29 April 2012

Vatican Scolds Nuns

I shared a few of my thoughts on this matter a week ago via email but I just thought I'd share Nicholas Kristof's column today, "We Are All Nuns," as a follow-up.  Kristof definitely has his own focus and sees most topics through that view, but he makes some good points.
I understand the church has to regulate all its constituent groups and make sure they are all working off the same gameplan.  I just regret and am confused by the idea that any group can be "too focused on poverty and economic rights." 

28 April 2012

Comfort Food

I was craving some comfort food this evening and thought it might hit the spot on this gray, chilly evening.  homebase & I had made 'smashed potatoes' dish for Easter and I'm not sure where she got the recipe for it from, but it was tasty.  Since I've had some good Yukon Gold potatoes hanging around my kitchen for a while I thought this would be the perfect thing to make to use them up.  Parboiled the potatoes, then roughly smashed them, just enough to break them open and into chunks.  A Mexican twist, courtesy of browned chorizo crumbled over the top, some seasonings, jalapenos and sliced green onions, really customized it to my tastes.  Topped with shredded cheese and some sour cream and into the oven for ~15 minutes.  It came out hot, cheesy, and delicious and I ate far more than could be considered healthy. 

26 April 2012

Champions League Update

Two exciting semifinals are now complete and the match-up for the long awaited final is set.  Surprisingly, Barcelona and Real Madrid were not able to get past their opponents and both bowed out on their home fields this week.  The Barca/Chelsea matches were a clinic in organized, disciplined defensive football as Chelsea smothered Barca and were content to wait for their two or three chances to catch them on the counterattack.  They caught some luck in the first leg and they parked the bus in front of the goal as they say in the second leg.  (highlights from first leg, and second leg).  Real Madrid and Bayern Munich had a back and forth second leg, plenty of scoring and neither team was hold back.  Extra time and a wild series of penalty kicks capped it off. (highlights from second leg).
So, May 19th.  Mark your calendars.  Bayern Munich against Chelsea FC.  Two teams that are not going to win their domestic leagues but will hopefully put on a great final.  One interesting twist is that, in a decision that is made a year or two before the game, the final will be hosted by Munich.  Usually the game is at a neutral location, but Munich was awarded the game this year and their team amazingly has made the final, so they will get to enjoy that advantage.

23 April 2012

The Weekend in Pictures


 To celebrate the end of the week and Nicole's new job, we enjoyed some bar competitions and capped it off with some sushi.
 Saturday, since the weather wasn't great, I did some birding from the car while exploring Water Works and spotted one Harris's Sparrow amongst a flock of Chipping Sparrows!  Also fun to note that goldfinches are back!
Spent the evening hanging out with great friends and pulling carpet staples for six hours, along with healthy doses of pizza, beer and laughter.
(My hands are still sore.)
 Drove to Omaha for mass, a fantastic lunch with the family and some decadent cheesecake to celebrate some upcoming good news.
Enjoyed some great evening weather getting a 7 miler in, breaking in my new shoes!

18 April 2012

Nitefall on the River

Man, I hate to be the downer but seriously!?...
Sat 05/26 Hairball
Fri 06/01 The Nadas
Tue 06/12 Jimmy Cliff
Thu 07/05 Yonder Mountain String Band
Thu 07/26 The BoDeans
Wed 06/20 Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers with Cornmeal 

What the heck kind of a lineup is that?
The only positive is that there are still some open weeks in there that might be able to hold something worthwhile.   There are few better pleasures than relaxing on the grass at the amphitheater and watching the sunset over the skyline and river while enjoying some live music and cold drinks.  There had better be some better bands coming. :|

16 April 2012

Stormy Weekend

A wild one across the state this weekend.  Saturday is was pouring so hard and blowing so strongly that cars couldn't see driving down Beaver and they were pulling over with their hazards on.  I've seen that on the interstate but not on a residential road before.  caboose and I watched the storm rage from our front stoop and when we lost power around 8:30, we pulled up WHO radio on my iPad (luckily the 3G still worked) and listened to that for a while...until the 3G went out.  It wasn't quite the same as listening to KMA960 back home when you knew it was storm season when there was a Royals game on and the severe weather signal going in the background.  We busted out some candles and the chess board and entertained ourselves with that for a while until around 10:30, with no power I called it a night.  The power came back on around 1 in the morning and I had to get up and shut all the lights and TV off.
Sunday driving around, all the damage was something to see.  I went down to the Bill Reilly trail by Ashworth Pool and went for a long walk, hoping to see some birds but there were any.  And I mean that literally.  There were none.  Luckily, the weather was gorgeous.  Blue skies, sun through the trees, breeze blowing.  There were so many trees down and big ones too!  I snapped a few pix while I was there.
Capped the night with a great meal of super tasty marinated paillards on the grill, sauted green beans, and Alton Brown's baked mac n cheese.  I happened to see that Coachella (a huge live music festival in California) had a live streaming channel on YouTube so we plugged in to the projector and the speakers and had a big screen show of the concerts.  We catch Santigold and Lissie but didn't want to stay up for the headlines at midnight.  Pretty great day to make up for the crazy storms the day before. 

15 April 2012

It Looked Like Spilt Milk...

How perfect is this?
Full disclosure: caboose spilt this milk.  I only found it.  :)

Beckham Blast

1. The dude is amazing.
2. Almost 37 and he is still rockin' it.
3. Give him a spot on the GB team for the Olympics.
4. His first touch was a bit strong but he took it in stride and unleashed a thunderbolt.
5. What the heck is that ball?  Ugliest thing ever.
6. So glad he is adidas sponsored.

