Friday, November 28, 2008

Using Obama to Cheer Myself Up

I was driving home from work Wednesday, feeling very blah and icky. I've had a nasty cough for a month, and I wasn't feeling well. Then the thought crossed my mind, "We elected Obama. We elected a black president." And I felt happy, or at least happier than I had felt a second ago. I'm getting pretty down from having this cough- I coughed so hard Monday that I pulled a muscle in my side, so now, not only am I coughing, the coughing really hurts, and it hurts to sit up, and even if I start feeling better, I'm not going to be able to do full-body workouts. I'm pissed off.

I found a site that has some great pics of Obama. I have always loved photographs, and this series by Callie Shell at Digital Journalist is particularly good. She has followed Barack for a couple of years for Time, so the photos evolve from Obama doing tiny appearances two years ago, to speaking in front of hundreds of thousands. Pretty cool. Make sure you get all the way to the photo of him doing pullups before a speech. I'm sorry, but the man is a riot.
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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Batch Cooking: Healthy Eating for the Lazy

I first discovered batch-cooking with the book Diet Simple, and I've been doing it for years now. You make a bunch of soup/stew, then freeze it in containers so you have a couple weeks of healthy lunch or dinners. Since my husband will go nowhere near my vegetable-laden stews, I eat mine at lunch. My current batch is eliciting a lot of oohs, ahhs, and "What's in that? It looks so good"s from my co-workers, so I thought I'd share. Basically, it's zucchini, (pre-cut) squash, white bean, bulgur, spinach, cans of diced tomatoes and chicken broth. The only hard part of this non-recipe is chopping the onion and slicing the zucchini. Other than that, get out your biggest pot, open the cans, and cut open the bags of organic veggies. The recipe is impossible to mess up. Note: the squash made this a bit too sweet. I'd use less next time or use carrots instead.

The nice thing about this recipe is that you can vary it easily. Make it more Italian by using tomatoes with Italian flavor and elbow noodles. Make it chili-like by using tomatoes with chili peppers, black beans, and chili powder and cumin. In fact, that's the batch I'm snacking on right now as I write this post: my tofu chili batch with black and kidney beans that I made a month ago. It's only 9 am and I'm already getting nutrients and phytochemicals. I added Mexican cheese and it's out of control good.

Basic recipe:
1. Chop onion, slice a few zucchini (anywhere from 2-5).
2. Saute onion a minute or two, toss in zucchini, stir, saute a few minutes.
3. Dump in a can or two of flavored diced tomatoes, flavor of your choice.
4. Dump in as much chicken broth as you want. If you're using potatoes or squash, let it boil lightly on medium for 20 minutes. Or 30, whatever works.
5. When you have like ten minutes left of cooking, add the bulgur wheat. This grain is super-high in protein and cooks as easily as pasta. Boil it lightly for a minute or two, then turn it to simmer for 10 minutes. Or 20 if you get distracted.
6. Throw in a block of frozen organic spinach. Simmer for 5 minutes or until melted.
7. Turn off burner, remove pot from heat, let cool for 30 minutes or an hour or whatever.
8. Put into containers and freeze. Should make 8 or more 2 cup portions.

Another nice thing about this recipe is that you need very few fresh ingredients, so you can kind of make it whenever, without much planning. The zucchini, though, is pretty key for me, and I never make these soups without it. If organic red peppers were not $9 a pound, I'd include those. I've been going organic on red peppers, apples, spinach and strawberries since those are among the highest in pesticide.

I used to include more meat in these, but I've been feeling grossed out by reheated meats in the past year or so, so I no longer include turkey burger in my chili or diced turkey in my white bean soup. It's not worth the skeevy factor to me.
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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Celebrity Pregnancy Move

I'm cracking myself up at work. My students don't know I'm pregnant yet, and I figure I have at least 2-3 more weeks before it gets more obvious to them. But it's not them I'm worried about. It's their parents. For them, I've got a new move that I've learned from celebrities.
Whenever I see a mom volunteering in the library or main office, I shift whatever I am carrying in front of my stomach. Thursday I used a manila folder, and Tuesday at a parent meeting, my purse. One day, I wore a scarf long down my front. I'm sure they have not noticed a thing.

I'm not telling my students yet because... well, I don't want to break the illusion that they're stuck with me all year. There's a power in that. The classroom is based on the fact that they are under my control all year, and they know that. They know that they are my little captives. When I say read, they read. If I say close your eyes, they close their eyes. When I say do the hokey-pokey, they do it. But when they know I'll be leaving them in March, I'm afraid something will change, and my undisputed rule will be shaken somehow.

Also, it's just fun to have a secret, and go around with a large stomach, and pretend like it's not there.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ladies in Khakis: I've Had It!

As I've been borrowing people's maternity clothes, a fair number of khakis have come my way. I put on a pair and noted that I look like I'm manning a ride at an amusement park. (Emphasis on the verb "man.") Today at work, I was walking behind two coworkers wearing khakis. I knew then that I needed to make a public statement: khakis, I'm sorry, do not look good on anyone.

The khakis to the right look OK. But she's slim, these are more cream than khaki, and she's wearing yellow heels. That's called "stylish." Most people I catch wearing khakis don't have modelesque figures, and they are wearing true khaki-colored khakis. Khaki = ugly brown. The khakis are slightly baggy, making their figures look droopy. Those kinds of khakis are called "dumpy."

To all you readers who are wearing khakis, I need you to either
a) not care that you are wearing ugly pants, because you are married and OK with looking bad
b) take a good look at yourself in the mirror and ask if the pants are really the best for your figure. Pretty soon, you're going to be old, and your butt is not going to look as good as it does now. Do you really want to clothe your ass, in its last good ten years, in unstylish khakis from the GAP?

If you under age 23, and very slim, and wearing flip flops, you may wear khakis without question. If either of these is an issue for you, though, you need to consider the two options above. Chances are, you, like me, should not be wearing khakis, unless they cost $300 and are from say, Theory, or some other fancy designer most of us can't afford. If you are a khaki devotee, you should sincerely consider shelling out the cash.
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tupelo--> Memphis--> LaGuardia!

God I love the Tupelo airport. The same people who check you in are the ones who flag your plane in, drive your luggage to the plane, and do the final boarding. I got some good small talk with the security lady about how much weight her friend gained when she was pregnant, and the guy at the counter/luggage driver (who is actually right now flagging my plane over in the rainy dusk) got my boarding pass for me. My little prop jet is pulling in right now. Better run.

Had a great visit with my family and got to make fancy pancakes yesterday!
Oh, and Tupelo airport has free wi-fi!
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Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! This is what I wanted to see!
There are so many great photos at the New York Times site. Really, it's a moment that needs to be documented. One of my favorite pics is of Jesse Jackson in tears. I loved Obama's acceptance speech- the fact that he tells his kids they can get a puppy.

I don't feel good, but one reason I'm going in to work is so I can be around people because I want to hear what they have to say about this!

I never thought I'd see a black President this soon. I'm a little annoyed that we're labeling him black, since he's also white, but whatever.

Augh they are such a good looking Presidential family!!!
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