Saturday, January 24, 2009

"I won. You lost. Nyeah, nyeah, nyeah."

This week I was forced to watch the inauguration for my drawing class. I've never taken a political science class on campus, but I was forced to watch the inauguration for 2 whole hours because of one of my art classes. I had chosen not to watch it simply because I don't need the extra stress of politics in my life right now. Campus was pretty split on the issue of whether or not Obama should be elected to office. I was against, but I wasn't for McCain either. In the end, I voted for McCain with the mere hope that I'd bump his percentage points in Minnesota. Then again, I also voted for Coleman. I guess that doesn't count either.

Barack is a good speaker. He keeps your attention. He talks about a lot of things. But when you really think about his policies, or what he's said about his policies, I can't think of anything where he's actually come down on an issue, except maybe for taxes and the war. Taxes are the one thing he's completely decided on. Raise them for anyone that makes more than $80,000 a year. War, end it before we finish. I'm not for the war in Iraq. I honestly think the war in Iraq, while we have done some good things there, does eventually need to come to an end. I don't know if I can honestly say that I think what they're doing over there is really going to help us out in the region or not once we're done. However, to simply pull out is ineffective. What does that say? Yeah, it's Viet Nam all over again, yay us.

Read this article. You can read this one, too.

The man isn't respectful and doesn't appreciate being questioned. At least you should be honest with people. If reporters are asking you a question, GET OVER IT. ANSWER THE F'ING QUESTION. And he's a hypocrite. Let's not allow lobbyists to have special treatment...but because I'm the president I can do whatever I want. How dare you question the president of the United States? After all, he won.

Now. . . I think we should pray for the man. He is our president whether we wanted him to be or not. But let's face it. He's inaugurated. The economy isn't magically better. We're not magically out of this war. Our country really hasn't changed anything fundamentally. Maybe he really isn't Jesus after all.

Monday, January 19, 2009

John Wayne Gacy, Jr.

This has got to be one of my favorite songs. . .morbid though it may be.

His father was a drinker
And his mother cried in bed
Folding John Wayne's T-shirts
When the swingset hit his head
The neighbors they adored him
For his humor and his conversation
Look underneath the house there
Find the few living things
Rotting fast in their sleep of the dead
Twenty-seven people, even more
They were boys with their cars, summer jobs
Oh my God

Are you one of them?

He dressed up like a clown for them
With his face paint white and red
And on his best behavior
In a dark room on the bed he kissed them all
He'd kill ten thousand people
With a sleight of his hand
Running far, running fast to the dead
He took of all their clothes for them
He put a cloth on their lips
Quiet hands, quiet kiss
On the mouth

And in my best behavior
I am really just like him
Look beneath the floorboards
For the secrets I have hid

-Sufjan Stevens

Friday, January 16, 2009

Menu, Week 2

  • Monday
    • Breakfast - GF Waffles w/ Syrup
    • Lunch - Leftover Lasagna
    • Dinner - Leftover Chicken w/ Mashed Potatoes
  • Tuesday
    • Breakfast - Yogurt w/ fresh fruit or cereal
    • Lunch - GF Wrap w/ Roast Beef and Swiss
    • Dinner - Leftover Lasagna
  • Wednesday
    • Breakfast - Yogurt w/ fresh fruit or cereal
    • Lunch - Leftover Lasagna
    • Dinner - GF Waffles and Fried Eggs
  • Thursday
    • Breakfast - Cereal
    • Lunch - GF Wrap w/ Roast Beef and Swiss
    • Dinner - Spring Rolls w/ Rice, Carrots, and Shrimp
  • Friday
    • Breakfast - Yogurt w/ fruit
    • Lunch - Veggie Stir Fry w/ Rice
    • Dinner - Eating Out
  • Saturday
    • Breakfast - Yogurt w/ fruit
    • Lunch - Leftover Stirfry w/ Rice
    • Dinner - Pork Chops w/ Roast Carrots and Salad
  • Sunday
    • Dinner - GF Pizza
    • Lunch - Mullagatawny Soup w/ Basmati Rice

The first week has gone well so far. I've not tried to make the lasagna. That comes tomorrow night. Other than that, I've pretty much stuck to the menu and I've stayed under budget. The only thing I did change was the wraps. The HyVee in Lincoln that I went to didn't have them. Instead, I bought GF bread at $5.99 a loaf. The loaf is tiny, but very filling because it has more fiber in it than regular bread.

For this next week, I have some of the ingredients already. If something seems like it should be listed and is not, it's because it's already here.

