Wednesday, April 29, 2015

procrastinating with a picture

There are a lot of things I should be doing right now instead of reading blogs and posting here, including some editing work on a tight deadline, prepping for my teaching gig tomorrow, and dealing with a backlog of pictures from some volunteer projects I have going at the kids' school. Before I get to all that, I wanted to pop in here and share a picture I took of Daniel and Anya a couple weeks ago. I was happy enough with the result (after some messing around with editing software) that I had it printed at a professional photography store and sent it to my dad. His birthday was last week, and it was one of those that ends with a "0", so I felt a little bad that the present arrived late. He claims he doesn't mind, but I still do, a little.

Anyway, happy birthday Opa!

We love you lots!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! brinner edition

Y'all know what "brinner" is, right? (My spellchecker does not know; it keeps changing "brinner" to "bringer"!) Brinner is when you make breakfast for dinner. We love breakfast food chez Madtown Mama, and I thought the kids would have fun with this. I wasn't wrong.

As soon as Anya suggested Brinner for TNFC, I knew right away we should make waffles, and not just any waffles, either, but the "Rich Buttermilk Waffles" from How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman (we have the older edition). Not only are waffles DELICIOUS, but this particular recipe requires some skills I want the kids to learn, such as separating eggs, whipping up egg whites, and careful measuring.

I have found that it helps to gather your ingredients before getting started, especially when you're cooking with kids.
First we measured the dry ingredients. Both Daniel and Anya tend to be Very Precise about measuring and leveling off flour, baking soda, and the like. It was hard to be patient.

Daniel gives the dry ingredients a stir.
 Separating the eggs was fun, but also caused a bit of anxiety. The recipe calls for two eggs. Daniel's separated fine...

...but Anya's gave her a bit of trouble. You can't see it in the picture below, but the yolk broke and got into the white, which means the white couldn't be used for beating into a fluff. I got impatient (my biggest flaw is impatience, I think), she got upset, but we calmed down and tried again. The second go was much better, and we ended up with an extra egg in the waffle batter, which isn't such a bad thing, really.

They had fun whipping up the egg whites, too; if you follow me on IG you can see a couple short videos of that, including one where Daniel wonders if running the beaters backwards will "unbeat" the egg.

Once the batter was mixed and ready, I sent the kids down for their screen time while I cooked sausage, sliced fruit, and whipped some cream. You can't have waffles without whipped cream and fruit, didn't you know?

Stack of waffles with toasted walnuts, real maple syrup, fresh fruit, whipped cream and sausage on the side.

Rich Buttermilk Waffles (from How to Cook Everything, first edition, by Mark Bittman

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I subbed 1/2 cup whole wheat for part of it)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 and 3/4 cups buttermilk (or 1 and 1/2 cups yogurt or sour cream thinned with 1/4 cup milk)
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 4 T butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (Bittman says this is optional; we opted in)
  1. Combine the dry ingredients.
  2. Mix together buttermilk (or yogurt/sour cream) and egg yolks, then stir in butter and vanilla.
  3. Stir wet and dry ingredients together without over mixing.
  4. Beat egg whites with a whisk or mixer until they hold soft peaks, then fold into the batter.
  5. Cook in waffle iron one ladleful at a time. They'll keep warm in a 225-degree oven.
Pros: Waffles are fun! They're fun to make and fun to eat. Having breakfast for dinner feels special sometimes. They are also easy to make and relatively quick.

Cons: There were no vegetables with this meal. Somehow, salad just didn't seem like a good fit. Meh. It's not the end of the world. Still, I've got a big bag of spinach to have with tomorrow's dinner to make up for it.

Next time: Would I do anything differently? I don't think so! This brinner was pretty tasty if I do say so. I suppose if I wanted to sneak in vegetables, I could make a spinach omelette with a smaller serving of waffles on the side. Or dessert waffles...mmm, now that sounds like a fun thing to try!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! blueberry muffins edition

I have to admit I sort of phoned it in for TNFC this week. I was just at the grocery store on Friday, yet we're out of almost everything but dried pasta and storage carrots that are starting to sprout (mouth-watering, no?) and my teaching/rehearsal schedule is so insane I don't have time to restock the proverbial pantry until late Thursday night. Also, I've had a sore throat since Sunday night, but I haven't felt sick, so I think it's a combination of stress and allergies. It's just that time of the school year/semester.

