Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Recycle your Christmas tree and lights

Want a greener option for your Christmas tree once its lifecycle in your home is over? Neither the City of Noblesville or the Parks Department have a Christmas Tree Recycling program, so residents should be aware that discarded Christmas trees placed at the curb will be picked up by trash trucks and go to the landfill.

However, there are plenty of places to recycle your tree in and around Noblesville. GreenCycle Landscape will be collecting Christmas trees beginning Monday, January 3 and continuing through February. It’s free, and residents can simply bring their tree to GreenCycle during business hours (Monday through Friday 9AM-4PM) and drop it off. GreenCycle will then chip the trees into mulch. Please be sure that trees are stripped of all lights, wire, ornaments, garland and tinsel.

GreenCycle is located at 2695 Cicero Road (State Road 19), halfway between 196th and 206th St. Visit www.greencycle.net or call 773.3350 for more information.

The Fishers Parks Department is also collecting Christmas trees for recycling. Trees can be brought to one of three parks: Cumberland Park, 10580 Cumberland Road, Roy G.Holland Park, One Park Drive, or Brooks School Park, 11780 Brooks School Road, beginning December 26 and continuing through January. Be sure trees are stripped of all lights, wire, ornaments, garland, and tinsel. Visit www.fishers.in.us/parks or call 595.3150 for more information.

If you have strands of broken Christmas light sets, don’t pitch them, because those can be recycled too. Residents can simply take them to the Hamilton County Hazardous Waste Center, where they will be taken to a facility that will grind them up and separate and recycle the compounds. The Center is located at 1717 Pleasant Street, just west of the 4-H Fairgrounds, from 8AM-5PM Tuesday –Friday and Saturday 8AM-1:30PM. Call 776.4005 with questions.
My random thoughts as we wrap up the year

I’ve got these random thoughts and questions in my brain, some of which seem like they would be obvious common sense things, but aren’t really. You’ll see what I mean. So, I thought I’d compile a few. Here goes:

*We buy quite a bit of non-dairy milk, but I’ve only ever seen it in half gallon cartons. Why can’t one buy soy, almond, or rice milk in gallon jugs?

*Why are the above milks only packaged in non-recyclable packages? That seems extra incongruous, since you buy them in the natural foods section of the store, yet can’t be recycled? I feel SO guilty throwing them away.

*Why are our trash bins twice as large as our recycling bins? No one thought to reverse it and make the trash bins smaller than the recycling bins? No one should be throwing away that much on a regular basis, and having a gigantic bin kind of makes it seem ok. I’ve never come close to filling my trash bin even halfway, but my recycling bin is always stuffed. Hello!

*After being repeatedly asked if I ‘tweet’ or ‘twitter,’ I finally stopped being a twitter snob and signed up for an account. Now what? I’m a little confused, but am assured by fellow twitter-ers that I’ll get the hang of it.

*Why do some people get so up-in-arms this time of year about the word ‘holidays,’ as though to merely use the word ‘holiday’ somehow detracts from Christmas? In reality, the word ‘holiday’ isn’t a euphemism for Christmas, but encompasses all the holidays that occur in December, which also includes Hanukkah, Solstice, and New Year’s Eve, right?

I’ll be back in 2011 with more random ponderings. Speaking of which, Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Just Delicate Needles

Just Delicate Needles

It's so delicate, the light.
And there's so little of it. The dark
is huge.
Just delicate needles, the light,
in an endless night.
And it has such a long way to go
through such desolate space.
So let's be gentle with it.
Cherish it.
So it will come again in the morning.
We hope.

--by Rolf Jacobsen
Translated by Robert Hedin

Winter officially begins today, which means that we’re celebrating Winter Solstice around this house. Winter Solstice is one of my favorite Earth and seasonal celebrations because of the very reason it exists—it’s so connected to the Earth, the seasons, and the sun.

The history of Winter Solstice celebrations is pretty interesting, dating back thousands of years before people understood the cycles of the Earth. Our far back ancestors feared that the Sun would not return and they would be left in darkness, so they held elaborate ceremonies to coax the Sun back. Solstice, which literally translates to ‘Sun stops moving,’ usually occurs on December 21, but sometimes occurs a day on either side.

This is the shortest day of the year, with only a little over nine hours of daylight for us here, and we celebrate the return of the light as the days gradually stretch out longer now.

If you want to welcome the return of the light too, here are a few ideas for ways to make Solstice special: welcome the rising sun, take a walk outside and enjoy the winter world, eat by candlelight and use as few artificial lights as possible, listen to Wyndham Hill music (I like the Celtic Christmas collection), gather food to donate to a food pantry, string bagels dipped in peanut butter and birdseed on a tree for the birds. We plan to have a bonfire in the backyard and drink hot chocolate, and tonight is even a full moon!

There are a few books on the Winter Solstice at the library that are excellent: The Shortest Day by Wendy Pfeffer, The Longest Night by Marion Dane Bauer (both kids books), and The Winter Solstice by John Matthews, which is an excellent history of worldwide Solstice and Christmas traditions. Happy Solstice and Merry Christmas!

Historic Homes of Noblesville--1619 Maple Ave.

Location: 1619 Maple Avenue

Owners: Mike and Audrey Shepard, sons Max and Liam and schnoodle Crosley, since 2007

Style & History: This colonial style house was built in 1925. A fascinating fact about this home, owned by William Dietrich, is that it was originally built on the corner of 17th and Clinton Streets and was moved in the early 1970’s to make room the what is now the middle school. State Senator Luke Kenley had it moved to its current location. The home was too wide for its new location and had to be placed sideways.

What are your favorite features? The layout of our house is functional, we like the wood in the entry way and our updated kitchen. We have a lot of space in our backyard and it looks great with Christmas lights!

What work have you done on your house? We recently remodeled our third floor attic into an office space.

What do you like about this area/neighborhood? We love being outside, and we love being able to walk! We can walk both of our boys to school and we can bike to Forest Park.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Dream Fulfilled

Longtime employee Mikki Perrine now owns and operates Ginger's Cafe

Mikki Perrine was one of the first employees of Ginger's Cafe.  Now she's making her mark as the restaurant's new owner. 

The Noblesville native took over Ginger's in September in order to ensure it remained locally owned.  Call it fate, call it serendipity, call it what you will; the events that lead to Mikki Perrine becoming the owner of Ginger’s Café have all added up to the fulfillment of a dream.
Her discovery of the restaurant dates back to two years ago, when the café had just opened. Perrine was next door at the hair salon getting her hair cut when she saw the sign and decided to check it out for lunch.

“I fell in love with the place,” she said.

So Perrine, a mother of two, decided to apply for a job.

“I just came in to help out, the hours were good with my kids,” Perrine said. She has enjoyed working as a waitress at the café ever since.

Earlier this year, Perrine heard rumors that Ginger's previous owners might close or sell the café and said she was heartbroken by the thought of the restaurant closing or losing local ownership. So, Perrine did what she had to do to ensure that wouldn't happen.

“I decided to give it a whirl and put my name in a hat.”

She recalls telling the owners that if they were serious about selling it, she might be serious about buying it. Three days later, while on a business trip to Dallas for her other job as a Homemade Gourmet representative, Perrine got the call.

“I got an offer I just couldn’t refuse,” she said with a smile. After talking it over with her husband, John, she became the new owner of the café she loves.

“I’ve not looked back,” she said. “It’s just been fabulous. This is something I always wanted to do, but never thought I could, financially and otherwise. They (the previous owners) had laid the groundwork for me, and I was able to come in here and do that part that I love to do: take care of the customer.”

Having very limited restaurant experience prior to working at Ginger’s didn’t deter Perrine. She had worked at Jim Dandy’s as a teenager, but that was the extent of it. However, Jackie Bolden, who has been the restaurant’s original and current manager, said Perrine's transition from waitress to owner was seamless.

"It's worked out really well--for our customers, for us as employess,"  Bolden said.  "I'm much more the bookkeeping side, she's the people person....Half the customers didn't know, so we just went around and told thm 'Well, you know, Mikki is the owner now.'"
It’s evident that Perrine loves people and loves what she does.

“I love to eat and I love to cook!” she said with a laugh.

From the mismatched dining table and chairs that span generations, to the Noblesville memorabilia, vintage license plates and quilts that adorn the walls, to the great customer service and food, the café feels warm and comforting.

