Cornstarch and Other Groundbreaking News

I made a couple of jaw breaking discoveries about cornstarch this week. First of all here is a killer sauce for stir fry, with cornstarch as its consistency hero:

– The juice of 1 orange

– A minced clove of garlic

– Fresh ginger, ground in food processor or chopped

– Soy sauce to taste

– 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch

Just whisk together all ingredients and pout into a skillet that is over medium high heat, stir it around for a minute or two until it starts to thicken, throw in some veggies (broccoli and carrots and peppers are great, but you do your thang) and voila! We were going to add chicken but ended up not having any (actually, we did have some but we had narrowly let it go bad–kitchen real talk) so we cooked meatless chicken patties, chopped them up, and threw them in at the last minute. It was really good! If you make this, adjust the recipe however you like. I kind of just threw stuff in and tasted it. I do recommend something along these lines though as it is a super quick dinner. Thank you, cornstarch.

The other use is for getting out stains! Mike (my husband if you are unfamiliar with the blog and/or bad with context clues) had a grease stain on a wool shirt he loves. It had been washed and dried at least once, so I didn’t have high hopes for it ever coming out. In a last ditch attempt, I rubbed some dish soap into the stain and sprinkled a healthy amount of cornstarch over the soap. By “healthy amount” I actually mean that the cornstarch came out really quickly so there was a small white mountain on the shirt. I thought it was fine since I wrapped it up neatly before gently placing it in the hamper. However, Sam (our Boston Terrier) was standing next to me when I was collecting the laundry to take to wash and…poof.

Attack of the cornstarch.

Attack of the cornstarch.

Anyway… at least Sam’s plight was not all for naught… The cornstarch treatment actually worked! When the shirt came out of the wash and we let it air dry, the stain was totally gone!

Anyway, in other pressing news:

Ariana Grande licking a donut and saying she hates America earlier this month was investigated by police. No charges were filed in donutgate. This scandal is ridiculous.

I FINALLY LISTENED TO “SERIAL.” Oh my gosh. We listened to the whole season in a week. I am fascinated by true crime and examining what might have gone wrong with a case is kind of my jam. I actually wrote a 31 page paper in high school about Sacco and Vanzetti. I was rapt the whole time. If you haven’t listened and you like that kinda thing, do it now. You won’t be sorry.

Today I realized that a magazine I bought a couple of month’s ago boasts on it’s cover, “Bathing Suits to Solve Every Problem.” When I noticed this I thought, “Solve every problem… like what?! homelessness? poverty? racism? homophobia? sexism?!” On a similar note, my not super svelte self recently bought a slightly cropped top I thought was cute in a store (it was 6 bucks!) and the cashier told me it was a “brave” choice. It’s a crop top. Not chemotherapy. C’mon…

I’ve been super busy with school (and many random panic attacks :() lately so I have slacked a bit on the ol’ blog a bit. I will try to keep up.

What have you been up to this summer? What is an around the house item you find helpful in cleaning, cooking or crafting? Comment or shoot an e-mail to karacterspace@gmail.com and say heywhatsuphello!

Silence is Violence #sayhername

This is a blog post I have wanted to write for a long time but simply did not know what words to ascribe to my thoughts. I have so often mulled over and felt grief about the racially motivated tragedies that have been highlighted in the news over the past year and a half. Notice I said highlighted because this has been happening in our country for years. Racism has not gone away, but as a white woman I do not always notice it. But I am looking at it now. The pain it causes me to think about the dehumanization of blacks and minorities is nothing compared to what is experienced daily by so many. This needs to stop. Silence is tacit compliance. I cannot be silent about this any longer. An excerpt from a post I recently read helped me understand how racism is too often viewed by white people. It read:

White people do not think in terms of we. White people have the privilege to interact with the social and political structures of our society as individuals. You are “you,” I am “one of them.” Whites are often not directly affected by racial oppression even in their own community, so what does not affect them locally has little chance of affecting them regionally or nationally. They have no need, nor often any real desire, to think in terms of a group. They are supported by the system, and so are mostly unaffected by it.

What they are affected by are attacks on their own character. To my aunt, the suggestion that “people in The North are racist” is an attack on her as a racist. She is unable to differentiate her participation within a racist system (upwardly mobile, not racially profiled, able to move to White suburbs, etc.) from an accusation that she, individually, is a racist. Without being able to make that differentiation, White people in general decide to vigorously defend their own personal non-racism, or point out that it doesn’t exist because they don’t see it.

You can read the rest of John Metta’s post here.

Because this unjust system benefits us, we should not rest on our laurels or (worse yet) try to “explain” that racism doesn’t exist or attempt to rationalize racial inequalities. There is not equality (a level playing field, if you will) so you can’t try to say that the “road goes both ways” and “it had nothing to do with race, stop making it about that.” These acts inherently are about race. The system itself is racist.  And, while we are at it, black people cannot be “racist.” Racism (and all -isms including sexism, ageism, etc.) is comprised of prejudice and power. So, a black person could have racial bias or prejudice toward someone but it is not the same thing as racism. It gets under my skin (I can’t imagine how much it upsets people of color) when someone tries to flip a script that was written by white men and try to pass it off as evidence that things are equal.

What we need to do is listen and stop trying to make excuses. Listen, BELIEVE others experiences as part of a system that is rigged against them and ACT. WE NEED TO DO BETTER. WE NEED TO SPEAK OUT.

