A Travellerspoint blog

Another post about food and promises of updates...

In which I show off my cooking and hint at some events to be detailed in the future.

sunny 71 °F

For those food lovers among my readers, or those who wonder what it is that vegans can eat, I will describe my dinner today, as I am very proud of it.

I knew I had to do pasta to use up the tomato sauce that had been opened a while ago, so I put it in a pot to heat it up. Then I looked at the produce I got at the farmers' market today (leeks, scallions, collard greens, carrots) and decided to use the carrot tops (the green stuff). So I put that in the tomato sauce.

Then for the pasta I found the spinach linguini and broke it all in half (because I hate long pasta). I diced some scallions and cooked them in oil, adding some dried parsley at the last minute. Then I filled the pot with water and added the pasta, along with half of a vegan bouillon cube.

To finish it off, I cut up some vegan sausage and put it in the tomato sauce (with now well-cooked carrot greens) to heat up. I added some spinach to the pasta while I waited for the water to boil out. I melted some vegan butter on the dish I was going to use and then stuck it back in the refrigerator, so it was ready when the pasta was done. The sauce went in a separate bowl because it was more like a stew.

For dessert I had some raspberry sorbet with wild blueberries I picked over the weekend...which is a good segway into that upcoming post about what I did over the weekend (hint: it involves wild blueberry-picking). There's also that post about linguistics research I need to do, and the one about all the shops and museums I've been to.

So, stay tuned...

Posted by poetisa16 15:38 Archived in USA Tagged food nature about vegan_eating Comments (0)

Running amok in the libraries of the North

In which I explain what it is that I actually do at my internship with the Maine Historical Society (and my volunteer work at the Portland Public Library)

overcast 71 °F

I know it's been a while since I last wrote, and I'm very sorry, yes, but the weather has magically improved and I'm here to tell you about what I do at the Maine Historical Society, which is technically the reason I'm here in the first place.

The Maine Historical Society is kind of downtown, a block away from the public library and two blocks down from Monument Square (which is where that Wednesday farmers' market is). It consists of the Museum (on the location where my great-great-grandfather Cyrus Lowell owned a shoe store {here's some info on his son}), the Wadsworth-Longfellow House (the childhood home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow), and the Brown Research Library (sharing a building with the archives on what is apparently the location of the family's barn). There's also a nice little garden off to the side of the library where I sometimes eat lunch.

I work in the reading room right by the front desk, where my supervisor works (she's a reference librarian). She started me off touching up the old finding aids for some of the early collections, and it turns out I'm pretty good at it (I've also gotten pretty good a typing quickly on a Windows 7 laptop). For those of you who aren't familiar with archival systems or historical societies, a lot of our collections are just the papers and books of people long since dead donated to the library by their living descendants. Some of these people (like Joshua Chamberlain and the Wadsworth/Longfellow family) are quite famous, others (like Zebulon King Harmon and F.O.J. Smith) only for their time, and some (like Llewellyn Barton and his family) barely at all.

And yes, people did name their children Zebulon, and other names that were much, much worse. In my own house we have the portrait of a great-grandmother or other named Aphaia; we also have the lovely family story about the poor Romulus and Remus Shapleigh boys whose parents were in competition with the Clay family across the street (a mile away, of course, this is farming country in Kentucky) naming their own poor boys Cassius and Brutus. And yes, exactly like Cassius Clay, but I digress.

So these collections are generally made up of letters and deeds and things that can be put into folders that can be put into boxes that can be put onto a shelf. (Bigger items, like books and maps and things, are special.) And each collection needs an inventory to explain what is in each folder in each box (what's on each shelf is a call number thing). This inventory-thing, if you add some other information, turns into a finding aid. That's what I've been working on, starting with Coll. 1. Or maybe it was Coll. 2. Anyway, most of these haven't been updated since 1970, back when everything was still being done on typewriters. Usually to update the finding aid, I first copy the brief summary of contents in the collection's entry in the online catalog. Then I add some biographical information about the people the collection is about; sometimes the finding aid contains said information among its typewritten goodies; other times I have to look it up myself, mostly using Ancestry.com. After that I check the inventory, which is usually just a brief go-over of the folders, and then I'm done.

Of course, being me, I must format the contents and dates of each folder and make sure that the relationships all make sense, especially when everything ties back to the biographical information. For instance, why would Joshua Chamberlain's wife write a letter to her cousin addressing him as her dear father? It's because her parents sent her to live with him and his wife when she was two, and they raised her. Or why is Anne E. Gould's last will and testament in the Barton family file when she was never a Barton? It's because (after some heavy Ancestry.com sleuthing) her sister Elizabeth Newman married that Llewellyn Barton I mentioned earlier. If I'm really desperate, I go to the family genealogy books and sort through pages and pages of names and dates until I find who I'm looking for.

