Monday, 25 June 2012

There is Hope!

Do y'all remember this?  Or this?  How about this?

I do.  What I remember most about the time period when I wrote those posts is how much I loved cooking.  And baking.  I mentioned at one point that it was therapeutic for me, and it was fun to experiment and come up with something quite delicious. 

Things have changed.  I am ashamed to say it, but y'all?  I hate cooking.

Over the course of the school year, Matt took on more and more of the meal prep duties, and I helped clean.  I just had so much work to do all the time.  Cooking became just another chore - another thing that had to be done.  And then in February, I got diagnosed as a FructMal.  So as far as eating goes, it was like going from life in a luxurious mansion to a studio apartment.  Variety and flavor to perpetual rice and grilled chicken.

For the past 4 months, our meals have consisted of the same things week to week:

Baked potatoes.

Rice noodles with butter and parmesan.

Grilled chicken and rice.


Hamburger meat and rice.

Rice tortilla "pizzas" (they are more like quesadillas with pepperoni).

Meatloaf sans the onions.  And sauce.

Mashed potatoes.

Stuffed bell peppers.

Do you see why there is no joy in cooking anymore?  There's no joy in cooking because it's always the same things.  It's always the same tastes.  There is no joy in eating.

So yesterday as I was working on this week's menu, something occurred to me.  Ever since I got diagnosed, I have been looking for recipes that are already fructmal friendly.  And I got so discouraged when my hours of searching resulted in nothing more than blurry eyes and a headache.  What I didn't realize was that I was basically setting myself up for failure and disappointment, because there really aren't many recipes that are safe as is.  But why can't I find recipes that sound good and just modify them to make them edible?

I know.  That probably sounds like a really obvious solution.  You probably already thought of it forever ago.  Sometimes it just takes me a little longer to get from Point A to Point B, okay?

But I'm really excited.  I am really excited about the possibility of flavor and texture again!  I'm going to find "regular" recipes and do my best to alter them to fit my specific dietary restrictions.  I'm trying it a few times this coming week, and I am excited to share the outcome!  Guys.  There IS hope!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Today I'm Bored

Right now I am sitting at home on our couch, looking out the sliding glass doors as I wait for Matt to get home.  I don't know what time he is coming home, I just know he will be late.  Each time a car comes into view, I perk up thinking maybe it's him.  So far, no dice.

Today has been a typical "lazy" summer day.  So far I haven't really had many of those...maybe 2?  I've done a good job at keeping myself busy with workshops and conferences and doctors appointments.  But today there really was nothing on my schedule other than a 30 minute chiropractor appointment.

I did some research on the interwebs.  I downloaded almost 10 new apps on my phone, added widgets, moved icons, and basically redesigned the whole thing.  Then I played with the new apps.  Then a friend came over and we visited for about 2 hours.  I painted my nails.  I watched an episode of Saved by the Bell before I got distracted by a book sitting on our coffee table.  I read for 30ish minutes.  I played with my phone some more.

And now here I sit blogging.  I am bored out of my mind, y'all.  I am ready for Matt to come home so I can eat dinner (oh, because I am also starving) and so we can watch Netflix and play the Wii.  Not that I can't do those things without's just not as fun.  And I wouldn't watch our favorite show without him.  That would just be mean!

An idea just occurred to me.  An idea so fantastical and great, I am ashamed I didn't think of it before.  I am going to play Donkey Kong on the Super Nintendo.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Super Nintendo.  The very same one my brother and I had as kids.  The exact same games.  We never got rid of them.  They all still work, and they are all still hella fun.  If you need me, come looking sometime around 1996.  I'll be there.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Not a Photographer

I used to take pictures all the time.  I was notorious for always having a camera, always taking it everywhere, and always taking pictures of everything and everyone.  I scrapbooked.  I organized.  When things went digital, I uber-organized all my photo files on my computer, and scrolled through them often.

And as I sit here and think about my history with capturing memories via photos, I realize that it really was not so long ago that I went from obsessive picture taker to never picture taker.  In fact, I can pinpoint it to right before Matt and I moved here.  Things stopped being so capture-worthy, and then our camera stopped being camera-worthy (read: it died).  I think the greatest contributing factor would be the untimely death of our camera.  Because I got out of the habit of taking pictures.  I got into the mindset that I didn't have a device to take pictures on.  I know, I know.  We live in the age of smart phones(!) with superior cameras(!!) and Instagram(!!!) and blah, blah, blah.  But I'm still not used to the notion of taking pictures with my phone all that often.  (And really, I've only had a smart phone for 4 months now.)

For that very reason, I was all excited about giving the Photo a Day Challenge a shot.  In May I was still way too busy to think about anything superfluous (fun word!), but when June rolled around I was ready!  At least I thought.  I forget most days to take a picture.  In fact, most days I forget to even check what I am supposed to be taking a picture of.  And then if I do take a picture, I often delete it or don't share it.  For a few days I did alright and shared my photos on Facebook, and then I realized that I just felt awkward posting those photos like that.  Just one random photo a day is apparently not my style.

So I've been thinking.  I really like a lot of the prompts for photos on the PAD Challenge.  So I think I'll try to take the photos, and then recap here on my blog.  I feel like that is a lot less awkward and it allows me to elaborate a bit.  What I took a picture of, why, what it means, etc.  And this way, if I ever want to look back at my blog and reminisce about the past, I have a better, more detailed record.

We'll see if this plan actually pans out.

Friday, 15 June 2012

I am a Fainting Goat

Matt and I have lived in the same city for 1.5 years now, and to be totally honest, we still have no married friends.  We don't have any married friends who are close to the same age as us at a similar place in life. 

