Not bad for a fat girl

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What Do You Say At a Time Like This?

I’ve felt tongue-tied recently. At least online. I want to write, but I’m not exactly sure what to write about. Naturally there are the BIG things. Things like justice, equity, access to healthcare, governmental responsibility, constituent responsibility, the role of media, the role of the courts, the issue of personal responsibility, the issue of public health.

I’ve stayed away from the BIG topics because I feel like a blog isn’t the right place for me to share my thoughts about them. It’s too one-sided. There are my words, then your interpretation of what I mean, then maybe a comment from you and a reply from me and that’s about it. There’s so much room for ambiguity and misunderstanding. There’s so much margin for error. I prefer to discuss these topics in a more two-sided way, with give and take from both parties. We don’t learn from one another by making proclamations, then closing our eyes, ears, and hearts.

So if not the BIG things, then what? There are plenty of things rattling around in my brain, but they seem so trivial at a time like this. In light of the pandemic raging and the U.S. Capitol being overrun, does anyone really want to read about my seemingly never-ending quest for just the right hand cream? Maybe. After all, I’m not the only one washing my hands excessively this winter.

Or maybe you want to hear about my brownie fail? I’ve made this recipe dozens of times, if not more. These brownies are the best. They ALWAYS turn out. Except the other day they didn’t. The closest I can figure is that I either set the oven for the wrong temperature (maybe 325 instead of 375?) or I set the timer for the wrong amount of time (13 minutes instead of 23?). I was distracted. I had more important things on my mind (more about that in a minute), and I rushed. Sure, they looked a little strange when I pulled them out of the oven, but they weren’t jiggly or anything. And no, I didn’t test them, because why would I? After all, I’ve made them dozens of times, if not more, and I was distracted. They’re still pretty tasty, but they are definitely underdone. Like, way underdone. They hold together, but really, they’re not exactly cooked. Oops.

And why was I distracted? Well, because if was just about kickoff time, and my football team is in the playoffs. Yes, the Buffalo Bills are showing up and it’s glorious. This football season has been a welcome distraction from the BIG things. The team has done so well, and they’ve been so much fun to watch. It’s been a long time since the Bills have gone this far, and it’s a ton of fun. Thank you, Buffalo Bills.

Then there are a bunch of “other” things. Things like the stolen credit card number (that my credit card company caught, thank goodness), the glitchy connection to my online students, and the thousands of spam messages to this blog. There’s the job hunt my son has been enduring, and not seeing much of him due to this stupid pandemic. There’s the mountain of work I need to do in order to complete the requirements to be considered for National Board Certification (for teachers), as well as the professional observation I need to schedule. There’s the concern about going out into the community that has kept me from the dentist and the hair salon, making me feel somewhat like a cave-woman. There’s the worry that I feel for my friends and loved ones, as the list of people I know who’ve been diagnosed with this horrible disease grows. There’s the anxiety of watching the news, but the feeling that I have to keep informed. There’s the wrath that my colleagues and I face from some members of the public, in our community and beyond, because our schools are functioning in an online only capacity for the time being. There’s a lot. And here we are, right back to the BIG things. They’re impossible to ignore.

It seems to me that it’s the big things that frame our lives, but it’s the small things that make them worth living. I’ll set up my observation, and continue the quest for the perfect hand cream. I’ll keep working my way through my National Board materials. I’ll keep looking for work-arounds when our Google meet goes wonky. I won’t give up on that brownie recipe, and I won’t give up on my football team. In the middle of all this crazy, you can still hear me shouting, “Go Bills!”


Daily Passion Prompt 10: World’s Best


 What do you think you could be amongst the BEST in the world at doing?

Chocolate_browniesThis is a horribly difficult question. I keep thinking of things that I think I’m good at, but then I start to extend that thinking into the realm of best, and I shut down. I mean come on, I make great brownies, but amongst the best in the world? That’s a stretch.

I’m a good mother, and probably the perfect mother for my own particular kid, but am I amongst the world’s best? Only on a Hallmark card, I’m afraid. There are times that I allow him to do things that maybe I shouldn’t. There are times when I should be giving him more guidance than I do. There are times when I lose my cool with him. But really, he’s fifteen. Nobody’s perfect, right? Even the world’s best mothers lose it sometimes.

0004158_heart-worlds-best-mom-mugIn terms of my other close relationships, I doubt that I rank amongst the world’s best at any of them. As a daughter, fiancée, sister, and friend, I’m sure I have plenty to be desired. I’m the one that forgets to send the birthday card. I’m the one who didn’t remember that you were having that procedure done today. I’m the one who should have called you yesterday. It’s not that I don’t care. I do. It’s just that I haven’t quite mastered putting reminders into my phone.

163427051_worlds-best-teacher-tote-bagsHow about teaching? Could I be amongst the world’s best at that? Not according to the current standards of evaluation that are in place, at least in most American public schools. Within the constricts that teachers have, and with the amount of national testing that is done, I don’t believe that the way I teach my students will ever rank at the top of the ladder, not even in my own state, let alone the entire world. Honestly, I’m okay with that. I believe in what I do with my students, but I always see areas for improvement too. I’m not in it for awards or recognition, I’m in it to educate.

Well then, how about my hobbies? Quilting and scrapbooking are both creative outlets that I enjoy, but amongst the best? Not my quilting, that’s for sure. My seams don’t always meet quite the way they’re supposed to and my attempts at machine quilting, while they are improving, have a long way to go. My scrapbooking, while it has a crisp clean style that I like, has been on the back burner for so long that I hardly consider myself a scrapbooker any more.

So that leaves the written word. Could I hone my craft to the point where I’m a serious writer? Could I practice and improve to the point where my material is not only high enough quality for publication, but of enough interest to actually make it into the hands of readers? There is a part of me that thinks I can. Again, that “world’s best” is causing me some problems, but if I tone that down a bit, I see some potential. I read. I have read many books that have left me cold and thought to myself that I could do better. The difference, however, between those authors and me is that they finished their books and got them not only published, but sold. If they could do it, certainly I can too.

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Coming Clean

Chilled ganache and Cool Whip.

Chilled ganache and Cool Whip.

Oh my gosh. I lied to you already. That’s no way to start a relationship, but it happened. I signed off with every intention of hopping into the pool for a bit of exercise (and to cool off) but I ended up at the fridge instead.

Are you familiar with ganache? It is either pure heaven or pure evil, depending on your point of view. It’s the incredibly smooth delicious covering for a cake that isn’t a glaze and isn’t quite a frosting. It’s made of chocolate and cream, nothing else. The other day my sweetheart, who loves to bake, made a trial birthday cake for me. He decided to try ganache for the first time. The cake is gone, but there was some extra ganache that  I made him save in the fridge (he would have thrown it out). Chilled ganache is similar to fudge. It’s even better with fat free cool whip. Don’t ask me how I know, just trust me.

Anyway, on my way to a spoonful of ganache, I remembered that I had to bring some brownies to a potluck lunch. Today. I hadn’t made them yet. I did some quick math and even quicker baking, and the swim went out the window. The good news is, the brownies were well received.  I wonder how they would taste with ganache?