I realize I have quite a hard time sitting still simply listening to lectures on end. My need for multi-stimulatory information, or to be productive either creating/thinking or using something other than my ears is a bit debilitating.
I’m at this conference in Toronto and just sat through hours of people presenting research on vaccines and gene therapy, while the afternoon was about Canadian industry funding more innovation.
After finishing a front side of my sweater and deciding that drinking more cheap coffee was not going to do it, I snuck out and found this little food court near Yonge-Dundas Square, where I will write out this “what I’m into” before yes, heading back into the conference hall.
Finding God in the waves by Mike McHargue
Found and finished this book on the train ride over here. Science Mike is refreshingly honest on his journey from an evangelical family to clandestine atheist to slowly rediscovering what faith is for him. He isn’t afraid of asking the questions all of us are too scared to voice – how do you know it’s God speaking to you and not you making it up? What if scientific thought could explain how you are interacting with God? How does faith intersect with science? I wouldn’t take what he says as gospel, but it is at least a good starting point for someone who is starting to explore what faith means in a world that only validates science as truth, and even for those who have doubts they have been secretly harbouring despite their desire to keep faith.
Plus fou que ça…tumeur!
In an effort to improve my French, I borrowed this memoir written by a Quebecois lady who shares with self-effacing humour her journey of dealing with a glioblastoma tumour. I’m going slow, trying to take in all the colloquial expressions, but it’s been a good exercise in language learning.
Unseen by Sara Hagerty
My small group leader recommended this one to me – it’s about pursuing God in the small, unseen moments of everyday. I read this one over the weekend I was sick and stayed at home, and it was healing to the soul.
Complications by Atul Gawande
So, definitely the highlight of the month. After reading “Being Mortal”, I named Atul Gawande one of my favorite authors and proceeded to borrow some of his other books. This one describes with refreshing candor the uncertainty that wracks the medical profession and in horrifying detail, the surgeries he performs as part of his learning curve, asking important questions about the necessity of practice, mistakes and learning in medicine.
My sister recently introduced me to the “Wait but Why” blog, where the writers combine philosophy, psychology and a lot of snarky humour (sorry about the occasional bad word!) into a commentary on the human experience. Thought it was very insightful – here are a few of my favorites:
God is for you – by Sarah Bessey
Hawking’s death and God’s existence – Jeff Jacoby
Roasted Veggie and Feta Filling
I discovered this month how versatile and tasty feta cheese is. In my last catering adventure, I grilled four trays of vegetables, and mixed it with feta for a simple sandwich filling. I then had a ton of feta left over, which I crumbled over all of my salads. Lovely.
The other thing I did with the feta was mix it with cooked spinach and use it as a filling in phyllo dough! Never knew how easy and tasty these little snack triangles could be, also healthy considering I didn’t even add any salt – it was all just the spinach, feta and onion. Yet it tasted amazing.
So, after the failure of buckwheat in my sourdough (my starter wouldn’t eat the thing), my friends said to me, “Why don’t you try buckwheat crepes???” What a revelation. All it took was buckwheat, milk, and some salt and voila, an incredibly versatile base in which I could put virtually anything (i.e. my favorite pastime of getting rid of random odds and ends in the fridge)
Ban Li Bing with red paste
I was in charge of “snacks” for our weekly lab meeting this past week. I also had red bean paste in the fridge from eons ago when I made tang yuan. So, in an effort to use it up before I left for Toronto, I found this youtube video that promised a delicious mooncake recipe stuffed with red bean. I was skeptical (could making mooncakes really be that easy??!), but I was so surprised how easy it was to make the layers of what wasn’t really mooncake, but more “ban li bing” (my other favorite dessert!!).
My lab mates raved about it. It looked beautiful. All it took was flour, olive oil and milk. What else can I say?
So, I made the ban li bing, but when I had rolled them into their nice little patty rounds, I realized that there were more lab members than I had “ban li bing”, which resulted in me making matcha tea cake cookies, which also turned out quite light and delicious.
What’s saving my life:
My knitted sweater
It has been my goal to knit a sweater for a long, long time. First of all, you need a sufficient amount of yarn. Then, you need a pattern that will go with all that yarn. And of course, you need to knit all the pieces right and make sure none of them get stolen (as did the sleeve of the last sweater I started, leaving me with a front, one sleeve, and not enough yarn to finish the sweater…trying to see how I can repurpose the knitted pieces into pot holders).
But I am happy to report that I have finally started a real sweater, which has been keeping my hands busy while I attempt to concentrate on the conference spokespeople. So far, the front side has been completed.
Song-writing with friends
After my last post and a weekend of staying-in, I was really feeling the symptoms of social withdrawal this week.
So, one of things that really brightened my week was having friends come over Friday night to song-write with me. It brought back memories of my teenage angsty years when I would sit at the piano and write my emotions into songs (so far haven’t been doing that, although now I’m inspired again).
Rachel is pregnant with Ross’s baby. Yes, it happened. Although you guys probably all know this already and I am a decade late into the excitement.
But, I love Jennifer Aniston and so this news just made me happy. Recently, I read an interview by her saying that seeing Friends make a comeback on Netflix is nostalgic for her, because the show is about real human connection – sitting in a coffeeshop to simply talk – instead of all the manufactured mediums of Facebook and Instagram people use to connect nowadays.
So, yes, I have been enjoying Friends’ episodes again, and I get to watch it on big-screen TV now that my roommate is away for vacation and I have the whole living room to myself. What a treat!
OK well, that is all for now (as I mosey back to the conference hall…)
If you do ever try the recipes or read the books, let me know and we’ll chat 🙂 (I’ll be in Princeton in a week!!)