Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Lessons in Building a Website

I liked this piece in the Guardian on why we should all registar a domain name.

GoDaddy felt like a rip off and I appreciated this Lifehacker list of the five best domain registrars. The site also has reader poll generated lists for best web hosting and other fun things.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Journey Continues

About a month ago I relaunched my quest to get diagnosed with Lyme disease. I finally found a PCP who listened to me, after years of being ignored, and this morning I embark on part two of my journey: specialists.

I've come back to the blog both to process my own experience and to help others learn a little more about this controversial and complicated disease. I will post more as time goes on but I wanted to start by sharing this comprehensive article by the president of the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS). There's some medical language to parse through but it's still very useful and includes a symptom list that I found both haunting and magical. I was surprised to learn that some of the things I've been experiencing for years can be attributed to Lyme.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

GF Chocolate Banana Cookies

I just made this gluten free cookie recipe. I used almond meal, quinoa flour and added banana slices. They are a little crumbly but holy crap they're delicious.  Originally posted here on Cookieandkate.com. 

  • 3/4 cup almond flour or almond meal, firmly packed
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • dash cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup butter or coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup (preferably grade B) or honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped, or 1 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Pour in the melted butter (or coconut oil), maple syrup (or honey) and vanilla extract, and mix thoroughly. Stir in the chocolate.
  3. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes so the coconut flour can absorb some of the excess moisture (or let the dough chill in the fridge for 10 minutes if you want fat cookies, like those shown here). Scoop dough, one tablespoon at a time, in mounds onto the baking sheet, leaving a couple inches around each cookie.
  4. Bake for about 11 minutes, until golden brown.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Shake it 'til you make it

It's been almost five weeks since I left my day job but today was the first day I felt able to relish my new freedom. The chilly but sunny bike ride from Southie to Jamaica Plain after yoga this morning was simply delightful. I forgot that one of my favorite things about not having a real job is the opportunity to enjoy the city in the weird hours when most folks are at work. The streets and sidewalks are clear, save for the dog walkers and delivery folks. It's dreamy.

Life in general is treating me well. If it wasn't for lingering illness and drama amongst some of my favorite people, I would be stupendous. Since finishing yoga teacher training, I know now that I can separate that crap from who I really am and dance like the happy hipsters in this video, and that is an especially liberating feeling.

I've never thought of myself as a dancer. I took ballet as a child, probably for less than six months. Actually, I think I stopped because I wasn't allowed to wear a tutu during practice and I thought that was bullshit. Why else would one do ballet? Later in life, my friend Suzanna told me something like, "I love that you have absolutely no rhythm but you dance anyway. It's great." I decided to embrace my role as the goof ball dancer. At some point in teacher training this past month, my yoga teacher decided I was a dancer. I looked at him cockeyed and confused. Me? A dancer? Are you sure? I was even more surprised when some classmates told me they were impressed with my moves and urged me to include dance in my sequencing.

Perhaps it's three years of Afro Flow Yoga or the endless string of kitchen dance parties at 34 Robeson, but it seems I'm not JUST a goof ball booty shaker anymore. I'm going to run with that as long as I can.  Pretty or not, it makes me feel alive and helps me forget all the bullshit in my body and my struggles to change the world.

As David Longstreth says, "There is an answer. I haven't found it but I will keep dancing until I do." 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Banging Little Soup

When I Googled "soup" this picture of Obama and Al Sharpton sharing soul food appeared. 

I found myself home sick yesterday without anyone to bring me chicken noodle soup. Also, I've been trying not to eat meat and I'm gluten free. Using what I had in the house, I was able to whip up this tasty little ditty and wanted to share.

What you need:
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can garbanzo beans
- red pepper flakes
- yellow curry
- handful spinach
- handful kale
- vegetable stock
- water
- olive oil

Gettin' 'er done:
Heat up some olive oil with the red pepper flakes and curry. Once it smells good, add the onions and garlic. When those get squishy, add a few cups of vegetable stock (depends on how much soup you want). Bring that to a boil, let it boil for a few minutes, then add the greens and beans, and salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Once you let it cool a bit, use a hand blender, regular blender or food processer to smooth it out. Good stuff and seems to be even tastier the next day.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Fave Albums of 2012

Dirty Money by Antibalas
Since we can't see Fela Kuti anymore, Antibalas is the next best thing. Their live show in Boston was unbelievable and the album is a dance-your-pants- off explosion that belongs in the Afrobeat Hall of Fame.

Bloom by Beach House
It's no Teen Dream but still delicious and addicting.

Fear Fun by Father John Misty
I just love this album. I think J Tillman should have gone solo a long time ago. I'll take his sound over Fleet Foxes any day.

O' Be Joyful by Shovels and Rope
This is a Southern folksy masterpiece. Every song is a gem. I'm partial to "Birmingham" because it mentions one of the best dive bars in Nashville, and the BQE, which I walked over at least twice a day when I lived in Brooklyn and always dreamed of writing songs about.

Mutt by Cory Branan
Even though I've seen Cory more than any other artist, I generally don't listen to his albums. They feel too shiny. Too produced compared to his gritty spare live performances. Mutt on the other hand, is a breath of fresh air, illuminating his stellar songwriting rather than distracting from it. As a long time fan, this was a big "fucking finally" moment. And, the album includes "Yesterday," a song I've been waiting for years to have on record so I could listen/sing to it over and over again.

