Friday, March 30, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Best American Travel Writing of 2011

 I have been a long-time fan of the Best American Short Stories series so when the other books in the "Best American" category were on sale recently I picked up a few including two that I really enjoyed The Best American Travel Writing and The Best American Sports Writing.

Both are filled with a wide variety of stories not just about sports and travel but about the human experience. I particularly enjoyed the travel selections.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

SEPC 2012 Preview

Tomorrow I head to Atlanta for the Southeastern Panhellenic Conference (SEPC). I really enjoyed this leadership conference last year (see preview, day 1 recap, day 2 recap, day 3 recap) and look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones!

The conference kicks off with a keynote from Mari Ann Callais, Past National President of Theta Phi Alpha.
"Using music and storytelling, Mari Ann offers a truly unique keynote about values, ritual and the responsibilities of being a lifetime fraternity or sorority member. For nearly a decade, she has built a legion of admirers with her fun, upbeat keynotes on fraternity and sorority values.
"Fraternity and sorority communities have asked her to campus to discuss the importance of community service and ritual with new members. She is among the most popular retreat facilitators in the country. As the past national president for Theta Phi Alpha Fraternity, Mari Ann offers a unique blend of local and national perspective on sorority issues and has helped numerous Panhellenics deal with the issue of sorority hazing.
"When you bring Mari Ann to campus, you bring a speaker who approaches fraternity education in a completely unique way. She brings her guitar and uses music to create a relaxing environment. Students rate her keynotes highly because she talks with students, not to students. She can lead them in goal-setting one minute, then lead them in a sing-along of Jimmy Buffet songs the next. By sharing her experiences and observations, Mari Ann helps fraternity and sorority members explore their values and their reasons for being part of a fraternity or sorority."
One of my other favorite events of the conference is the Philanthropy Luncheon on Friday benefiting Circle of Sisterhood Foundation for the second year. Circle of Sisterhood has grown a lot in the last year (almost 100 campuses have adopted CoS as their philanthropy!) so it'll be exciting to see what is new with the Foundation and how Panhellenics have worked together to raise awareness and funds for education for women and girls around the world!

In other news, along with Stephanie from Zeta Tau Alpha, I'm presenting on Academic Excellence for NPC on Friday afternoon in a small group Educational Session. It promises to be a very special weekend - I'll be sure to share photos and a full report afterward!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Food Truck Thursday Night Out

Two Thursdays ago, I met up with our localtarian friends for dinner and fun at Food Truck Thursday. If you haven't been, it's lots of fun! We went for the first time when Mom was in town in October and almost couldn't stop ourselves from trying everything.

This time, my goal was to try a few of the places I missed in the fall. The area where the trucks gather has a nice shady section in the middle with big trees and lots of spaces for chairs, picnic blankets, etc.
These pictures (above and below) from the FTT facebook page gives an idea of the space.

Food Truck Thursday turned out to be an ideal place for a large group of friends to meet - it was easy to mingle and get to talk to everyone. I apologize for not getting pictures of everyone but I'll make up for it with lots of food photos:
my dinner - combo 10 from Lasang Pinoy Philippine Cuisine - was a great choice, lots of different flavors, textures and levels of spiciness, all of it delicious.

Chicken and waffles (Red Velvet waffles to be exact) from Cravings Truck were a big hit. These are Marc's but several of us ordered and enjoyed them. 

Sara's Shepherd's Pie burrito from Street Chefs was also popular.

I enjoyed a Pan-Asian fish taco from MoBi (even though it took them a long time to make it!). I thought it was even better than their fun southern taco which has bbq pulled pork and macaroni and cheese on it. 

 Bill and Wayne (and others?) had pizzas from the Fired Up Truck. I had them last time and they are amazing. You can't beat a truck that has a wood-fired pizza oven!! Photo from FTT.

I was too full for dessert but some of us enjoyed treats from Big Easy Snow Balls (if yours is too sweet, just ask and they'll add more ice) and Lucy and Leo's Cupcakery. It was another great evening with friends! We liked it so much, we might go back in April.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Visiting an Organic Educational Farm

Thursday, Abe, T and I ventured out to Monticello to visit the North Florida Community College Green Industries Organic Farm. Claire Mitchell, the heart of the farm, raises organic vegetables, gives short classes and long-term vocational training in sustainable agriculture and organic gardening, and educates the public about local food. We really enjoyed meeting her and seeing the farm - and if you've eaten at Sweet Pea Cafe, Miccosukee Root Cellar, Tupelo Cafe (or other places too numerous to mention), it's likely you've enjoyed some of the produce from the farm.

Claire is especially excited about the vocational training NFCC will offer next school year as it is appropriate for anyone with a ninth-grade education who wants to have hands-on training in all aspects of organic farming, from preparing the soil to getting product to market.

Vegetable garden, mostly lettuces and greens for now. Baby tomatoes, peppers, etc. were in one of the three green houses.

T said, "That's a lot of collards!"

Thanks, Abe, for this picture! (source)
We each came home with a beautiful, delicious head of this lettuce.

Claire also gave us these golden cherry tomato plants. Thank you!! 

