Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"then let me know how!"

We recently held exams for the students. Consider the following:

I added a part c, asking (as I have on every single test so far this year) what a "reasonable domain" is for the problem.
The students can demonstrate that they know which variable is the independent variable and that negative numbers are unacceptable when the variable is months (or time in general).
That's all I look for - something that says "t > 0." If I see that or anything close, they get full credit. However, I have some students that add their creativity to the problem and it makes me smile. I thought I'd share with you two of my personal favorites.

"0 < t < 50 because then she gets married."

"0 < t < 700. <- This is 58 years later, so she would probably not live this long. If she did, I'd like to meet her to know how she lived so long and to get some of her money."

The first response is from a Burmese refugee that's only been at the school for one year, I think. The second is from an intelligent freshman who, I'm convinced, needs a special test that actually challenges him. (He also got the extra credit question of defining "defenestrate" by dissecting its Latin (Greek?) origin.)
((It means to throw out a window. It's one of my favorite words.)) (((I like to use it in story problems.)))

Sunday, December 4, 2011

advent is the name of that moment.

This December, it has been easy for me to align myself with the mindset of hope and expectation. Maybe it;s from the hope and persistent waiting in all the Old Testament stories that I've been reading, maybe it's the smell of my "a toast to cider" candle, maybe it's the Christmas lights and soft lamps that I see every morning on my way to work... but whatever it is, it has filled me with peace. And hope.

"You are aware of the beating of your heart... The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment." - Frederick Buechner

I held another cooking club after school, and we made reindeer cake balls (thank you, Bakerella!) My kids really enjoyed them and ever got creative. Not shown in the picture are the dog and unicorn balls.

We also made sweet-potato-apple bake and a cinnamon-raisin risotto-like rice. (Easier than risotto because it required no stirring, because we needed all hands on deck for the reindeer.)

My Spanish skills are slightly improving - I happened to understand one full sentence of my students' conversation and they now think I understand everything they say. For the most part, that's a good thing. Now they have to censor themselves in Spanish and English.

What else have I been learning? It's hard to love people sometimes. (Or some people all the time.) I have an implicit checklist of who I have more patience and love for... and that is not the kind of love that God calls us to give. I was reading a friend's blog and came across the following - it voices what I've been all-too-happy to not let myself think about.

I let go of my right...
-To be happy -To have an attractive body -To health
-To my possessions -To my time -To comfort
-To my past -To my recreation or activity -To my habits
-To wealth -To my future plans and dreams -To self-sufficiency
-To control-To have consequences follow what I've done -To my satisfaction
-To my significance -To my securities -To prosper
-To strength-To know future outcomes
-To my old ways of getting my needs met
-To getting my way -To my reputation -To success
-To notoriety-To my feelings -To my choices
-To my occupation -To be loved -To know God's will
-To demand anything from God -To life itself -To be used by God
-To escape bad circumstances -To fear -To my opinions
-To my judgments -To my timing -To judge
-To emotional security -To my expectations -To be accepted
-To pleasant circumstances -To be understood -To be married
-To my geographical location -To be thanked or appreciated
-To be acknowledged -To have relationships
-To have a child-To have a happy marriage
-To blame -To be rescued-To tell others what I know
-To rescue another -To be heard-To be needed or wanted
-To meet others' needs -To be right-To have others' approval
-To good finances -To take offense-To have justice done
-To defend -To my entitlements -To be justified

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

quotable quotes

Boy: "Did you have a hard day yesterday?"
Me: "Yes, actually. How can you tell? Do I look that bad?"
Boy: "Oh, it's just your hair. You have fly-aways everywhere!"
Me: "...Oh. Well that's not a result of my hard day. That's just because I didn't shower."

Things are going well. I'm still myself up here, and I can prove that with the above statement and because I am currently listening to Christmas music. There's a church in Louisville that has amazing albums and music, and I found a free sampler of their Christmas album on

Feel like learning?
Have you ever heard of Baby Can Read? Don't do it.

