February, I’m breaking up with you

Sebastien Dahl's photostream on flickr

Dear February,

28 days ago, I decided to reflect about you, in one way or another, every day. Over the course of the past four weeks, I have somehow managed to eek out something about you every evening, regardless of how immature, disorganized, excited, or stressed it might have been.

I have learned that I have mixed feelings about how much of myself I share in this place. While writing about my daily life once a week feels liberating and creative, actually writing about my daily life every day frankly feels self-absorbed. About the time I figured that out, I started posting things like this. I’m torn between knowing that a good project takes a lot of hard work, and remembering that I think some of my best posts come out of a naturally born, wellspring desire to express myself.

Being a perfectionist when it comes to writing and the understanding of ideas, I don’t like haphazardly throwing up posts like this one. On one hand, I know that learning emerges from the process of working out ideas. On the other hand, it feels far too vulnerable sometimes to expose a not-yet-formed me to, at times, strangers. This anonymous internet in which you reside, February, is a much more rocky place than I anticipated.

Perhaps at the heart of our differences is my own lack of decision about what I want this blog to be. Is it a place for me to reflect, theologically, on where I am in a post-seminary world? Or is it my online space to write about my ever-evolving domestic activities? Do I want to share my political and religious views in this space? And yet, how can I not, when they are so fundamentally related to what I consider to be my way of practicing just living? Is this a platform for me to project my hopes and my fears out into the world? And if so, am I willing to accept the consequences of what that might mean in a public domain?

Someday, February, you and I might just work out in the long haul. There were things I really liked about you: you were playful, you were exciting, and you forced me to really try to consciously make sense at least one thing that happened to me every day. But for now, we have to go back to how it was before I met you. I’m not ready yet for this kind of commitment. We gave it a good try, and I really feel like I’ve learned a lot from you.

Thanks for everything. Perhaps we’ll meet again someday.

Love,
Alison

PS: February, these are some of the most memorable times I think we’ve had together:

My favorite February post

The February post I wish I hadn’t written

The silliest February post

My most serious February post

Cutest post (duh, this one has a cat in it)

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taylor swift the anti-feminist

this is hilarious. and rings of truth.

source.


and what do YOU think?

the last couple of weeks have been kind of exhausting for me, and not just because i’m blogging every day. see, in Minnesota, there’s this program called General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC), which funds health insurance for the poorest of the poor and the sickest of the sick in our state. these are folks making less than $8,000 a year, who’ve fallen on hard luck, who’ve grown up in poverty, who have mental illnesses, are veterans, are homeless and/or are desperately sick. i’ve been working on this a lot, like last week, for example, when i organized that vigil.

last spring, our Governor line-item vetoed this program, to help balance our state’s budget. i’m not going to get in the politics of why; let’s just leave it as he vetoed it. it’s gone, by the stroke of one person’s pen.

over the past nine months, grassroots efforts have shone a light on the Governor’s veto, which effectively balances the state’s budget on the backs of the poor. a logical, money-saving bill was written, passed in both the State House and Senate, in an overwhelmingly bipartisan way. and then it was vetoed. again.

i guess what has been making these past few weeks so difficult is that i honesty CANNOT wrap my brain around the argument against GAMC. it fundamentally shakes me, makes me so angry, to read comments like this:

Greed is when you demand others pay for services you consume. Greed is the result of envy for things you don’t have and are too lazy to earn. Those on GAMC who are “vulnerable, dependent and needy” are that way because Democrats encourage them to be.

i’ve been stewing on this, mostly because it appears to be so straightforward. it is SUCH a common sense argument. but then why does it make my skin feel all crawly, my neck feel like it needs to be cracked, my eyeballs like i want to pull them out of their sockets?

are there really people who exist who feel that they are immune to poverty, immune to the chance that someday, s/he might be the one in need of a service s/he can’t pay for? do they think homeless people deserve to be homeless, don’t care that they’re homeless, don’t want a stable life? i don’t understand. i firmly believe that each person currently on GAMC IS ALSO every one of the rest of us, in another life, or a few years ago, or perhaps a few years from now. how can one person be so arrogant as to believe that s/he earned everything s/he has, all by himself? how can one person be so shortsighted? what IS this arrogance that infects us? what is this PREJUDICE that we hold so close to our hearts? when it comes down to the sacrifice of money, versus the sacrifice of bodies… shouldn’t bodies win out?

this is what GAMC is all about. without medications, without appropriate health care, people WILL die. i know it sounds extreme. i know it because i hate writing it, because i typically shy away from anything too extreme. but it’s the ugly reality that no one wants to hear: without prescriptions, a person with diabetes (cancer, PTSD, heart disease, anxiety issues, depression…) will inevitably die, in all likelihood because they weren’t taking the meds they need.

i don’t know. i’m STRUGGLING with this. that “other perspective” is neither logical nor compassionate, two places i most often go to when making decisions about what i believe.

my strength, academically, has usually been the ability to understand other people’s perspectives. it’s what makes my spiritual life so undefined, because i can so clearly see the rationale for other religions, and other modes of (un)belief. but this way of thinking, the kind that is based on the refusal to acknowledge where another person is coming from… it escapes me.

someone comment, yah? help me figure this out. what do you think?


self-imposed bye

if professional athletes get them, so can i. it’s been a marathon of a month. i’ll be back tomorrow.