My original plan for Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! was to make chicken noodle soup and some kind of quick bread. It's a good antidote for the mild allergies and cold, blustery weather we're suffering from (to say we're truly suffering from allergies is a stretch, but as for the weather, it was actually snowing a little bit on my way to work this morning and it's snowing again now so I think the complaint is warranted). It didn't quite work out that way, though. Read on.

I gave Daniel and Anya a choice between cornbread or blueberry muffins to go with the soup. Of course they chose blueberry muffins. Who wouldn't? They're delicious. And they have this amazing super fruit as a major ingredient so we can pretend they are a legitimate component of a balanced meal and not dessert masquerading as a carb-y side dish.

Maybe it's the week I'm having, but making those muffins really stretched my patience. The kids didn't complain about doing any of the tasks, but Daniel was tired (he is always tired when it's time to cook, I've noticed) and they both wanted a turn doing e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Even turning on the oven. Anya tried first, but it took her too long to find the right buttons and the display started to blink impatiently at her, and she got frustrated and then Daniel took over.

Fortunately, the recipe has two of just about everything - two eggs, two cups of flour, two teaspoons baking soda, you get the picture - so making sure they both had a turn measuring and dumping and stirring wasn't too complicated. They particularly liked mashing the blueberries and did so with gusto!

When the batter was finally, finally mixed up and cupcake liners were finally, finally selected and ready in the pan, I gave them each a turn scooping batter into one cup. Miraculously, none of the batter spilled when they did so. Usually I make an ungodly mess when I do it. 

By the time the muffins were baking in the oven, I just knew I didn't have it in me to have the kids help with soup. For one thing, when I make soup, I often make it up as I go, which is not a good method for cooking with kids. They do better when there are instructions to follow and plan with more details than "Let's scrounge what we can out of the fridge and see what's coming up in the garden that we can throw in there." Yes, they need to learn those skills of putting together a meal out of whatever you've got around, but today just wasn't the day to learn that.

So I let them have their screen time while I went and foraged in the yard. I totally would have made them do this with me except that the weather is so yucky I didn't want to be outside any extra time having an educational experience. I just dashed out there long enough to grab some sorrel, chives and garlic greens. 

Green things!
In the end, the soup and muffins were delicious, and for that reason, I consider the meal a success. In some ways I feel like I should have made the kids help with the soup since that was the main dish and they would have learned more. Maybe next week.

Here are the finished muffins cooling on the rack.

Chicken soup!

Blueberry Muffins (recipe from my mom, instructions adapted somewhat below):

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 and 1/2 cups blueberries (mash 1/2 cup)
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. milk
  1. Heat oven to 375. Allow at least 5 minutes for this task if it involves explaining to your 7yo how to do it.
  2. Have the 9yo beat the butter until creamy
  3. Have the 7yo beat the butter some more.
  4. Have the 9yo measure out 1 cup sugar using a measuring cup and a teaspoon to scoop it in spoonful by painstaking spoonful because the sugar is low in the canister and he can't scoop it out all at once. Add sugar and beat until mixture is pale and fluffy. 
  5. Add one egg and have the 7yo mix it up.
  6. Add the other egg and have the 9yo mix it up.
  7. Continue to stir for them when they complain that their arms hurt from stirring.
  8. Add baking powder, 1 teaspoon at a time, after explaining at least three times how to level off each spoonful on the straight edge of the baking soda can. When the 7yo can't do it without accidentally dumping the baking powder off the spoon every time, take it from her and start to do it yourself before you see tears welling up in her eyes and you give her one more chance.
  9. Add salt and vanilla yourself because you know better than to let children measure salt over the mixing bowl.
  10. Pause for several minutes so each child has a good long turn boisterously mashing that extra 1/2 cup of blueberries to a juicy pulp before adding it to the butter/egg/sugar mixture.
  11. While the 7yo is stirring in the berries, instruct the 9yo to measure out 1/2 cup of milk.
  12. Explain to both children that the flour and milk should be added in two stages, with half the milk and half the flour added and stirred in gently before the rest is added and mixed. Negotiate who gets to dump the flour in first. Negotiate who gets to dump in half the milk. Negotiate who gets to stir first. Point out multiple times that they both get a turn doing everything so it shouldn't really matter who's first. 
  13. Stir in the rest of the blueberries, declaring it's finally your turn to do something.
  14. Pause for several minutes to put cupcake liners in the pan. Avoid entering the debate over which colors to use from the multi-pack, and in what pattern they should be arranged.
  15. Allow each child to scoop exactly one muffin's worth of batter into the liner before taking over and finishing the task yourself.
  16. Put the muffins in the oven and allow each child to set a timer for 25 minutes so that when they go off you'll be assaulted with beeping noises from all sides.
Got that?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! Italian pasta edition

