Monday, January 22

Pizza Man!

(taken from my post on the Cooking Light Bulletin Board)

The boy wanted to cook for me and so all on his own he went to epicurious and found some recipes he wanted to try. I do 95% of the cooking in our house hold, he has tried to cook for me once which ended in me having to "save" the sauce and finish the rest of the meal. The second time he cooked just for himself and gave himself food poisoning, literally. He's happy to eat 4 bowls of cereal for every meal, so this was a big deal.

The only thing we did together was go shopping. He ended up making this Sausage, Red Onion and Wild Mushroom Pizza. OMG!! It was incredible. The red pepper, piave (like a creamier parm) and rosemary pressed into the crust added tons of flavor (truth be told I think he might have pressed those into the dough and then put the dough upside down on the baking sheet because it seemed like all the piave was on the bottom, but this made for a crisp cheese bottom crust!). He used a lamb sausage on my pizza and a turkey on his.

He also made this Prosciutto, Pear and Fennel Salad that he plated just like out of a fancy restaurant. I thought the salad could have used more fenel (only 1/2 a cup for 4 servings?!) but the flavor combo was great.

All told, he spent 45 minutes "translating" the recipes so that he could understand them and then cooking for 2.5 hours, lol. But the house smelled great and when we sat down to eat at 9, it was delicious! I told him now I know for sure that I can go back to the corporate world and leave him alone to be a stay-at-home husband!

Saturday, January 20

Where am I, what am I doing now?

I just reconnected with a friend from the Rice Ultimate team. I sent her off a long message, mostly ramblings, so I thought they belonged here as well. ...

Thanks for the super long update. I will try my best to respond in kind. So yes, I am living in the Bay Area and I teach high school (public) in the Mission. It is simultaneously rewarding and heart breaking. The US public school system, especially in big cities and in very rural areas is in the shitter. I never imagined the levels of segregation. The number of parents who don't know how to be a parent and the disrespect that is being accepted of the students across all levels.

As for living in the Bay Area, I think I'm reaching saturation. For life as a teacher, I go to bed by 10 and am up before dawn. This is not the lifestyle of the Bay Area. So at times I feel as though I'm just paying a high premium to live in a place that I can't benefit as much from. However, the natural beauty and coastal access is definitely still alluring.

I am living with my beau. He is also a teacher at my school, we got together towards the beginning of last school year, thus we've been together just over a year. Living with him is almost too easy. We get along really well, but still question whether we have that burning passionate love. However, we both know we're not done with each other yet and may never be. We've both applied with a company that organizes job fairs for international schools and in February we're going to interview hoping that we'll find a school and country where we can continue to work together and live.

However, I don't know if teaching is sustainable for me, so I've also contemplated the "what else?" I've thought of opening a yarn/knitting/tea shop as I've become a knitting fiend and I love tea. But that would take many hours, stress and start up capital. So I've thought about returning to my very first job out of school (as they recently called and told me they want m back for twice what I'm earning now) for a few years to save up some money. But then again, maybe teaching in a different environment would be sustainable and I'd still have all the vacation time - the biggest perk in teaching.

... I've also toyed with the idea of grad school, a masters in math or a PhD in math education. But not knowing where I want to end up it's hard to commit to. The boy has his whole life planned out and I just can't imagine that, but at the same time, it would be a load off to know exactly what I wanted to do.

For my opinion, I see nothing wrong with flagging the professional stuff and working in an outdoors store. However, going back to retail means that you'll usually be working the hours that most people are out playing. I think the harder part is that as we get older, it's harder to get back into the professional world once you leave it.

Like you my plan is generally to go with the flow. I don't really stop to ask how long that's sustainable, but William often does of me. I still seem to have this idea that if I don't like what I'm doing I can just go off and try something else. I know that I want to be doing something where I'm not working 12+ hours a day, but also not selling off my soul wholesale, though teaching I feel like I'm having my soul stripped away piece by piece.

