Public Transportation and the apathy thereof

I work downtown, in Syracuse, NY, part-time. My diatribe on parking will have to wait for another post but, it is the main reason I do not drive to the City.  Since car-pooling isn’t really an option, I have discovered that Centro (our bus service here) has provided me with the means to work and be productive. Now, I’m sure you’re wondering what the big deal is.

Most half-way decently sized Metropolitan areas have some sort of public transportation and I highly prefer that to trying to find a parking place, trying to find a decent taxi or trying to figure out the fastest way to wherever I want to be. Of course, patience is essential with public transportation but you also gain a lot of practice in planning.  That said, I wondering, how come there are so few of us who have figured out that it’s easier to take the bus?

According to 2013 (latest I could find) census data, Syracuse (and its environs I assume) has a population of 144,669 people (every size, shape and color included).  [http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/36/3673000.html] Of that, according to a bunch of smarty-pants researchers who work for The City, only 3% use the bus. That’s 434 people and a crying shame.

Are we so enraptured with our vehicles that to avoid using them would cost us dearly? Are we so uneducated that we can’t figure out the bus schedule? Are we so intimidated by the thought of riding with strangers? Really folks, it isn’t that hard. The website for our buses is: http://www.centro.org and contacts a “trip planner.” That has saved me a lot of time and trouble to say the least. Just plug in your starting point and destination, and bada-bing! bada-BOOM, you’ll be told which bus to catch at what time, whether or not you have to transfer, and what time you’ll arrive. Not that hard…Then again, any effort beyond starting a vehicle seems to be much too much for people around here.

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More Kitchen helps :)

Yes, Yes, I know! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything but Creation did not happen in a day, neither does my creativity.  That said, I’ve discovered a few more tips to help folks out with various items.

First off, one of my favorite gadgets:

Strainer

The Mini-strainer.  If you don’t have one, get one! This comes in handy for all sorts of duties. I like to sprinkle sugar, cinnamon, paprika or any other powdery item with a lot more control than my fingers. It also stands in well for scooping out whatever from soups, etc. when you can’t find your slotted spoon. Think of it as a small sifter. Of course, this you need to find and, since it’s not quite popular amongst the general population, allow me to move on to items that are already in your kitchen

For instance:

PastaConsidering I’m married into an Italian family, having pasta around is a “given.” Considering there are a million places on the web on how to cook or prepare noodles, I will save you from the umpteen recipes but, fear not! Aside from adding to your waist-line, this stuff also comes in handy for all sorts of jobs.

I use long pasta a lot for testing bake goods but, this last December, I came up with another idea. Trying to light Luminaries is a lot easier (and CHEAPER) if you light up a piece of Spaghetti.  Takes a few tries but it works just as well as those gadgets they sell to help you light funky candles in tall containers.

FoilAnd, last but not least, Foil. This one gets credit from Cook’s Magazine but I thought I’d share it with the rest of you.  One of the things I always have stocked in my refrigerator is Celery.  It goes well with a myriad of dishes and every kind of protein you can imagine. Base on that, I’m always in need for it at one time or another.  Problem is, after a week, that which WAS Celery has become mushy, brown and just plain funky.  To solve that problem, Cooks came up with the nearly-perfect answer to preserving the stuff without sticking it in an old mayonnaise jar filled with water.

When you get home from the grocery store, take it out of the plastic sleeve, run it under some cold water then wrap it up snugly in foil—make sure you just enough foil to wrap it closely, Then, two weeks down the road, Voila! You will still have fresh, crunchy, worthy of any dish, Celery.  I have found that it lasts for up to 1 1/2 months using this method.

Well, that’s it for now.  If you’d like to share your ideas, please do! Since the Economy is still in flux and we’re all trying to manage with less, any frugal, cheap or fun ideas are always welcome 🙂