  • Grocery List
    • 1 Package GF Waffles
    • Yogurt
    • Fruit
    • Coconut Milk
    • Ground Coriander
    • GF Pizza Crust Mix
    • 1/4lb Roast Beef
    • 1/4lb Pistrami
    • Sliced Swiss Cheese
    • GF Cereal
    • 1 Gallon Milk
    • Package of Frozen Stir Fry Veggie Mix
    • 1/2lb Basmati Rice
    • Pizza Sauce
    • Mozzarella Cheese
    • Pepperoni
    • Syrup
    • Salad Shrimp

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Panic! In Anna's Mind

The first week is always a little bit of "OMG! I'm going to have SO MUCH to do! How am I going to manage my time? Wait, I don't even HAVE free time. . . " It usually hits Tuesday. It didn't. It waited until today for some unknown-to-me reason.

I'm going to be very, very busy this semester. I'm taking 18 credit hours, working about 22 hours a week, have two night classes. Four of my classes are art classes. I want to die.

Then I remember that not everything that's on the syllabus is due right away and that all of that work is spread out over the course of a semester . . . I have the feeling, though, that something, somewhere along the lines will have to give. I just don't know what, yet.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The God Who Smokes

I've been reading The God Who Smokes. I work in the library preparing books for shelving by putting their labels on, their pockets in, and then doing any cover applications and targeting. It's an easy, stress-free job for the most part. Before Christmas break, I had done a set of books that had that title in it, and I was curious. I kind of thought it would be a lot like Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell, a book that I read, got a little bit out of and thought the rest was garbage.

The entire premise of Velvet Elvis, besides God loving us, the emergent church being the only truly Gospel oriented movement, and other such tripe, is that there are some paintings out there that should be painted over, changed, and moved around. Such paintings are cliche, and are changed to move with the times. Bell questions whether or not the Virgin Birth, Real Presence, and a host of other doctrines are really necessary to our Salvation. Velvet Elvis left a bad taste in my mouth. Some of what was said was okay, but most of it was questioning the truths of all Christianity from the time of Christ onward. I happen to believe what is set forth in the Apostle's Creed, which is pulled from much of the Apostle's writings. . .and he was ripping that apart.

So, I picked up this book with it's somewhat jazzy looking cover thinking I was in for much the same fare. You're probably asking why I read that crap at this point. I like to stay up on current trends within the Christian (or not so Christian) church these days, just so that I can be informed when or if I have friends discussing such topics.

But, so far, two chapters in, it's different. It says that Rob Bell goes too far by using the repainting metaphor, and that rather than a Velvet Elvis, Christianity and Christology is more of a Rembrandt. Take out one brick, start poking holes anywhere, and the whole thing falls apart. Now, I'm only two chapters in. I'm fairly certain this man doesn't support any liturgical order in church, but it is very interesting to find a man who grew up fundamentalist say that doctrine is important - that you can't just trash everything.

Rob Bell's approach to Christianity may is sort of like the brick in the wall theory. If you take one brick out, the wall won't fall down, it won't destroy your faith . . . but is it a good idea to keep poking holes?

To quote:

"Rob queries: Would the entire wall of Christianity fall down if we found out Jesus had really been the product of a secret liason between 'Larry' and a Jewish maiden? What would be lost if that brick were removed?

As one notorious, testosterone-drenched thirty-something pastor put it: 'Not to mention the incredible disrespect of this question to the Mother of Jesus, if we take that brick out, well . . . we would lose - Jesus.' (Pause for effect.) 'I went to public school, and I know that."

Hmmm . . . We'll see how the rest of the book goes.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Thank You Notes in the Age of All Things Digital

I miss the pen-pals I had when I was a little kid. The excitement that would come when you got the letter in the mail. Sometimes there would be a surprise sticker or two stuck in the envelope with the letter. We'd write about our pets, siblings, parents, pool parties, favorite foods, anything. It was fun.

Nowadays, I might send a postcard or two during the summer. Maybe a letter here and there. A package once or twice a year. But when Christmas comes, and you've received all of the gifts from family, friends, co-workers, you send Thank You Notes. I'm kind of surprised this tradition hasn't yet died. Maybe it has and it's something only my family continues to do.

I went Thank You Note shopping today. I was surprised at how little stationary was available besides Hallmark type cards, not to mention how cheesy most of them were. I don't like to send cards with "Thank You" plastered all over the front of them. I think that defeats the purpose almost to open up a card that says "Thank You" when you already know who it's from and why they're sending it. It's easier to make it more personal when it doesn't say "Thank You" in a scripty font on the front of the card.

So, not finding what I needed at Barnes&Noble or Target, I turned to Etsy, and the search continues.

Is it nerdy to want to send the perfect stationary? Probably so.

Someday, probably with my generation's generation (our children's children), letter writing will die out. Handwriting will probably die out with it.

