Friday, September 19, 2014

happiest Friday!

Can you believe it's already Friday again?
This week has been so busy -- the undergraduate class I work with had an exam on Thursday, so I feel like my entire week was reviewing for a test I did not ultimately take -- and everything else seems to have flown by. 
But, happy to have the weekend coming up -- including lots of catching up on work, and some relaxing. 
Lots of relaxing actually.
I believe this is the only weekend in September in which we have no plans.
So I am going to enjoy -- but making no plans. 

Anyway -- hope you all enjoy, too.
And for now, enjoy some links! 
Comic from my neck of the woods about gerrymandering, March 1812.

Ever wondered about Gerrymandering? Evidently, it all started right around my hometown.

Coffee in the mountains makes me long for camping.

Some fascinating self-portraits from Haiti.

Are the Scots independent yet?

I've been totally gaga over L.L.Bean lately, including the classic tote -- which I ordered for a friend, and am now contemplating getting for myself.

Work related, for me, interesting to others: Menstrupedia: helping to teach women in India about health, by addressing taboo topics.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

classic clothes: Everlane

Ever heard of Everlane? 
They make some beautiful products -- and do so with transparent business practices.
All of the pieces are classic and simple. 
Which is what I look for, right now, when building my wardrobe. Something that I can wear again and again, for many years. 
I've been searching for a place to buy classic, well-made, lovely clothes for a while -- and ethical business practices have been an important criterion. 

Round silk collar, in red clay.
Of course from:

Lately I've been lusting over their silk blouses and cashmere sweaters.
But I love the trench-coat, too. 

Swing trench, in navy.
Also, obviously, from

Check it out -- and tell me what you love!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

happiest Friday!

It's another beautiful Friday -- anything fun coming up?
My in-laws are coming to visit for the weekend. My husband and his dad are planning on making some sausage, there is some talk of going to a baseball game, and I have some homework to get through.
We're starting to move into fall, and I'm looking forward to a weekend with some fall activities! 

And to share: some links for this week -- some elephants, some clothes, some travel!

Loving this sweatshirt from J.Crew -- and that it goes to help elephants and rhinos!

Ever tried solid perfume?

My husband leaves for Bangkok at the end of next month -- and I'm enviously scoping out neat places for him to check out.

The lovely Joanna is having an Origins giveway!

What's in a name?

She got dressed with a blindfold, it's pretty cute. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

progress on happiness

"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions."
-His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama 

Research is a process.
Working is a progress.
Getting this degree is quite the process.
And it's not always a happy one.
Hardly ever a really sad or bad one.
But not always a happy one.

But today, after a productive and encouraging meeting, I've decided to start moving towards something that will make me happy: a dissertation on a topic of my choice, of my design, of my organization.
It may not be the traditional route, at least in my field and program, and I already suspect that I'll hit some hurdles along the way, but I do think that it will be worth it.
I believe, and hope, that taking action towards something you are excited about, something that you care about, makes the process of research, the process of advancement, a somewhat more enjoyable one.

While I'm unsure, and not sure that I need to be sure, what the objective of this blog is -- I think that incorporating more elements of my work, would be a positive move.
No one out there reading -- do you agree?
So, I'll begin attempting to include elements of my study: trying to interest professors, attempting to secure funding, sorting out logistics, generally building a research agenda -- that sort of thing.
It will be a process. 
And hopefully a happy one!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

saving the summer: canning

 One of my favorite things about summer is preserving.
I love putting fresh food away in jars, and opening it in the middle of the winter to a rush of summer. 
Usually, my husband and I put food up whenever it comes into season. Jams in June, pickles in July, peaches in August -- but, this year it seemed like everything came all at once. So, we invited a friend over and had one big preserving day.
Most of our recipes were sourced from the lovely Saving the Season, though the whole tomatoes and sauce were made from a combination of taste, common sense, and the always helpful Ball website

Though I enjoy preserving just for the process (heating the jars, cutting the vegetables, making a brine, heating them again...), lately, we have been only trying to make things that 1) we have relatively inexpensive access to; 2) we want to eat; and 3) would make nice gift (or, I suppose a recall to 2) a gift we wouldn't mind receiving). 
So, while that rules out pickled fish for me -- we came up with a few favorites that we're happy to have all year round: 

Dilly beans.
10 pounds of green beans became 13 jars (with some leftovers) of tart, crispy, pickled dilly beans. Starting with garlic, hot pepper, and whatever herbs happened to be best in the garden (tarragon, basil, oregano, thyme, Thai basil...), we topped our beans with hot white vinegar brine.

Tomatoes: whole and sauced.
I think summer tomatoes taste differently than all others. They have a brightness that they hold, even when they're canned. 25 pounds of roma tomatoes became 4 jars of sauce and 6 jars of whole, perfect for pizza in the winter, or a warming tomato soup when you're under the weather.

Peaches: brandied and jammed.
It seemed a bit late for peaches, but when a friend offered a quarter bushel we figured that we might as well put them up. Usually, we relish in whole preserved peaches, but, as these ones were at the end of their season, we decided jams and alcohol might be a better fate. We ended up with an uncountable number of jelly jars of prosecco jam, a perfect stocking stuffer, and one big jar of brandied peaches, which I can imagine eating on vanilla ice cream, just as the season starts to turn.

My kitchen is still a mess.
And I've yet to taste a pickle.
But I know in February, when I'm sick of snow, and everything is cold -- that a summer tomato or a piece of toast and jam will provide comfort that only homemade food can give.

Friday, September 5, 2014

happiest Friday!

Happy Friday! 
Should be a lovely weekend coming up -- friend is visiting and there is a festival in town, so we're looking forward to some fun. 
Even though this was a short week (at least for us celebrating Labor Day) -- it feels nice to have a weekend back again.

I thought I'd try something new this week -- and hopefully future weeks: sharing some neat links that I've found throughout the week. Some of my favorite blogs do this, and I always look forward to reading what they're discovered! 
So for now, a couple of links to explore:

Wife of sharecropper, Lee County, Mississippi. From Yale's archive. Taken by Arthur Rothstein in 1935.

Yale's incredible archive of thousands of Great Depression Era photos.

A touching Massachusetts message found under some floorboards in my home-state. 

A new drink, just finished marinating in our house: nocino.

Though I'm not much into eye-shadow, I'm fascinated by this new silver swan

Some thoughts from the New Yorker on the "ice bucket challenge" and the nature of viral donations.