Category Archives: daily life

Nattering Social Justice Cook: Prepare to Ride, My People

To those who have said “wait and see” about the results of the election, so far I have seen the following results and feel that I am sufficiently prepared to venture an opinion.
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Nattering Social Justice Cook: Stay the Course

Like many of you, I was taken aback by the results of the recent election, to the point of depression, dismay, and concern for our future. Part of my past week, though, was spent in Chicago at a conference for nonprofit leaders, and that served as a heartening antidote in some ways.

Part of it was the reminder that our world holds people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from, or if they’ll have a dry place to sleep that night. That there are children who are abused, animals who are tortured, eco-systems being destroyed, nations being oppressed. That so much is wrong. That so much needs fixing. Is it odd to say that was heartening? Because it was so inspiring to be around hundreds of people who have given time and energy and so much more to help others.

It underscored the fact that we are not islands. We are part of humanity, a deep, rich pool in which we swim, and we will either do so or sink, collectively. The question of where to start with that is one that divides many of those who desperately want to fix things. And the truth is this: that helping wherever and whenever you can is fine, no matter what form it takes. The act of helping others enriches our souls and keeps them nourished.
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Nattering Social Justice Cook: DIY Cooking Kits

Within the last few years, an industry has sprung up aimed at people who don’t know how to cook but yearn to do so. The basic model of such companies is that they deliver kits for making a homemade meal: the ingredients, with any pre-work like peeling or trimming already done, and a set of instructions that includes step by step photographs pretty enough to be in a food magazine.

I tried one of these services a year or two ago, lured by a good coupon deal, and did get some value out of it, but cancelled the subscription before they could start hitting me with the non-coupon costs. For someone utterly foreign to the idea of cooking, these might be useful to show how easy it is to create a tasty meal, or for someone scared of failure, they might build confidence. But the amount of wasteful packaging was striking, and that seems a bad thing to me. I don’t like creating garbage, because among other things, it means I must expend effort taking it out, but also because it’s bad for the planet.

The average American generates 4.3 pounds of garbage per day. That’s over a pound and a half over what the figure was in 1960. So we’ve gotten, overall, less efficient rather than more, while at the same time depending on resources that are diminishing.

Every one of the kits came in cardboard packaging around a styrofoam box with two large ice packs. I stuck a few of those ice packs away for re-use but there are only so many ice packs any household can use and they’re not recyclable because they’re filled with some sort of chemical solution. Every ingredient was packaged separately, down to tiny plastic bottles holding approximately a teaspoon of soy sauce. IF I had weighed the garbage against the end result, I would have found the garbage far in excess of the end result.

I think people should know how to cook, because it’s a skill that helps them make their life better in a number of ways. I freely acknowledge that people with few resources will have a hard time cooking, yet be in a position where the practice would benefit them tremendously. There are some low-cost appliances that can be of much use here, like a rice cooker, hot plate, or toaster oven, but using those efficiently takes a certain degree of skill and knowledge. These kits aren’t going to teach people some important basics, such as how to shop economically/efficiently, how to store ingredients, or how to prepare food.
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The Skill of Skills

There are two impulses. One is to leave a legacy. Maybe it’s children or creations, good works, discoveries, or even a legacy of kind acts. There are other things to be remembered for, but those seem the most important. The … Continue reading

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Catching My Breath and What’s Coming Up

Most of the last couple of months has been focused on one of several things: finishing the beta draft of Hearts of Tabat, finishing up the second edition of Creating an Online Presence for Writers, sorting through details for the release of Altered America: Steampunk Stories, or SFWA’s Nebulas Conference, which took place midmonth in Chicago, and which I blogged about last week.

So here’s what my summer schedule looks like.
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Fare Thee Well, Fellow Traveller

I heard the news about David Hartwell’s accident last night; it makes me inexpressibly sad to see one of the people who have shaped the speculative fiction landscape for so long pass. Others will tell you of all his wonderful accomplishments; I want to celebrate his life by recounting a few moments of it that I was privileged enough to share.
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Welcome to the Funhouse, 2016

f I were truly organized, this would have appeared on New Year’s Day, but I had a very nice weekend instead. Now it’s Monday, and I’ve had my coffee and homemade yogurt and done some stuff. I’m feeling good about the year and have made the usual sorts of resolutions. Things that I’m trying in 2016:
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Birthday

Well, happy birthday to me. I’ve managed five decades and a bit so far; here’s to many more. Man, this has been a shitty year in many ways, and one full of life lessons that apparently the universe felt were … Continue reading

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The New Place, and Other Recent News

We are mostly unpacked and settling into West Seattle. The construction across the way continues, and they’re working frantically to get the place done before the rainy season sets in. I give them a 50/50% chance of making it.

The high ceilings here make the place feel enormous, as does the extra 300 square feet we’ve picked up. We’ve also got substantially more closet and cupboard space. The view from the kitchen window remains a thing of wonder; every night it gives me a beautiful sunset with sound and mountains. Yesterday there was sunlight coming in through the leaves and flickering on the cabinet so beautifully that I had to call Wayne to come and look. The cats like the new place, particularly the carpet in the study.
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Retreat, Day T-7

It feels like I have been here a shorter time than I have, but it’s been great and I have gotten so much work done. I’m filling in gaps on Hearts of Tabat right now and happy with its progress. I wrote a bunch of stories and one poem. I walked on the beach and among the redwoods, and I got to spend time petting a bunny, and watching deer. I saw a grey fox and a barn owl swooping along late at night and covey after covey of quail, including a mama with six bitty little perfect quail running as fast as they could to keep up with her. Tonight I’ll lie out under the stars and watch the Perseid meteor shower from probably the best vantage point I’ll have in my life.
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