beautiful.

“Look again at that dot. That’s here, that’s home, that’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

Carl Sagan from his book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Via Quote Vadis

jiffy pop– the most fun popcorn.

I know this is a food blog. Well, it used to be before I started graduate school, and then the recipes slowly started to be replaced by lust-worthy fashions because I had less time to cook.

Back to that first statement– this is a food blog (or something like it), and a post about jiffy pop hardly seems necessary because it’s, well, jiffy pop.

Problem is, I kind of love jiffy pop so much that I want to write about it. A novelty in the ’90s, jiffy pop occasionally made its way into my childhood home, but low-fat, low-sodium popcorn was the staple. Jiffy pop was the indulgent popcorn– and the kind that was mildly dangerous and fun to make.

My boyfriend recently bought jiffy pop after joking about it, and we’ve made it twice now. I’ve claimed to be a master of the popping, but really I just shake it awkwardly, not quite sure when to remove it, fearing the potential of burnt popcorn. It’s sort of magical to watch the aluminum expand with each pop, and I’m tempted to squeal as it pops. Is that embarrassing?

Point is, it’s fun to revisit childhood, kitschy foods as adults. What are your favorites? Go get some jiffy pop; shake it on the stove; and watch the aluminum dome expand to look like a big planet of popcorn. It’s awesome.

lv, molly

PS- This is my favorite scene EVER that has to do with popcorn (actually, it’s the only one; who am I kidding). A house filled with popcorn because a laser popped it!

procrastination + cartographies of time.

Frequently, I stumble upon a concept that fascinates me, and I lose track of what I’m supposed to be doing. My train has currently been derailed. Instead of designing rubrics this afternoon, I spent far too much time reading about cartography, the study of making and designing maps. Cartographies of time are graphic representations of historical events.

In the beginning of the 17th century, chronologers compiled the dates of historical events that schoolchildren were expected to memorize and created visual representations that served as memory aids to improve retention. The image of the knight (image 2) depicts four significant monarchies, each monarchy’s name and description placed on a part of the body that the cartographer deemed representative of the respective monarchy’s strengths and weaknesses.

Image 1 is an historical map of Italy. This is my favorite because it’s intuitive, quite beautiful, and metaphoric. The streams at the top of the map represent nations conquered by the Roman empire, and these streams connect to the lake at the center, representative of the empire itself.

The clouds in image 3 signify the extent of Earth’s surface that was known to the West. As the series of maps progresses (I’ve only posted one), the clouds retreat; more light shines through; and the map of the world known to the West is revealed through the clouds.

In a college history class, my professor discussed image 4. It might be the most elegant map created; intuitive and aesthetically pleasing, it conveys myriad kinds of information central to a comprehensive understanding of Napoleon’s march while retaining a degree of simplicity. It depicts the attrition of the army and its trajectory as it crossed the Alps to Russia. The width of the line is indicative of the number of troops in the army, and you can see that this line thins significantly as the black line (representative of temperature) grows.

If you’re interested in learning more (because who isn’t! ok, maybe you!), check out Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline. It’s fascinating to consider how different cultures conceived of their own histories and how they tried to convey both time and history in a visual medium. lv, molly

Cartographies of Time by Rosenberg + Grafton: papress.com 007

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Cartographies of Time by Rosenberg + Grafton: papress.com 008

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Cartographies of Time by Rosenberg + Grafton: papress.com 001

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Images via Biblio Odyssey

have a lovely one!

I hope it’s a good weekend for you!

Today was the best teaching day I’ve had in a while, and I’m elated. Kids learned (which is, you know, the point). And they had fun. I couldn’t ask for more. We talked about outlines, drafts, the structure of a paragraph, and some bigger questions: how do people enact change? how were women treated throughout much of western history? how can we fight against the status quo if we disagree with it?

Any fun weekend plans for you? I’m making quiche with my man friend, watching Indiana Jones, going to a party tomorrow, and running. Maybe baking something and reading because that’s pretty standard for me on weekends.

