Archive for January, 2009

In praise of spicy food

Posted in 1 on January 23, 2009 by xxxicana

Dinner last night was Thai green curry with shrimp and tofu . . . spicy and yummy.  green_curry(note: this is not my photo)

Onion Tears and I were discussing a while back the virtues of chili.  In addition to being one of the best food flavorings, chilis provide important vitamins (esp. C) and other phytochemicals that can keep one healthy.  One study suggests that that it has anibacterial properties (like onions and garlic).  I was telling Mister Man last night that I believe chilis are the key to good health.  There’s nothing like that sweat that comes over you, the subtle burn from mouth to stomach, the wonderful flavor of the different varieties.

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I think I’m on a post-Obamathon slump — the parties are all over and it is down to business.  I’m thrilled to see Obama take full charge of the office and his first actions as President.  These are the times that so many of us have dreamed about — but dreams can be dangerous if we allow ourselves to become complacent.

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Otherwise, I’ve been pretty busy with the new semester and putting together the NAES conference program.  I am on a MWF rotation and it REALLY sucks!  Class periods are only 50 minutes — it is very difficult to keep my lectures to this short time frame (I like tangents and quirky facts to pepper my lectures).   I’ve got a great seminar on Archaeological theory — lots of good talkers in the class (for those not in the know, Nebraskans tend to not be very talkative in class).  I am also teaching a class on Indigenous People of Latin America.  Lots of fun.  Anyway, it is Friday . . . I have a ton of work to do . . .  so TTFN!

Bill update

Posted in Musings on January 19, 2009 by xxxicana


Oniontears asked why I hadn’t posted about Bill since he withdrew his name for Sec. of Commerce.  I guess I was just too bummed out about the whole thing.

I think Bill jinxed himself when he shaved off the beard.  He will remain as Governor of New Mexico, phew!  Maybe things will sort out and he will be able to take a leadership role in the future.  Meanwhile, Bill, I’ll light a candleito for you.

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. day and tomorrow is Obama’s inaugeration.  Yipee!!!  Most Americans believe that MLK’s dream has been fulfilled!!  WHAT???  are they on crack?  By all economic, social, and political indicators, US society has a LONG way to go before we reach a state of equality.   Obama is a good start, but he ain’t the end all.  We still have a lot more work to do!!!  But, let’s celebrate the King today, and Obama tomorrow.

Ma po tofu and Money does matter

Posted in Musings on January 14, 2009 by xxxicana

I was SO amazed by Onion Tears’ cooking that I attempted two of her dishes:  Ma po tofu and broccoli with ginger and garlic.  I thought the Ma po was great — Mister Man said it was just at his chiliness threshold (almost too hot to enjoy).  I sauted Chinese Broccoli (got it at a Vietnamese market here in town (called cai lang) and it turned out fab.  Chinese broccoli is less flowery head, more leafy — sort of a combo between broccolli and greens.  It is very tender and tasty.  I LOVE broccoli and will use the chinese type more frequently.   So, thanks Onion Tears for the inspiration.  (BTW, we did eat brown instead of white rice).

Well, I finished “The Omnivore’s Dillema” a few days ago and have moved on to “Fast Food Nation.”  I don’t know why I’ve gotten on this industrial food thread . . . but the books are great.  In between I read Suze Orman’s “Women and Money,” as part of my continuing education about real life issues.  I was pleased to find that I have achieved  some of the recommendations Suze makes — which for me has been no small feat.  Like many people, I find issues of finance, investing, and money to be difficult to confront.  Orman’s book straightforwardly sets out a plan to fulfill basic financial and legal needs that women must take care of.  I was watching Dave Ramsey last night and one woman called in saying her husband had just been thrown in the pokey for 10 years for financial misdeeds, she doesn’t work outside the home, and he had always taken care of all financial matters.  She hadn’t a clue as to how to cope with the legal issues, bill paying, harassment by creditors, and looming foreclosure on her home.  It was very sad (Ramsey hooked her up with a counselor to help her through).  I guess it must be my middle-agedom that has caused me to reflect on these things, plus our flailing economy.

Anyway, it is freakin’ cold out and I have class today . . .  so, TTFN while I start the process of layering.

