Sunday, September 18, 2005

You'll be sorry...

All those nice comments on this morning's post led me to think that perhaps y'all might want a blow-by-blow description of my next meal, too. (Either that or I am a sucker for attention. Ahem.) Anyway, for dinner tonight I made carrot-ginger soup -- another Epicurious recipe that made use of some of the several pounds of carrots we've received in the last few weeks. There's another pound in this week's farm share, so we needed to eat something with plenty o' carrots. The soup used up about two-thirds of the carrot backlog, and along with it we ate most of the rest of the sourdoughish bread leftover from last night.

Darren frequently helps out with dinner, but for the last several days I've just taken over -- booted him of the kitchen out so I can listen to the news or music, drink a glass of wine and do things at my own pace. I'm such a lazy slug most of the time -- leaving 90% of the cleaning and 60% of the dog care to him -- that it feels good to watch him sit on the couch with Jelly at his side as he watches a movie or some sporting event.

So tonight as Darren relaxed I listened to an amazing edition of This American Life while peeling and chopping a lot of carrots. As a rule, I don't watch TV news; I listen to NPR and read newspapers, both online and print. That has kept me insulated from some of the awful post-Katrina stories, but it's also isolated me from some of the stories of people who were affected, especially since it seems that NPR has tended toward reporting more of the official voices of Katrina's aftermath (that may be an incorrect perception based on the random times in the morning and evening when I listen to the radio; I'm not sure). And though I've read tons of media criticism about reporters like Anderson Cooper and Geraldo, I haven't witnessed any of the source material.

Anyway, as usual, Ira Glass and his crew did an amazing job of getting real people's stories onto the air (it's the top show on the homepage, called "This is Not My Beautiful House"; until next week, you'll have to pay to hear it). Two pieces stood out: One, by Nick Spitzer (who hosts the public radio music show American Routes, which is based in New Orleans), consisted solely of Spitzer's narration of a drive through downtown New Orleans to his home, which he was relieved to find still standing. He went through the house with a list his wife had given him of things to retrieve, ranging from her Elvis Costello collection to one of their sons' Wiggles towel, then drove back through a dark city to Lafayette, where they're staying with friends. Something about hearing a familiar voice, one that's always been so authoritative, speaking in ragged tones about animals dying in the streets and food rotting in his refrigerator -- it was powerful, to say the least.

The other piece, the last one in the show, was an interview with a woman who stayed in her home, floating on a Stearns & Foster extra-firm queen-sized mattress and drinking a few ounces of water a day, for eight days and nights until she was rescued. You'll have to hear it to really appreciate it, but this woman had an outlook on life that I found absolutely incredible.

When the show ended, as I was putting together our salad (lettuce, mixed greens, basil, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and red pepper, all from the farm), I popped in the Modest Mouse CD I bought months ago. At the time, I thought it was too noisy for me, but some of you have raved about it, so I was inspired to give it another try (in fact, I chose it over the albums I bought today with a gift certificate from the cool, if very dingy, local music shop leftover from my birthday: Slaid Cleaves' Wishbone and Plans, the new one from Death Cab for Cutie). While I still don't think I'll ever become a Modest Mouse groupie, I am starting to understand the attraction -- especially to "Float On." I'm only a year or so late to this particular party, but at least I got past the bouncer...

Finally, a bit of bloggage. I don't typically write about political and/or topical stuff; because of my job as a journalist, I'm very shy about airing my personal views in public (not to mention the fact that I write about serious topics 50+ hours a week, so writing meandering posts about my evening is a lot more relaxing than thinking critically about Big World Events). All that said, I highly recommend this story from today's New York Times about the women who seek abortions at one of the two clinics that perform them in Arkansas. Perhaps this story would confirm your position on abortion, whichever side you're on, but reading it made me feel very glad we sent some of our Katrina-related donations to Planned Parenthood clinics in the Gulf coast.