My apologies for the delay in posting about our most recent Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! adventures.  There was a bit of a technical glitch accessing photos. My computer has a new OS, which required replacing iPhoto (which, let's face it, sucked) with the new Photos app (seems to be an improvement) so for a few days there I couldn't access any photos except a few I have been playing with in Adobe Lightroom; since I hadn't imported anything to LR from my phone, that did me no good. I know all that's confusing, but it doesn't matter. The important thing is, I finally had a few minutes to install Photos so now I can get to all the pictures I have on my phone and share them with all y'all!


Tuesday seems like such a long time ago. What did we eat again? Oh yes, that's right. Pasta! A couple of months ago I checked out Cooking From the Farmers Market from the library in the hopes that it would provide me with oodles of inspiration and dinner ideas. Truthfully, it was kind of a disappointment. Out of more than 200 pages, there are maybe 3 recipes in there I would want to try. Everything else either didn't appeal or was something I already do off the top of my head. But then, I've been cooking  for a long time, so if you're new to it or need ideas for in-season vegetables, this book is probably worth a look. 

The one recipe I made a note of to try is called "Orichette with kale, sausage and chickpeas." Orichette means "little ears" in Italian, and that's what the noodles look like. I bought orichette specifically for this meal, but I think you could use any pasta you have on hand; I could see this working particularly well with penne, for example.

First there was chopping to do. When my parents were here last month, my dad brought a knife along he thought they would be able to handle more easily than our large chef's knife. The one he brought is sharp and handles like a chef's knife, but it's got a shorter blade to it's easier to manage. He left it here; I think that was accidentally-on-purpose! We finally had a chance to try it out on Tuesday, when both kids had some practice mincing garlic. 

Daniel got to practice smashing it first. That was fun.

This took a little while, but she did just fine.
 Next it was time to wash and shred the kale. You can see how thrilled Daniel and Anya were about kale.
This sums up their feelings on kale, both preparing and eating it.
Anya was game to slice sausage. Daniel wanted a turn, but was icked out right away (he hates handling raw meat).

Once all the ingredients were ready, everything went together fairly quickly. Despite their protests about the kale, the kids declared this dish delicious and scarfed it down. They'll eat anything with pasta and sausage, though!

It tasted better than it looks in this picture, I promise.
Orichette with kale, sausage and chickpeas

