Friday, August 31, 2012

The Farmhouse Restaurant in Kansas City.



For over a year, people have been talking to me about The Farmhouse. Located in the River Market, it's similar to Westside Local and probably is overly compared. It's hard not to though when the ideas are fundamentally the same: good, locally sourced food and drinks in an urban space, staffed by hipsters. Both places also have nice abundant sources of natural light for food blogging.

However, people often have complained about the service at Farmhouse. Lucky for us, we didn't find that to be the case at all! Our waitress was super attentive, and when Anne's food was delayed, they sent her a perfect little salad while the rest of us dug into our main dishes.



I managed to photograph the first course and our drink order, but then I got excited about food and distracted. Food blogger fail. I did take a picture of the most important thing you should order when you go: the cheese tray! It was worth every penny of it's $12. The cheeses were all super delicious and perfect with our beer selections. Anne skipped the Boulevard Tank 7 for a gin & tonic made fresh and served in that sweet little bottle.



Sometimes when Erica and I go out to eat, we don't order the right item. Our salads were just okay, but they were a seasonal special with prawns and you probably won't have them. We did get a side of fries that we devoured quickly. The guys ate every single bite of their skirt steaks and fries. Anne's mussels were also delicious, and we finished off the meal with great desserts of peach caramel ice cream and pecan pie. I'm confused if mussels and prawns count as local cuisine, but that's okay. Everything else was great.

I've discovered that they have brunch and if you would like to go with me, let me know. ASAP.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bon Appetit in Paris.



This post must begin with a thank you to my mom. Not only does she make a million things possible around Kansas City, including regularly feeding me and taking care of my dog and car problems, she has a "whatever, whenever" perspective about travel. I love this about my mom.

Here's a great example from our European vacation. A month before we left for Paris, I went to the dentist. (I'm a frequent visitor at the dentist.) In the waiting room, I saw Bon Appetit's guide to Paris, and I was instantly enthralled. We didn't do a ton of reading before we went to Paris, but between Rick Steves and this article we were set.

There were many fancy restaurants described in the article but we focused in on two specific features: the best pastry shops in Paris and where to buy items for the kitchen. We used our ever-improving map skills to plan out these stops, and our first one was E.Dehillerin.

Open since 1820, this place was a total gem. I was pretty much speechless when we walked in and stood in awe of the huge wall of copper pots and long skinny aisles full of serious chef supplies. There were a few tourists like us, but also serious Parisians doing serious shopping. The store was staffed entirely by men - so very classic - and they spoke French. Lots of it.



After wandering the two levels full of kitchen items, I started to decide what I wanted to take home. I obviously picked up the Eiffel Tower cookie cutter and a hexagon one as well. Sure they are available in the States, but mine is from Paris now! I wanted a madeleines pan and the man that was helping me recommended that I get the one that was not nonstick. I bought two small pans that make six each but haven't tried them yet. (It's been too hot for the oven.)

As he was writing up my receipt, by hand, I looked up and saw huge silicone mats hanging on the mall. I have been eying the large size at Crate & Barrel for rolling out sugar cookies, and the price, even in Euros, was fantastic. I got the largest size, and it is perfect for rolling out cookies. Really we should have purchased a few more, including the small size for cookie sheets, especially since they say E.Dehillerin on one of the corners.



On our last day in Paris, we set out to find two of the best pastry shops according to Dorie Greenspan. While walking miles around the city, we had passed many great places. But the two we went to on Friday afternoon were nothing like the average little patisserie - they were boutiques.

Hugo & Victor was our first stop. It was super modern and had chocolates, pastries and ice cream. The Bon Appetit article sent us there for the grapefruit tartlet, always in season.We picked up one of those and a bag of these delicious chocolate disks that had nuts and cranberries pressed into the top. They were our fuel on our long trip home!



We walked to the next location, La Patisserie des Reve. Translated it means "The pastry shop of your dreams." Each fancy schmancy pastry is in a little dome that controls the exposure and the temperature. We picked up a gorgeous looking madeleine and what we came for, the Paris Brest. 



The Paris-Brest is the ring pastry filled with the beautiful creme. We saved it for later and the texture was amazing, but the flavor wasn't our favorite. We couldn't put our finger on it - I know now it was praline - but it was still beautiful in the little pyramid box.



