer, Si Kahn, wrapped up our workshop at Salmonstock with a good ol' union song from appalachia}

{heading up the epic bluff to get to our new friends house}

{the bluff was pretty dang steep... ropes were pretty much all the way up to help folks climb. They were mega helpful on the way down}

{view from the top. This photo, like many on here, is from our facebook album that many of us on the trip contributed to. You can see more photos of our trip here!}

{the house was just amazing! Using all sorts of natural building techniques, the house was built over about 10 years. The basement? The most mega home brewing operation I've ever seen}

{smelling out the wort- a goldenseal, fireweed, and yarrow brew}

{checking out the addition the the house- a modified straw bale- soon to be a bedroom}

{morning air. mountains, ocean, trees galore. Just outside Homer a few miles.}

{kirby was such a lovely and amazing host to us while in alaska. he really helped us gain our grounding on whats happening in the area. This is his house that he built}

{watermelon berries! they grow all over the place up there. while in alaska i got to eat strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, current, and these new little guys... berries! all time favorite food.}

{getting ready to go see a protected salmon run that would surely be impacted by the coal mines in the area}

{kirby showing us a salmon run that would be impacted by the coal mining}

{overlooking the valley- brandon showing us some of the places coal strip mining is proposed}

{we went up to hatchers pass to look at an old gold mine- independence mine- it was so neat and surreal. Some of the buildings were like this one, while other had been restored and were in use for the park. All nestled in the beautiful tundra of a mountainside. Striking.}

{a fun presentation in Palmer, where we got to meet a lot of important and powerful people. In this shot are some pretty rad folks including Lisa- a woman who shared lots of stories with us about what its like to be an indigenous person in the midst of coal, but also of active colonization. Carly- who brought us to Alaska. And that little fella who said that reading the story from the drawings is 'just easy.' duh.}

{we did a backyard presentation at yet another amazing homestead- this time in Chickaloon- a community that has been really active in the fight against mining.. they're on the frontline for sure. So inspiring}

Ok, so that's quite a lot. Alaska is a lot (as it turns out). In a lot of ways, I feel like I was given another opportunity to do things I like to do in the world: to make change, to grow on a personal level (thanks to my tour mates who, as always, help push me to better and stronger places), expand my political knowledge, see amazing things, meet people who should probably run the world (or at least have a say in it, geez!). I left feeling a little overwhelemed about the what we're up against (thats always pretty present for me) but more so feeling inspired, hopeful, and incredibly lucky.

{Brandon, Agent, Recent, and me. Hanging out with a glacier.}

{just touching 20,000 year old ice}

{we even went under it. retrospect: that was a little dangerous. but SO so worth it}

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

from one to seven (thats more than six months ya'll!)

Its been about 6 months since I last posted. That's alot different than what last year looked like, when i was posting about once a month. I guess that's 'cause my life is a lot different.

One thing that makes it a lot different, is that I'm more connected to the folks I originally intended my blog to reach (family, close friends- folks in Ohio more or less). I live here (there, depending on where you are, i guess). But as it turns out, maybe those tables have turned and now its my friends from all over the place that i'm trying to stay connected to.

I've been prioritizing things in my life, sometimes doing so well and sometimes misplacing it a bit I think- but basically my life breaks into a few categories: People and Fun, Job(s), and Change Making. When I think about ways I want my life to work, those things in some ways blend together pretty fluidly (while also maintaing some clear dividing lines). Right now, they pretty much stand on their own.

A big undeniable part of why I'm back in Ohio is 'cause the people that are here. I've been spending a lotta time with my family recently- between working with some of 'em, living at my mothers house (which, i see her a surprisingly small amount all things considered), and the not-infrequent family shin dig- i see alot of those people.

{I took photos of the boys for mothers day. They are pretty darn cure kids}

{Finn and Nels- being exactly how they always are.}

{Cohen- diving into his very first birthday cake. Kayla may or may not be a bit jealous...}

{when we get the whole family together- we find ourselves with a surplus of babies. you can take one home if ya want... jokes. you can't but you could come play with them sometime...}

Spending time with Mattie and continuing to explore life together in pretty sweet ways. And its been pretty fun to hang around the midden (the household hes a part of) and learn some house repair type stuff while I'm at it (not to mention see yet another model of collective living in action).

{taking that wall out- their house got abour 5x bigger immediately. so fun.}

I've been slowly but surly catching up with friends from back in my day- seeing Emma, Papabear, and David (plus a few other fine folks) from time to time. It's nice to be around, and have them around. And to every now and again catch some other friends, though I am realizing those occurrences are too few and far between. I think I gotta step up my friend dates...  

