Monthly Archives: June 2011

Not Quite Heloise

Methodology of cooking for 1?  Put it all in the microwave together. *note: this rarely works out well.

No A/C?  Windows stuck?  Jump on the windowsill and throw your weight into it.  Try to move the window with your sticky, sweaty knees. *note: only do this if you don’t have back problems.

I really should have kept a list of all the nasty foods I’ve eaten together in the last 2 years.  Once I made pancakes look like oatmeal, and I was so hungry I finished what I had and made more.  Another time, I burned ramen (in my defense, the only reason it was burnt was because I actually used a stove.  Usually, ramen goes in the microwave for 60 seconds).  Last week, I dumped tomato juice on hamburger and linguine and called it a gourmet meal.

Today, I had a true success(ish), so I thought I’d share.  I was so excited.  It actually looked good, although in the name of honesty, it didn’t taste nearly as good as it looked.

8 Layer Taco Salad

Nevertheless, I still have learned several important lessons from my kitchen and housekeeping mishaps and successes, and am here to share them with you today.  (Because I know you all should be taking housekeeping advice from a young, single college student trying to make it on her own in the city.)

1) Frozen peas are divine.  They easily replace chips as a snack food.

2) Tacos can be prepared in at least a dozen edible ways. (see above photo for method 10)

3) A homemade strawberry smoothie will always make a bad meal go down okay.

4) You really should use laundry soap, but in the event that you have absolutely no more clean clothes, you can just put them all in the machine (important note: I’m not gross.  I’ve only done this once, but was amazed at how well it worked out.)

5) Some people put towels under their door to keep out the light.  An equally valid reason for stuffing a towel under your door is fear of cockroaches.

6) No matter how much you try, living on ramen is really not appropriate.

7) Cooking can actually be quite enjoyable if you are hungry and the alternative is ramen (again)

8 ) Radiators do not emit gas.  They only have water in them, so do not call physical plant thinking you are reporting a fire.  There is also no need to dream of a Jane Eyre like fire in your room.

** corollary to #8: If you just used a gas stove the hallway might smell like smoke.  Do not be alarmed.

9) Feel free to ignore standard meal hours, because you are cooking for one and you can.  Just eat healthy.  Eat when you are hungry, even if that means you eat breakfast at noon, lunch at 4pm, and dinner at midnight.

10) There are certain food items that are okay after their expiration dates.  Milk is never one of them.

I know I’m not the best homemaker (yet), but I laugh because getting frustrated isn’t effective.  So why not smile at my mishaps?


iServe Video (check it out!)

This is the iServe video I made for General Conference.  It will also soon be on the new website.

It’s not perfect, but I’m pretty proud of it.  Video editing is like digital scrapbooking, beautiful, but time consuming.  Wordpress will charge me $60 if I upload a video to this site (rip off), so instead, I’m sending you to youtube.  So please, click on the link and see what I’ve been doing while the teams are here.

Cross-Eyed Confusion

After a rather long and throughly un-exhilarating, yet still extremely stressful mess of paperwork to painful too talk about, I think I’ve finally caught up on boring, logistical work.  What’s next?  The challenges of ordering photos for a display board that is going with me to Texas, but is still in Indiana.  You wouldn’t think it’d be that hard, but…it is.

P.S. – I saw cockroach again today and didn’t even jump; I just ran away.  However, I still am too afraid to get close enough to kill them.  I’d google it to find the most successful and least gross method, but I’m sure that it will pull up images that will plague me.  All this is to say, if you have any suggestions as to how I should deal with this problem (read: how to kill cockroach in the least gross way possible), please comment.

Color-Coded Accompaniments: Tori’s Map to Law School

I made it tonight.  That list. The big one. The one with percentiles, LSAT scores, and GPAs, all broken up by geographic region of the country.  The bulleted list of everything I have to do for every season between now and winter 2013, including number of study hours per week, test dates, and times to research schools too.  I charted my current academic benchmarks and goals, and it hangs to the left of the agenda just to serve as reminder of all that I have to do to get where I want to go.

I do realize that I openly stating this online, I am admitting that I am in fact 100% geek, but I have no problem owning up to that.  My little color-coded charts might just be enough to label me a nut, but it’s like this.  It’s the only way I know how to handle it.

It– the pressure.  I’m yet to start my junior year, and I already feel as though I am out of time.  The summer’s half over, and while it is a great honor, I’ve committed myself to several hefty additions to my reading list by participating the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s Honor’s Program. In August, it’s off to Spain.  When I get back, I’ll be devoting myself to putting together a conservative lecture series for the fall of 2012.  Wesleyan might not be abundant with folks of my political persuasion, but I’m not going to leave without having done everything in my power to express my thoughts to my peers.  That’s been an up and down adventure, but I want to leave having done it right.  My mind has been spinning with senior thesis topics since I was a freshman, and you can bet that I’ll soon be completely sold out to some micro-specific topic that almost no one else will have any interest in at all, but I’ll get a total kick out of it.

My crazy charts and lists are there to prove that the fear that I will not have time to prepare for the LSAT ever becomes a realization.  It’s there to prove that while I might not be sleeping, I’m not sleeping with purpose.  And I think that makes all the difference in the world.

Peter Pan couldn’t catch his shadow, but I can catch (and hold) mine

Only my second one though.

I hung out with some kids in the Patterson, New Jersey projects tonight.   The team and I walked outside and handed flyers to all the kids outside and told them to meet us at the park in twenty minutes.  An hour later 40-50 kids were playing games with us, listening to Bible stories, and making art projects with us.  We had events planned, but it really took nothing to gather a crowd.

