Archive for October, 2010


October 28, 2010

The great spirit Tinker awakes once a year for Hollins University students and jealous alumnae worldwide. On campus? A free day! Krispe Kreme donuts and breakfast in your pj’s. After climbing Tinker Mountain a feast of fried chicken, Tinker Cake (of course!). Classes are cancelled. Some time in October (only rarely in November and one odd time in the spring, but we won’t GO THERE). After the first frost. But when?

Then you graduate. And sadly, most bosses frown on Tinker Day. The further you get from your last REAL Tinker Day, you yearn for the Krispe Kreme and the magic Tinker Day Fairy that takes away work for a day. You know, things like this:

Just so many dishes!They never end. . .

It’s sad really. . . there are not Tinker Days for Alumnae. Or are there?

Thank you magic Tinker Day Fairy!Really! Thank You!

No! Thank you! Give to the Annual Fund and maybe next year, the magic Tinker Day Fairy will visit you!

And even leave you a note!

Oh I would never make it on the farm!

October 24, 2010

I spent most of the weekend making/freezing various items for this winter. I have found that for me, eating locally sourced foods as well as organic (when possible) has brought my migraines and allergies under control. It might have just as much to do with the not eating junk but I’ll go with the theory of local foods.

I am, however, not the great culinary wizard of preserving foods for winter. 20 cups of vegetable stock, 10 pounds of butternut squash and 3 pounds (of 10) apples into this adventure? I need a serious nap. No wonder bears hibernate all winter!

I even tired out my little sous chef. I never thought he slept!

Cooking all day is hard work!

What happens when the bully grows up?

October 18, 2010

I’ve been wrestling with the recent attention to bullying among the tweener/adolescent set. I am mostly stunned at this idea of it being a “new” thing. I’ve long-held the idea that junior high/middle school is sanctified torture – and yes, I mean torture. I feel that when there is a convergence of hormones, an emphasis in the classroom to pass standardized tests (never mind educators know about multiple intelligences and learning styles, the system has forced teachers to ignore that and teach to bubble answers) and the meta message of what is “good”.

I find it upsetting that we send a mixed message of valuing individualism and finding a “better” way to do things versus how we educate.  We send a message (intentionally or not) that if something is “different” it is wrong. The correct answer is “C” or “True” or “47”. What would happen if we tossed out standardized tests and let educators educate? And paid them to match their professional skills? I think that would help with the bullying because no longer there would be one approved path.

I know that doesn’t have much to do with the struggles of LGBT individuals. But bullying is not limited to sexual orientation: anybody who is different or perceived to be different stands the risk of being bullied. I know from personal experience that the scars of bullying really don’t go away.

I remember being spit on, having my crutches kicked out from under me, being taunted for being “different”. And equally, I remember teachers and administrators telling me not to show emotion because that is what “they (the bullies) wanted. I was eleven. It was a few decades ago.

It didn’t make sense to me then. And it doesn’t make sense to me now. The adults did nothing: the adults through their silence condoned the bullying. I wonder about those who did that to me then. I wonder how they parent and address bullying. I wonder if they even remember what they did to me.

I know what it did to me: and I wouldn’t wish it on one of their children.

Chili for the first wiff of fall!

October 16, 2010


I have to admit that fall is my favorite food season.  There is something about still having fresh produce and the cooling weather with the scents wafting through my house that make me happy. Yes, I can still cook in winter but the grey skies somehow don’t make cooking as enjoyable (yes, I’m weird).

I made a pot of chili this week to celebrate the rescue of the Chilean miners and to thank my neighbors for calling the police when they thought my place was being broken into by the locksmith from hell. I’m not a particular chili snob: I don’t cling to a bean or no bean? Chicken or beef? opinion when it comes to making my chili.  I tend to experiment with what I have around and spices. My friends who attend chili cook-offs have told me that I don’t make chili correctly (Ok, food that tastes good is correct in my book. . .).

This year I was happy with my seasonal batch of chili sort of combining all of the great chili traditions into one big pot and just letting it simmer.  Since I need a place to put the recipe for when I try to ‘recreate’ it in a few months. . . .Here it goes!

1 lb of ground beef and pork from 8’Oclock Ranch (cooked and drained)

2 8 oz cans of organic black beans (drained and rinsed)

1 16 oz bag of Trader Joe’s organic roasted corn

2 28 oz cans of Muir Glen Ground Peeled Tomatoes

2 Green and 1 Red Bell Peppers from Heavens Harvest Farm

2T fresh minced garlic

2T of Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming Spices (salt free)

Grated Horizon organic cheddar cheese to taste

I cooked it for 4 hours at a simmer in the crock pot, stirring randomly.  My neighbors loved it. I loved it. I think it wound up being a compromise of all things chili!

