Tuesday, June 30, 2009

You're trying on my shoes?

I feel like I talk about clothes a lot, but I really have to share this story, because it's funny.

So after I made that big deal about not wearing in flip flops and instead wearing my brown flats (by the way, that description makes them sound ugly. They are not ugly. I get many compliments on how cute they are), one of my students commented on my shoes.

She took two classes with me last semester, and so has been my student for a while now. She noticed the shoes, and said, "So you are finally used to those shoes, huh? I'm glad, because they are really cute."

Sometime last semester, I had worn the brown flats, and wound up taking them off during class because they were hurting my feet so bad. Students generally don't notice that, and even if they notice, they don't comment. But somehow, that class had commented. I told them what horribly uncomfortable shoes they were and kept on teaching.

She's right though. They aren't horribly uncomfortable anymore.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

What time is it? Summertime.


And I am back to the dilemma of what do I wear to work. It seems like a stupid question, right, I should just keep wearing what I've been wearing. But no, it's not that simple.

First there's the temperature issue. It got scorching hot here in the middle last week, and my office got hot too. So that's a problem. Then there's the fact that nobody is at work. The whole campus is a virtual ghost town in the summer, so what's the point of looking nice.

But I've been trying. So I wear my cute skirts and little flat shoes. At least I look a little professional for my students.

But on Thursday I got dressed and wore my flip flops around town as I ran all my errands. I changed into a pair of flats to go to work. But they are a pair of shoes that I really don't like, so I was grumbling in my head about putting them on. Countering the grumbling in my head were my sisters' voices, completely horrified when I admitted to them that I did wear flip flops to work one day. Let me quickly justify that by saying these are not plastic Old Navy flip flops. These are my brown leather Rainbows. Yeah, my sisters didn't care for that justification either.

Added to my sisters' voices were Stacy and Clinton ("from TLC's What Not to Wear") saying, "Toes are like cleavage. They don't belong at the office."

So I did not wear my flip flops to class on Thursday.

When I walked into the building, I was greeted by one of the other faculty members, who was getting ready for his class. And he was wearing a large, red, Hawaiian print shirt, black exercise (not basketball and not biker shorts, just cotton loose-ish exercise shorts) shorts that were way too short, mid-calf length socks, and Keens.

Why, why, why? And of course most of the whys are why did I have to see that? But the rest of them are why can't I wear my Rainbows?

The lesson: Colleges are weird places in the summertime.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Orange you gonna squeeze me, 'neath the mellow, yellow moon?

In order to ask forgiveness for my little rant about my student thinking I am a mad person, I will tell you about class on Thursday night.

We are working on writing all different sorts of papers, and I had them do my favorite activity. This is the one activity that I have thought of that makes me feel like a really clever teacher. And in my defense, it actually is pretty clever. I did it as a teaching demo for a job interview last summer, and all the teachers wanted to use it. And I was offered the job.

Unfortunately, it is the type of activity that makes some students ridiculously uncomfortable. Which becomes even more unfortunate because in this particular class, I have so many students that I have had before. I pulled two envelopes out of my folder of materials and drew a triangle on the board and two of the students exclaimed, "Oh no! Not this!" And groaned the whole way through.

The rest of the class really enjoyed it and got into the acting.

But as I was explaining what the activity is about (thinking about your audience) and how to do it, I was looking around the room at all of the students. (It's important to make eye contact). I looked at one side, then glanced over at the other side, and went WHOA!

(Not out loud).

One of my students, a young lady of about 19, is completely orange!

She has bleached, platinum-blonde hair, and underneath that her face is completely orange! She was wearing a tank top (it's gotten hot here this week) and her arms were orange too!

I think what made this even more shocking is the number of pale faces in the class. Given my location in a land-locked state, most of the students aren't developing tans this summer, and wow. She's just orange.

I wonder if anyone has told her that?


On another note, I have decided to start another blog. In the current climate of recession/or something, I find myself surrounded by businesses that are cutting back, people who are cutting back, and a general attitude of doing less (hopefully for less money). People always seem to aim this toward food, and I have found myself caught in the desire to spend less money on food. So I am going to try to record my food journey, and I figure the only way I'll do that is in another blog. And then I will try to make it interesting, rather than just writing numbers for me.

So if you want to take a peak, it's http://payingtocook.blogspot.com/

Friday, June 19, 2009

Mad, mad, mad, mad Madam Mim

Pet peeves. It's an interesting thing, that we all have those things that make us mad, that annoy or irritate us.

And being mad. Mad is such a taboo, you know. You aren't allowed to get mad. People want to have sunny dispositions and never show frustration. But then we go to the other extreme and everyone has road rage. Or 'roid rage.

My student came in a half an hour ago (which does happen to be 2 hours after class started). She asked to talk to me in the hall. When she didn't come to class today, I knew something had happened, and simply assumed that her child was still sick. (He threw up at school on Wednesday). Instead, she started crying and told me that her husband had been in a car accident this morning and is currently at the hospital in a coma.

It was another of those situations where you just don't know what to say. And nothing you can say is going to make it better (I'm obviously too much in class mode here, because the English teacher part of my brain just took over and said, "Look at how much you used the word 'you' in that paragraph). So I said I was sorry, I said I would keep her in my thoughts, I told her to go do whatever she needed to do to for her husband, and not to worry about class, because it just doesn't matter.

