My Endive Challenge

I decided that endives are fascinating. They're somewhat bitter, so maybe it's part of a spring cleanse craving. For this month's challenge, which was basically to purchase and use an endive, I researched braised endive, braised endive with ham, endive with shrimp, with avocado, with Stilton, and with smoked trout. While they all sound delicious, I decided in the end to riff on a fennel salad someone brought to a work potluck. It was amazing, composed of shaved fennel, dill, oil-cured olives, and a white balsamic vinaigrette.
  • 1 endive
  • 1/2 cup oil-cured olives, pits removed
  • 1 Meyer lemon
  • 1 T white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T grapeseed oil (or any oil of choice)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 T chopped shallot
  • Dill
  • Zest the lemon and place half the zest in a bowl or cup measure. Juice the lemon, add the vinegar and oil, salt and pepper, and whisk.
  • Toss endive, olives, shallot, and vinaigrette. Garnish with fresh dill. Serve!
Notes: I served this with lasagna. It was great. I am now officially in love with white balsamic vinegar, and have been making vinaigrette with it constantly! It's a great complement to the bitter crunchy endive. This salad was ni├žoise-y enough to think it might do well with anchovies or some other little fishy friend. It could also be bulked up with orzo or even go on top of another salad as a crunchy condiment. Go try an endive (or a Meyer lemon, or white balsamic vinegar) today!!

What do you do with endives? Do you like them?

Past challenges of 2013:

January: Kusa.
February: Cauliflower Pizza Crust.
March: Beef & Ale Hand Pies

Frightening Advances

We started a remodeling project today and I'm terrified!

Two years ago we refinished the two bedrooms in our house, basically removing the walls, adding insulation, then putting up new walls. Actually we didn't do any of that, we paid a friend. It took 3 months during which we slept in the living room and moved the children to whatever room was not being fixed up.

This time I want to do a similar project but in only 6 weeks. I'm thinking we'll need professional help. But I'd also like to DIY as much as possible. Today, that meant starting to remove wallpaper.

Our dining nook with paper partially removed under windows, then I remembered to snap a pic
Now paper on right side is mostly removed, dark green paint peeps through

A lot of questions came up! For example:

  • Why would anyone paper their walls to look like wooden planks? (That's what we found underneath the flowered paper.)
  • Does this green paint underneath the 3 layers of wallpaper contain lead?
  • Are we supposed to get a building permit?
  • How much worse is this room going to look before it gets better?
  • Can we really do this in 6 weeks?
  • Where will the TV that's also in this room live, since the kids are addicted to Busytown Mysteries and Bob the Builder?

Do you have any spring projects planned or in action? Have you ever stripped wallpaper or had to deal with lead?

Stitch Fix Part 4: The Randomness

I tried to wait a bit longer this time before requesting my next Stitch Fix by mail. But with the seasons changing, it was time!! I've already used this service a few times before. I must say it's quite easy to persuade yourself that, because an item of clothing is already right there in your home, you should probably buy it. All you have to do is not return the thing (so easy!) and then, with the minor detail of getting your credit card charged, it's yours to keep! Simplicity!

My new box arrived a little squashed on one side, but it's just clothes in there, right?

The package was whimsically tied with a beaded cord, which turned out to be a belt.
Here's what was in there...

Item 1. Wren v-neck cap sleeve jersey top, 41Hawthorn
Red Wren v-neck cap sleeve Jersey top. I love v-necks and interesting drapey necklines so I knew right away this was a definite possibility.

Oh my god. Wait, what? I don't even have the words. This is hideous.

Turns out it's called Dane cotton sleeveless shirt by Moon. I have no idea who would ever look good in this. It is not me.

Bleh accessory. It's pretty and all, but I have no desire to own a lavender Moroccan cuff.

Look at those black Capris.
Capri pants are one of my least favorite pieces of clothing. I am sorry if you like them, but I believe they are supremely uncool. Unless perhaps you are 60+, in which case go for it. I have been waiting in vain for years for Capri pants to go away. I even wrote in my original Stitch Fix style profile that I have a horror of looking like a soccer mom. Come ON.

Blu Pepper cardigan
This "Renior pointelle tie-waist cardigan" at first seemed ridiculous, with the ruffles, the swirly flower, and the handkerchief cut. But when I put it on, I kind of liked it! This is why Stitch Fix strongly encourages trying everything on, even if it seems insane.

I ended up keeping two pieces: the red v-neck and the kooky cardigan. I also went back and adjusted my whole style profile on the Stitch Fix site, because these choices seemed so odd to me. I think perhaps I am more interested in trendiness or dressing up than I thought. Actually, I don't understand any of the categories, which include things like Bohemian Chic, Business Casual, Laid-back Casual, Casual Chic, and Romantic. If you know what a those mean, could you please provide image links? I ended up putting more emphasis on "edgy" and "date night" to see what would happen. So... stay tuned for #5!

