Wednesday, November 23, 2016
1. Megan is staying with me at the moment and - she doesn't like bread. As a result, at formal tonight I got to have her bread, which reminded me of the pure joy Nat and I had when we got extra bread on the aeroplane, much to the consternation of the man sitting beside me.
2. I have just discovered coconut and peanut butter and it makes breakfast so absolutely delicious.
3. How to save stale bread
4. Apparently, in Scandinavian tradition, if a boy and girl eat from the same loaf, they will most certainly fall in love.
Saturday, November 19, 2016
Shaun fell of his bicycle and couldn't lead morning prayer this morning, so I filled in, after a 1.30pm essay hand-in the night before. So tired, so very very tired. But I still saw clouds with pink under-bellies as I streamed down the hill, gloves forgotten and fingers waxy yellow cold.
After prayer, I imagined myself doing dissertation reading and perhaps a grocery shop but what happened instead was after waving goodbye to Naomi and Beth, I stood for half an hour trying to unlock my bicycle. The lock was so stiff it wouldn't turn, no matter how much force, key jiggling, or fervent whispers of 'come on' I used.
And maybe it was the bicycle, or the tiredness, or the knowledge that I hadn't written a very good essay, or the feeling of time slipping away, or homelessness, or cold, or ...or... but I felt shaken and forsaken, and I walked away.
But I refused to believe that I could be defeated by a bicycle, and I walked back all the while feeling as if I was walking to definite sadness. I called Mum (because what else can one do?) and when I heard her warm, known voice I started crying.
And so I stood in tears, trying the lock, which wouldn't budge, listening to Mum tell me he wished she could give me a hug and a rub on the back. My sweet Mum - I wished she could too. After that I quietened a little, and decided to call Nat since I was still out there with the lock. I thought I'd finished but I ended up crying again, but thankfully Nat is the sort of friend who I don't feel embarrassed crying in front of, and also the kind of friend who is full of love and comfort when I do.
God has given me such angels behind and before me, and on my walk back to college (I left my bicycle where it was) I had the chance to slow down, earn some charity miles walking, and I got into my halls just as the first drops of rain started.
Sunday, November 13, 2016
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”…He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you…For he will command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways…“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him…”
2. Emergency compliments for when you feel like you need to be encouraged (tip: although I know all of you are lovely, polite, people, just keeping pressing 'meh' instead of 'thanks' to get another compliment!
3. The sound of rain.
4. Hugs from strangers.
... And if all else fails - this button makes things okay!
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Whenever I see Grandma, the night inevitably ends with Auntie Sarah and I giving her a foot rub to warm up her cold feet. I went to see Grandma last week, when the temperature plummeted unexpectedly and so I spent the first half hour in Bury trailing the charity shops for a warm coat. (today I found a pair of warm, waterproof boots in Oxfam so no more ice block toes!)
After a trip back to Ixworth to pick up a couple of books and warm clothes, I headed back to Pinford End. Auntie Sarah and I stepped out to a sky covered in silver stars, and then headed into Grandma's warm room.
She had a fall recently, and winced when Auntie Sarah put the cold cream to sooth her back- although there was no visible bruising I could tell it hurt her, and the papery skin on her back seemed so fragile.
We talked about her favourite birthday: 'I think 1937, that was pre-war, so there was food in the shops. In the war years we had ration books, so it was very hard to provide a birthday tea in those years [...] That was when I was seven [...] Mummy would have gone shopping and put things aside for when it was someone's birthday. Daddy said, 'Your mother's a good manager.''
I was reading 'The Mind of Modernism' today when I came across this sentence 'Impressionism [...] suggest[s] a withdrawal from the world of stable objects and a new preoccupation with the perceiving subject, a subject in crisis, absorbed by its own dissolution, fascinated and sometimes bewitched by the flux of sensations flooding in from without'.
Isn't that such a gorgeous sentence, unexpectedly stumbled upon in the middle of a critical text? So much assonance.
There's probably not much I'd love more than working in academia and research all my life - books and criticism are intoxicating and interesting, and are a world in their own right. But when I think of the state of our rworld and the crying need of so many different people groups, and our planet, and our politics, I can't justify sitting surrounded by books like that, not remembering that outside wars rage and hurricanes rain down. I'd become preoccupied by perceiving, absorbed in information while crisis and dissolution surrounded me.
That is privilege used for myself, but I want it to be my privilege to serve others.
George Bernard Shaw put it so well:
I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.
I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.Right now I have obligations to fulfill - my degree and my bond, but after that - I want to pour my life into something that lifts others. Lord, lead me where my trust is without borders.
