Time to Vote!

This Halloween I will be starting off my celebration bright and early by heading to the polls with my mom and sister. Many things have become uncertain this year but one undeniable result is clear– things are changing.

No matter where you fall on the publicly partisan and personally political spectrum, this election falls at a critical point of questioning and it is vital to make sure your voice is counted as we consider where we go from here.

Make sure that you make a plan to vote and don’t let this year’s obstacles dissuade or dishearten you. Go to https://www.vote.org/ to make your voting plan today.

Image by Eric Comstock

My 4 PM Obsession

My most reliable marker of time is consistently my own body. Each day approaching 4 PM I feel a repetitious collision in my brain: my encroaching exhaustion hitting a crossroads with my seemingly unaffected to do list. I gaze at my nearby bed longingly but I know better than to surrender to my assortment of plump pillows and fuzzy blankets– I’ll never get back up. I decided to turn to coffee to provide me with the fuel to keep pushing through my assortment of tasks as the day winds to a close.

I have almost famously been unable to produce a drinkable cup of coffee at home; my taste having been shaped by Starbucks blonde lattes and nitro cold brews with flavored foam. I will always treasure Starbucks but I needed to learn how make myself a decent cup of coffee from time to time.

Months later, I’ve finally perfected my at home coffee routine. I’ll spare you the rest of the story to prevent the classic blog recipe trap of presenting an entire essay about the author’s personal life and experiences with the dish before finally relenting and providing you the recipe 4 pages down. So here it is, my October coffee routine:

You will need:

  • a french press or cold brew pitcher
  • ground coffee of choice
  • milk frother

To Taste:

  • sugar or sugar substitute
  • milk or milk substitute
  • coffee creamer

The secret to this coffee recipe is time . The good news though is that it’s not active time, just waiting.

I start by filling the bottom of my cold brew pitcher (or french press) with ground coffee. Right now I’m loving the Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice coffee grounds that my mom got. It goes really well with the vanilla creamer I’ve used.

After inserting the ground coffee and filling the container with cold water, cover the top of the container (without “pressing” the coffee) and refrigerate. It’s necessary to wait a night, and it’s better to wait two days. The longer you wait, the richer tasting the coffee will be. I’ve found that the second day really helps pronounce the nuttier flavors in the coffee that otherwise get watered out.

When it’s ready to be drunk, press the coffee and pour the distillation into a cup of ice. This next part is all to your individual taste. I then add a teaspoon or so of creamer. A vanilla oat milk creamer goes especially well with the pumpkin spice coffee flavor I’ve been using. I also add half a packet of Sweet n’ Low and stir well .

It’s important to stir all these ingredients before the frothed milk, to avoid deflating the milk with too much disturbance. I froth a small amount of milk in a separate cup before pouring it atop the iced coffee, allowing it to slowly sink past the ice cubes with a quick stir when it gets to the bottom to avoid any settling.

And that’s it, my lovely iced coffee routine that saves me each day at 4.

Best Thing I Read Last Week

“In order to engage in meaningful dialogue we must come to the table respecting all participants equally and then we must do something that is quite difficult indeed: we must ourselves become as empty vessels, ready and available to receive. If we can’t do this, we might as well not enter into discussion at all. To do so is only pretense.”

Jan Willis
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The Sun Magazine : A Review

For my birthday this year my grandmother gifted me a subscription to The Sun magazine, along with a copy she had previously read. She had recommended the magazine to me a few weeks earlier and I had been intrigued by the website but hadn’t found any readings online.

Eventually, that initial gifted copy was slated as next in my reading rotation. I read the full issue in only a few days; only stopping in an attempt to savor the remaining pages for the days to come. I wasn’t sure when the next issue would arrive and it was good, like very good. I found the fiction to be impressive, the poetry insightful and the political perspective refreshingly candid.

Just a week or so ago I received the October issue after much eager anticipation. This time, I read cover and cover within the course of a day– beginning in bed after waking and finishing on my carpeted floor at night after meditating. It was enthralling and its timeliness made it all the more compelling.

Multiple sections feature the direct voices of readers; showcasing their feedback and distinctive ventures of their own writing practices. This direct implication of the audience coalesces into an expansive portraiture when combined with the variety of voices represented through the longer portions of story and poetry.

I highly recommend purchasing an issue of The Sun if you are looking for something unexpected: refreshing in its broad-minded clarity. Chances are pretty good you will find someone’s voice that resonates with you within the pages, someone who perhaps might understand the world as you do. Additionally, I will guarantee that you will find someone’s printed voice that challenges you– asks you to look beyond your own experiences into understanding of another’s distinctive personhood; despite preconceptions and expectations.

I think The Sun is an essential publication that truly documents, observes, and expresses the diversity of modern culture– giving voice to the multitudes that comprise the collective community of the United States.

Image: cover of The Sun October 2020 Issue

Ways to Celebrate Halloween in Quarantine

With all the disruptions of this year, it’s impossible to predict what Halloween in 2020 will look like; if it will look like much of anything at all. Since it’s my favorite holiday, I wanted to be sure to brainstorm some ways to celebrate that can be implemented around the social distance regulations.

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Best Thing I Read Last Week

“Our political and social evils are remediable, if only all of us who want a change for the better just get up and work for it, all the time, with as much knowledge and intelligence as we can muster for it. Half the wrongs of human life exist because of the inertia of people who simply will not use their energies in fighting for what they believe in.”

Katherine Anne Porter
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Dreaming of Europe

As the months of lockdown slowly pass, I find myself increasingly wondering about when the next travel opportunity will present itself. Although it’s been frustrating to have our visible perspective limited, it’s important to remember the necessity of the restrictions and new requirements. While I wait, I’ve found some ways to slowly satiate my travel urges, some of which I’ll share before.

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Best Thing I Read Last Week

“Compared with the average wealthy nation, America spends nearly twice as much of its national wealth on health care, about a quarter of which is wasted on inefficient care., unnecessary treatments, and administrative chicanery. The U.S. gets little bang of its exorbitant buck. It has the lowest life-expectancy rate of comparable countries, the highest rates of chronic disease, and the fewest doctors per person. This profit-driven system has scant incentive to invest in spare beds, stockpiled supplies, peacetime drills, and layered contingency plans— the essence of pandemic preparedness.America’s hospitals have been pruned and stretched by market forces to run close to full capacity, with little ability to adapt in a crisis.”

Ed Yong, “Anatomy of an American Failure,” The Atlantic

Image sourced from:https://www.pinterest.com/pin/ATlTNEcmFB54PN3f8pFhRTFaKZLkb0gaq0tomlX5TiU3JUqOEBsyxdc/ Artist: Charlotte Ager

Netflix Finds

After the six month mark of quarantine, I found myself in a show hole, believing I had finally seen everything worth watching on Netflix. This month I revisited the site, with a new sense of exploration in mind. Here’s some of gems that I’ve uncovered; conveniently sorted into categories to best direct you towards your next potential favorite viewing experience.

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