What I Learned This Week: #17

Sunday, September 3 – Saturday, September 9


This Week in the Permafrost: I’ve worked a lot of jobs and have a lot of “work refrigerator” stories. I like to think of work fridges as “best intention units” filled with food items (and a lot of expired food items) put there by people are going to eat better. The door full of expired salad dressings kind of proves my point. I hope I’m getting karma credit for all the expired yogurt, moldy sandwiches, and “Kind of looks like an apple” that I’ve thrown away over the years, no doubt saving countless co-workers from digestive distress.

My current employer definitely rates at the top for freezer atrocity. The office has definitely displayed a lot of (non-)effort to get the freezer to the state it’s in. #TeamWork It looks like the opening scene from a PBS special on permafrost. We cleaned it out this week, but I needed a picture for the company archives.

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No really, I was going to eat those green beans. I put them in the door so I could see ’em.

This Week in Slurry: When my Mom made chili, the chili of my youth, she browned ground beef and onions, maybe a green pepper, and some garlic. She would drain this and then add a packet of chili seasoning mix and tomatoes and a can of beans. We usually ate it over spaghetti noodles, a great budget stretcher. Delicious.

I make a very similar chili except, notably, I don’t use chili mix, which I think adds more salt than chili flavor. I use two chili flavors. First, I use a little Penzey’s chili powder, which is made of ground chilies. Second, I use a mixture of dried chili peppers which I re-hydrate, whiz up in the blender, and strain. The resulting slurry of chili peppers adds a richness and chili flavor no mix or dried, ground powder can match. Also, I love the word slurry.


This Week in what’s new in the Neighborhood: The park outside my window opened today. The kick ball league has a new home. This view is from my reading chair. And that ends an era of topless reading in my apartment!

kick ball outside my window
Hello neighbors!


This Week in what’s coming on board in the Neighborhood: Neon’s Unplugged was a bar that served as the backyard of the neighborhood. It wasn’t a “nice” bar, but it got the job done. The outdoor area, except on Friday and Saturday nights when folks from outside the neighborhood took over, was pleasant. You could always find a friend, some cheap food, good happy hour prices, and, on weekend afternoons in the summer, a local band. Neon’s closed at the end of last year, and while the new owners are working on the new establishment (to be called Rosedale) there’s a hole in the neighborhood social scene. I think the graffiti on the port-a-let in the outside space says it all.


Yes, neighborhood philosopher, This Place Did Use to Be Tight!!!


This Week in Salsa: I had to get to Salsa Night on Fountain Square before it ended for the season. Held on Thursday nights in the summer, salsa bands fill the air and stir up the crowd into joyous evenings of dancing. They have sessions each night where teachers come up on stage and teach the crowd. They teach lines of people the steps, and then have them turn and dance with the person standing next to them. I swear, the couples that form each week to dance give me such great hope for humanity. Old and young. White and Black. Immigrants and natives. Amazing.

I went to see a friend of mine who is originally from Panama. He was sitting with a group of people from various countries around the America’s. They were dancing and eating pollo and rice that the women brought to the Square in large pots. My friend says that Salsa on the Square is much like evenings on the Plazas of the countries where many of these folks (or their parents) came from. Immigrants really do make our country a richer place.

salsa dancing
We’re all in this together!


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