God love my mother for helping me photograph each of these pastries before we ate them. We seriously carried them all back to the hotel so we could get photos before diving in. Presented beautifully, the delicate grapefruit tartlet was our favorite. The madeleine was a close second - I need to bake some very soon.



My friend Anne is headed to Paris very shortly, and nothing makes me want to go with her quite as much as these photos and places. It was the most "local" thing we did, and it definitely took us off the tourist path for real Paris gems.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

TEDxKC Pre-Party at the Hotel Phillips.




Last night was a late night as Tara, her dad, Abbey and I attended the sold-out TEDxKC at the Kauffman Center. More on that soon because it was awesome! Last Saturday night, we took advantage of a sweet pre-party at the Hotel Phillips in downtown Kansas City.

Seriously, this is the best $15 we have ever spent. The price of our TEDxKC tickets included two pre-parties (we missed the Boulevard one in the Crossroads), a t-shirt and admission to one of the hottest, smartest events in town at the Kaufman Center. It sold out within two hours, and I'm grateful Tara worked so hard to snag us some tickets!





The Hotel Phillips is a beautiful art deco hotel right in the heart of downtown. The pre-party was short, only from 6:30 to 8, but there was live music, free wine and beer, cheese, fruit and veggies. Abbey and I are always surprised when we go somewhere and don't know anyone (Kansas City native snobbery), but the three of us had a great time anyways! I pretty much love any excuse to go somewhere to drink Chardonnay while wearing a party dress.



After the event wrapped up, we were definitely still hungry. Luckily we were super close to one of my favorite dinner spots, The Bristol! We walked down and found a table in the bar. While we waited for reverse happy hour to start at 9 o'clock, we had another drink. It was definitely packed in there which makes me happy for Kansas City.



The bar emptied out as we sat and ate and ate. Drew checked us in using his phone, and we started with a free calamari appetizer. Then when the reverse happy hour started at 9 o'clock, we ordered a cheeseburger for Drew - he doesn't love fish - and tuna tartare and bruschetta for Abbey and me. It was the most creative bruschetta ever with the cheese packed on top of the tomatoes that we spread onto the toast. My favorite was totally the calamari and the biscuits - can't get enough of either of those things at the Bristol!

We walked back to the car through downtown Kansas City very full and happy. It's fun to be downtown when it feels like the city is alive, people coming and going. Every time I'm out with friends in the city, we talk about all the places we would still like to go and things we would like to do. There really is so very much to love about this town.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Airplane Story.



Today is my dad's birthday! Many of you know he is also a pilot, flying himself around the country for business and pleasure. We fly with him a couple of times a year, something I have been doing since I was a baby. There were a few years when I was young that he didn't fly, but it is definitely something he really loves.

Whenever it's time to buy my dad a present, we usually try to think of something having to do with airplanes! I found this awesome print in an etsy shop and thought we needed to order it for Dad. While his plane has blue on it, Husker red was so prominent that it jumped out at me. He loves Nebraska football - silly Daddy! I loved the designer for this shop. He totally suggested adding the tail number, something I wouldn't have even thought of doing. The designer also included that perfect little gift card at no cost. Excellent service.

The line about the bottom about "Nebraska's best aviation since the 1930s" is totally true. My father is the third Luhrs pilot in our family. My great-grandpa, Arthur, was the first in the 1930s. It was before the little town had a runway so he had a sod landing strip in a field on the farm. He set out one day with my young grandpa, my great-grandma and decided to find a flight instructor. He took his first lesson that same day. Because of the demands of farming, Arthur didn't have a ton of education behind him, but his wife Mabel (love these names) helped him study for the written exam. My grandma told me that he flew his civilian plan on a small air route during WWII delivering mail and flying army personnel. Grandma Mary said not tons of people were brave enough for "Luhrs Flying Service," but I'm super impressed.

Grandpa Arthur died on September 23, 1950, just after my grandparents' wedding and 35 years before my sister was born on that exact same day.

Pilot #2 was my grandpa Gordon. He flew to visit my grandma when they were courting.

I know, right? Swoon. Okay, moving on...

My grandpa Gordon was flying by the time he was 18. Grandma Mary says she remembers flying with her four sons, the three big boys (including my dad) strapped in the back and my uncle Tom in her lap.

Years later, that's how I would start flying too. A little baby with my mama while my daddy flew us around the country.

I don't have an interest to get in the plane and fly. Those controls beep way too much and that seems like an awful lot of responsibility. But I really hope Spencer continues his obsession with airplanes so there will be a fourth Luhrs pilot. If he gets through the first grade, I'd even consider flying with him.