Mondays with Marguerite

The Human Development class I attend twice weekly offers some pretty good zingers from my professor (who is a founding faculty member of our program and mentee of Abraham Maslow’s close friend–holla!). Enjoy.

Student: “Don’t fingernails continue to grow after death?”

Marguerite: “Yes… (*intense pause*) So make sure you get a manicure before you go.”

News and Reviews

News!

I hope that people enjoyed their fourth of July weekend! It is always a bit difficult for me because it is the anniversary of my dad’s death (it’s been four years already). But it is also a happy day. Freedom comes in a multitude of ways. For my dad, freedom from suffering (he had cancer) came in the form of eternal peace. I might do a post later on death in general. Stay tuned. On that joyous note…

We went to Mike (my husband’s) family’s house (his cousin just acquired it and is doing awesome renovations!) on a lake in Maine. It’s the third year I have taken part in this family tradition and the first time our dog Sam has participated. We read and eat and make a fire and smores at night. We drink and laugh and be with family we only see a few times a year. Sam was mostly good but we did have to keep him on a long rope, since he likes to explore far and wide and finds sprinting away from you a lot of fun. Our little Magellan enjoyed himself regardless. Here is photographic proof.

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I have started my second summer class, which is keeping me busy (but far less busy than my previous accelerated course. Good lord. I still have nightmares). It’s Human Development Across the Lifespan. I am preparing a presentation on the Millennial Generation and doing a research paper on the lifelong benefits of preschool and headstart programs. Riveting, I know. The glamorous life I lead.

In other news I am currently in a job which requires end of the fiscal year reconciliation so I have been in a slight panic this week. WHY I AM IN THIS JOB?! I AM NOT AN ACCOUNTANT. AHHHHHH GAHHHH BLAHHHHHH. I don’t often do a look of the day post (this would actually be my first), but if you insist… this is my look of the day/week:

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I was going for a “these numbers are making me nauseous” vibe. This too can be yours. Just look at deeply perplexing excel spreadsheets until you’d rather drink shit flavored bubble tea with Bill Murray. You’re welcome.

When I’m not crying into my keyboard at work, I have been reading a lot. Mike has been too. He found a Jim Butcher series at a used bookstore and has delved right in. I have also been cheering on my childhood friend, Jackie Croft (Miss Vermont USA) who is competing in the Miss USA Pageant in Baton Rouge this week. Regardless of how I personally feel about pageants, she has worked really hard and this is a dream for her. GO JACKIE!

What have you been up to? Leave me a comment of shoot over an e-mail: karacterspace@gmail.com. It would be great to hear from you.

Reviews (of a sort… more like tips but that doesn’t rhyme with “news”)!

  • For some reason, I tend to notice issues with fruit flies more in the summer. Maybe we have more fruit then?! I don’t know. But I’ve tried many things in the past and this season magically stumbled upon the best solution yet.

FullSizeRender-2 BEST. STUFF. EVER.

Just mix about half a cup of natural apple cider vinegar with a splash of hot water and a dollop of dishsoap in a small dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and poke holes in the wrap with a toothpick. Leave it on your counter. In an hour 8 flies had been trapped and drowned in there. Gross but weirdly satisfying. YOU WILL LOSE THE WAR FRUIT FLIES. I DO NOT NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS. Moving on.

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  • I have been reading this book. By reading I mean listening on Audible. I had used a free month of audible to get a book to listen to during a monthly cleaning job I have (makes the time go much quicker!) and was charged for a second month. Note to self, remember to cancel before they start charging… Anyway, it was a blessing in disguise because I came across a book called “The Courage to be Yourself” by Sue Patton Thoele and used my credit to purchase it. It is heavily geared toward women, but there’s some good advice in there for anyone. I really like her approach. If you are want to grow emotionally and develop higher self-esteem (don’t we all?!) I highly recommend it.
  • I have been trying to stay really active this week. So far I have jogged, hiked in the woods with Mike and Sam and done some yoga with Mike. In fact, I am off for a jog when I finish this post. I found that making a playlist that is exactly 20 minutes long (my goal is running 20 minutes 3-4 times a week in addition to yoga and walking) helps tremendously. Here are my current jams:
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    I hope you have an awesome week! I am planning a couple more serious posts that I have been mulling over, so stay tuned for those.

Best,
Kara

Love Wins

The Supreme Court’s momentous decision this week to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states has caused the slogan “Love Wins” crop up in many places, particularly the internet. I’m really glad for this. Because it’s true. Love always wins. And when we stop to look at the love around, and within us, there is a great deal of contentment and peace. Having that love recognized by others is also incredibly freeing, which many experienced this past week.

I have been thinking a great deal lately about contentment. So often we are told “don’t settle!” and “follow your dreams!.” We are encouraged to always reach for more. We want a bigger house, to be thinner, to be more muscular, to be a better friend, wife/husband, daughter/son, to be more devoted to our religion, etc. Don’t get me wrong, it is good to want to grow. Growth is beautiful and necessary for a full life. However, it’s very freeing to look at your own life and be content with it. Lately, I have been feeling very content. The cause of this contentment, I believe, is love. Particularly the love of these two men:

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Stop striving so hard. Stop telling people what to do. Stop worrying so much. Just be. As someone with extreme anxiety, I understand this can be so hard. But as much as you can, let love in. It is always victorious.