Skimming Deep

Searching, traveling, talking, reflecting, and exploring. Read along with me as I continue on my journey through life.

Tag: produce

Living in a New City

I haven't lived in a new city since 1999. What happened in 1999?

  • Amadou Diallo was shot and killed by 4 NYPD officers who fired off 41 shots, thinking Diallo was reaching for a gun when all it was was a wallet.
  • The Columbine High School massacre was perpetrated by two white teenagers, killing 12 students and 1 teacher.
  • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was released in theaters.
  • Napster, that amazing music downloading site, was launched.
  • Cell phones were just starting to become more common. In fact, I didn't have one yet– not for another few months after I moved to Boston.
  • Y2K!!!!

Living in a new city requires all sorts of adjustments. The big adjustments are obvious– new (or rediscovered) friends and social circles, new home, new job, new time zone.

The little adjustments are the interesting things. Where to shop for groceries. Where to do your laundry (if not in your home). What are the shortcuts to get to different places. Where do you get a good pizza delivery when you don't feel like cooking? Or good Chinese take out? When is traffic especially bad on the highways where you should just stay off the roads or take alternate routes? Where's Costco? Where's the cheapest gas station?

I've been happily discovering little treasures in the month and a half that I've been in Berkeley/ East Bay.

There's a nice clean laundromat down the street from where I live where I can do big loads of laundry and get free wi-fi! I did a few huge loads of linens and things when I first moved. Quite efficient.

I've been looking for somewhere to compost my food scraps because our landlord doesn't have a green waste bin. It gives me such pain to throw away the food scraps because I know they'll just take up space in a landfill. It's the same kind of pain I get when I see people throw away or recycle paper that has printing on one side. Come on, people, you can save that paper to use as scrap! Use both sides before sending it off to be recycled! Anyone who has ever worked with me or been my friend knows I'm quite fanatical about scrap paper use.

So I found a community garden about a mile from where I live that has chickens which love food scraps! I'm hoping to give them my scraps every week. I'm also hoping to volunteer there regularly to get more experience with gardening and maybe get some free produce! It's called Spiral Gardens. I hope to share more on the goings-on there soon.

I've mentioned before the wonders of Berkeley Bowl and Monterey Market, where I get all my produce and groceries. It's nice to have amazing markets close by so I don't have to stock my refrigerator so full. I don't think I could ever tire of having such a resource at my fingertips!

I'm still trying to find my good eats around town, not only the special-occasion restaurants but a few reliable go-tos that I can depend on when I'm just wanting a good meal.

I've kept up with my running, after letting my ankle heal. It's a fun way to explore a 2-ish mile radius around where I live. I'm now working my way back up to the 5K and then hope to continue up to 10K! I think I'll be back up to 5K in another few weeks. I just never thought I would be running like this– and enjoying it, too.

So far, then, so good.



Checking in from Berkeley, CA

It’s been almost a month since I last wrote about being in a holding pattern.

I am now living (!) in Berkeley, CA.  3095 miles exactly (according to Google Maps) from my previous abode.  With all my old things, and some new things, including a roommate and a new bed.

I don’t think it’s quite sunken in that I’ve really relocated across the country.  After all these months of planning, thinking, contemplating, wavering…  It’s now a reality, and it just feels the same, except for some key differences:

  • the weather is TRULY spectacular.  The whole two weeks I’ve been here, it’s been cloudy maybe one day.  On other days, it might have started cloudy and become sunny by late morning.  And on most days, it’s gloriously sunny and blue-skied, a temperate 70s during the day and in the 60s in the evening.  And no humidity.  I don’t know if I’ve just been lucky, but it really is beautiful here.  Also, there are flowers on trees and in gardens.  There is fruit hanging from branches.  It’s just lush and green.
  • the produce is amazing on so many levels.  It’s way cheaper than in Boston.  It’s way fresher.  And there’s so much more variety.  I mean, there are multiple types of mushrooms and carrots, as one example.  And I have been able to check out a variety of markets.  Berkeley Bowl is a favorite and was one of the draws for me to come out here.  A huge fresh produce section– both conventionally and organically grown stuff.  Whole Foods is right around the corner, but a bit steep for me.  Trader Joe’s is near Berkeley Bowl, and it’s good for dry goods.  And then there’s the recently discovered Monterey Market which has an equally amazing produce section with organic produce at ridiculously cheap prices.  It’s such an adventure to go shopping!  And I am also happy to report that there is a great Korean market nearby as well. I am in heaven!

So those two main things are making it wonderful to be here.

Now the thing that I’m sending out into the universe is that I’m hoping to get a full time, fulfilling, decent-pay job by the fall. I’m lucky to have a summer job working with a great youth program, but that ends by mid-August.  Universe, please send me some good opportunities!

No photos to show in this post.  I really haven’t taken many photos.  Partly because I’ve been driving alot, which I’m hoping won’t be so common.  But also, as someone trying to “fit in” as a resident, I feel weird busting out with my iPhone to take a photo of mushrooms or beautiful beets in the market.  So maybe these photos will come at another point.

