Friday, November 30, 2007

Fridge Friday V: The freezer

Ah, the freezer. Too small for regular frozen pizzas, we've been forced to switch to personal sized ones. They seem to work better with my evening classes, though, and now I get to have flavors that R doesn't like (such as the tomato pesto one I had earlier), so I don't mind too much.

The freezer is definitely the domain of processed foods. Sausages laced with cheese, mini quiches, pasta. We've also got quite the iced cream stash. Even though my body doesn't care for dairy, I do break down every once in a while. This last trip to the grocery store resulted in the purchase of pomegranate and dark chocolate bars and toasted coconut sesame brittle ice cream, both of which I strongly recommend.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pay It Forward

The lovely Lara decided to do this on her blog and, although she hasn't said yet if she's including me in this grand endeavor, I've decided to participate anyway.

Here are the conditions:
I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

Oh, and you also need to be willing to e-mail me your address.

So, yes. There it is. I already know what I'm going to make. I'm so excited!

Well, shit

I forgot to post yesterday. I'm a NaBloPoMo failure. I made it through the month last year, and I was so close to making it this year. I mean, really, who forgets to post on the 28th?

I'm not blaming anyone or anything besides myself, I'm the one who forgot, but there was a reason for the forgetting. Tuesday afternoon, one of my professors e-mailed me a last minute invitation to a two day conference. I jumped at the idea of getting today and tomorrow off from teaching, so I decided to attend. I then spent every single spare moment yesterday planning and copying, so that all would be ready for the substitutes. My lunch break was spent frantically helping the six students who came to see me to make up work (normally I don't see any students during their advisory period, my lunch, so I was glad that they've finally taken my message, "make up some work or else you will fail," to heart). By the time I got home, it was time for grocery shopping, dinner, and then Warcraft. As I sat down to Warcraft, I tried to remind myself to post once I was done. However, when I was finished I had to figure out exactly where I was headed for this conference, as the e-mail I had referenced an attached map that I never received. After that, it was time for bed and nothing could stop me from getting there.

Argh! I'm so annoyed with myself.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Story of My Most Serious Injury

Given that this happened prior to the advent of this blog, I think it is only fitting that I dust this story off for NaBloPoMo. Most of you are a fresh audience, except for those of you who were there.

R and I were on an end-of-season trip to Mt. Rose, going snowboarding with my best friend and her sweetie (at the time). The first day was beautiful. As soon as we had crossed the pass the night before it began snowing, so we had several feet of fresh powder. R was in his element. Me? Not so much. Being at the end of only my first real season of snowboarding, all of which took place in Southern California, I had never boarded in powder before. I couldn't turn, couldn't get up after I fell. For being such soft snow, it was really hard boarding.

The second day, the conditions were much closer to what I was accustomed to. I was able to turn again, in the slush, and felt much more confidant going down the hills. I even, slowly, tried out the four slalom poles that were lined up on one of the runs. I would watch R zip through them, then after I would creep through them at a snail's pace.

Near the end of the day, when the conditions were at their slushiest, I had finally build up enough confidence to go through the poles at a decent pace. I started through, reveling in the speed of the curves. I lost my balance, recovered, then caught the edge of my snowboard.

I honestly don't remember the fall itself. I returned to awareness lying on the slope, my left arm above my head. I tried to get up, but my arm wasn't coming with me. R rode up to me, at which point in time I informed him that I'd dislocated my shoulder. My friend and her sweetie arrived. Given that my friend's boyfriend and I were both EMTs, we were quickly able to verify that, yes, I had indeed dislocated my shoulder.

Having worked at Mt. Rose in seasons past, my friend's boyfriend was easily able to get the ski patrol to bring a bucket over and take me down the hill. The ski patrol people were impressed by how calm I was, having recently transported a loud, whiney, not actually injured fat kid down the hill.

In the ambulance, the medic gave me nitrous, however I wound up not using the stuff because I was having problems answering the questions she then proceeded to ask me. In the hospital, I was able to convince the nurses not to cut my jacket off of me (it was R's ski team jacket), instead wiggling helpfully so that they could pull it off of me in one piece. R said afterwards that he really wouldn't have cared it the jacket was ruined, but I would have felt bad.

