Thursday, October 27, 2005
Our Neighbor, the Park: Activities Gazebo and Playground
Although the park buildings are relatively new, it has been in use since the neighborhood was built in the early '50s. Blogged by: Frances M. Pabon
Park Walking Trail Bridge over Rio Piedras Tributary
Our Park: Channeled Rio Piedras Tributary
My Neighbor, the Park: Entrance
This is actually my favorite entrance, located on the north side of the park, the other entrance is on the south side facing the parking lot.
My husband was teaching his graduate linguistics course until after 8 p.m., my mother and her visiting relative had gone to 6:30 p.m. mass; so I decided to stop at one of my favorite health food restaurants, "Salud con Sabor" (Health with Flavor) to buy a take-out dinner. When I got home, the phone rang, my husband had gotten out of class early. When I picked him up, we decided we'd go to my mother's house to visit for a little while. There I had my first dinner, a bowl of "sancocho" (a traditional Puerto Rican stewy soup). On the way home, my husband said "I'm still hungry" -- he made a face when I mentioned we had "Salud con Sabor" food @ home. So we stopped @ our favorite Puerto Rican/Cuban food restaurant, where I had a salad and some black beans and rice. When I got home, and saw the abandoned food, I tasted a little bit. Hours later, at almost nightime, I had a bit more of the absolutely delicious Thai burrito I had brought home. This morning, breakfast was black beans and pesto brown rice. I'm going to need to go on a diet if this keep up.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Artistic in Face of Disaster
The photo above reminds me of a fine work of art, the young woman could be my husband's 19 year-old daughter, caught in the early morning by a hurricane. I've posted this one on my Yahoo! 360 blog, those of you who read both this and that, forgive the almost duplicate postings, please.
Monday, October 24, 2005
Princeton Prof. Bernanke Chosen to Replace Greenspan
The chairman of Princeton University's Economics Department, Professor Ben Bernanke, has been appointed to replace Alan Greenspan as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Blogosphere buzz from what I've read is in favor.
Tonight at dinner, my husband's elderly but very alert, retired physician uncle asked me twice, do you know the Princeton Prof. who will replace Greenspan? I hadn't seen the news, nor had I gone on my usual blog run, so guess which Princeton Professor my mind retrieved? Cornel West! I didn't say a word, knowing very well West is not an economist.
Daniel's photography is one of my favorites, his latest set of photos is spectacular in an unassuming way (which I love!), a must-see online exhibit on Flickr. "Self-Portrait" (above) makes a chipped paint wall the canvas for Daniel's shadow, enhancing both the wall and the shadow. Outstanding work, Daniel!
blogged by: Frances M. Pabon
What is Art?
DATE: 10/21/2005 12:58:00 PM
I think it's interesting that in Japan, for example, flower arranging and even serving tea are considered forms of art. And various styles of fighting are considered "martial arts." And even many Westerners would argue that cooking is also an art. Except for architecture, though, we tend to think of the arts as not having any practical function; or, conversely, if an activity does have a practical function, that tends to lower its status as pure "art."
Is this unfair, or are peoples' attitudes changing about this? I just thought of another one: the art of making love! Or consider ice skating: is that not really a form of art? And what about mathematics? Some people even say that art is simply a "mindful" way of doing anything. Anyway, i thought this might be a useful angle on the topic "what is art."
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Italo-Mexican Lunch: Toasted Burritello
blogged by: Frances M. Pabon
Organic Halloween Candy: Ars Politica Writes
Organic Halloween Candy
The Noon has posted some healthier Halloween treats for this year.
My buddy used to work for Dancing Deer and if all of the goodies suggested by The Noon are on par with those cookies there is no reason NOT to go organic this Halloween. I’ll admit it might be a bit pricier ($3.00 for a Dancing Deer cookie) but think of the $20,000 hospital bill you will be avoiding when you DON’T have a heart attack later in life. It's an investment in health…
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Orange, Black and Green for Halloween
by Emily Main
Nothing kills a parent's festive Halloween mood like realizing what a nutritional nightmare this holiday can be. After the fun of dressing up and trick-or-treating are over, kids are left with a pile of artificially sweetened candy that wreaks havoc on their health. High fructose corn syrup, Halloween's most pervasive ghoul, is a leading contributor to childhood obesity and is frequently made from genetically modified corn and refined with genetically modified enzymes. And it seems to come with everything, whether in the candy your kids are collecting or the store-bought cider you're serving at home.
