Of Pop-Tarts and Coaching and Healthy Stuff from Dillingham

September 13, 2009 at 12:48 PM | Posted in Adventures in S-Land, Run Run Run, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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It’s raining cats and dogs and every other animal out there.  On one hand, this is good.  It justifies my desire to curl up with a book and blanket and read, read, nap, read the day away.  On the other hand, I really need to get a good run in.  See, here’s the thing about coaching season: it’s the time of my life that I am in the worst shape.  Reasons why:

1.  I am mega-stressed out since I have no time to do anything, so I eat everything.  EVERYTHING.  Especially carby things that come in blue boxes that say Pop-Tarts on them. 

2.  The kids are, largely, not good runners.  There are definite exceptions, and I love those talented exceptions, but most of the kids haven’t run since last season.  This means that there is no way they could do my usual five-mile run.  This means that I can’t do my usual five-mile run.  No, there is not time after practice to do it.  That’s for grading papers and planning lessons.  No, there is not time before work to do it.  That’s for grading papers and planning lessons.

3.  Pop-Tarts come in many varieties, and I must try them all.  Coaching season comes but once a year.

Three more weeks of coaching/falling behind on my own workout goals.  Blah.  Just wait, little iPod and Nike Shoe Kit Thingy.  We’ll be together again soon.

However, health looms on the horizon!  My mom was recently in town which means she brought some of her garden with her!  My mom’s garden is really more of a plantation except without slaves or corsets, so when she brings garden stuff, it’s in Costco-proportions.  My fridge overfloweth with collard greens, kale, swiss chard, lettuce, lettuce, and lettuce, and potatoes.  Yum.  I will eat it all.  And she brought huckleberries picked by my dad.  And she also brought Silke bread–bread baked by her friend Silke who is from Germany and makes the heaviest, wheatiest, wholesome-est bread on the planet.  I love that stuff, toasted with a little honey or cheese and tomato slices.  I suspect it has enough fiber in one slice for the whole day, but I’ve never managed to eat just one.  In fact, I have to go right now.  The toaster is calling.  And this is how good Silke bread is…I prefer it to Pop-Tarts.  Even the cherry frosted ones.

Yes, I have so much lettuce that I baked it into bread.

Yes, I have so much lettuce that I baked it into bread.

Lettuce Bread

1 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. oatmeal
1/4 c. flaxmeal
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. ginger
1/8 t. mace or nutmeg
1/8 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. cardamom or allspice
1/8 t. cloves
1/2 to 3/4 c. sugar (1/2 c. is plenty sweet for me)

1/4 c. applesauce
1/4 c. oil
2 eggs
1/2 t. vanilla
1 T. fresh lemon zest

1 c. lettuce, finely chopped (I do it with a knife even though you’re not supposed to cut lettuce with a knife, and it’s always fine)
1/2 c. toasted and chopped nuts (I put them on top since I am busy and don’t want to toast them separately)

Mix all the dry stuff together (flour through sugar).  In a separate bowl, mix the wet stuff and lemon zest (applesauce through lemon zest).  Combine the two mixes and stir a little bit.  Then, add lettuce and toasted nuts (I just throw the nuts on top of the finished batter in the pan so that they toast while baking).  The batter will be stiff.  Smooth the top for more even baking.  Put in greased loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes.  Let cool in the pan on a rack for ten minutes.  Remove from pan and continue cooling on rack. Spread soft cream cheese on a slice, and give it to a friend.  Munch down the rest.


And we hit fast-forward…NOW!

August 28, 2009 at 8:08 PM | Posted in Another Day Another Dollar | Leave a comment
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I just don’t have much time for the space bar anymore.

However, there are these points of light:

1.  Berry-picking.  ‘Tis the season.  I was in Cantwell last weekend, and it was glooooorious.  Beautifully crisp but with a polished-bright sun strong enough to raise my favorite smell in the world: warm tundra.  Bliss.  I think that people who actually live in Cantwell probably moved there in August, unaware of the icepick Cantwell always holds behind its back.