“I just love the people that come in. I want people to step back in time a little bit, not have to worry about what’s going on their life. Just come in and have a nice meal, visit with friends, and make some new ones.”

Dedicated to Service
For as much fun as she has, Perrine is serious about providing a special dining experience. How far will Perrine go? She related her latest big cooking venture:
“I spent the night here the Sunday before Thanksgiving cooking turkeys. I know there are people that don’t have a whole lot of family here, or who would be traveling, or had family that maybe wouldn’t be here on Thanksgiving.”
Perrine wanted them to be able to experience a homecooked Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, so she served the Thanksgiving meals for the three days before Thanksgiving.
“We have a tiny kitchen, so I had to cook the turkeys at night.”
“But it’s ok,” she added, after revealing that she slept on the floor. “I also got some paperwork done and was lulled to sleep by Karen Carpenter.

Ginger’s Café Info
Open 7AM-2PM seven days a week
Breakfast is served all day
Daily Lunch Specials
Sunday Specials
Breakfast with Santa December 20 from 9-11AM
Closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day
1804 E. Conner Street (located behind McDonald’s)

Ginger’s Café Trivia
Ginger’s Café is named after the original owners’ best friend, whose name is Virginia, nicknamed Ginger.
Opened two years ago this month
Noblesville paintings and other memorabilia adorn the walls
Mikki Perrine plans to add her extensive cookbook and rolling pin collection to the Café in the new year
The Ginger’s Egg Breakfast (eggs, meat, homefries, homemade biscuit and gravy all for $7.95) is really popular

Current Online

Cloth diapers: worth the hassle

I’m about out of my diapering days now, but I wanted to share a little about why I love cloth diapers and how that came to be.
When I had my daughter in my early twenties, being the earth mother that I was (and am), I told my mother that I wanted to use cloth diapers. She pointed out that I was living in a trailer seven miles from the nearest Laundromat (this is true, I swear) and, as such, using cloth would be too much work.

So, I yielded and used disposables for the next seven months until we moved, then I switched to cloth for the majority of the time and haven’t looked back.

Why cloth diaper? Here are three reasons:

1. Environment: disposables equate to a hefty amount of garbage, usually more than half of the volume of trash a family produces. They require billions of gallons of oil annually to make, and no one alive today has seen disposables break down in landfills (it’s estimated to be 300-500 years).

2. Money: compared to the constant cost of purchasing disposables, cloth diapers are usually a one time investment since they can be used for years and multiple children, and then even be re-sold later.

3. Health: it’s better for babies. The majority of disposable diapers contain dioxin, which is a carcinogen. Many also contain fragrance (as do baby wipes) and super absorbent polymers that become gel-like when wet. What are the effects of these being next to a baby’s skin 24/7 for at least two years?

Curious about cloth? Local diaper company Toasty Baby (www.toastybaby.com or 863.0402) has an array of cute cloth diapering options and a diaper service. They’re offering 10% off your entire order through March 31, 2011. Just enter ToastyBaby10 at checkout. One use per customer.

Bleed Blue Blood Drive

The central Indiana blood supply was called critically low earlier this month by the State Department of Health. Even though the shortage is no longer critical, the holidays are typically a time when donations are low.
To help boost donations, the Indiana Blood Center (www.indianablood.org) is running a promotion that kicks off today, December 14, through January 15, 2011. The Bleed Blue Blood Drive starts at the home of the Colts, Lucas Oil Stadium, and will continue for the month long promotion at the nine donor centers and mobile drives. Additional mobile drives will be announced December 14th.

“We expect to have 2000, potentially 2200 donors at Lucas Oil Stadium,” Wendy Mehringer, Director of PR and Marketing with the Indiana Blood Center said. “We need 500 [units] a day, so that’s about 4 days worth. We hope the donations continue for the month.”

About 75% of the Indiana Blood Center’s donations come from mobile blood drives that are held at places of employment, schools, and churches. Around 5% of the population donates blood, “so it’s not much,” Mehringer stated. “That includes people who have donated just one time in years. Ideally, we’d see people give four times a year, but we know that’s a lot to ask.”

“If we saw everyone twice a year, then we’d never have a critical shortage or low supply,” said Mehringer.

There are two donor centers in Hamilton County, one in Fishers at 7458 E. Fishers Station Dr., (317) 576-9680, and one in Carmel at The Boardwalk Shoppes, 726 Adams Street, Suite 150, (317) 844-0313.

There are three upcoming mobile blood drives in Noblesville: December 16: Taylored Systems, Inc. Bloodmobile 14701 Cumberland Road #100 from 2:30-4:30 PM, December 17: Taylored Systems, Inc. Bloodmobile, 14701 Cumberland Road #100 from 8:30-10:30 AM, and January 4: Riverview Hospital Bloodmobile, 395 Westfield Road from 2-7PM. Additional area bloodmobiles can be found at www.donorpoint.org.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Have yourself an eco-friendly Christmas

I’m looking at the calendar and I see that there are only (gasp!) eighteen shopping days left till Christmas.

I may start to panic at some point, but nah, not yet, because I’m keeping it simple. That is always my goal, but it does take conscious effort to not be swayed by savvy marketing and incessant whispers of more, more, more!

But wait. Doing, buying, and having less is the goal, so that’s what I’m trying to keep in mind. One of the books I read this year was The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard, (www.storyofstuff.com) which breaks down our over consumption and its resulting effect on us and our planet.

Considering that landfill waste increases considerably after Thanksgiving, here are some earth friendly thoughts for a holiday season that treads more lightly on the Earth.

1. How will your consumption affect your enjoyment of the season? Will buying new ornaments/snowman sweaters/reindeer antlers for every family member really enhance your holiday? Can your kids still have a happy Christmas without a Pillow Pet™?

2. When out shopping, bring your own bags. Having reusable bags that you can tuck in your purse or coat pocket makes it easy, and they hold so much more. Take your reusable mug, too, for the inevitable coffee shop stop.

3. Buy green, buy local, buy used, buy handmade, buy sustainable. Check out www.etsy.com for artisan wares.

4. Consider gifting not just ‘stuff’ but experiences. How about music lessons, art lessons, theater tickets, sporting event tickets, museum memberships?

5. Use less wrapping and packaging. Reuse gift wrap, or wrap in kraft paper, which can be reused and then recycled, and reuse those gift bags that we all collect.

6. After the holidays, recycle your real Christmas tree (more on that in another column).

Historic Homes of Noblesville--1408 Logan Street

Location: 1408 Logan Street

Owners: Marty and Cathy Deafenbaugh, since 2006

Style & History: This two-story wood-frame Victorian home was likely built by Charles M. and Mattie Carlin around 1894. A small balcony overlooks a larger, first-floor porch on the front of the home. During the 1930's, the home was subdivided into two apartments, one upstairs and one downstairs. The home was returned to a single-family residence in the early 1970's.

What are your favorite features? Marty's favorite feature is the upstairs sleeping porch with built-in beds, and Cathy’s favorite is the master bath that originally was a kitchen, then a laundry room, and now is a roomy bathroom with an adjoining laundry room.

What work have you done on your house? “We spent 6 months renovating our house before moving in and we were so fortunate to have found a local Noblesville contractor, MacInnis Construction and Design, to help us realize our vision. We took up the carpeting and refinished the original floors which are really beautiful and in great shape, stripped wallpaper and painted the entire house, putting up crown molding in most of the rooms. We added a small back porch and replaced the driveway as our last projects to date, whew! We think we are finished with projects for awhile!”

What do you like about this area/neighborhood? “We love our neighborhood and the proximity to downtown Noblesville with all the great shops and restaurants. We are so happy to have found our historic and beautiful home near downtown Noblesville.”

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Green Gift Guide

See the Current in Noblesville story here.

Sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most

By Krista Bocko

I recently made a meal and took it to a family I know that needs a little extra love and care. It really wasn’t a big deal (though it sort of is to me, which I will get to), but sometimes the little things can really mean so much. After all, it was just one meal, but when I look back at times when I have felt most cared for, it’s when friends made and brought me food when I really needed it, like after having a baby.

In the grand scheme of things, this meal took just a little effort, but, being somewhat prone to kitchen mishaps, taking on the task of feeding another family in addition to my own (which is challenging enough!) is not something I really feel equipped to take on.