The hospital put me under while they put my arm in, so again I have no memories from that part of the experience. When I woke up, they dressed me and let me go home with my arm in a sling and a prescription for vicodin (which, as it turns out, makes me throw up). I promptly put my injured status to good use and demanded the Thai food that I had been craving all weekend.

My recovery was fairly easy. R was a good nurse, helping me in the shower and with my clothes. The only excitement was driving with one arm, which probably shouldn't be legal. Good thing I had an automatic.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Second verse, same as the first

More along the same lines as this. Here are a few of the answers to a recent test.

When you are 60, do you think we will be using the same energy sources as we are today? Explain using examples.
No, because they might make it more improved.

Well no cause we will have 60% less energy sources as we do now so we will be a little bit more weaker.

I think we would in some ways. But, than we probably. I think yes we will beusing energy sources.

What is an example of a nonrenewable resource?
[little drawing of a what might be two cakes] see the new one is nice but the other one is not nice

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Last day of freedom

Until Christmas break, that is.

I had a disconcerting dream last night. I went back to school and they had changed all the classes. It seemed a very odd thing to do, three weeks before the end of the semester. I couldn't find anything and was completely lost. I couldn't find my schedule and didn't know what I was supposed to teach. I was thrilled that they had taken some of my classes away from me, but at the same time terrified that there might be a class somewhere waiting for me to arrive.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Fridge Friday IV (Saturday Edition): The top shelf

Well, I managed to forget about Fridge Friday on Friday again. Luckily, I was not alone.

The top shelf of the fridge is almost entirely taken up with sauces and drink fixings. The sauces are mostly salad dressings, but there is also a bottle of hot sauce and the sweet chili sauce we break out in times of lumpia or egg rolls. Being of the twenty-something set, we've got a fair amount of beer in the fridge, even though we don't drink it too often ourselves. Of course, my mom has a few beers in the fridge even though she never drinks the stuff, so I suppose it is only polite.

The one item that doesn't fall into the two previously stated categories is the container of frosting. I could lie, and tell you we just made a cake and had a little extra, but the truth is that I've just been eating it in graham cracker and frosting sandwiches.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Recipe Review: Baby Pumpkins with Garlic Custard

I actually made this interesting dish yesterday, pumpkins being decidedly Thanksgiving-y, but figured I'd avoid doing more than one recipe review in a day. Being served in little pumpkins, this dish was extremely cute and made my family's Thanksgiving seem oh so sophisticated. Reviews for the food itself were mixed, though. My family loved it, but to be fair they don't seem to own properly operating taste buds and think everything is delicious. R, the roommate, and I were decidedly less enthusiastic. They weren't bad, I ate nearly all of mine, but they weren't great. I was expecting the custard to be a bit creamier, perhaps with a more rich and robust flavor to balance out the pumpkin. We did rush the cooking a bit (be warned, these take a little while to make), so perhaps that negatively affected the texture. I don't know.

Here's the recipe, feel free to decide for yourself on this one.

It's the most wonderful (shopping) time of the year

I love online Black Friday sales that start at midnight. You see, I would never in my life brave the actual stores, nor would you ever see me trying to be somewhere at 4 in the morning on a day off*, however midnight is a time I am often awake and the computer is generally as far as I'm willing to go for shopping. I guess the Black Friday sales have finally reached the non-shopper demographic.

* We were up pretty early for the Wii release, but that's another story.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Recipe Review: Cider-Brined-and-Glazed-Turkey

Well, I really don't want to post the whole recipe, seeing as it is rather long, but needless to say it was a rather tasty bird. Rave reviews from the family, browned up beautifully, and the drippings created a dark and flavorful gravy.

