Category Archives: What I’ve Been Reading Online

What I’ve Been Reading Online: “I Haven’t Always Been an Activist”

As I have written previously,  I follow many different kinds of blogs, but the trait they all share is creativity, which comes in many, many forms.  As far as I’m concerned, creativity is as essential to life as breathing. It is the spark that keeps us going and makes life worthwhile. But there. I’ve written about this before, too.

Because I am so frequently blown away by the creativity of my blog friends, from time to time I’m going to share a particular post that was especially inspiring. I do want to note that, in fact, I could be featuring posts every single day as so many terrific posts come my way. Now, if that isn’t something to grateful for, then I don’t know what is.

Today’s featured post is “I Haven’t Always Been an Activist” from Beth Clark’s blog Piecing It Together. Along with being a blog friend, Beth is also a personal friend—she and her husband live about an hour away from us—and I have known her for many years. Not only is she a good writer, but she also cooks, sews, knits, does a multitude of crafts, and takes lovely pictures. Those things alone would be fine examples of someone living a creative life, but Beth has currently added “activist” to the list.

In her post Beth chronicles the process of how she became an activist and how this did not happen overnight. It was a slow process, speeded up by the political events of the past six years. Spoiler alert: Here are Beth’s powerful concluding lines, written in reflection after calling an elected official: “I am not a robo-caller; I am not someone outside your legislative district; I am not being paid or coerced into calling your office. I am a woman and a voter and you cannot close your line to me. I will be heard. I am an activist.”

Wow seems like an inadequate response, but wow is what I feel. How proud I am to be her friend.

Here is the link to “I haven’t Always Been an Activist.”

Friday, February 21, 2014: Bits and Bobs from the Internet

Snow, snow, and more snow. There will be no drought problems in Maine this spring, and for this, I suppose, we must be grateful. In addition, the days are getting longer, and yesterday the backyard thermometer, always in shade, actually reached 50 degrees. The dog and I went outside and did a happy dance.

This weekend, I am going to a baby shower. The mother-to-be is the daughter of friends, and I have known her since she was a little girl. I love going to baby showers—new life on the way!—and although I always bring books for presents, I so enjoy seeing all the little clothes and the other baby things.

Happy weekend to all!


From Food & Wine: America’s best diners, and several of them are from Maine.

From the PBS Newshour: Picturing hunger in America.  “Hunger Free Colorado give cameras to food stamp recipients and asks them to chronicle what it’s like to be hungry in America.”

From Eating Well: A recipe for the slow cooker—Chinese Pork and vegetable hot pot.

From AlterNet: Seven foods once considered naughty are now on the nice list.

From the Portland Press Herald: The “Cronut”—part donut, part croissant—has finally come to Maine. As a donut lover, I am dubious about this concoction. As a foodie with a nearly insatiable sweet tooth, I can’t wait to try one.

From the blog Wolf it Down: Lots of interesting recipes, including this one for sweet potato cake.

February 14, 2014: Bits and Bobs from the Internet

img_5265The good news is, we didn’t lose our power. The bad news is, the snow is extremely heavy and thus hard to move. And there’s a lot of it at the little house in the big woods. Thanks goodness for Little Green, our electric snow-thrower. For years, Clif and I shoveled by hand the driveway and the backyard pathways, but no more. If Little Green ever stops working, we will buy a replacement. Pronto. Even with Little Green’s help, there is plenty to shovel, and I will be working at it off and on during the day. Nature’s gym! However, I must admit I’m more than a little “winter weary.”

Winter weary or not, Happy Valentine’s Day to all. I hope it is a sweet one with plenty of chocolate.

From NPR’s the salt: If you hate skim or low-fat milk, then here comes some good news. According to the salt, “two recent studies…conclude the consumption of whole fat dairy is linked to reduced body fat.”

From Mother Earth News: ‘Tis still the season for soup, and here’s a bean soup recipe that sounds warm and hearty.

From the Portland Press Herald: Tired of soup? If you’re in Portland, then head to the Daily Greens, a salad bar at the Public Market House.

From Eating Well: For Valentine’s Day or any other day—a recipe for Dark Chocolate Meringue Drops.

From the New York Times: In his column, Mark Bittman suggests that all restaurant servers should be page a real, non-tip adjusted wage.

From the Guardian: From a girl named Jack—how to save money on groceries.