Why do I do it? Because meals have meant so much to me, I feel compelled to ‘pay it forward’ in the very same way. Food touches people deeply. It’s such a primal and fundamental need, and to have that need taken care of, even for just one meal, is such a blessing.

So, not letting on to this family that I don’t love to cook (though they read my columns so I guess the secret is out! I hope you liked your meal), I set to work and pulled it off with only minimal incident. I pulled up to their house at six p.m. that night with three dishes and they were so grateful.

I’m happy I could do that small gesture of caring for them. Most of us don’t realize what a difference we can make in the lives of others. I want to be more aware of opportunities I can take to show people that I care, and I hope you will, too.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Want a savings tip for Black Friday? Don't shop

As Thanksgiving and the frenzied countdown til Christmas approaches, here’s a radical thought: I’d like to institute a Noblesville Buy Nothing Day.

Instead of falling prey to the Black Friday ads, grabbing credit cards and heading out in the middle of the night to wait in insanely long lines to score some crazy deals and spend too much money, how about doing the opposite, which is to reject consumerism and vow to not get sucked in to the commercial hype? All of that is ultimately empty anyway.

Buy Nothing Day, which is celebrated internationally, was first organized in Vancouver in September of 1992 as a way to reflect on over-consumption. Five years later, it was moved to the day after the American Thanksgiving, one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Admittedly, it’s pretty easy for me to avoid the Black Friday feeding frenzy, because a.) I am cheap and don’t like to spend a lot of money at one time b.) I don’t like to shop c.) I don’t like to waste my time in lines d.) I don’t like crowds, especially shopping crowds and most especially holiday shopping crowds and e.) I try to reject over-consumption every other day of the year anyway.

Plus, all of that plastic bag consumption makes me crazy!

I would much rather stay home and be with my family, or visit friends and neighbors, or do something otherwise meaningful. (I’m sure I’ll be working in a little post-thanksgiving running and hooping in there too.)

Now, I’m willing to bend a little bit on the Buy Nothing Day concept, because I would be willing to venture to the downtown square or elsewhere in town  in order to shop the local businesses.  I will always choose to shop the independents before the chains if I can.

Soul Man: Cicero jazz guitarist digs deep to evoke a certain sound and feel in his music

By Krista Bocko

Current in Noblesville

His father provided the tools and his mother offered the advice.

And guitarist Steve Newby added the passion for music that would drive him to live each day to the fullest.

“Enjoy now,” says Newby, the Cicero man who will display his musical talents in a return appearance to Noble Coffee and Tea Co., Friday night. “I play music, and, if I get hit by a car crossing the street on the way home, I hope the show was good.”

Growing up in Lapel, Newby was one of six children born to James and Mary Newby. His father had the philosophy that if there were musical instruments around the house, the kids would learn them. His mother said, “Stevie, get in there and learn to play that guitar.”

At age 11, that’s exactly what he did.

The self-taught musician was fortunate to have been around some talented musicians at a young age. Influenced initially by country guitarist Chet Atkins, he eventually shifted to jazz musicians such as Lee Ritenour, Earl Klugh, Martin Taylor and Brian Setzer.

One of the reasons for Newby’s penchant for jazz is the improv aspect of it. Forget about theory. Forget about the American heritage of it all. A jazz musician doesn’t play like that, says Newby.

“It’s literally right off your head,” he explains. “There’s a chord chart. But all that stuff you hear? Most of that’s not written. One guy I played with did an 11-minute solo. There’s no way (it was written down). That music would go from here to the river. You just let it go from your soul.”

A favorite on the Indy jazz scene, Steve Newby and Conversation Pieces first played in Cicero Coffee Company more than 20 years ago. Coffee shops such as the welcoming coffee shop on the square remain a favorite venue.

Donning tuxes and with the promise of delivering a show “so fresh it’s still wet,” drummer John Schilk and jazz organist and Westfield native Chris Bales will join Newby Friday.

There’ll be no admission charge for the show, and the band will be playing for free.

“Everybody does it because they just like to do it,” Newby says. “When you walk into a club or a coffee shop, you’re getting musicians who play because they want to be here. They have a story.”

The story is an important element to Newby and it’s reflected in his music.

“I try to capture a very heartfelt rendering of the music,” he says. “Most have a very deep meaning, either from the words or something that triggered that through something in my life. Life’s journey has offered me times that weren’t so good, like all of us.”

“When I play certain songs it evokes a certain feeling in me. I’m able to capture that exact feeling, and I’ve surrounded myself with people who have stories also.”

Newby will introduce a new song, “There Will Never Be another You,” Friday night. First published in 1942, it was written by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon for the musical "Iceland” and has been recorded by many, including Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra. Newby’s rendition will be an arrangement with improv as inspired by jazz creativity.

Guests will also hear “The Nearness of You,” written by Indiana’s Hoagy Carmichael in 1938. Glenn Miller had a huge hit with “Nearness” in 1940, and Norah Jones brought it to the forefront in 2002 on her multi-Grammy-winning “Come Away with Me.”

“There’s a lot of depth to those songs,” Newby says. “I’m not interested in flair, speed, flash. I want people to go away and say ‘What was that?’

“I read the eyes in the crowd. I keep it moving and fresh and hit it and leave it. I’ve looked into a crowd and have seen people crying. To me, it’s like ‘I win.’ They win.’ ”

Steve Newby & Conversation Pieces

When: 7 p.m., Friday.

Where: Noble Coffee & Tea, 933 Logan St., Noblesville.

Admission: Free.

Info: www.reverbnation.com/stevennewby or search for Steve Newby on Facebook

Hamilton County’s best-kept secret

Every Saturday night a music happening takes place “in the middle of nowhere” and guitarist Steve Newby is often in the middle of it.

People flock from Indy, Kokomo, and surrounding communities to see a six-piece jazz band infuse a nostalgic old building, atmosphere and crowd with its special sound. The venue is the Atlanta Music Hall, about 20 minutes north of Noblesville in Atlanta.

“This is fulfilling for me and offers something to people who come to hear it,” Newby said. “The community gains from it in the fact that there’s live music. There’s not a lot of places like Noble Coffee or Hedgehog Showcase (in Arcadia) or Atlanta Music Hall.”

Shows in Atlanta are from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Saturdays, and open jam sessions are on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. There is no cover charge, but donations are accepted to assist with the operating expenses. Coffee and soft drinks are available for purchase. The hall is located at 135 W. Main St. For more information, visit http://www.theatlantamusichall.com/.

Candlelight Holiday Home warms to crowds for second year

By Krista Bocko
Current in Noblesville
If there’s anything better than an inaugural event, it’s the “second annual.” That means whatever happened the first time worked well enough to do it again.

And so it is with the popular Candlelight Holiday Home tour which again will take place in conjunction with Main Street’s First Friday Event Dec. 3.

Tour chairperson Joni Corbett had no idea what kind of attendance to expect last year. But she is planning for at least this year’s crowd to match last year’s attendance of 350.

"We were pleasantly surprised when last year's inaugural tour exceeded our expectations. This year we plan to build on that excitement by adding a fourth house and inviting additional retail shops to take part,” Corbett said.

The second Candlelight Holiday Home Tour, presented by the Noblesville Preservation Alliance, is set for Dec. 3 from 5-9 p.m. Luminaries will light the way to the homes and welcome visitors into four warm and welcoming historic private residences, all located on North 10th Street within walking distance of the Courthouse Square.

Four downtown shops will be participating in the event by showcasing their holiday wares in these special settings. Each participating shop will be decorating a home, and décor items will be available for purchase the night of the event.

Tour stops include a circa 1837 brick Federal/Italianate home, a Traditional style home built in 1941, a circa 1920 wood frame cottage, and a Dutch Colonial built in 1919.

Tickets prices at $5 for adults can be purchased on the Courthouse Square that night. Children 10 and under are admitted free. Advance tickets will be available beginning Nov. 26 at A Corner Cottage, 895 Conner St.; Larames, 942 Maple Ave.; The Linden Tree, 856 Logan St.; and Old Picket Fence, 894 Logan St.

Proceeds from the tour will fund NPA projects, such as the new homeowner façade grant program which will award $3,000 a year to historic home owners in the city limits for exterior improvements.

Visit www.noblesvillepreservation.com or call 317.73.4549 for more information.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

They Have It

You can always get what you want at Noblesville’s oldest continuously family-owned package liquor store.By Krista Bocko
Current in Noblesville

Four years ago, L.A. resident Bryan Glover returned home to Indiana for a family visit. He left with a whole new career as co-owner of a family business.

