Mixed Bag Monday: Spring

Maybe you remember how much I love fall. I do not love spring.

But I don’t hate it either. It’s a Mixed Bag.

There are some things that are nice about spring. We finally changed the clocks so it doesn’t get dark at noon anymore. Well, 3 pm. Ok, 5 pm. It now stays light out so long that I can drive home before sunset after going to Deep Water Exercise, which is still just as awesome by the way.

It’s also tolerable that plants are growing and things are getting green again. Although since winter was so anticlimactic, it’s not really that big of a difference.

Spring also means that the semester is almost over. I originally typed that sentence with the intention of it being another positive point about spring. But now I think it’s bad. It means that I don’t have a ton of time to finish writing my own papers and grading my students’ papers… I guess it also means that summer is coming, which is good I suppose.

I think what I hate the most is the weather. Spring weather is the worst of all weathers. Can “weather” be plural? Let’s pretend it can. Spring usually means rain and humidity. And apparently here it means temperatures in the 80s and constant humidity. I’ve been using my air conditioning for 3 weeks to keep my apartment in the 70s. Miserable.

Another wonderful discovery about spring here is the sudden appearance of fruit flies in my office. I don’t know where they come from or where they hide, but as soon as I open my lunchbox, at least 40 5 of them dive-bomb hover around my lunch. It’s super weird and kind of gross. I clean my desk pretty frequently, and we don’t even keep a garbage can in there. On the other hand, I don’t have any idea if anyone has ever washed the floor or the fridge or the microwave… Now that I say that, I’m surprised we don’t have live animals in there. …that I know of.

The more I write about this, the less I think spring is a Mixed Bag. I really don’t like it. What do you like about spring?

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The Saddest Thing About Blogs Ever

*Shame* It has been so long since I’ve blogged. I’m so embarrassed. It’s the kind of like when you know you’ve been eating a lot recently and don’t want to step on the scale. It’s been so long since I’ve blogged that I didn’t even want to log in and see when my last post was. Over a month ago. I know. Appalling.

Some of you sweet readers have informed me that you still faithfully check my blog, hoping for a new post. Thank you! I don’t deserve you. Don’t leave.

As a reader of blogs, I absolutely get the disappointment of going to my bookmarks, selecting a blog, and watching it load a post I’ve already read. A long time ago. Ugh, so sad! Don’t bloggers know that it’s their responsibility to entertain me? Without blogs, where would I be?

Well probably in my office pondering the marvelous papers I wrote with all the extra time I had while not reading blogs.

That’s beside the point.

I could tell you all sorts of excuses about how busy my life is and how I have no time to blog. Some of that is probably true. But another thing that is true: I love blogging. And I’ve missed you.

To catch you up with what’s been happening, here are some thoughts about the last month-ish of my life.

My students have not learned that they should read the prompt before writing their papers.

I’m frustrated daily by temperatures above 60. Um, it’s March. Get real, earth.

I’m a little tired of talking about tables and other material objects.

I’ve learned that apparently cups can’t be made of glass. Discuss.

I’ve also learned that my parents are thoroughly disappointed that they didn’t raise me to think that cups can’t be made of glass.

I found a new LaCroix flavor that I love. Orange. Tastes like orange soda. To a non-soda drinker that is.

My desk-mate and I were both in the office too frequently, so I now share a desk with two other people who are never in the office. Win?

The Hunger Games movie was good. I think. Still on the fence. Thoughts?

Anyway, I know I promised you some posts a while back. I’ve been looking for a good picture of the Worst Thing about Parking Lots Ever, and every option has fallen short. Hang in there.

In the meantime, please accept my humble apologies for instantiating the Saddest Thing About Blogs Ever.

The Most Boringly Productive Day Ever

There are a lot of great things about my “job.” First of all, it’s not really a job. I mean it’s kind of a job. With funny hours. Most of the time, my job means going to lecture twice a week, making a lesson plan, and then leading two discussion sections on Friday mornings. Pretty awesome.

