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Bucking up.

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This is what I looked like before I was sad.

OH MY GOD JANUARY. It is so awful. There is science proving how awful it is — or “pseudoscience,” at least. According to Science, the most depressing day of the year hasn’t even happened yet — it’s on January 21st.

Factors include things like weather, holiday debt, motivation and days since falling off the New Years resolution wagon. There should also be something about “likelihood that you are hacking up a lung.” And “number of fights you’ve had with friends and/or strangers on the internet in the past week.”

Having moved through the preliminary stages of utter despair, including

pretending to just be having a bad week
getting drunk on bad beer several days in a row
coming to terms with the semi-permanent nature of the situation
and
unfettered self-pity,
I have now moved into a considerably more pleasurable stage: self-comfort. This is the part where you stop just feeling sorry for yourself and do something about it. Like eat scones every day, regard attending one yoga class in a week as a Feat of Strength, and read long-form articles about Lindsey Lohan making a low-budg film.

I’m even using my favorite mug — which (neurosis alert) I use as little as possible to prevent it from ever breaking or getting lost — on the daily.

It’s wonderful. I am pretending/recognizing that I have a disease, and treating that disease by treating myself awesomely. Which leads me to wonder why I don’t do this all the time.

Being inexplicably sad has led me to living more wholly. For now, as a survival technique. But later, maybe just for fun.

Ladies We Love: Kate Burke

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  • There are some women in Spokane doing some super awesome things. In fact, there are a lot of women doing awesome things, so we’re starting a new series to let you know what the women of this city are up to. To nominate someone, email us at TheSpovangelist@Spovangelist.com

Kate Burke loves Spokane. She tried out a few other places like Bellingham, WA and Chicago, IL and made the intentional decision to move back to Spokane and grow her roots deep. Kate is the Plant-a-Row coordinator at 2nd Harvest Food Bank, a localist, a cyclist and a slow food champion. Plus, she’s one of the hardest working, most dedicated people I’ve ever met. Spokane is lucky to have her.

How would you describe your activism?

My activism: The cheesy, overused quote: “Be the change that you want to see in the world” is what I try to base my activism off of. If people can see that I am doing it and that I can make it happen, then there are absolutely no excuses not to do it. I fight for a lot of things but and I find that there is so much wrong with America and the world that I have to narrow down my fight. So I picked to fight for community health and food access. Everything I do in my everyday life adds to my community one way or another. And same goes for my health. I feel that if our communities were stronger than most of our problems would just find a way to go elsewhere. I want to build up our local areas and make them full and rich!

What inspires you daily?

My lifestyle inspires me. Everyday I get up and find it so hard to get on my bike. Rain, snow or shine i ride. But everyday I dont have to get gas or deal with parking or deal with driving in a car. my life simplifies immediately. My boyfriend also inspires me. Our future goals are the same and we work everyday towards them. When I see him living his life the way he does, it makes me feel that I can do it too. My work is another inspiration for me. Going to work with like minded people is helpful and keeps me motivated. When people share an experience or a lifestyle, it makes it easier to proceed together.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

When i was really little i think i wanted to be a teacher, like my mom. But as I got a little older, around 13, I wanted to be a farmer. I think it’s interesting that I held on to that dream. I want to grow my own food and teach others how to do it and how to preserve the food too (canning and fermentation). So my two career goals melded together to be one super job!

What’s next for you?

I hope that I can get some land soon, but for now I will be trying to make my house into a small (very small) farm house on the south hill. If I do get the land I want to start about 1 or 2 acres as a vegetable garden and also some animals (rabbit, duck and pig for meat. chickens for eggs. goats for milk and of course a border collie for my pet!) then I want to set up CSA (Communtiy Supported Agriculture) boxes for pick up once a week. We would have an event on pick up days. Live music, cooking classes and food would be a few things present. This is peaceful. This is freedom.

Authors Bio: My name’s Parris from Lillslist.com, I’m a researcher by trade. For almost four years now, I’ve made my living by finding information for other people to sell. When I experienced a health crisis, I began to research for myself, trying to find ways to lose weight and solve my health problems.A little over six months later and almost 30 pounds lighter, I realized that I didn’t want to work for other people any more, but I still wanted to share my knowledge with those who could benefit from it….

Things to do about sadness that aren’t drugs.

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Sometimes I get stuck. Like bigger-than-life sad/hopeless/can’t move stuck. That kind of stuck loops around in a bigger stuck, in which I know I’m not living life to its fullest but can’t quite sort out how to fix that. I know, I know, there are drugs for this, but I don’t have any and mostly don’t want them. Today has been the worst day in a while.

