I am apparently so impatient to go pick berries at the local U-Pick that we headed out Saturday morning a week before the farm opened. I'm not quite sure why i am so impatient, but i'm delighted that i noted the date before we drove too far.
We were heading out "late" because my father called at 7:30 and we had a delightful hour long chat. He was home alone, recovering from the eye surgery on Friday that corrected the mistakes made during the Tuesday eye surgery.
Dear baby boomers, the eye surgeons are getting plenty of practice on my dad, so i don't feel guilty feeling relief at the thought that they will be well practiced on you all by the time my eyes need surgery.
On the other hand, my dad thinks his cataracts have to do with years of unprotected eyes in south Florida light. If so, my life by the dim computer light should protect my eyes from needing similar surgeries.
Since i wasn't off late to pick berries, i could go spend an hour with a colleague in the farmers market. I made the mistake of getting root vegetables from a stand with unmarked prices. Two baking potatoes, two large beets, and three skinny carrots for $15?
Yikes. I ended up going a little over budget because of that pricing (it was the only stand with baking potatoes), so when i was getting some yellow crookneck squash and saw the pile of greens i was in an spendthrift mood. $1 for a gigantic bundle of -- what? Bitter Melon greens? Stir fry or pout in a soup? -- i bought it.
The quinine flavor was pronounced in a raw leaf. I made a soup by blanching the leaves first in boiling salted water, rinsing in cold water, then squeezing out the leaves, before adding to the soup. The broth was diced candied ginger (because i was apparently out of ginger root, and i figured the sweetening of the bitter wouldn't hurt), miso, soy sauce, and a dash of Hunan red pepper sauce. The soup was bitter but tasty. However, the total cost of these greens in prep was not insignificant. The little tendrils that seemed so tender were actually pretty twiggy. The mature leaves were tender after cooking. Picking the leaves from the branches and blanching took some time. I can't decide if i would buy them again. Admittedly, there aren't lots of other greens in the market this time of year and $1 is pretty inexpensive compared to chard, etc.
Christine watched a Daily Show interview with the author of Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You've Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong
, Ed Conard. Jon Stewart kept the conversation going as he tried to communicate with Ed that homeowners and the middle class were the ones with real risks in the economy. After watching Christine watch an episode of PBS's Commanding Heights
, documenting the global economy from WW I to the early 90's, i wanted to bang my head repeatedly into a wall. I have simplified my understanding down to simply seeing that it seems that the economy goes into the ditch, folks figure out they need to steer in some direction (say right) and then leadership decides, "Damnit, we're going to steer this economy to the right come hell or high water." Lo, back into another ditch, and the only way to get out is to steer in the opposite direction, and back to monomanical steering without paying attention to the road.
Christine is taking economics this summer session: i may go back and read amaebi
's posts on economics with a clue after i get an osmotic dose of basics from Christine. [Who is live editing as i blog, which is at least reading it, right?]
I didn't feel focused, as if i could make reasonable priority calls of what needs doing, so i ended up spending the day crocheting while watching videos. I started with a Tommy and Tuppence mystery, but felt like i could "do better." I went to my @watching tag and the first three saved notes were TED talks:
* Erik Johansson: Impossible photography | Video on TED.com
** Surrealism in photography and a bit about how he did his images. I was not impressed.
* Ron Gutman: The hidden power of smiling | Video on TED.com
** A nice peptalk on why smiling is good for you, although correlation and causation seemed awfully confused. As a chronically depressed person, i have mixed feelings about this. But what the hell, maybe i should smile more.
* Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story | Video on TED.com
is fantastic: wonderful personal narrative about power and stories.
The next thing on my watching list was a documentary about the role of several Afro-Colombian women in the continuing armed conflict in Colombia
. The whole series of Women, War, and Peace looks like it's a good stiff study of war zones.
At this point i turned back to Netflix and watched a documentary that had been on my list for a long time, Obscene: A Portrait of Barney Rosset and Grove Press
. It was interesting to have the economics video from Friday in the back of my mind, informing my reflections on the issue of regulation and control both in the economic realm and in the moral artistic realm.
I got a good number of yarn snarls undone -- why do my center pull balls fail so? -- and made great progress on the lower part of my cardigan. I'm adding a ruffly expansion at the bottom, and planning on slowly increasing the number of full cluster stitches to simple net stitches so the flare at the hip will be more of a net than a full lace fabric. I hope it works out. I'd hate to frog this yarn.
As a side note, i'm listening to The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
by Nicholas Carr. The second chapter, on brain plasticity, has me wondering why it took so long for conventional wisdom to recognize that adult brains change. Carr provides a good foundation to his argument that our tool use can change our brains. As i drove back and forth to the market listening, i wondered how the car has changed our brains, and snidely wondered why Carr wasn't bent out of shape about that. The whole tone of Carr's book -- not helped by my reaction to the narrator, i'm sure -- strikes me as reactionary conservatism so far. We own a copy of Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter
by Steven Johnson, which probably takes similar observations and spins them in another direction.
In health news, i feel like i have put on several pounds in the past few weeks, my Achilles tendon still feels stiff and painful when i just walk around the house, and the flare continues. Feh.