And then there’s grading.

Last Thursday, my 70 students submitted their first long papers. Let me rephrase that. My 70 students were supposed to submit their first long papers. Some of them obviously weren’t paying attention to the 15 times I told them the deadline in discussion, or they didn’t read the syllabus for lecture, or the syllabus for discussion, or listen in lecture when the professor told them the deadline. But that’s cool, take a late penalty.

Anyway, so probably 60 of them turned in the paper on time, and the rest have been trickling in over the last week. Some of them still haven’t turned it in. So by now, they’d probably get a 0 because of the late penalties. But they’re still enrolled in the class. “Enrolled.” They haven’t been coming, and they obviously don’t care if they fail, but they’re still enrolled.

So I’ve been grading these papers for the last week, but I really just wanted to finish them, so today around noon I sat down to grade.

Nine hours, 300 impatient sighs, 50 quizzical looks, and 15,000 raised eyebrows later, I finished my grading. It was so ….zzzzz. Boring. It was boring.

And also kind of enlightening. I didn’t realize it was possible for so many people to blatantly ignore the prompt. I mean, the prompt is the thing that tells you what the assignment is. I just assumed they would read it. Or listen when I read it to them in class.

And then there were the (few) delightful paper where my only comments were “Good!” “Excellent!” and “You should become a professional philosopher!”. Ok, not that last one. Mostly because “professional philosopher” is kind of serious but also kind of a joke.

The nice thing about grading is that it’s a completely different kind of work from writing my own papers. I had music on in the background (the Radiohead Pandora station was a great discovery), and I ate some animal crackers at the same time. So it was kind of like a party but way less awesome. I’m very glad to be done with them, and I am certainly not looking forward to grading 3 more batches of these things.

Snippets of the Week

Hi readers. It’s been an especially long time since my last post. I’ll give you a few little verbal snapshots (mixed metaphor?) of my week to give you an idea as to why.

Tuesday: Got stomach bug.

Tuesday: Ate and then un-ate breakfast, and every other meal.

Tuesday: Guest lectured.

Tuesday: 3 classes.

Tuesday: Study group with 3 unexpected breaks related to my friendly bug.

Wednesday: Exam.

Wednesday: Ate broth. Twice. Success.

Thursday: Couldn’t handle broth.

Thursday: Quit sugar detox to eat crackers.

Thursday: Ate crackers again for lunch. And dinner.

Thursday: 70 students turn in papers.

Friday: Added bread to list of acceptable foods.

Friday: Taught twice.

Friday: Teaching workshop. Homework. Sleep early.

Today: Resumed eating normal food.

Today: Started grading 70 papers.

Today: Started writing 2 papers.

Right now: Typing weird list of my week.

Soon: Going to bed.

You can: forgive me for not blogging. ❤

Mixed Bag Monday: The Sugar Detox

Today is day 2 of 21 of the Sugar Detox. So far, my eating hasn’t changed very much at all. I had eggs and cheese for breakfast, and I had lettuce wraps for lunch. Dinner will be the biggest change. I haven’t figured out what I will eat. I should probably make some kind of plan since I’ll be starving after Deep Water Exercise.

I can already tell that there will be things that I’ll miss. Chocolate for instance. You can make stuff that has cocoa in it, but I really just want to eat a chocolate bar. With ground up espresso beans or something. Oh man, I should stop thinking about this.

Anyway, there are obvious downsides to this Sugar Detox – namely not eating anything sweet. Or eating bread. I tried to make some coconut bread last night. It was weird. It was kind of like a salty pancake. Without syrup. Gross.

And I can’t eat any fruit, except my one green apple or green banana per day. I usually eat a lot of fruit, so this should be interesting.

But not all of the eating is difficult. You can eat as much as you want of the foods that are allowed, including avocado. I love avocado. It’s kind of slimy and green and weird, but it is super delicious. I also love guacamole. And I can eat as much as I want!