That sentence doesn't make sense, but I can't figure out how to make it make sense.  This is why I teach Science.


We don't have married people friends our age.  We want married people friends our age.  Not that our single friends our age aren't good enough.  Not that our single friends older than us aren't good enough.  It's just...different.  Not bad.  Just different.

We decided if we were going to try to make friends, we needed to get more involved with groups of married people our age.  So we started going to a Life Group at our church.  It is small.  It is nice.  We like it.  We decided (as a group) to meet informally over the summer in a more social setting to get to know one another better.  Plus, most of the couples are traveling quite a bit these next few months, so it really is hit or miss as far as the weekends go.

Our first social was last Friday evening.  I was excited about it; I had been looking forward to it for over a week!  And when we got there, I froze.  I freaked out.  And then I basically shut down.  I started having wild fantasies about running out the door and speeding home so I could curl up in a ball in my bed (because, you know, apparently 3 other couples is just too much).  And while all this was going on, I thought to myself, "What the heck?!  This is not normal.  I wasn't like this before...what happened to me?!  I wonder if they would all stare at me if I started crying.  Of course they would.  I would.  Oh gosh.  I think I might have turned into an introvert.  Gross.  Is that even possible?  I want my bed."

When I look back on that evening, this is how I interpret my reaction:

Seriously.  Lunatic.  I eventually calmed down, but guys?  Making new friends is HARD.  It is hard for me.  I want friends.  I want community.  I want fellowship and...any other synonyms of those things.  But getting to that point scares me to death.  And I have no idea why.

But on the bright side, aren't those goats funny?!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Some Summer Goals

This morning I was supposed to be on my way to a science workshop.  I got up when my husband did, I showered, did my hair, did my makeup.  Checked my email.  And changed my mind.

You see, last night I had sent an email to the leader of the workshop asking a few questions.  The most pressing question I had was about tomorrow - I have a doctor's appointment that is fixed in stone and I wanted to know if it would be possible for me to miss the morning portion of the workshop and attend the afternoon portion.  You know, just for tomorrow.  She wrote back with probably the least helpful answer of all time, which resulted in me just unenrolling from the workshop.  On the plus side, they are offering the same workshop next week, so I enrolled in that one, when I don't have any other conflicts in my schedule.

So all of a sudden, my jam-packed busy day is open.  I am free to do as I please today, and that doesn't bother me in the least.  I have goals for this summer, so my free time will be well spent.  I have trainings to attend.  I have books to read (both for school and just because I want to).  I have Zumba routines to choreograph and Zumba routines to learn.  I have Zumba classes to teach.  I have next year to think about and plan.  I've got stuff to do!  And somewhere in there, I am supposed to recuperate from the school year that just ended.

At some point, I will hopefully get past feeling guilty for just sitting down and reading for fun.  After all, it's my summer!  I'm supposed to be resting.  I'm supposed to be taking some me time.

So today I've got some goals.  Today I want to learn a new Zumba routine, and I want to choreograph another.  I don't think those goals are too lofty, do you?

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Lessons from Middle Schoolers

Well, kids.  School is out!  Yesterday was my first "official" day of summer, and I kept myself quite busy.  Today?  Not so much.  But I wanted to take some time to debrief this past school year, and I thought I would share some things.  Today I'm sharing the things that my students taught me:

I learned that during each menstrual cycle, women develop another ovary!

I learned that the ocean floor "shits"! (she meant to say "shifts"...I guess she was writing quickly?)

I learned that you can classify dogs and cats by "unquestionable loyalty" and "questionable loyalty"!

I learned that if you stand on Jupiter, your face will "be on the floor"!

I learned that "neutrons" are the unit of measurement for force!

I learned that there are flesh eating spiders on the moon, and that is why we can't live there!

I learned that "Super Bowel" week does exist!

I learned that "Smart tuna fish sandwich with kitty litter!" and other such things are considered to be awesome compliments to one another on daily work!

I learned that playing "What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction will erase all wrongs in the eyes of 8th grade girls!  You will be their best friend all day!

I learned that "Chex mix" is the default answer for when you don't actually know the answer!

I learned that kidneys make babies!

The list could go on.  My kids kept me laughing all year long.  I think when it came to grading papers, I got the best papers TO grade.  (And the best kids - they are so funny!)

But on a more serious note, I also learned (or relearned) these things:

Middle schoolers are stuck in an odd place.  Not quite kids, but not quite adults.  It kinda sucks.

Because of this, they need lots of love.  Not the kind you show to kindergarten kids, but...something.

The difference between 7th and 8th graders is so much greater than one initially realizes.

Students actually like having a personal relationship with you.

Students are baffled when they learn things about the "outside of school you".

The things I say have an impact on my kids.  The impact is either positive or negative, not neutral.

Even middle schoolers watch you like hawks.  And then they do and say what you do and say.

I am more like my students than I would ever admit to them.  (Don't be like me, kids!)

Most of the time, the impact you make on your students goes unmentioned.  But then there are a few students who (at the end of the school year) take the time to let you know how much you impacted them, how you helped them and changed them, and how your class was something to look forward to every day.  And those are the moments when you bawl like a baby and want to give them bear hugs.

Teaching is a hard job.  It is emotionally, mentally, and physically draining.  It consumes all your time and then some.  It's more than just explaining educational concepts to young minds.  It is doing your best to shape them into people who will succeed and excel in life.  It requires so much effort.

And it is well worth the effort.  It is time well spent.  I love my kids.  They are the reason I show up every day, and they push me to be better than I thought I could be.  We really are in it together, and they know that.  That means the world to me.

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