Posts Tagged ‘links’

I like to think that I am an optimistic realist, but sometimes something crops us that shows that deep down, on a visceral level, I am an idealist. I try to keep this blog pretty light, but I am not going to hide the fact that some things that happen in the world are just plain wrong, so I am interrupting my usual perky ramblings with some much more serious fare.

Lately, between the Treyvon Martin situation and Hunger Games fans with racist views commenting on the movie’s casting, I have been saddened and disgusted by the racist attitudes that persist in our culture. Let me point out that I am aware that I am extremely privileged to have the luxury of being mostly unaware of these racist attitudes to this point. I mean, I have known that our society is by no means perfect when it comes to race, but I get to live my life as a fair-skinned person without worrying about the message my skin color sends about me or whether I will be considered equally for a job (even as a woman, I don’t have to worry about this, since my profession is almost entirely female.) I suspect that people of color may not be as shocked and disappointed about these stories as I am. Angry, yes. Frustrated, absolutely. Marching and protesting. But they butt up against these racial attitudes day after day, and that’s much more sad than my disappointment that people still can’t see each other as people – more alike than we are different.

These racial attitudes are horribly insidious, and I am not immune. I catch myself being wary of dark-skinned men more often than lighter-skinned ones or having thoughts about families I encounter that tie into stereotypes. And I am sure there are thoughts and behaviors I have that I am not even aware of. So, I try to educate myself, catch those patterns of thought and behavior and change them. I try to step out of my cocoon of privilege. And with these things in the news, I am taking the opportunity to spread the word here. Racism is alive and well in America, in case you hadn’t noticed. I’d love to hear thoughts on ways that we can all work to undercut those views. I don’t expect a lot of disagreement with this post, but I encourage discussion, as long as everyone keeps things civil. Any comments that are disrespectful, threatening, etc. will be deleted.


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Web gems

If, like me, you are chilling at home on a rainy Sunday, you might enjoy some of these links that caught my eye recently:

These Steampunk Softies are just about the cutest, geekiest craft project I have ever seen.

I’ve got a Project Runway post in the works (those who know me in real life know that I have long been a huge fan.) This season, I am also following Project Project Runway, also from Craftzine, where folks play along with the PR challenges by making outfits for dolls. Maybe next season I will join in, though it would be a big time commitment.

I am also a huge Boston Red Sox fan (Jason Varitek and Dustin Pedroia being my particular favorites.)  A friend recently sent me the link to Bill Simmons’ entertaining take on this season’s Sox.

WanderMonster is a blog where a dad chronicles the creative collaboration between himself and his son. Dad gives the kid a paper with a drawing prompt with his lunch and posts the prompts and the subsequent drawings. I love this blog so much, and I especially loved the recent post about an imagined argument.

I adore these stunning National Park posters by Charley Harper. And some are available for a steal at the U. S. Government Bookstore.

I only recently discovered the style blog, Closet Confections, but she definitely had me with her Sassy sundress that is evocative of a Dr. Seuss book. Sounds silly, but it’s actually fabulous.

Let me know if you’ve stumbled upon any fabulous links lately.

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photo by Flickr user ArkanGL

One of the things I sometimes wonder about is what is up with all the food allergies and intolerances that abound these days.  I am convinced that the prevalence is due, in part, to awareness of the conditions and the ability to test for an diagnose them.  I don’t think that’s all there is to it, though.  I’ve heard a number of theories as to why allergies and sensitivies, to peanuts in particular, are on the rise.  Some say exposure at too young an age can cause a food allergy, while others claim that eating peanuts early in life helps prevent an allergy (if I recall correctly, peanut allergies are very uncommon in African nations where peanuts are a staple even for babies.)

Here’s the thing.  I have the luxury of idly wondering about food allergies.  I complain about my allergies to dust and mold and pollen, but I feel very lucky that I don’t have any food allergies.  Working in the medical field, I sometime see the scary effects that food allergies can have, and I have also worked with patients with Crohn’s disease and celiac disease, whose lifestyle is greatly affected by the ways their bodies react to food.  Though it is sheer speculation on my part, I think it might be harder to have celiac or another type of sensitivity, since so many people just don’t get it.  People seem to understand  the need for vigilance with ingredients if exposure could trigger an anaphylactic  reaction that could lead to death.  But a person with celiac disease isn’t going to have that kind of sudden, obviously life-threatening reaction, so I think it is difficult for others to comprehend why that person needs to avoid all traces of gluten.