I've taught that at OSU - that not only is there no benefit to watching television, there may actually be negative effects. A recent position statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics confirms this belief from a compilation of studies. (See the link here.) There are no benefits to placing children younger than two in front of a television, even for background noise. It is not just that there are no effects - there are actually negative effects of television watching.
Yes, I can write this convincingly because I don't have to care for any children under two. I'm sure I will be plenty tempted to plop them down in front of the tv... so you can hold me accountable to that. Maybe, when I grow up, I can live on a farm in the 1800s and not have to worry about it?

On more serious notes, I am interested in your opinions. As a teacher at a Christian high school, to what extent do you think my focus should be content? To what extent should it be relationships? Spiritual development? I am not happy with the percentages that I currently feel like I am doing, but I don't know an ideal. What do you all think? Would it change if I were teaching a different age? Subject? Public school?

Monday, November 7, 2011

she's back. and she's wearing a viking hat.

I held an after-school cooking club where we made different types of squash, apple crisp, and used freshly grated parmesan cheese. It was a success! See the empty plates below. I plan to hold a session monthly, so let me know if you have suggestions for winter foods that are healthy-ish.

I wore my Viking hat from the Warrior Dash in class last Monday. That was fun. I made up a story problem about Viking boats (also about the number of Viking warriors before and after battles) and said "Hmm, I think we need a visual aid." Then I reached into my "props" drawer, pulled out a Viking hat, and continued teaching. The kids were a little shocked, but I suspect they enjoyed it. I actually heard someone say that it was a pretty good lesson... and I think all that was different was that I kept looking at my shadow in the overhead. And trying to poke people (or not poke people) with my Viking horns.

Squash-apple turnovers: I've been in somewhat of a squash frenzy. I love squashes - all kinds of them. To your left, you see a squash-apple turnover. Did you know you can cook apples like this? I suppose you probably did, because apples turn into applesauce. But they don't have to get mushy - you can saute them. With butternut squash. And then add some other stuffs, wrap them in crescent roll dough, and call it lunch?

Since I happened to have dough... I made some peanut-butter-smores turnovers as well.

 They were tasty too. Although marshmallow creme is a better option than marshmallows, because actual marshmallows kind of just dissolve. By kind of, I mean they really do.

Thanks for checking in. I hope to write something meaningful someday soon - it's there, inside me. I think.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

YOU could be writing equations in a snap!

Has this ever happened to you? You have to multiply the same thing by itself over and over. So you write it out and your hand cramps because it’s so much writing. Introducing exponents! The simpler way to write equations involving things multiplied over and over. Turn 4 x 4 x 4 x 4 x 4 x 12 x 12 x 12 into 45 x 123 in a snap! Call 1-800-expo-now and pay 3 easy payments (and 1 difficult) payments of 9.99 (plus shipping and handling), and YOU could be writing equations in a snap!

- by a pre-calc student; his infomercial for exponents in his warmup journal. 

Teaching is going well so far - I have spent a lot of time at the school, but I have been excited to wake up and get out of bed every day. No biting (yet). Last week was the first full week of school but I feel like I've been around for a while already. 

Grand Rapids is really nice too - I've found a couple different groups to run with and just today met a runner about my pace who lives very close, so we may try to run together outside of 'official run times' too. I had friends in town last weekend too, so we went to Grand Haven and rode bicycles, then to an apple orchard. I love fall and have been making applesauce every couple days. Tomorrow, it will be soup! Probably Carrot Ginger Coconut soup because I have fresh left over ginger and don't know what to do with it. Also, I have all the ingredients. Maybe some cornbread to go with it?

This week will be another 5 day week of school, but on Thursday, I will be escorting my freshmen advisory group (about 17 freshmen) off campus for a retreat. I have plans to watch a volleyball game for Potter's House, plans to run, and now that I have some free time on weekends - picking out some new books to read over the weekend. Does anyone have any suggestions? I started reading John Piper's Don't Waste Your Life but also want something a little more... brainless.