EDIT: I just bought some cards on Etsy that should just do the trick. :) The Cards

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Cooking in 2009 - A Glutenless Girl's Guide to Cooking in a College Apartment

I don't have a meal plan at school, simply because to have a meal plan would mean I couldn't eat much and I'd be spending $4 a meal to eat crappy food. (Mashed potatoes and slices of salami aren't my idea of a great breakfast, lunch or dinner.) So, I've been opted out of one by our dean of students, which is nice. For those that don't know, I have celiacs disease. I try not to make a big deal out of it, but it does affect nearly every aspect of my life in some way, so it's kind of an important part of my existence.

The problem is that it's very easy to eat junk food, or run to McD's and get a double cheeseburger, minus bun. And, sometimes it's cheaper than cooking an elaborate meal. To make mac and cheese costs us (my room mate and I) about $10, and while it feeds us for few days, $10 is a lot of money for one dinner and two lunches. Not to mention the time it takes us to cook the noodles, grate the cheese and then bake it, adding up to about two hours. Granted, we don't usually do this during the week, which helps, but it's almost impossible to cook something like that during the week. And Mac and Cheese is just an example.

Another problem is the size of our kitchen and my room mate Jenni, who always seems to happen to start cooking her meals about five minutes after I get in the kitchen. We have a stove, a sink, and on the other side of the sink is an L-shaped counter which, after 2' of counter space meets our fridge. We literally only have 2' of counter space that is usable. You can't fit two people in our kitchen at the same time and be able to move.

The ingredients to make gluten free baked goods are expensive. It's not just flour, salt, baking powder, yeast and some liquid. There's four or five different kinds of flours in addition to the normal bread ingredients. To buy these, it's anywhere from $1 for a small amount up to $10 for a decent amount that will last you more than one batch of something. I have, however, found a small company that makes mixes that all you have to do are add an egg, a little milk and a tablespoon of oil to and it makes a wonderful bread that goes great with just about anything.

SO! My goal for this semester is to plan out my meals better and try to stick with eating out only once a week on weekends. If I can come up with some easy to make dinners that are relatively inexpensive, it will not only help my wallet, but I'll be eating healthier, too. It will also help me come up with a better shopping list, so I don't waste food by not eating it or buying too much of something. My other goal is to keep my food spending down. My goal is going to be to keep it to less than $75 per week. Whether or not that will actually happen is a completely different story.

We'll see how it goes. Mondays and Thursdays I have a two hour break from the time I get off work to the time I have night class. Saturdays I have a lot of time in the morning and afternoon to cook meals and the same goes for Sundays. My goal will be to post my weekly menu and shopping list here to keep my on track. When I post the weekly menu (on Friday or Saturday), I'll talk about how the last week went.

Here's the goal for my first week back.

  • Menu for January 12, 2009 - January 18, 2009
  • Monday
    • Breakfast - Yogurt w/ GF granola or Cereal
    • Lunch - GF Wrap w/ Salami and Roast Beef
    • Dinner - Fish Tacos w/ Cilantro and Mango (yummmm)
  • Tuesday
    • Breakfast - Yogurt w/ GF granola or Cereal
    • Lunch - GF Wrap w/ Salami and Roast Beef
    • Dinner - Stir Fry Vegetables w/ Basmati Rice
  • Wednesday
    • Breakfast - Yogurt w/ GF granola or Cereal
    • Lunch - Leftover stirfry and rice
    • Dinner - Rice Bowls w/ Chicken, Sour Cream, Cilantro, and Black Beans
  • Thursday
    • Breakfast - Yogurt w/ fresh fruit or Cereal
    • Lunch - Salad w/ left over Chicken, Craisins and GF Blue Cheese Dressing
    • Dinner - Hamburgers w/ Roasted Rosemary Potatoes, Lettuce, and Cheese
  • Friday
    • Breakfast - Cereal
    • Lunch - Leftover Hamburger w/ leftover Potatoes
    • Dinner - Eating Out
  • Saturday
    • Breakfast - Yogurt w/ fresh fruit or Cereal
    • Lunch - Salad w/ Chicken
    • Dinner - GF Lasagna w/ Salad (click on the link to the recipe I want to try)
  • Sunday
    • Lunch - Leftover Lasagna
    • Dinner - Roasted Chicken w/ Potatoes and Carrots
This week, a lot of dinners will be cooked, and I hope to be able to eat the leftovers. Once I cook on the weekend, I'll have leftovers through Wednesday or Thursday of the next week, so meals the following week will be easier. . . for lunches, at least.
  • Shopping List
    • 5lbs. Potatoes
    • Cilantro
    • Head of Lettuce
    • Package of Carrots
    • Package of Baby Carrots
    • Two tomatoes
    • 1 Head of Garlic
    • Oregano
    • Basil
    • Rosemary
    • Gallon of Milk
    • 1lb Basmati Rice
    • 1lb Hamburger
    • 2 Cans crushed tomatoes
    • Frozen Stir Fry Vegetables
    • 1/4lb Salami
    • 1/4lb Roast Beef
    • GF Wraps
    • Small package of Tilapia (4-5 filets)
    • Hard Taco Shells
    • Italian Sausage
    • Package of Chicken Breasts
    • One Whole Chicken
    • Half Dozen Eggs
    • Mozerella
    • Ricotta

