August 31, 2010

Snippits from the South

The bathroom at ATL has Sharps containers. The explanation I received is that the incidence of diabetes is so high in this region that it is a public health necessity.

Yesterday, our lunch was at Waffle House. Today, E brought back Chick-Fil-A. These are the two things he claims to miss the most about the South, so we should be in good shape for a few days.

Yesterday, other than the obligatory Waffle House outing, E and I sat at our computers and silently worked all day in his childhood bedroom. Not too different from a Monday at our home office, actually.

Today, I woke early enough to attend a power yoga class at my favorite Atlanta yoga studio. It was a power yoga, and it was refreshing, in a way, to take a class that was so physical and focused very little on the spiritual, emotional, and mental aspects of yoga where my practice has been focused for the last 6 months.

Sometimes, it's nice just to mix it up. And this class was physically demanding unlike any yoga class I've taken in ages -- I was literally DRIPPING with sweat. At one point, I looked back at the thermostat and it read 102F. YIKES! Power yoga isn't supposed to be as hot as Bikram, but when it's a crowded class and 90F and 68% humidity outside, unless they turn on the air conditioner, I guess that's just what happens.

Interestingly, my last six months of advanced vinyasa once a week at the studio plus whatever I've been able to fit in on my own meant I was in much better shape for this type of practice than the last time I'd done it.

In fact, the instructor only led us through about half of the number of poses that my advanced vinyasa instructor leads us through in the same time period. I was tempted to feel like it was almost easy in comparison because I was able to hold all of the poses without falling out too much or needing to take a break.

But, no. When I finished I realized it wasn't actually easier at all. The exhaustion post class was much more than I'm used to. Probably because, um, my regular studio is typically around 70F. In an un-ecologically friendly non-stereotypically Californian fashion, my Californian yoga studio uses the air conditioner on hot days.

So, today's southern lesson is that a 32F increase in temperature (coupled with increased humidity) approximately halves the physical ability of my body.

Good to know.

August 24, 2010

Summer Salads

Mmmm...Garden tomatoes, garden onions, garden cucumbers, fresh baked bread, gorgonzola, capers, olive oil, sea salt and pepper.


More mmm...Garden tomatoes, garden onions, baked beets, chevre, lemon-honey vinaigrette.


And the most mmmm...A colorful selection of garden heirloom tomatoes, homemade mozzarella, garden basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil from vino nocetto, black pepper and fancy salt flakes and coarse salt crystals (an awesome gift from E's sister).


August 19, 2010

Woo Hoo!

I finally checked, and confirmed that the remaining 8 eggs in our fridge were not recalled.

Here's to small victories and one more reason I want my own egg-laying chickens!

August 14, 2010

Thoughts on Food Policy

As you may know, I'm emotionally and logically fascinated by food. Food enjoyment. Food systems. Food culture. Patterns of food consumption. Food politics. All of it, really.

Most of the time, I process it internally. It comes up in conversation and I share my views, what I know, personally, from trying to make the majority of my own food from fresh self- or locally-obtained ingredients, what I've gleaned from reading and travel, and what I recall from the rants of my 3rd-generation small-scale farmer of 80 acres grandfather who eventually terminated his farming operations for economic reasons (selling land to winemakers and leasing the remainder of the land, claiming, there's no living to be made in farming anymore).

E2 sent me a link to a great article today, that had several fascinating statements:

One sociologist calculated that people have ten times as many conversations at the farmers’ market than they do in the supermarket.

--Huh. I wonder what the Harvard Happiness Studies would do with this data. I'm guessing, based on extrapolation from the correlation between the number of neighbor interactions and self-reported happiness (which, by the way, blew me away), the Harvard Happiness studies would probably treat shopping at a farmer's market vs. shopping at a grocery store as a variable that was correlated with increased happiness. Happiness is not very well modeled in modern economics, but I thought it was an interesting point, nonetheless.

In his 2006 book Crunchy Cons, Rod Dreher identifies a strain of libertarian conservatism, often evangelical, that regards fast food as anathema to family values, and has seized on local food as a kind of culinary counterpart to home schooling.

--Holy Crap. Wow. Refusing to eat fast food is as much of a rejection of general social norms as endorsing home schooling? Wow. I had no idea. Is this guy off his rocker?

And on the Slow Food movement, this article dares to ask:

Ever the Italian, Petrini puts pleasure at the center of his politics, which might explain why Slow Food is not always taken as seriously as it deserves to be. For why shouldn’t pleasure figure in the politics of the food movement?

Here. here.

In a challenge to second-wave feminists who urged women to get out of the kitchen, Flammang suggests that by denigrating “foodwork”—everything involved in putting meals on the family table—we have unthinkingly wrecked one of the nurseries of democracy: the family meal.

--This seems outdated to me. Perhaps I live in a sheltered world, but the trend to me seems to be that people (and particularly my female friends and colleagues) are reaching out and adopting ways to re-learn forgotten food cultures of their ancestors, to re-engage with food pleasures, and, in general, these endeavors are seen as lofty goals, admirable, (and something to be capitalized upon by the marketers -- see the Eat Pray Love/Cost Plus partnership).