Spot Update – since NO ONE has asked

Posted in 1 on January 13, 2009 by xxxicana


Spot in a makeshift “snuggli”

Oh, BTW, Spot is recuperating from his cold.  It did occur to me to send an email to Spot’s brothers in Bakersfield that his health was failing  . . . thereby extorting money from the Bakersfield clan . . . but since they were so wonderful in hosting the Christmas celebrations I decided against it.

Christmas in Bakersfield

Posted in 1 on January 11, 2009 by xxxicana


Finally, I’m posting about my trip to Calfornia.  While Mister Man and I spent most of our time in the OC/LA area, we did venture northward to the mecca of Country Western music in California — Bakersfield.  My sis and her family reside in this now sprawling city.  What had been mostly an agricultural/oil field backwater is now a growing, growing community (lots of LA refugees priced out of the housing market).    For a couple of Nebraskans, Bakersfield feels much like home (only it is A LOT greener in Nebraska).  My dad quips that there are only two types of radio stations, but in two languages — Country Western/Norteño and Evangelical.

But, if Bakersfield was good enough for Buck, Merle, and Dwight (ok, he’s not from there, but is part of the “sound”) it’s good enough for Mister Man and me.  We had a great time spending Christmas with my sister’s family.  Everyone was there including the “West-Carranzas” . . .  not to be confused with the East-Carranzas (sounds like an Island chain, no?).

Christmas is about two things — presents and food.  Onion Tears and I took over cooking duties Christmas Eve while the pious were at mass.  It was great to cook with her and we easily coordinated the production of four pizzas to please the various dietary and taste requirements of the whole family (cheese, pepperoni/mushroom, veggie, vegan).  I did get assistance from Matt, age 8, who aspires to be a chef.  Here’s a photo:

cooking(you can just see Matt behind Larisa)

Once the devout and nominal Catholics returned home, we settled into comfortable conversations in and around the kitchen while the pizzas cooked.

the-menThe guys engaged in Man talk . . . at one point I yelled out “I need a Man” (to take out the trash) .  . . the only one to come to my rescue was 8 year old Matt!

Shelly and Larisa caught up on what’s been happening:

shelly-larisaOMG! Is Shelly wearing a Christmas themed sweater?  They say that eventually we all turn into our mothers . . . but really, there are better ways !  (LOL).

kitchenControlled Chaos in the Kitchen!

After we were all sated on pizza and beer (except for the boys, of course) we sat around a bit.  Ross and Matt couldn’t wait to open presents (neither could I!!)

rossHere’s Ross trying to pick out what he’ll open first.

mattGreat shirt, Matt!!

Opening presents with the Sanchez family is a highly ritualistic event (Mister Man couldn’t believe how long it took).   We all take turns, the present is opened with high expectations, and then everyone ooohs and aaaahs over the item.  Fortunately there was plenty of beer and wine to keep the evening going.

Some highlights:

nathanWhat every goth guy needs — a nutcracker.  My mom has made it a custom now to get a nutcracker for Nathan.

granma-and-granpaGrandma and Grandpa strike a pose.

no-more-tearsNo more tears!  Mister Man found onion cutting goggles for Larisa — I wonder if she’s used them yet.

dadBuckwheat Pancake mix for my dad all the way from War Eagle Mill in Arkansas – it was the only thing he specifically requested for Christmas.  [check out their website at  Mister Man and I stop at War Eagle Mill every time we are in Rogers, Arkansas — great gifts, grains, and stuff!

shelly-gets-a-new-xmas-sweaterShelly gets a new Christmas Sweater (hey, it goes perfect with her Micky Mouse Crocs!)

larisaClearly, Nathan spoils Larisa rotten!

too-cuteThese two are too cute!

Just a few photos from Christmas — there are a lot more.  This was a very special time for me since I hadn’t seen all my family in one place for a couple of years.  It was wonderful to be “home”  — not so much in the locational sense, but that warm comfort zone of being together and appreciating each other as family and individuals.

Well, that’s all for today’s blogging.  Maybe more tomorrow.