Happy Birthday Daddy! I know you'd rather be flying...

P.S. I am grateful and honored my grandma Mary Travis Luhrs wrote these stories down for me. So thankful so then I could share them here and have them saved as well. Thanks Grandma!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Two Wheels of Fun.



Important blog reader note: UPDATE your google reader, your bookmarks and favorites tab. I'll be posting at www.victoriaINkansas.com. I have hopes that eventually the virginia one will redirect but oh dear, the domain BROKE again this year.

It was a loooong week, but by Friday night I had forgotten all about the exhausting days of work. I had a brand new bag on my shoulder and was reunited with my bike! Kate Spade had a sample sale at the beginning of last week, and after consulting with my mom, Rachel, my sister and Katherine, this bold color was picked. It's lovely, large and big enough for my camera insert.

The bike isn't new, it is just new to my grown-up life. My mom bought the bike for me when I was in high school, and it's a fantastic bike. It is a cruiser for around town, with 21 speeds and a very smooth ride, but for about the last fifteen years no one rode it! It hung neatly on the wall of my mom's garage gathering dust. Thankfully because I was almost six feet tall in high school, it still fits me perfectly.

I love to walk to some of the local stores when I'm running errands - the dry cleaner, the UPS store for RV Parties business, the post office and the library. I was motivated to get the bike up and going because it will be so perfect for running around town - especially once I add a basket to the front!



I took it to a local bike shop last weekend and told them it hadn't been ridden in 15 years. The guy who checked me in was super enthusiastic about my bike, "This is a nice bike! Your parents bought you a good bike! This is a bike shop bike! Giant makes a good bike!"

He added to my enthusiasm, and I was even more excited to get it back. I think it has a slow leak in the back tire, but they told me a $7 or $8 tube would fix it if the tire doesn't hold air. Erica took some pictures of me with my bike last Friday night, and I've taken it around the block a couple more times since then. I feel like a little kid riding around! I did buy myself a new helmet yesterday, and I'm excited to find a basket and a lock to make it an even better bike. It's the best thing on two wheels in my book.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Cafe Gratitude.



My sweet friend Anne H. took me to lunch last weekend for my birthday. The birthday celebrations continue, and I love any excuse to chat with a friend, try a new restaurant and have a yummy meal.

Cafe Gratitude is local, organic and vegan. Anne had been there several times before, and I agreed to meet her there because it was so close to church on Sunday afternoon. It was bustling, and we got a small table along the wall.

Fun fact: Cafe Gratitude is in the original location of my beloved noodle shop, Lulu's. It's a chain but pretty loosely. Most of the other locations are in California. And they do chains differently there.
 

Everything is named exactly how you would think it should be named in a local, organic, vegan restaurant. I ordered the "I am Bonita" with black beans, pepitas, brown rice, corn tortillas, salsa and avocado. It is exactly like a couple dishes I make at home - I should have gotten creative and branched out!

Anne's dish is pictured above, but after studying the menu for a while, I can't remember what it was called. It was so very pretty!



At the end of our meal, our waitress with a gentle heart, explained the question of the day. They ask a question each day, and she would love to hear our answers. Or we can write it on a chalkboard at the background o the restaurant or just tell it to each other. I think she really wanted to hear what we said, so then I felt like we disappointed her but not telling her!

Her question was the sweetest, "What do you have an abundance of in your life?"

Clearly good friends, excellent conversation and lots of fun places to eat.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

All Church Picnic.



Last Saturday night we went to our church picnic. I don't write very much about our church, but I really should because I love it. The friends in this picture I know from high school and college, but it's not surprising to hear people at our church talk about how they know each other from work, their neighborhood or rehab. Not joking. This is a church where people are welcome. And I totally prefer it that way.



This was a church picnic done so well. There was a whole carnival feel to the event with games for kids (and adults!) including gunny sack races, volleyball, and face painting. A ridiculous number of people of all ages got mustaches painted on their faces. Mustaches are all the rage right now.

The menu was barbeque, pulled pork and chicken drowning in tasty sauce. We stuffed ourselves and then munched on snacks at the table from the cute hot air balloon table centers - peanuts, popcorn and animal crackers.

I'm not responsible for any of this themed business, but as we know, I do love hot air balloons.



