setting

yesterday jane came with me to look at a couple houses. two of them had two completely different feelings to them. one of the houses was secluded and wooded. it could’ve been like i was up north at a cabin. the second house was on a lake, and not quite so secluded. but the lot was large, and the lake was there. it was like being in the new london lake country. both appealed to me. both were great. i can’t decide what i like better!

my realtor asked what my deal was with lakes – why would i want to live on a lake? she knew i grew up on a farm(ish), so what’s with the lake? i looked at jane, and said “well, we graduated from new london-spicer…”

“oh! say no more.” 

tonight i’m looking at another lake home. property taxes are killer. *sigh*

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worldGO

sometimes you just have to take a step back and shake your head at the world. 

there have been so many negative events in the news lately, from the recent shootings to people being forced out of twitter due to online bullying. the gut-wrenching death of philando castile hit too close to home, and every day i refrain from posting something political due to the “is this it? would this be the tweet/FB post that gets attention in the wrong way?” thoughts. 

it’s overwhelming sometimes, even if it doesn’t affect day-to-day actions or the time-numbing routines the average person has fallen into. it pulls me down, thinking about the conflicts, the senseless deaths, the amount of hate that fills the world.

but then, something happens that brings a lift of a smile to your face. and just when you think all hope is lost, something happens on such a large scale – unsurmountable and never-before seen – that it brings a lift to your heart, to hope in humanity. 

right in the middled of all this negativity that’s been going on, pokemon released its mobile app. it exploded. there are more visitors to city memorials and parks in the past two weeks than probably the past two years. people are coming together to fight friendly virtual battles over gyms, find a rare pokemon, or spinning a pokestop for more pokeballs. 

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people who don’t know each other are waving at each other in the park. strangers asking if you’re there for pokemon, and what team are you? and let’s see if we can do something about this gym, working together and getting better and better at it. my husband, the most anti-social person i know, is laughing with and helping strangers figure out how to play the game, yelling his team name out the car window as we’re driving toward a pokestop, and spending time in places he wouldn’t otherwise.

instead of conversations revolving around shootings or the latest political debacle or what’s it’s gonna take to move the canada, i’m having conversations about what pokemon i’ve got, how many eggs i’m incubating, and marveling at all the people who’ve gathered around a local lake on a non-event evening.

maybe, if everyone were playing pokemon GO: finding the historical monuments, parks, schools, libraries, and lakes; coming together in a shared interest of team yellow vs. team red; or luring pokemon to find one to post sentry to a gym; maybe, just maybe, we would be too busy and community-involved to start wars, pull out a gun, or decide bullying was a productive pasttime. 

#teaminstinct

 

the deal

i was going to write about pokemonning tonight, but instead i guess i’m writing about selling a house, because that’s what i’ve been trying to do all day long. 

we had a showing this afternoon and shortly after got an offer on our house. it was so low it was borderline insulting. our house is not overpriced by any means, and the offer would have made us bring about $15k to the table. no thanks.

so we’ve been going back and forth all afternoon and evening. at this point, it’s to the point where we are hoping for some wiggle room in the offer – enough so that if the closing date changes, we don’t have to bring money to the table. sigh. 

here’s what frustrates me about realtors: they don’t advise you that much. i ask what we should do, and she answers, well, what do you feel like doing? and i know it’s just not her; it’s happened with different realtors. i kind of want to ask, what am i paying you for? i know ultimately it’s my decision, but i’d like some expert advice, and that’s why i got a realtor. 

sigh again. so now, fingers crossed, i hope i hear back in the morning that this is a done deal. the closing date would be sept. 2 – which is only SEVEN WEEKS AWAY. omg. that just – it’s so close. so. we’re gonna cross the fingers and toes and give st. joseph a jingle that this pulls through.  

not that i know what we’re gonna do after this, but at least it’d be a push in the right direction!

lighten up

with a backpacking trip impending (as in, probably next year), i have been thinking about what to pack and what not to pack. obviously, a lighter pack is a better pack when you’re carrying it on your back while hiking up and down hills for 10 miles a day.

one thing i keep coming back to: my camera. i would LOVE to bring my camera and a couple lenses. unfortunately, my camera and two lenses i would bring weigh a TON in the packing world. like, we’re talking ounces when you’re speaking with an appalachian trail through-hiker. every ounce counts.

but part of me is thinking, i can’t NOT bring my camera. it just doesn’t make sense to not bring it. my phone camera wouldn’t do anything real justice, and i just can’t justify buying a specific, lighter, not-quite-as-functional camera for a trip. 

so what do i not bring? do i get a kindle so i can leave a couple paperbacks at home? make sure all my clothes are ultra light? buy a new, lighter nalgene? or do i say, this time, no camera? me without a camera on a trip like this is probably like me without a limb. do i just suck it up and carry the extra two pounds? i think i do.

too close

i wrote those tweets, oh, probably 1-2 hours after philando got shot by a police officer on larpenteur avenue in falcon heights. i knew nothing about it at the time. i woke up the next morning and read the news. 

i’ve had a so-so response to previous shootings like this one, even mass shootings. except one other. this one, however, made my gut wrench. true, we don’t know all the details. true, we know that philando was conceal and carry and not sure what happened with that. but from what his girlfriend is saying, and his non-existent criminal record, and the letter from the st paul school district painting a future-looking picture of him, i have to think, what on earth have we come to. 

not only was this guy driving on a quiet street in a quiet suburb, but he was telling the officer that he was conceal and carry, a responsible thing to do. and he was shot. and his girlfriend had the foresight and fortitude to make a live facebook video. WHICH ROLLED WHILE SHE WAS HANDCUFFED (why was she handcuffed??). 