It reminded me of when I was in high school and my friends and I would hang out with kids in an area without a lot of healthy families.  We would show up with a couple frisbees, footballs, and a snow cone machine.  That was all it took.  Today reminded me of how easy it is to engage with kids, and once the kids are playing and learning, the adults follow.  They did today too.  A small group gathered nearby and I know what we were doing for the kids meant a lot to them.

There was one little girl tonight that absolutely stole my heart.  She showed up late, so I helped her with her art project.  But she kept coming back,  always standing behind me or grabbing my hand.  After the kids program ended, Bridge Hope Community Church (the one we were helping out) put on an outdoor worship service.  I was trying to help the kids stay involved and not wonder away, so I started dancing.  At first, I just moved a little.  Then, I danced to the little girl who followed me anywhere.  Then, I made her dance with me and jump up and down.  Then, I got the girl next to us to join.  We had just moved our little circle to the middle of the group and gotten 3 more girls to join when the song ended, which was a huge bummer.  But it was still great.  The pace slowed down, I held the little girl’s hand and swung it back and forth to Amazing Grace.

My little girl ran away to play, but she kept coming back, sitting on my lap, resting her head on my back, wrapping my arms around her, and holding her hand.  I loved playing with her, but I kept wondering if this little girl who was so starved for my attention had anyone to hold her when she went home. 

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I am going to law school.

Last night, I took the Indiana team to the Getz’s for pizza and ice cream on the rooftop. They do this with every team.  It’s a way for his family to spend a little time with every group that comes and for them to hear about missional living in the city.  While they talked, I listened and stared out Jeff’s window at the Queensboro Bridge.  I didn’t mean to start praying, but it was just like I was quiet and God started talking, not like with words, but with peace, order, and sense.

Queensboro Bridge at sunset

For a long time law school has been a short answer to the question “what do you want to do with your life?”  It takes a enough time to explain to someone what the College of Social Studies is (my major).  If they listen to that, they usually don’t have the attention span for a 4 minute well-if-I-move-back-to-DC-I-might-do-this or I-know-what-I’m-skilled-and-passionate-about-but-not-sure-how-I’ll-be-using-them-yet speech.  So law school works, but it was more of a default then anything.

I know a few important things about law school.

1) It’s mighty pricey with little to no financial aid.

2) It requires a significant time commitment (before to study for the LSAT, during to graduate, after to pass the bar, and after to pay debt)

4) It will compromise time that I could spend building important business contacts that I could get if I just went for my Masters in Public Policy instead.

5) It will affect my relationships.  I will not have the time to build as many strong friendships, limit when I can see my family, and very likely delay when I will get married and have a family of my own.

But I know several other things too, more important than anything on the above list. My decision to go to law school has nothing to do with how many checks I have on a pros and cons list.  I only want to go if I can get in a top tier law school, but this has nothing to do with pride either.  I am fully capable of spending my whole life taking out the trash and cleaning restrooms in public schools.  To be honest, I think I would make a wonderful custodian.  I would do a good job and use it as a place to live out my faith missionally.  I don’t feel like going to fancy law school makes me any better or gives me the ability to influence any more people than a custodian or a bus driver has.  I just feel like law school is place where I will better be applying the specific talents and interests God’s given me.

It’s like this.  I have certain skill set.  I love reading old books on history, government, and political theory.  I love the CSS (College of Social Studies) set up- making my own arguments, defending them, and writing about them.  This year I am fellow in the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s undergraduate Honors Program, and I just received my first shipment of books.  It’s amazing.  It’s like doing CSS, but only with books that I love.

When I think about education and knowledge, I always think about that parable in Matthew 25.  It’s the one where the three servants receive a certain number of talents from a man.  The servants do different things with the talents, but the man who only received one buried it in the ground.  When the master came back, he was the only one that did not return more talents to his master than what he had originally been given.  His explanation?  “I was afraid.” (vs. 25).

This morning, I joined the team on the prayer walk around New York City. We go to various locations, discuss their significances and what they symbolize, and use that symbol to pray for the city.  The New York Public Library symbolizes knowledge.  There are a lot of intelligent people here, but very little wisdom.  I have the interest and ability to acquire the knowledge and bring Godly wisdom to places that would otherwise be inaccessible.

At the South Asian Community Center, they breach language barriers to reach people who otherwise would never come in contact with the Gospel.  I’m going to do that at law school.  I don’t imagine language will be an obstacle there, but there are mighty high barriers to entry.  I know I can cross those barriers, and once I’m there, I will let my approach to my studies glorify God.  I didn’t understand how to do that for a long time, but I think I figured it out this year.  I was stressed, very stressed, but I learned the difference between stress and fear and fear and worry.

I pray that this explanation doesn’t come across as a mere Christian platitude.  If you’ve heard me talk about law school, it might not even seem like a big deal, but it was, because now law school isn’t just something I’m thinking about.  It’s something I’m going to do, because it’s the place I’ve been called.


la cucaracha x2 (na na na na na na na)

Team three got in last night.  This one’s staying with me in Queens, while team two is still out a Brooklyn.  There both nice groups.  Today, we were out canvassing for children’s programs and English classes in Jackson Heights, Queens, which was great because we had a lot of people, covered a lot of ground, and last time I did this we only got the word out about the English classes.  I think the kids understood how what they were doing opened a lot of doors for long term ministry in the community too, which is great.  After work we went to F.O. Schwartz, which you might recognize if you’re a Tom Hanks fan (think Big)

Giant Toy Store


Recognize this seen? Guess what store has addition to things like a $25,000 Barbie foosball tables

I really enjoy showing teams around, but it is exhausting.  Tiredness is exacerbated by lack of sleep too, so that’s been hard.  On another note, and for your sake, I’ll skip the details. I never want to see another cockroach (dead or alive) in my life.