Last week I dropped my pot of rice all over the floor.
When running, I saw the clouds folded, and, looking for a simile, I tried to liken it to the ripple on a pond. But the truthful part of my mind told me that it actually looks more like the dappled cellulite on my thighs.
Today while running I saw a pile of fresh horse poo on the road - so fresh it was steaming in the cold morning air. I saw the horses hoof prints in the mud track later on, but no horse. I scraped the mud out of the grooves in my shoes into the toilet.
The benches in the lecture theatre here have backrests that end halfway down, so there's a space between that and the seat. Today, the person behind me shifted his foot slightly, and accidentally nudged my butt, and I (who'd been almost asleep) jerked at the shock.
I've discovered that my toothpaste has glycerin (aka animal fat) in it, and my washing up liquid has whey in it. Why. My washing up liquid doesn't need to bulk. My teeth don't need tallow on them. What a world.
When I said hello to the Jubilee centre people a few weeks ago, in reply to their 'Have a good week! See you!' I blurted out 'See you too!'
Thursday, November 10, 2016
I woke up this morning and thought ' Oh my God, America might have a new president by now'. I looked up the guardian app, and my heart sunk - Trump was leading 244 votes to Clinton's 215. I lay in bed, knowing I had an essay due but also feeling as if refreshing the guardian page every few minutes might somehow help Clinton's numbers to go up and Trump's to go down.
Halfway through breakfast I checked again. 'Donald Trump declared president after stunning victory defies polls'.
Stunning as in hit on the head with a large and pointed rock. Not stunning as in the adjective used to describe the glory of a huge waterfall, unless of course the implication is that likewise, America is hurtling, shooting, crashing downwards.
It was raining outside and I couldn't help but think pathetic fallacy.
But those were my immediate reactions. I spent the rest of the day in a daze - essay writing, lecture, blood test, Just Lunch, essay, mindless songs, essay, thinking about heretic burning/tyranny in the 15th century and now.
As I lay in bed after handing in my latest essay yet (but also the one I am most proud of) I thought to God, 'I'm falling asleep to a very different world than I woke up to, and tomorrow I will awake to yet a different world.'
Then I realised, that every day I fall asleep to one world and wake up to another. Countless things change in the night, and yet in my sleep state I still trust the sun will rise in the morning.
Hilary Clinton said, “The worst thing that can happen in a democracy — as well as in an individual’s life, is to become cynical about the future and lose hope.”
I will trust in the Lord of today and tonight and tomorrow morning.
'When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust in You!
Truth is, You know what tomorrow brings
There’s not a day ahead You have not seen
So, in all things be my life and breath
I want what You want Lord and nothing less
You are my strength and comfort
You are my steady hand
You are my firm foundation; the rock on which I stand
Your ways are always higher
Your plans are always good
There’s not a place where I’ll go, You’ve not already stood'
Monday, November 7, 2016
|Lucy and Mr Tumnus on the set of Narnia|
(That reminds me - once I was talking to Nat about how I like crunchy cookies, and she suggested I start my own crunchy cookie ice cream sandwich shop to rival Cookie and Scream in London, and name my stall Crunch and Scream, which I said sounded like a zombie movie!!!)
The recipe is from Malin from goodeatings.com, whose recipes are all beautifulyl presented and sounds incredibly delicious. This one was easy to make and so satisfying:
1/3 cup apple sauce
1 tbsp milled flax seed
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup spelt flour (Malin used brown rice flour, but spelt works fine!)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa or cacao
1 tsp baking powder
Malin also included vanilla powder, but since I don't have any I omitted it, although I'm sure it would be a fantastic addition.
Preheat oven to 175 degrees celsius.
Combine apple sauce and milled flaxseeds and let gel together for roughly 10-15 min.
Stir coconut sugar, melted coconut oil and maple syrup together until combined.
Sift flour, cacao, baking powder and vanilla powder together in a separate bowl.
Add flax and apple gel into wet sugar and oil mixture and combine well before adding dry ingredients in three stages mixing well in between.
(Confession: After combining the flax and apple sauce I just chucked everything else into a bowl together and trust me, it works fine!)
Let cookie dough set in fridge until mouldable and then roll into 16 equal balls.
(I tried rolling it without letting it set, and it is possible, although it certainly is easier after it has chilled for a while!)
Flatten the balls into roughly 1/2 cm thick rounds on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Bake in the oven for 15 min before letting them cool completely.