12 April 2012

Jorge y Alexa

Another music post for ya...
Although I'm not the biggest fan of Coldplay, I enjoy some of their songs and Jorge and Alexa Narvaez do too it seems.  Their newest cover is of "The Scientist" and it's pretty great.  A slower, softer track for a change from them.  You can pick it up at iTunes if ya feel the urge.

11 April 2012

Norah J

I have been a big fan of Norah Jones since her mega-smash Come Away With Me album back in '02.  (Jeez, a decade ago!)  Her stuff since then has had some highlights, such as "Sunrise" and "Those Sweet Words" off of Feels Like Home, "Thinking About You" from Not Too Late and her single "Chasing Pirates" from the most recent The Fall album.  None of those packs the punch of the tracks of her breakthrough album though.
But.  She has an album (Little Broken Hearts) coming out May 1 and it is being produced by Danger Mouse.  I'm excited because the track she did with Danger Mouse for the Rome album, "Black", was a big hit with me.  And this first sneak peak single, "Happy Pills", sounds pretty great so I am ready for the whole thing.  Bring on May 1!

10 April 2012

Native American Recognition

"Daughter of the Stars"
That headdress is totally fantastic.  Not sure what place that ribbon is that I am sporting but I'm sure it is pretty sweet.  I am concentrating pretty hard on my biking, I think to make sure I didn't run into that terrifying huge hat person in front of me and it looks like I'm already giving a nudge to that blond girl/boy with my handlebars.  And it looks like I might be getting a little attention from the female to my right. Digging the face paint, I'm sure.
This gem was given to me by my aunt a few weeks ago.  Thanks Con!

09 April 2012

Euro 2012 kit preview

Euro 2012 will be one of the highlights of my summer.
The tournament happens every 4 years, opposite the World Cup.  This site has a look at what the 16 teams will be wearing for the games.
My three winners:
  •  Greece
  •  Sweden
  • Denmark
My three losers:
  • Poland
  • Russia
  • Portugal
Ireland's would be super if it wasn't for that awful logo on it.  The team doesn't play with that on there I don't think so I'm not sure why they are showing it on there.  Plus it is an awful typeface.  And Umbro, really?!  Is it 1992 still? 
Can't wait for the fun to begin!

Anti-bullying HS video

This is an original song written by a student at Texas' Cypress Ranch HS and the video is a blast to watch.  I LOVE all the different groups of students coming together to send a statement against bullying.  I'd be so proud if that was my school.  "Who Do You Think U R?"  You can buy the song on iTunes and the proceeds benefit the Anti-Bullying Campaign.

05 April 2012

Fight On, teeth or no teeth

stoppable just sent me this video and it deserves instant posting.
APOEL (from Cyprus) has had a Cinderella run in the Champions League this year.  In their match against Real Madrid, their player Paulo Jorge gets stepped on by Christiano Ronaldo and takes a spill into his teammate.  Face into shoulder or back of head, I couldn't really tell.  What you can see though, is the teeth go flying.  And since there is one more that is hanging by a thread, he reaches in, pulls it out and continues the game.  Coach is shocked as he watches.
Although they lost 5-2, this has to be the man of the match.

03 April 2012

"What do we do with our leisure time?"

Have not read, nor do I plan to read this book but the quoted excerpt definitely struck a chord and made me stop and think.  This idea of, "we are drawn—powerfully, magnetically—to those things that are easy, convenient, and habitual, and it is incredibly difficult to overcome this inertia. Active leisure is more enjoyable, but it almost always requires more initial effort—getting the bike out of the garage, driving to the museum, tuning the guitar, and so on." The things that we really enjoy doing often take more initial effort to plan/initiate/embark on but the rewards are so much greater.  Yet, as is often quoted, we are creatures of habit.  We will usually spend our time however we are used to spending it, however is easiest, even if the payback in joy isn't as rich.  
I have seen this firsthand in my own life over the last few weeks of Lent.  I gave up computer time after 7 pm.  I don't get a ton of real enjoyment or enrichment from internet time.  I learn some, I waste some time, I check out new music.  I'm not saying it is a waste of my time, but there are other things I would probably be happier doing, but it is that habit of hopping online and checking sites, reading things.  It is a very easy way to pass time.  So with Lent I have been forced to get my computer time into a compacted timeframe then close the lid.  And I have found other ways to enjoy myself.  I've explored my neighborhood on a lot of walks.  Cooked.  Cleaned.  Read books.  Watched movies.  Patio drinks with friends.  
In the future I'll work on remembering "Don't do what is easy.  Do what I enjoy the most."

Kiva Update

Last April I posted about making my first Kiva loan (to Ney in Peru) which I can now say has been successfully paid off on time and in full.  It warms my heart thinking of all the livestock that I helped to feed....well, I guess I actually helped them toward their death, but at least they were well fed while they were living. :)
I stuck with Peru and reloaned my funds to Raul, 51, who is trying to expand his farming operations in the mountainous Rio Negra - Satipo area.
Let's hope it goes just as smoothly and successfully as the last one!

02 April 2012

Hut Hut Hike...Dunk.

March Madness '12

During tonight's championship game I will definitely be cheering for the Kentucky Wildcats but the final result won't have any impact on the family pool (mainly since Kentucky was a very popular choice with four of us picking them to take home the hardware).  The pool title came down to the Ohio State-Kansas game.  I had picked OSU to win and, had they not squandered that lead, I would have leapfrogged stoppable.  As it turned out though, stoppable goes on to win his third title in a row!
1. stoppable
2. middleson
3. NTW
4. homebase
5. the brig

Past years: 2011 (stoppable), 2010 (stoppable), 2009 (homebase), 2008 (caboose), 2007 (middleson), 2006 (homebase), 2005 (middleson)