Today I made some fabulous guacamole, and I ate it on a lettuce wrap with some cheese. I imagine that guacamole will sustain me in my sugarlessness.

I whipped up a batch today, and it will probably last me through tomorrow. It doesn’t take me very long to eat a whole container of guacamole. I put it on everything.

Here’s the recipe I used, and I daresay it is some of the Best Guacamole Ever.

 

Guacamole

2 avocados, ripe

Juice of 1 lime

1/4 t salt

1/4 t chili powder

1/4 t ground cumin

1/2 red onion, diced

1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced

1 t minced garlic

 

Halve avocados and remove the pits and skins. Skins? Rinds? Peels? Whatever. Set 1 pit aside. Put avocados in bowl with lime juice and stir to coat. In a strainer, drain the lime juice and set aside.

Put avocados in bowl. Add salt, cumin, and chili powder. Mash and stir with a fork. Add onion, tomato, and garlic and stir. Move to smaller bowl if desired. Let sit 1 hour before serving.

To prevent your guacamole from browning while in the fridge, press plastic wrap directly onto the top layer of the guacamole. This will prevent air from getting to the guac. Apparently you should also put 1 pit in with the guac to also prevent browning. I’ve never done this before, but I tried it today. I can’t imagine it could make it worse.

When not doing the Sugar Detox, enjoy on chips or sandwiches. I put some on my lettuce wrap today, and I’ll use it as veggie dip. And on everything else I can think of. It is a significant upside to the otherwise insane Sugar Detox.

Possibly the Craziest 3 Weeks of Eating Ever

Ok what a lame title. I’m sorry. I needed to make it something “Ever,” so this is what I came up with.

Now let me explain.

At the beginning of the year, a ton of people that my dad knows did a 21-Day Sugar Detox. I thought they were all insane. Especially right at the beginning of the year, after the 3 weeks of eating cookies and candy and delicious/unhealthy food that comes with the holidays. I was skeptical that I would ever think about doing the detox.

Fast forward to now. Today is day 1 of my Sugar Detox.

Rewind back to the beginning of the semester. I’ve been eating remarkably differently since I used to eat. I think over the last 6 months, I have changed my eating habits more than I have ever in the rest of my life. Little by little I started eliminating things from my diet. It started with Diet Coke. Then it was high fructose corn syrup. Then it was factory-farmed meat, which is now an even more solidified ideal since I read Eating Animals. And I had been thinking about trying to do a few weeks of gluten free, to see how it is to eat that way.

So when I went home this weekend and heard that my dad had started the detox, I considered it to be much less insane than I had previously thought. I looked at the list of foods you can and can’t eat, and I was surprised to find all sorts of stuff that you are able to eat. In a nutshell, you can’t eat any sugar or artificial sweeteners, grains, legumes, or fruit. What you can eat are veggies, meat, and dairy if you are doing the slightly lamer version (which I am). You are allowed either one green banana or one green apple per day, since these have less sugar compared to other fruits.

I decided I could give the detox a try, but I wasn’t sure when I wanted to do it.

But then I considered some very important information: I need to plan around birthday cake. We celebrated one family birthday yesterday, and we will celebrate another in 3 weeks. Perfect timing! In between these deliciousnesses, I will do the detox.

I’m incredibly curious to see what the next 3 weeks will be like. Fortunately there’s a coop in town that sells family-farmed meat that I can buy, along with all sorts of organic produce.

But Mom and I did make a trip to TJ’s to stock up on sugar-free necessities. We bought 3 carts worth of nuts, since you can eat those.

Ok, not 3 carts, but a lot.

We also bought some avocados, which are acceptable on the detox. If nothing else, I could just eat guacamole for 3 weeks and do just fine.

Anyway, I’ll try to post about some things other than the detox, but I’m planning on updating you with what I’m eating and how I’m feeling. Apparently day 5 is the worst (i.e., crabbiest) day, so I’ll make an extra effort to post on Friday so you can all share in my exaggerated snarkiness. I’m guessing this will be the Craziest 3 Weeks of Eating Ever.