Call it fate. Call it perfect timing. Glover, frustrated with corporate America, had just “done a foolish thing” by quitting his corporate job. Being passionate about wines, and trying to figure out what to do next, he wrote a business plan to open a wine bar. He brought it with him to Indiana to get his uncle Myron’s opinion. Myron Glover, the owner of Mr. G’s Liquors in Noblesville, was in the midst of renovating the store. The plan included expanding the store’s massive wine department and, being a wine enthusiast, Bryan was excited.

So, when Myron casually suggested that Bryan consider becoming involved with the family business as a co-owner, an agreeable Bryan started making plans to move back here after almost 30 years in L.A.

“It sort of just evolved into ‘you know what? Maybe this is a really good idea. This is a great opportunity. Perhaps I can put this other idea (the wine bar) on the back burner and really get involved with this next generation of Mr. G’s to keep this family business going,’ ” said Bryan.

Mr. G’s was founded in 1977 by longtime Noblesville residents and family members Elijah, Wayne and Myron Glover. Over the past three decades, the store has evolved into a 5,000-square foot package liquor store that outgrew its previous two locations.

When Mr. G’s was founded, there were only two other package liquor stores in Noblesville, and those were the only places alcohol could be purchased. Today, the competition includes superstores, grocery stores and drug stores.

Mr. G’s takes their mission to provide great selection and customer service seriously.

“We’ve been around here a long time,” said Bryan. “A lot of our customers have been coming to this store for years, and we know them by name. We’ll carry your beer to your car for you. People like to feel special, and we try really hard to make them feel special in that way.”

“We want to have the products that our customers want,” Myron added. “There are always new products that are coming out so we keep our ears open for that.”

It’s no coincidence that the business newsletter is called “We’ve Got It.”

“If there’s something you want that we don’t have, we will get it for you,” Bryan said. “People know that ‘those guys will get me what I want.’”

Mr. G’s is like a candy store for alcohol buyers, with surprises and delights around every corner. The wine department, with many exotic and Indiana wines, is extensive. The store also stocks an array of trendy, craft beers, as well as seasonal products such as Pumpkin Spice Liqueur.

Mr. G’s offers individual bottles of craft beer for customers to build their own six- pack. General manager Kirk Baird, who has been with the store for 32 years, is an expert on them.

“We can’t possibly taste everything (in the store),” Bryan said, “but Kirk probably did taste the beer.

“There’s a lot of thought that goes into craft beer selection. There’s something different for each thing that you’re trying to do. If you’re sitting on your patio on a hot summer evening, the kind of beer you may want is very different than if you’re inside by the fireplace in December. ”

And if a customer is overwhelmed with choices and doesn’t know what to choose?

“We can tell by that look in your eye that you don’t know what you’re looking for and we make an effort to talk and make suggestions to you,” Bryan said. “We really try very hard to get to know you in some way and remember when you come back the next time what it was that you tried.”

Mr. G’s

2209 E. Conner St, Noblesville

Hours: 9 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-12:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Tastings every Saturday and sometimes Friday from 4-6 p.m. Open Thanksgiving Day 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Info: 317.773.3471, www.mrgsliquors.com

What’s hot

Craft beer -- Particularly IPA’s, Stouts, Belgian style ales

Wines -- From Chile, Argentina, South Africa and Spain

Spirits –Vodka’s flexibility for mixing makes it a versatile choice. Irish whiskeys, Kentucky bourbons and Canadian blended whiskey are also popular.

Ready-to-Drink Cocktails—Skinny Girl Margarita made with Agave Nectar. Low in calories.

Locally produced brands at Mr. G’s

Distillers: Heartland Distillers, makers of Indiana Vodka and Prohibition Gin (Indianapolis)

Wineries: New Day Meadery (Elwood), Oliver (Bloominton) and Easley (Indianapolis)

Breweries: Barley Island (Noblesville), Sun King (Indianapolis), Brugge (Terre Haute), Upland (Bloomington), Three Floyds (Munster)

Mr. G’s favorites

Red Wines

Kaiken Ultra Malbec - $19.99

R. Gassier Les Piliers Syrah - $14.49

Santa Ema Reserve Merlot - $11.99

Routestock Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon - $19.99

White Wines

Snoqualmie Naked Gewurztraminer - $12.49

Loosen Bros “Dr. L” Riesling - $11.49

King Estate Pinot Gris - $16.99

Toho Chardonnay - $15.99


Ommegang Abbey Style Ale - $7.99/bottle

J.K. Scrumpy Organic Cider - $6.49/bottle

Sun King Osiris Pale Ale - $10.99/4 pack

Three Floyds Gumball Head - $9.99/6 pack

Thanksgiving dinner picks

Mr. G’s tried and true options for the dilemma of what to drinks to serve with Thanksgiving dinner:

White wines – Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Riesling and Gewurztraminer

Red wines – Pinot Noir, Zinfandel or Syrah

Sparkling wine – Sparkling Vourvray or California Extra Dry

Beers – Amber ale, brown ales or Tripel ales for traditional turkey.

Scotch ale or Porter for smoked turkey.

Weizen, dubbel ale or dark lager for ham.

1 part vanilla or plain vodka

1 part Pumpkin Spice liqueur

Coat rim of glass with cinnamon-sugar. Combine ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into martini glass and serve.

Corn syrup: sweet devil in diguise

The label on the bottle of ketchup at the grocery store proclaimed “NO High Fructose Corn Syrup”. It cost more than the others, but that’s the one I bought. I refuse to buy anything with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) in it, or knowingly anyway, since sometimes I don’t notice until reading the label later.

HFCS is in the majority of breads, jams, jellies, yogurt, juice, cereals, candy, crackers, syrups, ice cream, applesauce…and the list goes on. In recent years HFCS has been implicated in the rise of obesity.

Now with the bad rap it’s gotten, products are being advertised as NOT having it, as in the ketchup example. Some soda companies are even reverting back to how they used to make soda—with real sugar.

In light of this, the Corn Refiner’s Association, realizing the ramifications of HFCS’s bad reputation, have renamed it “corn sugar.”

If you’re anything like me, you’re wondering why HFCS is in just about everything, instead of sugar. According to the “corn sugar experts” (www.sweetsurprise.com), HFCS provides “consumer benefits,” such as sweetness equivalent to sugar.

Which begs the question, why not just use sugar then? The answer, though you won’t hear it from the corn sugar experts, is that HFCS is cheaper than sugar, and products made with it have a longer shelf life than products made with sugar, which appeals to food manufacturers.

Neither one of which have anything to do with consumer health or benefits.

Sugar and HFCS are also processed by the body differently. I’m personally wary of anything chemically altered and mixed up in a science lab and presented to me as equal to sugar, which is at least naturally derived. And ultimately of course, limiting sugars and sweeteners is the best for our bodies, which are often overfed yet hungry for real food.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

‘The world is yours; be the one who stands out’

By Krista Bocko

I’ve always loved words. They amaze me in that, when strung together like beads on a string, they can form lovely, complete, and succinct works of art.

There are so many strings of words (aka quotes) that speak to me, and I collect them like crazy. Here are some words that I love, with the theme of living an authentic life.

First, this thought from American poet Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author of “Women Who Run with the Wolves:”
“The world is yours. Be, if you like, the one who stands out. The one who goes where others do not. The one in the picture to be circled in red as ‘not likely to be found here.’ Like any Aunt Edna. Anywhere. Any time.

“You were born free. Take it back. Take it all back. It is fine that you take up plenty of space on planet earth. Despite addled nay-sayers to the contrary, it always has been so that you were meant to be."
And these thoughts from American business magnate and inventor, Steve Jobs, co-founder and chief executive officer of Apple:
“Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.

“Your time is limited, so, don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma , which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

No, those aren’t my words but I wish I had written them because they certainly speak to me.

Historic Homes of Noblesville--1082 Maple Ave

Location: 1082 Maple Avenue

Owners: the Dawson family

Style & History: This home, built in 1909, is an American Foursquare, aptly named because of its shape and floor plan. This 2 story home has wide eaves, a hipped roof, and a wide front porch. The house, along with the home beside it, was built as a rental by Mary Craycraft, widow of Daniel Craycraft, who owned what is now known as the Victorian House and Carriage House, at 1095 Conner St.