baseballoogie's photostream, flickr

5leepy. goodnight!


poor sad dinosaurs

abakedcreation's photostream on flickr

i took pictures the other day of all the many fabric squares and rectangles i’ve been cutting for B’s messenger bag. i FINALLY finished cutting them all out, which took forever. the fabric, scissors, pattern pieces, pins, and iron have all been sitting out on our coffee table for all of february now, taunting me that i’m not done.

well, now i’m done, but so is my camera’s memory card, flashing ERROR at me through the camera screen and displaying none of the beautiful pictures i’ve been taking. (there goes my plan for a fast and easy blog post for the day.)

so, you don’t get to see the pictures of the dark brown tweed for the exterior of the bag, and you don’t get to see the cotton blue and green and orange DINOSAUR-patterned fabric for the interior of the bag. DINOSAURS! poor sad dinosaurs with no one to admire them except me and B and lu.

eventually, if my scheme goes according to plan, i will embroider the outline of a t-rex (don’t worry, in a classy way!) somewhere onto the tweed. people will think it is just quirky until they see the full-out, completely crazy and fun dino-patterned interior. (but only if they’re lucky).

this is what you get, when i make you stuff: crazy patterns you don’t necessarily want, but which you end up loving because they are CUTE!

B’s midterm-week update: 2 tests down, 1 to go. tonight we resisted treats. it was an amazing feat. applause? is that faint applause i hear? thank you, thank you. i owe it all to lu.


i recognize low blood sugar when i see it

B walked through the door today just as I was about to start dinner. Nearly halfway through midterms, he was (is still) a picture of exhaustion and stress.

I had planned to make a fancy dinner (apple and onion cheddar gratin) that would take at least an hour and a half to make.

Now, I recognize symptoms of low blood sugar when I see them. So I changed course to a much quicker, but equally fun meal: breakfast for dinner! brussel sprouts, pancetta, and feta omelettes with sweet corn pancakes. I didn’t miss the gratin at all.

Pancetta ranks right up there with butter as a food of which I could consume very high quantities.

And I’m totally confounded by people who think brussel sprouts are gross. Have they TRIED brussel sprouts?! they’re only like the chocolate of vegetables!

You can’t see it, but there is feta cheese in that omelette.

And then, these sweetcorn pancakes. I took a cue from Maria’s Cafe in Minneapolis, which serves these amazing corn pancakes with some kind of delicious colombian cheese, very crumbly and salty. the feta was much more sour than the cheese that Maria’s uses, and my pancakes weren’t nearly sweet enough or moist enough… but I’m glad I tried. I will try again! And next time, I will try to find that cheese before I make them!

As I write this post, I am continuing on in the midterm tradition (which I intend to maintain for the next three years of B’s med school) of making as many tasty treats as I want, all in the name of spoiling a very frantically-studying boyfriend. So, I’m making rice pudding. It is taking a very long time. And I’m getting impatient. But it smells damn good.


popcorn magic

this is midterm week in our little minneapolis household. that means a few things: 1) i have a lot more free time, 2) B has a lot more stress, and 3) we both get to eat WHATEVER WE WANT. hallelujah!

so last week i posted about winter olympic snacks, and featured my one successful contribution to the party: “white chocolate snowflakes,” i.e., white chocolate truffled popcorn! so good.

the inspiration came from one time that i went out for drinks with mandi. we ordered truffled popcorn, and it was good: buttery, sugary, garlicky. so i searched for “truffled popcorn” and found, instead of a recipe, a video of how to make it–but without specific amounts and instructions. so, i kind of made it up as i went. the first time, when i made it for our olympics party, it was not perfect. i had too much white-chocolate-to-butter ratio, so i added cream, and the chocolate hardened again. thus, the chocolate was clumpy on the popcorn… but heck. how bad can it be?!

so. first things first: pop the popcorn, a nice big bowl of it, for about 3-5 people. i’m not going to tell you how to do this, because if you don’t know, 1) you are silly, and 2) i think you can find out for yourself.

i used about 3 ounces of white chocolate (not quite a full bar of a ghirardelli chocolate baking bar) to 4-5 tablespoons of melted butter.

i’ve said it before, i’m sure i’ll say it again: butter makes everything better. butter is a goddess. i could eat it deep-fried off a stick.

when the butter is (almost/all) melted, add the white chocolate over medium heat and whisk. remove from heat as soon as it is creamy and pour it slowly over the popcorn. toss the popcorn as you go, stopping if you need to, but take care not to allow the chocolate to harden again. if it does… well, it’s not really that big a deal. it will be more clumpy, but it will still be very very tasty. i promise.

you COULD just stop there, if you like things sweet and only sweet. but just as in real life, what good is sweetness unless it is contrasted against the tart? so i added about 1- 2 tablespoons of sea salt, to taste. more or less depending on how you like your sweet and savory.

allow it to cool a little before serving, or it will be sticky. serve with plenty of napkins. ALSO: i can attest that even day-old white chocolate truffled popcorn, which has sat out on the countertop overnight, is still amazing. happy snacking, and for all you students out there: happy midterms!

(PS: aren’t the variations on this recipe endless?! think of it: dark chocolate, salt, and pistachios! white chocolate, nutmeg, and clove! butter! butter! butter! any other popcorn brainstormers out there?)