The highlight for all the kids and all the adults was the Ice Cream Man. We could choose anything we wanted from his truck! For free! It was like childhood all over again, and Jon, Erica and I weighed our options so carefully. We seriously stood there for a few minutes while we tried to decide.




I chose the Madagascar III penguin with bubblegum eyes, straight out of my childhood. Do you remember these things? You have to sort of hold the bubblegum in your cheek till you're all done with the popsicle. It was delicious!

And then it started to rain. People continued to play all the games, we tried to eat cotton candy without it dissolving in the rain, and we visited some more with people we knew. It was a good evening with a couple hundred of our church members enjoying each other, barbeque and the ice cream man.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Soccer Baby Shower.



Mom likes to have baby showers for the nice women she works with at her office. When she found out Julie was expecting a boy, we brainstormed party themes that would be a good fit. I had so much fun with Anne and Tara planning Nanette's vintage baseball shower last year that another sports theme seemed like fun. And Julie comes from a whole family of soccer players so it was a perfect fit. I was excited to match everything to one of my favorite (and underused) Paper Source colors, clover.



We didn't go too overboard with decorations, just a few classics that we love. Cupcake wrappers that I cut out on my new Silhouette (the obsession is growing!) and little party bags from an etsy shop. I ordered a few green sprinkles but decided to mix it up with the other three types of green I had on hand at home. I have a sprinkles problem.

I wanted to make a smaller size dipped pretzels, but there are only flavored small ones. So I used honey wheat pretzels and mixed peanut butter in with the chocolate for something a little different. Mom liked the plain white almond bark better, but she's not a big peanut butter fan. I pretty much loved them.



Mom found these daisies at Trader Joe's. For only four dollars, she filled four vases in the house with daisies that matched perfectly. I should have brought some black ribbon to match it up!



The assorted glasses made their return, and we made the same yummy punch with rum that we served at Abbey's shower. It was funny serving the woman on Saturday morning because I felt like a few of the guests were checking to see if the partners' wives had the ones with alcohol. Once they did, many more people had the spiked yummy punch.

I didn't attend the party. Instead, I watched Bunheads upstairs and had two cocktails. And then snuck down for a quiche when they were done. It was the p-e-r-f-e-c-t Saturday morning.



I know you want to see a close up of these cupcakes by my pal Allison. My mom said I could choose whatever kind I wanted, but to make sure they weren't too big because it makes them tough to eat. I lied to her and told her these ones were "small" because I wanted them so badly. Chocolate chip cookie dough with the best best frosting and perfect little cookies on top. Like the smallest softest cookies...I don't know how she does it. Mom wasn't mad once she saw them all wrapped up in my cute cupcake wrappers. And especially after she had one herself.

Everybody was pretty impressed, and Mom and I are getting to be pretty efficient at the planning in her house. It was a short and sweet little shower with only one little activity that my mom came up with. As Julie opened each gift, the gift giver had to tell a book they read to their own kids all the time or one they loved as a kid. My mom then gave her a list of all those gems! I loved it all.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Moving and Routines.



Last weekend, my buddy Dereck moved to Chicago.We've been friends since our roommates' (Erica and Jon) married each other. He packed up his loft and paid some movers to load it into this UHaul. I was really glad he didn't ask us to move it out from the fourth flour.

The whole moving thing sort of took me off guard. I like to think that after I moved home from Northern Virginia, everyone was done moving. My friends mostly work for companies that will keep in them in the KC area. I feel like I'm home and that means we should all be home. But Dereck moved with work, and it's possible that other people might have to move too.

I guess they might just move across town. I spend so much time in my friends' homes that it's hard to picture new places for weekly TV dates, dinner, book club and afternoons at the pool. But I guess new homes just mean more excuses for parties and housewarming gifts, two things I am extremely found of.

I've been back at work one month (crazy!), and I feel like I'm getting into a routine. I was in my office before metal detectors opened four out of five mornings last week! I am trying to get to bed earlier which means that computer time after 10 pm isn't a good idea. So blog posts suffered a bit last week, but I was far more rested and rational as a result of that extra shuteye. Etsy business was good last week, and Rachel and I are blessed to get to do creative work in our free time. 

Thanks for your blog love last week for the Hot Air Balloon Party and quitting Diet Coke. I'm pretty proud of both. I have a new party to share with you this week, Paris memories and a newish KC restaurant. Happy Monday friends!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee.



