Hard to Leave

Today, I walked out of work for the last time in four months.

I know that my priorities will change, that I’ll be greatful for the break, and all of that, but…

I love my job.  I really do.  Even the hard stuff is just challenging, not bad.  I have never felt as fulfilled as I do when I’m working hard at this job.  The person who is doing my job in my absence will be great, so I’m not worried that I’ll go back and it will all be a mess; I just know I’m going to miss it.

I could have stayed longer, but I have not felt well in months.  I know that the break will help with my health and hopefully I will be back on track in the next couple of weeks.

I sense lots of organizing and reading the upcoming weeks!

Marion County Property Taxes

I’m not sure how legislators in my state thought that this was a good idea.  But my taxes have nearly doubled and I have only three weeks to cough up thousands of dollars or I risk losing my home.

First, the inventory tax was eliminated.  Yes, that attracts business, but then the money has to come from somewhere, and the politicians decided it would come from individuals.

This article is a step in the right direction, but it’s probably just grandstanding that won’t actually provide any tax relief.  The article cites an average 34% increase; however, mine increased 90% and I have friends whose taxes increased a whopping 140%.  The thing I don’t understand is why my home, which is only three years old, has such a hike.  Supposedly the increases are to adjust to real market value.  Well, my taxes increased by 31% last year alone, then 90% this year.  Excuse me, but isn’t the market flooded with homes that won’t sell and home prices are dropping?

The good thing is that we have savings we can use, but why the enormous bill?  And why not steadily increase over a few years instead of all at once, with only 21 days to pay?

I’m not happy with legislators for doing this, not happy with Mayor Bart Peterson for waiting until the last minute to ask Governor Mitch Daniels to help, and not happy with My Man Mitch unless he springs to action.  All estimates are that he will do nothing.

I implore state politicians at all levels to help us and to devise a better solution.  I will not vote for anyone who didn’t do anything about this.  And don’t think I’ll forget by election day.

Happy Independence Day!

babaghanouj.jpgWe celebrated the all-American holiday by preparing mediterranean snacks and some yummy vegetarian versions of classics like beer brats, barbecue, and burgers.

All I made was baba ghanouj; I didn’t write my own recipe for this, as I’ve never made it and David’s a ghanouj aficianado. I used Japanese eggplant from my own garden (how’s that for a multicultural dish??). I used this recipe; the only adjustment I made was that I didn’t add any water. After squeezing the juice from the onion and eggplant, why would I add less flavorful water? Anyway, the crowd agreed that the dip was thick like hummus, but with nice, mild flavor. I’ll make the recipe again.
[rate 3.5]burger_shaping.jpg

Amy‘s shaping burgers in the snapshot. You can see Casper is standing attentively, waiting for scraps.

Thanks to Amy for bringing all the stuff and doing all of the cooking- I have been exhausted lately and it meant all I had to do was eat!

Red Tomato Smooth Salsa

Incredibly easy.


2 25 ounce cans whole roma tomatoes.

Chop coarsely;  drain, pushing liquid through strainer.  (Save this juice for bloody marys)  To a blender, add

1/2 small onion
3 cloves garlic
1 T cumin, roasted and ground
3 dashes smoke seasoning
2 red jalapeno peppers, whole
1t smoked paprika
juice of one lime

Put drained tomatoes on top.  Blend thoroughly.  To the blender, add

2t kosher salt (more or less to taste)
1 small bunch cilantro, stemmed (about one small handful of leaves)

Pulse until cilantro leaves are in small pieces.  Drain one last time, adding juice to the bloody mary mix.  Serve with freshly fried flour tortillas (if you have time to make them!).

This recipe is very easy, and almost anything can be adjusted.  If you are not in a hurry, use fresh tomoatoes and roast the tomatoes, onion, and pepper at 400F for 30 minutes.  Omit smoke seasoning.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Taste:  [rate 3.5]
Ease: [rate 5]

Water Bottle Avalanche

From page: http://blogging.la/archives/2006/04/yet_another_reason_coachella_b.phtmlThe Wall Street Journal has become my periodical of choice for many reasons. This editorial is just one more reason. I have heard that beverage containers are the USA’s biggest landfill contributor, but I could never find the source to cite it.

It seems that we’re addicted to water bottles. I thought the comparison to cigarettes was especially clever; we use the bottles as status symbols, and as something to do with our hands. I’ll admit that I buy the bottles, but they are washed and reused for weeks before being recycled. Not trashed- recycled.

Lifestraw in UseIn the comments to the article, it’s clear that some people didn’t get the point; they continued to talk about their icky tap water. Indiana tap water, so rich with limestone that it seems little rocks might fall out of the faucet, isn’t the tastiest, but it is safe and we are fortunate to live in a country where access to safe drinking water is considered a right, not a privilege. Contrast the picture above with the picture to the left– just a few of the billion people who don’t have clean drinking water.

It seems a little “let them eat cake” to waltz around and trash container that could be reused, recycled, or just plain not bought at all. It’s time to wake up and behave like we might actually care about those billion people.

John Mayer at Verizon Wireless Indianapolis

John Mayer 2007I missed entirely the first opening act, and quite a bit of Ben Folds. The part of the set that I did catch was frankly not that good. The sound was bad (can any opening act get a good sound crew??), and when he started to riff on the keyboard, we all looked at each other wondering, “is this any good?” Carlton commented that he sounded like Ross. I was nonplussed.

Since last year’s show, there has been a new album that is decidedly bluesey. I was excited to see the performance. As I commented last year, Mayer’s music has evolved from the poppy, earnest rock with great lyrics into … well, still great lyrics, but also John has evolved greatly as a musician.

The set list was heavily new material. I wasn’t disappointed by his talented playing nor by the talent of the musicians surrounding him. The longer instrumental interludes- usually the part of a concert that I find most annoying- were incredible. During one solo, I picked up on some Tim Reynolds-style work with the electric guitar and pedal. But this was not about copying at all.

The Crowd from the GrassJohn’s attitude seems to have evolved as well. He was humbly grateful, not quite as funny as usual, but very engaging. He didn’t talk to the crowd as much. He did, however, insert a 20-second homage into one of his songs to the people with lawn tickets: this one’s for the people on the grass/Here’s to the people on the grass/I can’t see you but you can see me and I can feel you/ Oh yeah, the people on the grass. It was done in sort of a rap style as he played and it was funny and energizing. I could hear the lawn erupt in enthusiasm after the tribute. The best part of his gratitude was when he said that he’s very lucky and no different than the thousands of earnest musicians playing in bars everywhere. Kind of made me want to go see a less popular artist and experience something new.

Because he had selected so many newer songs, this was a less dance-inducing concert. It was more about enjoying the music and less about singing all the lyrics and dancing like mad. That’s not a bad thing…just different. Actually, it’ s a good thing. Because watching me dance might look like this:

How I Felt!

Anyway, the show was really good. Gravity was probably my favorite song that he played. I’m not a big fan of Waiting on the World to Change; I find the lyrics far too sad. I hate to think that we are so passive about making changes. Maybe I dislike it because it’s true.