Friday, February 26, 2010

Addressing the Lenten Season by Drinking Milk from a Glass Bottle

Lent is most notably a season of sacrifice for many in the Catholic faith and a smattering of Protestant believers. Many who practice lent choose to give up things such as coffee, caffeine, chocolate or media from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday. Equally popular, many of the faith communities will add something to their daily lives such a reading scripture, praying for one thing specifically or praying more, thinking positively, etc. This year for lent, the Harrington's are trying to add goodness to their lives via the spiritual by reading the New Testament and placing greater focus on Prayer. However, the Harrington's also made a decision to get intentional about food consumption, as it is a topic of passion for various reasons.

Melissa Harrington has been passionate about food for as long as she can remember; whether it was to eat or prepare, to be healthy or homemade. Mike Harrington as well has always been passionate about the consumption of food and has become increasingly passionate about food and where it comes from as he's learned about dumpster diving and watched movies such as Food Inc. With these things in mind and a desire to support the local community, the Harrington's have committed themselves to only purchasing food items from Laramie's Big Hollow Food Co-op and Whole Earth Grainery until Easter. One of the greatest facets of this committment is that the Harrington's are not only eating wholesome, local foods, but they also are receiving the joy of drinking milk from a glass bottle. For the Harrington's, these are the good ole days.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Less Than a Week Left to Contribute

That's right, the Jackalope Jump is just around the corner. In fact, it's this Saturday, at 1:00. The current weather in Laramie is 15 degrees, but fortunately it's scheduled to warm up a little according to the weather man (so who really knows?). Right now, the forecast says that Saturday will be partly cloudy with a high of 34 degrees, a low of 17 degrees and a 20% chance of precipitation. Translation: Nice and toasty for a seasoned Wyomingite living in Laramie!

The chances of Mr. Harrington donning a hat, mask, red bandana and other such Lone Ranger garb is 112.5%. He will definitely be getting in the water. The question is only: How far? That question will remain unanswered until jump day. However, Mr. Harrington did hint to the fact that the more donations he gets, the more likely he will be to fully submerge himself in the frigid waters of Huck Finn pond. In his jump group, Mr. Harrington stands at a disappointing #3 in the rankings in terms of fundraising. Any normal person would be excited to be in that position. However, Mr. Harrington is not a normal person. He has allowed his competitiveness to get to him, and wants to go for the gold. Perhaps he will even create a gold medal for himself in the spirit of the Winter Olympics...but first, he must get the gold!

The race is on, the fundraising is for a worthy cause! Only days left to determine what medal Mr. Harrington will fasten to himself after his jump, and how far he will submerge himself in the frigid waters. To give, please visit his giving homepage at: and click "Give now". Please help Mr. Harrington's icy dip feel worthwhile! You can also use the application on the right:

Disclaimer: Mr. Harrington in no way wants you to give under compulsion--only for the satisfactory reason of giving to a worthy cause: The Wyoming Special Olympics.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Travel Preparedness: A Four Part Series - Part 2

This week, The Harrington Times again picks up with Melissa Harrington as she lays out some of the details as to how her and the hubs are going about preparing for their world travel. This week, Melissa takes a look at how they have taken steps to prepare mentally.

It seems to me, the preparing mentally may be the hardest to describe, but I'll give it my best shot. I'll begin by bringing in some overlapping preparation 'techniques' from our talk on preparing physically. In our post regarding physical preparation I discussed our commitment to reading books, blogs and other online resources in a manner of preparing where our physical bodies will rest and what adventures they will enjoy. For obvious reasons, reading is also a crucial step in preparing ourselves mentally for our travels. By spending time reading about traveling in general to reading about our specific cultural destinations we are able to prepare our minds for any challenges or celebratory moments that may present themselves.

