2014 Week 21: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”

La De Blog - Container Garden in Smart Pots 2014
My Container Gardens in Smart Pots

This week: Planted my container garden. Godzilla @ Regal Webster Place. Dinner at Wasabi with Heidi. Vivian Maier photography exhibit @ Harold Washington Library. Katniss re-check at Chicago Exotics (Skokie), Fat Willy’s/X-Men: Days of Future Past/Takito with Jerroid. Restocked Plenty with veggie vampire tea towels/dinner at Thai Village with Stacy!

Great week for reconnecting with friends I hadn’t seen in awhile. One of my dear friends is going through a really rough time and I hope I am of some help. Fighting a battle takes a village and, these days, our friends are stand-ins for our family in fighting that battle. The quote, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,” attributed to Ian Maclaren, is something I have been trying to think about often. These days, technology has taken a lot of the personal exchanges that used to be so normal; a letter in the mail, a nice phonecall, in person hangs. I had a really good talk with Jerroid about this. As Moz sang, “Hold onto your friends.”

Films watched 21st week of the year:

Godzilla (2014)
X-Men: Days of Future Past 3-D
Lola Versus

Godzilla was not worth the first run theatre dollars – go see it in a second-run theatre. At least we saw it on $6.50 Tuesday at Webster Place. X-Men was awesome, worth every cent, and every movie I see with Jerroid becomes even better. He convinced Z and I to watch director Gareth Edwards’ Monsters, which was much better and actually beautiful and scary, compared to his big budget version of Godzilla. Lola Verus was fairly good, with a fantastic soundtrack, but I much preferred Daryl Wein’s Breaking Upwards, which I’ve written about here before. Also, I felt that Wain’s partner Zoe Lister-Jones was wasted in this one and she is so good.

2014 Week 20: Swap Haul ‘n Oatmeal

Lobster Dog
Lob Dog Tilda, mid-sneeze

This week: Tradeshow in Texas for work Monday through Wednesday. Work bday lunch at Handlebar. Made food for Chicago Food Swap, with its first time theme of vegan. Erin took me out for a bday cocktail @ Takito. Migrainey. Brunch/Logan Square Farmer’s Market @ Bite with Jen S. Chicago Food Swap @ Green Home Experts. Dinner @ Quesadilla with Z, Alison, Ian, and Sei Jin.

Swap Talk!

– I brought my malört jam, blueberry jam, the blueberry agave jam that tasted like fruit roll-ups, and Dandy Dandies Fudge (made with Chicago Vegan Foods vegan marshmallows). My most popular item was the malört jam, surprising enough! Really, it is wonderful. I am going to try to bring something malörty to every swap I attend. 🙂

La De Blog - 2014 May Chicago Food Swap - what I made

– There was a lot of jam and next time I will bring something not jam so I can trade for other people’s jam!
– This was only my second swap, but I need to wrangle myself into making/bring less stuff.
– Making label stickers with my name and what I made, like I’d seen swapper Dora do at the last swap left me more time for talking to fellow swappers and tasting!
– The host space for this month’s swap, Green Home Experts, is a treasure trove if you want to make your home sustainable. Simply LOVELY owner & employees. I bought jalapeno and habanero plants for my container garden, along with some praying mantis egg sacs!
– I loved going to a swap where I knew I could eat nearly everything (one thing had mango & I am allergic).
– I scored an OXO strawberry huller and oh, hull no, I can’t wait to get at some strawberries with it!
– So many great items, but some of my faves from my swap haul: vegan mushroom bacon, the blueberry crumb cake (not sure if vegan), Linsey’s fermented beet mustard, and Ian & Alison’s pickled onions. Non-vegan item fave: duck eggs from swapper Tara!

La De Blog - 2014 May Chicago Food Swap - my haul

Films watched 20th week of the year:

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
You’re Next

Since I was gone half the week in Austin for the work tradeshow and then cooking for the food swap, I only watched two movies, but they were both good. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is one of my favorite films and I still remember nearly every word and facial expression of Steve Martin.

I don’t watch a lot of horror films, but I thought You’re Next was pretty good and it made me jump and grab for Z’s hand multiple times. The only weird part was seeing someone we are friends with get killed fairly brutally.

2014 Week 19: Bday, Tweeday.

This week: Z and I took Kirstie to Handlebar for a belated birthday dinner. The new UVNA board met with the old UVNA board to discuss the changing of the guard. Delicious bday boo dinner @ Lula. Cooked all day getting ready for my taco/pie 35th bday party complete with unwanted guest! Brunch at Bite. Some quality time with Jenny.

Films watched 19th week of the year:

The Punk Singer *
Dirty Girl
The To Do List

* documentary

All films starring or about a female protagonist, but only one standout. I’m actually surprised The To Do List passed The Bechdel Test. The Punk Singer ruled and, while I consider myself a feminist, I didn’t know much about Hanna and Bikini Kill’s history. Watching this film kicked my butt into gear – there is so much more that I want to do to help women’s equality. These days to me, a good documentary feels like a call to action.

2014 Week 18: Another saag story

La De Blog - Blueberry Jam from Food in Jars
Blueberry Jam from Food in Jars

I had it in my mind that I wanted to try making jam on my own this time, so I tried a blueberry jam recipe I had, but subbed in agave and subbed powdered pectin in for liquid pectin (it can be done, but the substitution page I found was wrong and my first batch ended up tasting exactly like a blueberry fruit roll-up – it is actually not terrible, but not mouth-watering. It was Z’s dang suggestion that I had enough time to make another batch before the TPOBPAH show, so I went straight back to it and made this Blueberry Jam Recipe from Food in Jars. I followed this recipe to a tee except for leaving out nutmeg and using the low sugar pectin since it was all I had. This jam was off the chain delicious. Jam is totally my jam now, dudes. I may bring this one to the May 18th Chicago Food Swap – spots are still available – you could go!

This week: Made jam twice in one night. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart/Fear of Men/Ablebody @ Empty Bottle. Sound of Silent Film Festival @ Music Box. Quesadilla with Erica & Kelly. Takito with Donovan. Arya Bhavan/Takito with Stacy. A very long walk. Dimo’s with the boo. Grocery shopping. Arline & Monica’s civil union day-after celebration at Foster Beach! On Sunday night, I made Saag Tofu from chow.com and whoa my gosh, it was delicious – next time I will try to veganize it.
La De Blog - Apartment Buildings in Ukrainian Village
Previous Ukrainian Village Apartment Buildings

Like I said, on Saturday I took a 2-hour walk and I decided to walk to all of my previous residences in Chicago, which all happen to be within 4 blocks of one another – I do not joke about being a hood rat. It was nice being outside enjoying the weather and reflecting on my 10 years in Chicago and clearing my brain of some heavy stuff that had been hanging out there. Not pictured is my current apartment, the prettiest of them all – our landlord’s garden is in full bloom with my favorite being pink and white striped tulips.

Films watched 18th week of the year:

Child’s Play 2
From Up on Poppy Hill
Veronica Mars

Good movie week, even CP2 was fun. FUOPH was pretty to watch. Veronica Mars was highly enjoyable a second time. Philomena was really good, so good in fact it totally bummed me out that it didn’t win any major film awards. I’m adopted myself and knowing this is a true story is just so freaking sad, but lovely too.