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Hey all -- check out the jewellery sale at http://elisem.livejournal.com/1869278.html.

I've purchased a lot of small pieces from Elise over the last few years -- mostly earrings, a few pendants, some for myself, some as gifts. My chrysoprase and aquamarine pendant, "Academy of Planets Entrance Exam," is one I don't wear often, but it is special to me, and reminds me of a summer evening in the park, baking bread and talking about the early theologian Ireneaus (which I guess you have to take on trust is a good thing). Chrysoprase and aquamarine are both stones I love; I used to have a piece of aquamarine which was my comfort object, and I lost it when my purse was stolen, so this pendant fills that place a little bit.

The "Dragonfly Revealed" earrings are incredibly sparky -- I gave them to a friend, and I recall sitting in the pews on evening seeing her in the choir wearing them, and these amazing rays of blue lights flashing around her in the setting sun.

Also important to me -- two small unnamed pendant crosses, one green, one green with red. For various reasons, I don't have many opportunities to wear nice jewellery, but these are things I can wear every day at work (and almost do -- I have just about four pendant crosses in regular rotation, those two, a tiny silver inlaid one I bought in Madrid, and a black wood with gold).

Have a look at the sale and see which ones are going to speak to you ...
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Check out Elise's birthday sale right here! There are some extremely beautiful pieces, and the sale only lasts till Sunday night!
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Hey! Beautiful jewellry here! The sale ends Thursday night, so check it out while you have the chance.

Intangible bonus points if you look at the "sold" items and figure out which one I bought ...
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Beautiful jewellry sale here! Check it out!
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... a friend is trying to remember a book from her childhood (borrowed, read only once). All she can really recall is that it had a "sort of Wolves of Willoughby Chase/Little Princess setting" and that one scene involved the child protagonist surrounded, at night, by human figures representing the seasons, and that this scene was important in some way.

Ring any bells? I feel called to track down this mystery now ...
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This would be no more than a routine spam, except for the "However," which suddenly makes it strangely poignant.


I wish to seek your consent for a partnership project. However my name is Mr. Rodney
Smith. Kindly get back to me to confirm the receipt of this message so that I will
give you full details of the project.

I am waiting for your response

Warm regards
Mr. Rodney Smith
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I was too busy to write about the last day of my food bank hamper diet, but I spent the whole day terrifically aware of my lack of energy and a vaguely toxic feeling in my body. Dragging myself through every movement, though (it being a Friday) I had to be on the go from early on to get my meal program going. But I had also so largely lost interest in food that being surrounded by food wasn't particularly problematic.

Microwaved leftover KD for lunch, with instant oatmeal for dessert. All I had left after that was half a loaf of white bread, and, as noted in my last entry, I decided that this was the time to stop, the point having been made as far as it ever would be. As it happened, a friend was in town for the day with his new boyfriend, whom he wanted me to meet, so after the clean-up was finished, the three of us went out for a meal at a Nepalese restaurant, and I had a decent hit of protein and tasty sauce (and about four glasses of water, which for some reason I seemed to need badly). Went home and ate an orange and a pear and some dried figs, went to bed and slept better than I had for days, got up in the morning and took my vitamin. By the time I was out and about to meet A for Thanksgiving shopping, my mood and energy levels had careered upwards in a truly impressive fashion. It was like turning on a light switch. I could connect thoughts up properly and didn't feel breathless all the time.

Proper nutrition for the win. As noted by many others, this is why, much as one supports food banks and their efforts to meet very real need, it would be so much better if people had the money to buy decent food for themselves.

A is still hanging on with the diet until tonight (because she is like that and was inevitably going to be the very last person to stop) and claims not to feel any particular effects. But she was pale and slow-moving and edgy all day. Interesting that she seemed not to realize this, or possibly just didn't want to admit it. Which is also not an unusual part of nutritional deprivation ...
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I've been dashing around all day & am exhausted, this won't be very comprehensive. I have reached the "whatever, I don't care anymore" point of nutritional deprivation where food just stops being interesting. (Again, issue is not quantity nearly as much as quality). I had dinner at the community meal program at St John's Weston (this is within the rules, as church meal programs are how many food bank users stretch their resources out), but the only protein was ham, so I had no protein. However, the scalloped potatoes were much tastier than anything else I've eaten all week, and I also got some pickles, which were as processed and artificial as everything else, but at least tasted of *something* (as opposed to lunch, which was white rice and tinned peas). But I feel oddly indifferent to the whole thing. Bill tried to taunt me tonight by showing me pictures of food on his iPhone, but I didn't much care.

