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.

I’m beginning to think that Santa is a jerk.

February 3, 2009 at 7:38 PM | Posted in Another Day Another Dollar | Leave a comment
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When I was a kid, a family friend told me that Christmas came faster for her than it did for me since time goes faster for adults.  I remember standing next to the dishwasher in my Wonder Woman pajamas, looking at her with a mixture of awe and envy.  She had conquered time travel!  She got to open presents sooner than I did!

Like so many things older people have told me, it’s totally true.  These days, time rolls on while I frantically start flailing faster to try and get it all done.   It’s already after 7 this evening.  And all I’ve  accomplished is dinner. 

Seems like sort of a raw deal, St. Nick.  Christmas (and everything else) comes sooner, but there seems to be less and less time to take care of the everyday: the laundry, the dishes, the bills, the mail, the papers to grade, the papers to grade, the papers to grade. 

Of course, there are some tradeoffs.  Adults get to eat spaghetti for breakfast if they feel like it.  They can stay up late and finish a good book without having to hide a flashlight under the covers.  And they get to lord over kids who are desperate for Christmas to come.  So I guess it’s not so bad.

Still, I wish I could hang a stocking and find a few more hours inside.  Just enough to help me become the superhero that my life wants me to be.

This would be much easier if I still had those Wonder Woman pajamas.

Keeping it Virtual

January 16, 2009 at 6:10 AM | Posted in Salt of the Earth | Leave a comment
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A little less than a year ago, I got an email telling me that my grandfather’s barn is “a burning pile of rubble.”  I know that progress is important, and I realize that to keep the farm my grandfather loved and worked going, some changes will need to be made.  I know that working environments are neither museums nor amusement parks and that when something wears out, it needs to be replaced so that work can continue.  I know that visiting my grandparents for a few weeks in the summer doesn’t give me any authority to judge the way things operate.  But I really hate the image of that barn as burning trash.

The barn didn’t just seem like something out of another time–it really was.  It was built over a hundred years ago, which didn’t make it anything special for Iowa where everything seems to be well-settled and deep-rooted, but to me it was like a sea tortoise–old, rare, and worthy of protection.  Instead of being bleached grey by wind and water, the barn remained red (of course) despite the fact that no one ever seemed to paint it.  It had changeable rules too, as any building being governed by wild cats is likely to have.  Sometimes it was full of hay, and sometimes it wasn’t.  Sometimes there would be a mound of corn that shifted underfoot and filled shoes, and sometimes there wouldn’t be.  Sometimes it housed cattle, sometimes pigs, recently horses, and sometimes the only living things that I could see were mice and swallows.  Always there were massive boards that had survived lightning strikes and rope swings and a huge loft that seemed to have its own dark expanse of sky wide enough for the swallows to do speed drills.

I’ll refrain from romanticizing further since the decision is a work-related one, and my grandfather was a big fan of hard work.  I have just one last comment:

My grandfather’s barn did not end in rubble.  I’m keeping it here.

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