This post is about five weeks in the making. That's the last time I had a diet coke - five weeks ago today. It also feels a little weird to talk about it. When I still drank diet coke by the gallons, I found it HIGHLY annoying when friends would talk about how they quit. Usually they were smug about it, and I resented them. I really hope you don't feel that way about me. I'm not going to tell you it's bad. I miss it a bit (still) but this is what happened.

The journey to diet coke free probably started with my trip to the dentist in April (and the follow up ones in May, June and July). I don't have the best teeth, but my dentist was pretty sure all of my dental problems were made worse by the diet coke I sipped at my desk all day. So I tried to cut back. I tried to make myself wait until 11 am for the first sip, but it didn't really have the desired effect. I still easily had at least three cans a day and usually a few 32 ounce treats from QuikTrip or McDonalds each week.

Summer was even worse! I would sit at my desk in my home office and crack open another one several times a day. I come from a family of diet coke drinkers - we all love the stuff - and it is just what we drink together. I missed it terribly in Europe and was so glad to come home to diet coke. Coca Cola Light is not the same. Then Rachel visited, and we drank a lot more diet coke. It was getting out of control. And certainly not helping my teeth any more.

So one day, when I ran out at home, I decided I was done. Cold turkey.

Conveniently, about that same time, I also decided that iced coffee was delicious. In Europe, my pal Vicki wisely said, if you're going to try coffee you need to do it here. So I had two coffees while I was in Paris. That picture above is of my VERY FIRST coffee. Ah, Paris.

And then I started adding iced coffee into my summer routine. Some people are brave enough to go off the caffeine all together. NO WAY. I am not that crazy. Nor do I sleep enough for that to happen...

My journey with coffee is evolving. I make Pioneer Woman's iced coffee and keep it in a pretty dispenser in my fridge. There's a Keurig at school, and hot coffee is definitely growing on me. I'm trying very hard not to get hooked on anything fancy (and expensive), and I'm also avoiding fake sugars. A little bit of milk and a teaspoon of real sugar does the trick in both hot coffee and iced. Sparkling water, iced tea and a new Tervis Tumbler have all made the transition smooth as well.

Don't be fooled by people who tell you that you will lose five or ten pounds when you stop drinking fake sugar. Not true. But my overall caffeine intake is WAY down and my water intake is WAY up. I'm really hoping that in October, the dentist thinks my teeth look better. I also had headaches for the first two weeks, a true and annoying fact. (I think that means I used to drink a lot of diet coke!)

When I talk about coffee, I like to do it in a Lorelai Gilmore way. Coffee, coffee, coffee. That makes me feel like more of a real coffee drinker! Because I'm still pretty much posing and have to text my friend Lindsay (who used to work at Starbucks) to tell me what stuff is. Coffee, coffee, coffee.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Featured Party on Hostess with the Mostess (HWTM)



I didn't have anything to blog about earlier today. But I sure do now! Super super excited that the bridal shower we threw for Abbey in May was featured on Hostess with the Mostess blog today! Click over and see all the photos from the party. I've been hiding them from you since May.

(Super excited whenever our work gets featured. We love RV Parties and hope you do too!)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Little Freshie in Kansas City.



The students are back and the hallways are noisy again. To me, it's welcome commotion. The last two weeks of work and the first two back this summer without teachers and students were so super quiet!

However, the week of work before the students come is busy! We are in meetings both in the building and at the district level. I presented, facilitated and designed some stuff - pretty normal activity for me. On Tuesday, we had our district convocation in the morning. The entire district gets together, and the leadership rallies the troops for the work ahead. Everyone sits with their schools, wearing school colors and this year it ended with a rousing gospel number. I love my job.



Everyone goes out to lunch after convocation, but Allison and I went for snacks. We both always pack our lunches. Trying Little Freshie had been on my "to do" list ever since it opened. It's tucked away up on the hill near Westside Local and other restaurants I have yet to try at 17th and Summit.

The menu showcases fresh sodas made and served over ice or in a snow cone. There were many baked goods to try including a few different cookies from Dolce Baking Co. in Prairie Village.

I only wanted one thing: macarons.



They were perfect. Allison and I both swooned when we bit into our cookies. Between our great conversation, the short break from all the business of back-to-school and the cookie, we were sold on Little Freshie. The sodas were also good, but I could also justify a coffee and twelve macarons the next time I go just as easily.

Have you decided to come visit Kansas City yet?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mission Pub Crawl 2012 #mpc5.