Friday, February 7, 2014: Bits and Bobs from the Internet

A fine, cold day. The windows are frosted, and the snow in our yard still glitters. Today, there will be a walk with the dog in the woods, and I’ll bundle up with hat, head band, neck warmer, warm coat, leggings, and warm gloves. I’ll also bring my camera. The other day, I took a picture of bittersweet on snow, and it came out so well that I’m going to print it and see whether it will be a good photo for a card. During the course of the year, I send and give lots of cards made with photos I have taken. I have estimated that I give nearly 100 photo-cards in any given year. Birthdays and anniversaries. Sympathy cards. Thank-you cards. Notes just to say hi. Bundles of cards given as gifts. On Monday, I brought “flowers”— five note cards with pictures of flowers—to my friend Esther, who hasn’t been feeling well. So the moral of this story is that when I go out, I almost always bring my camera with me. You never know when you’re going to get a good picture.


From Sustainable America: Ten things to do with stale bread.

From Bill Moyers & Company: Amy B. Dean interviews Michael Pollan, who maintains our food is dishonestly priced.

From Eating Well: A recipe for clementine and five-spice chicken. Just reading the recipe made me hungry.

From the Good Shepherd Food-Bank’s blog: Heat or eat?

From Maine Today: Soup recipes from the blog Spoon & Shutter.

From Maine Magazine: Little BIGS, a bakery to try out in South Portland. My, oh my, they even sell donuts!

Friday, January 31: Bits and Bobs from the Internet

For the first time in a long while, I will not be writing “cold, cold, cold.” Today in central Maine, the weather is very fine for the end of January, and soon the dog and I will be going for a woods walk. I love the the woods in winter, the calm and the quiet. At least for me. For the creatures of the woods, I expect life is anything but calm. There is the constant search for food and for some, the constant avoidance of becoming food. That, of course, is the way of things. In the woods, the dog sniffs at all the enticing smells, and I take in the beauty, the dark trees against the snow. At home, at the end, there is always tea and fruit and a little something crunchy to go with it. Winter pleasures.


From the Portland Press Herald: A food pantry on SMCC to help its struggling students.

From BuzzFeed: ‘Tis the season for soup, and here’s a “definitive” ranking.

From NPR: Obese kindergarteners have a tendency to become obese adults.

From Eating Well: Need a break from soup? Here’s an almond-&-lemon-crusted fish recipe.

From the Guardian: Think you are hip because you eat quinoa? Well, hold onto your coolness because a new grain is coming to town, and that grain is teff.

Friday, January 24: Bits and Bobs from the Internet

The weather report in central Maine remains constant: Cold, cold, and cold. I take the dog out for two short walks rather then one long walk, and I still can’t wait to get home. I’m so bundled up that you can just call me “Laurie of the North.” I should have Clif take a picture of me and post it on this blog. I wear a hat, headband, neck-warmer, the heaviest coat I have, leggings, fleece pants, and big warm gloves. Even so, as I walk, I feel as though my face is frozen into a grimace. It must look like I’m smiling because when cars go by, drivers smile and wave at me. Or maybe they just think I’m nuts. Stay warm this weekend!


From Mother Jones: Michael Pollan’s take on the paleo diet.

From Eating Well: Mushrooms are not only delectable but if exposed to light, they also are rich in Vitamin D.

From NPR’s the salt: How food hubs are helping new farmers.

From Oxfam: The best and worst places to eat in the world. Who is number one? Not the United States but rather the Netherlands.

From the New York Times: Cooking for the cold. Melissa Clark’s lentil soup with lemon might just be on our menu next week.

From the Portland Press Herald: Anne Mahle’s recipes for no-knead bread using a sourdough starter.

From Salon: Journalist Sarah Gray lives on food stamps for a week. It’s a gimmick, of course, but Gray is a good writer, and there are lots of details about our food system in her piece.

Friday, January 17: Bits and Bobs from the Internet

This will be a quiet Martin Luther King weekend at home, where Clif and I will spend time working on our various projects, which include fixing the gate to our backyard, refurbishing the bike we found at the transfer station, getting photos ready for an upcoming exhibit at Railroad Square Cinema, and that perennial chore—decluttering. Naturally, the weather is supposed to be calm. Doesn’t it just figure that on a weekend when we are staying close to home, the roads will be clear and dry? Tonight, we will be going to a potluck at the home of Margy and Steve Knight. I will be bringing homemade crackers and a cranberry and hot-pepper jelly chutney on cream cheese. 


From NPR: Sometimes, it’s all right to play with your food.

From Eating Well: Six low-calorie soup recipes for these cold winter days.

From the Portland Press Herald: Let them eat pie—sample 50 pies in 3 hours. The event is Pies on Parade on January 26 in Rockland, Maine, and it’s a fundraiser for Area Interfaith Outreach Food Pantry.

From the Guardian: “Toast is trendy.” That’s right. Toast. It seems that toast bars are the new rage, and some of them charge $4 per slice.  Now, I am a toast lover from way back, but at those prices, I guess I’ll continue to make my own bread and my own toast.

From the New York Times and Mark Bittman: A video featuring The Scramble: A Simple Greek Lunch. I could have a plateful right now.