This was a very factual entry. My apologies! I will soon attempt a cleverly written expose on some cleverly-chosen topic... but it will probably come out as an ode to cornbread made in my cast-iron skillet in rhyming couplets. I might spare you, if that's the case!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

a grand week in grand rapids

I'm, like, official!

Before I moved, I ate brunch with some friends and their beautiful children. I ate ate other meals and met with more friends too... but I didn't take pictures of the food. I made a hashbrown quiche dish from More with Less that I thought was delicious. You could take any quiche recipe (I used eggs, evaporated milk, zucchini, ground meat, grated yellow squash, and grated cheese) and give it a hashbrown crust.
1. Grate/ shred raw potatoes and press them down into a well-greased pan - or into muffin cups... but still grease them really well!
 2. Bake the potatoes at 425 for 15-17 minutes or until crispy brown. Remove the pan from the oven.
3. Have the quiche ingredients pre-mixed, unless there was something you wanted on top only - like fresh basil or rosemary - and then bake it. Muffins were done by 15 minutes for me, the cast-iron skillet took 30-35.
 You didn't think I would make something without my cast-iron skillet, did you?

I moved and set my feet down! I am so excited to be teaching at the school where I am at. I have felt nothing but affirmed in my decision by the way God has worked everything out. You can pray for me to be confident around the students and around the teachers/ staff. I believe that my passions and enthusiasm will serve the school and the students well, and I will need God to work through me so that others can see it too.
This week, we had three days of professional development and I set up my classroom. Students start Tuesday. I will be teaching one section of geometry, two of Algebra II, and one of Precalculus. There is one other math teacher at the school. He'll be very helpful, as he's been teaching at the school since one semester into the beginning (12 years or so).
The above bulletin board is for student work. Not because it's silly, but because it's intelligent. Although, knowing me... the assignments might be a little silly. (Miss Wolfe, why are we reading "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"?) I do need an idea for a hall pass - something that can't make noise or be thrown/ bounced/etc. I was thinking my OSU pennant, but I don't really want that going into the bathroom with the students. The other math teacher uses a giant protractor. I had a teacher in high school who used a box fan for a hall pass - I thought that was hilarious, but I don't think I can really do that. 
This is the side/ back of my room - a thank you from my preschoolers/ preschool classroom teachers, books, maps of who we're praying for, and the drawers are full of papers/ binders/ crafty-things.

I am ready to start! I've met some students who have come to the school for volleyball practice, and I met some parents at a soccer game Thursday night. I feel very welcomed.

An excerpt from a beautiful song at church today that I hadn't heard or don't remember:

"Come, ye weary, heavy laden/
Lost and ruined by the fall/
If you tarry till you're better/
You will never come at all.

Let not conscience make you linger/
Nor of fitness fondly dream/
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him."

 - come ye sinners (ten thousand charms)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"I love you too, baby girl!"

No, I'm not on a writing frenzy this week. Sorry to get your hopes up, but I wanted to add some pictures of food (as always) and the Rachel Carson trail challenge (as requested).

I don't have a bus story for you, but I do have a walk-story with similar characters. As always, there is a young (yet emanating maturity) blonde and a more-than-interesting man. When we come upon the man, he is pulling a messenger bag out of a bush (?) and calling out "baby girl! baby girl!" Seeing as there is no one else on the street outside of a car, I respond with a hello.
"Guess what, baby girl?" He says. "I forgot my bag!"
"I'm glad you remembered it then."
"Can I tell you something?" (He is walking furiously about 5 paces behind me to catch up.) "How old are you?"
"You're not supposed to ask a lady her age!" says I, ever the lady. (Did he hear me humming VeggieTales? See me skip over the curb?) But at this point, I have to turn, and he, it seems, caught on too late, so he still has to walk straight.
I give a slight nod of the head. "Well, have a good day!"
"Thanks, baby girl. I love you too."
At this, our blonde cocks her head to the side and her eyebrows (look at her face!) show that she is confused.

