All posts by tim

Foods to avoid.

So the spaghetti I made earlier this week is out. It is a mess. I stripped Stella down to eat it last night. She was just in her diaper. Which she promptly unfastened. Because that is what she does. And it’s comedy gold. Toddlers think it’s really funny to undo their diapers. That’s why you make them wear pants.

So she at the spaghetti. It was a complete mess, and she’d tucked quite a bit into her diaper, so I took her upstairs for her bath completely naked leaving her diaper in the high chair. Once I got Stella bathed and in bed (and the bathtub cleaned out), I went back downstairs. Only to discover that the diaper was no longer in the high chair, and Lucy was under the couch. Looking oh, so very ashamed. I found the diaper proper on the back door mat. Apparently, even dogs are not that into spaghetti flavored urine. The diaper cover was under the couch. Licked clean. Oh the shame Lucy! The shame!

Intelligent… depends on your definition of Intelligent

So I was thinking about the ears, nose, and mouth. Which made me think about Intelligent Design and Irreducible Complexity. Irreducible complexity for those not in the know is the idea that certain systems are far too complex to have evolved. They must point to creation by a higher power. Which got me thinking about the ears, nose and mouth in relation. That has got to be the most inelegant design. I mean, sure you have a nose hole and an ear hole, and a mouth hole. But they’re all connected inside. So fluid from your nose can get in your ears. Stuff you drink can get in your lungs. And if the filtration system on your breathing hole (nose) gets stopped up you breath through your mouth which is completely unfiltered. Doesn’t seem to be designed by a higher designer to me.

But then I got to thinking about how humans design things, and we’re really bad at multi-function designs. I mean look at any piece of technology that does more than one thing. The best designs humans create are things that do one thing and do them well. So if man is created in God’s image, then perhaps God is kind of bad at design elegant multi-function designs. I mean if his creation can’t design a combination phone/printer/fax/copy machine that can print a spreadsheet and receive a fax at the same time, then why do we expect that God could create an elegant respiratory system.

Or perhaps the ears, nose, and mouth just evolved to the stupidity of design they inhabit today.

Food, food, and food

This post is basically the pictorial followup to this post.

First off, we went to Jason’s Deli on Sunday and got this incredibly cute picture of Stella. This is her eating ice cream. Could you distill the wonder of ice cream into a more perfect picture?

So I downloaded pictures last night and can finally post about the Salmon with Sesame and Orange-Ginger Relish Dinner I made two weeks ago. Here’s the mis en place:

I don’t think my matchstick peppers turned out quite as small as they should be, but the oranges went well. I also didn’t marinate the salmon for the full 4 hours. I think I managed about 30 minutes. It still was quite tasty though. Here’s the final product:

So this being about food, I’ll now move onto the meals for Stella. She’s been being really fussy lately. If you give her vegetables, she generally puts them into her mouth and spits them out. She’s also been being fairly difficult lately, so I figured it would make the week easier for Julie if she had meals for Stella each day that she could just heat up. Here are the four meals I made:

Meal 1:

Hamburger with Onion, with a side of Asparagus. She’s not eating the asparagus, but the dogs love it, so I guess it’s not all bad.

Meal 2:

Whole-wheat chicken Spaghetti with garlic and artichokes.

Meal 3:

Whole-wheat tortilla pizzas with chicken and artichokes.

Meal 4:

Whole-wheat quesadillas with chicken, asparagus and mixed cheese.

They’re not as nutritious as I’d like, but I think she’ll eat them. Next week I’ll start throwing all sorts of vegetables in there. I’ll look to Julie for inspiration, she’s always got good ideas for vegetables. Perhaps spinach and broccoli on the pizza next week? Cauliflower and broccolli in the spaghetti? Sweet potato instead of asparagus. We’ll see…

Finally I leave you with some cool racing pictures.

Starting the race

Finishing

Stella and I running Mom in to the finish line.

So now you’re up to date. New news in the future.

Green Walmart and Monkey Meals

So this weekend was pretty nice. It was fairly relaxed and we got to spend some time doing little to nothing. We even checked out some model houses just for fun. Because we have time to waste on such things right now. Really nice after our how hectic our life as been.

