Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Attacked! - A stupid story

Oh. my. gosh.

This really happened today.

Imagine :

I'm sitting alone in my office, and in the far corner I spot an abnormal black wart on my wall. Upon closer inspection, it is a spider. A BIG spider. A spider with bulbous legs and shiny black exoskeleton that make it look like an armored body-builder. It's alarming, but it is also about 15 feet away. I see my options as:

A. Try to kill it with my shoe

B. Try to get it into a piece of paper and get it outside
C. Have my boss kill it

However these consequences follow:

A. I hate killing bugs, particularly bugs over 1/2" in diameter.
B. Something always goes wrong with B. Either I can't contain it and it crawls all over my hand, or I make a scene when the thing makes a run for my face(/escape).
C. I don't want to be seen as a wimp.

So I make up D. Live peacefully at a distance and hope that it's gone by tomorrow.
I naturally keep an eye on my new frienemy in the following minutes. I watch it ascend the wall and start exploring the ceiling. For the next two hours, I regularly glance upward and watch its slow spider progress along the perimeter of my office. It comes indirectly nearer, nearer, nearer.

Clearly this thing loves the ceiling, so I encourage myself that it will continue to do so as it approaches the airspace above the edge of my desk. As I watch, it does a 90 degree turn and comes inward from the wall, parallel to my desk, and directly toward me.

"It can't know what it's doing," I say, logically. The thing continues on this trajectory for about three feet until he is right above my computer, my hands, my lap. I'm tracking it now, eying it suspiciously, willing it to continue onward. BUT IT STOPS. Right there it stops, and I am looking directly up. It moves it's little spider legs and DROPS toward my forehead on a spider line! ATTACK ATTACK!

I jump. A shoe is in my hand. The thing is floating down, suspended in midair. Crack! Crack! The shoe strikes the little critter, and a split second later I hear it's exoskeleton plink on the window 10 feet across from me. Dead spider. I am champion. I am champion of spider baseball.

Okay, I feel bad about my dramatic, violent spider murder...but you tell me! What were it's motives? Why did it pick the spot right above my head to descend, when it had the whole ceiling and about 2 hours to pick a location?


In an effort to distract from my current spider creepies, I've tried to find some cute spider designs. Yes, it is almost an oxymoron. But I did find, um, two, that weren't creepy or fringe-y.

For the literary lover, this is cute. At CafePress, any design can be applied to a number of products including tees, hats, mugs, etc. This design is by Madcap Studios.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Shout Out to Small Businesses, Amended!

Oh my gosh! I left out a fascinating small business in my small business post here! Heellooo, Lis! Well, I suppose it's for the best, because now I can use a whole post to showcase nothing but....oh an i will. right now.

Let's talk about my girl Amy, a friend of many years who has some really inspiring projects in the works. The first of which is a photography business called Nuulaa.

For Nuulaa, Amy implements a holga camera to create unique images that convey the motion, emotion, and complexity of the subject matter. Beautiful, soulful images! (The word Nuulaa means "humanity" in a tribal language from Liberia.) She creates portraits, thematic landscapes, and wedding suppliments.

And logo by yours truely. Bonus!

Amy's other capital-AWESOME project is the documentary Rainbow Town.

With a team from the Shine Foundation, Amy traveled to civil war-trodden Liberia and an orphanage run by a faith-filled woman named Ma Feeta. There they gathered interviews, photos, and video to create Rainbow Town, the documentary. It is rousing! You can learn more about their efforts and showings on the website.

Look at these precious children! If you go this link, each of these Rainbow Town orphans has a little video clip to share. I spent an hour watching them once...particularly their smiles.
AND the children create art to raise support for their education (it only costs $2000 to go to complete college there!).
I am utterly obsessed. I'd like to extend the invitation for you to be obsessed too.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

At the Market : Tulips!

If I had to pick one SINGLE place as my official "Favorite Place in Cincinnati", it would be the Findlay Market in Over-the-Rhine. The vendors are adorable, the selection is awesome, the food is fresh AND local. When I moved to Cinci almost 3 years ago, Findlay Market was the first place that inspired me to believe I would love it here.

As of April 1, the farmer's market portion is open as well, so A and I hit it up this morning.

LOOK WHAT I FOUND : the most stunning, beautiful green parrot tulip! Best part is, they sold it to us with the bulb. Therefore, after the flower wilts, I'll replant it in one of our side gardens. Here's to hoping it blooms again next spring!