I read a funny (I am pretty sure it was funny?) blog post about depression and chuckled half-heartedly. I had been saving that blog because I love the artist/writer so much, and it didn’t even feel like anything to read it. Nothing.

Maybe I am depressed, but I don’t think that’s it. Most days I feel the amount of nihilism appropriate for the situation (life being meaningless and all) and enjoy things the amount that seems appropriate. I remember being depressed and it was nothing like that. It was more like today, but for all the days I could remember at the time.

Here’s the thing: I think if you feel like you’re missing out on some of what you could be making of your life, the answer is not to get a pill for that. If you feel bigger-than-life pain sometimes, it might be because you’re ignoring nagging dissatisfaction with your choices and circumstances, and that pain is hell-bent on being felt at some point so it can move the fuck on with its life.

I ate a lot of pastries and chocolate today and went to a yoga class. Otherwise, I mostly stared at the screen that I was supposed to be fixing a problem on and couldn’t make my brain do the fixing. I tried sleeping, which helped, except now there are bits of chocolate melted into the sheets. I read about juggalos on the internet. So when I realized the video I was about to watch was 20 minutes long, I didn’t even care that I would be losing 20 minutes of my day. It was about a guy who got kind of famous for writing a really cool song you might have heard on the radio, and the guy was like 17 at the time and now he is dead from cancer.

The video was about how he decided to live life while he was dying instead of trying so hard not to die that he would be sick from drugs and horrible surgery for the whole rest of his life.

I cried for a good 30 minutes, which helped. I also really want to do that even though I am not dying. My plan is the following:

Stop doing things that seem like a good move even though they will make me too busy to do things like learn stuff on the guitar and go for runs.
Stop saving exercise for the last day of the week when I panic about not having exercised all week.
Do some of the things I want to do but don’t because _(insert boring excuse here)_, like eat real food instead of whatever is easiest, do fun things after work, visit my family, hang out with people I like a lot, watch good movies, learn new stuff, go outside when it’s nice, etc.
Let go of anger that is pointless.
Write all the things.
Clean my house all the time so I like being there, instead of once every few weeks when I am angry about my house being gross.
You know, all the things people say you should do to be happy. (The last one is probably not on everyone’s list, but it is important to me.)

My grandmother did what this kid did when she found out she was terminal, and a lot of the things she had on her list, except I think she was doing most of those things already. She didn’t stop being annoyed about annoying things or otherwise a normal human being, but in perspective. As far as I could tell, the only regret she had was not having time to do all the things she wanted to — and that’s after seventy-something years of being pretty bad-ass. If there’s that much awesomeness to live, I’d better get on it.

I think living like you’re dying when you’re not dying in any immediate sense is subtly different from living like you’re dying when you know you have weeks or months to live, because you can’t just stop doing things required of humans, like going to work and thinking about the long-term implications of your life choices. But only subtly different. I love my job and obsessively think about the long-term implications of my life choices as it is, so maybe my shift should be to think less hard about the long-term implications and do more small things just because they are the things I’d want to have done with my life if I didn’t have years ahead of me to put them off.

For now, I’ll count it a success that I emerged deeply fulfilled from a day I would normally promise myself to get on meds and write off as a waste.

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Posterizing for SPIFF

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Once again, it’s almost time for the Spokane International Film Festival. No Matthew Modine this year, but plenty of global films and a new feature: Posterize. With 21 designers commissioned to make posters for 25 films, it’s an art display showcasing independent film by some of the greatest graphic design talent in our city. And it’s free.

You can preview many of the posters here, as well as a listing of this year’s films for the festival here.

I think this is a particularly good idea because it allows festival patrons to glimpse the potential of movies they may want to see through the eyes of innovative designers. This should, theoretically, encourage a sense of community, pride, and interest in the arts from multiple angles. The show includes local favorites Karli Ingersoll and Chris Dreyer, as well as a host of emerging talent. It’s a combination of two way cool ideas that looks, well, way cool. Way to go, SpIFF.

The show will be one night only, at the Bing this Friday, from 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Remembering Som

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We learned last Friday we had lost Som Jordan, whom many, many of us counted a true friend. Even more of us knew him as an inspiration — a stalwart believer in us, Spokane’s creative, status quo-challenging, energetic doers — and as arguably the best of us at all of those things.

