All posts by Mary Anne Mohanraj

Slate One-Sheet

Have finalized a slate one-sheet that isn’t as pretty as what a graphic designer would do but gets the information across. Lots of information. Even brief bios for four candidates take up a lot of space. Hm. Ah well — it’ll do for tonight — heading out to the school board candidate forum hosted by League of Women Voters; figure there may be a place to leave some info, or hand out to folks, even though this forum isn’t for the library board.


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Not My President’s Day

Kids’ school closed for President’s Day, so they came in with us — they’re old enough now that they can just hang out and watch tv on my office computer while I teach a class (and then I gave them lunch and passed them off to Kevin). That last photo kills me — if you look closely, you can see two little figures disappearing into the crowd of college students. Eep. Only eight more years for Kavya. I’m not ready.

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Found a caterer for the anniversary party, whee! We’re going with Jewell catering. Favorites: crab cakes, Thai beef skewers, tuna tartare cones, veggie samosas, panko-crusted chicken with capers, red-skinned mashed potatoes, lemon chiffon thingies. They had a fancier name than thingies, but you get the idea. We’ll be tweaking the rest of the menu some, but those are definitely staying in — delish. Thanks to Mary Robinette for coming along to taste with me. Much fun.  

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Yard signs

I am having a weird moment about candidate yard signs. I’m about to print mine, which is great, and I hope some people will be willing to put them in their yards (and if you are, and could let me know, that would be super-helpful in my figuring out how many to print)…but I find myself oddly reluctant to put one in my own yard, or one for any other candidate, and it is purely an aesthetic issue — the snowdrops are blooming, all my favorite little spring ephemerals are about to come up, it’s shortly going to be the prettiest time in my garden, and I don’t really want to clutter it up with a bunch of candidate yard signs.
I feel like there’s some sort of metaphor lurking there about the necessity for politics and getting your hands dirty, maybe with a bit about all those people who insist on keeping their Facebook wall only for pictures of flowers and puppies, as if they didn’t look at the ugly stuff that would make it not exist…
…fine, fine, I’ll put up the candidate yard signs.

At least the election is April 4, so they’ll only be there for a month. There are limits to how much a gardener’s soul can take!
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LGBT Fundraiser

I know I will forget people when I try to thank them, so apologies in advance — I am going off the list of people who originally signed up! But the event wouldn’t have been possible without so many people chipping in — the clothing racks, for example, were essential in making it possible to even try to look at the vast amount of clothing that was donated.
I was trying to figure out how much we donated — I did a rough calculation that if there were 40 bags, each with 10 items of clothing (many had more, I think), that’s at lest 400 items, and then if they sell then for an average of $10 each (which I think is about right for pricing at Brown Elephant), then even if you cut out half of that for their overhead, I think we donated probably $2000 in clothes, in addition to the $300 cash. Well done, everyone!!
11 – 1: (set-up: sorting clothes, putting them out, snacks and drinks) (Rebecca Mortenson Ho, Melissa Diglio Healy, Jenna Leving Jacobson)
1 – 3 (first shift): Stephanie Bailey, Susan Penrod Osterkil
12 – 2: Aisha Pickett Ellis (door)
3 – 5 (second shift): Rachel Benoit, Peggy Lynch
5 – 6: 2-3 people to help with clean-up and/or driving extra clothes over to Brown Elephant for donation (Marianne Merola, Nicole Sumida)

Other volunteers:
Emma Draves: rainbow veggie tray and rainbow cake
Jenna Leving Jacobson: bringing rainbow balloons and rainbow snack
Pem Hessing: donate Pellegrino, cups, napkins, pens
Jalissa Bauman Horne: rainbow fruit skewers, dress-up clothes for kids
Dawn Xiana Moon: Raks Geek can donate a pair of tickets to our March 24 show at Uptown Underground. (some more theatre tickets would be great to add to the raffle, if anyone wants to solicit those for us)
Kelly Sorprych: donate a pair of tickets to Other Theatre
Marianne Merola: bringing some ideas from Equality Illinois’ website. A few days ago they released a press release about a House Bill they want support for. So perhaps something like that can be the focus of our postcard writing.
Rebecca Mortenson Ho: bringing a clothes rack.
Aisha Pickett Ellis: bringing a clothes rack and accessory grid, also a snack (and her friend Laura Elk-Weist will also bring a snack)
Kat Tanaka Okopnik: bringing a clothes rack
Dima Ali: photographer

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The unseasonably warm weather meant that we broke out the grill. I’m a good cook with curries and such, but I need more practice with grilling. I think bigger shrimp would’ve worked a bit better — these got slightly dried out (but fine in sauce, and will be fine mixed in a caesar salad with dressing). Everything got tossed in olive oil, salt, and a generous amount of white pepper.

I put all the veggies in a grill pan, which was okay, but they didn’t char that much in there — I think next time, I’ll keep the eggplant slices, red onion, and bell pepper pieces big, so they can just sit on the grill directly. But the grill pan was good for the asparagus, carrot pieces, and mushrooms.

I’m mostly just being finicky. Overall, it was delicious and very more-ish. I had planned to toss the veggies in balsamic vinegar, but we were out! But it wasn’t too hard to make a quick lemon-mustard sauce, delicious with a glass of prosecco.

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“Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend today’s class because there was a bomb threat to my local mosque. We are relocating all our neighbors and families to a different mosque and also having a huge prayer so I will not be able to come in. Sorry for the inconvenience. Thank you for understanding.”

– from one of my UIC students today (2/17/17), reposted with permission

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Day Without Immigrants

Today is the Day Without Immigrants protest — a lot of restaurants in particular are closing in protest. I’m working from home today, so my not working wouldn’t be so visible, but I’m an immigrant, and I’m protesting.
If you’ve enjoyed my presence here, please take a moment to consider what America would have lost if I hadn’t been allowed in. Please imagine what my life would be like now if ICE showed up at my door and forcibly separated me from my family, shipping me back to Sri Lanka (a country I left when I was two), leaving Kevin to support and console our traumatized children.
The fact that I’m here legally is an accident of history, and mostly the product of the U.S. finally deciding to repeal the racist Asian Exclusion Act that would have kept my family out in decades previous. The entire concept of legal vs. illegal immigration to America is a relatively new one — for centuries, there was no such thing. If you’re here legally, all it means is that for a while, no one was trying too hard to keep your family out. It’s sheer luck.
The current path to legal immigration is also prohibitively difficult. “In April 2016, the U.S. government was still processing some family-sponsored visa applications dating to September 1992, and was still processing some employment-related visa applications from August 2004.”
Mostly, when Americans want to limit immigration from other places, they choose those places based on race. ‘Race,’ which doesn’t actually exist, is generally standing in for ‘culture we dislike’ or ‘religion we’re afraid of,’ or ‘people who will work for less money than we will because the situation in their homeland is dire and their children are starving or being shot at,’ but nonetheless, limiting immigration from certain countries, generally for people with certain skin colors, is racism.
We’ve done it before; we’re doing it again now. Let’s not hide from that truth.
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Cancer log 184: Seroma

Feeling frustrated that my lower belly has developed seromas (accumulations of fluid) post-reconstruction surgery — they are harmless, but somewhat achy, and exercising much at all, even walking, makes them hurt more, so I’m not sure if it’s okay to exercise.  I meet with the doc again on Tuesday, so I’ll see what he says, but I’ve gained a bit of weight the last two weeks, and that combined with the soreness (and this damned administration) has made me cranky.

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