Anyway, this is supposed to be about a plan for you. Basically I have no guidance, except that maybe not all jobs can be satisfying, but it's the life outside of the job that can be.

> Its been an educational
> experience seeing how relationships evolve—almost
> sinusoidal in passion and frustration and
> contentness but constant in friendship and
> commitment and love. I’m not sure if this is
> “normal”—would be interested to know of other
> people’s experiences and if we are ‘just like
> everyone else’?

Your relationship sounds "normal" to me. It's often that I think the boy and I are an anomoly, in that the moments of frustration are rare. I've always heard that relationships are "work" but I don't feel as though I work very hard at mine. But also, outside of the bedroom, I don't think I would use the word passion to describe our relationship, which at times has me concerned.

So I think in our own ways, we all question our lives as being normal or not and often for me "is this what real life is?" Yes! Job hopping, city hopping, partner having this is all part of it. At times I wonder if I'm driving or just along for the ride, suprised at the next destination. But maybe that's all part of it...

Alright, there you have it. The wanderings of my mind. I hope life continues to take you down the path of adventure. So nice to "chat" dear friend!


Friday, January 19

Teaching Goodness

I would really like to remind myself of the good days of teaching. Because it's easy to get bogged down in the bad - segregation, politics, being shit on by students, their parents and your administration, working 12+ hours 6 days a week. Wait, I'm not going to focus on that part.

I have two students, let's call them D1 and D2 in my 2nd and 3rd period classes. Both black, both very smart. D1 occasionally does homework while D2 does nothing outside of class. D1 has a caring grandmother who is involved, but can't get him to do his homework; D2 has virtually no parental support. D1 comes to class roughly twice a week, D2 is there every day. D1 has no chance of passing, however, D2 has a D- in my class because he does no homework, but generally scores well on tests and quizzes and usually does his class work. Well today, after they'd both been in class all of 2nd, I noticed that they didn't have their white collared shirts on (it's hard to tell sometimes under the sweatshirts). So I told them they needed to get their stuff and go down stairs.

Miraculously, they both returned in uniform 35 minutes later. I stood out in the hall with them discussing why they were so long if they had shirts with them. D1 said he didn't want to be in my class anyway and I told him that was fine, but that it was rude of him to be pulling D2 down with him. "How you gonna blame me for pulling anyone down with me?" You're right I said, the only one you're pulling down is yourself.

"Em, this not teaching goodness" you're thinking. And prehaps you're right, maybe I should have been more tactful with D1. But if you know me, I'm very rarely tactful. However, D2 decided to come in. And then he got to work. And then he asked me to grade his work. The first part of their final is multiple choice. They're allowed to take (different versions) as many times as they want to get a perfect score. However, to get any points at all they have to get at least 70% right. D2 has consistenly been getting 67% because he keeps changing his answers. He did this again today. And he said, "That's just my thing, I don't know why I keep doing it." I said, "Well, next time I'm not going to let you have an eraser so that you keep your right answers right!" And he walked out the door with a big grin on his face and said, "See you later, Ms. S" this being the first time he's 1) smiled in class and 2) called me by my name. Sigh.

Friday, January 12


Part of being a teacher is being on committees. Our school has very few of these (that I'm aware of anyway). However, I decided to apply for a district wide committee, the mathematics textbook adoption committee. And I was selected! There are about 30 of us from almost all the high schools in the district. We had our first meeting yesterday and it was fun, frustrating and interesting. Frustrating in the ways that getting large groups together and attempting consensus. However, there were only a few moments of long windedness and mostly we made decisions rather easily. Of course, we haven't started looking at any books yet! And really that's about as much as I'm legally allowed to say. But I think I'm going to enjoy it.