Why it’s for all of us. . .

October 11, 2010

So, today is National Coming Out Day. According to all things Wiki, I’m supposed to be wearing a triangle, rainbow jewelry and letter Lambda. Seriously? While I get the point, wearing things accomplishes as much as say creating a Facebook page to end world hunger.

I generally stay away from most things like “National Day to start/end/facilitate fill in the blank”. Quite frankly, they are not effective from a political/marketing stand point. This year, it seems much more important. Not from a gay perspective: but from a national perspective.

The collective ‘we’ has lost the ‘us’ tense of the word so that the Republican Party candidate for Governor of NY, Carl Paladino, can make absurd sexist, homophobic statements without being called out.

In his own words “I just think my children and your children would be better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family.”

He is running for governor in a state that has just seen one of the worst hate crimes of the year: 8 people now arrested for beating men as a gang initiation because their victims are gay.

Where are the leaders of his party and other leaders in decrying:

“A ring on your finger doesn’t make you happy or successful. It just means you are married.”

“Defining people by constructs only furthers the divide present in our country. It doesn’t heal our wounds, move us forward or solve problems.”

“We are people beating, killing, torturing others for being “different”. That is not ok and will not be tolerated at any level.”

Where are those leaders? We are all somebody elses “other”. National Coming Out Day is supposed to be about the LGBT community and allies saying it’s ok to be gay. We shouldn’t need that permission.

We don’t need a day, a month, a year. We (all of us) need tolerance. We all need the same things: food, shelter, love.  We need to put down our armor: and we all have armor. All of us. Nobody is to blame and everybody is to blame.

When as an individual, I choose to assist in perpetuating a myth, I continue the destructive cycle. When I choose to say “not now, not ever” I break the cycle.

We can disagree and be friends. We must be civil to each other: our differences are our strengths. It’s how we challenge our thoughts, perceptions and relate to the world around us.

Today is a day for everybody. It is the day for removing the labels and seeing people for who they are: us.


Not better…just different

October 11, 2010

The “things get better” viral outbreak on YouTube is driving me nuts. Not because of the genuine feelings expressed by so many people regarding LGBTQ youth/young adults and the struggle to come out: I appreciate that aspect of the postings. 

It’s the fallacy of the “things get better” that annoys me to no end: my take, they just get different. We live in a homophobic culture where stereotypes are reinforced from advertisements to television shows to linguistics. It doesn’t get easier regarding the hate, the violence, we learn to adapt and how to hide when needed. We live in a society where people DEBATE over our basic civil rights. Where members of the LGBT community need papers showing power of attorney, etc if they leave a state that allows marriage for another one, a country where in some states it is ILLEGAL to adopt if you are gay. It doesn’t get easier. Like life, over all, it just gets different.

It becomes easier as an individual accepts his/her sexual orientation. It becomes easier as people you love re-accept you. But it doesn’t get better in the binary sense. It’s still hard. And it still hurts when people can’t see past constructs to the person. That is what I’d like to see: it’s hard, we are here for you and together we will break down the stereotypes. Why? Because maybe then it will get easier for the next person. And maybe people will stop dying simply because of their sexual orientation.

A fresh ham? Oh my!

October 9, 2010
CSA Cooking

It's what's for dinner!

I realized it’s been a bit since I blogged about my culinary adventures in CSA cooking. I joined a meat CSA through the FANTASTIC 8 O’clock ranch in upstate New York.  The past two shipments have included a fresh ham. I skimmed a few recipes and discovered most either added too much sugar or salt. I felt adding these ingredients would take away from the benefits of the organic meat: namely adding processed foods.

This month, I decided to experiment based on some of the recipes that I had seen on epicurious and other sources. I took a can of organic black beans, 32 oz crushed tomatoes, 2T of crushed garlic, 1T of Penzeys Pork Jerk seasoning stirred together and placed in the bottom of the crock pot. I put the fresh ham, fat side up, and then cooked in the trusty crock pot for 4 hours on high. For the last 45 minutes, I threw in 1C of uncooked rice.  Presto. I’ll do this one again! Next time, I might add 1 teaspoon of salt as the ham was without salt (yeah!) found in many of the ones you can purchase at the grocery store.

A perfect dinner for a crisp early fall night and perfect leftovers for football Saturday!

Tip #339495 for life

October 5, 2010

Obtain the name of a locksmith in your area. Put the name in your cell phone and glove compartment. Trust me. . . .