Preparation (see: Procrastination)

I start my job this coming Monday. That means summer is coming to an end; the life of waking up and doing whatever I want (so sue me if I get up at 6:45 to run, go to yoga, and the farmers market before lunch…) is slowly crawling to an end. In a week I’ll have 6-8 hours scheduled.  I’m really quite stoked to start my job seeing as I’ll be teaching in Seoul. Really, my life is about to encounter a huge shift in place, culture, activity, employment, and cuisine.

I’m really excited about this change, just worried about the remaining preparations. The thing is, I’m a procrastinator. If you were to take a look at my “To Do” list, it’d look a little like this: learn Korean, pack up my life for a year, get my visa, get acquainted with my teaching materials, say “peace out girl scout” to America for a while.  A little much, given I leave in four days.

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Sweating Since I Got Up

Listen up people, it’s official: Summer 2010 is the hottest (aside from the Dust Bowl of 1936) on record. From Oklahoma to New York City, it’s been a scorcher. I knew that all along, but New York Times just covered it too( , so I decided why not talk about the pink elephant in the room.

So how do we avoid this crazy-talk heat? Well, the government keeps issuing statements saying something like “please don’t go outside, lest you get heat stroke.” How am I supposed to not go outside when all that I love to do, save cooking, happens outside? Running – yup. Yoga – sometimes. Frolicking – most certainly. What I’m trying to say is: I go outside all day long, but I need something to cool me down. Why not a refreshing beverage?

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Summer Pastiche

I never really like following recipes, but I do love reading them. I mean what’s not to like about opening up a magazine, cookbook, or what-have-you, and perusing to see what someone, somewhere (out there), has published as the best way to prepare blueberries on a summer’s eve?

I guess there are a bunch of things not to love about it. Where’s the adventure? Where’s the learning from failure? Well hush up kids, let’s just take recipes as sources of inspiration for new flavor sensations!

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Get in my bowl, granola.

Hi. I’m a 20 something that likes to wear the same clothes day in and day out, do week-long hikes, run everyday, throw Frisbees, grow herbs, make my own yogurt and hummus. Some may say I’m a neo-hippy – walking barefoot in parks and doing yoga fives times a week while drinking ginger tea and trying to convince people to eat local. I’m not alone though! A lot of my friends do the same thing, and “treat our bodies like temples.” And normally, we eat granola. Well, most of us.

One of my best friends from college – who some may say is a bigger tree-hugger than I – hates granola. I don’t know why. “It’s just sweetened oats, raisins, and nuts, what’s not to like?” “I don’t know…” “Do you like oatmeal? Don’t you eat it every opportunity you get?” “Yeah…” “Well then try this.”

Nothing. She’ll smile, say it’s good, and let any granola in her possession go bad before eating it. Even on the trail, when granola is such a good energy boost, she’d rather eat a snickers. And she hates candy.

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Some days call for being outside more than others. Yesterday was one of them. It was about 82 degrees with a cloudless deep blue sky and little humidity. It was also Saturday which means the weekend, relaxation, and most importantly: Farmers Market Day.

At this point in the summer, Farmers Markets all over the country are exploding with Swiss chard and cherries and blueberries and fennel and snap peas and early apples and garlic and carrots and and and… all under a shared roof or pavilion or tent or car park (I’ve seen it in Mississippi). In Ithaca, these local goods also sit next to vendors selling Cambodian food and Macro-diet food and fresh baked Sourdough.
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The last class I took in College as a requirement to graduate was a Seminar on Contemporary American Fiction. We read big books like The Corrections and Graphic novels like Maggie the Mechanic and almost anything in between. Although the material itself was all over the place, the thread that ran through the entire class was the question: What is American about this book, text, or idea?

We tried to answer this question every week with stereotypes and generalizations and sometime even explicit specifics about life in Brooklyn (with reference to Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn). At the end of every class, we walked out no closer to the answer of “What is American?”

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Reasons to have a C.S.A.

As summer sets in, the compulsion to get outside and move and see the sun unfiltered by windows grows. After a long winter of finishing up classes – college in general – and spending too many hours in the depth of a basement with no windows but plenty of computer screens and too much body odor, all I want to do is spend as many hours as possible outside. Maybe going for a hike, or a run, or a bike ride, or a picnic, or maybe just sitting outside. Anyway I can, I get out.

Now, this urge, desire, lust, for the open air and blazing sun crests over from my leisure activities into my eating too. In the summer, my body and appetite crave fresh foods that are normally raw. Unfettered with. Touched only by the hands that farmed them. I’m talking about greens and peppers and berries. I’m talking about raw honey straight out of the apiary. I’m talking the good stuff. Luckily enough for me, my family recently invested in a C.S.A. Not C.I.A, not C.S.M.A.

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