Trying to socialize without spending even small amounts of money: sitting in the buttery with A as she drank cold coffee from a thermos and I scrounged some hot water for my tea-bag. Other divinity students going off to Starbucks after the postulancy working group, and me not. Drinking a glass of tap water while sitting with Bill in Java House. It is of course weirdly artificial, because if I really had no money Bill would very cheerfully buy me a drink or a snack or a meal. But if I really had no money I'd be much more reluctant to accept such an offer.

Remaining food supplies: some leftover two-day-old KD; about half a loaf of white bread, now several days past its use-by date; two packets of instant oatmeal; a small amount of milk. I could get through another full day if I ate at my own community meal program tomorrow night (where I could get fruit and a good amount of protein), and in fact, because we usually have lots of food, I could probably take away enough for Saturday lunch (many guests do). I won't actually do that, since it'd be taking food away from my guests who really need it, but that would be the outside extent of how far I could manage.

I have to start knocking back the dried fruit as soon as I'm off this diet, because among other things I am (TMI alert) horribly constipated. Which is hardly surprising, the instant oatmeal is pretty much the only thing I have that contains any fibre at all.
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The agreement on which everyone signed up for the food bank hamper diet is that we'd commit to a minimum of three days (which is the period of time a hamper theoretically covers) and a maximum of a week (which is how long some people have to make a hamper last sometimes).

As far as I can tell, nearly every single person is stopping after tonight, even people who'd really been planning to go for a week. People are quitting while they still have a fair bit of food left, because they just can't handle the poor quality of it.

I am determined to get to the end of four days (as are a handful of the other divs, I guess because students are tougher than other people and more used to bad food); I might even make it through half of Friday, but all I'm likely to have left for Friday lunch is half a loaf of white bread, a packet of instant oatmeal, and maybe a bit of leftover KD. So I may not hang that tough.

It's really interesting to observe how hard people are finding this, much harder than many of them had anticipated, and in a very short period of time.
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Man. I feel totally crappy, in a way I'm not at all accustomed to. I know all about feeling overworked and underslept and stressed, but I'm really not used to piling bad nutrition on top of that, because whatever the other conditions of my life, I get a fair bit of nutrient-dense good food. I feel heavy and sluggish and slightly breathless. I desperately want fruit and fresh vegetables, and I desperately want to eat something with some flavour. (Interestingly, at first I was fantasizing more about cheese and nuts and tofu, but now it's more about tomatoes and apples and salad, and things with tasty sauces.)

I couldn't finish my Kraft Dinner at lunch. I ate enough to plug up the hole in my stomach and then realized that however hungry I still was, I could not eat another mouthful of that crap. Maybe I'll try mixing the last of my onion with the remaining KD, on the grounds that it needs the help more than rice does. I don't know if that will make it edible or not.

I did an interview with someone from the college magazine today, in which I had to tread the delicate line between stressing what an inadequate and in fact socially harmful diet this is, without making it sound like I myself am actually suffering in any serious way. "It must be a horrible experience for you!" she said, and sure, in a transient way it's very unpleasant, but I'm doing this because I *chose to*, and it's for a very limited time, and I'm going into it well-nourished and can be well-nourished again afterwards.

NOTE: mental alertness impaired enough that I posted this before it was actually finished. I may write more later. But just to note that I've decided to make this and other food bank diet posts public, since public education is part of what I'm supposed to be doing here ...
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I have been so hungry for the last day and a half, I made myself the closest I could get to a big blow-out dinner -- more than half of my allotted white rice, a tin of corn, an egg, and a tin of tomato soup. It was still almost all processed carbs and sodium, and almost entirely lacking in vitamins and minerals, and means I only have one smallish meal of rice left, but at least I don't feel starved any more. For the moment.

We had a Social Justice Committee meeting tonight, at which we all agreed that we are feeling pretty much crappy and lethargic already, and are thinking about food all the time.

It hasn't really taught me anything new about food banks and poverty, but I think it's experientially useful. And the fact that all the bishops are doing it has got us a bit of media attention.
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I knew the quality of food would be extremely poor, and the quantity not great, but I didn't anticipate that I would be *constantly* hungry. I woke up at about 4 am, unable to sleep because I was hungry, and I had to drink an unplanned glass of my tightly rationed milk in order to get back to sleep.

