Thursday, August 17, 2017

Welcome to Waco!

After getting a great house with a great neighbor and thinking I'd never leave the beautiful burg of Denton ever again, I find myself in a townhouse a few blocks from Baylor University in the burg of Waco. I've told people that I really never thought I'd move here, not even long enough to think, "Naw." Strangely, here I am in a whole new part of Texas (Central Texas as opposed to North Texas), and I'm just as close to my parents' new home in Fort Worth as I was in Denton. So there was no major loss after my parents finally decided to retire and move back to Texas. Weird how that works out.

What happened was that Chris hated his job. It was making him depressed, his boss sucked, all of it. So he went looking for jobs still in corrections-medical, and now we live in Prison Central! No prisons in Waco-proper, but the little towns nearby are teeming with them. So, yeah--34 years old and beginning again. When you don't have kids, it's like your twenties go on forever (except that your knees hurt like hell).

I continue the noble business of being disabled, keeping the dogs in line, and writing. The dogs force me to get out in the open to walk them twice a day, our townhouse is tremendous (I'm getting used to having stairs again), and the local NPR station is WKBU. We may be the only non-students in the vicinity, but it doesn't matter to me. I'm looking forward to getting a library card so I can stop paying for books--I've been checking the Waco Library's page to see if it has the books I want for a few months now. That's kinda pathetic, but then again so am I.

In other news, please note that the poetry blog is back online. I used up all my buffer in the time it was down, so I'll rush to get some poems up. Then--Patreon? Throw money at me? It's easier than waiting to get published, that's for sure.

Farewell for now, gentle readers, from Waco, TX.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Welcome to My Protestant Blog

I killed just under 400 posts because I didn't want all the Orthodox stuff on here. It's my prerogative.

What's left is interesting. I have to label Chris's posts about vacations we've been on (his sole contribution to the Loquat), and there are fun hikes we used to do before I got sciatica, and there's the time the world's greatest cat died. That's about all I kept on this here blog. I wanted to archive it and move to a different platform, but I've discovered that I'm getting old and that technology befuddles me. In other words, so much for Medium.

The Loquat may be the only blog left on Blogger at this point, but I'm essentially only talking to my parents, so that's okay.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

For Such a Time as That: Post-Fast Thoughts

First off, I blew it. On the last day. I couldn't resist fried chicken and one of those Midnight Mocha fraps from Starbucks--you know, the kind that's like a minty Oreo with caffeine ... so much caffeine. Didn't sleep well that night, but it wasn't my conscience. Chris would later inform me that those little buggers have like three shots of espresso in them. Oopsy-daisy.

And much to my dismay (caused by romanticizing the process), I'm swimming in leftovers. Wouldn't it have been great to feel my blood sugar plummet now that we were out of bean soup and bread? To have swooned over my lack of food? Yeah, it didn't happen. But what good would have come of it anyway? "Yeah, I feel your pain. I once ate only soup and bread for three days, and it ran out. So I totally feel empathy with your desperation and embarrassment at having to turn to church food pantries just to make it to the end of the month."

Yeah, I feel like a dumbass. On Facebook, my mom called my efforts "laudable". They weren't, really. But I still watched as the Texas Legislature killed a bill that would've required (on the first go-around) and pleaded with (on the second round) school districts not to have a policy of picking up the lunches of children who don't have enough money for food and plopping them in the trash. I still saw, on the last day of the fast, the Trump budget (which was named in all seriousness "A New Foundation for American Greatness") continue cutting safety-net programs, still cut funding for Meals on Wheels, and eliminate the federal school lunch program. So, fast or no fast, empathy or sympathy, I'm still pissed. Chris assures me from his political studies that presidents put out budgets as "suggestions" that always get ignored while Congress does the real work; however, my worry is that this conservative Congress will be so emboldened by having this president that they can still do significant damage.

Back to the grindstone, folks! We have serious work to do! If you don't know where to do that work, I have a few suggestions:

  • Bread for the World - Bread is a Christian lobbying organization, so if Christianity isn't your bag, you might try ...
  • Feeding America - They're not just food banks--they do some advocacy work too. 
  • Also, if you have a little extra dough on you, the state representative who tried and failed to pass the lunch shaming legislation has, alas, resorted to begging. Feeding Texas is taking money to pay off overdue lunch balances. 
  • And if your state rep was one of the little shits in the Freedom Caucus who blocked the lunch shaming bill because it required things of the school districts (that was the reason--no joke), you may want to send her/him/they a little note telling them what you think. 
Sorry to get ugly at the end. I have a foul mouth and an angry brain. Thanks for reading, as always, gentle readers. Have a good day ... and get feisty! 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

For Such a Time as This

Since leaving Orthodoxy, I'm not really that big on fasts. As a result of Orthodoxy, I'm not big on fasts that seem to set out to change God's mind. Yet, here I find myself: bean soup in the fridge and bread in the bread machine. And it all has to last two people for three days.