I used my cast-iron skillet (still love it!) to make a vegetable tarte tatin. It's a good summer vegetarian main dish (read: not super filling) but could also be a good appetizer. (Recipe easily adaptable from "The Cast-iron skillet cookbook.") It takes a little work (some refrigerating and rolling of the crust, but the cast-iron skillet makes it worth it.)

For the crust:
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 t salt
6 T chilled, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 T chilled vegetable shortening
5 T ice-cold water

Mix the flour and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse in the processor until the mixture has the consistency of small peas. Add the water, 1 T at a time and pulse quickly just until the dough sticks together and can be formed into a ball. Do not knead the dough. Form it into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

To prepare the filling... take lots of root vegetables. Carrots, turnips, parsnips, rutabaga, new potatoes, yellow onions, for example.  And chop them all. (Bigger pieces are better, especially for the onions. You might even trim the root end but leave it intact.

If the veggies take different cook times (onions are quicker to soften than a lot of the other named vegetables), cook the other vegetables beforehand, and then add with the onions to a large bowl.
2 T olive oil
1 t chopped, fresh rosemary/ 1 t fresh thyme (or 2 t fresh herbs, any kind you like)
1/4 t nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
Stir until everything is thoroughly coated.

Scatter tiny pieces of 1/4 c butter in the cast-iron skillet. Place over low heat until the butter melts. Stir in 1 t Pernod, if you know what that is (ignore it or add 1 T white wine if you don't) and 2 t sugar. Add the vegetables to the pan, but do not stir them! Move them to fill in any empty gaps and occasionally press down while they brown and caramelize (about 5 minutes), but letting them sit brings the caramelized goodness. Remove from heat.

Roll out the pastry dough into a 10-12 inch circle (approximately a little larger than the size of your skillet. Lay the dough on top of the vegetables and tuck in excess dough around the edges... or eat it. Let's be honest. Melt a little more butter (or use a whisked egg white and 1 T water) and lightly brush the top of the crust. Make four 1 inch cuts in the top to vent steam.

Place the skillet in the over and bake for 20-25 minutes at 400. (No preheat warning - remember who is giving you the insructions!)

Place a large plate upside down on top of the skillet. Protecting both hands with oven mitts (important step), grasp the skillet and the plate firmly, flip over and invert the tart onto the plate. Slice into wedges and serve.
And some pictures from the Rachel Carson trail challenge that I did with some friends a couple weekends ago. You can't really see the mountains, but they were most certainly there.

Friday, July 1, 2011

summer time!

In the near future, the current daily refrains of "It's too loud!", "There's already two friends here!", and "I don't like it when you push me into the wall and put soap on my hair" will be replaced by "When am I ever going to use this?"

That's right. I accepted a teaching position at an inner-city Christian high school in Grand Rapids (see:'ll be teaching math: although I haven't seen an official schedule, I was told that I would have two sections of Algebra II, one of Pre-calculus, a geometry section (which, in future years, will turn into a section of AP Calculus), and then a math help period for some Algebra II students. I couldn't be more excited!
Well, I probably could be, if I was told that I could wear sweat pants every day... or also get paid to swim and run... or thought that 100 percent of my students would absolutely love me as a teacher. Aside from those thoughts, I probably couldn't be more excited.

The math teacher who is leaving shared all of her lesson planning documents with me, along with a majority of small classroom expenses that really add up (notebook paper, pens, post-its, etc.) - that will be really helpful. I am deciding how I want to decorate the classroom and make it my own at the moment. I am thinking about some applications of math (e.g. blueprints of buildings, charts about water pressure for scuba divers, graphs in the news, etc.) If you have anything that I could put up on the wall or as a background to a bulletin board, I'm happy to take it off of your hands. Other things that will help me stay organized would be empty coffee cans or binders. Once I learn more about students and get into class, I will try to put up some projects on, but I'll wait until I can learn my students' interests to get some project ideas.