A couple of examples: Mike in particular has done much reading in regards to the types of adventures available to those travelling the Garden Route of South Africa. These have included such things as diving with sharks, bungee jumping, tearing down a mountain on a mountain bike, walking among cheetahs and putting elephants to bed. Each of these has, especially for myself, some need of mental preparation. I find myself asking: "Can I REALLY handle bungee jumping off of a bridge? What will I think of myself if I don't participate in such-and-such crazy adventure? Will I be able to stand my ground and say 'no' to some of these activities which I'm not excited about?" And so, the mental preparation continues in due course.

Because our travels have us ending in an Asian nation to teach English as a Foreign Language, mental preparation has also included completing online coursework to receive a TEFL certificate - offering us the mental process of examining our own language and becoming even more accustomed to the idiosyncrasies of our native language.

Beyond these manifestations of preparing mentally, we must constantly keep all our preperations in check. This becomes a mental, emotional and spiritual process of keeping ourselves in the current moment, not allowing fear of potential travel crises to gain a firm grip on our emotions but rather allowing them to move us forward in preparation, seeking out wisdom in regards to travel safety and so much more.

Join us again next week as the Harrington's offer their readers some insight as to how they've gone about preparing for their travels on an emotional front.

Stories from the Couch: February 16th

The Harrington's had the great joy of hosting a loving, gentle, generous and beautiful woman this past Tuesday evening. Having read that there guest had an interest in intentional communities the Harrington's eagerly invited their dear friend Mark, who is also interested in intentional communities, over to enjoy a dinner of Pancakes with homemade Strawberry-Apple Syrup followed by Chips and Salsa with a Guiness. By the time they were enjoying the chips and salsa course, they had also been joined by another dear friend, Mike N., recently returned from Malawi as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Pancakes were provided by the Harrington's in celebration of Mardi Gras while their Surfer offered chips and salsa as a pleasant salty addition to the evenings eating enjoyment. However, it was not the food that made the meal memorable, it was rather, the conversations of the night.

After acquiring all the formal information regarding livlihoods, travel routes, weather etc. the Harrington's and guests were fortunate to hear Julia refer to her sense that Wyoming was a 'Yes', Nebraska was a 'No'. The fortune of this moment lies primarily in the mutual realizations of Mark and Melissa that these phrases are part of a most beloved song, "Oh Yes! Wyoming!" The dinner party enjoyed a good laugh and prepared to watch the video presenting this gem of a sing-a-long.

The evening continued late into the evening with conversations surrounding food production, healthy food habits, the government and the corruption of America, tire houses and desires for future gardens and intentional living. All who were present were filled with joy in their having come together and having the opportunity to share life for one short yet full-of-life night.

In the morning, the Harrington's enjoyed a breakfast of polenta, topped with black-beans, salsa and eggs prepared by Julia before heading off to work and sending Julia on her way back to California after a few years out east studying and practicing art.

Chalk that up for one more positive experience for Mike and Melissa via

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Travel Preparedness: A Four Part Series - Part 1

Recently, Melissa Harrington received a note from a dear friend, Erin Cochran. A few weeks ago, the two ladies had the chance to talk about the Harrington's upcoming travels and Erin's own desires to do some travelling herself in the next year or so. The note Melissa received included a couple of poignant questions regarding travel and preparing travel. The questions have thus inclined Melissa to offer readers of The Harrington Times an insiders look at the processing involved with long-term travel plans. Melissa will take a look at preparing to travel in the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual senses. Today, Melissa begins with a look at Travel Preparedness in the Physical Sense. To the Readers of The Harrington Times, I am grateful for this opportunity to share with you the process, thoughts and conversations that have surrounded Mike and I planning for our world tour. When asked to consider how we prepare to travel physically, many things come to mind. I think of our physical condition, I think of our physical belongings, I think of physically having a place to stay. So it is with such things in mind that I delve into how Mike and I prepare for travel in the physical sense, attempting not to overlap into other areas, but also hoping not to be overly compartmentalized in our view of travel.