So, first off, have you seen this ad:

Does it make you tear up a little? I’ll admit it does me. I know, that it will help Wal*Mart’s profits immensley to sell millions of pairs of organic pajama pants. But they’re still the only major retailer making these kinds of statements on TV. They’re the only ones saying if you buy product ‘x’ you can prevent ‘y’ gallons of pesticides from being dumped on the earth. I still don’t really like their products, but I’ve got to support a major corporation making a statement this strong about the protecting the environment. I wish Target would do something…

I’ve been trying to figure out ways to give Stella better meals lately. I really believed before we had her that we’d somehow get her to stay up later than 8pm and she would just eat the same food Julie and I do. How wrong I was. We’ve been feeding her warmed up frozen vegetables and chicken for quite a while now, but she’s recently balked at this bland meal. Probably because she’s had a few meals at restaurants now, and realizes how food can actually taste. I tried making extra portions of all the meals we eat, but that gets thrown off if we eat out, or if I don’t make enough extra (translation, I get hungry and eat too much). So that wasn’t really a solution.

So this week I’m going to try to make her 4 reheatable meals. Whole Wheat Chicken Quesadillas, Hamburger, Tortilla Pizza, and chicken Spaghetti. All have far more vegetables than normal for those food types. Hopefully she’ll dig them. And hopefully they’ll be fast. I’ll try to post the making of the meals in case anyone is curious.

On another public school fairness note…

This is an even better way to create fairness in schools. I disagree with the author, though, that this will lead to less dissent. I think our feelings on race make us less able to criticize race-based policies. Income based policies would face a lot more complaint. After all, think how acceptable it is to use the term “white trash” in our society. Here’s the article:

http://www.slate.com/id/2169443/fr/rss/

I do like the idea though.

Societal Norms

So, Coker has got me thinking about societal pressure a lot lately. He’s been talking a lot about the difficulty of not judging other people. Which is nearly impossible, and we all know that. But it got me thinking about the question of why we judge. And I’ve been wondering if perhaps this is our pack behavior. This is our way of passing down important knowledge that is not easily ascertained by cause and effect. Like “have sex and you’ll get pregnant” is pretty simple to teach kids. It’s much harder to get them to understand how much their life might suck if they have a kid at 12. How they might not get to finish high school. How much fun they might miss out in college, etc. Thus we build in societal judging of young mothers. It’s worked decently well for millions of years. And it’s fascinating to me, because we’re obviously in a period where it’s less accepted to judge people. Or at least we think that’s true. In reality we’re just better at segmenting ourselves into populates that just judge fat people, or welfare moms, or soccer moms. Whatever, our little tribe is not. But we encounter so many other tribes in our day to day lives that we get to the point where we pretend we’re not judging anyone. Except in reality we are. Oh we are…

Obviously there are great reasons to buck the trends. The struggle for civil rights is a great reason to buck conventional wisdom. But at least with race now we live under the opposite polarity. We judge people who have the slightest tendencies to do or say things that are degrading to a particular race. So we haven’t gotten rid of that particular taboo. We’ve just moved the mass consensus to the other side. I’m not sure you can actually get rid of this tribal judging. I just think you can move it around on the value map.

It’s interesting to see how people fit into these trends. Some people seem to be the tastemakers in this respect. Setting the bar for those in their tribe. And sometimes various people in the tribe can be the tastemakers on different subjects. Perhaps someone who is a strong foodie in the tribe decides which wines and cheese are good. And the rest of the tribe follows. Because they don’t know as much about wine and cheese. And suddenly you have an entire tribe that judges people who drink St. Genevieve. But is that a bad thing? It’s more a fascinating thing. And when the St. Genevieve drinkers come up against this tribe, perhaps they have a reason that St. Genevieve is a good wine. Perhaps they are thrifty and feel that it’s a waste of money to spend that much money on wine. Their tribe judges people who spend excessively on food. Who’s right? Who cares? These are both valid points, and their judging helps to mold their tribes.

I think one of the unfortunate fallouts of this is that some people can’t take the criticism. This is a clash of cultures man! You can’t just say, I’m pissed off by this or that makes me angry. You’ve got to confront the idea. No one in life is going to have the same life experiences and there’s no way they’re going to understand how your experiences shape your opinion unless you tell them. And then confront your own. Which one is more valid for you? And are you perhaps angry because you see the validity of the other side, but it’s not what you want in your life? Might you need some personal growth and rejection of past dogmas? Unfortunately, with certain people and certain settings we don’t feel free to debate. Work is a great example of this for me. So there becomes less and less to talk about. Because if you can’t talk about your values, what are you really talking about? TV, I guess.