I recently read two fascinating blog posts about food allergies and intolerances that really made me feel for folks who have to live with these conditions.  The first was a post for BlogHer aboutaccomodating kids’ dietary restrictions for parties and playdates. The blogger tells about overhearing a mother, who was planning a birthday party for her child, wishing she hadn’t invited a child to the party with a food allergy, because it would be “such a pain” to deal with the child’s needs. That really got me. You know what? It is a pain to deal with food limitations, but that parent only has to do so once in a while. That child and the parents have to cope with the inconvenience, expense, worry, and fear all the time. Plus, think about how that child would feel about being excluded. I love that the blogger has simple, easy to follow tips for welcoming children with food restrictions into your home. While the post is geared toward hosting pint-sized guests, the suggestions are equally valid for having an adult with an allergy or sensitivity over for a dinner party or movie night. Planning a menu around dietary restrictions takes extra time, but we are lucky to live in the age of the internet, when information on appropriate products and recipes are at our fingertips. Folks with these conditions already miss out on a lot; those of us who are lucky enough to be able to eat freely without health concerns shouldn’t make them miss out on our social events, because of minor inconvenience.

Carol of Alinea At Home, one of my favorite bloggers, wrote movingly about the burden of celiac disease. That post shows how the daily wear and tear of coping with the disease can wear you down, even a woman like Carol, who is savvy and has an amazing ability to adapt recipes.

Hopefully, awareness of food allergies and intolerances will continue to grow, so that life is easier for people living with the conditions. I also hope this post helps a little in raising that awareness.

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When did May 4th become associated with Star Wars?  I first heard about it last year, I think, and it took me the better part of the day to figure out the pun behind the day.

At any rate, though I am not a Star Wars buff, May the 4th seems like an appropriate day to share some fabulously geeky links.

Firefly cupcakes from Vivian's Blogorama

These Firefly cupcakesare so awesome and adorable (look at Wash with his dinosaur!), they might be the only cupcakes ever that I couldn’t bear to eat.

According to Craft, May is Geek Crafts Month. Sweet.

Bet you never thought about how an astronaut’s spacesuit gets made. Turns out it’s quite the production. I love the collaboration between engineers and seamstresses.

Need a new lunchbox? How about a Lego one? How cute is the drink bottle?

A thermoreactive wall that makes pretty colors when you pee? No fair – the guys get to have all the fun!

You have to see this San Francisco themed ball run made of 100,000 toothpicks to believe it, so here you go:

Scott Weaver’s Rolling through the Bay from Learning Studio on Vimeo.

I am a sucker for the combo of cute and geeky, and Wookie the Chew totally hits that happy button for me.

And speaking of cute and geeky, I have a thing for adorable robots – R2D2 was, and is, my favorite Star Wars character, and I absolutely adored Wall-E.  So it’s no surprise that I love Machinarium. I played through the demo a while back and was charmed by the little robot and enjoyed the problem-solving involved in the game, plus the art is just lovely. I was recently reminded of it, and am definitely going to have to buy the full game.

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It’s been a lovely spring weekend here in Boston.  So lovely, in fact, that my main goal for today was a long walk.  So my outfit had to be practical, but I think it’s pretty cute, too.

(Sorry for the blurry photo.  I am still trying to figure out how to get a decent outfit photo by myself in my apartment.  It may not be possible.  You have no idea how many photos I took, and this is the best of the bunch.)

This isn’t the greenest outfit in the reuse sense, as all the clothing items were purchased new, but everything except the jeans, which I have had so long I don’t recall where I bought them, came from an outlet, sale, or discount store, so it is definitely a thrifty look.  Speaking of the jeans, they are Lee, midrise bootcut, and they are the most comfortable jeans I have ever worn.  Jeans never used to be comfort wear for me, but these changed my mind.  Turns out jeans are actually comfortable, if they fit my curves properly.

This outfit highlights a couple other fashion items I have changed my mind about: scarves and long sweaters.  For most of my life, I only wore scarves with outerwear to keep warm.  They were practical items, not fashion.  Which is funny, because I love accessories.  I was convinced I had a short neck, though, and thought scarves were unflattering on me.  Since cutting my hair short, I have done a total 180, and have a small collection of scarves that I use often.  I need to work on how I wear them, though, since I only seem able to tie them in one way, and it is getting a little old.