The Weirdest Dinner Ever

Most of my meals are quite predictable. I eat two eggs with cheese every morning. I will probably do this for the next couple years. I started this new breakfast habit at the beginning of the semester. Before this, I was eating granola for breakfast almost every morning since mid-2010. What can I say; I like routine.

Lunch and dinner have a little more variety, but not all that much.

But on Tuesdays, after my incredibly long day of class, people from the seminar go out for drinks so we can nerdily continue to talk about philosophy. Tonight there were only three of us, and we decided to do dinner instead of drinks.

I haven’t tried many of the restaurants around here since it’s so easy to end up someplace awful, eating a pile of something I wouldn’t normally consider to be edible. So when I’m with people who have already done this trial and error for me, I like to take their recommendations.

We planned on going to a Chinese place that’s only a couple blocks from my apartment. Rumor has it that it’s pretty good. We got there to find the lights turned off and a sign with their hours telling us that they’re open until 9:30 every night except Tuesdays. Um, what?

Then we backtracked to a Korean restaurant which is also supposedly good.

Now I’ve never had Korean food before, but it made me think of Lane Kim and the food that she eats in Gilmore Girls when she has to follow Mrs. Kim’s rules. But beyond that minor recognition, I have no idea what I want to order.

The menu was no help. I don’t understand titles that don’t have the English word for whatever is in the dish. I don’t mean that I don’t understand why the titles are like this. I mean, it was a Korean restaurant, not an English restaurant. I mean that I just don’t understand what the titles mean. Now that I’m saying this, I don’t think they’re actually titles. Names maybe?

Whatever they were, I had no idea what they were, and the cute little pictures they had for each dish were about as helpful.

I ended up ordering something called Bing Bang Boom.

No I’m just kidding. It was Bibimbap. But I had to Google weird combinations of letters to find this, and then I had to double check that I typed it right. It was Bibimbap.

It was interesting.

I would’ve taken a picture, but I didn’t want to explain to my professor and the other student, “Oh I have a blog and I like to take pictures of my food and also talk about my professors and classes.”

But let me tell you – I have no idea what I was eating. I’m not completely ignorant, I mean, I recognized the lettuce. And the rice. And that was pretty much it. There was some other green stuff and some white stuff. Some red sauce and some crumbly brown stuff. I think it was meat. Not sure. I did not eat the pickled cabbage that came on the side.  There was also a rectangular chunk of gelatinous clear-ish stuff. Tofu? Maybe? No idea. Didn’t eat it.

Besides skipping the meat and tofu, and the runny looking egg that also came on it, I pretty much just mixed the rest of it around and ate it. It wasn’t too bad. It tasted fine.

It just kind of weirded me out that I didn’t know what I was eating. I would be absolutely hopeless in some foreign country where their diet is substantially different than mine.

I would be satisfied if this remains the Weirdest Dinner Ever. I’ll let you know if anything tops it.

The Most Frustrating Thing Ever

The internet isn’t working at my apartment. It’s so frustrating! All of a sudden, my computer couldn’t connect yesterday. Sometimes this happens, but it’s usually for only a few minutes. I think it’s because of the internet company. It’s a small business that has wireless routers in some apartment buildings. You log on to the network and pay for high speed access. It’s super easy because I don’t have to deal with cords or routers and all that stuff that I pretend like I understand but really don’t. But on the other hand, if something goes wrong I’m at a total loss. My brother is probably grateful for this though, because when I had internet problems at my old apartment, I would always frantically call him and ask him to work miracles from a distance. He’s very gifted.

But anyway, I’ve been struggling. I have papers to write, which is mostly ok since I had already downloaded most of my resources. But every once in a while I need to get some extra information, and without the internet, I feel so very very alone and ignorant. And then there are those things that just cross my mind during the day like, “I wonder if you can make gluten free doughnuts” and “I should check if my impulse Amazon purchase has shipped yet.” As a side note, I’m taking advantage of my stipend to justify all sorts of philosophy book purchases from Amazon. Since my seminar reading is “Choose Your Own Adventure,” I’m choosing to use Amazon Prime to support my book addiction.

