Monday, June 30, 2008

fresh, summer produce

On Friday afternoon I headed to Rockwall to the Barking Cat Farm "off-the-truck" sale. Each Friday at 2 p.m., they transport a load of their freshly grown items to a random parking lot near the farm and allow the public to purchase directly. A sustainable, all-natural farm, Barking Cat grows fruits and veggies, flowers, and herbs. Depending on the season, you might find tomatoes, onions, radishes, or rosemary, among other produce. They also sell farm eggs, goat cheese, and free-range chicken. I purchased some baby carrots and 2 pounds of new potatoes and baby purple onions. Saturday night, I sauteed the carrots in some olive oil with a bit of sea salt. Not only were they full of flavor, but I felt good knowing I was supporting a local farm that's practically in my backyard.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

three-legged dog, thy enemy

I woke up this morning to the joys of extreme muscle pain. I blame the three-legged-dog yoga pose. I hope the two of us can make friends because my poor biceps feel like a train ran over them.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

centering myself

My last yoga class was seven years ago, and I used to be such a fan of its healing properties, the way my body feels after that final stretch, and the breathing and meditation. So I decided to take a class and drag Jen along with me. (It's always a good idea to have a good friend in tow when you're trying out a new place.) Luckily, we both loved it. It was a great session, mostly because the instructor was very good and she really worked us. I left feeling exhausted but so relaxed. Afterward, Jen took me to Green Papaya. Mmmm. There's nothing like a plate full of veggies and fish after a good workout. I had never been to this place, but it's definitely going on my list of favorite spots. Thank you, Jen, for being my yoga buddy. We're going to try to make it (at the very least) a weekly habit.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

branching out

It's been three weeks now since the magazine went bust, and I've been diligently searching for jobs. In my quest, I've discovered a new kind of career move, one that I hope I will get a chance to do. I won't expound it now, since I'd like to wait and see if it pans out. But it's something I've grown quite excited about over the last week. I don't plan to give up writing and editing. I'm hoping I can continue those kinds of projects on a freelance basis and then perhaps return to it full time later. For now, I'm eager to try something completely new, something where I can utilize my word skills yet still challenge myself with something new and exciting. I'll post more as it all develops.

(I'm using the image above simply as an illustration of my "branching out" title. It was taken at the Kimbell.)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

i love you, dallas

I love my fair city. It wasn't until I lived in London for a year that I realized how special Dallas was. If you're not from Dallas (or only visited for a day), you probably have no idea what I'm talking about. Because Dallas just isn't known for being spectacular. But the last decade has brought many spendid things to my city, adding to some already-fantastic bits of culture. I'd like to thank D Magazine for arousing my lust for Dallas today. I just completed the magazine's Best Things in Dallas poll, where they've randomly paired the best things about Dallas against each other (like the Nasher Sculpture Center vs. Snuffer's cheddar fries or The Arts District vs. The State Fair of Texas) and force indecisive residents like me into picking one over the other. Voting ends in a couple of weeks. I encourage all my Dallas buddies (past and present) to vote!

I love you, Dallas. Thanks for making me feel so at home.

light the way

Next purchase? A new chandelier or pendant for the dining room. If anyone has an opinion about the selections below, I'd appreciate it, because I'm leaning toward the expensive ones right now. And I need to think cheap(er).

Round Shade from Restoration Hardware

George Nelson pendant from Design Within Reach

Eden pendant from CB2

Marcel Wanders from Design Within Reach

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

an afternoon on porches

Sunday was Father's Day, which is always a pickle when you're married. Like Mother's Day, it's your obligation to visit both sets of parents. So the first part of the day was spent at the ranch with The Husband's fam, where we kicked back in rocking chairs and porch swings on the ranch house's wraparound porch (above). It was an incredibly hot day, close to 100 degrees, but sugary iced tea and a swirling ceiling fan kept us cool. Afterward, we headed to my parents' place. The evening was spent on another porch. This time, instead of a bright green pasture, we were gazing at the dull gray waters of Lake Ray Hubbard at County Line Bar-B-Q. Once the sun began to set, the breeze coming off the water was really quite nice, and my mango margarita made it even more comforting.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

birds of a heather

In 1955, my grandmother (I call her "Nana") received a gift from her husband, Bobby. The two glass birds were imported from Italy, and the pricetag, she tells me, was quite high, even at the time. I'd always admired these mid-century birds, with their opaque, smokey finish and dense structure. They are really quite heavy. The birds mean a lot to Nana, as they are the only things she has left from Bobby, who died tragically in 1960.