On the political value of breaking bread:

Flammang attributes some of the loss of civility in Washington to the aftermatch of the 1994 Republican Revolution, when Newt Gingrich, the new Speaker of the House, urged his freshman legislators not to move their families to Washington. Members now returned to their districts every weekend, sacrificing opportunities for socializing across party lines and, in the process, the “reservoirs of good will replenished at dinner parties.” It is much harder to vilify someone with whom you have shared a meal.

--I have experienced first-hand the value of many shared meals. While I am not remotely attached to Washington D.C. or its machinations, this explanation sounds reasonable to me.

Flammang points out that the historical priority of the American labor movement has been to fight for money, while the European labor movement has fought for time, which she suggests may have been the wiser choice.

--Interesting. Certainly, in deciding to start my own law practice, I opted for the latter. Whether I would have considered doing so without having lived in France and Italy, I'll never know. But, a very interesting perspective.

Overall, I appreciated the perspective and the points raised by this article. I may not have agreed with all of them, but I do think we, as a culture, should be discussing them, and I'm happy that they are being raised.

August 11, 2010

A Good Response

I had my first acupuncture appointment today.

I had 11 points where needles were gently inserted, mainly on my legs and arms, but one on my forehead and one in each ear.

It was quite a strange experience.

Immediately after the acupuncturist left the room and instructed me to try to sleep, I started crying. Hard. For 7 or 10 minutes. I very rarely cry. But I *really* missed my dad and had no choice. So I cried.

And then it was done.

And I was so relieved.

The rest of the 40 minutes was spent with me alternating between checking in with my various body parts and trying to see how they felt and what was going on (tingling? pressure? twitching?), and me realizing I was feeling very intense emotions and then trying to observe the emotions without judgment.

I basically didn't move and tried to breathe and relax and pseudo-meditate for 40 minutes.

The most interesting events where when I recognized I was feeling angry and then literally felt as if the anger was being pulled through the needle in my left foot. It left me too tired to be angry.

10 minutes or so later, I almost fell asleep only to be woken by the sensation of white light coming through my feet to my skull -- it was so strong and overpowering that I opened my eyes and made certain I knew where I was, yup, still at the acupuncturist.

Overall, I can say that I was jittery at the end of the session, and not at all what is the typical response -- relaxed. Oddly, this was a more emotionally charged experience than any psychological therapy session in which I'd ever participated.

My acupuncturist commented that it was normal for people to cry on the drive home, particularly after their first visit. But, that since I'd already cried on the table (which was apparently not super common and that's why she hadn't warned me), she didn't know if the warning was relevant.

I made the drive home without any threat of tears.

And now, after a pleasant chat with Arvay and dinner with E, I've calmed from the session, and I must say, I feel more balanced, calm, and safe than I have in quite some time.

I look forward to continuing this experiment.

August 8, 2010


The latest garden and tomato update is at Tech Law Garden.

I'm running out of shelves to store canned goods, so E is going to build me a storage shelf in the garage.

I consider this a garden victory of sorts.

August 5, 2010

The Best Kind of Procrastination

I've been light on posting, not because work has been busy. In fact, prior to this Monday, the last two weeks have been relatively slow for the first time since I started the business, which has been wonderful.

In this slow time, I did many things (except blog).

I read several books.

I canned pickles and garden vegetables.

I focused on a very regular work-out schedule (and I finally seem to be gaining some of the fitness benefits that had been evading me).

I've also been very social, first catching up with friends and spending time with E, and then, attending several very cool networking events where I've met some amazing founders, venture capitalists, angel investors, and even a few recognizable faces (you know, silicon valley mini-stars).

But, most importantly, I took the downtime to plan not one, but several vacations. For the first time since Alaska last July, E and I are going to get away. Travel porn -- oh, how I love to read and learn about far away places.

In less than a month, we'll be going to visit E's family for over a week in Atlanta and north Georgia. Then, in October, we'll be going to Honolulu and Maui (I've never been to Maui!) to celebrate 10 years of togetherness and to visit friends, and chill and eat and drink and relax in the sand and surf.

But the biggest vacation, after more than two years of false starts, we're headed to South America in December and January. Argentina New Years, here we come!

Planning travel takes way more time than I remembered. It's only now, two weeks after I've scheduled all of our flights and overnight bus rides, reserved all of our rental apartments, hotels, and/or intentionally left some nights open for driving to small towns and taking what we can find, researched visas between countries, and spent countless hours reading about places to go and things to do that I finally recalled just how long it actually took me to plan our trip to Asia in 2008. I'd forgotten the planning, but have tons of memories from that amazing experience, and I'm hopeful these trips will leave me with similar memories.

So, if you've got suggestions for things we should do (or eat!) in Atlanta, Honolulu, Maui, Buenos Aires, Iguazu, Mendoza, Bariloche, or Punta del Este -- let me know!