Thursday, February 28, 2013

8 Lessons Learned: The Teaching Edition

If nothing else, teaching has taught me a whole lot. 

1. Manners matter. You know, the basics: Don't look at your cell phone when someone is talking to you. Don't sleep when they're talking to you either. If you send an email to someone you don't know very well, begin with a hello. 

2. It's okay to make a fool of yourself in front of people. In fact, they usually like you more afterwards. 

3. Everyone has a story. This is both heartwarming and humbling at the same time. 

4. You never know who you'll inspire, and you might not ever know you inspired anybody at all. But others are paying attention.

5. Your attention and caring is one of the best gifts you can give someone.

6. There are tons of kids slipping through the cracks every day. I am one of the lucky ones.

7. Two topics guaranteed to get people talking: sex and curse words

8. Reading has to be the best thing you can do for your brain. Do it. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

8 Things that Make Me Laugh

Laughing is good, don't you think? I laugh a lot, but there are certain things that make me laugh a bit more than others. In no particular order:

Laugh! by mtsofan, Flickr
1. The phrase, "Cutting the cheese." See also, most things having to do with farts.

2. Creepy-Ass Dolls.

3. Mystery Science Theater 3000, especially their take on Riding with Death. You can see highlights here (7:10-7:23 is my favorite).

4. Goats yelling like humans. Also, cat videos. Pretty much anything having to do with animals doing strange things is funny.

5. Word jokes and puns. I once impressed a high school English teacher when she overheard this exchange:

Girl in class: She wants to be a doctor? I don't think I could do that. You have to be in school for so long.
Me: So, you're saying you can't be a doctor because you don't have the patience?

6. The movie Clue
"He threatened to kill me in public."
"Why would he want to kill you in public?"
"I believe she meant he threatened, in public, to kill her."
(See what I mean about word jokes?)

7. Tina Fey/30 Rock. Technically, I haven't watched 30 Rock in a long time, but I trust it's been excellent in my absence (yes, I know it's over now). See also Community.

8. A greeting card I once had that featured an image of a banana, partially peeled, that looked like it was dancing. It always made me laugh. I finally parted with it and gave it to a good friend for her birthday. If you love something, set it free...

And so much more! What makes you laugh?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Adventures in Juicing!

Blood wine, anyone? Also, roses for V-Day
In my weekday vegetarian adventures (ad-veg-ures?), I've come across lots of blog posts about blending and juicing vegetables. I was intrigued by juicing because I often have a difficult time using up all my vegetables before they go bad. This problem has become more important to me since I started my CSA.

Technically, with juicing, I'm still wasting food. All the flesh gets discarded, but if it's between dumping the flesh and dumping the entire vegetable, I suppose dumping the flesh and making tasty beverages is a good alternative.

Not wanting to spend money on a juicer kept me from trying it. And that's where Freecycle came in. I got an enormous juicer for exactly $0 (including gas--it was dropped off at my place!). 

I'd received a bunch of parsnips from my CSA the past few weeks, so I looked up some juice recipes including parsnips, and most of them wanted me to put in beets. Although the point was to use up the vegetables I already had, I broke down and bought a bunch of beets.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

On Bras, Breasts, and Being Normal

maidenform vintage bra advertisement by Tricia Wang, Flickr
Since I was a teenager, I've been hearing the same refrain that the majority of women are wearing the wrong bra size. So let's talk about this, shall we? It might not seem like a "simple living" topic, but I'd argue that having a healthier relationship with my body image qualifies, and that's really what this is about. 

Note: In a perfect world, women wouldn't need to wear bras because society wouldn't care what women's breasts looked like. You can call me when that happens. In the meantime, I'm going to wear a bra.

First, a little background. Why are so many women wearing the wrong bra size? Because retail establishments have made us believe that there is a very narrow range of normal or average sizes, and we all want to believe that we are normal. Additionally, these same companies disseminate the same flawed measuring directions. I'll admit it's possible that women consumers are driving stores to act this way, that stores are only doing this because "this is what our customers want," but I kind of doubt it. 

In your typical Victoria's Secret store, you might notice that there isn't actually a ton of space devoted to bras. I'd estimate that at my local store the bras only take up about a quarter to a third of the entire merchandise space. Think about your local Target, too. Sure, they have a lingerie department, but not much selection of bras. The places where we tend to go first when buying bras are places that don't have the space to offer a ton of sizes and styles. Better choices would be large department stores like Macy's or online stores. 

Okay, let's get to the sizing and my story. If you want to skip my story, here's a link for an online shop I recommend with good directions for measuring. Before continuing, I want to warn you, especially if you have a larger bust: You might not want to believe what the sizing tells you. Yes, you might be wearing a C cup when you really need a DD.

Friday, February 8, 2013

8 Thoughts on CSA

Last November, I began receiving weekly deliveries from a winter season CSA. Signing up for a CSA is kind of like purchasing a share of the farm's harvest. You aren't buying the produce from a retailer; you're buying it from the farm directly. You can search for a CSA in your area here.

Here are my thoughts so far:

1. Why, hello there, fiber. Want to get more vegetables into your diet? Join a CSA. You'll be up to your elbows in fresh vegetables with no excuse not to eat them. My CSA sends a weekly e-newsletter that includes recipes too.

2. It's exciting. "Ooh, we got carrots!" is an exclamation I never thought I'd utter, but that changed with my CSA. Even though the majority of the produce is pretty traditional fare like apples, potatoes, onions, etc., it's a surprise each week. The excitement makes it easier to use everything up.

CSA vegetable soup with celery root and lots of other stuff.
3. I'm trying new things. Last week, there were two odd, root-looking things in my box and several of these root things lying next to my box (discarded). I asked someone working at the drop-off site (I pick mine up at a cafe) if he knew what it was, and he informed me that it was celery root and that it was good in soups. Armed with that knowledge, I actually picked up one of the discarded ones that someone had left. They taste just fine, but the point is that I've never seen a recipe calling for celery root, and I never would have thought to buy one if I saw it in a store.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Giving Yoga Another Go

I've raved about community colleges before, but I'd like to highlight an important feature of community colleges that too often goes overlooked. The best way to describe this is to give an example--in fact, the example that made me want to write this post.

Downward dog by Chickpea, Flickr
You could say I'm yoga's biggest fan who doesn't do yoga. I've taken a class here or there and tried to do it at home, but I've never really found my place in yoga. I've never had an instructor correct me, so I never feel like I'm doing it right. Also, since I'm a beginner, I typically need to modify a lot of the poses, but some instructors don't explain the modifications, or, if they do, I seem to be the only one in class who has to modify.

Then there's the attitude and ambience. Everyone's so silent and serious. Am I the only one who's making grocery lists in my head instead of focusing on my breathing? Am I the only one who thinks wobbling over while standing on one leg is kind of funny?Am I the only one who's stifling a fart? Like I said, I feel out of place.