I don't know how far it's because I'm actually not getting enough calories, or how far it's because the calories I'm getting are so unfulfilling (lots of white bread, white rice, white pasta). I'm eating my tuna for lunch today, and we'll see if that shot of protein helps.

I've never really eaten like this, because even at my poorest I had enough money to buy *some* food, so I could still choose to get whole grains, and expired vegetables from the bargain table, things like that. But when you can't pay anything at all, you have to take what the food banks can give you, and that tends to be highly processed carbs.

I wish that I could get more of my meal program volunteers to do this for a few days, because then maybe they'd ask fewer stupid questions about why the guests seem so picky and anxious about food.
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Wow, less than 24 hours on the food bank diet and I'm already hungry all the time, and plugging the holes with slices of white bread because that's all I have in quantity. Today: Kraft Dinner and a juice box for lunch, a granola bar at Trinity, and for dinner one potato fried with half an onion and half a tin of chickpeas, and white bread. Tomorrow I will have my tin of tuna (plain, as I have nothing with which to turn it into tuna salad) on white bread. Bland stodge R us ...
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For the next three or four days or so, I am meant to be living on the contents of a typical food bank hamper, as part of a diocesan campaign. And I am meant to be keeping a journal of this experience, and this seemed like a convenient place to do so.

And the first thing that I'm aware of, only a few hours in, is that I tend to depend on healthy snacking during the day to keep my energy up, and that's not going to be possible. Right now, under normal circumstances, I would go into the kitchen and eat a handful of nuts, and then go back and work on my sermon. But I can't do that. I do have three granola bars in my hamper, and I could break one of them in half and eat half of it now and save the rest, but on the other hand, I don't know if I'm going to really need something like a granola bar later, so I should probably save them. It's a small thing, but a very obtrusive missing piece from my normal habits.

Of course, it isn't meant to be an especially fun or healthy experience, so I'm not saying this in a spirit of complaint, but of observation. But I think that may be the most difficult part of the experience for me.

I am debating whether or not to take my usual vitamins. It's not like people who rely on food banks have any kind of access to vitamins, so properly speaking I oughtn't. It may affect my mood pretty quickly, though.
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You may notice that I have an icon here at last -- actually, I currently have 3 icons. We'll see if I ever remember to change them. I considered bringing my visual identity over from LJ, but I decided that it was time that Cigarette-Smoking Girl got a bit of a rest. So instead of picturing me as a moody blonde chick, you can picture me as a stalk of asphodel. (Or, if I remember to change icons, a strange machine, or a tiny doll travelling to Mars).

You may now return to your previous occupations.

ETA: Ah, internet follies. Because I forgot to turn off cross-posting for this entry, it automatically cross-posted to LJ, where it makes no sense at all. And because I've turned off LJ commenting, I can't delete or edit the LJ post, which indeed some of you may be reading now.

I'd fix it, but I'm paralyzed by not caring very much ...
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Just testing the commenting set-up ...

Apologies to anyone for whom this is inconvenient -- I know that some of you are only on LJ still, and I do appreciate your comments & hope that you continue to comment with OpenID. I'd hate to lose those conversations. But I am really averse to having anything connecting with Facebook in ways that I can't control. I distrust LJ a bit, but I distrust FB a LOT, and the conjunction is just too much.
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I don't suppose there's anyone reading this who doesn't already have all the Dreamwidth invite codes they want, but I have seven more if anyone wants one. Just write to me if you do.
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Hmmm. It is a little disappointing that, when I have a chance to read a couple of non-school books for the first time in ages, I end up with one very poor murder mystery, and one beautifully written litfic novel which is absolutely packed with racefail, genderfail, agefail, and stereotyping of internet users ...

But at any rate, it gives me a chance to warn y'all away from Richard Powers' Generosity, in which a mysteriously fascinating young Algerian woman attracts the fetishistic attention of all who encounter her, finally serving the all-important purpose of getting two middle-aged white academics into bed with each other on account of they both really want to sleep with her, and eventually flees back to Algeria to be Truly Happy With Her People, leaving all the white folks Sadder But Wiser.

Along the way, it may astonish you to learn that Kids These Days, they don't use proper grammar and spelling! and are only interested in cheap entertainment! and understand neither art nor morality (although now and then you see a kind of alt-reality peeking through the narrative, in which the young woman's age peers are actually the only people who treat her like a human being).

And yeah, there are interesting musings on genetics and temperament, but the whole construction of personality thing was much better handled in his last novel, without all the fetishing.