Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Community Supported Agriculture and Me

In my previous post, I talked about the new direction of our book club and how we'll start doing an activity that correlates with some aspect of the book we're reading. This month, we're reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Skeptical at first, I was worried the book would be preachy and guilt-inducing, but I've been pleasantly surprised. It's thought provoking, educational, and inspiring at the same time. I still have a long way to go until I finish, but I'm impressed so far.

Our activity this month is to watch Food, Inc. Watching this movie has been both on my "to-do" list and my "to-avoid" list. And yes, I'm aware of the contradiction. While I'm interested in learning, it's also kind of scary. I've spent most of my life blissfully unaware of a lot of this information, and with knowledge comes responsibility, right? After watching Food, Inc, I'll no longer be able to avoid  the question of "I wonder where this came from?"

Another offshoot of reading this book is discussion around Community Supported Agriculture. After some research, I've decided that I'd really like to get an individual share from a local farm this spring. The farm is to-be-determined, but despite the fact that I haven't chosen the farm, met the farmer, or eaten the crops, I already feel good for being one step closer helping someone local. I now remember that our family had fresh produce delivered to the house from a local farm in Virginia when I was younger. Although I had forgotten that until recently, I think it shows how important it is to teach principles of all kinds to your kids.

In the spirit of local celebration and conservation, here's a picture of me with the Angel Oak of John's Island. I visited this past weekend to check it off my list and it's a truly beautiful sight.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Book Club: New Direction

Since moving to Charleston in 2007, I wanted to start a book club. I love to read, but I find myself picking up the same kinds of books by the same authors. Chic lit with pastel covers, murder mysteries by authors I recognized, and on the rare occasion, random books endorsed by friends. It seemed like such a risk to pick up a book and read it without knowing anything about it... you invest a lot of time in reading a 300 page book and I wanted to make sure it was time well-spent. A friend introduced me to Goodreads which is a great "virtual" book club, but I only know a couple of people actively on it.

Enter the Book Club (we've kicked around a couple of names with two frontrunners: Novel Vixens and Booze and Books. Votes for a final name are welcome in comments :) ). I finally found a group of people (all of whom happen to be girls, but we don't discriminate) that love to read like I do. We began at my house with Dave Sedaris's Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim and have read 6 or so books since then. I can honestly say that I wouldn't have chosen to read any of the others if not for the choices of this group of women.

At our first meeting this year, after almost three hours of discussion related to Push and random tangents alike, we decided that with every book we read, we'll also DO something related to the book. So, if we read a book about Charleston, we'll cook shrimp and grits or go to a local museum. Depending on the book, we'll have to get creative, but I'm looking forward to what books and activities lay ahead!

And for your enjoyment, a random photo of the snowman I built on Saturday thanks to the freak snowstorm in Charleston!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Film vs. Digital: Surprise or Certainty?

I have always loved taking pictures. I maintain that my children (still hypothetical) will be the most photographed of any kids around (unless you consider the Jolie/Pitt clan... which I'm not). Years ago, I would tote around multiple disposable cameras and pay an arm and a leg at a drugstore to get it developed in an hour. Then, I'd spend time flipping through and either delighting in the memories captured or discarding those pictures that were messed up in some way, shape, or form. I developed a love/hate relationship with the element of surprise these photos offered. When I was in high school, my parents gave me a nice camera with multiple lenses and general fanciness that I never fully learned how to operate. I used it frequently, attempting artsy photos and taking it anywhere appropriate, but it was too big for everyday use.

Enter the digital camera. How exciting! We can see pictures right after we've taken them! ...and scrutinize every hair out of place and pound added since college. Get a group of girls together and expect to spend a minute or two analyzing the pros and cons of a photo before inevitably deciding to pose again. Again, a love/hate relationship. I've gotten to the point where I enforce (at least with myself) a "no-looking at pictures until the next day" rule. It seems to simplify things and reduce self-scrutiny.

However, as my sister and I embarked on her son and my nephew's first long trip, I decided to bring along my nice film camera. As the snow accumulates around the house we grew up in, I've taken a roll of film of the house and of my nephew. I'm still taking pictures with my digital camera as well, but I'm so excited to see how the other pictures turn out. Now the question is, where do I go to get film developed?!