This was the first time that I've brined a turkey myself. I've eaten brined turkeys before, so I knew I would be in store for something delicious. One December when we were visiting Montana R's brother made a turkey that he brined in a bucket out on his patio. The benefits of living somewhere cold, I suppose.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I suck at drums, but I'm an awesome lead singer

My entire afternoon and evening, minus an hour break for dinner, has been consumed by Rock Band. I probably won't be able to speak tomorrow, due to singing for several hours straight. As you might have guessed, it is really fun and you should play it if you get the chance.

Now, back to the action!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Recipe Review: Idaho Halibut

Tonight we were going to try out Idaho Salmon. Unfortunately for me, all of the supermarkets were only carrying Atlantic farmed salmon, which just wasn't acceptable (I'm trying to only eat seafood from sustainable sources). To R's delight (he doesn't care for salmon), I decided to go ahead with the recipe, but to substitute halibut.

In the end, I don't think I would bother with this particular recipe again. Although the fish wound up tasting nice, I could hardly tell that anything had been basted on it. Perhaps next time I might leave out the beer and baste the fish exclusively in garlic and butter.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fridge Friday III (Monday edition): My beloved jams

The central portion of the fridge has a good deal more variety than the other areas. Drinks, yogurt, sauces, pastry in a roll, and, of course, jam. I love jam. I currently have lingonberry, huckleberry, peach, strawberry, orange marmalade, and ginger open. Possibly the best part of my trip was being given several jars of my mother's homemade jam.

As for the rest of the trip, it was better than some but still not as good as initially perceived. My mom proceeded to make a few snippy comments and take various things as personal affronts (much as she has in the past), returning our relationship to its slightly awkward state. Oh well.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The fragility of memory

Last night, while my relatives up here had come over for dinner, my sister got out Operation so that she could play it with my little cousin. I asked my mom when she had purchased the game, as it was one I only remembered playing at friends' houses. She answered that we had in fact owned it for a long time, didn't I remember playing it? I didn't, so I asked my sister if she remembered playing it, to which she replied in the affirmative.

From my perspective, it feels as though they might be playing a trick on me, trying to implant me with false memories. However, it does seem like the kind of game my mother would have bought for me. She was always trying to encourage my desire to become a doctor. When a childhood friend told me that only men could be doctors, women had to be nurses, my mom bought me Doctor Barbie. I've seen pictures of myself listening to my sister's "heartbeat" with a little toy medical kit. She even found a female pediatrician when we moved, so that I would have a role model. I just wish I remembered the game!

Saturday, November 17, 2007


In all the hustle and bustle of getting up to NorCal, I forgot about Fridge Friday! I'll have to do it when I get home.


I'm home. Well, not Home home, per se, but the old home. The home of my youth. My mom's home.

In the past, it was always a little eerie visiting this place. It felt like a strange and foreign place, filled with echos of what once was my home. It was really strange feeling that when I still lived here.

However, this visit has been different from previous visits. My old home mostly just feels like my mom's home; I don't feel like an alien visiting it. I even feel more comfortable around my mom. Perhaps we have both matured, perhaps I've developed a thicker skin over the last several months, or perhaps it is that odd sense of teacherly camaraderie I feel towards her, but somehow I feel closer to her and less irritated by her than I have in years. Spending time with her has been downright... nice. Obviously, I've only just begun the visit and things may change, but I hope they don't. It's nice having a mom again.

On a totally unrelated note, my mom's keyboard is called a "QuietKey," but is possibly the loudest keyboard I have used in years.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Proof that they can, in fact, be cute

I love my house meetings. At my school, all of the teachers with the same advisory have a common prep period and we meet up. Much of the meeting tends not to be relevant to me, since I just have one class of 6th grade science and one 6th grade advisory (whereas they have all 6th grade all the time), but when we're not talking business it is a lot of fun. The stories they have are hilarious!

I do have a funny story from my 6th graders. Last week, one of the students came up to me and told me that her sister had a doll that looked just like me. She then proceeded to pull a Barbie doll out of her backpack and talk about how much I resembled it. I wasn't sure whether she was complementing me or insulting me, so I just tried to be neutral. It was really odd at the time, but pretty funny from a distance.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dork rock!