What are your favorite features? “Even though I purchased during the winter, the garden is what sold me. The previous owners lovingly created a “cool old house” and preserved its character. It is not lost on me that this house has stood for over one hundred years, and I wonder what the walls have witnessed.”

What work have you done on your house? “I purchased this home in February of this year, so currently I’m just trying to make this house my own. I know little of gardening, so I am learning to maintain it.”

What do you like about this area/neighborhood? “It brings back memories of living in older homes with a front porch growing up. I can share with my children what was and is important to me: casual parties on the porch celebrating a birthday or quiet time on the porch swing. We’ve almost made an art of seeing how many places we can walk to.”

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Triple players--Local musicians push musical boundaries with new ‘Typewriters and Tarantulas” CD

                                                          image by Lucky Willow Photography
image by Melissa Glenn Photography

By Krista Bocko
Current in Noblesville

They had no name, and they didn’t know how to play their instruments.

But that didn’t stop two friends and a fellow guitar teacher from forming an eclectic, acoustic trio for accordion, upright bass and classical guitar that pushes the boundaries of genre and resists definition.

Call it “jazzpop Eurofolk,” for a lack of a better label. The Noblesville-based Tonos Triad does. Tonos (an ancient Greek musical concept about tension and pitch) and Triad (a three-note chord) is a name the threesome gave themselves when they needed one for their first gig in 2007 at an annual dinner for the Noblesville Preservation Alliance at Forest Park.

The name stuck, and four years later the threesome is poised to release its second full-length recording, “Typewriters & Tarantulas” at a CD release party Nov. 5 at Radio Radio in Fountain Square, near downtown Indianapolis.

“This new album has pushed more of those boundaries,” says Aaron Ransdell, the trio’s bass player. “We’ve got a reggae-ish vibe, the drop-D heavy metal, funk, and mixed in with that funky trilogy is a cowboy thing -- some rockabilly.”

It’s definitely a long way from the “Irish-sounding drinking songs” Ransdell and Noblesville resident Rod Schindler played four years ago. “That’s all we knew,” said Ransdell.

Schindler bought his first accordion for $80 out of the back of a van in a Steak ‘n Shake parking lot in Anderson. Ransdell, an old friend Schindler had known since their days as security guards at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2002, met guitarist Yevgeny Baburin when Baburin brought his guitar into the music shop to get it restrung.

They all had guitar -playing and teaching in common, but picked up different instruments for the band.

Influenced by the accordion-guitar-violin group Tin Hat Trio, Schindler chose accordion (he has since graduated to a full size vintage accordion he purchased on eBay). Ransdell wanted the experience of playing a fretless instrument, so, he began with the cello and later switched to upright bass. Baburin had never played classical guitar, and a guitarist wasn’t even in the band’s original plans, but “Yev has a unique style and similar tastes and was a good fit,” Ransdell explained.

Schindler, who teaches guitar (wife Amy teaches piano) at Schindler School of Music in Noblesville, plays mandolin and drums, in addition to accordion. He enjoys the process of collaboration in building a song.

“The fun thing about it for me is figuring out what the instrumentation is going to be,” he said. “ The band’s energy and passion for what they do is unmistakable. When asked why they do this, Ransdell responded: “Why wouldn’t we do this? We get to wear suits. We look cool. Playing music is what I have to do to feel like a person.”

“There are no agendas,” added Baburin. “ It’s just for people’s enjoyment.”

And the most difficult thing about what they do?

“Getting paid for it,” Baburin answered with a laugh.

Fountain Square, with its First Friday events that draw foot traffic, art, artists, musicians and people that “get it,” said Schindler, and the band considers it somewhat of a birthplace.

“It’s where we got the idea for putting the band together,” added Ransdell. “It’s where we met the artists who did our (album) artwork. We played in coffee shops and started building a fan base.”

On the other hand, the band is just as comfortable playing in a club as in a symphony hall like the Hilbert Circle Theater, where the band will play a series of dates next spring. That’s quite a leap from the early days when the trio played anywhere it could for free with a repertoire of only five or six songs -- repeating some of them the same night.

“We used to have to constantly seek out bookings,” recalled Ransdell. “Now people come to us.”

Tonos Triad Trivia

Artist William Lawson, who lives in Wheeler Arts Community in Fountain Square, designed the cover for “Typewriters & Tarantulas.” He collects them both.
Aaron Ransdell calls his upright “Val,” short for Valencia.
For more information and to purchase the new CD, visit http://www.tonostriad.com/
CD’s are available for online digital download, for purchase at the show at Radio Radio at Indy CD & Vinyl (www.indycdandvinyl.com) or at Luna music (www.lunamusic.net).

CD release party

Where: Radio Radio, 1119 Prospect St., Indianapolis

When: Doors 8 p.m., show 9 p.m., Nov. 5.

Cover: $5.

CD’s: $5 at the show.

Opening act: The Accordions with magic and comedy by Ryan Siebert at intermission.

Website for Radio Radio: www.futureshock.net

Schindler School of Music

What: Founding their school in 2004, Rod Schindler teaches guitar and Amy Schindler teaches piano to more than 60 students of all age and skill levels. “Our business model is different from the drop-and-drive music stores,” said Rod Schindler. “We know our families pretty well. They come here to sit on the porch. There’s room to sit and listen in and not be obtrusive. Parents can walk downtown. That was part of my vision, to give lessons in a place where I would like to be.”

Where: 1039 Logan St., Noblesville

Info: 317.774.8228, theschindlerschool@gmail.com

Rates: $20 per lesson, sibling discount of $5 per lesson

In review: my eight great causes

Over the past year, I’ve stirred up a little fury with my thoughts on a few controversial topics. Vaccinations? No sticks, please. Circumcision? Go natural. And, perhaps, divisive topics: Hummers and the oil spill. What a waste. What a shame.

To celebrate my first anniversary at Current, my editor thought it would be a cool idea to compile a review list of some of the hot button causes I have championed – a couple of which he reminds resulted in a few cancellation threats which were eventually quelled.

Here goes everything:

1. Reduce/Reuse/Recycle/DIY. I’ve written about include reusable bags, glass straws, line drying, cloth diapers, the tradition of curb shopping that I want to revive, my hippie parties where we make our own body care, and, of course, recycling. No Hummers!

2. Vaccination. My 2-year-old, if we followed the CDC vaccination schedule, would have received 27 sticks so far for a combination of 37 vaccines, an average of 1.5 per month. I can only foresee even more vaxes being added to the already (over) full schedule. Research and challenge with questions.

3. Birth matters. My first column here was on homebirth, which is a valid option for women who want to seek out the alternative to hospital birth. I think all low-risk women would do well to consider it, and there are homebirth midwives that serve this area.

4. Shop local. These business owners are the people who live and work and give back to your community. It’s so much more satisfying to shop local than to funnel more dollars into yet another chain store or restaurant.

5. Circumcision. More controversy here, but again, it’s worth questioning why this cosmetic procedure is even done with (in most cases) no medical reason.

6. Breastfeeding. Mothers should feel comfortable nursing their babies anytime, anywhere, without fear of harassment, embarrassment, or references to it being ‘creepy’.

7. Community. Here’s to block parties, house parties, book clubs, supper clubs, and just visiting on porches with neighbors. I think we all crave community and are somewhat at a loss to regain what we know intuitively that we’re missing in our lives. I’m trying to make efforts to help create it in my neighborhood, and so are my friends.

8. Soulfulness. I guess this is what it comes down to: being willing to question and change direction when necessary, seeking to go deeper relationally with yourself and others, and being your authentic self.

Thanks for reading me, whether you agree with me or not I just want you to think about it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Who are you? Take the test and find out

I took a fascinating personality quiz recently. I was completely skeptical about it at first (how could it know me?), but then blown away when I read my results, which summed me up perfectly.

My results from the quiz indicate that my personality type is INFP (Introvert, INtuitive,, Feeler, Perceiver) . To sum it up, I am deeply committed to work and a vision I believe in, am adaptable and patient, creative, diplomatic, sensitive to others feelings, am a good listener and sincere. I’m driven to help people and make the world a better place (which hopefully I have done a little bit of here).

The assessment also tells me that I’m a dreamer and seek unconventional ways of doing things. I’m not detail oriented unless it’s for a cause that I believe in, I don’t like to deal with the mundane details of life, and I don’t like to deal with hard facts and logic.