Friday, January 5

A really good teaching day

This was one of the days that make it worth while. In my "best" classes, ie the ones before lunch and better behaved, there were discussions of math happening all day. Beyond that in my 2nd period, arguments with each other over exponent rules. I have the same students for 2nd and 3rd periods, for Algebra and Math Support. They finished with their quizzes way faster than I anticipated, blew through the worksheet that was supposed to last for 3rd period (6th/7th didn't even finish said worksheet for perspective) so I suggested 10 minutes of a "game" and 15 minutes to do their homework when they were done with everything I'd prepped 3 0 minutes early. So, we start the "Find the Treasure" game. Basically I pick a spot to "bury treasure" on an x-y plane and they "hunt" for it by calling out points. I tell them how many "steps" they are from it. Thus they implement logic calculations and have to remember that (1,5) means right 1, up 5. Well, the three teams got so into trying to out guess each other thaat we played the full 30 minutes and they didn't even want time to do their homework.

Sigh :)

Wednesday, January 3

Cooky McCooks-A-Lot

Yay! A full day in the kitchen. I really enjoy spending time with DBF's family, but it was nice to be back to my kitchen full of veggies. We started back at school today, the 2nd, and I start back with my credential program the 9th, so I knew I'd better get some meals in while I could.

BF came down with a cold, so I whipped up a pot of chicken soup, Thai Style Chicken and Rice Soup. The broth was surprisingly flavorful, but I wanted more "stuff" in it, so today I added bok choy and some shrimp. Although we haven't managed to work our way through it, so I think it'll head into the freezer.

Monday was NY day so I made the traditional black-eyed peas along with a huge pot of brown rice. I felt so Martha Stewart-esque using my brown rice. I made two "breakfast" casserols with rice, egg and cheese, one southwest flavor and the other "fancy" using left over cheese from BF's "I must have a cheese plate in addition to my meal" craving. Part of it was used today to make fried rice and of course part was for the black-eyed peas.

I also made two loaves of wheat bread, chopped all the veggies for today's stir-fry and roasted veggies for Thursday's pot pie. I told you, Cooky McCooks-A-Lot.

And I'm not posting this to rub it in how much I accomplished in the kitchen, more to remind myself that I can be organized and use one ingredient in many ways. It also helps having an awesome dish washer of a BF ;)

New Year, New Career?

Why is it that I'm always in transition? Never settled? Driving home from SoCal with the DBF, I was thinking my "when I grow up I want to..." thoughts. I don't know if teaching is sustaniable for me. I love all the vacation time, to be sure, however, it's super stressful. I'm always working and have developed even larger knots in my shoulders. So back to the "when I grow up thoughts..."

There's this tea shop in Vancouver that I love, love, love. I spent so much time there while in culinary school (a place I'd never recommend attending, so it gets no URL), that people thought I worked there. And I'd have loved to. The owners told me if I ever wanted to start my own in the States they'd help me out. You go there for a cup of tea (discount if you bring your own cup) or for looseleaf tea in bulk. There was a counter with six stools for folks to stay and chat. BF's sister even ordered my favorite, the organic cream earl grey, for me for x-mas - yay!

And then there's the fact that I seek out every yarn store I can when traveling. Knitting ranges from a bit of miscellaneous know-how to an obssesion for me. (Over Christmas I made wrist warmers for my sister, finished a sweater, started a hat for my mom and attempted a leaf scarf several times before deciding the yarn I was using just wouldn't work). Not to mention knitting is the new trend.

So, I want to combine these things into a tea shop/yarn store. Imagine this: big comfy couches and chairs with books of your favorite knitting patterns to peruse as well as a computer and printer for searching, along with a few board games for those into those geeky pleasures. In the corner, teas for you to have your own cup, pot or bag of leaves. The rest of the store full of your favorite luscious yarns and knitting accessories. I don't want it to be a coffee shop where people come in to work. I want it to be a place to relax with others who are passionate about the same things you are.

Punny name ideas:
Sit, Sip, Knit
Knit-Tea (though maybe the folks at knitty won't like that)

suggestions? thoughts?