Thanksgiving and TDOR (Huh?)
This is a complicated time of year for many people, with traditionally jolly food-and-family holidays piling up and darkness growing every day. I’ve been grieving deeply for three years now, but my own downhill slide gets a push at Halloween, when my husband died, then picks up speed a few weeks later (both my parents died two days after my November birthday, though twelve years apart). Next stop, Thanksgiving; as we watch the current regime deliberately destroy Native America sacred sites and give the pass to pipelines that were guaranteed to leak into sacred waters, the old Thanksgiving story definitely gets a re-write. These days, we begin our low key celebration by honoring the Suquamish people, the original inhabitants of the land we live on. I’m glad that their tribal lands are slowly being recaptured as their culture is strengthened, though clearly so much was/is lost to white greed and privilege.
As the winter holidays loom, I can still feel intensely thankful for the loving people in my life and the fruitful opportunities for service and enjoyment I’m still offered. I’m beyond grateful to have a sweet little home for my daughter to share, and grateful that we can afford to live in the community we both love. It’s still fun to share holidays with my grandkids, who enjoy making decorations and doing craft projects, but the thought of obligatory gaiety and gifts leaves me soul sick. I’m finding excess sickening for many reasons, from climate change to greed and willful cultural ignorance, but also because Thanksgiving follows so closely after TDOR. What’s that?
Speak Their Names
Transgender Day Of Remembrance commemorates the Transgender people who were murdered in the past year. Counts of known murders are kept from November 20 of one year to the next and published internationally. Many communities in many countries honor these victims of violent hate crimes by speaking their names and giving a few facts about them; usually all that’s known is where, when and how they died. Sometimes not even that. This year, every one of them were people of color. Most were murdered in South and Central America, but those are only the ones we know about. We know that many more transgender people were killed in India, in Russia, in China, and on and on, but we get little or no information from those countries.
I came away from our local TDOR ceremony with a handful of cards which I took to church. I invited people to take one home and speak the name, and all my cards were gone in a few minutes. I kept one card, that of Amma Hajjani, who was beaten to death in Sindh, Pakistan on March 26, 2019. I’ve got her card sitting next to me as I work, and I carry it with me through the day. We set a place for her at mealtimes, and put her card on the plate, along with a candle and a sprig of rosemary for remembrance. If you would like to honor any of this years 317 murder victims, here’s a link to this year’s lost:
Heartwarming Tea & Cake
When I am sad and discouraged, the right cup of tea can bring my heart back to wholeness. This bracing blend combines the gentle spiciness of turmeric with brisk rosemary, sweet orange zest and juice, and the warmth of honey. It’s great for discouraging colds and flu and it’s very comforting on cold, dark days, especially with a warm piece of rosemary tea cake.
Rosemary Orange Turmeric Tea
1 organic orange, juiced, zest freshly grated
1 tablespoon freshly grated turmeric root
1/4 teaspoon chopped rosemary
4 cups simmering water
1-2 teaspoons honey
In a tea pot, combine the orange zest, turmeric and rosemary and add the hot water. Cover and let steep for 5-15 minutes, depending on taste. Strain into cups and add orange juice and honey to taste. Makes about 4-1/2 cups.
Rosemary Tea Cake
Rich with nuts and fragrant with fresh rosemary, this not-too-sweet tea cake is delicious on a chilly afternoon.
Rosemary Winter Tea Cake
1 cup organic all purpose flour
2/3 cup coarsely ground raw almonds or walnuts
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 cup cane sugar
zest of 2 lemons
1/4 cup minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup avocado or vegetable oil
1 cup raspberry or any jam OR lemon curd
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a heavy 9 x 2 inch round cake pan and set it aside. In a small bowl, stir together flour, ground nuts, baking powder and salt, set aside. In a large bowl, combine sugar, lemon zest, and rosemary, rubbing between your fingers until fragrant and well blended. Add the yogurt, eggs, and vanilla and blend well. Stir in dry ingredients, then gently fold in the oil with a rubber spatula (batter will be pretty thick). Scrape it into your buttered pan and tap the pan lightly. Bake at 350 F until set and golden-edged (35-40 minutes). Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, invert onto a flat plate then flip back onto the rack to cool completely. When cool, slice cake in half horizontally and spread middle with jam or lemon curd. Serves at least one; refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days.