  • 1 lb. orichette or other pasta
  • 2 bunches kale, washed and shredded with tough stems removed
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes or paprika (we used the latter)
  • 3/4 lb. Italian-style sausage (or whatever kind you prefer), sliced into 1/2" pieces
  • 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • salt as needed
  • shredded parmesan cheese for serving
  1. Cook the pasta according to instructions on the package. Save about one cup of the cooking liquid when you drain them after cooking.
  2. While the noodles are cooking, heat the olive oil on medium low heat in a large saucepan. Toast the garlic and pepper in the oil for about a minute.
  3. Add the kale and cook until the kale wilts, 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the sausage, chickpeas and broth, stir, cover and cook until the sausage is done through and there is no pink in the middle, 5-10 minutes depending on how big those pieces are.
  5. Stir in the pasta along with some of the reserved liquid if it looks too dry. Heat through for a couple minutes.
  6. Serve with shredded Parmesan and enjoy!
Pros: Delicious. Easy. Comes together in a half hour. Includes carbs, protein and lots of greens, so this is a balanced dish. The kids could do most of the steps independently. I did most of the stove top tasks like handling the big pot of cooked noodles and stirring the other ingredients in the large saucepan.

Cons: Are there any? The only drawback in terms of logistics of cooking with kids is that I like when we have something to stick in the oven for a half hour (like a casserole or roasted chicken pieces or something) so I have a little time to clean up before we reconvene to eat. The fact that this pasta dish can be prepared quickly means it's good for when we don't have an early start time making dinner.

Next time: I don't know if I would change anything about this recipe, to be honest! You could easily substitute meatless sausage if you want (having spent Easter weekend with some vegetarians, this was on my mind). 

Friday, April 17, 2015

friday recommdations: susan needs to chill out edition

*Stil no Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! I'm afraid. I really wasn't making up the issues with accessing my photos in the new iOS, which Stuart finally believed when he saw the problem for himself. Lots of pop-up windows declaring "Cannot access this or that without updated version of thingamajig" and then "Thingamajig not available except in Singapore." I am not making this up. Major software bug there. When I get this resolved, I'll put up a post, I promise! Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! is no fun at all without photos.

I've had a week. Stress at my teaching job, plus lots of music to learn, plus soccer starting up for both kids, plus Stuart has work stress, we're about to get the cost estimate for a huge renovation happening this summer, and then this afternoon my car was backed into.

"Oh shit" I said when I heard the crunch and felt the bump, and the kids barely flinched. The other driver and I agreed it was mutual fault; we were in a narrow parking lot in spaces directly across from each other and started backing out at exactly the same time before colliding. Rotten timing, not really her fault and not really mine; we'll see if our insurance companies agree. It was a slow collision, so the damage is minor - the bumper of her SUV has a tiny scratch, while the back bumper of my little Prius is rather crumpled and will definitely need to be repaired. After we exchanged insurance and contact information and went on our ways, Daniel said softly, "I heard what you said, mom" and I replied "Sometimes it just needs to be said." Wisely, he nodded quietly and didn't pursue the matter.

Earlier this week my house was full of big, burly, cordial men in work boots and sweatshirts discussing things like excavation and sewer drains and jackhammers and recessed lighting and siding options until I started getting light headed.

It's too much. Today I can feel my hair turning gray.

A few weeks ago during the spring break that existed for everyone but me, even my dad told me to loosen up. He's right. I'm struggling with this still because I'm being pulled in a thousand different directions, all of which need to be top priority, but for the sake of my own mental health and the people around me, I need to learn how to deal. So here's what I recommend for that:

  1. Get enough sleep. I don't truly get enough sleep, usually, because I tend to wake up in the middle of the night and quietly panic. But I try to go to bed at a decent hour at least.
  2. Ten deep breaths. When I got home today with 3 bags of groceries, 2 cranky kids, a crumpled bumper, the knowledge that only a fraction of my to-do list was going to be crossed off, and only the barest idea of a plan for dinner, I actually stood in front of my bookshelf and said out loud, "Breathe, Susan. Breathe." And I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths and it helped. Kind of.
  3. Get shit done instead of clean the house. I do a  lot of work (re: practicing) at home. Sometimes if I want to procrastinate I'll wash dishes or vacuum or fold laundry or dust shelves or invent some cleaning task or other to pretend I'm being productive. Sometimes that is a terrible idea and it's better to ignore it and do the work I really need to do (like learn the orchestral tutti sections for the Dvorak cello concerto...for example).
  4. Tidy up. I know this looks completely contradictory to #3, but if my people are around and I can't get any actual work (re: practicing) done and I'm feeling stressed about the state of all things in my life, I'll take 5-10 minutes to tidy up some area that needs it and then I feel a little bit better. 
  5. Daydream. Sometimes I just need a few minutes to visualize myself somewhere completely different. Usually it involves me being completely alone in a cozy cabin in the woods with a roaring fire, a good book and NO INTERRUPTIONS. It's a fantasy that will never, ever happen, but thinking about it does calm my mood sometimes.
  6. A good book. Last week I posted about what I'm reading. I don't have as much time to read recreationally as I'd like, but I always read a little bit before I go to sleep. It gives me something to think about.
What about you? What do you do to cope with stress?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tuesday Night Fun Cooking!...