Adding to the nutritional headache of Halloween are the environmental and social impacts chocolate can have. Cacao beans grown in full sun are more susceptible to disease than their shade-grown counterparts and therefore require heavy doses of toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. The crop's social ills include child slavery, which UNICEF has found abundant on cacao plantations, and low wages paid to farmers because of market deregulation.
All that can make your face turn green. But fear not! There are healthier alternatives for your child—and the environment—that will make you feel green in a good way. Below is a selection of organic, fair-trade and individually wrapped treats that you can hand out to the neighborhood kids, and you may even educate them about the environment in the process. And that's a good trick.
Look for the "Fair Trade Certified" label, which ensures that chocolate farmers were paid a fair price for their crop. Global Exchange sells Fair Trade Certified Gold Coin Trick-Or-Treat Chocolates stamped with fair trade messages wrapped in foil ($6.99/40 piece box). Teach your little ghouls more about fair trade with their Trick Or Treat Kit, which includes the fair-trade chocolate, "Fair Trade is Boo-tiful!" poster and postcards and a recycled trick-or-treat bag decorated with the Fair Trade ghost ($15.99, www.gxonlinestore.org/trickortreatkit.html).
Endangered Species' Belgian-chocolate Bug Bites in organic milk or dark chocolate come with educational trading cards (from $23.52/64 bites, available through http://www.mothernature.com/). These sell out quickly, so order early.
Betty Lou's Inc. makes organic Chocolate, Almond Butter and Peanut Butter Golden Smackers (from $16.56/24-piece box, http://www.bettylousinc.com/).
Support the Sierra Club—and small farms—by buying their organic Chocolate Coins ($8.95/10 oz. box) and Peanut Butter Cups, each wrapped in cornstarch-based cellophane. ($7.95/6 oz. box, www.theconsumerlink.com/SierraClub).
Fortunately, a variety of organic and vegan hard candy options make it easy to find candy free of animal-based gelatin that may have been derived from animal parts infected with Mad Cow Disease. However, when handing out hard candy, make sure you're only giving it to older kids who won't choke on small pieces. Try these:
Ginger People Candy's individually wrapped Spicy Apple Ginger Chews ($12/2 lb. bag, http://www.gingerpeople.com/).
Organic Candy Company's Sour Fruit hard candy in cherry, lemon, pineapple and orange ($1.95/3.5 oz bag, http://www.veganessentials.com/)
The Candy Tree's Organic Mixed Fruit Drops ($1.95/10-piece pack); Organic Mixed Fruit Taffy in cherry, lemon, black currant, strawberry and orange ($2.39/2.6 oz bag); Organic Orange Lollipops ($2.35/2.6 oz. pack of 7); and Organic Peppermint Drops ($2.39/14-piece pack) (all available through http://www.veganessentials.com/)
Sierra Club's Organic Hard Candy in strawberry, lemon, lime and orange ($6.95/8 oz. box, www.theconsumerlink.com/SierraClub)
Let's Do...Organic Classic, Jelly and Super Sour vegan gummy bears ($2.36/box of four bags, http://www.shopnatural.com/)
Fruit Snacks Sneak something fruity into trick-or-treat bags, like Kettle Valley's Real Fruit Snacks in strawberry, grape, sour apple, tropical blend, watermelon and raspberry ($25.44/pack of 48, www. everydayfruit.com) or Stretch Island's Organic Fruit Leather in apple, apricot, grape, raspberry and strawberry ($14.00/30-piece box, http://www.stretch-island.com/).
Earthbound Farm sells their organic Thompson Seedless Raisins in Minipacks ($2.49/14-0.5 oz. boxes, http://www.ebfarm.com/)
Dancing Deer Baking Co.'s preservative-free Giant Mocha Marble Chocolate Bats shortbread cookies come individually wrapped ($19.95/6-piece box). The company also sells their popular Chocolate Tangerine, Maple Oatmeal Raisin and Molasses Clove Cookies in bulk, all individually wrapped ($47.95/case of 32 cookies, http://www.dancingdeer.com/).