And before I head off, here are a few a links for the weekend, a basic quiche recipe from Julia Child, and a good song that I heard on the radio on my drive home… lv, molly

* “Here Comes The Sun” in honor of George Harrison’s bday

* This silly winter hat

* Sohei Nishino’s magical photographic maps

* 6 ingredients for a good weekend

* Countess LuAnn on “Law and Order: SVU” {hilarious}

Basic Quiche

Note: Add ~3 oz. cheese and/or 2 C vegetables to the following

A pastry shell
3 eggs
1 1/2 C whipping cream or half cream/ half milk
1 tsp salt
Pinch of pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1 – 2 Tbl butter cut into pea sized dots (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs, cream, and seasonings. Add veg or cheese. If using a vegetable with a high water content (e.g. spinach), saute beforehand. Pour mixture into pastry shell, and distribute the butter pieces on top (this will create a nice brown top). Bake for 25-30 minutes or until quiche has puffed and browned.

cue birthday weekend!

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{Let’s hope for the elephants’ sake that that’s not really cake…}

I am unabashedly referring to this weekend as, you guessed it, “birthday weekend.” I love birthdays– others’, my own, whoever’s. The smell of candles blowing out. The cocktails. Friends. Sigh.

This weekend I’m celebrating by going out to dinner with friends and self-described “arm candy” (he is adorable), followed by adventures to surrounding dive bars. Elana and I are going to a women’s spa in the afternoon. I have a mysterious package from amazon. And Dan and Janna have apparently made me something hilarious. (Remember the Elliot Stabler apron from last year?)

I feel like a lucky lady.

… Also unashamedly, I tend to get nostalgic around my birthday and others’. Just ask Elana. On her birthday we had a wonderful heart-to-heart that still makes me smile to think about it; we mused about the struggles of the past year and expressed joy that she is in such a good place now. I feel similarly about my current situation. I’m happier in my new teaching placement; I have good friends; and I’m doing what I love.

I welcome my 26th year with gratitude and anticipation. lv, molly

Here are a couple of links for the weekend & a song I heard on my drive to work this morning and loved.

* These earrings

* Photos of Picasso light “painting”

* Gail Collins’ piece on Planned Parenthood (WORTH READING!!)

* These jeans with those shoes

* Roasted edamame (posting this makes me feel like a hipster)

* 8 great pilsners

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a milestone: 12, to be exact.

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A half-marathon is no longer a stretch!!!

This morning, I ran 12 miles, and I’m so freaking proud of myself. I don’t normally express pride, but being able to run that far makes me feel strong and capable, and it’s simply a wonderful feeling. Two years ago I would never have believed I could do this.

Granted, the last 2 miles, a middle aged man with a beer belly passed me. That put a little dent in my hubris, which is probably a good thing.

I hope you’re having a lovely weekend. I’m trying to rally the energy to go to soul night tonight and dance. We’ll see. :) lv, molly

This mix kept me pretty entertained. And it didn’t hurt that it was pretty out this morning.


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in defense of valentine’s day: a cynic’s manifesto.

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When I was accosted by myriad heart-shaped helium-infused objects at the supermarket last week, I realized that this year’s most commercial holiday was upon us.

The ubiquitous teddy bears, milk chocolate hearts, and hallmark cards are sickly sweet, and my cynical self sneers at the thought of having anything to do with this holiday, let alone being a proponent of it. But over the years, I’ve developed a surprising (and secretive) appreciation for Valentine’s Day; I realized it doesn’t and shouldn’t serve solely as a capitalist’s dream. More simply, it can be a holiday that celebrates and encourages random acts of kindness.

I support anything, even a cheesy holiday, that raises our awareness of how we treat others– of how we express appreciation for each other. And expressing true appreciation doesn’t mean doing anything silly and extravagant. It just means doing something thoughtful and personal: sending a sweet email to friends, cooking someone dinner, giving people homemade cards with simple words of kindness.

Nothing stressful, just sweet.

That’s what Valentine’s Day should be– a day when we’re extra good others and ourselves, when we celebrate love and like and everything in between.

How are you celebrating? Why not cease the opportunity to do little acts of kindness? lv, molly