Monday, 29 September 2008

slow release energy

Anybody tired of cooking posts yet? Just say and I will stop. I am really trying to stop my 3:30 space-out time at work. I find that at the end of the day I am exhausted and also swamped with work to do that I have a hard time motivating myself to keep going. The pile that builds up just seems so insurmountable by the end of the day but everything is also so urgent. I feel defeated and I have grown accustomed to eating mindlessly at this time. I am also in need of perking up, though, so it is hard to stop myself. So I am trying to substitute better foods at this time of day.

Tonight I made some oatcakes to try to insert into this snack attack. I think they are a bit bigger than they were supposed to be according to the recipe, since I made 12 and I was meant to make 16. But I am hoping that one will be substantial enough for me to get the energy to make it through my day. I need to have the energy to cycle home, too.

I think I will also need to take another snack food--maybe some fruit to nibble on because the act of snacking also seems to be a motivator (and it has been for me since uni days when I snacked my way through exam time). Either that or my brain needs reprogramming. It's quite bad news when there are chocolates of something left over from my tutor group and I end up mindlessly eating my way through the ten that remain in the box (after all, ten does not split between 28 students very well). Then I end up feeling ill and disappointed in myself.

Sunday, 28 September 2008


Tonight I went out to Uxbridge to visit Naomi and Andrew and attend church with them. It was nice to be back at the old church and it was good to have some extra teaching today. God's vision is so inspiring--to think that I can be a part of what he is doing here on earth. I also took the opportunity to read while sitting on the tube for quite a long time. Every time I get inspired, I think, I really must read more. Today I feel inspired to live authentically and excellently--thinking back to Rich's motto: "Excellence is a habit. We are what we repeatedly do" (Aristotle). In my day-to-day life I can be more excellent by consistently making small choices to use my time wisely (which has been plaguing me lately) and to keep in step with the Spirit. As we sang tonight, "Fill my gaze with things as yet unseen."

My tube reading today was The Conflict of Visions, which I have now finished, and Adapting and Extending Secondary Mathematics Activities. Both of these books have made a real impression on me, although in different ways (haha!). There are so many things to think about. I have so many more things I want to ponder and try to express and build on. But now, to bed.

Friday, 26 September 2008


Mum and Dad gave me a new cookbook while we were visiting with them in August: Simply in Season. It's a companion cookbook to the Mennonite classic More with Less, which I have loved and used for years. Today I used it to make a variation of spanikopita called Chard Utopia (!) for our church harvest lunch tomorrow. It was my first time working with filo (or phyllo) pastry and very exciting it was too. First I chopped up mounds of greens, including chard, rocket, and the one that Sainsbury's simply labels "greens".

I added feta cheese, and garlic.

Then I layered the greens mixture with the pastry sheets, each one brushed with olive oil. It came out a lovely golden brown colour, but we will have to wait until tomorrow to see if it tastes good.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

the week ahead

Tonight I did something I have never done before in preparation for the week of work. Perhaps it is the healthy living magazine (Zest) I have been reading. Or perhaps that my mother told me she is totally eating low GI now (what an inspiration!). I prepared a soup tonight to eat over the week and I made the first two days of salad to go with it.

I made Caribbean Sweet Potato Coconut Soup from my new Moosewood cookbook (page 29 for the one reader who may be interested!). Here I am defrosting 2 cups of stock that I had frozen in cup measures, then popped out into a freezer bag. (Hey--I forgot to tell you that I roasted my first chicken two Saturdays ago and then I made my first stock the next day with the bones. All with the help of Mr Bittman.)

And the soup is made with lots of lovely sweet vegetables and coconut milk and orange juice. I had a small bowl tonight and I have a flask I will use to take it to school this week.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

British party

I had such a great time last night celebrating my citizenship with some friends who came over. It was really nice to have my friends mix as well--not something that happens very much. I had some colleagues, some church friends, some new friends, and some of Ant's friends there. I wish I had taken more pictures! I guess I was too busy pulling things out of the oven and topping up (or was it emptying?) the Pimm's pitcher.

Dave was pressed into service when he arrived and he constructed this amazing cheese and pineapple hedgehog. Ant told me that this was a food he always ate in Liverpool when he was young, and my British guests confirmed that they remembered it from their childhoods.

Ant made the cucumber sandwiches and they were snapped up. I managed to get a photo just before they were all devoured. Very British with the crusts removed.

