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!