So this is not a post directly related to sustainability, fitness, or food. However, I think it needs to be said. After all, sustainability means living in harmony with the world around us, and doesn’t that world also include fellow human beings? Sometimes it is hard to love both the earth and humanity, as they appear to be constantly at war with one another. Yet human being create beautiful things. I believe an integral part of sustainability is not only respect for the world, but respect for each other.
In this line of thinking, I would like to talk about Ted Cruz’s recent comments about how gay members in the military have undermined morale. Reading these remarks, I felt a trickle of fear.
I am openly bi. I am in the United States Coast Guard. I will fight tooth and nail before we have to go back to hiding ourselves. Thus, a little letter.
Dear Ted Cruz,
Let me introduce myself. My name is Jean Dahlquist, and I am a petty officer third class in the United States Coast Guard. My proudest achievements are my qualifications as a Coast Guard Aviator. Several times a week, I take to the skies with my crew, and say a prayer.
“Bring me home,” I whisper to myself. Though only flying for half a year, I have experience both a flight control and an engine failure. During both events I was grateful that after every conversation with the man I plan on marrying, I tell him I love him.
However, let me be clear. There was a period in my life when I said “I love you” to a woman. I was not confused, I did not get cured by the man I love, I simply am attracted to both men and women. I was in the first boot camp class out of Cape May New Jersey that did not receive Don’t Ask Don’t Tell training. I swear my chest almost burst with pride. Here in the Coast Guard, we are constantly reminded that we must be better than our civilian peers. We cannot commit adultery, we cannot ever be on the wrong side of the law, and in fact, we cannot even create the appearance that we are breaking a law. Furthermore, we must be a brotherhood and sisterhood. We trust each other with our lives, and therefore we cannot let differences keep us apart from each other. Unlike the rest of the world, we must see each other for our capabilities. The best man for the job may be a woman. The best man for the job may be gay. But at the end of the day, that doesn’t matter because the best person for the job will save all of our lives… and perhaps our country.
Fact. Half of the women I’ve met in the military who I greatly respect are openly gay. Fact. My first chief who could drive a boat better than anyone, was more fit than anyone, could shoot a gun better than anyone, and ran the best damn sea cadet program you ever saw to train HUNDREDS of future military members had to hide his partner for most of his military career. Fact. Every gay member I have EVER encountered in the Coast Guard has RAISED MORALE. You, Ted Cruz, make these other members and I feel invalidated. We risk our lives for you, and you say we are not worthy. We do more than other members to prove we are just as good, and you would trade us in for anyone else because we do not fit your vision of ideal people. You would alienate our spouses, and go back to the days when gay members not only had to hide, but had to struggle financially to provide for their families because they could not legally marry and receive spousal support.
YOU, Ted Cruz, are undermining our morale.
I would die for you. In return, I only ask that you accept me for who I am.
This Week in Updates:
So it has been a hard week. Triumphantly (or so I thought) I submitted my final paper and was about to celebrate a successful course completion. That is until I noticed that my professor had written, “paper not submitted” and took my grade from an A to an F with one 0% on the final paper. I went back, checked my e-mail communications where I told her when I planned to submit the paper. I apologized for the date being so late, but since my computer crashed the day the paper was due, I had lost all my notes. I provided picture confirmation so it didn’t look like I was making it up. My flight schedule for the upcoming week was heavy, and I told her I did not feel comfortable being sleep deprived for flights. I considered it a safety concern. After reading both e-mails, she said “Ug. Good luck with your computer issues.” Then proceeded to let carry on with my week, all the while knowing that if I submitted the paper when I told her I was going to, I would fail the class.
Um… a little cold, wouldn’t you say?
Therefore, I filed for an academic appeal. American Military University is supposed to be military friendly, and has so far been great with my fluctuating schedule. Furthermore, I believe the expectation of a “hey, no you can’t submit that on Monday” is a reasonable one. Even if I had submitted no written communication at all, I think the expectation of a student in extremely good standing to be contacted by their professor before failing the class is reasonable. For all she knew, the plane could have broken down in Mexico and I could have been stranded with battery dead phone and no internet service. I could have been in an accident. The possibilities are endless. No one would submit nothing consciously for a class they co-paid for, especially when the grade they needed for a B was 50/100 points.
But she had all the information, and she just… watched me fail. I asked her about it to which her response was that this constituted a course extension, not a normal extension, and therefore I had to submit formal paperwork to someone else besides her. This is in direct contradiction to what student services has told me, and to what the academic appeals department has told me. They have sent numerous requests to her saying that their lives will be easier if she just grades the paper. So she has all the ability in the world to fix this, and just chooses not to.
This grade locks my ability to receive more TA until I pay $1000, which is my saved up money for… well, about the rest of my degree. So this week has been about flying, waiting to go flying, and paperwork/phone call stuff to deal with this.
On the plus note though, I’ve been getting into the holiday spirit. I’ve made a few gifts today, which I think turned out pretty well, and I’m hopeful for the challah that is rising. I’ve been making calls for Jesse’s more experience oriented present, and was very touched by a nice chef and waitress from a restaurant I can’t name yet. I really wanted to get Jesse a very specific thing for dinner on WI date night, but I couldn’t find anyone who did it that close and yet far from Christmas as the night of the 23rd. Finally, one place I called said that they normal didn’t do it, and I sighed and explained to them that I was trying to give my boyfriend who was flying in the real WI experience for the holidays. I asked her if perhaps she knew of anywhere else? The waitress on the line paused and went, “I don’t know of anyone who would do that. But you know what? I’ll ask the chef.”
After a little while she called me back, and the chef is making a very special order just for us, so that Jesse can get the eating part of his Holiday present. I actually got a little teary eyed. So while some people are certainly not in the holiday spirit (*cough *couch previously mentioned) other people are quite wonderful. I didn’t even ask her to do that, she just volunteered. How wonderful.
I did well on grocery shopping too. I bought yeast and flour to attempt a challah. Though I put garlic in it. Which I guess is a no no before it finishes rising. Er, wish me luck!
The Recipe: The Best Paleo Apple Pie
So I have been tweaking things around for a bit, trying to come up with a gooey apple pie that has no butter or sugar for Jesse. This is the result! I was inspired by the maple walnut pie I tried for thanksgiving. Delicious and about as healthy as you can get for a pie, I am very happy with how this turned out.
For the pie crust you can take your pick of the paleo options out there. I like the almond flour one from Elana’s Pantry.
Ingredients (Not including pie crust)
1/3 cup almond butter or peanut butter
3/4 cup real maple syrup
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Make the pie crust but don’t bake it. Chop up the apples, and mix with the melted coconut oil, nut butter, and pumpkin pie spice. Put this gooey mixture into the pie crust. In a new bowl, beat the eggs and the maple syrup together until frothy. Pour over the apples into the pie crust until the pie crust is full. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until fork inserted into the middle of the pie comes out clean. Top with some ice cream, and enjoy!
Note: if you like it sweeter than most paleo people, have a little honey on hand to add over the top.