Thursday, December 31, 2009


I had thought that my unpleasant memories of the Campus Crusade for the nice Jewish Boy Frequently Mistaken for Deity were more or less just manifestations of my generally unhappy year trying to fit in at a new university. Turns out my memory is pretty much fine.

I've had two groups come to my house so far this afternoon. They're all from the Campus Crusade and I can see that there are at least two other groups of them out there. Each group of 3 to 4 teenagers is carrying some paperwork and a large package of some sort wrapped in plain brown paper and taped up well. They ring the doorbell or knock and say, "Hi, we're from the Campus Crusade. We're looking for families in need so we can give them this package of non-perishable food for their New Year dinner."

This is so very many degrees of fucking stupid I can't even count them. I want to grab these kids and shake them.


Who would ever accept the package (which, btw, is sealed up well enough that you can't quite tell what's in it and the shape suggests it's not cans) offered when it's phrased like that? You'd have to be homeless or nearly so not to take some degree of offense at it. Add to that the clear religiosity of it, and it adds up to bad proselytizing.

I'm certain these kids mean well. I'm certain they are doing this because just donating doesn't feel personal enough, even donating actual food. They wanted to see the people they were helping, to know that their work was having a direct effect, and possibly to spread their religious beliefs as well.

The trouble is, they're making fools of themselves and no one (including me) has the nerve to call them on it. I don't know about anyone else but if you're like me it's because you were raised to spare other people needless embarrassment.

And this, I'm afraid, may be at the root of the aggressive behavior many of the more pushy Christian groups demonstrate. No one ever told them how stupid they come across as. And, as time went by, the attitude became their idea of proper conduct.

If another pack of CCC's shows up at my door with their suspicious looking package, I'm going to try. I'm going to really, really try to point out their mistake. I'm going to give them a list of places that would happily take the packages off their hands and distribute the food to those who need it, without the inadvertent sneer. And if I can do it, maybe, just maybe, at least one person will come away knowing that his or her behavior can reflect the good their religion instills in them, without making it into something obnoxious and nasty. Maybe, just maybe, one of these teen-agers will figure out that tolerance doesn't mean being polite to anyone who doesn't disagree with them too much, but means accepting that there is good in everyone.

I suspect, though, that the kids have already pointed out my house and said that they've spoken to me and I don't want their brown paper wrapped packages of charity.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Did I not promise some knitting?

It was cold yesterday. Not Boston cold. Not even Colorado cold. Just cold. And I forgot my coat. Yeah, you read that right. I forgot my coat. It was that kind of a morning. Fortunately, I was knitting something for myself and I happened to finish it just in time.

Gypsy Cowl

1 skein super bulky yarn (I used Rowan’s Big Wool for the gauge, and then switched to an unknown yarn of the same dimensions for the actual piece. Thus I don’t know the exact gauge)
Size 17 circular needles, 16” or even smaller will do.
1 marker to fit needles

Cast on 60 stitches.
Place marker and join.
Row 1 Being careful not to twist the yarn, K around.
Rows 2-3 Repeat Row 1
Row 4 Purl around
Row 5 Knit around
Row 6 *K5, K 2 tog* K1 (53 stitches remain)
Rows 7-8 Knit around
Row 9 Purl around
Row 10 Knit around
Row 11 K, *K 2 tog* K3 (46 stitches remain)
Row 12 K around
Row 13 Purl around
Rows 14-20 Knit around
Bind off. Weave in loose ends.

Sprint PictureMail
Originally uploaded by ms.gyspy
This is how it looks, although the colors are brighter than they appear in the photograph. I wore it in the biting wind this morning. YES I remembered my coat today. This was wonderful. I could even bury my ears in it!

So I guess I have more food on my mind

I invented this the other night. To be honest, my friend Kim mentioned a recipe for maple glazed chicken and I just let my tastebuds run with the concept. Living alone, I often cook for one. This means my recipes are easily adaptable. All you have to do is take my recipe and multiply by the number of people you are feeding.

If you make this let me know how you liked it. And if you find typos feel free to make fun of me. I know my fingers have lives of their own.

Gypsy's Mustard-Maple Glazed Chicken
Serves 1

(Can be doubled. Or tripled. Or quintupled. Quantities need only be multiplied by number of diners.)

1 Tablespoon prepared Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
¼ teaspoon canola or other neutral flavored oil
1 teaspoon dehydrated onion (note: If substituting fresh, use 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion, see below for how to do this.)
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast, about ½ pound

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Combine mustard, syrup, oil, and dehydrated onion. Mix well. Make sure chicken is dry, then rub glaze all over. Place in a small baking dish that has been sprayed with a nonstick spray or greased. (Use a dish to fit the quantity you are making, of course.) (If using fresh onion, put it under the chicken.)

3. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes.

4. Remove aluminum foil and continue baking until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 170F. Allow to rest a few minutes before eating.

5. If the dish appears dry and too crusty when you remove the aluminum foil, add a teaspoon or so of chicken broth.

6. The chicken will be moist but this recipe does not create much, or anything, in the way of gravy. It would be reasonably tasty served over a piece of sourdough or rye toast, however. If desired, spread butter or mustard on the toast.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

It's been ages since I've updated

And to be honest, talking about the health care debate just pisses me off more and discussing Afghanistan frustrates me.

So instead, here's the recipe for the gingerbread brownies that I made for Thanksgiving last week. They were SCRUMPTIOUS and must be tasted to be believed. I made two changes to the recipe. They are in italics. Otherwise, this is the recipe exactly as it appears at the referenced website.

Gingerbread Brownies
Category: Brownies Serves/Makes: 24 Difficulty Level: 3 Ready In: 30-60 minutes

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup molasses
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (optional. I left it plain and it was excellent.)

Directions:Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and cloves in a large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine melted butter, molasses, and eggs and vanilla extract. Add to flour mixture, stirring until combined. Do not beat (the batter will be thick).
Spread batter in a greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool on a wire rack.
Dust with powdered sugar sprinkled through a paper doily if that's what you're doing. Cut into squares.
Recipe Location: ID: 85143