Considering that the most interesting event of the day, other than another angry parent e-mail, was that I spent the entire afternoon trying to remember to remove the box cutter from my school bag so that airport security wouldn't arrest me tomorrow, I decided to take a cue from Alynda and talk a bit about music.

You may notice that my top 25 most played songs on iTunes are, well, not very frequently played. This is due to my having to put a new hard drive in my computer this summer, eliminating the previous play count, and my having been teaching since then. Nevertheless, this is still fairly reflective of my slightly unconventional taste in music. Top of the list is a song from Dance Dance Revolution, followed by the much more sparse "1234," followed by a scattering of Jonathan Coulton (among other things). If you haven't yet heard Jonathan Coulton, you really should. Geek rock at its finest.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Recipe Review: Beer Can Chicken

R has fond memories of eating roast chicken during his childhood (my family was more into BBQ chicken breasts). Being the silly person I am, I therefore felt the need to make a roast chicken in order to live up to the challenge. What I wound up making was actually a hybrid of two recipes, Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables and Beer Can Chicken, with spices of my own devising. I am proud to say that this exceeded all expectations and was some of the most delicious chicken I ever tasted.

Beer Can Chicken
  • One 4 lb. chicken
  • One 12 oz. can of beer
  • Olive oil
  • Seasoned Grilling Salt
  • Pepper
  • Rosemary
1. Preheat the oven to 500* F. Drink 1/3 of the beer.

2. Rub olive oil all over chicken, then rub on a layer of spices.

3. Stick the can up the chicken's nether-regions and sit that sucker down on a broiler pan.

4. Roast at 500* F for 15 minutes, then lower temperature to 350* F and roast for approximately 45 minutes (until the breast is 165* F).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I'd cry if I wasn't laughing

This was one of the answers I received on a recent quiz.

Name three of the ways in which municipalities dispose of their garbage and trash.
1 is USA 2 is Africa 3 is Canada

Doesn't it make your brain hurt just looking at it?

Monday, November 12, 2007

A crying beer snob

Am I a horrible snob if buying Coors Light makes me embarrassed? I was buying some to make beer can chicken (my attempts at which were temporarily thwarted by a not completely defrosted chicken) and was terrified that someone would see me.

I made the mistake of looking at my work e-mail a couple of moments ago. Progress reports were sent out last week, you see, and arrived at my students' houses on Friday and Saturday. I made it to one angry parent e-mail before closing the program and am currently on the verge of crying (I'm sure I will later), which makes the planning I was going to do slightly more difficult. I stopped reading at the point where the parent was going to contact all the other parents whose children have been complaining of not understanding assignments and... doing something. Rallying parental furor, I suppose. I'm not exactly sure what they are expecting to happen. Honestly, I would be thrilled if their furor led to a couple more classes opening, as I've got way too many students in my classes as is. I wish they didn't have to be so mean about it, that's all.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

That which is precious

The fires took something special to me. No, I didn't lose my house and nor did anyone I know personally (though one of the evacuated friends who was staying with us got to watch a couple of houses he helped build burn down). What the fires took were bike trails.

We knew it was going to happen. The bike trails in San Diego run through brush-filled canyons, which happen to be the same places fire likes to travel. One of our favorite rides of late had burned during the Cedar fire, and the remaining charred skeletons of trees surrounded by new growth gave the place a post-apocalyptic beauty.

I'm sure this will happen in time to the trails that burned in this most recent fire, but for now they are just charred. We were going to ride on one of the burned trails today, partly because it is a fun ride and partly out of curiosity to see the destruction first-hand. It turns out the trail is closed due to fire damage. How the fire damaged dirt and rocks, I will perhaps never know. I suppose they're concerned that people will not know where the trails are, due to the lack of foliage.

The silver lining was that we discovered a rather fun trail at a site we previously considered somewhat uninteresting. We had previously thought that this new trail was short and therefore not worth riding, but it wound up being quite long and fun, full of scenic views and technical trails.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Why I love my hometown/Why I hate my hometown

Although I write to you now from San Diego, I spent the majority of my childhood in a place called Davis.