In recipe news, I made this Vegetable and Chickpea curry the other day (but not in a crockpot, so the flavors might not have been as enmeshed). And we received a bunch (literally, a number of bunches) of green onions in our CSA this week, so I made some green onion pesto with it. A different taste than a normal pesto, but I liked the little tastes that I had!

Friday, May 20, 2011

I'm now into foreign biographies

Okay, the title is a little bit of a stretch. A couple weekends ago, I watched "Something Borrowed" (a chick flick based off of a chick-book) and then watched "William and Kate: The Lifetime Original Movie." Feeling a little pitiful that I spent so much of my weekend engrossed in cheesy love stories, I decided to count the William and Kate as a historical biographical presentation... from a foreign perspective. Now I just sound cultured!

In other news, I'm starting a new goal to increase my gratitude for the gifts that I've been given and all that I own and have, hoping that it transfers from physical gifts to abstract as well. Starting Easter, I am going to try my hardest - I know there will be some exceptions - to not buy any items "new." I can buy used items, and items that you can't find new (yes, I will still purchase deodorant, food, and running gear I am giving myself an exception as well). I have noticed that I really don't take advantage of goodwill stores, for clothes or kitchen items, and know that I actually have plenty of items and there are few items that I really need. (Although the skymall hot dog cooker is close to the top of the list... just kidding... I think.)
By purchasing only used things, I will be doing my part to not waste resources or abuse over-production of "things," and it will make me think about what items are really worth purchasing and searching for. I imagine a side benefit is that I will save money and space, too.
I need your help. If you read this blog, you are probably someone who, at one point or another, wants to give me a gift. People just do that sometimes. It's like, I don't know what is so special about Bastille Day, but apparently everyone knows I love celebrating it! Your help comes in many ways:
1. You can pray for me. I hope you do this anyway... I am probably praying for you.
2. Refrain from buying me gifts that are new or that I don't need - buy used or use-up items. Diane has found amazing kitchen platters at garage sales before - I am not offended by receiving, and really want, used items. Use-up items include food, gift certificates to restaurants or grocery stores, tickets to things/ activities, and ... running clothes. (I barely like my own used running clothes... I don't need to buy someone else's used!) The best gifts would also be donations to non-profit organizations that work to support and help people. I can give a number of suggestions of places to donate to that I would rather them see the money than me.
3. Consider doing something yourself to reduce your environmental footprint. It can be as simple as larger laundry loads or using cold water in the laundry to having a compost bin for your food scraps (Gracie doesn't count, but she might be close). You can take quizzes online to find out your footprint and  what you can do to reduce it.

Regarding teaching - I was at an interview this morning and the teacher giving me a tour of the school mentioned how she was beat up her first year of teaching - she quickly clarified that she meant "beat down" and not "beat up", and that the students now were better than that year... I surprised myself by not even reacting to the thought that she was beat up. I guess my little preschool stint made me pretty tough. I wish the teethmarks were still there for bragging rights, because the scars from scratches are fading now.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

it makes the world go around and around and... (hanson, anyone?)

Three things are on the agenda for this morning. In no particular order of importance (particularly because most things that I post have little to no importance), they are:

1. I need a catch-phrase/ quote/ amalgamation of words that relates flying and love. I know that there has to be one out there, but all I can think of is "on the wings of love" which is now (was?) a television show tagline. Please help.

2. I had a delicious dinner last night. I had leftover vegetable soup with Shaker Corn Bread (in my cast iron skillet) on the side. Of course, I didn't really follow that recipe... instead of using what I'm assuming they meant by "egg substitute" of eggbeaters, I mixed 1 T flaxseed meal with 3 T water... Instead of chopped dill, I used a chile pepper in adobo sauce (I do understand that is a completely different taste)... Substituted frozen corn for fresh (nbd)... Substituted milk powder and water for 2% milk (without really measuring). Six out of ten ingredients remained the same, however.