No rest for the wicked

Posted in Musings on January 8, 2009 by xxxicana

Mister Man doesn’t believe that I actually work (even when he can clearly see me sitting in my chair thinking big thoughts).  So, today I decided to take a picture of me at work — well, I’m not in the photo — but you can see my work spread out on the table:


I became the de facto program chair for this year’s NAES conference, which means that I get to sort through 289 paper proposals to organize them into sessions.  What POWER and all from the comfort of home!
I still haven’t posted about my exciting trip to SoCal yet . . . I’ve been too busy.  In addition to creating the NAES conference program, I have a manuscript due on the 15th and classes start on Monday.  YIKES!!!  I’d better get to work.


X and the New York Dolls

Posted in Musings on January 6, 2009 by xxxicana

On our recent visit to SoCal, Mister Man and I caught a show.  We drove from Orange County to the Staple’s Center complex to see one of my all time favorite bands – X.  I saw them back in the 80s and we saw John Doe a couple of years ago opening for Lucinda Williams.  We had a great time . . . even though it took quite a while to find the venue, Club Nokia, which is not to be confused with the Nokia center.  Club Nokia is a small club, similar in size to the Hollywood haunts I used to frequent with Onion Tears a few years ago.

X was freakin’ great!  The whole gang was there, Exene, John Doe, Billy Zoom (now a born again), and DJ Bonebrake.  I love Exene — she’s my middle age, menopausal heroine!  She looks like a midwest housefrau, apron included.  It is clear that she is not indulging in botox or pilates, and STILL buys her clothes at the thrift shops.  Here’s a shot of her:

exeneI was told that people make aprons for Exene and she wears them!  I’ll have to design something special for her to induce her to travel to Lincoln.

Here’s a shot of John Doe — second sexiest man alive:


and Billy Zoom


The evening was really fun.  I even liked the Dolls (as a SoCal girl, I was never as much into the NY scene with the exception of Blondie).  Just for the heck of it, here are some pics of the Dolls (only two remaining original members).


As can be seen, the group has dropped the glam rock get ups.  I was disappointed!  Also, it seemed like they covered a lot of other people’s music rather than their own.  But David Johansen looks pretty good (for being 58!):


Overall, it was a great way to start off our vacation to SoCal — traffic was easy up to LA, it was a warm night (to us) for walking around, and we saw a great show.  But, it is VERY different from Lincoln.  Parking cost us $10.00 (several blocks away).  Well drinks were $8.00 each (boy, and we can drink a lot!).  Here in Lincoln, high falutin drinks (Corona) are $4.00!  So, keep that in mind, you can get a buzz on for much less in Lincoln (except that last call is at 12:45).  I’m not complaining, though — to go out in the winter here, you have to schlep a big ass coat around which is a drag.  And, if there’s snow or ice — sensible shoes, no heels!

Mechanically Separated Chicken, it’s what’s NOT for dinner

Posted in Musings on January 4, 2009 by xxxicana

Ok, so I haven’t quite recuperated from the jet lag and all the walking I did during my trip to SoCal.  Photos and narrative will have to wait.
Meanwhile, I’ve been reading “The Ominvore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan (2006) — a great read albeit at the cost of your appetite!  Pollan explores the food industry and the manner by which corn came to rule the dietary world.   I’ve wanted to read this book for some time, but just hadn’t gotten around to it.  I highly recommend it to anyone interested in food.  If the addage “you are what you eat” is true, then a lot of us are walking casings filled with mechanically separated meat and corn derived compounds.  If you like chicken nuggets here’s the base material:


No, that’s not candy being extruded from the machine, it’s chicken bits (including lots of skin).    BLEEEHW!

Isn’t that just gross?  I’m far from committing to a vegetarian diet, but after reading this book, I’m really going to examine what I eat more closely!  I am a “whole foods” eater and try to avoid processed foods.  But now I’ll really have to think about where my food comes from and make better choices.

Home again, home again, jiggidy jig

Posted in Musings on January 3, 2009 by xxxicana

Mister Man and I have returned from our trip to SoCal.  We had a great time visiting my family and various important cultural sights (the Mall, Disneyland, Bakersfield, etc.).  I’m too pooped still to blog much.  But I did pick up the kitties from the Feline Resort.  Poor Spot, he picked up a bad cold.  =’-‘=     He’s wrapped up in my blankie, and I wish I could do something special for him like give him herbal tea.  But, alas, the virus just has to run its course.

More tomorrow with photos from our trip.