Malin also includes a recipe for coconut-banana ice cream to go with the cookies, which I've tried separately and it is bomb - the full recipe for both the cookies and ice cream are on her website here.
1. Run, by fitness22 - since starting half marathon training, I've started wanting to know my distance, time and pace. This app wasn't very reliable initially (on the same route once it said it was 8km, another time it said 12km!) but has since stabilised and become so useful in knowing what a comfortable pace is for me (and how I can push it on days I feel up for a challenge!), and how far I've run each route and each week. There's a very american voice that pipes in every time I run another kilometre 'thrrree kil-o-mi-ters' but I just turn the sound off so I don't hear her!
2. Charity Miles - I turn this on as well as the fitness22 app when I run. For every mile run, charity miles donates an amount (via various sponsors) to a charity which you can choose before your run. And it doesn't only work for running - walking/cycling also counts! It's such an easy way for perform a small act of kindness!
3. Forest - this app plants a tree when you don't touch your phone, and you can set a timer for how long the tree takes to grow. It's so useful for when I do my essay readings, and I hear my phone buzz and am tempted to look at it but then I remember I'm growing a little tree and I should let it be.
4. The Guardian app - It's easy to lose track of what's happening in the world when you have 3 essays due in a week, but a 2 second scan of a headline that pops up is so useful to remind you that the American election is happening, or that there was another earthquake in Italy, or that brexit cannot happen without a parliament vote, so that if they come up in conversations (which in Cambridge, they often do) you aren't entirely clueless. Sometimes there are also long reads that I enjoy, like the coverage on the Nauru files, a piece about living well in the age of plenty (such a good one!) or an in depth piece on the catastrophe of the Great Barrier Reef.
Saturday, November 5, 2016
At the start of term I planned to watch a movie after every essay. That didn't happen, but one Thursday Semine was screening 'The Spirit of the Beehive' in the VSR, and I decided to go along.
It is visually pleasing - soft, earth tones and beautifully framed shots particularly when it comes to emphasising the innocence of Ana, the film's child-protagonist, in the film's post- Spanish Civil War setting.
The film has definite political undertones, given the time of its creation and the time it is set in, but also it is largely about the imaginative, incomprehensible world of a child's mind.
I don't want to write in detail about this movie and how it made me feel, because to do so would some how spoil its magic. It was in lots of ways a return to childhood and as a child I never wrote treatises on the movies I watched.
Suffice to say, you should watch it too.
The idea for this party was born after the first essay panic was over, an Alex and I decided to go for a cold walk into town in the 9.30pm dark. It was also born out of me telling Alex that I don't feel like I do enough spontaneous things, and so I couldn't refuse this spontaneous idea.
'Let's hold a halloween party!'
We decided have games that you'd have as a child - things like apple bobbing, art and craft, and the doughnut-on-string game, which always brings back that feeling of sticky grains of sugar creeping up the sides of your face, and the impossibility of using your tongue to lick it all off. Although of course you still try.
We decorated the coach house and it looked like fairyland - blue cloth hung across the ceiling, pink and white lanterns hung like strange planets, and in between them Alex hung party ring biscuits too. We found an old placard which was used in the 'Reclaim the Night' march - it said 'The Right to Live Without Fear' which we thought was rather apt for Halloween!
I'd found (vegan!) custard and jam filled donuts, which we tried to fix onto strings. The mechanics of that process was rather difficult since we had nothing but carrot sticks to pierce the donuts with, but we managed to do a few, and had a couple of donut-eating competitions!
Apple bobbing proved even harder - those apples were mostly ones I'd got from outside a man's house in Girton, and they were really smooth and hard to pick up with your teeth! I'd cycled there directly after lectures, crashed into a fence en route (but I only have a couple of minor scratched and a little cut on my finger), picked them up and cycled back, singing 'Misty' at the top of my lungs since I thought I was alone on my bike on the road.
Then I turned round to check for oncoming cars and realised there was some one cycling right behind me.
'Look at me,
I'm as helpless as a kitten up a tree;
And I feel like I'm clingin' to a cloud,
I can' t understand
I get misty, just holding your hand.'
Alex had a made a playlist for the party, mostly 2005 era music, and I danced a little although I still don't really think the 'dancing' one does at party is really dancing. After dancing I went back up to the art space, opening the door to find a girl tattooing Edvard Munch's 'The Scream' on the butt cheeks of two guys. Perhaps they were the lost boys. While all that was going on I still managed to paint a couple of pictures, using lots of yellow paint because I need some sunshine to tide me over these cloudy days.
I'm still finding glitter in my hair - little remnants of magic.