On My Mind: September 2022

Guest Author:  Susanne Skinner

September reminds me that the fall is coming, and by that, I mean autumn, not the end of the world. I try not to dwell on it but recent events feel like harbingers of doom.

The world is changing, and not for the betterment of humankind. It weighs heavily on my mind as we begin our September journey into autumn.

Say What Now?

On My Mind, Susanne Skinner, September 2022, redheadToday’s news suffers from political overload, obscuring all the other news we need to know.

Quiet Quitting is not new—it’s a pre-existing behavior that goes by many names. Most common among them—work-life balance—has employees revisiting their nine-to-five commitment to the job.

It means an employee decides not to go above their employment deliverables but this is morphing into being present but not engaged, delivering the bare minimum while collecting a salary.

We reap what we sow. The forty-hour week is an old myth and people are drawing a line in the work sand, saying no to burnout, stress, missed vacations and toxic workplaces.

If you want employee engagement, pay people what they are worth, offer good benefits, create flexible work hours that accommodate real life, and stop whining about it. If you build it, they will come—and stay.

Poetry of the Times

Ada Limon is the 24th poet laureate of the United States.  The Library of Congress has had a poet consultant since 1937. Congress established the role of Laureate Consultant in Poetry in 1985, appointed annually by the librarian of the United States Congress. The poet laurate serves from October to May, though some serve multiple terms.

Limon’s poem “Dead Stars” is a call to action in these troubling times

Look, we are not unspectacular things.
We’ve come this far, survived this much. What
would happen if we decided to survive more? To love harder?
What if we stood up with our synapses and flesh and said, No.
No, to the rising tides.
Stood for the many mute mouths of the sea, of the land?
What would happen if we used our bodies to bargain
for the safety of others, for earth,
if we declared a clean night, if we stopped being terrified,
if we launched our demands into the sky, made ourselves so big
people could point to us with the arrows they make in their minds,
rolling their trash bins out, after all of this is over?

It’s something to think about.

Velveeta Nail Polish

This is what happens when you have too much time on your hands.  I can’t help myself—it’s just plain cheesy. There, I said it.

Pantone Color of the Year

PMS Color of the Year, September 2022, Very PeriThe 2022 color of the year is Very Peri, a shade of periwinkle with blue and red undertones. Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute says the creation of this color reflects the changes taking place in our global culture. “As society continues to recognize color as a critical form of communication, and a way to express and affect ideas and emotions and engage and connect, the complexity of this new red violet infused blue hue highlights the expansive possibilities that lay before us”.

May it be so.

In the Kitchen with Suze

The Pierogi Project

Our local farmer’s market boasts vendors selling regional foods, including homemade pierogis, and we are loyal customers. But she is a seasonal vendor—and six months with no pierogis is too much to ask.

Leftovers inspire me, usually from a dish I’ve tasted and want to recreate. This is the genesis of the pierogi project. I found them to be time-consuming but easy and oh so good!

Sixties Kitchen, Food and Cooking, The Pierogi Project, In the Kitchen with SuzeI used this recipe from King Arthur Flour. The dough is not fussy and easy to roll. The addition of sour cream ups the flavor. I prefer a mix of cheeses for the filling, adding some Jarlsberg and Colby jack that were hanging out in the fridge. I made a pork version as well, using leftover Cuban pork and it was delicious!

When it comes to making these little dumplings I use this tool. It is worth the investment because I also make Chinese dumplings, empanadas and calzones—and now pierogis.  You can make them by hand, but it takes longer and looks more rustic.

I’m always searching for unique desserts and Avalanche Bark is a super easy dessert/candy/addiction from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Increasing the Rice Krispies and marshmallows by ½ cup made them more balanced and I use an equal  mix of white chocolate chips and white almond bark.

Read Watch Listen, On My Mind, Susanne Skinner

Read Watch Listen

READ

Reconnecting with a former manager introduced me to his author daughter Jennifer Steil and her book Exile Music. It is the rich and complex story of Orly and her family, living a music-filled life in 1930s Vienna;  fleeing to Bolivia when the Germans arrive. Steil weaves together the family’s old and new lives, reminding us that who we are and where we came from can never be taken from us.

WATCH

CNN’s series Patagonia, Life on the Edge of the World narrated by Chilean-born actor Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian) is an educational and visually stunning look at one of the last untouched areas on our planet. The final episode documents the yearlong filming challenges, including airlifting a port-a-potty to the top of a glacier. It’s a feast for your senses and Pedro’s voice doesn’t hurt either. This is the way.

LISTEN

Audubon Birdsong Project

This series of musical and audio recordings by more than 200 artists makes up “For the Birds: The Birdsong Project,” celebrating the music birds bring into our lives. The project benefits the National Audubon Society and may be the largest charity compilation ever produced—an homage to the uniqueness and symphony of bird songs. Sample the beauty in this video featuring Yo-Yo Ma

Autumn is a metaphor for new beginnings and my favorite time of year. May it lead us all in new and hopeful directions.

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About Aline Kaplan

Aline Kaplan is a published author, a blogger, and a tour guide in Boston. She formerly had a career as a high-tech marketing and communications director. Aline writes and edits The Next Phase Blog, a social commentary blog that appears multiple times a week at aknextphase.com. She has published over 1,000 posts on a variety of subjects, from Boston history to science fiction movies, astronomical events to art museums. Under the name Aline Boucher Kaplan, she has had two science fiction novels (Khyren and World Spirits) published by Baen Books. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies published in the United States, Ireland, and Australia. Aline’s articles have also appeared on the Atlas Obscura website. She has been an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America since 1988 and is a long-term member of the Spacecrafts science/fantasy writers’ group. As a tour guide, Aline leads architectural and historical walking tours of the city for Boston By Foot, ghost tours for Haunted Boston and historical bus tours of the city. She lectures on Boston history and has appeared in the Boston Globe, as well as on TV for Chronicle, an award-winning television program that broadcasts stories of New England. As a lecturer, Aline has spoken at Brandeis and Tufts universities for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She has also addressed as service organizations and local meetings. She is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston and lives in Hudson, MA.

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