Swing Lo Magellan by the Dirty Projectors
People like to hate on the DPs but you have to give them credit for being innovative and creating new sounds in an age when most music is recycled. They do pretty crazy stuff and it works, especially in "About to Die." That said, a couple of the songs on the album sound like Dylan rip offs. I like them anyway.

The Idler Wheel... by Fiona Apple
Wow. This one left me speechless at first. Then I told everyone I talked to to listen to it. Accompanied by just her piano and some percussion, Fiona really lets her voice go wild on this. I love how raw it is and how honest she seems to be with herself and audience alike.

Other fun things that got a lot of play at Robeson Labs:
- Beastie Boys (RIP A Rock)
- Mary J. Blige Pandora
- YACHT Pandora
- Donna Summer
- Kermit Ruffins' "It's later than you think."
- Fela's "Opposite People"
- Odissee
- The Secret Spot, Sunday nights on WERS
- Touch FM, "The fabric of the black community"

Happy New Year to all!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

And a happy new year.

I’m pretty sure 2012 has been my best year yet. Maybe it was my magic birthday last December, turning 27 on the 27th, or rediscovering my passion for grassroots organizing and training, or being single, or the fact that I wasn’t in pain for most of the year. I live with a chronic pain condition and for reasons I haven’t yet put my finger on, this was my best year healthwise since I was 20, even accounting for a significant flare up this fall. This year was able to travel, exercise, work, play and, most importantly PARTY, like I hadn’t in years. It was marvelous and, like cheese, it made everything so much better. Here are some of my favorite moments from the 12 months of 2012:

My roommate Veronica and I rang in the new year elbow to elbow in a packed yoga class in South Boston. The city fireworks started above our heads just as we said “namaste.” Later in JANUARY, my friends threw me a surprise soul-themed birthday brunch. I was told only to go away for awhile and come back to the house with Amy Winehouse hair. I did as I was told and it was an absolute blast.

FEBRUARY took Veronica and me to Belize to visit our friend and former roommate, who runs a socially and environmentally conscious cacao exporting operation called Maya Mountain Cacao. I’m pretty sure Southern Belize is my soul place. I felt like I was in an alternate universe. Later in the month, we saw soul singer Charles Bradley, a.k.a. The Screaming Eagle of Soul. It was, without a doubt, one of the best shows I’ve ever seen in my life (and I saw James Brown twice).

MARCH was sort of a throwaway month but we listened to the Charles Bradley album every single day, so that made it okay.

In APRIL I got to attend my first gay wedding. My cousin Fred married his longtime partner in front of an orange tree in Ojai, California. I saw all my California family, many for the first time in 10 years, one for the first time ever, and I danced my face off. April also brought the first of five volunteer trainings I led for the Boston Cyclists Union this summer, where I taught folks how spread the gospel of safer cycling in Boston.

MAY brought my college roomie Melanie to Boston for an epic Memorial Day party in my backyard. It proved to be the first of six consecutive backyard bashes that started with grilling and ended with boozy late-night hootenannies. I experimented with making cocktails and caipirinhas quickly became the drink of the summer.

JUNE was filled with bike work. I spent as little time as possible at my real job, hired 10 interns for the Union and ran around town with them, fixing bikes and raising money. I got really tan. It was awesome.

I got a concussion on the Fourth of JULY after getting doored by a parked car. I was dizzy for nearly two months and don’t remember too much but I’m sure it was all great. After I got him fixed, I took my bicycle on vacation. We took the ferry to Provincetown then biked to Truro to stay in a hostel right on the shore. The beach was virtually empty for three days. I read the paper in an old baseball cap and a green bikini and felt like a rock star. Or maybe a retired rock star.

Despite a pitiful tomato harvest, AUGUST brought a lot of tasty vegetables into my life. Between the garden in my front yard, a community plot and a CSA, I was swimming in absurdly healthy food. I’ve never eaten so many salads or fresh green beans. Other harvest highlights included butternut squash and several heads of heirloom Siberian garlic. It’s purple!

SEPTEMBER took me back to California, this time to Long Beach. I got a scholarship to attend the Alliance for Biking and Walking Leadership Retreat. It was on the historic Queen Mary cruise ship and I got to meet a butt-ton of amazing bike advocacy leaders from around the country. When I got back to Boston, I channeled all my new knowledge and enthusiasm into the Bike Union’s second annual meeting, where we raised more than three times as much money as in the year before. I was lucky enough to be the person on stage asking for big contributions, auction-style. There’s nothing like raising $12,600 in five minutes.

I ran a conference in mid-OCTOBER for my real job. The prep for it nearly killed me but it turned out to be a phenomenal experience. Seeing high level foreign policy leaders from the U.S. and the Middle East actually talking with each other about how we might address issues like the conflict in Syria gave me a lot of hope for the future of the MENA region. I also dressed as Ann Romney for Halloween.

NOVEMBER: Obama. Warren. Victory. Yes.

DECEMBER has been a month of resetting priorities before the end of the year. I submitted my resignation at my job, not because I hate it but because it feels like it’s time to move on. I signed myself up for a yoga teacher training at my favorite studio, which will start in early February.  I don’t yet know what will come next but I’m trusting it will be awesome.

Especially in case the world ends tomorrow, I want to thank all my amazing friends for helping me have such a productive, hilarious, and FUN year. I really appreciate all of you and the joy you bring into my life on the regs. Thank you so much.