I’m shaking my head yes, yes and yes! I read that “INFPs are usually talented writers. They may be awkward and uncomfortable with expressing themselves verbally, but have a wonderful ability to define and express what they're feeling on paper.”

Right again. It’s tough to accept the ‘talented’ part (INFP’s also have trouble giving themselves credit), but this quiz was a cool eye opener. Cogitating on the different types helps me to understand the other 95% of humanity and why they do what they do, too.

Check out www.mypersonality.info for the quiz. There are sixteen different personality types, each belonging to one of four temperaments (Protectors, Creators, Intellectuals, and Visionaries). Each temperament has introverts and extroverts. You probably already know if you are an introvert or an extrovert, but beyond that you may be surprised at how well you are defined. Is it accurate for you?

County's Hazardous Waste Center prepared for Fall Cleanup

Fall is not only a time when Noblesville residents rake up leaves and prepare their yards for the winter, but an ideal time to give their homes and garages a clean sweep, too.

If you have a collection of old paint cans just lying around, or old electronics, dead batteries, and other miscellaneous items that should never be thrown in the regular trash or dumped down the drain or sewer, the Hamilton County Hazardous Waste Center is ready to take them off your hands.

The Hazardous Waste Center provides a place for toxic chemicals and other hazardous items to be disposed of in a way that impacts the environment in the least damaging way.
The center is open to any Hamilton County resident and is located at 1717 Pleasant Street, Noblesville, just west of the 4-H Fairgrounds.  Hours are 8AM-5PM Tuesday through Friday and Saturday from 8AM-1:30PM.

Some of the items the center will collect include:

• Paint products (empty or full): Latex and oil based paints, stains, and varnish, mineral spirits, paint thinners and strippers

• Automotive products: motor oil, filters, antifreeze, batteries, brake and transmission fluid, and tires

• Aerosols (empty or full): spray paint, primers, cleaners, bug spray

• Fuels: kerosene, gasoline, lighter fluid

• Pesticides and Herbicides

• Cleaners: soaps, shampoos, household cleaners, oven cleaners, toilet and drain cleaners

• Electronics: monitor, computers, keyboards, mice, printers, TVs, microwaves, DVDs and VCRs, phones, cell phones

• Batteries: rechargeable, lithium, button cells

• Pool Chemicals

• Beauty Aids: nail polish/remover, hair spray, cologne and perfume

• Fluorescent lights

• Freon Appliances: empty refrigerators and freezers, dehumidifiers, window AC units

• Miscellaneous: cooking oil, driveway sealer, printer cartridges

For a longer listing of acceptable items, as well as items the center does not accept,  visit www.hamiltoncounty.in.gov or call 776.4005.

Historic Homes of Noblesville--1428 Monument Street

Location: 1428 Monument Street

Owner: Janet Robertson, since 2006

Style and history: This brick Victorian cottage was constructed c. 1894 by William M. and Nellie M. Caylor. The home features an irregular hipped roofline with north and south side dormers and ten foot ceilings downstairs. The existing concrete block front porch is a modern alteration. The home’s original footprint included a small rear porch, which was later replaced by an addition.

What are your favorite features? “I love this house. I like the fact that most of the living can be done on one floor, but that I also have plenty of room upstairs for my kids. I love the character of the house, the hardwood floors, all of the closet space (rare for a home of this age) and of course we love the pool! The back feels so private.”

What work have you done on your house? “Most of the work was already done when I purchased the home, but I did put in the heating and air upstairs. I also added a heater to the pool to extend the life of the swim season.”

What do you like about this area/neighborhood? “The neighbors are friendly and wonderful. I love the fact that we can walk downtown and to school. I can even walk to Forest Park, and I love that I can sit on my front porch and see the high school parades.”

This home is for sale, offered by Steve Decatur of Century 21. 317-705-2525

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Life, Liberty, Cake for All

Inspired by son's autism, Noblesville woman opens gluten-free bakery

By Krista Bocko
Current in Noblesville

To most people, ordering and eating a bakery birthday cake is a fairly ordinary event. But when Jennifer Wiese took the order for a gluten- and dairy-free frosted vanilla birthday cake – with the image of Yoda on it – she had no idea the reaction her creation would create.

Her customer had searched online, found the BeeFree Bakery website and was thrilled to find a local gluten- and dairy-free bakery like Wiese’s. The customer loved Yoda and asked Wiese if it were possible to put the Star Wars character on her cake. Wiese called a cake-decorating friend who printed a picture of Yoda on gluten-free edible rice paper.

“She had never had a birthday cake,” explained Wiese. “I put it (the image of Yoda) on the cake and delivered it to her, and she was in tears. She was literally crying.”

“Everyone should be able to enjoy life, liberty, and cake.”

Wiese, the owner and baker of BeeFree Bakery, a Noblesville gluten-and dairy-free bakery, has been baking gluten-free products for her family for the past five years. She started when she heard about how going gluten-free food might be able to help her oldest son, who is on the autism spectrum.

“The impact on him was huge,” she said.

Since then, she’s had a passion for baking treats just as delicious as their gluten-containing counterparts -- not just gluten-free baking.

Wiese, who opened her bakery in January, wears her black-and-white checked apron and churns out delicious sweet treats in the commercial kitchen in Logan Street Marketplace in downtown Noblesville.

Following hours and hours of research, she understands the challenges of gluten- and dairy-free baking. She has substituted gluten-free flours in her family’s favorite recipes before finally finding the right combination of five different flours that lend just the right texture and taste to sweets.

“When I first started baking, I would buy the flour mixes in the grocery and was never happy with it,” she said. “When you look at the ingredients, a lot of them contain bean flour, and I didn’t like the taste they created in baked goods. It took me awhile to find just what I was looking for.”

“Having to feed someone that has these dairy- and gluten-free needs is difficult. So, every time I wanted something sweet and freshly baked for my son, I had a hard time finding something that was really tasty. Over those years of experimenting, I felt like there was a need for this kind of business.”

The response from customers, including her participation in the Indianapolis Winter Farmer’s Market, has confirmed that she’s on to a good thing.

“People really do seek this type of product, and I have something that people like and enjoy,” said Wiese.

Her products are used by Green B.E.A.N. delivery, a local grocery delivery service.

“It’s nice to work with them (B.E.A.N.) because they have local fresh products that I can work with, like zucchini for my zucchini bread, so I purchase some of my ingredients from them. I believe in supporting local growers and producers and using as many local and organic ingredients as I can.”

Wiese’s vision is also to make her products more readily available for the community.

“My hope is to grow,” she said. “I can’t do it all on my own. I did this so I could offer really good-tasting fresh gluten- and dairy-free foods. Realistically, I can’t do all of that, bake it, market it and sell it. My goal is to find somebody to bake it so I can go out and sell it.”

What’s the best part of what she does?

“It’s nice to make that connection through food,” she said. “Food is such an integral part of everyone’s life. If you can make it really special, it’s a neat gift to give somebody.”

About BeeFree Bakery

Where to purchase: Logan Street Marketplace, 937 Logan St., Noblesville (call BeeFree Bakery ahead to place your order); Blu Moon Café, 200 S. Rangeline Road, Carmel; Green B.E.A.N., www.greenbeandelivery.com, 317.377.0470

Products: Let it Bee…John Lemon cake, Chocolate Dream cupcakes, Chocolate Crinkle cookies, Vanilla Velvet cake, frozen pizza dough, all purpose flour mix (to substitute in favorite recipes). Products may change seasonally.

Info: http://www.beefreegf.com/,

Gluten-Free Snickerdoodles
½ cup Earth Balance buttery spread
½ cup Earth Balance shortening
1 ½ cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 ¾ cup BeeFree flour mix
2 tsp. xanthan gum
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. sea salt
4 T. sugar
4 tsp. cinnamon
1. Cream together first 3 ingredients, then add eggs and vanilla, mix well.
2.  Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to above. Mix well.
3.  Shape dough into rounded balls (an ice cream scooper works well).
4.  Mix sugar and cinnamon in small bowl and roll balls in mixture.
5.  Place dough balls 2 “ apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
6.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes until set, but not too hard. They will appear not quite done, but will firm as they cool.
7.  Remove from cookie sheet before they cool.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

2-4-6-8! We don't need to vaccinate!

