breathe

a picture of a painting

October, 2012

a picture of a painting

October, 2012

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purple

I made cornbread based on this recipe. But, as always, I made some changes.

a photo of cornbread

First off, I made it purple. I also doubled the recipe.

2 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Mix these two together and set them aside
4 cups fine blue cornmeal
4 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
Mix these together!

So the recipe calls for apple sauce. We had no applesauce. We do, however, have many an apple.
1/4 cup canola oil
2 apples
Blend the apples, canola oil, and milk/vinegar mix together. Mix everything together, introduce to a pan, and bake at 420 for 20-30 minutes. If you’re me, eat with Earth Balance and then eat with earth balance and maple syrup. Someone else definitely at some with butter.

return

We broke through the cloud line, the ground suddenly beneath us again. The shapes of the city and landscape, the green and brown and blue, the rust and steel, were  familiar. I traced lines in the window.

I hobbled off the plane, having destroyed my ankle hiking only a few days before. Out of security, waiting for me, was D. He’d acquired a beard and a hat. I touched the hair on his face. He picked up my bag and we walked to the car.

snapshot, 08

It was one of the coldet days of the year. My feet caught the roots and I kicked up snow that fell under the tongue of my sneakers. The trees were black, the sky was grey, and the creek bed frozen. I couldn’t hear the cars, but I could hear the wind and the branches and the last of the dead leaves clinging to the trees.

I looked up at the darkening sky and we began to climb out of the deep “v” of the creek bed, feet slipping on snow slipping on rotting leaves. I watched G, in his dark green coat, scampering up the side.

thanks

Dear friends,
Thanks! Now, let’s see if I get a call on Tuesday.
Faithfully yours,
m.


M.,

Thank you for your emails. I apologize for the delay in responding to you. Typically in situations like yours the delay in response is due either to a miscommunication on our end or conflicting schedules on the part of faculty that precludes full discussion of your case.

I am pleased to say that we have overcome those issues and are ready to move forward. Dr. James Hanley, AssociateDean for Clinical Affairs, will be contacting you next Tuesday to set up an appointment for you to be seen in our clinic.

Once again I apologize for the misstep and I look forward to hearing of a speedy resolution to your concern.

Sincerely,

Huw F. Thomas
Dean, TUSDM

Apologies

m. note: I wrote this when it was relevant to the news, but never published it.

Bill Maher wrote a NYT article on The Opinion Pages chastising our culture of apologizing. This was published March 21, 2012. This was after he made questionable comments about Tim Tebow, defended Rush Limbaugh’s first amendment rights, and called Sarah Palin a cunt. Maher, famous for being opinionated and using less than polite language, is somewhat right. Not about Sarah Palin, but about our culture.

We love apologies. Basically, whenever there is a scandal, controversy, or someone just says something someone else doesn’t like, there are public apologies.

Juliette Lewis said she didn’t like the performance of Saturday Night Live musical guest Lana Del Rey. Later she retracted the comment. People are allowed to have opinions.

Like many people on the internet, I listened to “Mr. Daisey Goes to the Apple Factory,” a gripping and, ultimately painful, account of conditions in the Foxconn factory that makes Apple products. His story, it later came out, contained many little lies, and some big lies. This American Life, which posted the original story, posted a followup where they retract the story. In the retraction, Daisey informs us that he “[doesn’t] live in a subjective universe” and that “stories should be subordinate to the truth.” When asked why he didn’t tell the truth, he responds by saying that “everything in this story is built our of the trip and the time I spent on the ground, so I don’t know if I would accept that interpretation.”

Ethan Zuckerman wrote about the nature of truth, narrative, and advocacy in a manner much more in-depth, educated, and thoughtful than I am capable of. He is an expert. I am an opinionated twenty-something from the internet. I live in a world that is highly personal and perhaps even agoraphobic. The vast majority of my time is spent inside my head. Most of my experiences of the physical world around me break down to a series of facts. The temperature is 10 degrees C. The sun is bright and the clouds are white and grey. The florescent lights above my desk are white like clouds, without the warmth of bulbs or the milk green tint of the compact florescent in my room. When I open my eyes, the colors I see are dull compared to the bright ones in my mind.

My experience is entirely subjective.

During Retraction, Daisey doesn’t apologize or even admit the extent to which his facts are fabricated. Instead, he gives a poor apology and justifies himself, changing his tone throughout his story. I think it was an awful apology, but I also think it’s honest. Is there really value in a meaningless apology?

glance

I didn’t really know the girl. She had taken me as some sort of older sister figure. A much older sister. The sister who is in college when you’re just entering middle school. “I’m never going to know you,” she said “but I know I can talk to you.” I accepted this role and made her cookies when she asked and gave her advice when she didn’t.

One day I saw her walking out of a common room hand in hand with a boy. I looked at her and raised an eyebrow as best I can–which is to say not very well. She tried not to smile.

She found me later that night, as I sat outside drinking tea wondering when I should go home.

“I said ‘I think you’re pretty cool’ and he said ‘I think you’re pretty cool’ and that was it,” she whispered. She didn’t want anyone else to know yet. She wanted to wash herself in her experience and keep it and hold it and share it with whomever she could while not giving it up at all.

“That’s perfect,” I said.

“It was.” She smiled. “It was perfect.”

felt/feel

Felt.

He was on his side facing the wall. His legs, too long, tried to curl into his chest. My leg wrapped around his midsection. He turned onto his back and my leg slid, resting on the knots of his hipbones. My face in his neck and his smell in my nose.

He told me about a girl he loved. He said he wasn’t sure what to do with her feelings, how they changed and shifted. One day, he said, she loved him. He was so wrapped up in her. He understood what it meant to be loved.

What it felt like to be loved.

“Do you feel loved?” I asked him.

“Sometimes,” he said.

Feel.

I always imagined that feeling loved would be someone driving out of their way to pay for the groceries when I forget my wallet. Someone doing the dishes. Putting their hands into that grey water I cringe just thinking about. Them doing this without being asked.

Love is doing the dishes.

These ideas came from Charlie Baxter’s book Saul and Patsy. Perhaps not the most likely source. When I read that passage, it just made sense to me. Loving someone, actively, is the moment in doing things for them because you know them so completely. You know, without asking, that some small action will, even unconsciously, be something.

When people do the dishes so I don’t have to, they don’t know what it means to me. They don’t know how much I hate washing dishes. They do it because they don’t mind, or they like it. They think it’s polite.

I like to watch them. I like to hug them from behind and close my eyes and imagine that I am loved.