As for the long sweaters, this purple one converted me.  I am barely five feet tall, and I am curvy, so I had assumed a long cardigan would make me look stumpy and dumpy.  But the color and softness of this cardigan, not to mention the $15 price tag, lured me in.  When I tried it on, I decided it actually works.  Go figure.  Goes to show that every so often you should re-evaluate what you think works and doesn’t on your figure.

I didn’t tell you about my jewelry, though.  After getting totally dressed this morning – in fact, after I had already left the house – I remembered that I had bought a super cute ring yesterday and realized it would be perfect with this outfit.  It was still in my bag from the day before, so I was able to add it to my look.

Yesterday some friends and I wandered around an open studios event in Somerville.   One home/studio we visited belonged to the artists behind EsotErica, Citizen Chain Jewelry, and the adorable Smiley Baby Hats. There were lots of nifty things, but I was especially drawn to the rings made from vintage clip earrings and buttons. They were very reasonably priced, so I treated myself to this lavender one.

My long walk took me to the arboretum, where there were tons of pretty trees and flowers to enjoy, so expect a post on that soon.  And if you haven’t voted in the poll in my last post, please do!

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Happy Spring Holidays

I hope that those who celebrate Passover are having a meaningful and lovely holiday.  And I wish those of you who celebrate Easter a beautiful and blessed holiday, as well.

On a more secular note, I feel the need to share this year’s Peeps dioramas at the Denver Post (Angry Peeps!), and Washington Post (movies and TV shows dominate, but Easter Island is my fave.)

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Sorry for my absence here lately. I am in the midst of special event mania at work, and I have some family stuff going on, so I have had little motivation or creativity to invest in blogging. I hope to have a cooking post and a Green Goddess Dressing post up in the next few days. In the meantime, here’s a roundup of links that I have found interesting and intriguing lately.

The Japanese government tried to discourage the tradition in Tokyo of picnicking under the blooming cherry trees, as the people should be mourning after the devastation from the earthquake and tsunami. I heard this story on NPR, and I thought the ban on the traditional picnics was loony. I don’t think anyone in Tokyo will be forgetting the disaster anytime soon. And in the midst of death and destruction, I think the people of Japan need comforting traditions, beauty, poetry, and the powerful inspiration of spring and renewal more than ever. I am glad that many chose to ignore the government’s recommendations.

I think it is human nature to make some snap judgments and assumptions about other people based on what we see, but that doesn’t make it right. Sal, of Already Pretty (which has in a very short time become one of my favorite blogs), points out that we can’t tell whether someone is healthy by their weight, and it’s none of our business anyway. Working in the medical field, I am conscious of the health risks and costs to society that tend to go along with being overweight, but people are individuals, not statistics, and the human body has an incredible ability to vary from one person to another. I needed the reminder that the specific person I see out and about with a bigger body may be in perfect physical health.

Dear Sugar is another website with which I am head over heels in love. This week, Sugar’s answer to a letter writer whose wedding preparations are making him/her crazy is an absolute thing of beauty. I want to shout it from the rooftops and write it in the sky over every single one of those conspicuous consumption driven wedding expos. If more people followed this philosophy, I think weddings would be more meaningful, more fun, less stressful, and probably way less expensive.

Speaking of consumerism, it always seemed odd to me that some chefs, cookbooks, and companies recommend getting new spices every year or so. Casual Kitchen has a post that validates my skepticism. If the flavor of your spices has faded, just use more. Sounds like common sense to me!

Did you hear about Easter eggs being renamed “spring spheres” at one school? What do you think? I’ve written here before about how I wonder how to best deal with the variety of cultural and holiday beliefs in our society, but “spring spheres”? Really? The nit-picking part of me has to point out that eggs are not spheres to begin with. And I kind of think that if you have a problem with Easter eggs, you should just avoid having them in the school, rather than renaming them. The whole controversy, though, has me wondering where the line can be drawn between religious customs and cultural ones. Egg hunts and Easter baskets have little, if anything, to do with Easter as a religious holiday, right? I’d love to hear from any readers who are non-Christian about whether you celebrate Easter or other secular versions of Christian holidays and why or why not.

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