Now... September Round-up!
Yes, yes, I know, we're well into October now. However, this week marked the completion of the massive work project that has been eating up all of my time and mindspace (it was a big success, FYI), and so I thought I'd just put a cap on September by just rounding up where I am with my 2011 intentions and pop culture all at once.
2011 Learn-Go-Do (see the link above for more info)
- Hollow Victory: So, I technically met my goal of visiting three American cities to which I'd never been before, as I visited Newark, New Jersey. Those of you who are familiar with geography may be thinking to yourself: Hey, Newark is right near Manhattan. Why didn't you go to Manhattan? That's a good question. Well, I was busy with that work project (which was a conference. Held in Newark). In fact, I only left the Newark Airport Sheraton ONE time during the week. Grr. I did have a lovely Amtrak trip from Newark to DC, however, and got to see more of the East Coast than I'd ever experienced before.And I did get to learn a lot about the ed reform movement in Newark.
- ¡Hola! So in my work, we think a lot about identity (yes, if you're not a touchy-feely type - which I'm not either - feel free to gag). My good friend Elizabeth and I have been talking a lot about identity and she's done lots of work to come to terms with parts of her identity that had been diminished by the assimilating factors of life in America. The crux of this is that I've been thinking about how my family is really good at honoring the Russian part of our heritage, but the Spanish part - because in the 20's and 30's that was looked down upon even moreso than today - is much less prominent in our family history. Doing all this thinking has led me to get serious about learning Spanish, which will also help me at work as well. I've started taking online lessons, and even though I knew a lot of disconnected words before, and could even read quite a bit, having a formal structure has already given me a lot of a-has about the structure of the language. Of course, right now I can mostly say things like, "She's drinking" and "The man is running" but being able to put together a sentence, rather than just using random words and pointing, is a big step forward for me.
- Kitchen Connection: I've been trying to renew my commitment to sustainable eating. If you've read the blog for awhile, you'll know that I'm a "near-vegetarian." In the past, I've cooked poultry or fish once a week and been veg the rest of the week. Unfortunately, I was found to be on the verge of anemia (the lab report literally said "Alert" on it). Since I haven't eaten red meat for 17 or 18 years (want to be more sustainable? Eat less red meat!) I've known I was low in iron - this was just more extreme. Don't worry, I didn't start chowing down on steaks. However, I have upped my intake of non-mammal meats a bit, along with starting an iron regimen. If you want to know which foods are high in iron, check out this list. Your body doesn't absorb much iron from plant sources, so if you're strictly veg, you might want to talk to your doctor and make sure your iron is adequate. Seafood sources are good, but make sure you're making sustainable choices by checking out the Seafood Watch list.
- Watch: September brought back our favorite TV shows. Yay! I could probably write a lengthy post about the return of each of my faves (that musical number on Community! Stefan killed Andi on Vampire Diaries! Um... whoa, is that allowed on network television? on The Good Wife) and what I'm thinking about the new ones (The New Girl, 2 Broke Girls... apparently women in their 20's are still considered girls, even at this late day and age. Discuss.) Suffice it to say that it's a good time to curl up with your best friend DVR.
- Listen: Even though it came out in February, I've been listening to Let England Shake, by PJ Harvey quite a bit lately. PJ always reminds me of my Sassy-magazine-reading days, and this album has a lot of the power and menace of her old stuff. I've also been mourning the end of R.E.M. by listening to my favorite songs of theirs: "Country Feedback", "Leave", and "E-bow the Letter." Plus there's that Scotty McCreery CD... oh wait, no... no there isn't, although iTunes SURE wants me to buy one. It's time for iTunes to get better at personalizing your home screen.
- Read: This month the movie Drive came out, which is a great one if you're a fan of existential quiet men protecting ethereal dames. I'd highly recommend the novella it's based on, also called Drive, by James Sallis. It's a disjointed series of memories, deeply grounded in the earthiness of food, cars, and geography.