Saturday, July 23, 2011

Grower's Market Kohlrabi

I'm back in the summer groove, after a herky jerky start. Or I should say, almost back in the summer groove, since the bosque trails are still closed to fire danger and for me, being back in the groove means my days start off with a Barelas bosque walk to the Rio Grande.

I fell into the groove of the Saturday morning routine I've been honing for more than ten years. I woke up, fed the hungry cats, who won't leave me alone until I pour food into their bowls in the following order - Apricot's bowl on the window sill (double adobe walls make for nice window ledges), Luna's bowl under the trastero, and Avi's bowl under the 1930s era Gaffer and Sattler stove.

Then I brewed my java, grabbed some canvas bags, and headed to the Grower's Market at Robinson Park in downtown Albuquerque. One of the best things about living in Barelas is the walkability - if I don't dawdle, I can be at the Grower's Market in 6 minutes. But I always dawdle, because there is always something interesting to look at that slows my pace and speeds my thoughts.

This morning I had a hankering for greens. So I purchased lettuce, Swiss chard, beets (with leaves attached) and radishes (also with leaves attached). I decided that I'd try something new, so I bought a kohlrabi. The vendor told me that I could slice the root and eat it raw for lunch, then saute the leaves for dinner.

I decided to try something a little different than what she suggested.

For lunch mija and I had hunks of baguette purchased from Carey Smoot, former owner of the marvelous Downtown Gourmet, which had the best cheese selection in all of Albuquerque, as far as I'm concerned. I'm still mourning the fact that Downtown Gourmet is closed and I cannot get my favorite French cheeses in a few minutes walk. We topped the baguette with slices of Los Poblanos Organics tomatoes (because we're still waiting on ours in the garden to ripen), and locally made provolone cheese. Then we parked ourselves in the big cane chairs on the front porch and talked about singer Amy Winehouse's demise and her hit song Rehab.

For dinner I decided to experiment with Kohlrabi. It turned out so good that I'm posting my recipe.

Kohlrabi Saute with Wild Rice blend

2 carrots, sliced
0.5 red onion, chopped
1 Kohlrabi, chopped root and leaves (peel the outer skin off, then chop)
olive oil (about 1 Tablespoon - ish???)
curry powder (about 1 Tablespoon)
honey (about 1 Tablespoon)

Make wild rice blend first (I use La Montanita's bulk mix and cook with a 3 to 1 ratio), then start chopping vegetables.

Saute onion until semi-soft. Add carrots and kohlrabi root. Saute for 5 minutes. Add a small amount of water - just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Put lid on pan and steam for about 10 minutes. Add curry, stir. Steam for 5 more minutes. Add honey. Stir. Steam for 5 minutes. Add kohrabi leaves, steam until cooked - should be dark green. Put wild rice in a bowl and top with vegetables. Salt to taste. (I added a very slight shake of salt to my bowl - just enough to add brightness to the vegetables!)

For next time, I might add a dash of tumeric and garam marsala. And if I have some green tomatoes, it might be okay to mix up a small batch of green tomato chutney as a topping...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Surviving a Broken Ankle

Broken bones hurt. I now have an experiential understanding of this.

But the worst of the broken bones shtick is not the pain, but the shrinking of my world. I now have an experiential understanding of the relationship between mobility and access to the world out there.

And I know that this is different for someone who has a temporary mobility disability than for someone who has lived with this for a long while. When you live with something, you figure out how to get what you want and to get where you need to be.

One colleague did this by chairing our professional conference every other year - when you run things, you make sure it is accessible. And that sets a precedent.

Another colleague did this by setting up a foundation and becoming a filmmaker - he travels the world and makes films about disability. (Case in point - we met in the Middle East).

Another colleague chose a graduate school based on wheelchair accessibility - as far as I can tell, his daily life has fewer barrier challenges than it might if he had gone to say, UNM.

As I've often told people who suddenly find themselves deaf or hard of hearing, there is an adjustment period that takes some time. Part of the challenge is figuring out what you need now that you are in this new state of being. Part of the challenge is figuring out how you will get it. And part of the challenge is reconciling the "old you" with the "new you".

And yet another challenge is doing this in such a way that doesn't annoy those who have lived with a similar disability for a long time. As I've learned from years working with another part of the disability community, new discoveries on my part do not mean new knowledge for the community.

Working in disability advocacy has given me (dare I say it?) a leg up on how I will get access. Figuring out what is most important given my new state of being is potentially interesting, but I'm looking forward more to seeing how I navigate this and how this experience will affect my thoughts on disability theory.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Spring Semester 2010: Week One

I'm sitting at my dining table with the wide expanse of weekend before me and a mug of coffee beside me. The Scarlatti sonata (D major) only adds to this good Saturday morning feeling of anticipation.