I love Davis. It was an incredible place to grow up. Being the bike capital of the world, housing more bikes than people even, it was a great place to not have your driver's license. One could get nearly anywhere by bike, often not even traveling the bike lanes on the roads, but instead taking one of the many greenbelts that traverse the city.

Part of the reason that Davis is so bike friendly is because it is flat. Dead flat. The only hills are overpasses. R, a San Diego native, considers this flatness to be a great detractor. I, on the other hand, feel the flatness makes it easier to see great distances. Unlike in San Diego, the Davis sky is wide and dark at night, allowing one to clearly see the stars. Part of this is due to special street lights designed to reduce light pollution, since the Wiccans wanted to see the stars. They certainly had a direct line to the mayoral office, seeing as we had, for a long while, a lesbian Wiccan mayor. My dad secretly voted for her. My mom was very angry when B and I finally told her, even though the vote was many years past and my parents had been long divorced.

On the other hand, Davis does suck somewhat. Davis is so liberal that it is conservative. As tends to happen on the extreme ends of the political spectrum, people with differing views are ridiculed and scorned. Discussion (real discussion, not just voicing one's opinion and then ignoring what the other person has to say), compromise, finding common ground--these things just don't happen. If my mother didn't have tenure at her old school, the principal probably would have fired her for daring to voice her opinion that perhaps a video showing all the different sorts of families (hetero parents, single parents, gay parents) shouldn't be shown to kindergartners and it should instead be the parents job to talk with their children about such things when they feel it is appropriate. I'm not saying that I necessarily agree with her opinion, but she should still be allowed to express it without fear of repercussions. Even though there is a moderate population of people who are of a political preference other than Democrat, one does not voice such opinions in Davis unless you know your audience very well.

Quote of the day

"It's got a whole chapter on rimming."

- My roommate, talking about a bartending book he purchased as a birthday gift for a friend.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Fridge Friday II: The drawer full of cheeses

Aside from eggs, blocks of golden curry, and some antibiotic gel for the cats' eyes that is probably long expired, this drawer is entirely filled with cheese. We're got sharp cheddar, pepper jack, feta, Dubliner, Parmesan, gruyere, mascarpone, and even some of those flavored cheese-food wedges. Seeing as my IBS leaves me somewhat lactose intolerant, the irony of my love of cheese is not lost on me.

Speaking of cheese and dairy, yesterday I had smoky cheddar ale soup for lunch, followed by a fair amount of Ben & Jerry's later that evening. Today I had my first day absent from school due to intestinal problems. I made it to school, but during my prep period I had to rush to the restroom every time I stood up, leaving me unable to teach. Really, I need to stop doing this to myself.

On a more positive note, being home did mean that I got to watch Back to the Future for the first time.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The continuing saga of the essay

Today was the day that the essay I assigned to my sixth graders over a month ago was due (complained about here and here). I received five essays out of a class of twenty four. Out of those five, several were not five paragraphs in length (as specified in the prompt and repeatedly in class) and none of them had bibliographies (also specified in the prompt and worked on in class).

Pardon me while I step outside and scream from the rage and frustration.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Recipe Review: Andouille Sausage & Quinoa

The original recipe calls for chorizo, but I had forgotten in the week between seeing the recipe and hitting the supermarket. To be fair, I've been quite brain dead lately. Tuesday morning I drove over to the house of the guy I carpool with, only to have him call from my house wondering where I was. I never drive on Tuesdays. What was I thinking?

In any case, this recipe is still rather tasty even with a different kind of sausage. Eating it feels very comforting. I added a bit more spice to my version, but do whatever floats your boat.

Andouille Sausage & Quinoa
adapted from Coconut & Lime
  • 1/2 lb. Andouille Sausage, sliced on the bias
  • 2 c Chicken broth
  • 1 c Quinoa
  • 2 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1 Stalk celery, diced
  • 2 T Olive oil
  • 1 t Smoked paprika
  • Salt, pepper, chili powder, and smoked paprika (to taste).
1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onion, sausage, celery, and garlic. Saute until fragrant (2-3 minutes).