It happened again! We had the fifth annual Mission Pub Crawl last Friday night, and by all accounts, it was a whopping success. We had over 45 people join us throughout the course of the night, 30 people had t-shirts and I'm pretty sure everyone in Mission was glad to see us. We're good for the local economy!



The night started with fantastic service, food and great weather on the back patio at RJ's Bob-be-Que. Seriously, huge props to them. They set up great long tables, did separate checks and seemed to love having us there. I really think is the only place in Mission to start the Pub Crawl, especially as the crowd keeps growing!

The t-shirt design was an ode to the rich pioneer history of Mission, KS. Wouldn't it be hilarious if we had to go in covered wagons on our pub crawl?



I have been on four of these legendary pub crawls and served as "director" for three of them. Only a few people have perfect attendance: Erica, Jon, Abbey and Dereck included. It was a bittersweet weekend for us because Dereck moved to Chicago yesterday. It was crazy sooner than we thought it would be too.There is probably no better send off than the Mission Pub Crawl.



Baby Everett was there for dinner, and he was only mildly impressed with the pub crawl spirit. He did eat almost half of a quesadilla though, so he was a big fan of RJ's.

Our first stop after RJ's was a new one, and we didn't know what to expect when we stopped at the Surf Lounge next to Mission Theatre. It was true love. It's super small with a surf shack window, surf board bars and plastic cups. We filled up the entire bar with our "scrub green" shirts, and the bartender loved it! He took a picture of us for his facebook page.

$2 beer in a cup I can keep? Yes, I'll be back. It should be said that this is not an expensive part of town. Corona bottles were $2 at dinner, the Keyhole had $2 Miller High Lifes (the champagne of beers) and their everyday special of Tang shots for $1. We found great deals everywhere we went in Mission!



The Mission Pub Crawl is a family event. Erica's sister joined the fun plus her two sister-in-laws and two brother-in-laws. My little sister was with us all night, plus Mom came at the end. Some of my friends from high school, many from college and friends from life in Kansas City 2.0 (post grad school) were there too.


With a group that size, it can be a challenge to talk to everyone on the Pub Crawl. Thankfully we move locations a lot, so I could visit with different people at each bar. Here was this year's line-up.
  • RJ's Bob-be-Que
  • Surf Lounge at the Mission Theatre
  • Keyhole Lounge
  • Sully's
  • Mission Bowl (no bowling was done this year, all the lanes were full!)
  • Clarette Club
We continued the debate about attending Lucky's, because it is a K-State bar, but we skipped it again. This was a pretty packed schedule as it was, and people straggled from bar to bar. Next year, I really need a whistle.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Google Fiber in KCK.



I'm about two weeks late to the party, but I'm on board for Google Fiber. The reality is that 95% of the people who read my blog can't impact what's happening with Google Fiber in Kansas City, KS. But it is still an interesting thing happening right now in Kansas City and especially in our school.



In case you aren't familiar with the program, Google Fiber is internet that is 100 times faster than what we experience now. The United States actually has very slow internet compared to other places in the world. (South Korea is the fastest.) So Google has this crazy plan to bring Fiber to KCK and KCMO. We won!

But there's some work to do on our end. The cities are divided into Fiberhoods and varying amounts of residents in each Fiberhood need to register so that the area can receive installation. Our school is in an area where we need a lot of people - as of Thursday night, 270 more people to register for Google Fiber. If you look at the list, a lot of schools in our area are very close to meeting the minimum. We have a ways to go!

We don't get Fiber at my school unless our Fiberhood is getting it - so we're at the mercy of the neighborhood and the community. It is really pretty simple but there are a few steps. You have to have a gmail account, and you have to make a deposit of $10 using a credit card. Sure, no big deal for you and me. But for a lot of our neighbors, that's totally nuts.

A nice/crazy woman offered to pay everyone's deposits so we could reach our goal, but it doesn't work that way. When you pay the $10, it is a deposit for your first month's service. You are going to die when you hear how much this cost. $25 a month for one year. And then you get it free for like six more years. This is just regular internet, there is a surcharge for Google Fiber. But we believe our district will spring for Google Fiber...if we can get our neighborhood wired.


Thursday morning, the fine folks opened the Fiberspace early for administrators and teacher leaders from KCK to come check out the implications of Fiber for our school. Lots of young, friendly people working there in a space that totally highlights KC, including my favorite NERDBOTS! I asked and the staff is mostly all local because Google knew they would care MORE about getting it done in our neighborhoods. I like the representatives assigned to our school, and I think we'll get lots done to try to meet the VERY big goal.

