Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Continuation of a Long Term Bit: It's a Two-fer! (Kansas and Oklahoma)

The continuing adventures of two loquats trying to see something interesting in every state.

It's nursing school spring break! Let's go to Kansas and Oklahoma!   What?   Strange choice, I know.

We had originally intended to spend the week relaxing at Chandler's family's ranch.   Then her parent's really old cat (she's 20) got pretty sick.  When she dies we're going to be giving one of ours to them and assuming that she wasn't going to make it we decided we were going to go up to Missouri and deliver Miss Lemon to her new home.  She got better, but we decided to go ahead and go up there for a day or two and knock out the two states that are in between.  The plan was to stop in Oklahoma City and see the OKC National Memorial and then spend the night in Wichita, KS, but we got away too late and decided to leave OKC for the trip home.

Wichita was chosen for one reason and one reason only:
 That is the greatness of Eighth Day Books. Chandler called going there a pilgrimage. Here's the view from the poetry section
















It's an amazing store. Go visit sometime. After spending more than we should have there (but really, how could we not buy as many books as we could hold?) we went on to Topeka to visit a non-descript elementary school.
  That's the former Monroe Elementary School in Topeka.   Back in the 1950s it was one of the black schools in Topeka where the plaintiffs in Brown v Board of Education sent their children. It's now a National Historic Site. There are some very nice and uplifting things about civil rights and desegregation.
 
 Of course, when you let people with an irresistible urge to do inappropriate things have their way with things like this,
 
 You end up with this sort of thing        I'm not ashamed of what I've done in any way.

Not technically in Kansas, but the state line was about a block away so we went anyway is the National World War I Museum.

 They built the monument shortly after the war ended, the museum underneath seems to be much more recent.

It's quite well done.  They start you out by walking over a bridge over a field of poppies.
If you, like the guy in the gift shop I tried really hard not to stare at, don't get the significance, look it up and don't tell me you had to.  I don't want to lose respect for you.

They have more wartime propaganda posters than you can shake a stick at and they have a little station where you can make your own and email the results to yourself.  Once again, we could not resist the temptation to not be serious.
 

I'm sure they look okay if you aren't really looking at them, but if you do they make no sense at all.  What is that giant cat going to do to the tiny soldier if he doesn't know the answer to the question asked in a language he doesn't understand?  As for the other poster, are the marines choking that bird?  Is that blot it our some sort of euphemism?  Your guess is as good as mine.

After a brief interlude with family we headed for home, but with a brief stop in Oklahoma City to see the memorial to the 1995 bombing.  Across the street from it is the local Catholic cathedral which has its own memorial entitled "Jesus wept."


For those that aren't aware of the set up of this memorial, it consists of two gates, one inscribed with the minute before the bombing and the other inscribed with the minute after.  Symbolically the memorial is supposed to occupy the space in between those two moments.  

Within the space is a field of empty chairs with the names of the people killed in the bombing.  They're arranged as they were in the building.  There were nine floors to the building, there are nine rows of chairs.  The chairs on the first row are for the people who worked on the first floor and so on.  The chairs for the children in the day care center on the second floor are child sized chairs.  

On the other side of the reflecting pool is an elm tree that survived the blast and has been surrounded by other new plantings.  




They've also left up the chain link fence that was put up in the immediate aftermath.  People still come and put things on it.  I saw a letter someone wrote last year to a loved one killed there.



It's really one of those places that we as a country got right.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Food Units

Wow, long time, no blab, huh?

Food is always a hot topic at the house, which is no surprise since I feel like crap most of the time. I'm up bright and early after a night-long battle with cheese (I lost), and once again I'm berating myself for just not getting that I can't eat dairy. I was all into real foods until I felt like they were pushing meat as being more healthful than vegetables (?!), and everyone likes to post dessert recipes more than savory recipes. Oh, that reminds me, I feel there's something that needs to be said:

Food bloggers, stop saying that if I eat a certain way that it'll cure my depression. That is insipid.

Even my gluten-freeness has fallen by the wayside. It's a terrible thing and probably the reason I'm more depressed than usual and not sleeping. But I've got a system now that keeps the number of flours going rancid in my pantry/fridge down to a minimum. I've learned being gluten-free that if you're not careful you can have thousands of different flours in your house. So I go grain-free with coconut and almond flour, plus chickpea flour (sprouted, of course) for soccas (what? You've never had a socca? Look at this beauty!), and maybe cornmeal because I live in the South and must needs have cornbread, right? Now think how well this system would work if I actually cooked!

Oo, now I'm thinking pickled carrots, pickled beets, sauerkraut, and pumpkin socca for dinner.

I have three cookbooks on my shelf now: Mastering the Art of French Cooking, The More With Less Cookbook, and Cooking with Coconut Flour. What more does one need?

Simplify, simplify. Eat more veggies than anything else. Stop pretending that eating more salmon and flaxseed can cure major depressive disorder. Stop making gluten-free eating synonymous with weight loss and thereby eating disorders. And eat a socca. It's that simple.

So why can't I do it then?