Robert's American Gourmet makes a variety of vegan, gluten-free, and wheat-free snacks to satisfy picky palates. For a truly organic Halloween, hand out their new "Chaos" certified organic snack mix in single-serving packages ($36/case of 24-2 oz. bags, http://www.robscape.com/)
Natural grocery stores offer a wide variety of individually wrapped snack and cereal bars that work perfectly as Halloween handouts. If you can think beyond orange-and-black packaging, you can get pretty creative with your treats.
Try the Puffins Cereal & Milk Bars in Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip by Barbara's Bakery (about $10/15-bar box, http://www.barbarasbakery.com/) or the EnviroKidz Organic Koala Chocolate, Panda Peanut Butter or Cheetah Berry Crispy Rice Bars by Nature's Path (about $4/6-bar box, http://www.naturespath.com/).
New England Natural Bakers' Save The Forest organic trail mix, cereal, and snack bars and snack packs come a variety of flavors like chocolate peanut raisin and caramel apple ($4.70/6-bar box, http://www.wellnessgrocer.com/)
Kettle Valley's Organic Fruit snack bars come in Okanagan Organic Blend, Rocky Mountain Berry Blend and Fraser Valley Cranberry flavors ($22.50/pack of 30, http://www.everydayfruit.com/).
If you've got younger kids who aren't quite old enough for trick-or-treating or if you'd prefer to spend your Halloween inside far from the madding crowds, here are some party planning suggestions for your buffet table.
Newman's Own offers organic pretzels, chips and microwave Pop's Corn (http://www.newmansownorganics.com/), but for larger crowds order some ready-made Pop'n Mama organic kettle corn ($23.00/2-20oz. packages, http://www.popnmama.com/). Also, Frito-Lay still makes their Natural Lay's, Ruffles, Cheetos and Tostitos, so set some of those out with Tostitos Organic Salsa (http://www.fritolay.com/)
To satisfy the sweet tooth, Sunspire makes SunDrops chocolate candy, similar to M&M's, in Plain Chocolate and Peanut ($1.19/1.19 oz. bag, http://www.sunspire.com/). Or serve Sierra Club's organic chocolate-covered pretzels ($6.95/5 oz. box, www.theconsumerlink.com/SierraClub).
For your little cookie monsters, buy some Peanut Butter Cats & Chocolate Bats cookies from the Dancing Deer Baking Co. ($24.95/12 oz. box, http://www.dancingdeer.com/). Your older kids and partygoers might enjoy Allison's Gourmet's organic Pumpkin Spice Cookies ($21.95/dozen, http://www.allisonsgourmet.com/).
A Halloween party is a perfect occasion for serving high fructose corn syrup-free, organic apple cider from your local farmer's market. Learn more about buying cider from The Green Guide's Amy Topel: "Apple Cider—The Essence of Fall."
Trick-Or-Treating With a Cause
Use Halloween to teach your kids about helping other kids. UNICEF sponsors a "Trick-Or-Treat for UNICEF" program whereby trick-or-treaters collect change in addition to candy while they're out making their rounds. This year, half of the money raised will go to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts (the other half goes to UNICEF's worldwide aid programs). You can get collection boxes at local Pier 1 Imports and Ikea stores or through their web site, http://www.unicefusa.org/.
Friday, October 14, 2005
Good for Us
Today, I'd like to introduce to you three things that are good for all of us:
The second has been on my wish list for awhile now, the third is a tasty, healthy and lightweight snack well suited for taking on bicycle rides and for children's lunchboxes. The first I learned about reading Crossroads Dispatches' latest posting, I was surprised how much the Bike Friday resembled the iXi bikes.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
No "College Cheese" Served @ Her Birthday Party
My five year-old niece, Cora Lucía, refers to cottage cheese as "college cheese". She celebrated her fifth birthday with us, here in Puerto Rico, last Sunday. No college cheese was served @ her birthday dinner, we were at a Argentine restaurante; a reminder of her trip to South America this summer in which Buenos Aires was a stop. Pictured: Cora with her sister, Marina, and mother, María (my oldest sister).
Monday, October 03, 2005
A Virtual Phone Call to You
blogged by: Frances M. Pabon