Saturday, January 24, 2015

Returned from Convention

I am just back from Diocesan Council, soon to officially be Convention, and I have Thoughts.

First: the bread from the other day does work well as a loaf.  I want to try adding some gluten to see if that lifts the rise at all.  But the combo of a little bit of oat flour with the wheat flour plus plenty of liquid for a slightly wet dough seems to make for a beautifully tender loaf, if a somewhat small one.  A puffier rise will give me perfect size bread.

Now.  I am back from Diocesan council and mellowing out at our place, where a lovely building engineer has mounted several things on the wall for us.  We can hang up our keys at last!  And our TV is finally on the wall.  Oddly, even though it's at exactly the height I was expected it to be, it FEELS very high up.  As long as it's been on the small cabinet that was its temporary base, I complained it was too LOW.  It is now about 6-8 inches higher than the base, which we said was TOO LOW.  Now it just feels SO HIGH.  Maybe it'll be better once I hide the cords and put up bookcases...

Overall, I'm grateful to be home in our wee little apartment in the Cathedral district.  Something about being up high and able to see is so relaxing.  It's what I loved about my house in the hills of Oregon- looking out on the city below.  I love the sparkles of light in the distance, and being able to look out at the landmarks.


Now for my Council highs and lows.

High/low of the Council:  I didn't exactly spend the weekend at Diocesan Council.  I returned to DC Friday AM for a funeral at Arlington National Cemetery for a family friend.  Truly tragic situation, but I have to give the military kudos for a beautifully run event.  I hope that in years to come, my friends will be able to look back on this and take some comfort from the perfection of the pageantry.  The military does the full honors funeral so well, and I appreciated the honor they extended to the soldier.  I felt that the soldiers who served together truly cared for each other, and that those performing the honors respected the tragedy the family faced and honored the soldier who had died.

That's a low because the situation is truly tragic and immensely sad, and I wish we weren't meeting at Arlington for a funeral.  But a high because of family was cared for by some truly excellent human beings, and because they are fine human beings themselves.  And that gives me hope for humanity.

Council low (and perhaps a petty one?):  It was not a great eating week. The food I bought myself was pretty decent: a nice fish dish at a cuban place, an off-menu portobello burger and a cider at a pub... but the food provided by the Marriott?  None of the desserts and only three options at the breakfast buffet were dairy free.  (The breakfast options were sausage, bacon, and fruit.  I do not kid.  Croissants, pastry, and scrambled eggs made with cream rounded out everyone else's meal.)

I was actually kind of mad.  I mention the dairy thing when I register, and I am just accustomed by now to showing up at events with an actual pack of rations: anything from snack bars to entire extra meals, depending on the venue.

I understand it is not reasonable to expect to have a variety of options, as I do at home.  But wouldn't it be reasonable to provide 5-10 servings of a special dessert, or one small tray of special breakfast options for people like me?  It would not break the bank to go get a $6 set of cupcakes from Ellwood Thompson's (Richmond's Whole Foods But Better type store), or to make a small platter of dairy free scrambled eggs. Add a sign indicating that the "special food" is for those on a restricted diet.  Give me a stinkin' cupcake, for heaven's sake, when everyone else gets cookies, cakes, brownies, and ice cream!

That is the middle child sense of fairness right there.

It's more than frustrating.  It felt dramatically unwelcoming to stand around at a "dessert reception" when everyone else had a plate loaded with food, and I had zero options.   It sends me the message that that's not where I want to spend my time.  A jazz band, and a bunch of food I can't eat?  As it was, I did a tour of the reception to say a few hellos, then retired to the bar for some conversation with my bestie.  I just told people I "wasn't hungry".  And honestly, I wasn't.  I didn't NEED food.  I just WANTED some damn chocolate!

Give me dairy free cupcakes!  Or give me 45 minutes in a zipcar so I can go provide my own damn dessert.

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