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Posts Tagged ‘#365Ways’

I’m feeling Olden Timey today, so let’s take a trip down memory lane, to 1906 San Francisco. Sure, this video has been posted all over the internet, but this definitive version includes narration and historical details, with a new digital transfer to include the full video, sprockety edges and all.

Plus it’s just cool.

Funny how a simple video conversion can suddenly make the past feel quite present. And really, they were us, and someday we will be them. Let’s do history proud!

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Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

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Some of my food choices have not made the transition to adulthood. Lightbulb fried salami. My Kraft Mac & Cheese and ramen habit.* Fruit Loops when I could get them, which was once a year or less (it was a good rule, parental units, but don’t think I’m over it! 😉

But some have.

Consider the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.** Is it a perfect balance of densities, sweet and savory, carbs, protein and flavor? Crunchy or smooth, with your choice of fruit flavors. Spark it up with homemade bread if you’re into that sort of thing. And so easy to assemble!

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* What? Alternate days, it was all perfectly reasonable.

** Am I posting this because it’s lunchtime, because I enjoy reminders of my often unconventional culinary childhood, or because I want to remind my mother that a PB&J is a terrific option for those days when lunch seems like a lot? Let’s go with all of the above.


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Photo by Freddy G on Unsplash

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Pretty Ok Day

Sometimes, there is only one question that matters: Did you quit today?

No, no I did not.

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“Being silly is still allowed, not excluded by adulthood. What’s excluded by adulthood is thoughtlessness, so be thoughtful and silly.”

― Hank Green

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Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

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Today in vaccine news: We’re just back from shot #1. It was great to see the parking lot full as other Ontarians came in to do their part, for themselves and the community. 

I will now dedicate the rest of my Sunday afternoon to bolstering my immune system. In the back yard. With a frosty and refreshing beverage.

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"vax and relax" on a painted rock

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This is one of the coolest projects I’ve seen in some time:

The cities of Vilnius, Lithuania and Lublin, Poland—which are 376 miles (606 kilometers) away from each other—unveiled their futuristic portals this week… allowing a real-time feed of whoever is in front of the portal to be transmitted between the two cities via the internet.

— Vilnius and Lublin Unveil a Futuristic “Bridge” Between Cities

It’s not quite Stargate, but “it’s a bridge that unifies and an invitation to rise above prejudices and disagreements that belong to the past.” (Benediktas Gylys)

So cool. Here’s the project home: PORTAL

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My nephew graduates from high school today! Sure, I’ll be celebrating via Zoom, but whatever. This calls for a party, and a party calls for pizza. 

My version is adapted from this award-winning King Arthur recipe:

Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza | King Arthur Baking

The original recipe is very good, but we wanted something a little more traditional. I kept the dough method but modified the rest. I use a standard pizza pan (works very well), stretch the dough out to ~14” and increase the toppings by a factor of roughly two. This way isn’t as fluffy as the original recipe, but there’s more pizza:)

See the original recipe for instructions and helpful pictures. It’s easy but the crust takes a little upfront fiddly time, so I make four times the amount, split the dough after the initial rise, and freeze the extras.

This is our usual, Butter Chicken Pizza. As always, topping ingredients and amounts are flexible.

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Ingredients

Quadruple Batch of Crust

  • 960g All-Purpose Flour, King Arthur if you can get it
  • 17g salt
  • 6.28g instant yeast or active dry yeast
  • 680g lukewarm water
  • 52g olive oil

Toppings for One Pizza

  • 300g mozzarella, grated (about 1 1/4 cups, loosely packed)
  • 200g Butter Chicken or other sauce, tweaked with a little soy sauce and balsamic vinegar
  • 200g cooked chicken, drained and shredded
  • wilted, chopped spinach and mushrooms or other veg, a handful or two
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • olive oil for the pan

Instructions

Crust:

  • Place the flour, salt, yeast, water, and olive oil in a large mixing bowl.
  • Stir everything together to make a shaggy, sticky mass of dough with no dry patches of flour. This should take 1-2 minutes by hand. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to gather the dough into a rough ball; cover the bowl.
  • After 5 minutes, uncover the bowl and reach your wet hand down between the side of the bowl and the dough, as though you were going to lift the dough out. Instead of lifting, stretch the bottom of the dough up and over its top. Repeat three more times, turning the bowl 90° each time.
  • Re-cover the bowl, and after 5 minutes do another fold. Wait 5 minutes and repeat; then another 5 minutes, and do a fourth and final fold. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest, undisturbed, for 40 minutes.
  • Split into four parts of ~425g each. Place into oiled containers (I use oiled takeout dishes.)
  • If using soon, refrigerate for a minimum of 12 hours, or up to 72 hours. It’ll rise slowly as it chills, developing flavor; this long rise will also add flexibility to your schedule. (A 72 hour rise will require a largish container.)
  • To save for longer, seal each container in a ziplock bag and freeze. The night before you want to use it, move one batch from the freezer to the fridge.