I'm also reading my kindle while eating dinner on fancy plates, because I love the plates Diane found for me and I love free books.

The real highlight to the meal was a Hasselback potato. I used this recipe from my pretend-friend Joy because I had a sweet potato (even though she uses a regular potato) that needed eaten. It was delectable. Delicious. I will have to try this potato cooking method more often.

The recipe was followed pretty closely for the potato, except for the whole normal- sweet substitution. I think when I make it again, if I use a sweet potato, I'm not going to bother with pesto because the roasting made it good enough on its own. I also think I could've put brown sugar crumbles on top, or maybe even this pecan and goat cheese salsa. It was good but it almost took away from the roasted-goodness of garlic and butter and oil.

Also, I hadn't written down the pesto recipe, so I can't really give feedback on it. I food-processed some cashews, olive oil,  garlic salt, and spinach... I have a feeling hers would be a different taste with all her added ingredients. Mine was good though - I froze the rest for pasta leftovers some day. If I can ever remember to have leftovers...

3. My little preschoolers are teaching me a lot about love, and how I lack it. Interestingly, those of you who have heard me talk about "my buddy" or remember my post about my insensitivity toward his bodily excretions might be surprised to know that I feel a lot of love for him. I can see his turmoil and angst (that sounds really deep for a 3 1/2 year old, but I need some outlet for big words right now) - and while I do get completely drained and sometimes, yes, he makes me cry like one of the preschoolers myself, I am patient and can mostly love him. I need help and I rely on the Spirit inside me so that I can demonstrate some fruits of the Spirit with him - but also with others. There are other attributes the preschoolers have that frustrate me more quickly and I have trouble really embodying love to them.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Today's story:

I have a personal buddy  in the preschool classroom (whom I follow around constantly, repeating a refrain of "Use nice hands please," "Keep your feet on the ground please," and "Toys in your hands, not in your mouth!")

I was cleaning up milk that he threw today when he walked over to me from breakfast, tapped me on the shoulder, and said, "I burped." (Really, he said "I burp.") I rolled my eyes. I spent the whole walk to the bus praying for the Spirit so that I might have the fruits of the Spirit, and this is about ten minutes into class. "Ms. Julie, I burp!"
"Well, say excuse me." I said in my nicest annoyed voice.
And then I turned around and saw that by burped, he meant that when he burped, a whole flow of previously-swallowed milk and Cheerios also came out.


This is also the same boy who plays with fake money and came over to me one time telling me that he needs change.
"No, you don't." I said. He had all the change from the classroom.
"Miss Julie, I need change!"
"No, you don't." I say with a little more emphasis.
"Poo-poo!" He says.
Oh. He needed changed.

Poor guy. I would've cried if anyone told me 'no, you don't need changed' (if I wore a diaper, anyway) or if I was trying to tell someone I threw up and they made me say "Excuse me."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I have no news on next year yet, but I do have some other things I can share with you.

1. Where I'm traveling!
a. Carmel, Indiana - for a fun half-marathon.
b. Boston - to visit with some friends. I've never been to the East Coast, so I'm excited to see friends and to see the town. Any recommendations for places to go?
c. Baltimore - visiting my former advisor, meeting some professors at JHU and exploring some intelligent topics. They haven't learned too much about me yet, apparently.

2. What I'm cooking!
a. Caramelized onion meatloaf from my Almost Meatless cookbook - it had tofu, veggies, and a little bit of turkey. I liked it.
b. Roasted veggie pizza with hummus as the sauce and the crust cooked in a cast-iron skillet. I think it worked like a pizza stone.
c. Mango and black bean salad - I am starting to really like juicy fruits and mango is something I haven't tried much of. I liked it in this cold salad, which I ate as a lunch entree.

3. What I'm hearing!
"Miss Julie, when I grow up, I want to be a grown-up so I can make pancakes."
 - one of my preschoolers, a girl after my own heart.