She kept saying, "Please don't be mad at me. I wanted to turn in my paper, but please don't be mad at me."

How could anyone possibly think that I would be mad?

Ok, so this is an extreme situation, but I've had students say don't be mad, or I didn't want you to be mad in other instances as well. I'm not an angry person. I generally don't get mad ever. And frankly, for most of the things they do and worry about, it doesn't affect me, it only affects them and their grade.

Do people really think I'm mad?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cut your hair. People can't see the real you under all those curls.

Celebrating small victories.

My hair is growing back! Yes. The nice bald patch that I showed you from my surgery a couple months ago now has a few tiny hairs sprouting up. I am very excited about this.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

When I tell people I work at Dunder Mifflin, they think that we sell mufflers or muffins. And frankly, those sound better than paper.

Earlier this week, when I was less of a zombie, I was really excited to use one of my birthday presents.

(Yeah, another "turn your head" game. Any tips on how to fix that?)

I love my KitchenAid.

I made gluten-free muffins. Now, I'll explain. I read food blogs. Just a few - the gluten-free ones. And I am always ... amazed, entranced, astounded... at the beautiful gluten-free things that these people create. It's not an easy thing, and of course they always claim that they are delicious.

So I got adventurous, and I made up my own recipe. It is a modification of one I have used before. In it's original form the muffins turn out almost unbearably dense and dry. (A common problem). I added yogurt. Yum. The first version was a little bland, great texture, just not packed full of flavor. I decided to buy some frozen blueberries and try again. Voila!

And of course I will share the recipe. Not because I think that either of my two readers will ever have the desire to actually bake these little gluten-free morsels, but so that I have it somewhere and can find it again later.

Blueberry Muffins
2 eggs
1 cup water
4 Tbs walnut oil
3/4 cup yogurt

2 cups white rice flour
4 tsp baking powers (I think I will reduce this to 3)
1 tsp salt

1 cup blueberries
a sprinkling of chopped almonds for the top (optional)

Mix wet ingredients well. Add dry ingredients. Mix well. Batter should be fairly liquidy, think cake or pancake batter. Fold in blueberries.
Bake at 425 for 17 minutes.

Oh, and the bonus, these are edible at room temp or cooler. Perfect for portability.

It's called decorating.

Saturday project day.

So I have had a bad week. I haven't slept in 5 days, and that just makes life stink. But I have been having fun shopping (way too much). I keep getting little things for my house. I think I get little things (and I get excited about little things) because the big things just freak me out so much. I mean, an $800 6-foot-long couch. That's a commitment! But I can commit to little things.

On this Saturday project day, I planted a few little things. I bought a basil plant and a tomato plant from Lowe's. I planted the tomato deep, because it was leggy, and pinched back the basil, so it won't start blooming. I'm hoping they last. But then this morning I went out to the local farmer's market, and bought a tomato plant from a nicer farmer man out there. All the vendors were so friendly. But one lady tried really hard to sell me pasta and wouldn't even let me get in my "is it gluten-free" question for a while.

Also on this Saturday project day, I tried a new design element. So tell me what you think. To explain, I have the very open wall of my kitchen. It's good, I like it, but Heather was telling me about a friend who has all his pots on open shelves in the dining room. Well, (as soon as I get a dining room table) mine is too narrow. So I was thinking about this. I tried it all week with just one shelf to see how traffic flowed (yeah, one person in this house and I am traffic). I'm not sure how I feel about it. Feedback is welcome.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Run Forrest Run!

Tomorrow is my race. Yeah, not the half marathon anymore, just the 10k. Due to drama. I've been pretty disappointed about that, but today was packet pick-up day. Everyone reported to the Crown Center and picked up their bibs, shirts, socks, and all kinds of other stuff.

I'm so excited!

There were a ton of people there. And everyone just started chatting. "What race are you running?" "Oh me too." "How many times have you done it?" And everyone is just excited!

I walked in with a lady and told her I am doing the 10k. She was really impressed, because she only walks the 5k.

But the best part: They were set up at the movie theater counter, which is about chest high for me. I gave them my number and got my bib, and then they asked me what size t-shirt. I said x-small. The volunteer was like, "Extra small? Are you sure?"

It was a little like this:

I just stepped back from the counter, and she said, "Oh yeah, ok."

Monday, June 1, 2009

Where's a person go to the bathroom around here?

I was reading the journals that my students wrote over the past two weeks. This group is clever and actually understood what I meant when I said make it interesting. So instead of the all-to-frequent lists of what they did that day, these entries were all about specific stories and specific things that are important to them or interesting or funny.

One student (For all the obvious reasons I won't tell you his name, but on the first day of class, I had the students introduce themselves and play a name game by saying an adjective that starts with the first letter of their first name. His adjective was Dreamy. We all had a really good laugh.) was writing about what countries he would like to visit given time and money, and commented that he would have to go somewhere English-speaking. Because the only other language he knows is a tiny bit of Spanish, specifically how to ask where the bathroom is. But then he noted, "But they would have to actually take me to the bathroom, because I can ask the question, but I wouldn't understand the answer."

I thought that was pretty funny, because people seem to think they are so accomplished when they can ask where things are. But listening and understanding are important too.