Currently I am (and have been for three days) working on a giant letter collection of stuff sent to or from semi-famous people from Maine, mostly from the 19th century. This is, of course, an item-level inventory and wow is it a mess. Not only are things out of order, but the order is often silly. "Don't look for me here!" a letter will say, "I was written to C.S. Daveis, so that's where you should look!" Go to C.S. Daveis, no record of said letter in sight. "I know I was written after that letter, but I want to be listed first," they say. "Really, my signature does read Reifhohvshglzsg!" Actually, it was John C. Breckinridge. (After all, how many Presidents of the Senate have there been? Also, shoutout to Wikipedia's handy inclusion of the signatures of famous people on their entry info - it's nice to know which famous person wrote the letter you're holding.)

The best part, aside from making order out of chaos, is getting to hold truly old and historical items in your bare hands. (Yes, recently-washed bare hands are better than gloved because they allow for much better fine motor control.) Like a 300-year-old letter to some English nobles. Or an original land deed from the Saco Indians (?) to Bridget Phillips. Or a manuscript copy of a petition to King George I.

I could go on, but my wrists are starting to complain.

As for the public library, I shall elaborate another day, but so far my volunteer work consists of sitting at the desk of the bookstore and occasionally selling a book or two to a patron. Much less fun than the rest of the time I spend there...

Posted by poetisa16 13:26 Archived in USA Tagged landmarks history family library genealogy names archive ancestry Comments (0)

More dishes I've recently eaten

Because the food I'm eating is awesome

semi-overcast 93 °F

So lately I decided I wanted to get rid of a lot of the greens that were sitting around in our fridge, some of which I don;t particularly care for raw - carrots, celery, spinach, etc. So I decided to make soup. First I fried up some diced onions and garlic and cubed carrots and celery. I then added some spinach, celery greens, and other green stuff that was hanging around. After a few minutes I added water, and then when it came to a boil I put in some vegetarian broth cubes and some orzo. One the pasta cooked, I had the soup, and it was delicious!

But it's too hot to have soup right now, so I'm relying on other staples. I get bread around the corner every few days and have it with peanut butter, hummus, vegan cream cheese, EarthBalance, whatever. I also eat a lot of produce - peaches, green beans, sugar snap peas, and salad mixes, mostly from the farmers' market on Wednesdays. I also have cucumbers and spinach, but I seem to have bought a bit too much of them...

All the greens can go in the salad along with the vegetables, which I've finally started to eat with salad dressing only because my aunt gave me a really great brand. Sometimes I have my veggie burgers with the salad too; I recommend it especially for the Wildwood burgers.

Finally, there's the grilled cheese. When I visited my boyfriend in LA last year, I discovered that almond cheese is absolutely the best at melting. Ever since then I've been trying to find the particular brand I got back then, and I did last week! Even though it's way too hot today, I made grilled cheese, and I've finally figured out how the heat works on these electric burners, so I did not burn the toast this time.

Posted by poetisa16 09:17 Archived in USA Tagged food shopping around_town Comments (0)

Deep Apologies... & etc. ...

In which I explain what I've been doing for the past three weeks.

sunny 81 °F

Hello all,

I'm very sorry I haven't been writing anything for...three weeks? It may have seemed like I'd dropped off the planet, but never fear, I'm back!

I've been a bit lazy these last few weeks in terms of my free time. Firstly, I had family to attend to: my cousin came to visit the first weekend and my aunt kept taking me to do things (like visit Peaks Island), so my free time was a bit limited. Now that we've gotten sightseeing out of the way, I have chores to do, like washing dishes, buying groceries, cleaning the litter box, managing my library books, and mailing packages to my boyfriend (who, despite being only an hour away, I've only been able to see for four hours total). But when I did have real free time, I spent it...on the internet. Or watching movies. Or reading some books. Yeah.

And to be honest, unlike last year there is neither much scenery nor much learning to document (so far). My work is kind of interesting in a nerdy sort of way (and I will do a post on that soon, as well as the library, where I now volunteer). Did I also mention how obscenely hot it's been? We don't have air conditioning because, well, Maine, so lounging around is the primary goal when I'm at home. As well as making non-hot food and non-hot tea and feeding the cat periodically.

But now I'm back, and perhaps you're wondering why. There are two main reason besides pure guilt: Naia P. updating her own travel blog about Japan from months and months ago; and me getting my IRB application approved! That's right - approved! Now I have a month to do some serious research...by which I mean tracking down strangers to speak into my new audio recorder.

Well, this is going to be interesting.

Alison R.

Posted by poetisa16 14:30 Archived in USA Tagged work family research Comments (0)

Dishes I've recently eaten

At the request of a friend :-)

overcast 58 °F

For the past two days I've expanded my breakfast to granola with peanuts and dried cherries added, mixed with plain coconut yogurt, along with vegetarian sausage, sliced peaches, and iced tea.

For lunch yesterday I had my salad and vegetarian ham/turkey sandwich, then for dinner we made red quinoa and ate it hot from the pan with raw diced cucumbers and carrots, and some iced tea.

Today we had friends over for lunch, so we picnicked with hummus, cucumber, and salad sandwiches with iced tea. For dinner today we made spinach pasta, which I added to my tomato with spinach and vegetarian sausage. I ate all of this with iced tea. Obviously.

Posted by poetisa16 17:53 Archived in USA Tagged food Comments (0)

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