The downside to tribal life is that while we can get meaning and security from keeping a set of values, we also can stagnate and become “old fashioned”. Becoming “old fashioned” I don’t believe is a function of believing in certain things that are no longer hip. It is a function of settling in, and no longer accepting new ideas. Of settling in as one of the tribe with no input on direction.

We no longer have vast country sized tribes. You don’t see Nazi Germany’s or 1950’s US anymore. We’re fragmented. Our migration patterns, and communications patterns allow us to find a very small, personalized tribe. And to reform our tribe as we see fit. Anyone have any thoughts on this? Am I the only one thinking about it (and feeling that perhaps it is postive for our society as a whole)?

Pulling up the gangplank…

Talk about burning the bridges behind him:

And Thomas said, “Simply putting students together under the same roof does not necessarily mean that the students will learn together or even interact. Furthermore, it is unclear whether increased interracial contact improves racial attitudes and relations.”

Welcome back to pre-1950s America ya’ll. I’m guessing those “Quiet Riots” aren’t going to stay quiet for another generation. The “I pay my taxes to send my kids to a good school” folks have won. We’ll have our semi-private schools (barrier of entry – ability to afford a 200k+ house, and not be red-lined by real estate agents), and we’ll have our “public schools”. I can’t even write how angry this makes me. Every kid deserves to go to a “good school”. If the school in your neighborhood is not “good”, then it is your duty as an American to go in, and help improve it, not to transfer your kid to a “good” school. Otherwise, pay for the privilege to be a racist asshole and send your kid to a private school. Public schools are socialism. And part of the deal for your child to get a fantastic education, is that you make sure other kids can get a fantastic education. That’s how socialism works. Everyone has to do their part. If you want to opt out, opt out and send your kid to a private school, but don’t ruin it for the rest of us.

Getting there…

So last night I did another Sunstroke 5k at town lake. Anyone who’d like to join me for one of those feel free. They’re a lot of fun. Anyway, last night I finished in 25:19.5 which is 8.07/mile. That completely blows away my previous times, and gets me close to the under 8 minute mile mark (which I psychologically really want to get under). I wonder if my dietary changes have been helping this. Julie is doing weight watchers, so I’ve been making food that has a lot less fat. And cutting out most of the fat that remains. The hardest part is olive oil. I get to put in at most 4 teaspoons per dish. Most call for about 3 tablespoons, so that’s been a challenge.

As soon as Julie downloads this weekends pictures, I want to have a food post about this great salmon dish I made.

What was that?

So, I’ve come to the realization that I now live with another person in the house. It’s funny how they really only become little people once they start walking. Yesterday, I kept seeing this little person zipping around just outside of my peripheral vision. A midget person. Too small to be real. Moving like a Jim Henson puppet circa 1984. Like the little Alien that bursts out of one’s chest and starts zipping around.

Sidetrack

Shouldn’t there be an alien pull toy? That baby alien always seemed like it was on a cart being pulled by a string (which it probably was), shouldn’t there be a baby alien for babies? Goo.

Anytime I actually catch her eye, she gives me this mischievous smile and wobbles off in the other direction. Sometimes she claps as if to say, “Soon, I’ll be free of my tyrannical overlords!” She can still crawl faster than she can walk, but even she can tell that the real power is in walking, and she’s almost there. Almost, there…

Late at night.

It was a cool night. I walked out into the garage. I hefted the bag of dirty diapers and put them inside the back of the fence. I threw the last of our scrap wood into the trash can, and left the lid off, awaiting the bag Julie was filling with cat excrement. I picked up the recycling and walked down to the curb, placing it next to the trash can. I looked up the drive way. There stood our trash can, awaiting Punky pooh. I looked back at the trash can at the curb. I opened the lid to confirm. It wasn’t out trash. I walked back up and brought Julie out. She looked at the trash can at the curb. Looked back to the trash can silhouetted at the edge of our garage. Illuminated like a modern day religious icon. She sat stunned. I sat stunned. After a bit of discussion, we noticed that our neighbors didn’t have their garbage can out. We pushed the can over to their side of the street, pushed down our cart, and closed the garage. Who knows if that was their garbage can, or if it is the rolling dutchman, moved from house to house, old trash looking for a home to reside in front of so that it can be picked up, stopping, but never for long. Rolling ever onward. Its owner forever searching amidst rows and rows of identical receptacles. Cursing that they did not right down their can’s serial number. Oh yes, your can has a serial number. Look and see.