First Unboring List item of the year!

Make a pecan pie.  

It’s fiance Oscar’s favorite and it’s Valentine’s day… so cross your fingers for me.  And remember my love, it’s the thought that counts!

Usually I would try to give you some advice if you wanted to try this… but baking isn’t a strength of mine.  So, my advice, just following the recipe and serve the results to nice people!

Unboring list 2014!
As always seems to happen, some items on this year’s list are major undertakings and others are easier to accomplish.  
get married!
make a pecan pie
watch Ted Talks
visit the Harvard glass flowers
watch Gone with the Wind
finish Pimsleur Portuguese lessons
make a new kind of cheese
plant a window herb garden
Also, there are carry-overs from prior years to take care of - “make a piece of jewelry” from 2013 as well as “try snowshoeing,” “meditate” and “golf in a new state” from 2012.
I hope you’ll consider joining me for one or more of these activities!
Happy New Year!  Let’s make it a great one!

Unboring list 2014!

As always seems to happen, some items on this year’s list are major undertakings and others are easier to accomplish.  

  1. get married!
  2. make a pecan pie
  3. watch Ted Talks
  4. visit the Harvard glass flowers
  5. watch Gone with the Wind
  6. finish Pimsleur Portuguese lessons
  7. make a new kind of cheese
  8. plant a window herb garden

Also, there are carry-overs from prior years to take care of - “make a piece of jewelry” from 2013 as well as “try snowshoeing,” “meditate” and “golf in a new state” from 2012.

I hope you’ll consider joining me for one or more of these activities!

Happy New Year!  Let’s make it a great one!

On sushi!

With fewer than 12 hours to go in the year I squeaked out one more Unboring list item - make sushi!

Tuna, avocado, and cucumber were the ingredients to keep things simple. Interestingly it was the rice (official “sushi rice”) that was my downfall. It was WAY over cooked and ended up quite mushy.

Oscar was a real gentleman to even consider ingesting this mess. We mostly picked at the innards which were delicious.

All in all a fun attempt and I’m likely to try it again… But I’ll admit that I won’t balk at sushi prices at the restaurants so much any more!

Happy New Year!

Fish - it’s what’s for dinner when you’re Unboring in 2013.
I wanted to mix it up a bit when it came to our dinner plans… it seemed like chicken was on the menu every day (it probably was!).  So, I said “let’s have fish more often.  It’s healthy!”  
And we did!    Also, we tried many new vegetables which also helped to add variety to our meals and made grocery shopping fun.
What should you know if you want to make fish more often.
1)  Know your weekly schedule in advance.  Fish won’t save long in the fridge so if you shop for your groceries on Sundays, plan to eat fish on Sunday or Monday.
2)  Buy what’s on sale.  Fish is expensive - particularly if you’re buying the local or sustainable kind.  So, buy what’s on sale and try something new.  If you don’t like it - you can always have chicken tomorrow (wink).
3)  You don’t need much.  A serving size is the size of a pack of cards so don’t think you have to buy 3 pounds - just get what you need for one meal.
4)  Ask for help.  The guys at the fish counter (fish mongers?) know their stuff - they do at Whole Foods anyway.  Ask them for a favorite way to prepare it or a favorite seasoning.  They’re glad to help!

Fish - it’s what’s for dinner when you’re Unboring in 2013.

I wanted to mix it up a bit when it came to our dinner plans… it seemed like chicken was on the menu every day (it probably was!).  So, I said “let’s have fish more often.  It’s healthy!”  

And we did!    Also, we tried many new vegetables which also helped to add variety to our meals and made grocery shopping fun.

What should you know if you want to make fish more often.

1)  Know your weekly schedule in advance.  Fish won’t save long in the fridge so if you shop for your groceries on Sundays, plan to eat fish on Sunday or Monday.

2)  Buy what’s on sale.  Fish is expensive - particularly if you’re buying the local or sustainable kind.  So, buy what’s on sale and try something new.  If you don’t like it - you can always have chicken tomorrow (wink).

3)  You don’t need much.  A serving size is the size of a pack of cards so don’t think you have to buy 3 pounds - just get what you need for one meal.