P.S. I know I'm posting something very frivolous on a day that's turned out to be very serious. I watched coverage of the Boston Marathon around noon today to see how Kara & Shalane did, then I tuned out. Like everyone, I'm saddened and shocked at what happened just a couple of hours later. I don't know what to say. Is the world getting worse, or is what's bad about the rest of the world catching up with us here in the US, or has the world always been pretty bad and we just haven't been paying attention?  Strange days indeed.

I think I bought a fanny pack

All winter I've been working on increasing my distance and endurance in running, from 4 miles up to 7.5 miles, which is the farthest I've ever run. I fully intend to keep working on these long runs and increasing my mileage even more, which brings me to a second area I need to work on: proper hydration and fueling.

The CamelBak Delaney "Run Belt Waistpack"

From what I've read about running, getting the right kind of fuel that doesn't make you feel sick is kind of a science, and it's a personal science. If you're going to run for more than an hour, you need to plan to drink and re-fuel during your run so you won't hit a wall. The post from Run Eat Repeat called "Training for a Marathon: What to Eat" is a fascinating survey of different fueling styles that work for different people. I was particularly interested in the coach who recommends drinking every 10 minutes, having electrolytes every 30 minutes, and eating every 45 minutes. The fanny pack Run Belt Waistpack is going to help me with this part of my running project. I can load the pocket with gels and chews and goos (and sunblock!), and have water on-hand for drinking every 10 minutes... or whenever.

And here's another thing that will help me--my new Stridebox subscription!

A little box, but packed with goodies! Hello Kitty bottle for scale.

Inside, the "Stride Guide" card explains the contents and provides links.

You know I love a good subscription box (like Stitch Fix), so when I discovered there's a subscription box for runners I was all over it. It's called StrideBox, it's tagged "Stuff Runners Want" and it's only $15/month. If you like to run and get presents (that you paid for), you may love StrideBox.

Here's April's box:

One serving of ENERGYbits, tabs made from chlorella & sprirulina,
to be taken 5-10 minutes before running. By my math, this serving retails at $3.45.

Hammer lip stuff (with SPF!), a vegan recovery bar (Chocolate Peanut!),
and a large "Full-Body Wet Wipe," which seems to be like a shower in an envelope.
Made with bits of real banana, so you know it's good.
Extra treat of a glowy/flashy light-up band for ankle or arm.
Good for night/early morning runs! Thanks Stridebox!

New Nuun flavors! My regular flavor is the Cucumber Mint, so I'm excited to
try something different: Cherry Limeade and Lemonade. Basically a Nuun tablet
is like a fizzy Alka-Seltzer that turns any glass of water into an electrolyte drink.

I love Clif products. Here's a Chocolate Brownie bar, a "Razz" gel, and Shot Bloks in Mountain Berry. I already tried one of the Bloks this morning and I think they may be a go-to fueling choice for me. As for gels, I tried a Mocha gel over the winter and it was like a mochaccino threw up in my mouth--not good. I'm not looking forward to that experience in Raspberry, but I'll probably try it.

Just more evidence for my love for Clif--their popular Margarita Bloks are my
favorite. I got these in Santa Fe on my birthday and have slowly been working my
way through the package! Ready for more soon!

And now to conclude and to finish... (as the folk song says). I'm excited to start Sunday long runs for real (outdoors), beginning April 14. I'll be wearing my AWESOME fuel-belt-system and trying various sugary-watery combinations to learn what works for me. Other areas to consider are what I eat before running and what I eat after running, but I'll get there. Also, I must say that Stridebox didn't compensate me to review the box, I paid $15 just like any customer. (I do get a $25 credit if anyone signs up for Stitch Fix through my reference link.)

Soooo, tell me about your subscriptions! Do you like magazines, as in my previous post? Boxes? Something else? Wine-of-the-month-club??

I love magazines!

Let's do another magazine roundup! Do you love magazines? I looooove magazines. It makes sense, because I grew up in a household with about a million magazine subscriptions, from Aramco World to Ebony to Organic Gardening, and always always the New Yorker. Reading magazines helps me feel smart and in touch, but the articles are in nice digestible chunks and not IMPOSSIBLY LONG like a BOOK. (I don't have the attention span for books right now. I know it's sad.) Also they are shiny and nice to look at. Win! (Here's a link to my 2007 roundup.)

I am pleased to report that I have finally managed to stop subscribing to Vanity Fair, and my life is better because of it. That magazine just makes me feel bad about myself: for reading it, for hating it while I'm reading it, and for not being one of the gorgeous/dynamic/psychotic/dumb famous people that it slavers over.