I’m hoping to get back to regular blogging with a purpose– maybe revisiting my action steps and aspirations, now that many have been met.  Maybe with more musings on life now that I’m on the “left” coast.  Maybe some photos of food…  We’ll see where my inspirations guide me.

In the meantime, thanks for reading and supporting me in my journey!

Final Day of the Road Trip

We decided to make this the final day of the road trip. One of the ideas had been to drive down from Santa Fe through Albuquerque down to White Sands National Monument, but that would have put an extra several hundred miles and an extra day into our travels. And I was really starting to feel the bone-weariness of being in a car, driving for hundreds of miles each day. So we decided to head to Globe, where my parents live. Just a day's drive.

Itinerary: Santa Fe, NM to Globe, AZ by way of Albuquerque, NM
Miles driven: ~400 miles, which at this point feels like a breeze. “What, just 400 miles? That's just 7-8 hours away by car!
Food eaten: some treats from the farmers' market, breakfast in Albuquerque, and finished with a meal of greens, rice, and kimchee at home. The best way to end a long trip.

Before heading out on our journey, my friend and her husband took us to the Santa Fe Farmers' Market which was beautiful! We ended up spending about an hour there with my mom buying things left and right to take home and cook. I love farmers' markets.

Roasting Hatch peppers-- a common sight in the Southwest

The sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of this farmers' market were breathtaking. I really wanted to buy up everything I saw, too. But I restrained myself. Fresh produce and me are good friends.

Beautiful purple flowers of the artichoke plant

Who knew there were different colored cauliflower?!

Love all the colors of the rainbow you can see in a farmers' market in peak season

So after tearing ourselves away from the farmer's market with considerably less money in my mom's wallet, we drove to Albuquerque, about an hour away, to meet up for breakfast with another old friend from Boston. It was great to see him and also good to hear that he might be moving back to Boston!

Other than those exciting moments, we took the rest of the drive back to Globe, meandering through the mountainous roads and ending up here:

Strangely, it was cool, almost cold, in New Mexico and in Globe, too. Rainy, cloudy, cold. Not like the Southwest I often hear about. And the summer is just finishing up. But no complaints here.

So final tallies:

  • Total miles driven: ~3000 miles plus some extra for driving around when I got lost
  • Total driving companions: two– my friend S from Boston and my mom
  • Total great meals: too many to count. Highlights would have to be Zingerman's Reuben in Ann Arbor, egg sandwich at M. Henry in Chicago, ribs at Pappy's Smokehouse in St. Louis, and that bag of Hot Fries that I consumed somewhere between Chicago and Centennial, CO.
  • Final reflections: I did it! No small feat. And thanks so much to all those along the way who helped make it so enjoyable with the mini-reunions and tips on delicious eats. Thanks, especially, to my amazing car that held up through it all. Honda Accord 2000. Do they still make them as good as they used to?

So now time to rest up, pack, buy the last things I need for my “REAL” trip and figure out really how this blogging thing works for real on my iPad.

Side note: Part of why I started blogging before my trip was because I wanted to get used to this medium of journalling. It's public and requires some consistency if I want to maintain readership. More on that issue for another post. But if you've been reading along, you may notice that my formatting has been kind of wonky. I finally read up on blogging with my iPad and found Blogsy, what a great app to help me blog more easily! Blogsy + Picasa + wireless connection + a wireless keyboard + photo-taking on my iPhone + Instagram (for photo editing) make the winning combination! So enjoy, hopefully with more consistent formatting as I get used to using my iPad and not my laptop for the rest of my journey!


#21: CSA and Fresh Veggies

I’ve bought a share from a CSA (community supported agriculture) farm for several years.  And this year I’m doing it again with a friend.  I love the idea of being a “shareholder” of a farm, helping the farmers continue their farming by buying their crops.  And it’s a great way to get locally grown produce.  This is the one that my friend and I are supporting: World PEAS Cooperative.  Got a slew of greens this week.

Swiss chard, garlic scapes, snowpeas, lettuce, collard greens, some kind of radish, and herbs.  Oh my! (don’t mind the Pop Tarts box in the corner!)

I’m really into this local economies kind of living– food, communal living, shared child care (though I don’t have kids), sharing of things rather than private ownership of things (like cars, garden and yard tools, washers/dryers, other big equipment that you don’t use on a regular basis).  I saw this TED talk once about the concept of “share”-ing things– she calls it “the Mesh.”  If only people’s mentality could encompass this idea that we don’t each need to own our things.  What would it take to wean us off the idea of private ownership?  What would this mean?

  • When things are broken, we work together to fix them.
  • We can potentially buy things that are more expensive, maybe better quality because multiple people pitch in to buy that thing.  Maybe that thing lasts longer.
  • We create a culture of co-dependence where it’s not just me living in my own place with my own things, but we have to communicate with others and create a system of sharing and accountability.
  • People would have to talk with others.

Is another world possible?

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