4)  Ask for help.  The guys at the fish counter (fish mongers?) know their stuff - they do at Whole Foods anyway.  Ask them for a favorite way to prepare it or a favorite seasoning.  They’re glad to help!

Join a non-profit board
It’s been a long time coming…  On my 2011 Unboring List, “Join a non-profit board” was made a priority.  I spoke to many but wanted to make the right choice - not jump in because I had a list item to attend to.
Courageous Sailing is a FANTASTIC organization and one that I am honored and humbled to be a part of.  It’s a Boston treasure and I will work diligently to help to continuously reach the mission of transforming lives through sailing.  (Which is what sailing has done for me.)
Courageous is multi-faceted in its activities.  From weekly races for adults (summer and winter frostbiting!) to adult sailing lessons, to facilitating swimming, science and sailing lessons for kids who would otherwise only look at the Atlantic from dry land, Courageous is making sailing accessible to people of diverse income, ability, and skill levels.
I’ve only just gotten involved so I’ll know much more in the months and years to come.  For now, I’m just thrilled to be a small part of a magnificent endeavor.
So, what should you know if you want to join a non-profit board?
1)  Have a connection to the cause.  I think that the rain forests and the whales and the homeless all need help too.  But I grew up sailing and it changed my life for the better.  I want more people to have that same opportunity.
2)  Size matters.  Very small organizations (those with budgets of perhaps $500k) have very involved boards - “working boards” they are often called because there is very limited staff and the rest gets done by the board.  Very large organizations (budgets of $10M+ have donor boards to write checks and make introductions and full staff to take care of the operations).  I wanted a Goldilocks board - somewhere in the middle of giving and effort.
3)  Protect yourself.  Ask good questions about DNO insurance and fiscal health and succession plans for the executive director, etc.  What is the composition of the board (longevity, variety of knowledge, etc)
4)  If you make the commitment, commit.  Know what is expected of you - from board meeting frequency, to annual giving, to how your skill set will be put to use.  If you agree to join the board, be ready to do what you say you will.  
5) Get educated.  I learned about boards from the Arts & Business Council’s Business on Board program.  It’s awesome and not just applicable to arts boards.  If you can, check it out!
I’m just getting started so I certainly don’t know it all.  What else do you think is important for board members? 

Join a non-profit board

It’s been a long time coming…  On my 2011 Unboring List, “Join a non-profit board” was made a priority.  I spoke to many but wanted to make the right choice - not jump in because I had a list item to attend to.

Courageous Sailing is a FANTASTIC organization and one that I am honored and humbled to be a part of.  It’s a Boston treasure and I will work diligently to help to continuously reach the mission of transforming lives through sailing.  (Which is what sailing has done for me.)

Courageous is multi-faceted in its activities.  From weekly races for adults (summer and winter frostbiting!) to adult sailing lessons, to facilitating swimming, science and sailing lessons for kids who would otherwise only look at the Atlantic from dry land, Courageous is making sailing accessible to people of diverse income, ability, and skill levels.

I’ve only just gotten involved so I’ll know much more in the months and years to come.  For now, I’m just thrilled to be a small part of a magnificent endeavor.

So, what should you know if you want to join a non-profit board?

1)  Have a connection to the cause.  I think that the rain forests and the whales and the homeless all need help too.  But I grew up sailing and it changed my life for the better.  I want more people to have that same opportunity.

2)  Size matters.  Very small organizations (those with budgets of perhaps $500k) have very involved boards - “working boards” they are often called because there is very limited staff and the rest gets done by the board.  Very large organizations (budgets of $10M+ have donor boards to write checks and make introductions and full staff to take care of the operations).  I wanted a Goldilocks board - somewhere in the middle of giving and effort.

3)  Protect yourself.  Ask good questions about DNO insurance and fiscal health and succession plans for the executive director, etc.  What is the composition of the board (longevity, variety of knowledge, etc)

4)  If you make the commitment, commit.  Know what is expected of you - from board meeting frequency, to annual giving, to how your skill set will be put to use.  If you agree to join the board, be ready to do what you say you will.  

5) Get educated.  I learned about boards from the Arts & Business Council’s Business on Board program.  It’s awesome and not just applicable to arts boards.  If you can, check it out!

