Thursday, December 4, 2008

{FAQ 3} On food, homemade gifts, and black sheepdom.

Stephanie wonders:
(1) What's your favorite Thanksgiving food? (I'm also a vegetarian and everyone always asks me what I eat on Thanksgiving... hello?! Have they not seen all the side dishes?)

I love to eat. I mean, I know people say that - but I ate more at Thanksgiving this year than my husband did. I'm serious about eating. But I get fully really quickly, so I annoy my family and friends by complaining every five seconds about being full. My sister and I contemplated the benefits of having four stomachs like cows do. It could be great for me. (Not the vomiting part. That would be awful.)

Also, I completely agree with you - being a vegetarian is no punishment on Thanksgiving! Fifty bajillion wonderful side dishes means I don't have to eat any of that gross bird. {I don't even eat Tofurkey, because I don't like the taste. But that's another story.}

Back to your question, I'd say my favorite side dish is sweet potatoes if they're done right. Mashed potatoes (I eat them with homemade cranberry-citrus sauce) are delicious, too!

(2) Are you planning on making Christmas gifts again and, if so, what do you plan on making?

Yes! I'm all about handmade - less packaging, less expensive, less commercial Christmas stress, and more personalized! Since my sisters usually read this blog (hi guys!), all I'll say is I'll be making things similar to what is in my Etsy store, food and bath salts in jars like last year, and even trying to make soap! (The internet has so many resources. It makes me happy.)

Steph (Corwin) asks: When was your first break-away-from-the-pack moment? You know since you're such a crazy compared to your family ;) Is there some defining moment in your life when you realized you were different from your family, or were you always that way?

My parents always really supported me when I was growing up. I was very much their "golden child," {I'm not just saying this, it's true. Very silly, but true.} because I was into my faith and did well in school. They'd tell my siblings to be more like me. {Weird, right?}

A few distinct moments stand out when I thought, "I...don't...agree...with my parents?!" Slightly panicked, to be honest. As a people-pleasing, teacher's pet kind of girl, not agreeing with your parents is really, insanely difficult.

Once when I was in middle school, my dad and I were discussing the Nike brand. I expressed concern over sweatshops, to which my dad explained that their wages weren't that bad for that area of the world, and that "at least Nike is creating work there".

"But...just because it's somewhere else doesn't mean they deserve to live like that," I said, surprising even myself for disagreeing with Dad. Intelligent, knows-everything, always-right Dad. We talked about it for a while longer. It was an odd feeling, coming away realizing that, for once, my dad didn't convince me.

My senior year of high school, The War started, and I was honestly confused as to why we were fighting. I asked my dad to explain it to me.

And, again, I came away from the conversation genuinely surprised to find that I still thought it was...not right. I wasn't convinced.

Then I went off to college, where I learned a lot. A lot. I was pushed, challenged, and confronted. I questioned my beliefs and values. I came to conclusions. I grew so much. I did what you're supposed to do in college.

I got to meet crazy, liberal hippies who were religious and so cool and not at all as evil as I had heard. I did a ton of service and then learned about the root causes behind injustices. I tutored immigrants for their citizenship test and wrote letters to my legislators about immigration reform. I went to an immigration rally and was confronted by neo-Nazis. A crazy, radical Christian came on campus and I read his book about Jesus' message of justice, not judgment. I wrote a letter to the Pope about fostering a consistent ethic of life (for a class, I'm not that much of a weirdo!), I led a small group about faith and justice - I was fiercely and wholly passionate.

I took one class called History of Catholicism in the US, and learned that liberalism has always been a plague on the church. It has always been feared. It has always been loathed. lead great things. (The priest faces us and we can understand what he's saying!) I stopped thinking of "liberal" as a bad word because of that class.

I still feel a twinge of guilt when I come to conclusions that are different than my parents, but honestly - I am also very thankful to have such a different view in my own family. It makes me less likely to make sweeping generalizations about people I disagree with, it makes me more willing to find common ground, and it makes me appreciate agreeing with my husband. :)

I'm also proud of myself for staying true to who I am and not burying my real thoughts and feelings in order to stay the golden child. It's hard stuff. And most people will never experience what it's like to firmly disagree with their parents. I don't recommend it, but I do recommend being who you are!

We all want a better world, we just have different ideas of how to get there.


  1. i love mashed potatoes..... they are so my fav..

  2. Amazing post... That really made me think.

    P.S. I'm stealing some of your ideas from last year for homemade Christmas gifts. Thanks!

  3. I love this questionnaire thing you did! It's fun getting to know you. I'm just sad that I didn't get there in time to ask a question.

  4. Yummmm Thanksgiving food! SO good! And yeah, who needs the turkey?!

    I was really interested in reading your answer about breaking away from your family's politics. I was really intrigued because my family feels the same way I do when it comes to politics (I'm not 100 percent their view on abortion. I think they may not believe it in, but they believe in a woman's right to choose, maybe? I'd just rather not ask! ha. Anyways). And your answer made me miss college! Isn't it such a great time in life? I sort of wish I went away for college but I still had a great experience! Maybe I should sign up for some classes like you!

  5. Dana: Great. Yum.

    Jane: Thanks, I'm really glad you read it. And steal away!

    EP: It's fun. But I feel a little narcissistic. Heh.

    Sarah: It is hard. It's easier to just not talk about it. But I guess my blog gets the brunt of my not talking. Because I unload here. Oops!

  6. Thanks for answering my questions! I'm making peppermint bark and some sugar scrubs to give away as Christmas gifts, plus "recylcing" some other things I have. (But I fully intend to tell the recipient that these are "used" gifts.)

    Also, I really liked your answer to the other Steph's question. There are definitely some things I disagree with my parents about (politics, mainly), but in general we all just agree to disagree and don't really talk about those things.

  7. oh ashley, you are so adorable, seriously.

    i love that you make homemade gifts. way more personal.

    aand now i'm officially CRAVING mashed potatoes. yum. i'm not a total vegetarian, but i don't eat much meat. meaning the holidays equal mass amounts of mashed potatoes, aka heaven on earth.

  8. Oh I love both of these answers. I'm so glad I got to hear your history. It's amazing how college really opens your eyes to things and makes you think and question everything.

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