Every so often, an opportunity comes your way that takes you out of your comfort zone. You know you'll benefit in some way. You know you'll be glad you did it in the end. But the thought of actually doing it might be so daunting that you're tempted to pass and settle for the status quo. What "it" is differs for everyone. It might be running your first race. It might be volunteering for the school PTA. Asking for a raise. Writing a book. Or in my case, a doing radio interview.
The anti-gay crowd -- especially the self-proclaimed educated, the intellectuals, the rational ones -- are always quick to defend themselves against comparisons with the black civil rights movement. It's not the same, they say. We're not like the racists. African Americans can't help the color of their skin. Homosexuals have a choice.
But with Arizona's SB 1062 passing both the state House and Senate, just a governor's signature away from becoming law, how can anyone deny the similarity between "No gay weddings" at the florist and "Coloreds not welcome" at the lunch counter? Supporters of this bill insist that all they want is religious freedom, the freedom for individuals in business to be able to express their so-called "sincerely held religious beliefs".
Stonehenge is less than an hour's drive from Alfie's parents' home in Marlborough, UK, so I've visited the site several times. It's everything that people say it is: ancient, beautiful, mysterious, fascinating. How the heck those ancients were able to arrange the stones the way they did, with the technology they had, is mind-boggling. Stonehenge is definitely one of the places in the world where Alfie agrees that the adjective awesome actually applies (for other examples, see: Yosemite Falls, Grand Canyon, London Eye).
Stonehenge is so well known around the world that I won't squander my readers' attention by spending time on its history or visitor info like how to get there, where to park and where the restrooms are. Suffice it to say, if you find yourself in the UK, visit Stonehenge. Make it happen.
I've been painting shirts ever since I was a little girl, and as fun as the process may be, unless you're a decent artist or talented crafter, it's difficult to paint a shirt that you can wear in public that looks cool and artsy -- or at least doesn't scream I'm Wearing This Because My Kid Painted It For Me. Iron-on transfers and silkscreen presses are probably the easiest ways to get close-to-commercial-quality results -- or so I thought.
I recently discovered the wonders of freezer paper stencils when researching ways to paint designs on a shirt for the Disney-themed party I was scheduled to host. I wanted to make cool, unique Mickey Mouse tshirts that guests could actually wear to a Disney themed park, without having to draw or paint the designs freehand. How could I have gone this far in life without realizing how useful freezer paper can be for tshirt painting? The results were fantastic, almost as good as a commercially silkscreened shirt. Even little kids can paint good looking shirts because the stencil does all the work!
Tofu is one of our favorite sources of protein, but there's really only one way we enjoy it -- fried. I tried baking it once, but it turned out so salty and unappetizing that I've stuck to good old fried tofu ever since. Last week I attended a blog event where one of the lunch choices was a tofu sandwich. Tofu in a sandwich? I was intrigued. I was even more surprised to discover that the tofu in the sandwich was cold and uncooked. I've come to associate raw, cubed tofu with salads (and they're not my favorite salad topping either), but this sandwich was so delicious that I knew I'd have to try and recreate it at home. I made a version of the sandwich today, and my test subject (Alfie and The Pea) loved it. This one's a keeper!
Without a doubt, my favorite Disney park treat is the Dole Pineapple Whip. It's sweet, but not too sweet, tart, but not too tart, creamy but not too rich. It's thirst quenching and delicious and just thinking about it makes me want some. Unfortunately, you can only get a Dole Pineapple Whip at a Disney park, so it's not like I can indulge in a Dole Pineapple Whip when the craving strikes.
Or can I?
For last week's Travel Tuesday post, I salivated over the best chocolate on earth. This week I'm traveling to the other side of the world to blog about a different kind of sweet treat: pineapples from the Del Monte Plantation in the Philippines. Buying a pineapple in the US always a bit of a hit-and-miss venture; sometimes you'll end up with a sweet one, other times you'll end up with a fruit so tart it makes your face pucker. I know many people who don't bother with fresh pineapples; they're too much trouble and too iffy -- but the pineapples we tasted on the Dole plantation were so good, I would have ripped the sharp rind off the fruit to get to that sweet, sweet flesh.
The Del Monte Plantation is located in the southern region of the Philippines, in the Bukidnon province. The nearest big city is Cagayan de Oro (when I say "big", it's all relative: CDO's population is about 600,000). We spent a few days in Cagayan de Oro in 2012 for a cousin's wedding, so my brother-in-law arranged a tour of the plantation with a cousin of his who works there.
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I grew up thinking I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up. After all, my dad was a doctor, and I was a good student like he was, so of course I wanted to follow in his footsteps! I was in my senior year of high school before I realized I actually didn't want to be a doctor. In my junior and senior year of high school, I realized the subject I loved the most was math. I loved how all those quadratic equations and trigonometric expressions lined up so neatly, and I was good at getting them to line up! I decided to pursue an Industrial Engineering degree, and before my first year was over, I knew I had made the right decision. Engineering engaged and challenged me, and I loved knowing that I could be helping make the world a better place by solving problems and applying the equations and principles I was learning.
Throughout my decision making process and throughout my college years, my gender was never a factor. Maybe it's because I went to an all-girls' high school. Maybe it's because I was a good student. Maybe it's because the females in my family have always been somewhat dominant. Maybe it's because the Philippines is a matriarchal society. Maybe it's all of those reasons. Whatever the reason, it never occurred to me that I couldn't be an engineer, or that I wouldn't do as well as the guys. The females at the college of engineering were definitely in the minority, but we were always the best students. So when I came to the US, the gender gap in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers was not so surprising -- but the attitude towards girls pursuing STEM careers was.
Last year, I scored big points with 3Po and Jammy by making awesome homemade Valentine's Day cards for their classmates. They received lots of compliments on their Rocky Road Valentines and Yoda Valentines, and I quietly smugly added another notch to my Awesome Mom Cap. I even took the time to take pretty photos and post instructions and downloadable printables (adding another notch to my Awesome Blogger Cap).
No blog would be complete without a Valentine's Day post this week. No Valentine's Day post would be complete without mentioning the food of love: chocolate. And no post about chocolate would be complete without mentioning the best chocolate in the world: Belgian chocolate.