I’m just getting started so I certainly don’t know it all.  What else do you think is important for board members? 

Unboring list 2013… only five weeks to go and still more fun to be had…

One more check box and this is a good one.  Plant a tree… and I did it without getting my hands dirty.   (Though actually  I would enjoy learning about how to select and plant a tree - maybe once I have a yard of my own.)

The Nature Conservancy is on its way to planting ONE BILLION TREES through its program Plant a Billion Trees.   I’ve been aware of this program for a while and wanted to help.  

I donated a modest $25 for 25 trees to be planted in Brazil.  

Vegetable of the week.   Gilo

It’s a bright green Brazilian pepper.

Gilo are easy to cook - just remove a bit from each end, chop in half, and put in a pot with some water and a sprinkle of salt.

Oscar’s sister gave us these peppers.  I don’t know where you buy them.  Um… they are not my favorite.  The flavor is somewhat bitter.  But maybe you’d like them??

Always good to try something new!   Here’s our list.  What have you tried lately?

Try one new vegetable every week recap:

Week 1: Beets

Week 2: Baby kale

Week 3: Turnips

Week 4: Parsnips

Week 5: Purple varieties

Week 6: Artichoke

Week 7: Chayote squash

Week 8: Fiddlehead Ferns

Week 9:  Jicama

Week 10:  Fava Beans

Week 11:  Canary Melon

Week 12:  Gilo

Unboring country concert!
One of my unboring list items for the year is to go to a country music show. I was lucky enough that my favorite country band, Zac Brown, came to town. (Last year I wrote about my new interest in country music inspired by unemployment… Inspiration takes many forms apparently!)
Oscar was nice enough to come with me and we had a great time singing and dancing with the crowd.
The band played for 3 hours non-stop and performed not only every song of theirs I can think of but also 6 or 7 covers - including Simons family favorites from Jimmy Buffett.
The weather was perfect and it was a fun night. So unboring!

Unboring country concert!

One of my unboring list items for the year is to go to a country music show. I was lucky enough that my favorite country band, Zac Brown, came to town. (Last year I wrote about my new interest in country music inspired by unemployment… Inspiration takes many forms apparently!)

Oscar was nice enough to come with me and we had a great time singing and dancing with the crowd.

The band played for 3 hours non-stop and performed not only every song of theirs I can think of but also 6 or 7 covers - including Simons family favorites from Jimmy Buffett.

The weather was perfect and it was a fun night. So unboring!

So bright yellow it caught my eye from 10 feet away!
This is a canary melon… it is delicious and you should buy one.  (I just wish they were local!)
At a cost of only $.99/lb, this oval specimen cost just $3 and brought me endless joy as I carted cubes around to work and family to encourage them to try this exotic food.  It is sweet and soft - for me “just right” in both categories.  Perhaps I lucked out because I have no idea to tell if it’s ripe or not!
The one trick to this otherwise wonderful food is that the rind and the fruit are the same color so one must take care when cutting it.
OK OK!  It’s not a vegetable… but it is awesome… and given the 100 degree heat, you can perhaps forgive me for not firing up the oven for a new recipe.
And it has great nutritional benefits too.  50% of your daily Vitamin A and Vitamin C, fiber and only 80 calories in one cup.
Try one new vegetable every week recap:
Week 1: Beets
Week 2: Baby kale
Week 3: Turnips
Week 4: Parsnips
Week 5: Purple varieties
Week 6: Artichoke
Week 7: Chayote squash
Week 8: Fiddlehead Ferns
Week 9:  Jicama
Week 10:  Fava Beans
Week 11:  Canary Melon

So bright yellow it caught my eye from 10 feet away!

This is a canary melon… it is delicious and you should buy one.  (I just wish they were local!)

At a cost of only $.99/lb, this oval specimen cost just $3 and brought me endless joy as I carted cubes around to work and family to encourage them to try this exotic food.  It is sweet and soft - for me “just right” in both categories.  Perhaps I lucked out because I have no idea to tell if it’s ripe or not!

The one trick to this otherwise wonderful food is that the rind and the fruit are the same color so one must take care when cutting it.

