Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Irma!

It's the birthday today of Irma Rombauer, author of The Joy of Cooking. This was the first big cookbook I owned, and it's the one everyone in my family refers to when they need basic directions. How do you boil an egg? Scald milk? Make a custard pie? There are more innovative cookbooks, and there are more comprehensive ones, but this is the one I turn to again and again.

I have a sort of hypothesis that there are Fanny* (as in Fanny Farmer) people and Irma people. I have a tattered old paperback Fanny, but I use the Joy (as I've always called it) much more often--I suspect because my mother did. I've sometimes checked both for some basic thing, and they are almost always just slightly different, which can be disconcerting. Shouldn't there be just one way to do these basic things? Well, no. But if they do disagree, I'll almost always go with Irma. She's a good friend to have in the kitchen.

*Confusingly, at least to me, the Fanny Farmer cookbook is now written by Marion Cunningham, and the Joy has for many years listed Marion Rombauer Becker as a co-author. So really they are both Marion, but to me they are Fanny and the Joy.

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Eco-Dilemma

I live on a bus line to campus--it's less than a two block walk for me to catch a bus that gets me to campus in 15 minutes. And the university, as of this past spring, provides free bus passes for all employees. That's right, my commute is free.

So why don't I take the bus every day? Over the last fourteen years I haven't used it much at all, though this year I'm doing it much more often (read: free bus pass. Also, high gas prices and a third driver in the house.) Still, every week there are days when I don't take the bus. Tuesday and Thursday Mariah and I take an early morning exercise class, so we drive because we've got a lot to carry and really can't be late. She drops me in my office after our class and I take the bus home.

It's the other days that worry me. I teach on MWF, and I can get a bus that will, pretty reliably, get me in to campus more than an hour before my first class. It should be a no-brainer. But this morning, for example, I really had to think hard about whether to take it. And the reason, though I'm not proud to admit it, is my hair.

I know, I know, it's ridiculous. But hear me out. I have shoulder-length thick curly hair. It does best when mostly left alone--but that leaving alone has to come after it's wet. It takes about three hours to dry. Blow-drying leaves it bushy and frizzy (not to mention taking more time, energy, and skill than I have--and don't talk to me about diffusers). So I usually walk out the door with wet hair, and by the time I have to be presentable, it usually is. (As presentable as it's going to be, anyway.) In warm weather, waiting for a bus with wet hair is no problem. But as the temperature drops, I find myself reaching for the car keys. I rationalize: it's only six miles; if I get sick I'll use even more energy going to the doctor; at least I take the bus some days; etc.

It's a small thing. But it occupied way more of my mental energy this morning than it should have. Still, I took the bus. With damp hair and an outdoor temp of about 45. I guess I'll be checking back after the first frost.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

quick links

You may have noticed that the content is rather, um, light here lately. I've been busy with other things (teaching, grading, life) so the blog is running itself--or, mostly, not, lately. But here are a couple of quick links.

First, do you think it's fair to provide health benefits to families? Me, too. But not everyone agrees--or, at least, they want a cut if they're not taking the health insurance. What is fair?

Second, don't you want to look at some amazing pictures of animals? Really, you do. Link courtesy of the amazing Neil Gaiman who is, I'm sure, way busier than I am.

That's all I've got.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hmm, really?

I saw this on Spynotes, and it's way more interesting than anything I could dream up today. I'm skeptical, but then again, that's what the quiz results say, too. So maybe it's right?

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are a Marilyn!


You are a Marilyn -- "I am affectionate and skeptical."

Marilyns are responsible, trustworthy, and value loyalty to family, friends, groups, and causes. Their personalities range broadly from reserved and timid to outspoken and confrontative.

How to Get Along with Me

  • * Be direct and clear

  • * Listen to me carefully

  • * Don't judge me for my anxiety

  • * Work things through with me

  • * Reassure me that everything is OK between us

  • * Laugh and make jokes with me

  • * Gently push me toward new experiences

  • * Try not to overreact to my overreacting.

What I Like About Being a Marilyn

  • * being committed and faithful to family and friends

  • * being responsible and hardworking

  • * being compassionate toward others

  • * having intellect and wit

  • * being a nonconformist

  • * confronting danger bravely

  • * being direct and assertive

What's Hard About Being a Marilyn

  • * the constant push and pull involved in trying to make up my mind

  • * procrastinating because of fear of failure; having little confidence in myself

  • * fearing being abandoned or taken advantage of

  • * exhausting myself by worrying and scanning for danger

  • * wishing I had a rule book at work so I could do everything right

  • * being too critical of myself when I haven't lived up to my expectations

Marilyns as Children Often

  • * are friendly, likable, and dependable, and/or sarcastic, bossy, and stubborn

  • * are anxious and hypervigilant; anticipate danger

  • * form a team of "us against them" with a best friend or parent

  • * look to groups or authorities to protect them and/or question authority and rebel

  • * are neglected or abused, come from unpredictable or alcoholic families, and/or take on the fearfulness of an overly anxious parent

Marilyns as Parents

  • * are often loving, nurturing, and have a strong sense of duty

  • * are sometimes reluctant to give their children independence

  • * worry more than most that their children will get hurt

  • * sometimes have trouble saying no and setting boundaries

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz at HelloQuizzy

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What's going on

It's fall break so I'm working at home, and taking a few breaks to run some errands and read things I wouldn't otherwise be reading right now. I realize that the whole concept of "fall break" is foreign to folks not on academic calendars--or on the quarter system--but believe me, it's a necessity around here. I talk about it a little in today's Mama, PhD blog post at Inside Higher Ed.

One thing I haven't done over the break, but I managed to do a few days before it began, is make power bars. Yes, I'm so crafty, I made my own nut-and-seed snack foods, the kind that usually come in their own packaging! They are so easy I feel almost guilty posting about them--in fact, I realized as I was snarfing one up yesterday that they are a sort of grown-up rice krispie treat. Really! I mostly followed this recipe--which was linked in one of the other blogs I read but I can no longer track it down. Just FYI, I made the following changes: I added two tablespoons each (roughly) of hemp protein powder and flax seed meal, because I had them, and used a combination of pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds where the recipe calls for pecans, because I didn't have them. I think I may try these next--maybe with almond butter? Mmm...and chocolate chips?

It's back to the regular schedule tomorrow, but I'm hoping this break leaves me well-rested enough to make it to Thanksgiving without getting sick. (Fingers crossed...)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A note

Dear Amazing, Wonderful, Highly-Motivated Instructor of my twice-weekly 7 am fitness class,

Please, for the love of all that's holy and the sake of my sanity, do not use the cd with "We Built This City" ever again.

Thank you,

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Parenting and Pedagogy

Tedra Osell's recent post on her "Career Coach" blog at Inside Higher Ed's Mama PhD got me thinking: what is the relationship between parenting and pedagogy? How has my pedagogy changed since becoming a parent? It's hard for me to answer the latter question, as I had only been teaching as a grad student for a few years before I became a parent; the two have really always been intertwined for me. But I do know that I don't answer the question the way Tedra does; here's a stab at how I do answer it.

(cross-posted at the other blog...)