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Problem of Patience

I work at Subway. It's not the most glamorous job. I smell awful when I leave there mainly because the oven runs all day. I usually end up covered in other people's mayonnaise. And let's face it, Subway doesn't even take a high school education in order to work there. Working at Subway is a relatively simple concept: finish the tasks, help the customers, get paid. If you do your job super-well, your fellow employees will really appreciate you and your manager will notice that you are a very hard worker. . . unless you have the manager and co-workers that I do.

Now, our manager, while she is very nice, doesn't do much and she lets a lot slide. There's an employee that she hired - because her husband is friends with the guy - that is absolutely awful. If I ask him to do something, he gets angry with me. I don't know how many of you have a no cellphone policy, but Subway corporate rules dictate that you shouldn't have yourself out unless you're on break, and never ever have the cellphone out in the view of customers. It's a fireable offense, especially if the DM caught you.

This employee that I have had many, many problems working with has his cellphone out and is using it right next to the cash register. I don't ask him to put it away, I simply say, "Customers can see your cellphone from where you are standing." His reply: "I don't care." He then tells me to go into the cooler, which is where I was headed. I just about lost it. I told him that he needed to come back to work tomorrow night (because, hey, guess what? I have to close with him tomorrow) with at least an ounce of respect for me and if nothing else he should at least respect store policy and WORK while he's there.

His response: "Whatever."

I was so angry I was shaking, which doesn't happen very often. I had to leave before I started screaming at him. I asked my manager to "discuss these issues" with him so I wouldn't have to anymore. Before he left I asked him what his issue was with me and he simply said, "I don't like being told what to do." I told him I was going to give him jobs, or ask him to do things if he's just standing around, which he's doing most of the time. His response? "I AM doing things when you ask me to do other things."

Okay. I've had it. I cannot tolerate laziness. If you're standing around or not working, you do not deserve to get paid. How does a person learn to be patient with people like this? I can be patient with just about anything else, but I can't stand people that are lazy. I finally just told him, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to come off however you think I'm coming off. We'll try a new approach to us working together tomorrow night."

My manager's response? "Maybe you just need to tell him, if he gets testy, that you're trying to be nice, but he needs to get stuff done."

I would have fired him on the spot. Maybe that's a problem. I don't know how to treat people that have an obvious dislike for you, simply because you hold people to the same standards you hold yourself.

How does a person learn patience? I wish I knew, because I need to have some by tomorrow night.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year's Resolutions?

The idea of making New Year's resolutions has always seemed kind of strange to me. I understand the idea of giving yourself a certain starting point, but why only at the beginning of the year? Maybe I overthink things too much. I don't really have a list of things that I need to change, but more of a list of things to accomplish.

  1. Read more books for enjoyment; if possible, 1 per week.
  2. Cook more often and eat less junk food.
  3. Save more, spend less. (I make this resolution at the beginning of every summer and semester. So far it hasn't happened.)
  4. Begin to get things together for Turkey, since it's happening in 5 months!*
  5. Spend more time reading the Bible and praying, instead of just going through the motions.**
  6. Start looking for summer internships ASAP.
  7. Clean up my computer and get it working right (which requires more memory).
  8. Organize all of my art supplies, perhaps even buy a chest to put them in, instead of a cardboard box.
  9. Find an apartment for next year and determine who I'm living with exactly (Sam's a given, but who else?)
If I accomplish these, that would be fantastic. Some of them I don't really have a choice but to do, but when I actually accomplish them, it'll be a major mental load off.

*I'm going to Turkey in May! It hasn't actually dawned on me until just now that I'm actually going to Turkey. I kind of think that it's a waste of $4,000, but we're going to Cappadocia and Ephesus while we're there, which will be awesome. Loans are paying for the trip, which will hurt later. I have my luggage bought, but as far as the rest of it goes, I still need shots, medication, and to get my visa in order.

**My spiritual life in 2008 was pathetic. It's honestly something I need to "work" on, but I honestly don't have the energy sometimes. Is it possible to forget how to pray?