Monday, October 25, 2010

It Gets Better - If We Make It Better.

The news has been abuzz the last few weeks with the stories of bullied teens. A nationwide campaign was launched to tell kids everywhere that It Gets Better. And watching those videos makes me happy, and a little tearful, because it does. It does get better.

But what I can’t help thinking is that not enough is actually being done. All we’re really doing is telling kids, “Suck it up for a few years, then you’ll be free.”

But what if they can’t suck it up? What if every damn day they’re tortured by kids in the hallways and locker rooms and buses that teachers and parents turn a blind eye to because they’re different? Because they’re fat, or slow, or ugly, or gay. They’re too nice, too hairy, too smart.

We’re basically telling kids to endure this abuse because someday those kids won’t be doing it to their face any longer. But they’ll still be discriminated against by their own government. Possibly their own families. Sometimes their jobs or churches. We’re telling them to wait and hope that it will get better.

But in the mean time, they have to suffer, because no one is listening to the people trying to change things. Not enough parents are teaching their kids about tolerance and diversity. Not enough schools are enforcing anti-bullying policies. Not enough people are doing their part.

I know what it is to be bullied. Every day for three years I was trapped for 90 minutes on a bus with kids who made fun of me because I’m fat. Those years are when the Star Wars movies were re-released, and you can probably guess which nickname I got. Some mornings I would miss the bus on purpose and my mother would have to make the 45 minute drive, making herself late for work, to get me to school on time.

I grew up with these kids, I’m even friendly with them now. But I will always, always remember those days. Crying on the bus, being sick when I got to school. Not wearing certain clothes because they showed my pre-pubescent belly rolls.

Kids are cruel. We hear this all the time, but I don’t think we’re actually listening. Kids are cruel.

And that has to stop. Because those cruel kids don’t always grow up to be friendly with their victims. And their victims don't always get over it.

I am glad President Obama made a video, but it was the least he could do. Then again, it was the absolute least he could do.

I want more.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Jon Stewart, come to our party!

So, Jon Stewart [you know, from The Daily Show?] is having a little shindig on the 30th. Perhaps you've heard of it?

Problem is, my roommates and I are trying to have our OWN little shindig that night, and many of our guests are bailing on us because they want to go to the rally and think they'll be tired or whatever later. Lame, right?

Well, I'm hoping to start an INTERNET MOVEMENT, y'all.

Go tell Jon Stewart to come to our party.

C'mon, you know you want to. This could be the kind of human interest story WORTH READING. Or watching. Whatever, you know it would be awesome.


Saturday, October 09, 2010

My Very Own Recipe: Butternut Squash and Mushroom Peanut Butter Soup

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Peanut Butter Soup
Gluten-free, vegetarian, could be vegan [if you're into that sort of thing...] All measurements are fairly approximate. I was just throwing stuff together that sounded good.

Giant butternut squash, peeled and chopped into two-inchish chunks
3 small onions, sliced up nice and thin
3 portobella caps, sliced up pinky-sized and then in halfish.
1/2 C peanut butter
3/4 C apple or pear cider
1/4 C milk
palmful of curry powder
palmful kosher salt
palmful ground black pepper [white or pink would be lovely, too]

I mix the seasonings together and keep them in a bowl next to the stove. You'll probably end up using all of it by the end.

Whack the squash chunks on a baking sheet with a couple teaspoons of olive oil, a bunch of the spice mixture. Roast at 350 degrees, stirring a few times, until knife tender. Turn off oven and let it chill while you do other stuff.

The other stuff: in a heavy pot with a lid or dutch oven, caramelize the onions in 2ish teaspoons of olive oil. Season with more of the spice mixture. Once onions are nice and browned, add the 'shrooms, a bit of the cider, and the milk. Add the rest of the spices, and let the mushrooms get all soft and squishy while you are doing more Other Stuff.

The other other stuff: In a large food processor, puree half of the squash, drizzling in some of the cider as you go to help things smooth out. Dump into the pot with the mushrooms and onions. Puree the second half of the squash with the peanut butter, again adding the cider. Once that's all smooth and creamy, add it to the pot and stir in the rest of the cider.

Let things hang out for a bit on low heat. If making earlier in the day, just leave it on the stove until you're ready to serve or take it to your potluck.

Goes really well with bread, or a grilled cheese sandwich with apple and honey.

Peanut Buttery Squash Soup [with mushrooms]