A Contrary Spirit?

When I lived in phoenix, I would tell people that I hated the sun, the heat and the desert. Never would I feel more content and more energized than during one of our infrequent rain storms.

Then, when I moved here, I would tell people that I was way dissapointed that it was sunny and not rainy and overcast. Once again, I would walk into the office, whistling a happy tune whenever the morning was gray and overcast.

Today Emily and I drove to Ocean Shores for a little R&R before the fall term starts for both of us. Today, when we arrived, the air was heavy with fog and a light mist was falling. We took a walk on the beach and soon found ourselves alone and isolated with no sign of any other person on the earth; cuccooned into our little world by the fog and rain.

I couldn’t have been happier.

4 Star Restaurant at Home

One of the greatest challenges that we have faced since moving here is our kitchen. When I committed to the apt, I was stressed enough about the process that I wasn’t as detail-oriented as maybe I should have been and, as a result, I didn’t notice the small size of the kitchen, the lack of a dishwasher, and the total absence of a garbage disposal. Oops! (it must be said that Emily has been very gracious and has yet to lay any blame on me).

Anyway, as a result, we always have a pile of dirty dishes in the sink and find ourselves avoiding anything more involved than freezer-to-oven cooking (lots of frozen pizzas! ew!). One day, driving around, we noticed this place called Designed Dinners. We had heard of the concept before, but had never indulged our curiosity. In short, it’s a place that allows you to use their facilities and equipment to do your prep-work and then you take your raw food home in baggies for cooking later on.

As I’m sure you’ve guessed, in a fit of desperation, we decided to try it out. We visited their website and selected from the list of available recipes for the month. We¬† had to choose a minimum of 16 servings of food, but that wasn’t a problem – everything looked so good and the potential payoff was worth the risk. The one difference, we found, is that the location in Belltown (the location near our apt) is a small hole-in-the-wall place. As a result, the only option is to have the cook do the assembly himself, freeze everything, and we can simply pick it all up in a box and take it home. So we put in our order, selected a day to pick up our food, and waited. A week later, our day came around and we wandered down to the storefront. Our food was conveniently all put into a single box, each meal separated into zip lock bags, ready to be defrosted and cooked – it all looked very good.

As indicated by the title of this piece, the food was great! Obviously some were better than others, but all in all, we have yet to hit a recipe that we haven’t liked to one degree or another. We’re even talking about making an appointment at the location in Capitol Hill to spend a little time doing the prep-work together. After all, what better way to learn to cook than under the watchful eye of somebody who preps everything to our total satisfaction? So…that said, if you ever find yourself making the same old junk day after day, give it a shot – what do you have to lose? There’s even a location in the Phoenix area!

Oh…and about our kitchen…we’ve come up with a plan for that…and it’s even working! Now we never go more than 2 days between doing loads of dishes!

My pen problem

About a year ago, just before I started teaching at ASU, I went to Target and bought myself a big, fabulous pack of pens. They were perfect: 5 point gel tips in a nice assortment of colors. I like grading papers in color (who doesn’t?)

There must have been 30 pens in this pack, but I only have 2 left in my possession. If anyone out there is thinking of buying me a nice pen for Christmas, please don’t. I can’t seem to hold on to them. Obviously, the best colors disappeared first. I started out grading last fall with a green pen. I loved it, but then I left it by the copy machine at AECP. Soon, I saw another teacher with my pen. I couldn’t prove it was mine and she loved it so much that I couldn’t bring myself to tell her it was mine. Besides, I had a drawer full of cool pens.

I moved on to purple, then orange, then baby blue, and then pink. I lost them all. Now I only have a red one and a black one. The black one doesn’t work very well, so I write everything in red now. I know the red pen is a little harsh-looking, but I didn’t see any problems with using it at school…until this afternoon.

I was filling out midterm warnings for students who aren’t doing so hot in my classes, and another teacher told me that some students are offended by red pens. It turns out that some Asian cultures write the names of dead people in red. I asked some students about it, and they said that writing someone’s name in red is like wishing death upon them. Oops!

I guess I need to buy some new pens now.

My birthday at greenlake park

Yesterday was my 30th birthday! It was a really nice day. Dave and I packed a picnic lunch and met up with my friend Andrea at Greenlake Park. It was a beautiful day. We relaxed on the grass, walked around the lake, and did some good people watching.

One of the highlights of my day was when a former student from ASU called to wish me a happy birthday. I couldn’t believe he remembered!

My teaching jobs

Seattle is a great place for English teaching. That’s part of why we chose it. I’m currently teaching at 2 schools. In the morning I teach immigrants and refugees at a nearby community college, and in the afternoons I teach international students at a private language school. Both jobs are really fun.

At the private language school I got to design my own elective courses, so I’m teaching a class about dating, and another one on “mysteries”. That one sounds weird, I know. We’re reading a simplified john Grisham book and exploring all kinds of real-life mysteries. We just finished a unit on the Roswell UFO incident. Two thirds of my students believe the government is hiding aliens somewhere!