Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Homogenized life

About a month ago I visited a holistic nutritionist. We talked about a lot of things but something that was surprising to me was what she told me about milk. First, on my own, I've found that Horizon Organic is a national brand owned by a national chain of 'traditional' milk. They push the limits of what is organic, don't allow the cows to roam free (kept in cages like veal) and bring in cattle from traditional farms (hybrid cows bred to produce large quantities of low grade milk. Basically, they are looking at the bottom line and not really caring about the product quality or the health of their consumers.

Horizon being the least of my concerns... I guess it is better than the other options available at the local Stop & Shop. So, our conversation continued and I learned about pasturization and homoginization. Do you know what they are for? I didn't really know... I mean, it had to do with killing harmful bacteria, right? Well, kind of. Pasturization is basically flash cooking the milk in order to kill harmful bacteria. The process kills most of the bacteria bad AND good. So, think of yogurt and saurkraut and other foods that are beneficial to your intestins - the organ in your body that is there to help digest all of the processed foods that we eat in this modern world. Here we are, step 1... removing the bacteria that should be in our intestins from one of our most available and basic foods. Hmm, I'll have to ask my French friend how often people die in France from bad cheese bacteria. So, people have weakened digestive systems and this is believed to be the cause of many ailments including food allergies. The solution? We (I) buy expensive probiotic supplements that are basically the same thing as what was just cooked out of my milk.

Next, the homogenization process was created in the 30s to extend the shelf-life of milk. Not only does this keep the fat from settling on top this is also what causes milk to go rancid instead of sour. Interesting (to me at least)! The reason I even bring this up is because there is a direct link between homoginization and increased heart disease regardless of the type of milk (cream to skim).

I am continuously fascinated by the simplicity in foods and the fact that the FDA can approve drugs for 'Restless Leg Syndom' (when the real cure is actually just regular exercise & stretching) or mild depression (pop a pill or get on a treadmill four times a week for the same effect), but they won't allow for milk to sold 'raw'. It is really a messed up world we live in and it makes me want to go lease a cow.

Friday, May 26, 2006


I'm going through a period of conflicts. My day to day life is great and my husband and I just found out he got a consulting gig in Stamford so that we can carpool now (we met & fell in love in a carpool so this is good).

But my conflicts are more superficial and spiritual in nature. I love my job:It is straight forward and the company is great to work for but I am conflicted about its global impact. Also, when we were in California, I wanted to buy something that would remind me of the trip. Everything I found seemed to be stolen from nature or something I wanted to steal from nature such as a beautiful stone or desert sand. Now, I return home and now want to create an outdoor space, a retreat where I can live and spend my weeknights and weekends for the next 4 months. But, I am conflicted by the desire to 'consume' a table that is made of teak. I feel selfish by thinking that one person can't make an impact when I know that is not true. One person doing something or rather, not doing something does deflect making an impact. I want to walk lightly on this planet but I want to do it while being cute and comfortable.

So, I continue working here, came home from my trip with the pictures below and am looking out my kitchen window at a big, vacant patio.

Monday, May 22, 2006

How do I bring vacation home with me?

I didn't read the paper but opened a book; I got a massage and hung out in the jaccuzzi; I had my coffee in the morning sun before going to the pool; I had a wonderful outdoor lunch with my husband under the misters at a Palm Desert cafe that overlooked the Coachella valley; I saw petroglyphs in the caves in Joshua Tree National Park; I did handstands in the saltwater pool; I sang songs with good friends while they played guitar. I didn't think much about any of the responsibilities at home and kept everything focused on the day. Deep breath, I open my eyes and I'm back at work.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

I did it!

One step for mankind; One giant leap for Kelli.

I got on stage last night and actually sang the Stooges song. I think I did amazingly well despite the fact that you couldn't really hear my voice (maybe that is why I did well!). My friends said they couldn't tell I was nervous at all and truth be told, the couple shots I did beforehand (thanks William, for that) gave me some liquid courage. William said I would be up next and I thought "you know, in 150 years we're all going to be gone anyhow, this is insignificant enough to not matter but will be fun enough to last well, it will make a good story" so I jumped on stage, po-go'd a bit and sang the song. It was a good time in a supportive crowd. The band is awesome too despite their being a wee bit tipsy from starting drinking early in the day at the Kentuky Derby Party that was held hours before. Afterward, Astrid went back home to Manhattan, Cena sent William home and she Paul and I went to The Chip Shop up the street on Atlantic Avenue for some cod and chips and a little ale to go with it (and sat with a bunch of bar regulars the three of us didn't know). We took a scary fast trip back to Grand Central Station and caught the 1:06 train back home and were in bed by 2:35.

The point of going was really to see our Chicago friend Aicha who was in town for the weekend (to see her military beau that also was travelling into town). I got home to hear a voicemessage left at 11:45 from her asking what was up for the night because she was 'on the fence' about meeting up with us. Sounds like the decision was all ready made. I can't say that I'm not dissappointed but I haven't been in that type of situation for over a decade and am not in a position to judge. I hope she had a great weekend though and we'll catch up with her in August when we're in Chi-town for a wedding.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Are you what you are?

