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Weekend Hodgepodge

As it seemed for much of the nation, the 10th anniversary of 9/11 turned this weekend into a kind of dichotomy between the positive notion of moving forward and the somber act of remembering. Leading up to the anniversary, my husband and I tossed around several ideas of how we should spend the weekend. He suggested a trip to NYC, which I did not go for (I feared it would turn into an ugly rally of intolerance, which I don’t think it did, but I wanted to stay out of that area). I suggested a commemorative play reading at the nearby college. We even toyed with the notion of going to church (a rarity for us) to hear one of my colleagues preach. In the end, we opted for a weekend directed more at moving forward than memorial activity. This is not to say we didn’t focus on and discuss the national tragedy this weekend, but we made a point of enjoying the country we live in. We watched this great video of Paul Simon performing “Sound of Silence” at the NYC memorial and discussed, like many others, our memories of that day 10 years ago. I recalled my particularly stern 10th grade English teacher expressing frustration when I was called out of class to sit in the guidance office until we were sure that my sister, who worked near the WTC, was alright. When the call came in that she had escaped injury, I remember hearing, “She didn’t stop running until she hit Chinatown.” We also discussed the split in our generation between those who were old enough to comprehend 9/11 and those who only understood the bogeyman aspect of Osama bin Laden.

Coincidentally, we were afforded the opportunity to celebrate a favorite American pastime this weekend—a baseball game at the local AAA stadium. Due to the weather, a playoff game had been postponed, so my in-laws were unable to use their tickets and passed them over to us. It turned out to be a fantastic game, with the Iron Pigs winning in an extra inning.

Iron Pigs Game

It was an edge-of-the-seat game, even though I am not generally a baseball fanatic. The crowd was full of energy and the game was followed by a pretty spectacular fireworks display.

Saturday was spent reliving my vegan days. I spent several years going back and forth between the vegan and vegetarian lifestyles, mainly fueled by a strong opposition to factory farms and animal testing. Now, I have settled on a primarily local omnivorous diet where I do not purchase industrially farmed food (basically, if I can’t go see the farm, I don’t buy the food) or products tested on animals. However, I support the vegetarian community, enjoy many vegetarian meals, and honor each persons choice to eat as desired.

So, I was thrilled to attend the first annual Vegfest in South Bethlehem. Organized by the Downtown Bethlehem Association and Jaime K of Save the Kales!, the festival celebrated delicious vegetarian food, sustainable products and innovations, healthy education, great music and more.

Vegfest Banner

"Lettuce Rejoice" was just one of the catchy slogans on banners, t-shirts and signs at the festival. I even got a purple eggplant stress ball.

It truly was a great gathering of happy people, vegetarian, vegan and omnivorous, enjoying the first sunny day in about 2 weeks in a part of town that often gets overlooked when it comes to the festing Bethlehem is known for. I was reminded of the market in Portland, OR, with such diversity and positive spirit.

Praying Mantis

This praying mantis must have sensed that Vegfest was safe for all living things!

Continuing the theme for the day, my in-laws joined us for a very-belated Christmas gift of dinner at our home. My mother-in-law recently began moving toward a vegan diet after a visit to the Farm Sanctuary, and my sister-in-law is vegetarian, so I prepared a vegan meal. There will be a post this week dedicated to Vegfest and the recipes for the meal I prepared.

Vegan Meal

An all-local vegan meal, with no "fake meat": salad, roasted tomatoes with garlic & herbs, tri-color potatoes & beets, polenta & beet green stuffed zucchini, and pear crisp.

Finally, Sunday was spent catching up on some freelance design work and attempting to save our garden from tomato blight. We spent over an hour pulling yellowed or spotted leaves off the tomato plants and lifting low stalks off the ground. The plum tomato plant only has about half of its leaves left, so I hope it will survive! Once the rain finally stops, I’ll be spraying the leaves with raw milk to try and hold off the fungus.

The garden, after pruning blighted leaves.

The garden, after pruning blighted leaves. See how sparse the first tomato plant is now?

Why helloooo, there!

Welcome! Thanks for checking me out. This seems like an awkward first meeting where I am not sure whether to lay it all out on the table or let you discover little tidbits about me as time goes on.

Me, swinging

Look! I am so happy you are reading this, I am swinging!

My natural skepticism is poking out a bit because I am wondering why/how you ended up here … Do you know me? Did you feel obligated to read this? Are you from the Lehigh Valley, looking to move/visit here? Are you also trying to fall in love with the place you find yourself in right now?

Whatever your reason for landing here, I hope you’ll enjoy what you find. This blog is all about what I am finding to love in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Take a look at the “About” page for more on why I started writing this. I’ll be posting recipes (or sometimes just flavor inspirations—I am not much of an exact measurement gal) using ingredients from right here, commentaries on local places I dig, maybe some interviews with cool Lehigh Valley-ites, and whatever else may strike my fancy as something cool about where I am from and where I am now.

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