You can read about the "For Such a Time as This" fast that Bread for the World has called for in greater detail on their own webpage--I'd just be rehashing the same stuff--but I did want to blab on about my take on it and maybe encourage others to do it now and in the future. The first fast is three days (a la Esther) to prepare us for the major work of advocating against cuts to safety net programs. Subsequent fasts will take place (for one day) each 21st of the month--the day when 90% of SNAP benefits run out. When I heard about it, I put my thinking cap on and decided on some things:

  • I cannot go without food for three days voluntarily. That's madness. 
  • I can eat a limited amount of food. 
  • I can eat a limited scope of food. 
  • I can and will force this on my husband. 
When I give to food drives, dried beans are my big go-to. (And then I read Evicted and learned that some shit-hole apartments don't even have microwaves, much less a stove to cook beans on. That took the wind out of my sails.) So I went to my cupboard and got a pound of gourmet beans out. I feel bad about the gourmet, but I only know how to cook a pound of beans in the Instant Pot. So that's one less pound of beans in my pantry. With that, I made a simple bean soup with a mirepoix (onion, carrot, celery), a little oil (Instant Pots require a little oil with beans and rice and "expanding things" to prevent foam from building up), and leftover chicken stock. That was yesterday; today, I'm making a high-protein bread called Cornell bread that I've often made for others and never for myself. I'm ready to try it. Oh, and milk is allowed because I don't want it to go bad during the fast. 

And here's the rub: This is all we'll be eating for this fast. If we run out of food, that's it. 

No, I don't claim to know what 90% of people on food stamps go through when they have to spend up to ten days without being able to buy food. But these exercises are often enlightening, and I pray that they're enlightening to me and enlightening to my senators and congressman when I write to them about my experience. At least, that's the plan. Keep notes, write poems, write letters, try not to run out of food, live as best I can if I do. Oh, and wear burlap ribbon around my wrist (the "visible sign"--sackcloth without the ashes). 

I do a lot of advocacy work for Bread for the World, and I'm glad to do this with them. I'm proud that the Episcopal Church has chosen to do this as well. Hunger has become an important issue to me--somehow it overtook homelessness as the most important issue to me. Maybe you'll join me? Instant Pots can make beans real fast!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Well Done, Denton.

And France! No fascism for France! Well done indeed!

Anyway, Denton barely voted in favor of the tax freeze for the elderly and disabled.

Stolen mercilessly from the front page
of the Denton Record Chronicle. 
I clearly don't get out enough because there were NO TAX FREEZE!!! signs all over our neighborhood. But, then again, we're just a bunch of scrooges in this area of Denton. No heart. Sad!

(Boy, I'm suddenly hoping the newspaper doesn't come down on me for this screen cap of the results. Have mercy! No one reads this blog anyway!)

Good triumphing over evil everywhere!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Political Musing

I'm at my parents' house in Missouri, writing a blog on my phone. Things must be serious. And they are! After all, my little burg of Denton, TX, is contemplating the lucrativeness of the elderly and disabled. See for yourself from this article from the North Texas Daily: http://ntdaily.com/tax-freeze-for-elderly-may-lead-to-2-6-million-deficit-by-2027/

As a champion (debatable) of the poor, I simply must weigh in. I first became aware of this when I saw either on Facebook or Twitter: SHOULD THE YOUNG HAVE TO PICK UP THE SLACK SO THE ELDERLY CAN HAVE A TAX BREAK?!? 

In a word: Yes. And while we're at it, can we not discuss how many millions of dollars we'd be losing if gave our most vulnerable citizens a break, Family Values State of Texas? Wait, we do still believe in family values, right? So, we get find out on May 6 if we serve God or mammon. Find your polling place here: http://www.votedenton.com/upcoming-election-information/

Is it okay to be upset about this--that some people are more concerned about the hipsters who are making Denton a more expensive place to live than the forgotten elderly? I just kept seeing tweets about this tax freeze and thought you couldn't lose on it. And yes, schools are covered by property taxes, but our lieutenant governor did attempt to force a vote on school choice in the legislature (so you know how important our public schools are). (For those not paying attention, they deep-sixed school choice. Well done.) 

I'm not coming at this from a very political standpoint, and I'll admit it. Faith informs my politics and I hate having to have politics at all, so I do this with all reluctance. I was furious when the Trump "skinny budget" cut Meals on Wheels, and the same recipients of that program are the ones who'll benefit from the tax freeze: the elderly and disabled. These people are important. I will gladly pick up the slack so they can have a break in uncertain times. 

I hope this passes, and I will be voting on May 6 because I'll finally be back in town (yay!). Hope you vote too.