What shall I do this weekend? How will I spend my time? The answer is always a lot of writing and errands, with a little bit of fun thrown in.

I have yet to figure out this weekend's "little bit of fun" but I am thinking about how to organize my time. But first, I'm reflecting on this week's classes. The semester started on Tuesday; each day this week revealed something new about the classes and students I will work with this term.

I'm teaching two interdisciplinary courses for this term - one fits under the university's Knowledge and Inquiry track (think science) and the other under the Ethics and Social Responsibility track.

The science course is focused on biodiversity - I'm teaching it with a plant ecologist, and we're focusing it on Costa Rica since it is part of a sequence of 5 courses that culminates with our students working on a capstone project in Costa Rica this summer.

I'm responsible for raising issues of environmental ethics (and some philosophy of science, perhaps) in the course, while my co-instructor will teach them how to do science. Of course, the actual breakdown will be somewhat more blurred and we'll share some of these responsibilities. The class is a bit on the quiet side, but Thursday's discussion was more animated. Perhaps the 8 am start time has some impact on this? I'm already playing with ideas to generate more participation...

The ethics course is focused on social research ethics - we've already had some lively discussions in class, and I predict that this will continue through the semester. This course takes a look at various social science experiments and practices and evaluates them through the lens of best practices in research. We focus mostly on research involving human subjects, but we also take a look at animal research practices.

The other course I'm teaching is my passion - Bioethics and the Deaf Community seminar. It has an almost full enrollment and I've moved from worrying about whether the class will go to trying to figure out how to modify the syllabus to make sure that we can get all the presentations and other activities in. This is not such a bad thing to deal with at all. The class is a good mix of hard and soft science majors, culture studies and philosophy majors/minors. The topics in this course always prompt lively discussion - I have no reason to see that this will change.

So, the anticipation of the semester - what will it look like? What will we all learn? What will I discover about myself as a teacher? All To Be Determined.

As for the weekend? Well, next up after blogging and coffee and breakfast is creating my To Do list. Time to get a jump on things while the day is still young!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Readjusting to Bigger City Life

After spending more than a few days in my beloved Barelas, it always takes me a few days to get into the rhythms of Washington. This time is no different. If anything, it is more bumpy than usual.
(There I go again, trying to put the sentence on my hands into my fingers...)

I've been carless in DC for 18 months now - most times this is just fine, though when it is bitter cold and I'm just getting back to town, the idea of walking 2 miles to stock up on groceries is not my idea of fun. Neither is the idea of waiting at the bus stop on Sunday evening in the bitter cold. And the irony of doing this as an effort to reduce my carbon footprint is not lost on me. But you do what you have to do.

So the groceries are in my refrigerator, my bags are (mostly) unpacked, and I am trying to get my office moved and organized. Moving an office is more work than I realized. I think it is worth the extra 24 square feet, though. I now have room for a small table and chairs - this is great for meeting with students or other people. Meeting people with a desk between us is not my preference - it feels like too much distance psychologically.

My mind has settled into the rhythms of ASL/English again - had dinner last night with one of Sleeping Beauty's godfathers who is here in town for a conference. For a few minutes (because he greeted me in ASL and responded to my first question in ASL though he's hearing) I was in ASL mode - then realized that I was in the "wrong" language. So the rest of our conversation was in English. I learned much about ethical issues in urban planning and am still mulling over some ideas in response to this.

So, a new year, a new office, a new semester, and new ideas sparked by conversation with an old friend! What could be better, eh?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunport Status Report - January 10, 2010

It has been a whopping 24 days since I've seen the inside of an airport (whoo-hoo!) and a few things have changed at the Sunport since I've been gone.

1. La Hacienda Express has started using styrofoam containers for their to go orders. I guess this means I won't not be picking up my last chance breakfast burrito with green there any more. So much for "Green Albuquerque".

2. They've rearranged the line for the security machines - instead of dropping you off at the middle of the section, the exit point now starts right in front of the full body scan machine.

3. For the first time in a very very very long time, the gate agent Southwest counter challenged me when I asked for preboarding, telling me that this is for people who are deaf, not people who wear hearing aids. I pulled out my hearing aids and explained: (A) these do not function like glasses, they only amplify what is received, and that without them I cannot hear any human speech at all and with them I still need to speechread; (B) I offered to show my driver's license as more proof that the State of NM considers that I have a significant hearing loss.

4. Construction is still going on here.

5. Politico watch - so far, no politicos on this flight.

That's all for the Sunport Status Update this month.