Feels like you just don't have enough time to have fun when you're working full time (even tho I like my job these days- I still can't help but wonder who's BAD idea was it for people to work so much?- answer: the man. duh.) But I have been really enjoying getting back to martial arts (jiujitsu and karate) and am feeling pretty pumped about all the catch up i've done (after not training for 6? years. yikes). Besides that most my fun stuff is just hanging out with people I care about (which is how I like it anyway). Oh and reading. I just finished reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett-- and i finished it before it was due at the library (without even one renewal) that's pretty dang unheard of for me-- it was SO good i literally lost sleep so i could read more of it. (aka: read it! its just great)

{making homemade pasta- ravioli- for the first time ever with my friend Meredith}

i had made a winter wish list- which included things like screen print something (etc)- which i failed miserably at fulfilling. I guess its good its a wish list, but it also made it pretty clear to me that i was not really prioritizing that kind of thing for myself. poop!

{i may have failed to screen print something- but i did make a portable light table- learning some new things about electrical work with my friend bryan who came to visit me in the good ol' OH. he just loves ohio...}

{while much of my winter wish list failed to manifest... bread making happened- one to eat, one to share- the golden rule of baking bread}

i also recently read this article- about people who say they are 'busy' all the time. good to check myself sometimes... i really found it a useful article to put my privilege in a box of reality. i choose to be busy, which also basically means i choose to not have time for fun things. wham. ouch. real.  

Change Makin'
Change is a funny thing- its always happening. Always. And it is always moving wicked fast- unless of course you want it to. Then it seems to move with the snails. I guess thats the kind of change that I want... but dang. It feels slow.

I've been doing lotsa this'n'that with working to kick fracking outta here. I've been continuing to connect with the Ohio Alliance for People and the Environment- as we re build a vision for a group that can support communities across Ohio as they step out of regulatory frameworks and just simply say 'no.' Played a small role in the Don't Frack Ohio event- which all culminated with a big ol' showing of folks at the statehouse. I've also been spending some time reflecting on that experience and offering feedback to folks running the show during that time. Feel like I'm learning alot- and found myself feeling mega greatful for all i learned and experienced during The March On Blair Mountain. Mega. nd I've helped start a new and growing organization in Columbus; Non-Toxic Ohio. We're still working on the who, what, and whys of our group... but we'll get there (back to that snail pace, eh? Walk with the slowest...). But mostly when it comes to fracking, I'm still just feeling confused and a little lost. Trying to understand my role here, and play it in a way that can empower others to play their role, too. I'm finding my theory is having a hard time when it hits the ground...

{my mama and i doing some registration at the Don't Frack Ohio event. Super team for sure}

{video 350 put out from the event}

Have also been continuing to touch lightly in small supportive ways with folks fighting MTR. Feels nice to continue to contribute, even if its small. Going to Mountain Justice Summer Break a while back- inlcuding having a great moment swinging where i thought to myself 'why would anyone do anything else with their life?' i don't have an answer to that question... i really don't.  And right now- just watching things unfold with the Mountain Mobilization that's coming up at the end of the month. Steady as she goes.

{full house in Gettysburg- doing a Mesoamerica resiste presentation- probably the best show of our little tour}

And doing some Beehive things, too. Was on the road for a quick moment with miss recent doing presentations. Doing a few things around Ohio and prepping for a 2 weeks beehive adventure in Alaska and then a month on the road come this fall. All of which, i think will prove to continue to be work that fills me.

{a not so full but really fun show at Kenyon College}

Since being back here I've been in sorta extremes of the land of jobs. I started out with no job, nothing, at all. Nada. Then went from 0 to uhh 45+ hours per week- in a job working with special needs adults. Woah. That was an intense- and insightful- few months- before I just couldn't handle it anymore. and quit.

Then onto adventures in family landscaping. When i say family- i mean it. I work with my brother in law, brother, father, and my brother in laws brother and uncle(s). Doing everything from taking down big trees, planting annuals, mowing hella grass, leaf blowing grass clippings ALL day, building patios... you name it. we do it. and what a summer to decide working outside is kinda my thing (a summer of intense heat, that is). Its good news tho- all things considered.

And all the while- saving a pretty penny so i can get a new car when mine goes ka-putt (which, after a minor accident last week- seems it could be any moment now... but i've been thinking that for the past 6 months- so I'm still hoping for at least the 300,000 mile mark. wish me luck?) AND all this is leading up to an uncertain future for the jobby jobs of the world and me. In the fall do i- Get something full time and just pay off those damned student loans as quick as I can? Get something part time and just get by, while doing lotsa work that I want to do with my life (the kind that ain't likely to be paid)- and do my best to ignore that damned student loans? Or some version in between? Ooof.


About 2 months ago, I realized my six month commitment to living in Ohio- was about up. And I took the easy road and extended that commitment til January 2013 (a year after moving back here). Hopefully by then- I'll have a few things in my life more together and can tell if this is what I want. Or if I should make a turn somewhere...

Most days I feel really glad to be here, and am happy i've made this choice.

i've think i've gotten pretty dang good at enjoying the moment, and am looking forward to getting better and better at it (still room to grow- that is for sure). 'cause shoot- this world is too amazing to not enjoy it, right?

ps: i just have no idea why some things are highlighted in white, or how to turn that off. seems possible google is getting more extroverted and has decided those things are the most important (damn you google!)