Moving to the Northeast was a social challenge for me. New York City is the epicenter of people that define themselves by what they do. "Hi, I'm Karen and I'm a fashion photographer", "My name is Kevin and I'm a commercial space designer", "I'm Taylor and I'm an investment banker at MSDW", I'm Diane and I'm an administrative assistant". When I write this, you most likely envision certain types of people. New York is the commerce center of the country and by most standards of the free market world. But New York is not defined by that - it is complex and made up of hidden and spraling parks, crowded neon lit sidewalks and small cobblestone alleys filled with ivy. The people that inhabit it are no different and they in many ways epitimize a free market person.

Because we live in a society that promotes the individual to set their status in society by their success, and by success we can assume that we are talking about financial success, people are defined by what they do for work. Back to my initial sentance: moving to the Northeast was a challenge for me. Every introduction begins with name and where they work and at what capacity. Because I am not a person that is motivated by what a person 'does' or 'is' unless they tell me they are doing something that involves giving, I always end up asking what part of town they live in and dig down from there.

On the flip side, I do admire the people that should define themselves by what they do: nurses, massage therapists, acupuncturists, family owned organic farmer, bike shop owner, science teacher. These are often times people that given the option, often wouldn't do anything else. Sure, we always would like more money to free us up from the day to day stresses of life but these are people that have to have a passion for their job or they wouldn't do it. I would be more interested in meeting someone that spends their working hours giving than a partner at an accounting firm regardless of how 'successful' they are. If you live in a 3500 square foot house, have a three car garage and love to entertain but find you don't really have friends over more than twice a year - I'm talking about you.

My point is, most other places on this tiny planet, people are introduced based on things that are actually more important and defining like what town you're from, your family name, etc. It is sad that we look for simple labels and words to define people. Like the city of New York is made of contrete and arterials, we are made of flesh and blood. We have our good points and are bad and we have energy, beauty and the ability to suffer incredible pain. New York is not just 'a city' so why are you just a (fill in your job title here)?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

"Unlike the Muslim man, who uses space to establish male domination by excluding women from the public arena, the Western man manipulates time and light. He declares that in order to be beautiful, a woman must look 14 years old. If she dares to look 50 or, worse, 60, she is beyond the pale. By putting the spotlight on the female child and framing her as the ideal of beauty, he condemns the mature woman to invisibility. In fact, the modern Western man enforces one of Immanuel Kant’s 19th-century theories: To be beautiful, women have to appear childish and brainless. When a women looks mature and self-assertive, or allows her hips to expand, she is condemned as ugly. Thus, the walls of the European harem separate youthful beauty from ugly maturity." - Fatema Mernissi, Ode magazine issue #6

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Be good (to myself)

Tuesday morning it occurred to me that my body is not ready for a cleanse. I have been eating raw fruits and vegetables (guacamole, gazpacho, fruit salad, berries, etc.) along with black coffee in the AM and then switching to clear tea in the afternoon and simple proteins - soft boiled eggs (olive oil, salt & pepper) or grilled chicken, fish. Doing this combined with spring allergies and trying to heal from my surgery made my body exhausted. So, I'm now just going to chill out and eat healthy for the next few weeks. No liquor (ugh!) no wheat and minimal dairy. Everything else will be as healthy as possible. Last night we went to a little Mexican restaurant and I had grilled tuna tacos - I could have feasted on that for days and now think I have a new favorite. - grilled tuna, lettuce, tomato, guacamole, salsa wrapped up in a warm tortilla. All I wanted was a salty margarita and I would have been in heaven. Doh!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Kelli gets published!

I grew up on magazines - fashion, fitness, anything design related, et cetera. During junior high, my single mom owned her own business. I would be dropped off by the bus driver outside of her industrial park office where I would wait for 2-3 hours and fold shirts, run errands and read a lot of magazines. I didn't find books of interest at that age nor did I find my studies. The teachers didn't believe in me so why should I care? My mom always told us kids that 'we'd turn out really well, she just knew it' so we therefore didn't need to plan for college because once we graduated, we would own a business like she does and make a living that way. She suggested we run a sandwich truck, espresso stand (prevalent in Seattle) or take over her business of silk screening/ embroidery. I was never cut out for that and always said I wanted to work in an office environment where I knew that I wouldn't come home smelling like grease or paint thinner. To get to my point, in 8th grade I had a homework assignment to do in history class. It consisted of picking a generation and writing a newspaper to reflect the events. A friend and I chose the 70s and wrote the paper together covering everything from the tawdry details of Nixon to the flashy flared legs coming into fashion. We submitted the project and failed because the teacher thought we plagiarized the whole thing. With all of my experience reading magazines, I had a pretty good idea of tone and context and was competent enough to write it myself. My A student friend was furious and told the teacher that she didn't plagiarize - she got a B+ on the paper. My grade never changed nor did I have the self-esteem to ask for it to be. It's funny that is one of the main things I remember from my junior high experience.

Although I had a short stint as a personal training writer for a CBS affiliate website in Seattle (the website went away), I have made a strange challenge to write into magazines to see if I can get published. It has worked for local and company magazines and newspapers, granted, I have done this maybe once per year. Today, I received an email from Shape magazine asking to confirm the spelling of my name. That's right, my comment will be in the July 2006 Shape Magazine. Too funny. OK, so I'm not getting published in the New Yorker (yet) but it is fun.

An old friend of mine used to attend many Microsoft functions (she wasn't nicknamed Party Patty for nothin') and would find out where the cameras were and she would always be in the background kind of like 'Where's Waldo'. Each week I would read the weekly paper and most often I could find a picture of her slyly walking in the background but smiling at the camera. To me, my writing into magazines is the same amount of fun - let's see what I can do without anyone really noticing.