I may have gone a little overboard with the pics....But I love things that are beautiful because they are weird! Especially ones that are green.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Whole Grain Faux-Polte Burittos

Let me start by saying, I am no. good. at following recipes! I have ruined many a frosting and scone with my failure to realize missing ingredients or mix time. I think(/know) that once I even tried to substitute 3 cups of whole wheat flour for 4 cups of all-purpose flour. If you've ever baked...you know what that spells: rock solid, better-as-baseballs muffins and wasted ingredients.

However, fortunately, one of my favorite activities is to create meals from whatever is already in our kitchen, and I am at least much better at it. The flavors are new, the challenge is creative, and the end result is something to share and critique with friends or Hubs. When I make a meal, anything that gets more than three unprompted "Lis this is really good" comments from Husband during the meal is made a repeat dinner option. Anything that makes him laugh with glee (this has happened only once...with some berry pie), is added to our special occasion list.

Tonight I made what we are now calling "Whole Grain Faux-Polte Burritos". Faux-Polte is short for Faux-Chipolte. (Our one and only preferred fast food restaurant is Chipolte.) With their ingredients and tortilla wrapping style in mind, I set out to use healthy, whole grain ingredients to make a tasty burrito, yums.

Ingredients :
4 12" Whole Grain Tortillas
1/2 c. Quinoa, unprepared
1 Large Chicken Breast
3 Heaping Spoonfuls of Your Favorite Salsa
1/2 Can of Black Beans, washed and drained
2-3 Chipoline onions
1 Ripe and Beautiful Tomato (you can leave this out if they are out of season)
3-4 Tbs. Lime Juice
Shredded Cheddar Cheese to taste
2-3 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Ground Basil leaves
3 tsp. Chili Powder
3 tsp. Col.'s Chipolte Spice Blend (mixture of salt, paprika, sugar, chipolte, garlic, onion, cumin, and coriander...I'm sure any chipolte blend works just as well! Or just throw some of those ingredients together)
Cooking Instructions:

  1. Prepare Quinoa on the stove top as instructed on the package, however, add about 2 Tbs. of lime juice to the water before turning on the heat. Set aside when finished.
  2. Mix Col's Chipolte Spice Blend and Chili Powder together in small bowl.
  3. Cut chicken breast into 1/2"-3/4" pieces and toss in spice mixture.
  4. Heat olive oil, pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper in skillet on medium heat. When hot, add spiced chicken and cook until no longer pink anywhere inside, tossing and stirring consistently. Set aside when finished. Note : Don't clean the skillet! After assembly, the burritos can be crisped right in the same pan and pick up some of the same spice!
  5. Clean and dice chipoline onions and tomato; combine in medium bowl with the Basil.
  6. Add 1 Tbs. lime juice, salsa, and black beans to the onion mixture. Stir.
  7. Now for the fun assembly part! Lay 1/4 Quinoa into a a line on a flat tortilla. Add 1/4 of the spiced chicken, 1/4 of the onion mixture, and as much cheddar cheese as you like. Fold the ingredients into the tortilla, and secure it shut with toothpicks. Repeat to make four secure pouches.
  8. In the same skillet used to cook the chicken, place the pouches into the skillet, still on Medium heat. Let the side brown, then flip and repeat. Add a teeny bit of butter to the skillet at any time if the oil is running too low to brown the tortillas.
  9. Take off the heat, remove the toothpicks, and serve while warm!
Please do note, that all of my measurements are estimations of what I did, and you should totally just go with what feels and tastes best to you!

This is one of my favorite things I've made. I accompanied the heart-healthy burritos with a dry Riesling, and Hubs accompanied it with his normal big glass of water. In terms of our own personal ranking system, this meal got five "Lis, this is really good"s.

I'll leave you with this in-process shot of my counter top! Ah!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hubs Makes the News

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Art classes Are Awesome!

The Cincinnati Enquirer featured the Wyoming neighborhood in their "Your Enquirer Neighborhood" section, and they did a lovely page on two classes that Husband teaches : Drawing and Painting and AP Drawing and Painting.

These are all his students. Can you see him?

There he is! Ha.

In today's world of struggling district budgets, it seems art classes are some of the first for the chopping block. But look at the concentration on those students' faces! Husband once told me that a reason he loves teaching art is that "the students work so hard to accomplish a goal that they look forward to owning and using. They have to have patience and practice, but they go for it because they are excited about the final product."

Now, even if those students aren't going into art*, what a wonderful process for them to experience and develop!

*(A TON of people make their living with art skills - myself and my husband included...please don't take art out of high schools!)

Images courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
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