Archive for the ‘change’ Category

There are a lot of things I can do, and I do a lot of those. And there’s something I can’t do, which is everything. That is to say, I can’t do everything. Also I can’t eat everything. My cravings and my goals are similar in that way.

As anyone who’s read my blog for a while knows, my interests are broad. Exhibit A, the category cloud to the right. And somewhere in here are a few posts detailing my many bold goals and determined plans for myself. Near the top is finally going to college – not for the sake of going though the Monkey supportively says that’s enough of a reason in his book for me to go – but to facilitiate a career change from fundraising to sustainable agriculture advocacy. It’s a serious craving, and a very big helping on my already full/filling plate.

And if you’ve read my blog in the last month I might have mentioned that I am pregnant. I don’t have cravings per say, for a single food or for an odd combination of foods,  though for a week or so I ate many pickles. What I get are fixations. I see a picture or hear someone mention a food and I cannot stop thinking about how much I want to eat it. I’ve made side trips to markets and bakeries to satisfy these fixations. Nothing outrageous. Just, a cupcake, or butter chicken, or grilled cheese. At the moment my need for a cheeseburger is unrequited but I am plotting. The thing is, because of other physiological changes, I can’t eat as much as I want to –  I get full fast and I feel terrible when my tummy is full.

… I’m going to scream right now thinking about how much I want one juicy, salty, cheesey cheeseburger on a smooshed, tomato-soggy bun with an ooze of pinkmayoketchup dripping toward my greedy hands. God help me. Be right back .

No, I didn’t go get a cheeseburger. I made a grilled cheese sandwich. Because that’s what you do when you can’t do everything: you do what you can.

I really did make a grilled cheese halfway through this post. Sometimes it comes together in the doing.

In the vast list that is everything, I decided, the first summer session at my community college is part of the everything I can’t do. My Drowsy Serenity is voracious, gobbling up so much of my energy and motivation that I cannot bear the thought of three-hour classes and two or three days a week of rushing on the metro from work to class and back home. But, like this delcious grilled cheese sandwich, I found the perfect substitute, and it’s probably more suited to my smaller appetite anyway: a non-credit online creative non-fiction course through the University of Wisconsin-Madison led by a writing professor and completed in my own time.  I can keep up a few hours of study sans classes, transit and finals, and make some progress on the goal of being a very good writer. I will share drafts and assignments here, and any other thoughts about writing that come my way as I work through the course.

It’s no cheeseburger, but this home-made grilled cheese sandwich hits the spot right now.


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As part of the Reverb10 writing project, I answer, sort-of,  today’s prompt: What (or whom) did you let go of this year?

With both my hands full,

I let fall what cannot fit.

I will come back soon.


This has been such a year of picking up new things. There is so much I want to hold and have and do with these hands of mine (mind of mine, heart of mine).  Each thing I pick up enlarges my capacity, but I am not without limits. I cannot do it all and I will not live forever. Try as I might, some things must fall from my hands. But they’re not gone.  They’re at my feet and one day I will scoop some of them up again and other things will fall.  I am a juggler, hands full, air full, floor full of colorful balls in slow motion.

By LucaP, Flickr Creative Commons

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If E.T. is kind of a farmer, Drew Barrymore is me, asking how much for a pound of onions.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (the school at the top of my list for future ag-econ studies) wrote up this little piece on “food tiers” describing in easily understandable terms the various sources of foodstuffs in terms of the relationship of consumer to producer. Tier Zero is me and my balcony tomatoes; Tier One is me chatting up the onion farmer while he weighs my onions at the farmer’s market; Tier Two is me ordering my veggies each week from South Mountain Creamery; Tier 3 is me shopping at Whole Foods, or choosing the organic line of Giant’s products via my Peapod shopping; Tier 4 is the food my shelf whose origins I cannot account for, or the ingredients in other food I’ve purchased that come from anonymous fields of corn or soy, or out-of-season fruit from Panama or Chile. It’s an interesting (and quick to read article) who’s main point is that, as Tier 1 values gain ground among consumers, Tier 2 is a key focus of the action, and both Tiers 1 and 3 will play vital roles in making a Tier 2 experience more widely and effectively available.

What “tier” is your most typical shopping experience?

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This 11-year old presented at a TEDx Talk in Asheville, NC. It’s a little bit adorable and a little bit annoying all at once, but I’m happy that any kid would pick organic farmer over NFL player for his “what I want to be when  grow up” answer.

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It’s a good thing I’m reading these two books simultaneously.

I’m (according to Kindle) 41% of the way through Paul Roberts’ The End of Food.  It’s a long book, and thus far Paul has walked me through human history from our first meals of nuts and bark to our current astonishing dichotomy of feast and famine where there are as many overweight/obese people as there are starving people in the world;  where industrial agricultural yields have soared, but the vital sources of those yields – water, stable weather patterns, and fertile soil – are being lost at alarming rates; where food is a booming global business, but markets are artificially created, manipulated and propped by government and corporate policies that put more food into the mouths of the fat and more money into the hands of shareholders, while hungry people and farmers starve. (more…)

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If you think choosing the best food for yourself and your family is tough, try being poor. Put aside any thoughts you might have in your head about why the poor are poor and all the things you think they should be doing to better their situation, and just think for a minute about the day to day reality of getting food on your table if you live where most poor people live.

You will probably picture yourself in a city, on a block identical to the blocks around it, in apartment housing, a project or a single family home in need of repairs. There has not been a grocery store in your neighborhood in twenty years or more – the stores followed those with money when they moved to the suburbs in the 1970s. What you’ve got are liquor stores and corner stores, each stocked about as well as a suburban gas station might be with a few quarts of milk, some lunch meat and a selection of canned items and breakfast cereals, and an aisle of candy as long as the food aisle. Within a few blocks is a bus stop, but it’s not a line where a bus comes by every ten minutes, it comes once an hour. You are not likely to have a car, but maybe someone you know does. When it comes time to buy groceries, you can ride the bus (or more likely a couple of buses) to a real grocery store, or ride the metro, but either way, you can only buy what you can carry back yourself. All together, the trip may take you 3 or 4 hours. And you’re lucky to have brought back food for a week. And because American food policy rewards the overproduction of corn, the affordable things you can bring home are killing you, and the fresh fruits and vegetables are too expensive to buy enough to keep your family full for a week. (more…)

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