Attitude shift

Deconstructed pie

After I wrote the previous post, I did a lot of thinking along the lines of, “Who am I to complain?”

For two hours of my morning, and the expected price tag, a competent auto body specialist fixed the window problem, and I moved on with my day.

I returned home and put together a lovely lunch of leftovers, then combined my feet and MetroBus to get to City Greens Farmer’s Market.  Biking in full half-past-noon sun in the 103-degree heat index lacked appeal.

With the walk/bus option, I can either use a sun hat or my sunbrella to avoid sunscreen. Around here, many people are happy to use light rail (MetroLink), but either have tons of excuses for not using the bus, or seem to never consider it, which is a shame.  Metro upgraded their website and the trip planning feature now links to Google Transit — pretty user friendly.

While I was out and about, I encountered a few things that put my “problems” into perspective, and reminded me to be thankful.  Although I don’t practice it daily, I like No Impact Man’s idea of making a gratitude list.  Here’s mine for today:

  1. Circus Flora (St. Louis’ own one-ring circus) — we went last night.  The artists display such an amazing combination of athleticism, grace, strength, and beauty.  I love watching bodies in motion.
  2. My legs that carry me when I walk or bicycle for transportation.
  3. My family.
  4. Local farmers who work hard (for not much profit).
  5. Homegrown blackberries, featured in deconstructed pie 🙂

Car, ugh

The power windows on my bicycle never give me any trouble 😉  The ones on the car are another story.  On Wednesday afternoon, the left front window displayed a new trick it learned — the trick where it does not go up.  Well, eventually it went up; with a lot of coaxing and long rest breaks, it went up a little bit at a time, until, finally, closed!  I immediately pushed the window lock button to prevent an accidental lowering.

Based on my highly technical over-the-phone description, my front and rear (yes, that one is misbehaving, too) left-side window motors need to be replaced, to the tune of perhaps $400.  So that’s how I get to spend what would be a car-free Friday.  Sigh.  This contributes yet more fodder to the “I want to be in a job where I can bike commute again” fire.

Beware the mandolin

I was dubious about owning a mandolin slicer, but somehow it become one (of the very few) items that we tossed onto our wedding registry.  In fact, we received not one, but two mandolins, and the one we kept proceeded to sit in its box in our pantry for many months.  One day, we decided that we should try the mandolin and decide whether we wanted to keep it or not.

In theory, it sounds great: quickly and easily get nice thin slices of vegetables, or set it to julienne and get cute little matchsticks in no time at all!  In theory.  I imagine there are some heavy duty professional vegetable slicers that operate in just that way (in fact, I recall a rather nice one from my time working at Subway).

But ours?  Oh, it is special.  It came with a “vegetable holder” that is supposed to hold the food and keep your fingers away from the sharp parts.  I’m sure the maker included this solely for liability reasons, because trying to use it makes the whole contraption worthless.  If you want to actually slice vegetables on it, you just have to hold them with your fingers.  (Can you see where this is going?)

Last week, I decided that julienned carrots would make a lovely addition to the cabbage salad I prepared for a pot luck.  One moment I was creating beautiful little matchstick carrots, the next . . . .

Would you care for some julienned finger with your salad?  It took off a nice chunk of skin.  That mandolin slicer might be on its way out the door — not sure it’s worth the human sacrifice!  (However, like a true genius, I went back and finished the carrot I had been working on when the accident occurred.)

All patched up and ready to snack!

This beautiful little apricot from my MILs tree made everything better 🙂

Fast food, green and healthy style

Sometimes you just need an easy-ish meal.  The delicious fresh produce available at this times of year helps in this quest.  The other night, we assembled our delicious beet salad (recipe here) and some dressed-up grilled cheese sammies.

Roasting the beets takes a bit of time, but it’s worth it — chop the beets* and get them roasting first, then work on the rest of the meal while they roast.

The co-chef made the grilled cheese sandwiches, with local cheese and our homemade whole wheat bread, dressed-up with sauteed spinach* and fresh green onions*, while I worked on the salad.  He added a fried egg to his sandwich for a twist.  Good fast food requires a bit more time and effort than traditional fast food, but the result is delicious and nutritious!

* From our garden, as were the greens for the salad.

Open Streets in the heat

Yesterday, I was on my bike for almost five-and-a-half hours, volunteering for Open Streets in St. Louis. Five-and-a-half scorching, 100-plus-degree heat index hours.  It sounded like a good idea when I signed up in April.  Get up at 6am after a late night at Opera Theatre and spend lots of hours out in the sun?  Fabulous idea.

All complaining aside, I enjoyed the opportunity to experience, and help with, Open Streets 2.0 — a great day for bicycling (and walking, jogging, rollerblading, etc.) in St. Louis.

Headed home, a stopped train delayed our trip and increased our time in the elements.  By that point, I had thrown caution (and sun safety) to the wind and removed my t-shirt to prevent death by extreme heat.  Fortunately, we found a shady spot to wait it out.  Eventually, the train passed, and I mustered enough energy to climb the hill and roll on home.  I spent the rest of the day recovering.  Lots of fluids, a shower to scrub off all of the icky sunscreen, some high-quality food (the fact that we made lunch serves as either a testament to our commitment to good food or to our insanity (perhaps heat-induced?)), and a nap — just what the doctor ordered 🙂

The  next two Open Streets events will take place in September and October.  While I hope that the temperatures will be a bit friendlier then, I’ve learned not to bet against St. Louis weather.