...will be posted shortly! The OS on our laptop just got updated and I can't access my photos until I download something or other. I'm done in for the evening anyway. Check back later this week, though. The recipe this week was a good one.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday recommendations: reading edition

Tempting as it is to put my feet up, pour another glass of wine and declare TGIF! I've got a humdinger of a weekend ahead of me. Tomorrow morning I'm taking a class at a local camera store to learn how to use some photo editing software, and then I have to get ready to play on a senior trombone recital in the evening. I know my part, but I also know I'm not going to play every note correctly. I told Stuart I'll just have to play the rest of the notes convincingly enough nobody notices the wrong ones, and he said I should play the wrong ones convincingly, too, while I'm at it. Come to think of it, that's good advice. Sunday will be spent prepping for my teaching job and rehearsing with a cellist whose recital is coming up in less than a month. Somewhere in there I should probably do the laundry and spend some time with my family. Whew.

Anyhoo, here are my recommendations for the week! Here are a few things I've been loving lately:

This book was recommended to me by a friend and fellow musician who has taken a particular interest lately with the cultural history of the Midwest. The author, Debra Marquart, grew up in a large farming family in North Dakota. Her family history is remarkably like mine: ancestors of German origin living in the Russian steppes in the late 1800s who fled for America to avoid being drafted into military service for Russia, then had lots and lots and lots of babies and farmed in the American Midwest through most of the 20th century before education took the latest generation elsewhere. Marquart is a beautiful writer, and she demonstrates that only someone who has grown up in a place like North Dakota can write about it with both wry cynicism and dignity at the same time.

  •  Why America's Obsession with STEM is dangerous. This article is spot on, in my opinion. Obsessing about STEM whether American students are performing well enough in these subjects pushes aside the importance of creative thinking and how that is fostered in literature, art, music and other areas of the fine arts. I only wish the author had gone a little farther and pointed out the great cultural value in support of these fields on their own merit, not just for the sake of enhancing science and technology.

I recently checked this book out from the library, and I'm enjoying reading it more than I thought I would. I know basically nothing about photography, but I want to get better at it on an amateur level, and for some reason I decided to focus on food photography. I had been waiting for this one for a while, but I think back when I first requested it I had just started the Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! series and was looking for ways to take better pictures of the food we're eating. I guess I'm just kind of a geek and like to read up as much as possible about everything I do. I haven't read the whole book, but so far it's accessible language and author doesn't assume you own a DSLR, though there is a lot of useful technical advice in there. I figure knowing how to take good photos of food will translate to other subjects, like my kids and garden and crafting projects, you know, all those outside interests I've got.

What about you? What have you been reading lately??

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! interrupted edition

We took a little road trip over Easter weekend and drove to Lawrence, KS to visit my cousin Steph and her husband Eric. It was a grand time with much socializing (Steph's parents drove up for 24 hours to visit, which was wonderful!) and disc golfing and trail running and egg dyeing and general hanging out and having a good time. 

Nostril selfies and goofing off with uncle Eric
It was a lot of driving, though, and we were all pretty exhausted when we got home yesterday. We all had to hit the ground running today with school and work and whatnot, but even so, I didn't want to let the kids off the hook with Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! 

Tonight's menu was veggie burgers and buns, all from scratch. We started off well enough. The kids helped mix up dough for 90-minute rolls (recipe at the bottom of this post from a few weeks ago, plus I've copied it again below).