The most lovely thing is happening as we each find our way through this loss: Everyone seems to understand that there’s a calling left in his absence. Not to be him, nor to fill his shoes, but to step up our own game. To give a shit. To leave our hearts on the canvas, the dance floor, the page. To tune in more closely to one another.

Our community is doing just that: creating beautiful tributes to Som. The words we’re looking for, collections of his work, spaces to mourn together and chances to make our own contribution — whether through a donation or an expression.

So here are a few beautiful tributes written by Som’s friends. <3. <3. <3. (Also this, added to the list after the fact. Wow.)

Here are links to The Spokesman‘s retrospective of Som’s work, the Flying Spiders albums and his “PA System” podcasts.

Tonight, you can attend a tribute and silent auction at The Shop. Proceeds will be donated to Caleb and Si Jordan’s Education Fund, which will help support Som’s family. (You can also just donate to the fund online.)

A memorial service for Som will be held on Sunday at The Bing Crosby Theater at 1 p.m. Following the memorial, Baby Bar will open and donate 100% of profits to the fund.

Author bio: Tamara Rice from Hopefullyknown.com, she is a lover of words and Jesus and family, though perhaps not in that order. She is the editor of over forty books, contributing writer to two books and two Bibles, author of three film-based discussion guides, and a former magazine editor and book reviewer who sometimes blogs. She’s also known to speak loudly about breast cancer, sexual abuse and mental health issues—having lived with and through all of the above.

All Local Listening on Spotracks

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I haven’t made a mix for a while; which isn’t the same as saying I haven’t been listening to music. I have been. A lot. But I haven’t yet made an all-local mix, so here is a winter gift from me to you. Every song was meticulously picked from my itunes library and the corners of the internet, and the result is not necessarily a cohesively blending mix, but a compilation of truly awesome Spokane sound power. Enjoy!

Um, so my friends really love soup.

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I made a couple of soup-related posts on Facebook and was pleasantly surprised to learn my friends are also super excited about soup! Look out, RPG-ers. This is a new brand of geekery you can’t even match. Below (at the bottom of the post) is the full list of ideas and recipes from my friends. I still need recipes for the ones without links — please share or add to the list!

Albondigas means meatballs in Spanish, yo.

Tonight, I craved something super filling and, well, meaty. What I really craved was a bloody, possibly moo-ing steak, but my commitment to soup prevailed. (I briefly considered a stew, but wanted to eat in less than three hours and had some questions concerning not having a crock pot.)

My boyfriend and I settled on turkey albondigas, as per his mom’s suggestion.

This is the recipe we chose — except we bought turkey meatballs already made in the interest of not making meatballs, which seemed like a huge pain in the ass. We used veggie broth instead of chicken broth and grated the carrots (because chunks of cooked carrots in soup kind of weird me out). Also, we left out bell peppers because bell peppers don’t taste good.

The albondigas blew out of the water (er, broth?) my secret notion that soup isn’t particularly filling. I struggled to finish my portion. Unlike with many other non-creamy soups, I didn’t get hungry again after an hour.

The caldo tasted like everything delicious about Mexican food — I’m not even sure how it happened, either, because the ingredients aren’t that much different from what I use to make any other soup. Tomato juice (we tossed in the whole 8-oz. can even though the recipe only called for half) made a major flavor difference.

Before proceeding to the list, I have two questions for my expert soupist friends. First: Do I need a crock pot to make stews? Second: What’s your secret to making vegetable broth taste “right” when substituted in a recipe calling for meat stock/broth?

SOUP MASTER LIST (Thank you, friends!)

Pumpkin Kale
Taco Soup (Two votes!)
Root Vegetable and Black Bean Chili
Split Pea
Finnish Summer Soup
Turkey Albondigas
Butternut Squash/Carrot/Ginger (One butternut squash, 4 carrots 4 ginger frozen ginger cubes from Trader Joe’s. Boil in about 1-2 cups water. Pour into blender with salt, pepper, and about 2 teaspoons of raw honey. Blend the hell out of it.)
Fish Cream Soup
Italian White Bean and Pancetta (Notes from my friend: “I used lean bacon instead of pancetta, tried leeks instead of the red onion for a milder flavor, and packed in the veggies. It makes a pretty large batch, but I’ve just been taking in my lunches, and I would guess that it freezes okay as well.”)


