"The story of w...

"The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights."-Gloria Steinem

This quote, featured on the home page of the International Women's Day website, says so much to me about feminism. When I was younger, and studying for my Women's Studies major, I may not have articulated this very well. But with age comes wisdom (!) and the ability to use other people's words to validate your own. I have so much more to say lately on the topic of "women's issues" and worklifebalance and feminism and havingitall but for now, I'll let Gloria's quote settle. I thank all of the amazing women today, and throughout history, who have fought for my rights and choices, who have inspired women like Steinem and Stanton and Friedan, and who continue to fulfill and inspire me daily. You know who you are. xoxo

Meatless Monday: Lettuce Wraps

I usually greet January with a long list of goals and measurable objectives--the same type of parameters that I resent being judged by in my 9-5. This year I've put nothing in writing...yet. That said, when creating this week's menu plan and grocery list, I decided to make my first 2011 resolution: Meatless Monday. Last fall I had the desire to cultivate our family dinner time, and perfectly coinciding with this was the release of The Family Dinner, by Laurie David and Time for Dinner, by former Cookie editors, Pilar Guzman, Jenny Rosenstrach and Alanna Stang. I've been exploring these two new fabulous cookbooks, and as a result I have embraced a new level of domestic enthusiasm and organization. While I can save my book reviews and lady adoration for another day, I will share that it was Laurie David's book that made me aware of the Meatless Monday movement. Seriously, it sounded familiar but I just wasn't tuned in.

Meatless Monday actually started in World War I and was incredibly effective at changing the nation's eating habits. Somewhere between June Cleaver and the Great Bacon Explosion we seem to have lost our way. While I'm a proud omnivore and my boys drool at the word STEAK, we love all kinds of food and don't feel it's necessary to include a meat/fish/poultry product at every meal. The Mister is on board with my meatlessness and the boys are pretty good sports too. Any random night we might have tofu stir fry or a veggie spaghetti. So why make a big deal about it? Well, I like the idea of a habit, a ritual, a conscious decision.  I like the challenge of trying new recipes, and the boys are at a great age to explore new foods and ideas.

For our first official Meatless Monday we used the recipe for Vegetarian Asian-Style Lettuce Wraps (without the dipping sauce) courtesy of Leslie's Home Gourmet. I doubled it and adapted it a bit, so maybe follow her link for the real deal! The leftovers are perfect with chopped Romaine for a salad, or over rice warmed up. We served it with steamed broccoli and couscous just in case it didn't go over as well as hoped. For the record, the Mister gave it a thumbs up, Max ate nearly both of his wraps before deciding he didn't like them, and Beck ate everything on his plate, plus applesauce, and a second meal of pears, rice crackers and dried apricots. Hungry much?

Lettuce Wraps

2 packages firm tofu crumbled 1/2 medium onion, diced 1 cup shredded cabbage 2 carrots, grated 2/3 cup (plus a little more to taste) of your favorite soy marinade (Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki) 1 tsp. fresh lemongrass, minced (Thanks KKJ!) 3 cloves garlic, chopped 2 tbs. sweet chili garlic sauce Sprinkle of salt to taste 4 tbs. canola oil 2 tsp. sesame oil 1 medium head of Boston/Butter lettuce, washed and leaves separated

In a skillet, heat canola oil over medium heat and saute onion and garlic until it begins to soften. Season with a touch of salt. Add cabbage and carrot. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add tofu and lemongrass, marinade, sesame oil, and chili sauce. Cook another 5-10 minutes (until it thickens a bit), stirring often. Serve warm inside cool lettuce leaves.

Being Nice is Lots of Fun

So I received an e-mail from my gal pal mom Michelle Obama the other day {she and I are tight!}. Essentially, it was a call to service (on behalf of P.E.B.O.), encouraging me|us|citizens to volunteer for our community. Embedded in the e-mail was a link to USA Service, a website for inspiring us all to change our world, starting in our community. In response to this, Starbucks launched the "Take Five" initiative, asking java heads to pledge 5 volunteer hours to create more than 1.000.000 hours of community service. Free Tall brewed coffee!