I understand it would be complicated to wire individual schools and libraries in our city without including the neighboring areas, but it is still a hard reality. In our district, our high school students have laptops but don't have a lot of internet access. Teachers will tell stories of students sitting in their cars in McDonald's parking lots to use the free wifi to turn in a homework assignment.

And this is just the Kansas side. I know that there are fiberhoods on Missouri that already have enough people preregistered, but they aren't east of Troost. The dividing line between rich and poor, black and white, in KCMO is still crystal clear on the Google Fiberhood map.

I'm excited. I have a sticker on my laptop, posters on my door and plans to help. But that's only my little area. I wish that all the schools could have it. All the libraries. It could be so good for our communities where access is limited or too expensive. 

P.S. If you didn't watch the video, you really need to. When I watched it at Fiber Space, first I got goosebumps and then I cried because I love Kansas City so much and the chance we have a better future so much. #letsdothisforKC
P.S.S. Happy birthday Grandma! Thanks for reading this and every single post.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Notre Dame.



Remember a long time ago when I was on summer break and Mom and I went to Paris? Yeah, me neither. It seems awfully long ago. But it's true, and when we were there we did the classic French tourist thing, we went to the top of Notre Dame. We were there when it opened on Wednesday morning, and after about a 50 minute wait, we made our start towards the top.



We don't look out of breath at all! There are a couple spots to rest along the way and take photos of Paris and the gargoyles. I know everyone loves the gargoyles, but I couldn't help myself from talking to them like they were someone's cute little baby. "Look at that little guy! He's so cute - just watching everybody. Ah!"



The views of Paris are breathtaking, but I think they are made even better by the charming gargoyles in front. So very Parisian, no?



At the very top of the cathedral, I made some friends. Unsurprisingly, my three new friends were all under the age of 10. They wanted to talk to me about everything, and we had lots to chat about because they were from Australia. Their family had just been to New York - where they ate BAGELS - and to England for the Queen's Jubilee. (Not exactly for the Queen's Jubilee, their mother pointed out.) They told me about how it was winter in Australia and how far they had to drive to visit their cousins. NINE HOURS!

I actually loved that they chatted with me. It made the climb straight down 432 stairs so much more enjoyable. As the kids almost followed me home, my mom said to their mother, "She's a teacher, can't you tell?"



We also made a very quick, self guided tour through the inside of the cathedral. I'm so very sorry to say that it is easy to get numb to the large European cathedrals after a while, but it is still definitely worth the wait. This place took them forever to get finished, so I can wait in line to see inside. I just loved the trip to the top more because it was more intimate. And there were gargolyes.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Saturday Mornings at Market with Mom.



Saturday mornings I like to be at the gym for a class with my favorite teacher Leah at 8 am. I give it my best 75% (it's the weekend, after all), and then I like to walk over to the Overland Park Farmer's Market. I can pick up a week's worth of fresh fruit and veggies for meals at home or packed lunches. It's been the weirdest summer because everything was really early - almost three weeks early - so things that we normally enjoy in August were wrapping up a couple weeks ago.



I have several favorite booths but they are mostly the non-produce stands. You know, when Shatto Milk brings all the cheeses and the sweet Amish family makes cinnamon rolls? Yes, those stands I can track and remember to visit again and again.

That's why I l-o-v-e going to the market with my mom. Barbara can always remember where she got the best peaches, the sweetest melon and that it is better to buy the burpless cucumber if you can find ones that are firm. Several Saturdays this summer, we met up at the market to shop together. We would walk up and down the aisles finding the best items and carrying heavy bags of produce.


The market is also located near one of my favorite storefront bakeries, Clock Tower, Penzey's spices and the Tasteful Olive. Last weekend I resisted the ham and cheese croissants at Clock Tower, but I stocked up on (more) vanilla, and Mom chose a new specialty olive oil.

We always see someone we know at the market, so besides visiting with each other we often run into a family friend and stop to catch up on the long aisle of produce stand. I've considered stopping at City Market after I go to church downtown, but the odds are smaller that I will know someone. And I've thought about joining a CSA, but then would I really get the satisfaction I get going to the market with friends and my mom? OP's market keeps winning out.

See you there Saturday. We can meet for a coffee or a croissant if you'd like.