Now that I’m at a coffee shop with internet access, instead of working on those papers, I’m Googling all the stuff I couldn’t Google yesterday and blogging. I should probably remember to do a little research too before I leave.

Anyway, if my posts are less frequent, it might be due to this sad internet problem. Being cut off from the internet is the Most Frustrating Thing Ever. Hopefully that won’t be an issue and I’ll be able to grace the ‘net with my virtual presence regularly.

The Goofiest Workout I’ve Done Ever

Usually my workouts consist of an hour on an elliptical. I’m pathetically lacking in the strength department, but I figure that any workout is better than none. But a friend from the department invited me to go to a Deep Water Exercise class with her last week, and I couldn’t go because I wrote a paper instead. Yesterday I decided to tag along and see what this DWE is all about.

I picture Deep Water Exercise to be some weird mix of step aerobics and synchronized swimming, which I know are not even remotely the same thing. But I have this idea in my head of old ladies in swim caps bobbing around in matching suits. My friend gave me fair warning that this class isn’t like that. Which is good because I would feel a little weird hanging out with a bunch of old ladies in swim caps, especially since I don’t have a swim cap.

With that idea ruled out, I had no idea what to expect when I found my way to the pool in incredibly stylish one-piece from 6 years ago. My friend wasn’t there yet, so I just asked the instructor what to do. She gave me a blue buoyancy belt that you strap around your waist and pull it so tight that you think you might accidentally cut yourself in half. Then you put on these frog hands gloves that have webbing between the fingers, and you get a set of “weights” and put them at the edge of the pool.

I kind of felt like a 5 year old wearing one big water wing, er, inner tube around my waist. And also kind of like some marine animal with my flipper hands. The people doing laps probably thought we were crazy.

When my friend arrived, we got in the pool together and floated around for a little bit before class started. Then the instructor put on some music that I later figured out was just a bunch of upbeat remixes of a ton of different songs. We started by running in place, which is super weird to do in the water. After warming up with similar things, we learned these really weird moves to do that get us across the pool and back. It was unlike anything I had ever done before, and I used to be quite the fish.

After we did a few laps, the instructor would tell us to do the next laps even faster, which I was sure was impossible since I’d already been going as fast as I thought I could go. But I pressed on. And then she told us to go even faster. I don’t think I even changed my speed, but I was so tired  by the end of these laps. Tired and kind of foolish for flopping around in the water in a blue belt.

It was incredibly strange to be swimming like this, because your head is above the water the entire time. I could feel the sweat dripping down my face. It was hot in there!

I wished I had brought water. I didn’t because I didn’t know what I would do with it.

Turns out you can put your water bottle at the edge of the pool. Go figure.

Anyway, after doing those crazy laps, we got our “weights” which are pretty much just foam floaties that look like dumbbells, and we did some strength exercises. I really liked those. It was kind of counterintuitive because usually weights give you resistance when you lift them up, but in this case, we had resistance by pushing them down.

The whole class lasted an hour, and I was so tired when it was done. But I was tired in a very relaxed way. It was nice to be in the pool, and the whole thing was kind of chill in a workout-really-hard way. That doesn’t make any sense. I’m just going to pretend you know what I mean.

I really liked the class, so I think I’m going to keep going! It meets every Monday and Wednesday, so I think this will be a new addition to my workout schedule. Well not addition really. I won’t go to the gym twice those days. That would be a little unnecessary.

Also, I got to use one of those cool water extractor things in the locker room for my swimsuit, so even if the class had been awful, that might’ve made up for it. How awesome are those things? My suit was almost completely dry!

Anyway, I recommend this workout if you have access to a pool, buoyancy belt, gloves, floaty weights, and an instructor. Which is probably almost none of you.