Assemble:

  • Crust: About 3 hours before you want to serve your pizza, prepare your pan. Pour 1 1/2 tablespoons (18g) olive oil onto pizza pan or cookie sheet. Spread the oil across the bottom.
  • Transfer the dough to the pan and turn it once to coat both sides with the oil. Press the dough to the edges of the pan, dimpling it using the tips of your fingers in the process. The dough may start to resist and shrink back; that’s OK, just cover it and let it rest for about 15 minutes, then repeat the dimpling/pressing. At this point the dough should reach the edges of the pan; if it doesn’t, give it one more 15-minute rest before dimpling/pressing a third and final time.
  • Cover the crust and let rise for ~2-2.5 hours at room temperature.
  • About 30 minutes before baking, place one rack toward the bottom of the oven and preheat to 450°F.
  • Toppings: once the dough is risen, sprinkle about three-quarters of the mozzarella over the entire crust. Spoon a spiral of sauce from the center outward, over the cheese. Laying the cheese down first will prevent the sauce from seeping into the crust and making it soggy. Sprinkle on the chicken, any veg, and remaining mozzarella.
  • Bake the pizza for 20-22 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and the bottom and edges of the crust are a rich golden brown (use a spatula to check the bottom). More and/or moister toppings will take longer to cook.
  • Remove the pizza from the oven and slide the pizza onto a cutting board or other heatproof surface. Cut and remove extra slices to a cooling rack to avoid sogginess.

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Would the world be a better place if we added the words “I’m afraid that…” to many of our negative thoughts? As in, “I’m afraid that the vaccine is untested and will hurt me.” Or, “I’m afraid that my neighbor with the weird tattoo hates me because I’m different,” or “I’m afraid that Anders in accounting is undermining my promotion case,” or “I’m afraid that the people in charge don’t care about me.”

Adding those three words adds flexibility. It highlights worry but also makes room for the possibility that you may not be right about the danger. It isn’t fact, but possibility.

Anders may indeed have it out for you, but your neighbor probably doesn’t think about you at all.

I’m not unaware that there are real problems in the world, and many of them can be very personal. I was raised around a mix of people, some of whom were sweet hometown souls and some for whom intolerance was their bread and butter. It is true that some people are not good. And not all tattoos are harmless.

Still. This quote also rings true for me:

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

― Yoda, Jedi Master

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Growing up as I did, an adopted, mixed-race but not obviously so child in a mostly rural mostly white area, gave me a certain perspective onto the good and the not so much.

My brother looks Black, he got the brunt of the in-your-face not good. I don’t, as much, so I got to see what lay behind the masks. It wasn’t always pretty, but it was always interesting.

What makes people tick? In my experience, the answer is often fear. We’re all scared of something.

Understanding that, about others and ourselves, can open a fascinating window into motivation, behavior, and connection.

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Years ago, I went on vacation with a group. I didn’t necessarily agree with the politics of all present, but that’s fine. We were there for a good time, and most days, a good time was had.

The weather was warm but it rained on and off, and strong winds blew through even on the best afternoons. On snorkeling day, the boat that took us out was on the small side and the water was choppy with a chance of jellyfish.

The captain took us out into deeper water, pointing to a box of snorkels and masks as we slipped farther from shore. The woman next to me didn’t say much but when she spoke, her voice sounded thin and strained. 

The boat dropped anchor and most of the group immediately swam away. My seat-mate stayed near the ladder, tension visible in her short, choppy strokes and the way her breathing wasn’t quite level.

In that moment, our differences didn’t matter. The water was deep. Jellyfish swarmed nearby, and the boat cast an absurdly small shadow on a vast ocean. 

I reached out a hand and asked if she would swim with me. She laughed, half disbelief, half desperation. 

Then she reached back. 

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It was years ago, but I remember that day every time I am tempted to fall into a knee-jerk reaction about someone. 

I’m half white, half Black, half American, half Canadian, half Star Wars, half Star Trek, half duck confit, half pork and sauerkraut. I’m Exhibit J for the argument that differences don’t have to mean disaster. 

I know that reaching out doesn’t always work. I’ve experienced the alternatives. (And thanks to the joys of social media and increasing polarization, it’s impossible to miss the bonfire of bad so often happening around us.) But I keep trying.

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Like most people, I am best at remembering the foolish things I’ve done, the comments I wish I could take back, or the times I wish I’d done more.

But I also remember that moment in the water, when I was able to reach past our fears and help someone. I doubt she remembers, and that’s fine. In a fundamentally useful way, that moment humanized us both. We do not always see eye to eye, but we like each other far better than any algorithm says we should. 

I can still see the wide blue waters flowing around me, hear the slap of waves against the side of the boat. And feel the warmth of another’s hand looking for help and hope, and giving both back to me in return.

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Photo by Yoann Boyer on Unsplash

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It’s June. June!* 

I’m in the mood to do new things. It’s also the beginning of the month, which, thanks to the “fresh start effect” is a great time to embark on new ventures.

“The fresh-start effect hinges on the idea that we don’t feel as perfect about our past as we’d like. We’re always striving to be better. And when we can wipe out all those failures and look at a clean slate, it makes us feel more capable and drives us forward.”

— Dr. Katherine Milkman

Behavioral nudges are my jam.

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I actually did start a new project yesterday, and it felt good. Today I decided to think about said project while crossing off the residual items weighing down my list. That felt good too.

Now it’s time to dive in.

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* I would have written about this yesterday but you know, Tuesdays.

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“…the simplest and most important thing of all: the world is difficult, and we are all breakable. So just be kind.”

― Caitlin Moran

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Photo by Chris Curry on Unsplash

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