As if it’s not enough that every drugstore (there are at least 35 Hamilton County) has signs out proclaiming that the flu vaccine is here and there and only $25, at which I roll my eyes and move on, I was surprised that there also would be a ‘Tailgate and Vaccinate’ event at a high school football game.

Then again, now that the flu frenzy season is here and everyone ‘needs’ this vaccine, I guess the next logical step is to push the vaxes at the schools and school events. After all, according to the announcement, “Why not tailgate - and vaccinate - while you're there?”

Why not vaccinate for the flu? I’m no expert and don’t claim to be, but I have been wary of vaccines, and how they’re pushed on our kids, for years, and I’ve researched vaccines, compared vaccine schedules, and questioned. We don’t vaccinate for the flu.

In my compiled notes, I have a page dated from 2003 that states “Children are the next frontier for the lucrative flu vaccine campaign.” Back then, only those aged fifty and up (and those in high risk groups) were encouraged to get the vaccine. And just a few years before that, the threshold age was 65. Now, here we are--starting the flu shot at six months.

And yet, I don’t have solid evidence that the flu vaccine is safe, effective, and truly intended to help me and my family be healthy. It’s an experiment with unknown implications. I say no to the drugs pushed on us every flu season (to be sure, vaccines are drugs). I’d like to see an end to the fear-mongering and pressure to conform, and a more critical look given to whether this is the best for our health.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Does she or doesn't she? She doesn't - no poo!

I’ve given up shampoo. Yep, I’ve gone hard-core hippie. It actually took me a couple of years from when I first learned about going what some call ‘no-poo’ to make the leap, but true to my I-must-question-everything nature, I did some reading about shampoo and conditioner and the reasons to not use them made a lot of sense.
Regular shampoos generally contain sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), which is not a soap but a detergent. As such, it strips the natural oils from hair. This is where conditioner comes in, to replace the oils that were stripped out.

Since the SLS detergents are harsh, the scalp works overtime to replace the natural oils and hair gets oily quickly, meaning, you guessed it, you feel like you need to wash your hair daily or it will drive you crazy. And it’s a vicious cycle.

Not for me, not any more! I finally tried not using shampoo. I basically use the following: Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap, which is very gentle and doesn’t strip oil, baking soda, and apple cider vinegar. I love it a whole lot. I use a little bit of castile soap, lather it in and add some baking soda. (By the way, baking soda is a mild abrasive, and great for getting rid of product build-up.) Then I rinse that out and use about ¼ of a cup of vinegar diluted with warm water to equal a cup or so, work it into my hair, and rinse well.

That’s it! It works really well for me, and as a bonus, it’s another way to stick it to the Man. I don’t need their artificially scented shampoos and conditioners, thank you very much, and I save money and am treading more lightly on the earth by saying no, thanks.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tending to the creative fires more important than a clean kitchen

I was standing in my kitchen a few weeks ago talking to my friend that just moved here.  I haven’t been to her house yet, and as she stood in the chaos that comprised my kitchen that afternoon, she remarked how she wouldn’t feel apologetic to have me over to her house after having seen mine. 
            I laughed.  Good, because I want people to be comfortable in my house, and while I do prefer clean and clutter-free to messy, that’s not my reality most of the time.  I can’t stress out about it too much, or I’ll miss out on what’s most important to me, which are people and relationships and following my path of what I think makes this world a better place.
            My friend and I stood there in my messy kitchen and talked about how we fiercely hold on to what we’re passionate about and we make space for our creative fires to burn hot and bright, even though that often means letting go of other things, because when it comes down to choosing between tending our creative fires or having a clean house, we go with the fire tending.      
            Should we feel guilty?  Nah.
            Later I was re-reading a passage in one of my very favorite books of all time, Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ Women Who Run With the Wolves, and I read this: “I’ve seen women insist on cleaning everything in the house before they could sit down to write…and you know it’s a funny thing about house cleaning…it never comes to an end.  Perfect way to stop a woman.”
            Estes talks about the wild creative force flowing into each of us like a river, and will we pollute it or keep the waters clear?  Our creative ability is our most valuable asset.  I love that. 

Historic Homes of Noblesville--1336 Conner Street

1336 Conner Street
Owners:  Vernon and Dottie Young, since1987
Style & History:  Queen Anne vernacular cottage, circa 1880, built by Marion and Mary Essington.  This 1 ½ story home features a large bay window overlooking
Conner St.
and a large front porch.  Marion was a Civil War Veteran and died as a result of lingering effects of a Civil War wound. Mary finished the home and lived here with her daughter Clara until her death in the early 1920’s. The most notorious owner was Citizens National bank president Harry Craig who embezzled money from the bank in the 1930’s.
What work have you done on your house?  We’re wallpapering the kitchen and putting a new shower in the downstairs bath. We’ve had the chimneys restored, turned an upstairs ½ bath into a full bath, put in  new wiring, plumbing, furnace, roof, taken out carpet, you name it. We wonder what people in new homes do for fun.”
What are your favorite features?  “We love the walls that are three bricks thick, the bay windows, the coffered ceiling on the front porch, and the limestone window sills. Inside I love the bay window and original fireplace  and our large kitchen.”
What do you like about this area/neighborhood? “Our neighborhood and our neighbors. We love being able to walk downtown to shop and have lunch or dinner with friends and being able to walk to Forest Park or Seminary park.  Noblesville's old town is still a small town.”

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dear hubby: I'm done! The pots and pans are all yours

What does it mean when, in the course of two weeks, someone (ah, me) accidentally breaks the following things in the kitchen: the french press carafe (dropped), the bread machine (falls off counter), a glass casserole dish with bean soup in it (dropped), and cuts herself—twice—on the same thumb in the very same day (on broken glass and a food processor blade)?
I took it as a sign I should get the heck out of the kitchen. Or is that just wishful thinking?

A confession: I don’t love to cook. I never have, and I guess I take after my mother in this regard. She never loved to cook either. And here I am, with four kids with hollow legs and a very well used kitchen.

Sure, I can (and do) like making certain things, and I feel passionate about eating foods that remember where they came from, and I can’t stomach the thought of feeding junk to my family, and this I suppose is what keeps us from resorting to McDonald’s every, or any, night.

At a party last weekend, this subject of cooking came up. My friend Deb said that she has friends who, after decades of cooking and raising a family, decided they were done. Done. They weren’t going to cook anymore! They’d just eat what was leftover out of the fridge, and their husbands could cook and they’d happily eat what he made.

Oooh. My eyes lit up. I can imagine a world where I don’t cook! I happily show up to parties and eat food already prepared. I happily go to restaurants (but not McDonald’s) and eat food brought to me. I will happily let my husband cook! He doesn’t know this, but I guess he’ll find out. Good thing he likes to cook.

From arts & crafts to hula hoops and mums, Potter's Bridge Fall Festival has it 'covered'

One of the things vendor Mindi Brown is looking forward to about the annual Potter’s Bridge Fall Festival is spending time with her daughter, Raine, and sister in law Nancy Miller as the three share a craft booth and sell their creations at the event.
Mindi, who has been sewing and repurposing clothing since high school and whose style is ‘funky and quirky,’ will be offering hip, one of a kind little girl’s clothing.

Nancy Miller is offering her ‘Sew Schmancy’ aprons, both for adults and kids. Some are vintage style, some are more modern. Raine, who is raising money for her school trip to Washington D.C. in the spring, will be selling skirts with funky prints as well as upcycled wool and cashmere toboggan hats.

The festival, sponsored by the Hamilton County Parks & Recreation Department, is in its 11th year. Marketing and Event Specialist Michele Arndt, who has overseen the event since 2002, has watched it grow from just six vendors to around fifty this year. “I love the Arts & Crafts booths and look forward to going there and shopping,” she shares.

Vendors this year are offering everything from birdhouses, fine arts, baby quilts, homemade purses, jewelry, handknits, kids clothing, and aprons, to holiday decorations and hula hoops.

Food offerings will include: elephant ears, hot dogs, hamburgers, sno-cones, and popcorn. On the non-food front, Faith Community Church is holding a silent auction, A Corner Cottage is selling mums; and there will be face painting, balloon art, a climbing wall, and a bounce house to entertain the kids. Live music will take place from 12-2pm by Carmel cover band The Bishops.