2. Add the quinoa, cook 1 minute.

3. Add the broth and smoked paprika. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and cover. Cook about 20 minutes or until the quinoa is translucent and has a small, visible spiral. Adjust spices to taste. Serve hot.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Planning people

Speaking of needing a plan, R and I are deep in the throws of planning our honeymoon. We're going to Disney World.

Well, when I say "we" are planning the trip, I really mean R. He's doing everything. He doesn't want to spoil the surprise for me, so I've been instructed not to read up about Disney World. He's planning out our itinerary, researching where we should stay, learning the routes we should take around the park. It's really sweet. I'm quite excited. My only job is to figure out which restaurants are good and which ones are bad, so that we can make reservations (some need to be made 6 months ahead of time) and have a list of the sucky ones with us while we're there. Apparently the food there is very hit and miss.

Monday, November 05, 2007


I've got a plan.

I didn't have one this morning, and it was making me anxious. It seemed as though suddenly all of my assignments, vague and ill-defined, were coming due in the near future and I had no idea what to do or how to do them. I've got a plan now, so everything will be just fine.

I never thought of myself as the sort of person who needed to have a plan, but it turns out I am. Even if the plan means a crazy workload--and it does in this case--having a plan makes everything tolerable.

Due to the phone calls...

Almost exactly half of my students brought in their rough drafts. It's a little sad that this is exactly what I expected to happen. I would have been shocked if nearly the whole class brought their papers in.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Things I would do if I had a little more time

Organize my shit.

Finish the photo album I started.

Create the things I design in my head.

What do I get to do instead? Call the houses of my entire sixth grade science class, in the hopes that more than a couple of them will bring in their rough drafts tomorrow for editing.

We've been working on these essays for a month.

I hate kids.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice

Though many places in this hemisphere are experiencing dramatic changes in the foliage and snows, seasons in San Diego are a more subtle affair. The easiest way to mark the passage of time is the change in daylight. I've had to wear a light second layer on the way to work for the last week, but by the time I arrive it is no longer necessary.

My bike excursion this morning took me though a local canyon that happens to have a stream winding though it. This extra water supports a few deciduous trees, which were doing their best to turn greenish-yellow and scatter a few dry leaves about. In a few parts, the trail had a thick enough layer of leaves that it made a nice crackling sound as I rode over it.

As I made my way home, I noticed that the trees lining the streets were also changing color and dropping a few leaves, a fact that had eluded me until now due to my early morning departures and late night returns. I realized that the persimmon tree in my back yard, full of orange fruit and devoid of leaves, was actually doing what is natural and not, as I had feared, dying.

Fall has arrived in San Diego.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Fridge Friday I: The door full of sauces

My roommate complains that R and I have too many sauces. In all fairness, he's probably not the best judge, as he eats the same meal (spaghetti with meatballs and marinara sauce from a jar) several nights a week. He's just not the sort of person who understands why it is necessary to have curry paste, Hoisin sauce, mesquite marinade, and several varieties of mustard ready to be used at all times. To be fair, I might take it a little bit to excess. Here is a picture of my neat-stuff-to-be-opened shelf in the pantry, 90% of which is sauces.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Well, as if I wasn't busy enough with grading (grades are due Tuesday. Guess who is going to be dealing with a bunch of parents of failing students again?), I've decided to participate in NaBloPoMo again. I've got some very good ideas for things to write about (which is probably a good thing), so you regular readers will undoubtedly see a little more variety than the usual recipe reviews and bitching about teaching (though that will all continue as well). Blogging prompts! Fridge Friday!

For those of you who might be visiting for the first time, I'm a San Diego teacher who likes to cook, mountain bike, and garden. I'll probably talk a little about the planning of my wedding, as it is getting to the point in time where I actually need to start getting stuff done on that front. I'll be visiting my grandmother this month, who is going to be making my dress, so I need to get my ass in gear and find a pattern to base the dress off of. In a week... Oh dear.

Are you excited yet? I am.