Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pink Slime ... WHAT?!?!?!

I've slowly been changing my diet to eat better food. Two "things that grow" a day... check. Cut out beef entirely... check. Cut waaaay back on potatoes (a particular weakness) ... check. Cut out soda, artificial sweeteners, and things dyed weird colors... check, check, and check.

Things took another turn recently when I saw photographs and read about "pink slime" ... the mechanically-separated meat byproducts that are bathed in ammonia to make them "safe for human consumption" and sold as ground beef, pork, turkey, etc. etc. If your butcher didn't *personally* grind the meat, it was done in a factory using this disgusting process. Not only is the process disgusting, but god knows how many cows are represented in your pound of beef... I saw a package at the grocery store the other week that was labeled "Product of USA and Canada." What the hell?

I like ground meat... you can make yummy things with it, like burgers, meat loaf, chili (I've been substituting critters other than cows for these... chili made with ground pork is pretty good). But I can't bring myself to eat industrial ground meat anymore... so, I bought a little hand-powered meat grinder on Amazon. It works like a charm! I found pork chops on super-sale, ground them up, and made enough chili to last me 5 weeks of Monday lab sessions.

Grinding pork. It makes a disturbing sound, but works like a charm.
And yes, I'm short on counter space.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Inside the Wesleyan Chapel

Wesleyan Chapel, Women's Rights National Historical Park, Seneca Falls, New York.
December 4, 2011.

This past December, I traveled up to the Great White North. Although it's a little out of the way from where I'm at now, I still stopped in Seneca Falls at Women's Rights National Historical Park. It was unseasonably warm for December, and had been... yes, that's green, green grass in Upstate New York in December. I was fortunate this time to get a tour (finally!) of the inside of the Wesleyan Chapel. It looks good; it makes much more sense to be standing inside a building than in the ruins that were there formerly, and for what it's worth, the building seems to be settling into its new self. There's a little signage inside explaining the Chapel's history, but mostly it is empty space. I'm interested to see what the programming inside the Chapel will be.

Interior, Wesleyan Chapel, Women's Rights National Historical Park,
Seneca Falls, New York. Rebuilt south wall. December 4, 2011.

Interior, Wesleyan Chapel, Women's Rights National Historical Park,
Seneca Falls, New York. Interior, west side showing original
structure and additions. December 4, 2011.

Monday, February 13, 2012

What I've Been Up To...

Sunrise over Lake Ontario, December 2011. The anniversary of my dad's death.

Here are some photos, mostly from my December travels. I don't quite know where December and January went, and here we are in the midst of February. Finally, a little bit of wintery weather, by which I mean, there was a dusting of snow on the ground when I left for school this morning and the temps are hovering just below freezing, at least for now.

The Metro. October 2011.

I started TA'ing this semester; a run of three 2-hour labs, all on "when I left for school this morning" was around 6:30am. I'm not a morning person, but the campus is beautiful that early; quiet, misty. And the light is changing as we get closer to spring. One morning I'll remember to bring my camera.

The mornings are beautiful, but the Monday schedule is kicking my ass. I'm a bit of a dishrag by the time I get home. It's nice to be in front of a class again, though. I've missed it. I will say, however, that students treat you quite differently when you're a professor (even "just" an adjunct) and when you're a TA for a class.

I did a lot of traveling back to the Great White North; first for a memorial on the anniversary of my father's death, and not a fortnight later to spend the holidays with family. January was full of more coursework, a conference, a family visit, and the start of a new semester. This grad school gig is going to FLY by.

Sunset, Perry City, New York, just outside Ithaca. December 4, 2011.