OK OK!  It’s not a vegetable… but it is awesome… and given the 100 degree heat, you can perhaps forgive me for not firing up the oven for a new recipe.

And it has great nutritional benefits too.  50% of your daily Vitamin A and Vitamin C, fiber and only 80 calories in one cup.

Try one new vegetable every week recap:

Week 1: Beets

Week 2: Baby kale

Week 3: Turnips

Week 4: Parsnips

Week 5: Purple varieties

Week 6: Artichoke

Week 7: Chayote squash

Week 8: Fiddlehead Ferns

Week 9:  Jicama

Week 10:  Fava Beans

Week 11:  Canary Melon

Vegetable of the week - Fava Beans!

For this week’s Whole Foods “Try one new vegetable every week” challenge, fava beans.

Fava beans look big when you buy them, but after removing the beans from the inedible pods and then again removing the beans from the inedible protective shells (done by quickly boiling then blanching them)… you’re left with about 10% of what you started with… and 30 minutes less in your day.

What started out as a large handful of bean pods that I could hardly grasp became a small handful of cooked beans to serve with dinner.  Thankfully I watched a video on how to prepare fava beans because I would NOT have gotten that right on my own. 

The color is a nice green and the flavor is very bean like (more like edamame than chic peas).  I sauteed the beans in olive oil and added a pinch of salt and squeeze of lemon juice after cooking. 

All in all, nice food… probably not worth the effort on a regular basis unless you have child labor!

Try one new vegetable every week recap:

Week 1: Beets

Week 2: Baby kale

Week 3: Turnips

Week 4: Parsnips

Week 5: Purple varieties

Week 6: Artichoke

Week 7: Chayote squash

Week 8: Fiddlehead Ferns

Week 9:  Jicama

Week 10:  Fava Beans

On Laughter
Comedy Show!  An item on Oscar’s 2013 Unboring List!  (And thank goodness because we are behind schedule!)
Though this picture is a bit dark, from left to right is Oscar, my brother JP, sister-in-law Rachel, and yours truly.  We went to Second City in Chicago over the July 4 weekend.
Second City is improv, but to me it seemed that more of it was scripted than I was expecting.  It was funny, irreverent, at times political, and usually kept to the character.  There was no theme so sometimes the skits seemed disjointed.
Here’s what you should know if you want to try it:
1)  They will, a few times during the show but especially to kick things off, ask for words from the audience.  Before the show starts, decide on a word and who will shout it out.  Good diction and a strong voice are positives for this.   We got “chocolate milk” as the starting word thanks to JP.
2)  I think I say this for every list item… make a day of it!  Second City is in a fabulous part of town with many restaurant options.  It is accessible on the El (subway) or you can take a cab (cheap by Boston standards!).  Spend the day downtown and bar hop you way to the show.
3)  The fees they tack on when buying ticket really really really irked me - somewhere in the range of 20% of the ticket cost.  Nothing to be done about that - just annoyed and enjoying the soapbox.

On Laughter

Comedy Show!  An item on Oscar’s 2013 Unboring List!  (And thank goodness because we are behind schedule!)

Though this picture is a bit dark, from left to right is Oscar, my brother JP, sister-in-law Rachel, and yours truly.  We went to Second City in Chicago over the July 4 weekend.

Second City is improv, but to me it seemed that more of it was scripted than I was expecting.  It was funny, irreverent, at times political, and usually kept to the character.  There was no theme so sometimes the skits seemed disjointed.

Here’s what you should know if you want to try it:

1)  They will, a few times during the show but especially to kick things off, ask for words from the audience.  Before the show starts, decide on a word and who will shout it out.  Good diction and a strong voice are positives for this.   We got “chocolate milk” as the starting word thanks to JP.

2)  I think I say this for every list item… make a day of it!  Second City is in a fabulous part of town with many restaurant options.  It is accessible on the El (subway) or you can take a cab (cheap by Boston standards!).  Spend the day downtown and bar hop you way to the show.

3)  The fees they tack on when buying ticket really really really irked me - somewhere in the range of 20% of the ticket cost.  Nothing to be done about that - just annoyed and enjoying the soapbox.