If you go: admission is free. Potter’s Bridge is located at 19401 North Allisonville Road, Noblesville. The festival is from 11am-3pm. Call the Parks & Recreation Dept. with questions at 770-4400.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Historic Homes of Noblesville

Location: 1471 Cherry Street
Owner: Bryan Glover, since March of 2010

Style: Victorian Cottage, circa 1902. The footprint of this t-plan home, which sits on a brick foundation, has changed very little since its construction 108 years ago. The home’s existing front porch is new construction and slightly larger than the original porch which wrapped around only 2 sides of the home. Although new, the turned porch posts and spindle railing reflect the home’s Victorian construction, as does the multi-color paint scheme.

What work have you done on your house? “I had an upstairs master suite added in a remodel. Investor Clay Hildreth added several feet to the back of the house which allowed him to open up the attic and make it livable space. The French doors, bedroom doors and built-in china cabinet which were in the house before the restoration were stripped, refinished and re-hung. Next spring will be landscaping. That includes flowers and plants outdoors, and a pergola/patio for the back. ”

What are your homes favorite features? “ The doors are about 8' tall! The glass panes in the French doors are mostly the original glass. Another favorite is the upstairs master suite, especially the "rain" shower.”

What do you like about this area/neighborhood? “The proximity to downtown and being able to easily access the things I like to do. I live close to my business and Noble Coffee where I spend a lot of time. I’ve met so many people here.”

Celebrate the equinox this time by the light of the moon

I’m looking forward to celebrating the autumn equinox this week. I’m very into celebrating the equinoxes, solstices, and following the cycles of the moon, so I look forward to doing something special when any of these roll around. The equinox (meaning ‘equal night’) falls on Thursday the 23rd, which also happens to align with the harvest moon this year, also falling on the 23rd.

I feel really passionate about this celebration of transition—and I feel like it’s something we have lost along the way. This need to mark the seasons and cycles of the moon is ingrained in us because this is how our ancient ancestors marked time and seasons. I feel like it’s an imperative and recharging way to feel more connected with the earth and others, when almost all of the rest of the time we’re caught in artificial time, 24/7 shopping and working, and activity overload.

Do you notice the changing of the light in the fall? It just feels and looks different, it seems more golden somehow. And the leaves have already started changing. All too soon, fall will be over and winter will be here. This is why we do this—to take time to slow down and savor the moment.

Marking the rhythms of the earth this way is significant and something we as a family and our friends look forward to. It will be a simple celebration—just food, music, friends. We’re getting together to share a meal and linger outside as long as we can. We’ll definitely hoop. Maybe do a rain dance. Or maybe a rain hoopdance? We also wanted to have a bonfire, but I doubt that’s going to happen thanks to this drought and the subsequent burning ban. Darn!

But hallelujah, we’ll have the light of the moon.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Six private residences open their doors for Tour of Historic Homes

The circa 1875 Italianate -style home of Mark and Suzanne Augustson at 1352 Cherry St., is one of six private homes on the tour.
The ornate woodwork on the stairway is one of the favorite features of the home owned by Pete and Barb Lapitsky at 1139 Cherry St.

Pete and Barb Lapitsky attend the Noblesville Preservation Alliance Tour of Historic homes every year, checking out what their fellow residents have done with the homes they own.

“I like to get ideas and see features that my house doesn’t have,” Pete says. “I especially love the wood features in the homes. I love the charm and small town, neighborhood feel.”

Now, it's the Lapitsky's turn to show what they have done with their own creation. Their home is one of six private residences on the tour annual tour Sept. 18 downtown in addition to other historic points of interest in the city.

One of the oldest of its kind in Central Indiana, the tour will also include Fire Engine 521, in service for 40 years in Noblesville, the Henry Flagler train car, the Victorian House, the Sheriff’s Residence, the Judge Stone House, and the First Presbyterian Church.
Geoff Davis of the Blue Stone Folk School will be conducting workshops throughout the day in the Judge Stone House. NEED ADDRESS History buffs will enjoy several talks by Hamilton County historian David Heighway at 11 a.m. And 1 p.m., also in the Judge Stone House.

There will be music performances throughout the day at various locations, and a hog roast fundraiser at the First Presbyterian Church, 1207 Conner St.

The homeowners have been busy preparing for the tour. The residences include:
1179 Conner St.—Althouse family
1393 Conner St.—Walters family
1471 Cherry St.—Glover family
1352 Cherry St.—Augustson family
1139 Cherry St.—Lapitsky family
1082 Maple Ave.—Dawson family

Advance tickets may be purchased for $10 at the Sheriff’s Residence, 810 Conner, A Corner Cottage, 895 Conner St., Noble Coffee and Tea, 933 Logan, Mr. G’s, 2209 Conner, and online at www.noblesvillepreservation.com.

On the day of the tour, tickets will be $12 and available at the Sheriff’s Residence and the First Presbyterian Church.
Proceeds from the tour will fund NPA projects, such as the new homeowner façade grant program which will award a total of $3,000 a year to historic home owners in the city limits for exterior improvements.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Plastic Bags can stuff it, but not with my stuff

And the winner (drawn by Lily) is.....Arthouse!  Congrats!  Thanks all, for entering, and I loved reading your comments.  Here's to fewer plastic bags in our lives.  If you have trouble remembering, making this pact to NOT use plastic will help, because carrying groceries one by one isn't fun. ;)  Also, these little bags that roll up into pouches do make it easy to always have one with you.  It becomes a habit and second nature after awhile, too.

It's time for another eco-conscious rant, and this topic that gets me riled up as much as anything: those annoying, ubiquitous plastic shopping bags.

Can’t stand them and go to great lengths to avoid them. I won’t use plastic bags when shopping, which leads me to either plan ahead and bring my own bags, or not get everything I went to the store for--buying only what I can carry.
I’ve always tried to minimize my plastic bag usage, and so even before I started using reusable bags I was disgusted at how many plastic bags I accumulated even though I was such a minimalist. The recycling bins inside several stores helped, but, still, what a pain to bag up and recycle all those plastic bags that I didn’t want to possess in the first place!

Then I got this big, huge beach bag. Since I don’t go to the beach too often, I realized it would be perfectly suited to hauling groceries, and it held so much. That was quite awhile ago, and I have an assortment of reusable bags now, from cotton totes to my little nylon bags that fold up into little pouches, perfect for stashing in a purse or pocket.

Hopefully cashiers are getting more used to customers bringing their own bags.  They are often surprised how much mine hold, especially considering that cashiers sometimes only put one or two items in each bag when using plastic.  Unless you bring your own, you could easily walk out of a shopping trip with dozens of those things.  Yikes!

Here's a challenge:  count how many plastic bags come into your house in the course of a week.   Leave a comment on my blog about how you’re reducing your plastic bag consumption.  I’m giving away a cool green flip & tumble bag that will fit in the palm of your hand.  I'll pick a winner Sept. 21.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

In the Hoop

Here's my second cover story!  My hooping passion.  I'm so thrilled my new friend Lynn has moved to Noblesville.  Our kids even attend the same elementary--she literally lives less than a mile from me.

The link is here.    Story is on p. 9.

Stirring story demonstrates how U.S., Malian cultures worlds apart

This summer I read Monique and the Mango Rains, by Kris Holloway. Kris recounts her service in the Peace Corps, where she was partnered with the village midwife, Monique, in a village in Mali, Africa. Their partnership evolved into a deep and lasting friendship and forever changed Kris’s life.

I know (on a mostly superficial level having never experienced extreme poverty firsthand) that I’ve got it good here in the US. To read an account of the vast disparities between here and there, it doesn’t seem at all possible that we exist on the same planet. The average Malian earns, in an entire year, around $230.

Life is very hard, especially on the women. It boggles my mind that women make the meals, serve the men first, and then serve themselves and the children what’s left, if any. Over 96 percent of girls undergo circumcision in varying degrees of severity, often leading to lifelong problems and even death.

Monique worked with no electricity, no running water, and no emergency help. In her work with her, Kris realized that Monique’s ‘simple tools, clean hands, and sharp mind’ contrasted so sharply with US hospitals, where technology and not touch was the status quo, that when Kris came back to the US and had her own babies, she chose homebirths with a midwife.

This book made me laugh and cry. There are several stories that stand out, but the one where Kris relates her conversation about inviting Monique to fly to the US to visit had me laughing so hard I cried, and I was completely sucker punched when I came to the end and read the sad reason for Kris and her husband’s return to Mali.

This book (the library has it) will stay with me for a long time.