Let’s get our priorities straight

You know, like many people, I live on a budget. It’s split between rent, books, food, concerts, clothes, etc. Most of the time, I’m pretty good about staying within my budget and not spending too much. I checked my bank accounts yesterday though for a pretty big surprise. Ten days into the month and I’d already blown over half of my budget. WHAT THE HECK!

As it turns out, I spent a solid chunk of it on transportation. I’ve been using this new Car2Go service in Seattle that lets you rent out these tiny Smart cars for the length of time you’re driving. So, alright, I used my money on cars. Not much helping that. The rest of it, though, was still pretty hefty. There weren’t any mischarges, everything looked right. It was just $20 here and there.


Apparently, my “here and there” is really just one thing: food. Nearly all of my expenses were on food! Eating out, getting groceries, eating out some more. And the transportation stuff? Yeah, that was to get food. How in the world do I eat so much???


One of my nutrition classes had an assignment in which we had to create a meal plan for a day that cost under $6, the federal guidelines for food stamps and such. I made my plan, all nice and whatnot, with grains and vegetables and fruit and proteins. I was able to hit all of my nutritional requirements by eating oatmeal (with pb and a banana!), a turkey sandwich with salad, and brown rice with garlic spinach. I even fit in an apple and some yogurt as a snack. My plan looked pretty darn tasty. I thought about actually sticking myself to a $6 food budget every day. It’d certainly keep my costs down.

But then the next day I went to Manhattan in Capital Hill and had a three-course meal for $15.

Mmmm, king crab bisque with a parmesan crisp, fried chicken and waffles, and an earl grey crème brulee. It was so delicious, I just wanted to stay there for as long as could. Maybe they’d give me more crème brulee if I stayed there long enough pretending I never got dessert…


I know that the people who have to limit themselves to $6/day don’t do it by choice. I certainly wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It completely deprives people of that joy of eating and trying new foods! And trying to figure out what I could and couldn’t eat to fit the budget took so much time it was like I was a cavewoman scouring the Great Grocery Plains to hunt down the cheapest wheat bread. Over time, I can see it become a chore of sustainment and a stressor of getting food on the table. As it so happens, a quarter of Washington kids live in a household that has trouble putting food on the table. As stressful as it is to try and feed oneself, imagine that multiplied by 2 kids who can’t focus in school because they’re hungry! I’m imagining one of my friends who turns into the Grinch as soon as he gets hungry. I bet he’d trip a kid to get their granola bar. Then imagining that multiplied by several hungry kids… no wonder it seems that kids from underprivileged households seem so mean!


A lot of the families who need help don’t stay in that situation for long. Most just need help for a couple of months, during rough transitions and such, before getting back on their feet. I mean, who likes to have to live off of charity? An event I’m currently planning tries to bring awareness to that very issue, by raising money to benefit NW Harvest, a local food bank network. They serve 1.7 million meals each month, and thousands of families in need without asking for documentation of need for assistance. That’s something I love about NW Harvest: they’ll help everyone who needs it, they don’t need proof of it.

I love food, and I like to joke that my entire day revolves around food. But that’s voluntary. I wouldn’t want to be stuck to it. I want to enjoy my food, and I want others to be excited about their food—not stressed. That’s what this gala is about—giving people the chance to put food concerns aside in their times of need. Everybody has a budget. Mine would gladly include a donation to NW Harvest.



Want info on the event? Visit endhungergala.wix.com/home (it won’t work without the slash-home part)


I feel that my feelings…

I’ve been thinking about feelings a lot lately. Not about my feelings. But more like, how I feel about my lack thereof. Or at least, my lack of expression of. Does that even make sense? It feels a little feeling-ception to me. There it is again! “Feeling.” Geez, why is it everywhere around me nowadays??


A very dear friend of mine from Korea gushed to me online about her new long-distance relationship. Her past long-distance relationships didn’t end very well, but this new one seems promising, spanning the distance floating on this thing called ‘feelings’ that they keep sharing. I imagine a can telephone through which they whisper their thoughts back and forth. It’s cute, but at the same time, somewhat foreign. She tells me that they can talk for hours on end about their feelings, and that’s really strengthened their trust and relationship.

This conversation was followed shortly after by another conversation, this time in person, in which another good friend of mine revealed that interactions with me can feel very casual, even when they’re one-on-one, because I don’t share my feelings and deep thoughts.


My first thought was, “What deep thoughts am I supposed to be having?” followed closely by, “What deep thoughts are other people sharing that I’m supposed to?”


