Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Detroit paranoia VS Detroit reality

So tonight we are sitting in front of the fire and we hear a noise. I look out and there are two guys shoveling out front walk and driveway, it’s 9pm and???

Twice today guys have showed up wanting to shovel the snow, but we are in Detroit and who the heck is going to be shoveling snow at 9pm???

So we go into paranoia mode and figure they must be casing the place or are going to ring the bell and want to get paid. I mean who shovels snow at 9pm!

So I called a neighbor because the association pays to have the snow plowed, the city only does downtown, and ask if this is something the association pays for.

Aislinn, has a more positive out look, that turns out to be the case, and says maybe they are the neighbor kids - more later...

But still it seems weird so we are paranoid. Too much of the “hype” of Detroit...

Well earlier we were out walking the dog. We were coming home and a car was stuck in our driveway. Because of where our house is our driveway get used as a turn around place for neighbors so it is not unusual for people to turn into our driveway to turn around. It’s a neighbor a few doors down and she has gotten stuck because of the snow. So we put the dog in and we and another neighbor help push/ rock her car so she can get some traction and make the move.

As it turns out it’s her kids! She has sent them out in the cold to shovel our walk and driveway.

It’s a good thing and our paranoia, maybe more my paranoia, has gotten us on the defensive over a good neighbor thing.

It’s funny because in San Francisco where there is less “paranoia” (for no good reason) we would have been shocked at this, but here in Detroit there is a very strong neighbor helps a neighbor culture and in reality we should have expected this. It was one of the first things Aislinn thought but it just seemed “strange” from a west coast orientation so we got paranoid.

Maybe it’s because we did have 5-6 inches of snow and that is a bad thing to be stuck in, and there is no way we would let someone sit out there in stuck in those conditions but it never occurred to me that someone would “repay” that “kindness” by going out in sub freezing temps to shovel out snow.

So it changed from paranoia to a “It’s a Wonderful Life” kind of moments.

It’s great when life surprises you in a good way. It happens more times than not in Detroit.

Kind of the opposite of the press that you read on Detroit.

Maybe after we live here awhile it will seem normal, but right now it still is one of those “wow” moments.

And a great cap to the Christmas week.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Summing up a bunch of months

It’s been awhile. So lets see... what happened.

Still living in Detroit ;~) and there are a number of ways you can take that.

Here are some tit bits and now that it’s snowing I’m going to finish up a bunch I started earlier so there should be a little flurry of activity ;~)

Kid Rock has moved into the hood, kind of.

Apparently he looked at a house down the street but actually bought another place. East side good size colonial... So it has to be around here someplace. Well actually it’s is around here. Basically down the street till you hit the water and hang a left a couple of blocks.

A slightly right wing nutcase. Actually as far as I can tell not really a nut case as in Ted Nugent.

The black guy kept the white house! A lot of folks were worried, I didn’t think it would be that close but then I got worried. So I checked the LasVegas odds, yes they bet on everything, and they had Obama by 90.5 electoral college votes. So I relaxed again.

We had some snow around Thanksgiving :~)))))) But it didn’t last. I’m kind of hoping we will have snow for Christmas, but?

The lakes NEED a bunch of snow this winter, because of a couple of dry years and warm winters they are very low. We are getting some cold weather but it gets mixed in with some warm so it’s kind of Bay Area neither here nor there kind of weather but generally colder. We have been having heavy fog and you wake up to the fog horns on the river honking away. Makes it feel like SF. Though my father says they don’t use fog horns in the Bay Area any more. I thought I remembered hearing them not long ago but maybe it’s just such an iconic Bay Area sound I just think I heard them? But we have them here!

Work continues on the house, smaller less impacting work, though I still haven’t finished the sun porch. most of the floor is out but I need to get more aggressively destructive and peal up the bottom of the walls also to actually put in the new joists and re do the floor. Probably spring.

Been brewing for more parties and such. My numbers are going to be close to 150 gallons this year!

Speaking of which we kind of resurrected out Thanksgiving dinner. Camille was the only other family to make it and we held it on the Sat after Thanksgiving (hardly anybody was available on Thanksgiving) but we had just under 30 folks and it was very reminiscent for the SF annual bash.