I've been pretty passive on my own volunteerism since moving to San Diego, and it's not something I'm proud of. Since I work at a non-profit, I sometimes feel like I AM volunteering {I realize this is selfish}. In SD I've been on the twins club board and served for the PTA, but before we moved I volunteered at the Parental Stress Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Their mission is to prevent child abuse and neglect.
I worked with children of families in transition and stress and I miss that experience. It taught me a great deal and was personally rewarding. I obviously have less free time now, but would like to give back again, and this time include the boys or the whole family. For now, we are going to drop off toys and books at the Children for Change event in Scripps Ranch on Monday. I found this event via USA Service and it seems a good first step.

To support this personal initiative I've found THE ACME SHARING COMPANY. In their words, Acme "is a place where parents can find activities for spending family time with meaning. Exposing our children to cause-based adventures is a wonderful way to make giving a part of their lives now and for the future." I love this. There are blog tags for finding activities for certain age groups {4+}, ideas on teaching gratitude, and book recommendations. Hurrah!

Last but not least, I discovered Operation Nice. The founder is a graphic designer and crafter. Of course! She created a blog about 7 months ago dedicated to acts of kindness. I've always said, it's about the little things--being thoughtful and courteous is not reserved for special occasions. From founder, Melissa Morris Ivone, "If everyone was a little bit nicer to the folks they encountered each day, perhaps the world would be a more pleasant place. Operation NICE was initiated to remind you that a little NICE goes a long way." Yes, indeed it does.

The March of the Headless Plush Toys

Your life story would not make a good book. Don't even try.
-Fran Lebowitz

2008: It was a very good year...

I'm so utterly in love with ages 4 and 5. Always have been, always will. Max & Beck are completely in their own heads most of the time and it thrills me. Creative, sensitive, bossy, witty, imaginative, adventurous, passionate. SO completely full of life. Unfiltered. On the other hand they can get super distracted and frustrated which ultimately ends in one (or all) of us growling, screaming or swearing.

I held out for advancement in my Museum career and worked to earn a promotion to a position that is both rewarding and challenging (especially in this economy). To boot, I am now surrounded by some fabulous women with great energy and humor.

I kept up with Truly Fine Design after a late 2007 launch. LOTS of room to grow. I had other ideas so I took up painting as well..

I'm married to a Scorpio. We're still having fun...I think.

Obama. Sarah Palin. Tina Fey. Last, and so not least...Jon Stewart. Heart, heart, heart.

I do have some terrific peeps. They may not all hang together, or even be in the same state, but I love them each truly, madly, deeply.

Is this even interesting? I'd love to know what my mom was going through at 36. She was divorced with a 14 and 9 yr. old I believe.

This year I could not get my game on for regular workouts. Fuck. Why is that so hard? Doing the usual job-wife-mom-juggle...not a great strength of mine, but I do put up a good front. When I think of all the things I should be doing, like oil changes, eye appointments, oops, bill paying, video returning, oops, running, writing xmas cards, oops, having a really lovely family photo taken, oops and oops. This is how I feel:

"A week after my drugs ran out, I left my bed to perform at the college, deciding at the last minute to skip both the doughnut toss and the march of the headless plush toys. Instead, I just heated up a skillet of plastic soldiers, poured a milkshake over my head and called it a night. "
-David Sedaris

Duck for President

Phew. I was beginning to get quite elitist in thinking that "real" America was just a bunch of morons.

Such a process is difficult to explain to 5 year olds. To give perspective to the situation, we settled on a book that's been in our collection for a while...Duck for President. It's by the same author as Click Clack Moo. Long story short, the Duck ousts the Farmer, then moves up the civic ladder--seeking easier jobs-- finally winning the Presidency. In the end, Duck bails on the Presidency and goes back to his work on the farm. On election day, we tried to explain the voting process. Jarrod broke it down real quick: You're voting for the Donkey or the Elephant. Which one?

Long Pause...

Max: The Donkey.

Mom: Yesssss. That is correct.

Later in the car, Beck informed me that they will vote for the Donkey now, but when he's a grown up he's voting for the Duck. Max put in his vote for the Cow.