2.  Grilling.  The birthday grill and I are finally beginning to cooperate with each other.  It lights when I want it to, and I’ve stopped overcooking everything.  It’s a symbiotic partnership like fungus + algae = lichen 4-EVER!  I want to be the fungus; a little red toadstool with those cute little white spots.  I will be featured on 1970s stationery everywhere.

By the way, I finally figured out how to remember which form of stationery/stationary is the one for all things lettery and desky and papery.  StationEry is the right one.  Because “letter” has e’s in it.  I have made my life’s greatest discovery. 

And now I’m out of points of light beyond the big ones: I’m healthy and securely employed in this economy.  And boy, are those big ones. They almost make time for the space bar seem frivolous and unimportant.


Back to the Salt Mines

August 12, 2009 at 9:48 AM | Posted in Another Day Another Dollar | Leave a comment

 “Waking up this morning, I smile.  Twenty-four brand new hours are before me.  I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”  –Thich Nhat Hanh

Apparently, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh never taught seventh grade Language Arts.  That’s where I have to return tomorrow, to prison work.  You don’t want to live fully in seventh grade moments because those moments generally involve the creatures snickering over fart jokes or trying to pass off their own memory-generated transcripts of South Part episodes as personal narratives.  You cannot fathom the span of twenty-four hours when you have ninety-two hours worth of papers to grade and grade and grade.  Really, the only way to survive is to shut down your own cerebral cortex save the impulses that make your mouth say “No” and “Sit down” and the ones that can move a red pen.

My systems are going offline right now.

188 days and counting.

Dear Teaching Career,

February 7, 2009 at 8:27 AM | Posted in Another Day Another Dollar | Leave a comment
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We have an unhealthy relationship.  I mean, I know that you feed, clothe, and house me, and I’m thankful for that, especially in the current economic snarl.  Don’t get me wrong, I realize that your stability is a benefit just as great as health insurance with dental coverage.

However, you’re getting too demanding.  I can’t be with you every minute of every day.  Last night, I dreamed about the students you’ve currently asked me to handle, and this isn’t the first time that you’ve invaded my sleep after I’ve worked for you all day.  I don’t love you like that.  I’m tired of you following me home at nights and on the weekends, and I’m really beginning to need some space to do other things. 

I’d like to try writing a book or maybe just a magazine article.  I’d like to take some classes on topics unrelated to you.  I’d like to repaint my laundry cabinets.  I’d like to read a book for fun without feeling guilty about not grading the constantly-regenerating pile of essays sitting on my desk.  Heck, right now I’d settle for the time to cook a meal that involves more than just a grilled cheese sandwich.

But you consume my time and energy.  You’re sort of a medieval lord, and I’m your serf, getting my basic needs met, but being kept at home by your demands so that I don’t get the idea that there might be something more to life than correcting spelling and reflecting on administrative goal statements. 

We’ve been together for ten years.  I think it’s time you let up a little.

And just so you know, the economy won’t always be like this.  Your stability won’t always be this great a draw.  And I’m an English teacher.  I write a killer resume.

Just so you know.

Ice, Ice Baby

January 14, 2009 at 5:47 AM | Posted in Another Day Another Dollar | Leave a comment
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There is no school today!  Too icy!  Woo-hoo!

I love school cancellation days.  I glory in them!  I dance upon the couch!  I remember singing the praises of a canceled day to another adult once who was horrified that a teacher would be so pleased by a day without those children.  You know, because teachers do it for the love, right?  Aren’t the students my reason for being?  My inspiration?  The joys of my life?  The very meaning for my soul?

Well, no.  Not really.  I teach middle school.  Those children are 12 and 13.  Ick.

Seriously, where did the idea that teachers are sainted people who adore their jobs?  I mean, I wouldn’t show up if I weren’t getting paid, and I definitely appreciate the days where I don’t have to show up.  And in total seriousness, the attitude that teachers live to teach harms my salary potential.  Why should my school district worry about paying me a competitive wage if they’ve got me on heart anyway?

But none of that matters today BECAUSE THERE IS NO SCHOOL!

I’d go back to bed, but I’ve got next week’s lesson plans to write…

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