I guess I’m a private person. I like to control the flow of information about me so that people don’t know more than I think they ought to know. I wouldn’t want for an opinion of me to be changed in a way I’m not comfortable with, then for that to spread to my other friends. Chalk it up to trust and insecurity issues; I probably instilled them in myself. Heck, ask that same friend and he’ll tell you that my blabbermouth drowned one of his closest relationships and endangered another. So that I don’t trust others not to blab as I have isn’t that mind-blowing, I suppose.


But that’s really a lesser concern. I can get over that easily enough. How does it go… “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Yeeeeep, don’t worry, I know my friends aren’t so easily swayed by an unsavory piece of information or two. The real challenge, though, is in figuring out what in the world people even share about that bonds them to others. And how the heck do these things come up in conversation?? I imagine that the “deep” stuff is generally more somber, and you can’t exactly whip that out in the middle of a conversation: “So I was playing with my cat the other day-” “You know, I used to have real issues, growing up. Damn that was a tough time.” HUH??!

Don’t even get me started on the feelings about someone that you’re supposed to share with them. If it’s a good feeling, I get self-conscious of sounding sappy. If it’s a bad one, there’s literally NEVER a good time! Can’t downer a good mood, or worsen a bad one, and it’s just weird to bring it up out of the blue in a quiet setting. It’s awkward no matter how it goes!


Maybe I’m just an awkward-phobe (awkwaphobe?) and avoid all instances of awkwardness that I can conceive of. Unfortunately, that usually ends up in long-term awkwardness at the forced unawkwardness. Awkward.


In my first step toward unawkward-deep-thought-sharing, I feel that my feelings about these unexpressed feelings should pacify themselves over time, just so long as I trust my friends to be a safe place for me to express anything I’d like, and accept the awkward turtle as my friend who will help me towards more closely-bonded friendships.


There. I did it.


(awkward silence)

The simple things

I know I’m not supposed to take things for granted. It’s terrible, yeah yeah, I’ve heard it. But seriously, it feels like yes, I can expect water to come out from the faucet when I turn it on. And that I have class on Monday mornings at the earliest time possible. (Some things that are a given aren’t as nice or essential as others. Dang.) When I applied for the University of Washington, I was confident that I would get in. So when the “big envelope” came (it was actually just a really stuffed regular-size envelope. How disappointing.), there was no confetti or big congratulatory party. It was just a given. As I’m nearing the end of my time as an undergrad however, I’m coming away with an appreciation for having such a strong, research-oriented university so close to home. The UW has given me a city-life close to my suburb home, and teachers who are truly proficient in their subject and use the textbook they wrote because it’s THE textbook to use, not for a shameless plug. I’ve also had the opportunity to run my own research experiment, and stay close to all of my high school friends. That’s rare. And having my close friends right there– that’s special. My closest friends in college were friends from high school, or even middle school. Definitely, being at such a large university expanded my network and I met tons of new people, but having a core of friends to fall back on, with whom I can dance silly to Dance Central, or talk about our insecurities and challenges with is necessary part of staying sane—I rely on having them. So to have that social support built right into my school, where I can grab coffee and chat in between classes makes me feel quite lucky. In hindsight, I’m so very glad I picked the “obvious-in” school.

I love Seattle’s high-rises. You can even see Mt.Rainier in the background!

Once I graduate from UW, I don’t know what I want to do. I may decide to stick around, or to move to a new city—Boston has been looking really nice lately. I do enjoy Seattle, though. I went up the Space Needle again for the first time in a while with a friend from Portland. While she ooh-ed and ahhh-ed over the mountains and the water, I pointed out the little neighborhoods, and the places I’ve connected to throughout the city over the past four years. That Seattle has come to feel more like home is also something that UW has given me. Seattle is beautiful. The view from the top of the Space Needle is spectacular—especially on the fabulously clear day we went on. Personally, my favorite view has been from a car, late at night or at dusk, driving south down I-5, with the downtown ascending skyline lit up and sparkly against a rouge background. If only I could get a panorama of that view. Such a simple thing. Thousands of people drive down I-5 at night. I hope they realize that such a mundane route home can be so beautiful.

I’m sorry I can’t show you a picture of what I see. I suppose it adds to its ephemeral beauty. It’s always the things that are ending that we appreciate the most. Luckily for me though, the sun will set again, and my college friends are still with me.

I made a lattice pumpkin pie to share with my friends at our first Friendsgiving yesterday night. You’ll have to excuse the blotchy egg wash on the lattice. I didn’t realize until afterwards that it’s not a good idea to try and brush egg wash on after the lattice was already made on the pie.

I was actually going to show you these candy corn cookies that I made for some friends for Halloween, but it seemed like the wrong holiday to be posting for. Whatever, I’m showing it anyway. I think they’re kind of cute.

I also forgot that the orange layer usually goes in the middle… oops

Candy Corn, all lined up, ready to bake! D’awwwwww