NFCC Green Industries Institute
2729 West Washington Street
Monticello, FL 32344

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Finding Your Roots on PBS

Premiering tomorrow, Sunday March 25th, Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr will follow prominent Americans from many walks of life as they research their family histories. 10 episodes will air on Sunday nights at 8pm ET this spring. It looks like it will be fascinating!

Watch Extended Preview on PBS. See more from Finding Your Roots.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Monday Trip to the Beach

We took Mom for a drive on the beach Monday at Cape San Blas and Indian Pass, in Gulf County, about 100 miles southwest of our house. It was a gorgeous day, sunny, around 80, with a light breeze. First we had a picnic on the beach.

Then we went for a walk. In case you can't tell, Mom walked in the water the whole way!

Next we drove over to Indian Pass and went all the way around the Cape as far as there was space to drive, then walked a little farther. We wondered where all the debris (mostly trees) on the beach comes from. 

We admired the local art - someone had used shells, rocks, sticks and driftwood to make this dragon.

We saw lots of birds. Mom will be sad to learn that none of them were exotic. They are pelicans and other water birds.

Brown pelicans (the tops of their heads looked yellow in the sunlight but on film and in real life they are tan).

On the drive to and from the beach, in Franklin County, there are lots of bear crossing signs. We have yet to see a bear, but we were definitely on the lookout as we drove through the forest and along the coast!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

This Week's Veggies and Fruit

2 colors Swiss chard, baby spinach, lettuce, beets (with tops), strawberries, Valencia oranges and scallions from our CSA

Friday, March 16, 2012

Family History Friday

This is my Dad and his youngest sister, taken summer 1951 or 52 at the beach in Fairport Harbor, Ohio. Thanks to my cousin Greg who is scanning our eldest aunt's slides.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Our Study is a Study

The second desk (and third and final piece of furniture) arrived Friday! It got assembled Saturday.

Now we just need some nice desk chairs, and something on the wall there.

Monday, March 12, 2012

African Pineapple Peanut Stew

stew in process, mixing in the peanut butter.
This is a favorite at our house, especially when we have kale. Saturday we substituted fresh pineapple for canned and it turned out great - we just chopped the pineapple up really small and added a little water when the stew got dry.

1 cup chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 bunch kale or Swiss chard (4 cups sliced)
2 cups undrained canned crushed pineapple (20-ounce can)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 Tablespoon Tabasco or other hot sauce
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt to taste

crushed skinless peanuts
chopped scallions

In a covered saucepan, saute the onions and garlic in the oil for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are lightly browned. While the onions saute, wash the kale or Swiss chard. Remove and discard the large stems and any blemished leaves. Stack the leaves on a cutting surface and slice crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices.

Add the pineapple and its juice to the onions and bring to a simmer. Stir in the kale or chard, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until just tender. Mix in the peanut butter, Tabasco, and cilantro and simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt to taste and serve.

Serve on rice, millet or couscous, topped with crushed peanuts and chopped scallions.

[I omit the hot sauce for my son... and serve on couscous]

Friday, March 9, 2012

Family History Friday

 This is my great great grandmother (also seen, as a young mother, here) with three of her grandchildren: 
the baby on the left is my grandfather, Theodore "Ted"; the other 2 children are his cousins, Aneva (baby) and Lester (standing). With thanks to my Uncle Ted for sending a CD full of family history goodies.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Happy International Women's Day

Some fun ideas for celebrating International Women's Day:
  • call, text or email a woman who has made a difference in your life. or 2. 
  • watch Saving Face tonight on HBO at 8:30pm ET. This film spotlights women in Pakistan who've faced one of the worst kinds of domestic violence - acid attacks - and the work they've done to heal and change the laws in their country. See
  • write your members of Congress and ask them to reauthorize VAWA (the Violence Against Women Act) - visit to learn more and take action. 
  • Like the National Women's History Museum on facebook and enjoy their daily Women's History Month trivia questions. 
And most of all, have a wonderful day!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

This Week's Veggies and Fruit

green beans, beets, green Swiss chard, strawberries, curly parsley and kale from our CSA.

Looking forward to AXO Convention

At Convention in 2010 I attended a breakout session at which we listened to the audio of interviews with Alpha Chi founders that had been found and digitized. Judy also attended the session and told us great stories about getting to the earliest Conventions she was a part of. To get out to California, everyone took the Alpha Chi train across the country together. When they stopped in cities and towns, sisters who lived there would join the group and alumnae would meet the train and perform little skits on the platform. In Salt Lake City everyone got off the train and got to ride the ski lift up and down the mountain. Estelle Leonard was there (though quite elderly); she sat at the bottom and enjoyed watching the collegians.

My first Convention was in St. Louis in 1992. It was in the same hotel where we're meeting this year, though the hotel has been renovated and has a new owner. In 1992, it was an Adams Mark; now it's a Hyatt. It will be interesting to see what has changed and what is the same.

Sisters, I hope to see you there!

Monday, March 5, 2012

TedxWomen Interview with Gloria Steinem

I saw this great video on Just Imagine: The Power of Creativity in Women's Lives (which you should definitely check out) and had to share it. Enjoy!

Official description: Gloria Steinem is a writer, lecturer, editor, and feminist activist who talks about the aging process as becoming more like ourselves. She reflects on her own process of aging, her writing, stereotypes, biases and the feminist movement. She is joined by Salamishah Tillet, a feminist activist,academic and writer.

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