The BIG change here is that they all fit in the dinning room!

The kids, there were a bunch of younger ones, had a grand time doing all kinds of stuff that their parents thankfully didn’t know about till later, but no permanent scars and they cleaned up after themselves!

I tried pickling, not so successful. And made a bunch of chili souses from the huge late crop of peppers.

That reminds me. Aislinn was hot to do raised planter beds so we build four 2X8 beds and she stuffed them with all kinds of plants the GREENING of DETROIT was giving away. We ended up with a monstrous crop of tomatoes, a bunch of tomatillos bunches of peppers and pounds of eggplant. We still have some cabbage and broccoli out there (winter is late) and piles of herbs.

OK I’m signing off this post.

To Be Continued.........



Friday, December 7, 2012

Slow food what a awful name

In a fast world who has time for slow food. OK I get it it’s the opposite of “fast food”, but it sounds like eating in an eastern block country where it takes an hour to get a menu. And that is the WRONG impression to make.

What is it about?

Well, not eating poisoned disease laden food. Not eating meat that has been processed in such filthy conditions that they have to soak it in toxic chemicals so it has a chance of passing a rare FDA check.

Now there are laws around the country that say IF I say something bad about say the meat industry they can sue me. It doesn’t matter if what I say is true or not it’s still bad for business and so they can sue me.

Well I won’t say anything bad about the food industry, but personally I would rather eat food than a factory product.

Fortunately I can say negative things about the government, at least for now.

And while the “evil” corporations are the “perpetrators” that is kind of what they are supposed to do. We would all like business to think about the environment and the future and well their customers health. But WE (as in the government we let govern) have passed laws that push them to always look for the short term profit. Ideally they would be “good citizens” and fight that but really when was the last time someone gave you some money that you handed back for ethical reasons?

So they are doing some “bad” things but the FDA is supposed to keep that from happening. Democrats AND Republicans have gutted the agencies that are here to protect us from those bad practices. At best it’s a 50-50 thing.

Back to the topic.

The name is trying to imply the opposite of Fast Food. But really good food can be fast and you can take a long time to make junk.

So I stick “slow food” in with other bad names like “global warming” and “foodie” and pretend I heard a better name.

Maybe unjunk food, or how about, and this is radical, Real food.

Basically look at the ingredients, if it doesn’t sound like stuff you should put in your mouth then don’t.

Of course you could go radical and actually cook your own food.

It’s not always possible, unless you get a bit crazy with it or have a LOT more free time than most people do. BUT you can cook 90% of what you eat and buy your ingredients with some thought of where it came from. I try not to buy produce that has traveled thousands of miles and especially if it’s from a country with a spotty track record of public safety. In most places you can head to a farmers market and buy from the people who grew it. You can also often buy meat from ranchers at the market. That depends a lot on where you are of course. Fish also is often available that is fresh and not shipped in from a distant land.

Most cities also have shops or areas that are a close second to the farmers market. In the Bay Area you can go down to the docks and get very fresh fish. In Detroit you can also get fresh fish, though most of what is fresh is fresh water fish, but there is lots of that. We also have a HUGE farmers market. It has tons of produce, and fish and meat. The meat is seasonal, as in they don’t sell fresh meat when it’s not freezing out side, but some of the same people sell frozen during the summer. There is some fish but there is also a shop across the street that has a large selection of fish and meat.

Once you have the “stuff” meals are not that hard.

Breakfast can be made in not much longer than it takes for the coffee to brew.

Lunch can be very fast as in make a sandwich.

Dinner could take a long time, or be very quick.

Even things like bread that take “a long time”, don’t actually take a lot of your time. Mix it up, beat the hell out of it, and let it sit for some hours. Beat it again, shape it, let it sit for an hour or so and pop it in the oven.

Your time is maybe 15-30 min total, quicker than going to the store and back.

Don’t get me wrong you can spend a great day cooking. But if you need to be quick that is easy also, and you will reduce your “chemical load” a lot. The generation that grew up on a lot of processed food (post WWII) has not fared to well in the health department.

So go out and eat some unjunk food and celebrate the passing of Twinkies, a “food” so toxic it can be used as a defense for murder.