To begin our physical preparation there has been our long standing practice of eating in a Freegan manner - meaning we have enjoyed the joy of dumpster diving and eating dumpster gourmet for over a year now. While it may seem silly to many, we have always joked that by eating food items that are on their 'last leg' we are strengthening our immune and digestive systems which will surely pay off when eating various foods around the world. Obviously, we have no true sense of whether or not this is true, but continue to view it as one small way we have prepared for world travel in a physical sense.

Beyond eating discarded food items we have also done some reading. Mike especially has been immersed in various Travel Guides, online travel sources and Nelson Mandela's autobiography. These readings have helped us to book hostels, consider various adventure outings while in various locations and to begin to get a feel for the cultures and people we will be visiting. As St. Augustine says about travel: "The world is a book and those who do not travel read only page." And as we feel about books, by reading more than one page, we are better equipped and prepared to travel.

Other than reading and booking places to lay our weary physical bodies during our days of travel we also take physical precautions, such as vaccinations. We are often checking and conversing about which vaccinations we have, that which we need, and what prescriptions we may need. We are up to date on our Hepatitis series, looking at our Tetanus records, Typhoid records and considering Yellow Fever. We know that we will need a prescription for anti-Malaria pills and that we will be wise to have had our teeth cleaned and eyes checked prior to boarding the plane.

The last way in which we prepare physically is also a way in which we prepare materialistically. We spend many conversations discussing what to do with our belongings and of course how to pack for a years worth of travel. Being that we are still young in our marriage and careers, we have few belongings of deep value, so we plan to sell lots of our belongings. However, we also have conversations with friends and family, asking whether or not they are willing to help us by storing and keeping things until we return, we are blessed to often hear that they are willing and even happy to help us. We've also received advice on things to take and ways to ensure we can bring souvenirs back home.

So we move forward, preparing physically to leave this home and set up home throughout the world, recognizing that it is not in our possessions that we find happiness or fulfillment but that it is in experiencing love and grace, compassion and joy. This is what we look forward to seeing in our travels.

We are always open to suggestions, advice, questions etc. So, if you are well-versed in travel or have picked up some valuable tips in your lifetime- please comment or contact us, we don't go about these travel plans alone. Thank you.

The Harrington Times will continue with this series next week as we take a look into how the Harrington's are preparing for thier trip in a mental capacity. Until then, safe travels.

Dinner for Two

In celebration of Love and Togetherness, Mike and Melissa Harrington have begun a Valentine's tradition of preparing a meal together. In 2009 they prepared a Rachel Ray meal of Breaded Steak Tips on a bed of Spinach with Amaretto Ice Cream to finish off this meal. For this years meal, they kept the steak but went for a Roasted Vegetable Linguine rather than a spinach salad. The Linguine recipe was from the most recent issue of Vegetarian Times and filled the palate with warmth and excitement. Rachel Ray again had the perfect, and deliciously simple recipe for the Elk Sirloins the Harrington's enjoyed. As for dessert, Melissa worked a little magice and experimentation which yeilded what will forever be known as Chai Cake. Should you be in the mood to enjoy any of these dishes, continue reading as the recipes have been published here in The Harrington Times.
Roasted Vegetable Linguine with Fresh Basil
2 cups sliced Shiitake Mushrooms
1/2 lb. Asparagus, cut into 1.5 inch pieces
1 sm. Onion, coarsely chopped
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
2-3 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
2 cups Cherry Tomatoes
1/2 cup White Wine
1/2 pkg. Linguine
1/2 cup torn Fresh Basil
Preheat oven to 450. Toss together mushrooms, asparagus, onion, oil, garlic and red paper flakes in roasting pan. Roast 20 minutes until mushrooms and onion begin to brown, stir occassionally. Meanwhile, begin boiling a pot of water for noodles and prepare as directed, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water. Add tomatoes to roasting pan for 7-10 minutes. Remove veggies from oven and place in a bowl. Pour wine into roasting pan and place in oven for about 5 minutes. Remove roasting pan from oven, add 1/2 cup of pasta water to heated wine. Toss linguine, vegetables and wine/water mix in a pot, heat through on the stove.
Pepper-Crusted Sirloin
4 Elk or Beef Sirloin Steaks
4 Tbsp. Pepper
2 Tps. Olive Oil
Heat olive oil in a non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until oil begins to smoke. Press one side of steak onto peppered plate, place peppered side down in hot skillet. Cook steak for 3-4 minutes on peppered side, flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Enjoy.