But in the event that you suddenly have access to those things, I encourage you to try the Goofiest Workout I’ve Done Ever.

The Most Frantic Move-In Ever

My fiancé and I have had quite the weekend. A couple weeks ago, he started his new job, which is conveniently in the city I live in. Since he had his last day of work at his previous job on a Friday, and this new job started on a Monday, he just loaded up his car and did a mini-move-in over that weekend. That worked well, but it also meant that the rest of his stuff was still in his old apartment.

On Friday, we drove back home so he could finish moving. I dropped him off at his old apartment so he could clean and finish packing, and I stayed at my parents’ house. Bright and early yesterday morning, he and his brother rented a moving truck and packed it full of boxes and furniture. Some of it went to his brother’s apartment, and some of it came all the way back in the moving truck.

Since it’s impossible for one person to unload a moving truck, I also came back yesterday to help him.

The plan was to get back in town around 4 or 5, unload, and return the truck. Uhaul closes at 7 on Saturdays, so we figured we would have plenty of time.

But of course, things didn’t happen exactly that way.

Because it’s the end of the month, the line for picking up trucks was long, and he got the truck an hour later than expected. Then he had to have his landlord inspect the apartment when everything was cleaned out. So he got a later start than expected.

We ended up timing our driving pretty well, since I got to town only about 10 minutes before him. Unfortunately it was 6:00 by the time we both got back.

I expected that if we unloaded efficiently, we could finish and get the truck back by 7. This meant frantically running from truck to apartment with boxes and lamps and furniture and stuff. Well actually, he would carry things from the truck to the front door, and I would carry them from the front door into the apartment.

We made a huge dent in the truck by 6:30, but there were still boxes and furniture to unload. And some of the furniture was heavy. We finished up the boxes and then attached the furniture. Some of it was pretty substantial. He had this bulky entertainment center that was much heavier than it looked, and it didn’t really have any places to get a grip expect on the very bottom. So we took frequent breaks, but finally got the entertainment center into the apartment. We also brought in a filing cabinet and a bookshelf in similar fashion.

By now it was 6:50, and all that was left was the futon. He carried in the frame by himself, but the mattress was huge and awkward. But because it was 6:50, I said that if we brought the futon mattress just to the front door, I could drag it the rest of the way, bring in all the boxes that were propping doors open, and bring his car to Uhaul when I was done. I took his keys and sent him ahead of me.

By the time I was done dragging in the mattress and boxes, I went out to his car, only to find him still in the truck. It’s large and considerably more difficult to drive than a car, so I helped him back it up without hitting anything.

He finally pulled out of the parking lot at 6:57.

Now I had no idea where Uhaul is, nor did I have any idea where the headlights or windshield wipers are on his car, so I quickly Googled mapped the location and figured out the car by a little trial and error.

I was really worried that he wasn’t going to make it to Uhaul by 7, but as I pulled into the parking lot, I saw him in the doorway, talking to the Uhaul employee. Even though they were closing up, the employee checked the truck back in anyway.

Hooray! I was so excited that we finished unloading and got the truck back in time!

So as we drove off, I was chattering away about how awesome we were to get the truck back on time.

Then my fiancé says, “Well I had the truck rented until Monday.”

What?? Monday!?!? “I thought we had to have it back by 7 otherwise you’d get charged for an extra day!”

Then he explained that he didn’t have to have it back by 7, he just wanted it turned in so he didn’t have to figure out where to park it. Which I get. But he could’ve dropped it off after hours, and we could’ve taken a more leisurely pace.

I just could not believe it! I had expected the entire time that he needed to have it back by 7 so he would get charged for a one-day rental instead of multiple days. He had never explicitly said that, but I just assumed that’s what he meant by telling me that Uhaul closed and 7 and he wanted it back by then.

It’s not the Worst Thing Ever that we unloaded the truck in less than an hour, and I’m glad he got the truck back without any problems. But it was most certainly the Most Frantic Move-In Ever.