Unfortunately, soon after the dough was mixed up, Daniel started feeling unwell, so I set him up on the couch with the TV remote and got to work on the burgers. Anya helped a bit with the food processor, but I did the rest. 

(This has been such an awful year for the kids. It's been one virus after another every 2-3 weeks since November. I've been completely stressed out about it, too.)

Despite the stress and interruption, I do have something to share. These veggie/bean burgers are one of the kids' favorite vegetarian meals. I think we'll have to do them again sometime when everyone is healthy enough to help out a little more.

Burger. On a plate. With condiments in the background. My blossoming career as a food stylist isn't going so great

Black bean veggie burgers (my original invention, but I'm sure it's similar to others you'll find out there)
Note: these don't taste anything like meat, nor do they pretend to. Meat tastes like meat. Beans and spices don't taste like meat, but they make good burgers anyway.

  • 2 T. oil for cooking
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp. garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 bunch kale, roughly chopped (about 2-3 cups uncooked, I'm guessing) and other greens like collards, chard or spinach work quite well, too, if they are in season
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. chili powder (I used ground anchos because they are mild)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • More oil for cooking the patties
  1. In a wide saucepan, sauté the onions in the oil over medium low heat until they are nice and soft, at least 10 minutes. 
  2. Add the garlic, kale and spices, and cook another several minutes until the greens are wilted. 
  3. Add the salt and beans and continue cooking until there isn't much liquid left, about 5 minutes. You can let the mixture cool so it isn't difficult to handle.
  4. Put the cooked bean mixture into a food processor with the bread crumbs and process until you have a nice mushy paste. It won't be attractive!
  5. At this point you can scoop out whatever portion you plan to use for one meal and mix it with an egg, saving the rest in the fridge for the future. Once you mix the egg in, I think it needs to be used rather quickly, but without the egg, the bean mixture should keep several days in the fridge.
  6. In a cast iron saucepan (or heavy non-stick pan, but I really recommend cast iron, as I've said before), heat a couple tablespoons oil over medium heat. Carefully scoop the bean mixture about 1/4 cup at a time into the pan. Let each patty cook for a few minutes before you flip it over.* When it's firm all the way through and crispy on the outside, it's ready to put on a bun and adorn with your choice of condiments! 

*Bean burgers don't hold together as well as meat. They just don't, no matter what I try. I have found, however, that when I make veggie/bean burgers, the mixture holds together better after a day in the fridge. I don't know why. I like making a big batch of these so we can cook up one half on the first day and save the rest for later in the week.

Mary Ann's 90-minute rolls (note: I used this recipe to make 12 rather flattened buns for tonight's burgers)

Mary Ann is my mom, and this is actually a recipe from her mother, so it's well-established in the family. This is a good one to try if you're not an experienced bread baker because it's relatively quick as yeasted breads go, and rather forgiving.

  • 1 c. milk, scalded
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 2T. butter
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 T. yeast
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 3 c. flour (I used 1 c. whole wheat and 2 c. white)

  1. Combine milk, sugar, butter and salt.
  2. Dissolve yeast in water, then add to milk mixture.
  3. Sitr in flour but don't knead.
  4. Cover and let rise for 50 minutes.
  5. Form into rolls (15-18 total, depending on how big you make them).
  6. Let rise 20 minutes or so until puffy.
  7. Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
You know they're handmade when they're not perfectly round.


I'm popping in here for a quick PSA to all Madison and Wisconsin readers. Please please PLEASE remember to vote today. I know that the news is all about the Badgers' loss last night and in your despair you may forget that we have an election today. Among other things on the ballot are the mayoral election, the school referendum (vote YES!! for our schools; this referendum will pay for some badly needed infrastructure updates like disabled access and interior walls at Jefferson Middle School), a supreme court election (I'm voting for Bradley) and a referendum for the chief justice selection process (vote NO on that one!).

Our state and our city has been hurt so badly by elections the last few years. Let's see if we can make things a little better.