I'm sorry (although you may not be) that I haven't infused this entry with my wit and inability to stop sharing. Another day I can share with you in a humorous, lengthy, rather tedious process. In the meantime, I hope you are having a lovely spring so far!

Friday, January 14, 2011

purity of heart means to will one thing - soren kierkegaard

Today, I am intermixing random quotes with general updates. Some quotes are famous, some are mine, none are both of those, and some are ones I never thought I would hear.

Quote One: "Julie, we can smell your bourbon around the office." (This was the unexpected one. But, except for the fact that I probably broke some sort of rule, my coworkers greatly appreciated the bourbon's purpose and put up with having the leftovers.

I made Buttermilk Bourbon Chocolate Cake. We ate it at our New Year's Eve dinner party and everyone loved it, so I thought that I would recreate it for a surprise birthday party today. Everyone loved it again. (I also used some high-quality cocoa powder in it - thanks, Debbie!)
My suggestions for her recipe - it was really rich when we ate it on New Year's, so I tried to tone it down. I split the batter into three cake pans rather than two so that the two layers of cake were a little thinner. I think that was a definite improvement. My filling was also definitely not as thick as it is in her picture, so that could be my substitutions... but I used neufchatel cheese instead of cream cheese (I think that makes it healthy, right?) and it tasted splendid. I also used a cheap bottle of bourbon, making my first trip into a state liquor store ever! Other comment - I had a lot of filling and icing left over, so I wouldn't make as much next time. It's tasty and we've been dipping our graham crackers in it, but there's a lot. (With the third layer of cake, I spoon some of the "filling" on top as a topping.) I think this is kind of like a chocolate-bourbon Boston Cream Pie. Like Texas Sheet Cake with bourbon-chocolate pudding in the middle. Like an empty long-course pool in the middle of summer. Oh, oops. My metaphors switched into my happy places there.

It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?"
-- Winnie the Pooh

Food has been an integral part of my life. I eat it to stay alive, literally. I also bake when I'm stressed (I seem to remember plates of cookies baked at 11:00pm the night before the team went to the Conference meet...) and now I'm going to learn how to decorate because that's what people do. Make things that look pretty. Especially when you already don't follow the recipe and things don't a) always turn out or b) can't be recreated. Look at our other New Year's dessert: Times Square Cake-ball (okay, you caught me - donut holes) cupcakes!

And I suppose I should include something beyond food because that is not the only part of my life worth talking about. It might be the only part worth drooling over, though.
1) I graduated! This may come as a surprise to many of you, because I apparently didn't tell anyone, seeing as how my grandmother recently called to tell me that she found out I had graduated and was working full time - but yes, it's true. Currently, I'm working full time with the same team that I worked with as a grad student: teaching a course on child development, researching evidence-based practices in education, drinking at bachelorette parties, maybe teaching preschool for a few weeks - but I digress. (Piqued your interest, though, didn't I?)
I'm breaking from the research world to enter back into teaching this fall. Between the amount that I regretted not trying it and the comfort that I have coaching swimming for high schoolers, I feel completely affirmed in my decision. I'm willing to fail in my attempts to be perfect or have it all sorted out, but I want to try it. I'll be applying for jobs starting in the fall, wanting to teach high school math or English. I want to teach at a project-based school, because they fit my personal teaching/ curriculum agenda perfectly and I think they'd be a great support. That's about all I know. Got somewhere exciting for me to live? Feel free to fight over me.

"Our business in life is not to succeed, but to continue to fail in good spirits." - Robert Louis Stevenson

2) I bought a new car, and it makes me smile. It's a Honda Fit. (Yes, insert your joke here. "That fits you," they all say, either because I am fit myself (if I do say so myself) or because it's a perfect fit. I've seen plenty of personalized license plates on fits that make me smile. (e.g. 'fitty' or 'perfct'.) Also, I am currently driving with non-expired tags. That's been nice too, now that I know you have to replace those little stickers with dates on them. At least the title is actually in my name, rather than waiting six months to find out that I didn't actually do all the steps.