I ordered most of the other food from Sainsbury's: toad-in-the-hole, steak and kidney pies, cocktail sausages, onion bhajis, vegetable spring rolls and samosas, quiches. I did make the puddings, though, chocolate trifle and cream scones. I am so pleased with the scones (from my new Bittman cookbook), which we ate with clotted cream and Grammie's strawberry and raspberry jams. Yummm--it was delicious.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

a typical week

Anna has inspired me to write about the daily and weekly things that are usual. I arrive at work every day at 7:30 and work for an hour, doing marking, or prep work for the lessons ahead. Occasionally I need to do some photocopying, but I try to avoid doing this in the mornings since the photocopiers are always really busy and they jam or run out of paper every morning.

On Mondays we go to whole school assembly and so my twenty minute tutor time is taken up with getting into the sports hall and out again after a sometimes inspiring speech. On the other mornings of the week I start the day with tutor time, during which I register my tutor group and check their equipment and make them read in silence. At the end of every day they come to see me for five minutes to be registered and to show me their detention pages in their planners. I keep behind anyone who has a detention and try to scare or help them depending on what type of detention they got.

On Wednesday we have a meeting after school. It rotates between a maths department meeting, a year team meeting (for all the tutors in my year group), an action group meeting (this year I am on the gifted and talented action group), or a parents' evening.

On Fridays we have the maths department detention after school. So I go through to the classroom it is held in and check to see if all the students I am expecting have turned up for their detention. If not, I write them school detention referrals (a longer detention held by a member of senior leadership for more severe offenses). On Friday afternoons I also try to get all the next week's worksheets ready and make sure I have all the photocopies I need. I plan the next week's lessons in rough and try to do the filing before I go home. The school closes at 5:45 each evening so I usually leave then.

On Tuesdays I have been trying to go to kickboxing. (Not today, though, obviously, since I am sick.) I cycle there after work and usually have about an hour to read or mark while I am waiting for it to start. Starting this Thursday, Ant and I are taking a German class after work. It looks like I will have to take the train on that day since the class is not really within a cycling distance of work for Ant. We plan to meet there after work and our class goes from 6:30 to 9:00. We are both really excited about learning German and about doing something new together.

On Saturdays I have been going to Outreach with the church and doing chores at home. We go to church on Sunday and we iron work clothes for the week ahead. We are trying to do a bit more with our weekends because we naturally like to sit around and loaf.

Monday, 15 September 2008

at home on a work day

I now have the cold I was hoping to avoid. I am at home, tucked up in a duvet, reading, snoozing, watching mindless TV, and surfing. Ant came home from work with a stomach upset so we are both loafing.

I am idly thinking about my British party on Friday and ordering some clotted cream for it. What else to serve? I feel as though I should provide some substantial food as well. What would be British enough?

Sunday, 14 September 2008

lazy blogger

I have been neglecting this blog. Sorry.

But here are two pictures from my citizenship ceremony.

Helen took this photo. I had four guests with me: Ant, Bree, Helen and Geary.

This is the program. We had to sing the national anthem at the end.

I am really proud of being British. :)

Friday, 5 September 2008

the ardabil carpet

Here are two pictures from earlier this week. Sarah and Eric and Dave and I went to the V&A. We saw the Ardabil carpet, which I discovered last time I was there. Dave took these photos to show how massive it is. It is the world's oldest dated carpet, made in 1539-1540. It has very densely knotted pile: 5300 knots in every square with sides ten centimeters.

I want to turn these photographs into a lesson activity involving converting areas.There are x knots per square inch. Find x.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

tiny update

I am heading into bed, but I wanted to post something quickly. Therefore, I will say two sentences about each of a few things.

I loved having Sarah and Eric visiting for the last few days. We did some sightseeing and I have pictures to post (when I have a bit more time).

I stayed up a bit too late tonight reading the two wonderful cookbooks Sarah and Eric gave me. I am inspired to make some new things which I am sure you will hear more about as well.

We returned to school for our training day today and tomorrow I have interviews with my tutor group. I teach normal lessons on Friday.

Ant and I had a very restful three weeks in Canada (minus the airline insolvency, which was not at all relaxing). Our highlights were visiting with family and friends and going sea kayaking.

I have been inspired over the summer about my job through chats with a couple of mentors and some interesting reading. I am also really pleased that I managed to completely organise my classroom (the first time in my career that every paper has been filed somewhere where it belongs!).

(Feel free to leave me two (or 2n) sentence updates of your own in the comments.)