Chicken Pot Pie Stew
Carbonnade Beef and Beer Stew
Lentil
Lentil Vegetable
Pumpkin
Potato Leek (Check!)
Butternut Squash, shallots, coconut milk, curry.
Spicy Ginger Squash
African Yam Peanut (Notes from Barb, who has more of her favorites listed on her site: I love African Yam Peanut Soup. I couldn’t find the recipe I use (out of the Spokesman several years ago) but found [the recipe linked]. This one calls for sweet potatoes but I use yams, and I use coconut milk as part of the liquid. My recipe calls for fewer spices but uses a cup of mild to medium salsa.)
Chicken Lime (Chicken meat, red onion, green-red–or-yellow bell peppers, a pasta such as small bowties or shells and limes, limes, lots of limes squeezed in. And cilantro.)

Diary of a Soup Ninja

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For all its romantic fog and cozy rainy mornings, Fall scares the bejesus out of me. Four-thirty sunsets mess with my body clock, trying to lure me into hibernation. But anybody who’s spent a winter or eight in Spokane knows Fall hibernation leads to January psychotic breaks. It’s pretty much keep moving or self-destruct.

If I can’t hibernate, I at least want comfort food. Comfort food is, like, cheese and pasta. Or cheese on pizza. Or cheese on bread. Cheese on cheese. Pizza with a side of garlic bread. Bread with a side of pasta. Topped with cheese.

After a meal (or eight) like that, I basically just want to hibernate more. Plus I feel (/become) chubby, which makes me want to crawl in a hole and sleep forever. Sanity is a lot of work, people.

This vegan potato leek soup understands you like nobody else.

Hence, I am learning soup. Soup usually doesn’t have any bread or cheese in it. It makes eating things like carrots and lentils seem awesome, which is useful when virtually no delicious vegetables are in season.

It’s super cheap to make. The potato leek soup I just made has six kinds of organic vegetable, mushrooms and organic veggie stock in it, all of which totaled around $6 and could easily feed four people. (Currently accepting bribes.)

As far as I can tell so far, it’s impossible to screw up making soup. If it tastes gross, add more stuff (like salt, pepper, ginger, pepper flakes or curry) until it tastes delicious.

I would love suggestions for soup-inventing strategies or recipes to try. For my first soup, I studied the ingredients on the back of an overpriced can of soup and made it from scratch for about the same price ($3.50). This potato leek soup pretty much involved throwing veggies in the pot with some olive oil, soy sauce and spices later adding veggie stock, followed by potatoes, blending about half and and adding stuff until it tasted amazing ($6.00)

I’m lucky to live across from a grocery store, so I buy exactly what I need for that particular soup — that allows me to buy quality, organic produce without overspending just for the leftover supplies to grow slime in the fridge.

More soup reports later. For now, send me tips and recipes, please!

Author bio: My name’s Brown from WorldCarsNews.com, WorldCarsNews is a great information resource for the car industry and most of all, the fruit of our passion for cars. This website is part of the PowrMedia Network and our copywriters and research teams are dedicated towards digging out the most interesting information, news, pictures and videos of our favorite car brands.

Spovangelist Wins Best Blogger in the Inlander “Best of” Reader Poll

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It’s nice to come back from vacation and be greeted with community recognition. This award means more coming from you, so thanks for sharing the Spovangelist with the general public. Also, congratulations to Spokane food blogs From The Back Kitchen and Taste Everything Once for their outstanding work. With David Blaine on the production side and Remi Olsen on the consumer side, Spokane’s local food culture is alive and well and will continue to grow.

Before 2009 there was no “Best Local Blogger” category. The inclusion of blogging in “Best of” coincides nicely with the Inlander’s transition to online voting, and confirms the important role of blogging in civic dialog. (Last year there were no categories for Best Neighborhood, Best Public Park, and Best Grassroots Advocacy Group, among many others. We like to think that these additions had something to do with our role as a squeaky wheel in “Best of” 2008. Kudos to the Inlander for acting on public input and asking for more.)

Given the relative obscurity of the Spokane blogosphere among our population overall, “Best Local Blogger” effectively means “Most Visible Local Blogger” in a public input poll. Were the category “Best Local Blog” we’d have bet on Down to Earth NW for their widespread notoriety, backed by the marketing guns over at the Spokesman-Review. Given that the blogging award was for the blogger and not the blog, we think it bears mention that Remi Olsen runs several local websites including a projects page, horror movie reviews, a Twitter-style comments feed, and the Spokane Food Blog.

While we’re flattered that the Inlander sees us as a needed “slap in the face,” we think of ourselves as more of a “pinch on the cheek”. The Spovangelist is successful because people are interested in how to propel Spokane towards its fullest potential. This endeavor is much more than a catchy theme (notice how we’re right next to Best Spiritual Leader?) some idle titillation and occasionally punchy one-liners. It is the mission of this blog to explore that elusive something about our city, our culture and our place that mystifies and gives hope. It is up to us to collectively define “the good life” and to find new ways of living it together.

