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Archive for May, 2010

>Bitter

>I remember once, as a kid, asking my dad why he drank coffee every day since, obviously, it was “gross.”

He replied, “it takes a while to realize that not every beverage you drink has to be sweet.”
I thought about this for a bit. Milk isn’t really sweet. Water isn’t either. And juice…well, yeah, that is. And coke…yeah that definitely is. Okay, I guess Dad has a point. But why would you want to drink something bitter anyway?
In college I learned how to choke down the stuff, with plenty of milk, sugar, blending, whipped cream and caramel topping. By senior year, I had learned to take my coffee with only cream, but it wasn’t until last year that I joined the adult world with the routine of the daily cup of joe. Working with children at the day care brought me many joys, one of which being the joy of caffeine. Most Friday mornings, in the months that I biked, I would treat myself to getting up a little earlier and going out for some quiet time and a cup of drip at a nearby coffee shop.
I think of coffee when I think of my response to the question, “how has your JVC experience been?” For some reason, I think people often expect the answer to be along the lines of “wonderful, perfect, awesome, so glad I did it, enjoyed every minute, everyone should do it.” Usually I mutter something along the lines, “good, but tough. Worthwhile, but I’ll be ready for the next phase of my life.” Which leaves me wondering why I haven’t been more enthusiastic. Or why when I talk to former JVs they don’t go into the dreamy haze of reminiscing the “best days of their life” like people do remembering their college years. Here I am, doing a second year, marrying a former JV, convinced my time with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps has been exactly what I should do. Why aren’t my responses “wonderful-perfect-awesome?”
I think I have learned to enjoy these years in the same why I enjoy my coffee. It’s not sweet, and that’s okay. I can appreciate the fragrant yet earthy aroma as I sip my morning cup. I appreciate the bitter contrast that it provides to a donut or cinnamon roll.
In the same way, I am glad that my years have not been completely sweet, but have provided me with a chance to face the difficult. To confront the bitter. And not only to tolerate life’s less-than-sweet moments, but thoroughly be grateful for them.

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>I blame my mother.

>I know its one of those things you aren’t supposed to say, but its true. I do. Because of her, I am 23 years old and cannot…

make Kraft mac n cheese worth to save my life.
I also cannot make a grilled cheese sandwich.
Unfortunately, because of her, many of the quintessential JV meals I utterly fail at. And yes, it is possible to mess these up. My mac n cheese is always too watery and I consistently burn my grilled cheese.
I jest. I realize I am lucky that I grew up eating real meals and have learned (somewhat) how to cook. I still haven’t made it to my mom’s level yet, but I’m getting there slowly.
It’s amazing how many barriers there are between low-income or homeless people getting healthy meals. Things which don’t expire, are portable, and hearty don’t tend to be healthy. Things which are healthy, like fresh fruits and vegetables, require places to cook and a little know-how.
There are many ways to respond to this issue. When we donate food to food banks, we could choose items that are at least healthy versions of non-perishables. We could support local farms to insure that things like fresh fruits and vegetables will still be around. We can support health care reforms which include preventative care so more people can learn about proper nutrition.
But for me, its cooking. Cooking is what teaches me to make choices about what I do and don’t put in my body. Chopping each carrot and slicing each rhubarb stalk reminds me of the abundance of the earth. Stirring a pot of soup soothes me after a long day at work. And it reminds me to be grateful. Grateful that I have food on my plate. And grateful to have a mother that taught me how to cook.
So Mom, happy Mother’s Day!

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>I have a new friend

>

This guy:


On a walk last night, Jen and I stumbled upon this darling terrier wandering the streets of Missoula. We could see it had a number on the dog tag, but it was too dark to read it so we thought “we’ll just bring it home, call, its probably one of our neighbors.”

Apparently, the number was just to Missoula Animal Control, and not the owners. So we would have a new pet until the shelter was open to call them. [If you are my landlords, we have no intention of keeping her! She slept in the garage last night and I've called the real owners]
But in the mean time…
The girls named it “JV.” I think just because its fun to say “good JV. or “Bad JV.” And even though we are JVs, and on meager budgets, we have absolutely no dog food in this house. Any ideas on what human food to feed a dog appreciated.

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