of course there are adversaries about this: he was a suspect for armed robbery of some newport cigarettes and was pulled over because the cop who shot him thought it could be him because of this “wideset nose” (see=he’s black). it could be that the cop told them they had a busted taillight just to have an excuse, because pictures have shown that the taillight was intact. whatever it is, of course the cop wasn’t wearing a bodycam, so we don’t know what happened. 

but what i know is this: i am in this area quite often. this happened right around the neighborhood one of my friends lives in. from what we currently know, the officer who shot him says he was reacting to the gun, not race. if this were a white guy with a gun, would he have been so quick to shoot?  i also know that if i were black and had a permit to carry, i would be crapping my pants right about now and not practice that right. 

this happened so close to home, and it was seemingly innocent. and for all those who’ve decried gov dayton for calling this racism, i would like to say that as many, if not more, are glad he is calling it what it is. 

weary

i have to say, i have never gotten this far into a presidential election cycle and not known what i’m going to do when i get to the polls. usually i’m like – yea! john kerry because bush sucks! yeah obama! he’s awesome! yeah obama because i guess so, even though he’s been ordering all those drone strikes and is actually kind of not doing a ton for the environment and…but i guess he’s better than mitt romney?

but this year. omg. bernie’s pretty much out unless the fbi DOES indict hillary (unlikely). which makes me supremely sad because he and i were like best buds, yo. trump? what a joke. joke. joke. joke. like, roll my eyes and sigh versus get angry and throw things like i did with W*. i still feel like he’s gonna pull a “gotcha!” and do something weird. 

i can’t decide if hillary is who i should vote for. on the one hand, she’s better than trump, and she’s got a crap-ton of experience. she’s probably the most qualified to be president. but everything she’s done just seems so two-handed. one plus out of her presidency: she would appoint liberal-ish judges to the supreme court. versus god knows what the donald would appoint.

so is this the year i vote green party (jill stein)? do i vote libertarian (gary johnson)? (personally, i would go green because with a stinking earth, what good are all these other freedoms we have?)

*remember his blasΓ© “now watch this drive” line? omg. *eyeroll*

 

let’s make a pie

following a bunch of chefs on twitter only results in one thing: me wanting to make a bunch of food. 

andrew zimmern (renowned travel channel chef AND minnesotan) posted his blueberry pie.

OKAY. I’LL MAKE YOUR PIE, AZ.

i used my own pie crust recipe, which is below. it’s the same one my mom used for pumpkin pies while i was growning up, except instead of crisco (transfats central), i use butter and sometimes lard if i have it. i also add a quarter cup of sugar for pies.

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a couple notes on crust making: keep that butter cold. i’ve tried making it in a food processor, and nothing beats just getting in there with your hands. 

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cover up that bad boy and throw it in the fridge while you do the rest of your pie making. crust is easier to handle if it’s chilled. 

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the recipe calls for 5 cups of blueberries, but i used SIX. such a rebel.

it also calls for cardamom, which i actually had. i did have to grind it up though, which is easily done in a coffee grinder. not just for coffee! use it for grinding spices AND your poppyseed. it also called for orange zest. this should be tasty! i did add some nutmeg too, which AZ did NOT call for. i hope it turns out ok.

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time for the crust! let me tell you, the best thing i did was get a dough scraper. that thing is the bomb for helping roll out pie crusts. 

blueberry-pie06once it’s rolled up on your pin, you just roll it back out over your pie plate. SO EASY. i feel like i should go back in time and tell my mom before she used store-bought crusts. 

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throw in those blueberries. 6 cups certainly fit.  

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lattices look like a huge pain, but they’re just a little tedious. pro-tip: after rolling out your dough, use a pizza cutter to cut the strips. this is also helpful for cutting all different kinds of dough. no sticking, no jagged edges. 

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and in the oven to cook! AZ’s pie had this fancy edging, but i cheated and just used a fork to tamp everything down.

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aw yiisss.

blueberry pie
Serves 8
mmm mmm blueberry pie
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
Crust for 2 9-inch crusts
  1. 2 c. flour
  2. 1/2 tsp salt
  3. 1 c. fat (butter, lard, crisco)
  4. 1/4 c. sugar
  5. Cold water til dough comes together (1/4-1/3 c.)
For the pie
  1. 6 c. blueberries (3 pints)
  2. 1/4 c. cornstarch
  3. 3/4 c. sugar
  4. 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom (optional)
  5. 1/4 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
  6. 1/4 tsp. salt
  7. 1 tsp. grated orange peel
Crust
  1. Mix flour and salt together. Add cubed, cold butter chunks or other fat. Use fingers to mix and crumble together. Add water gradually until dough comes together. Bring dough together and cover - you can flatten it in a disk shape and wrap in plastic wrap or just cover the dough ball. Put in fridge while you deal with the berries.
Blueberries
  1. Mix the cornstarch, cardamom, sugar, salt, orange zest, and optional nutmeg together. Add to blueberries in a large bowl and mix it all together. Set aside and grab the dough.
  2. Set your oven: 400ΒΊ
Put it together
  1. grease your pie plate. cut the dough in half and roll out half on a floured surface, flipping at first to make sure it doesn't stick. put it in the plate. throw those berries in. roll the rest of the dough out and cut off the jagged edges with your pizza cutter. cut into strips - 10-12 at least. lattice the strips by laying strips one way across the pie, then pulling them back alternating to insert the strips the opposite way. cut off the excess dough and make sure edges are all cohesive by using a fork on the edges or other method. time for the oven!
To bake
  1. bake at 400ΒΊ for 30 mins, the drop temp to 350ΒΊ for another 45-60 minutes til filling is thickened and bubbly.
Adapted from andrew zimmern
Adapted from andrew zimmern
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