today i got called a secretary

(by katie steele)

All day I work with records. The paper kind, not the good ones.

The place where I work reduces people to a single alpha character followed by eight numerical digits. This job is neither glamorous nor interesting.

The soul crushing minutes comprising my days are spent pulling numbers, reviewing them, contorting them, spinning them, and ultimately depositing them into sexy Word documents. Those documents are then turned over to The Administration who proceeds to do all manner of indignant and near pornographic sounding things to those numbers. The Administration crunches them, scrubs them, my personal favorite: massages them, and then the new svelte, shiny, and freshly rubbed numbers are published to the public.

I’m a college graduate, I worked for a non-profit organization with college students for eight years, and so, taking a job in higher education seemed a natural fit. But I can’t imagine anything more cumbersome. When I’m not disembodying people, I manage the content for two websites, perform a lot of budgeting and financial tasks, and, yes, I do make appointments for my manager and maintain his calendar. Today, much to my chagrin, when I contacted our IT person, he didn’t bother to put me on hold, simply covered the mouthpiece of his phone and called out to a colleague, “X’s secretary is on the phone, and wants to know….”.

The word secretary really bums me out.

There’s vocation: encompassing the tasks you perform to make money; and then there’s Vocation: impulses within you that define the way you live and the way you think. That’s a gross oversimplification, but stay with me. My (V)vocations are polemical and today I longed for sameness. Also, to relieve a little aggression. So when I got home, I grabbed a knife and bludgeoned the nearest mango.

Black Beans and Coconut Rice

(adapted from herbivoracious)

1 ½ C rice, one 13 oz can of coconut milk, plus one can of water
Bring to a boil on med high heat, reduce to med low and when “craters” form in rice, reduce to low and simmer for 15ish minutes or until liquid has evaporated.

Mango Salsa:
1 ripe mango, cubed
1 large serrano pepper, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/3 cup red onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Put all of this in a food processor and whirl for 10 seconds, you want it a little smooth and a little chunky

2 plantains, sliced about ¼” thick
Put 2 T olive oil in a large skillet on med high heat. When it’s shimmering, add plantains in a single layer and fry until golden brown, flip, repeat (about 3-5 minute each side). I ended up having to do two rounds b/c my skillet isn’t very big.
When finished, sprinkle with salt, to taste

Black Beans:
Heat a can of black beans

To Finish:
Slice up an avocado, dish out into bowl(s) and eat. It’s about 4 servings worth, but you’ll have leftover rice.


  1. I made your black beans & coconut rice tonight for dinner. Huge hit with the whole fam :). I had a lot of fun bludgeoning the mango and avocado. I also had a lot of fun whirling everything in the food processor. Your descriptors are so great!

  2. alison, i came back here because you commented on visiting this recipe! i never saw your comment here (and you will likely never see this one), but, yay! i'm still so pleased you guys liked this recipe. it's wonderful!!


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