To My Bike Thief

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Congratulations! You’re the proud new owner of a 52-centimeter Trek 2.1 road bike.

It might be a little small for you. Maybe you’ll give it to your girlfriend. Maybe you’ll hike the seat up ride around on it yourself, basking in the adrenaline rush of that lightweight, sexy beast of a vehicle.

Here’s the problem, though: It’s mine. It’s been tuned to fit my body and I’ve broken in the handlebar tape. (I also spit on it, so wash it off real good, eh.) The handlebars are measured to my shoulder width. I’ve tweaked the seat to perfection for long rides.

And what you might not have guessed is that it’s my only way to get around.

It’s a nice bike, so you probably assumed I could afford to replace it. Maybe that I have a car sitting in the garage at home. I was going to a meeting when you watched me walk away from my bike, so I probably looked pretty put together. Maybe you read me as a spoiled chick with money to throw around.

Whatever you assumed about what I have and you don’t and what society owes you or whatever your rationale is, you’re wrong.

I bought that bike with money I had from selling my car. I sold my car because it needed more repair than I could afford. I won’t be able to replace that bike anytime soon, which means I’m stuck riding the bus and walking places. You might relate to how this makes me feel. I’m making some assumptions about you, too — that you don’t have a “real” job, a car or a bike of your own (as in, one that you didn’t rip off) — and you probably know how much being tight on cash and without transportation feels.

My bike was my passport to self-sufficiency and staying healthy — and an item I can’t possibly afford to replace. As such, I brought it inside every night instead of leaving it in the garage. I locked it up within eyesight whenever I could.

You might be wondering about the scratches along the frame. A car hit me while I was riding home last year. My body was screaming but I barely noticed; my shock-addled brain could only muster this: “Is my bike okay?”

As soon as I was healthy enough, I got back in the saddle and rode trembling down Sprague Avenue. Riding again became my gradual victory over fear — not just of being hit again, but of the many, many things that are terrifying about the very uncertain life of a young person without financial security. While you were busy stealing my bike, I was meeting with a group trying to make Spokane a safer place to bike. Oh, the sweet irony.

Without a bike, living without a car becomes much more difficult. Buses run late, run on awkward schedules and simply don’t go everywhere. Going to the grocery store is enormously frustrating. Some jobs just aren’t an option because you don’t have a way to get there.

You probably assumed I don’t have these problems — and I didn’t, until you stole my bike.

Suddenly, I’m more dependent on others and less employable — which sucks because I’ve pretty much tapped out all the favors I can ask of my friends and family in my last three years without a steady job or a car.

I’m trying to take this in stride. This isn’t my first rodeo and you’re not the first punk to run off with something that’s mine. I bet you’re not a terrible person — I’ve been down enough on luck to feel like the universe owes me break, too.

I imagine that’s how you feel — or at least how you’ve justified it — like the universe owed you some rich bitch’s fancy bike. You were wrong, and I’ll totally throw you a bone there. I don’t care about reporting you or kicking your ass or anything like that. Will you just return my bike, please?

The no-questions-asked drop-off spot is Merlyn’s Comics at 19 W. Main. It’s open every day from 10am – 9pm. I know you’re free on Mondays from 4-5:30, because that’s when you stole my bike, so maybe you could drop it off then. Or whenever. You can say you’re doing it for your friend, or that you just found it — I really don’t care. I just want my bike.

Here’s the info on my bike, in case anyone sees it riding around town: 2010 Trek 2.1 Compact WSD. 52 cm. Serial # WTU286G0605E. Dark green with white embellishment. Black handlebar tape — at least the last time I saw it. It went missing near Riverside & Howard in downtown Spokane.

Please email me at erikaprins(at)gmail.com if you have any information.

Update: Friends have started a fund to help Erika replace her bike, click here to learn more.

Author bio: Hey, I am Tasha Chavez. I am providing you great ideas to materialise the magic of Christmas the best way you can. As an author, I know girls and also know the importance of a great gift. On our site Whattogetagirlforchristmas.com you can find the inspiration that you need! Girls are easy to please if you find the right present. And we gathered all the great ideas in one place. We provide you perfect ideas for little girls and women! And when it comes to pleasing a woman’s taste, we know just what you need to do! Check our site and make the women in your life happy this Christmas!

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