Chai Cake and Frosting
3/4 cups Butter
1/4 cup Apple Sauce
1 cup Sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla
1 cup Plain Yogurt
1 3/4 cups Flour
3/4 tsp. Baking Soda
3/4 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. grated Orange Zest
3 Tbsp. Orange Juice
Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg - to taste
Preheat oven to 350, grease and flour two round cake pans. Cream together butter and sugar. Add apple sauce, yogurt and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet, mix. Split batter between cake pans and bake in oven for 20-30 minutes until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool. Add frosting if desired. Enjoy with wonderful people and a cup of hot tea.
For Frosting: (this is what I used because it's all I had on hand, you could easily make a frosting with less ingredients and it would suit the cake perfectly)
2 Tbsp. Butter
1 cup or so Powdered Sugar
1/2 cup Marshmallow cream
1/2 cup Yogurt
1 Tbsp. Orange Juice
Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg, Flaked Coconut - to Taste
Beat ingredients together in a bowl, spread on cake.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Breakfast in their Pajamas

On Saturday, February 6th, Mike and Melissa had the immense pleasure of enjoying breakfast with the Harrington sisters, Mark, Mihretu, and Zuma. The Harrington's have done their best to create a tradition of weekly Family Dinners, usually taking place on a Thursday night. This past week however, some conflict arose in scheduling putting the family meal back a couple days, opening up Saturday for a breakfast and pajama date. The Harrington's along with their brotherly friend, Mark had the added joy of babysitting Mihretu while his parents attended an important meeting. The five adults, one toddler and one puppy enjoyed a lazy Saturday morning with Breakfast Smoothies and Cinnamon Rolls. The event was a success and could easily find itself duplicated within the coming weeks and months, perhaps even with a slumber party thrown in the night before. However, only time will tell when the Harrington's will share the first moments of their day together again.

Lessons from the Couch: January 26th - 28th

On January 26th, Mike and Melissa Harrington gave a gentlemen from the Netherlands permission to enter their home one half hour before their return home from their days of work. Having arrived via Greyhound bus, young Thierry walked a few blocks from the Shell station to the Harrington home and waited patiently for his hosts to make their appearance. Soon as Mrs. Harrington entered the basement apartment Thierry was offering his gratitude for a place to stay and appreciation for the trust excercised by his hosts in letting him have the house to himself for a short time.

Soon, the evening was under way. A growler of brew purchased and a dish of Sesame Noodles with Purple Kale prepared, the Harrington's enjoyed an evening meal with their guest while devising plans for the next 48 hours or so. Melissa had a meeting to attend so it was decided that Mark and some other friends would be invited over to play a game or two of Settlers of Catan with our European guest. By this time in the evening, it was also decided that Mike would wake up with such a sickness that he would have only one possible remedy, to take our guest snowshoeing. These things being decided upon, the evening continued, Catan was played and finally we all reached our pillows.

The next morning, Thierry and Mike slept in until about ten before making their way into the Snowy Mountain Range for a day of snowshoeing fun. They both made it home for another exciting Laramie evening. Mike accompanied our guest to the University of Wyoming Cowboys basketball game whie Melissa attended yet another meeting. The game was followed up with a short and insightful scavenging trip which yielded pizza, angel food cake, cookies and a few hot-dogs amongst other things. With these adventures under his belt, Thierry made his way once again to the hide-a-bed only to be leaving the Harrington household at 1:30 in la manana for the faithful Greyhound bus, continuing on his Cross-Country-soon-to-be-West-Coast-America tour.


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