Spider & Ranger Rick: These are my daughter's magazines but we read them to her, so they're kind of ours, too. Spider is the younger version of Cricket, and I think it's excellent. Ranger Rick has been around since I was a kid, we like it very much.

Paleo Magazine: Yes, there is such a thing! I'm a little paleo-conflicted right now, but I like to see what the movement thinks it's up to. This is a very thick glossy magazine for what I presume is a limited readership.

Bon Appetit & Cook's Illustrated: These are gifts from some of my best girlfriends (LOVE YOU ladies!) and they're great. Bon Appetit is inspiring and fun; I usually try at least one recipe each month. Cook's Illustrated is more educational. I treat each issue as an addition to my collected encyclopedia of the right way to cook.

Runner's World & Women's Running: I wish there were more running magazines I could get! These two are the friendly ambassador magazines of running and I eat them up.

Outside: I discovered Outside when I was 13 and spending some time on a ranch with a family friend in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She had to work during the day, so I lived an outdoor-girl's dream of riding horses bareback, running through meadows and marshes with the farm's super-friendly Alsatian, and reading everything I could find in the apartment, including books about fly fishing and Outside magazine. I requested a subscription after that, and kept it for years. Recently I started subscribing again (after a disappointing false start a few years ago when it seemed that every issue was just a fancy gear catalog). It's as great as ever now.

National Geographic: How can you go wrong with this classic? The photographs are AMAZING, and there's always something new to learn. Said the geographer's daughter.

New York & The New Yorker: I've always adored The New Yorker, but I think it's also a great idea to take New York. (Do you like how I used the old-school word for subscribe there, "take" ?) It's interesting when both magazines cover the same thing--then you know that thing has gotta be important. NYC fascinates us, though we never ever go there. I think these are essential weeklies for keeping up with the times, whatever that means.

Next I would like to subscribe to meatpaper, a beautiful art-meat magazine I discovered in Santa Fe. (I still need to figure out how to work the paypal before I can get my subscription. I think talking about meat is very important, whether you eat it or not. Way more important than the whitey Young Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair, ha!)

Back on the air: Listen to Blackbeard's Delight on WVEW

Chesterfield Gorge, New Hampshire, April 6, 2013

One of my early intentions for this blog was to house the playlists that I kept for my radio shows on local Brattleboro radio. I had three shows one after the other back in the day, and my DJ name was always Prof. Kitty.

First was the Mix Tape Revue, which ran for about 3 months in early 2003. I played from tapes that people had made for me and added my own riffs and additions on their themes. (In 2002 it was still somewhat normal to talk about and even play cassettes.) In April 2003, I got a full-time job and moved my program slot to 10pm-midnight on Tuesday evenings. The name of that show was Makin' Candy, and it lasted from 2002-2005, when the old "pirate" station, rfb, was shut down by the FCC.

In late 2006, it licensed successor, WVEW-LP, took to the airwaves and I started a new show right away. This was Beef Jerky Time, airing Wednesdays from 7-8pm. I wrapped up Beef Jerky Time in 2010 for various reasons, mainly the impending birth of our son.

It's been almost three years and it's time for me to reclaim my voice in the community. I find radio to be perfect for me because I can speak my mind and be heard, but I'm still alone in an empty room. It's great for someone who is both an introvert and a total ham. I look forward to sharing the usual odd mix of whatever wonderful (and horrible and bizarre) music comes to hand each Thursday evening from 8-9pm! I am calling the new show Blackbeard's Delight, and describing it as "Treasured freaks & geniuses from Bach to Grimes." That should cover it.

Please tune in! The station is on your dial at 107.7 fm if you're in Brattleboro, or stream from

Here's the playlist from my first show this past Thursday:
  • Ezy Ryder: Jimi Hendrix
  • Casual: Here We Go Magic
  • Odessa: Caribou
  • I Confess: The English Beat
  • Your Woman: Cats on Fire
  • Marchin' In: Lo-Fi-Fnk
  • Hands of Love: Wall of Voodoo
  • Nadine (Memory Tapes version): Fool's Gold
  • New Song: Howard Jones
  • Fashion: David Bowie
  • 100 Other Lovers: DeVotchKa
  • My Punishment for Fighting: Rosebuds
  • We the Cats (Shall Hep Ya): Joe Jackson
  • Set Yourself on Fire: Stars
  • More Than This: Roxy Music
  • Feel So Close: Calvin Harris
  • Another Runaway: Ladyhawke
  • Connection: Rolling Stones
  • In Between Days: The Cure
  • Boy: Ra Ra Riot
  • Hots on for Nowhere: Led Zeppelin
  • Far Away: Cut Copy