Every month we share some of the things we’re currently obsessing over. Songs we can’t stop humming, a movie we’re still thinking about two weeks later, the best article we’ve read recently, a recipe to die for. The things that make us stop in our tracks and say “Yeah!”
|A Must-Download for Your iPod
Frank Mendelson is crazy about “Harlem River Blues,” the title song of an album written and performed by Justin Earle Townes. Frank loves how Townes “combines an American spiritual folk heritage with the grit and spirit of Brooklyn.” Listen to the urban metro train song, “Working for the MTA,” for a new take on the riding-the-rails genre. Frank says, “Love this album. Let's play it again.” And a bonus: Check out a recent J.E.T. performance on Late Show With David Letterman.
|Creative Cooking in the Coldest Months
One might think vegetarians have a hard time eating fresh produce in the winter months, but Allyson Murphy has been cooking up a storm with roasted winter vegetables. She just picks out whatever looks good at the market that week—sweet potatoes, blue potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips—and then peels and cubes everything. A generous dash of olive oil, some salt and pepper, and a baking sheet are all she needs to create a feast. She says fresh rosemary and roasted pine nuts make the dish perfect. Mix it up by serving polenta on the side, eggs on top, or mac and cheese along with it. For those who are intimidated to cook without a recipe, here’s two she likes from Ina Garten and MyRecipes.com.
|Henson Rarities Make Their Way to YouTube
Jim Henson—visionary, storyteller, Muppeteer, and all-around creative guy—has been inspiring Elena Nazzaro for most of her life. She lobbied unsuccessfully to have "Henson" as a middle name for each of her three children. So what about the big bearded man is inspiring Elena this month? It's being able to find a treasure trove of old archived films on YouTube. "I have so many books about him, and there are projects I've read about for years but only was able to see a screenshot or small mention in a book." Thanks to the Internet, she can now dive intoThe Cube, see his Academy Award–nominated short filmTimepiece, enjoy the explosive awesomeness of the Wilkins Coffee commercials, or laugh out loud at the wonderful pilot for Tales of the Tinkerdee, featuring Kermit as a minstrel. Enjoy!
|Documenting Your Heirlooms
Dany Petraska recently received some beautiful antique linens from her mother that had belonged to her mother. Her husband has been collecting local Vermont ephemera for years. She also recently came across a picture of her great uncle who died as a young man in World War II, but had to ask her dad who he was. So, Dany is chronicling her heirlooms, and this month is reminding us to “Take a picture and write down everything you know about these historical items and family heirlooms, especially those passed down through the family. You might know their history, but the next generation may not.” If you can’t keep the photo and history with the item, then store them in a safe place with the rest of your important documents. Dany suggests Family-Lore.com and Our Family Heirlooms as helpful sites for keeping track of prized possessions.
|Sharing Love With Older Generations
This month Nichole Chobin has found inspiration in—and appreciation for—the oldest members of our society after recently losing a 95-year-old family member who was “an amazing, vibrant women who still possessed all of her faculties.” She says, “It was just her time and her body wouldn't cooperate any longer. She had never been sick in her life until just now.” Nichole urges everyone to remember the older members in your family because they possess the greatest stories and knowledge to be shared. Becoming a guest visitor at a nursing or assisted living center to teach them new things or just visit with people who may not have family left is one of the best things you can do. Check your local area or visit sites like VolunteerMatch.org or VolunteeringInAmerica.gov for programs involving the elderly and see how you can get involved.
|Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs
The newest member of the PRI team, Kevin Williams, is crazy about Word Lens by Quest Visual Inc., an iPhone app that translates text from one language to another—on the fly. Right now the app only works for Spanish but it looks to add new languages in the future. Kevin says, “It's not perfect and works best on printed type rather than handwriting, but it's still pretty cool and I'm less fearful of being stranded in Mexico or Spain... it could happen!” Muy bueno!