Nana always promised that she'd leave the birds to me when she passed, a date I know to be far into the future, as Nana is still quite a sparkplug. But she recently surprised me when she showed up at my house carrying a very heavy bag. She instructed me to open it, and I was shocked to see the two birds inside, wrapped carefully in several coats of tissue paper. It was an early inheritance.

The birds now reside majestically on my living room credenza.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

pure sereni-tea

I love tea, even when it's flavored and chilled with ice. Iced tea is a verifiable tradition in the South, and we Texans take ours with loads of sugar. Now, I consider myself a bit more of a distinguished tea drinker than the average Texan, as I prefer mine only slightly sweetened or not sweetened at all. I was probably in the minority this past Sunday afternoon at the 2nd annual Best Iced Tea Contest here in Dallas.

More than a dozen tea companies and restaurants battled it out at the event to be named "People's Choice." Upon signing in and paying my 10 bucks, I was given a ballot and a map of the participants, who where scattered about the Plaza at Preston Center. I made the rounds with my tea-tasting buddies, also known as Mom and Dad. We weren't one of the celebrity judges, but we took on the task with a keen seriousness, tasting and rating each tea on a scale of 1 to 5. I gave three 5s, and at the end of the day, I chose Cafe on the Green as my People's Choice nominee. Their iced green tea was perfect without any sweetener, and the floating mint leaf, cucumber, and strawberries sold me. (The image above was Maudee's spiced tea and accompanying scone, which I am convinced they used to bribe people into voting for them. It just might have worked. It was the most tasty scone I'd ever had. They were 2nd place. First prize went to Milestone Culinary Arts Center.)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

an adventure in customer service

There is a delightful indie record shop in my town. I won't name it to protect the innocent, but if you must know, it's called good records. I've frequented this shop since its opening in 2000. I love it there. Where else am I gonna get my indie fix on a Saturday afternoon? Or the odd Thursday?

Today, I could not get over the rudeness I encountered at my favorite record shop. Lindsay and I went in to browse. We listened to the new selections, perused the rows of CDs, and talked excitedly amongst ourselves about the latest discoveries, like this remarkable band. Unfortunately, being jobless, Lindsay and I opted not to purchase something. We were casually walking out the front door, when the man behind the counter, a man I've had numerous nice conversations with regarding good music, said smugly as we were leaving, "Did you get everything you wanted?" He glared at us. I smiled, thinking he was kidding, and said, "No, we didn't get anything." He gave me an annoyed grin and returned to his record shuffling, or whatever he was doing. Now, I won't name any names here, but his name is C.J. I've never felt so alienated at this shop, so overcome by pretention and accusatory rudeness. What, did he think we had stolen something? Or was he so flabbergasted that we took advantage of his store and (how dare we) not bought something?

I've decided not to return to said record shop until I cool off. Or perhaps I'll just completely convert to iTunes. Today's blatant arrogance was practically an invitation to do so.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

confessions of a jobless me

Two days ago, my world was turned halfway upside down when the magazine I worked for folded. It seems that the corporate machine behind the pub no longer wanted to fight for it, considering that Wall Street was giving them such a "hard time." I will miss the subject matter dearly, but I will also miss the people who I've gotten to know so deeply on a day-to-day basis (Lindsay, how shall I function without you?).

Whilst sitting in my home office, scanning for job leads while being lured away by daytime television, I can't help but notice the afternoon buzz that unfolds on my street during summer weekdays. Kids on skateboards, the mailman, city workers, and a flock of peacocks (including the albino pea hen above, whom I've named Beatrice) go about their daily routines outside my window. It's a fine distraction.