Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Posting Gap

It's been more than a week since I posted, whoa. It's been a whirlwind of a week, with the going to MHC for the choral reunion and all. I had a wonderful time, truly loved being in rehearsal that much. Though at this point, my voice is rather tired, not to mention my body. But it was all so worth it.

We had a half day off for snow today, which is excellent, though I certainly believe that it should have been a whole day. Or none at all off, given that the snow stopped right around the time the kids got out of school. Eh. At any rate, there might be freezing rain tonight, so we might get another day off tomorrow... though I would appreciate that since I could use a little sleep.

But enough with the minutiae of my life, on to a news roundup:
- Turns out that fewer teenagers are having sex after all
- President Obama has repealed the global gag rule
- College endowments are down since the economy is in the toilet (shocker, I know)
- Brandeis is planning to sell some of its art to raise cash

Monday, January 19, 2009

Stuff & Things

First, a political cheer: era of Bush is over! Didn't vote for him the first or second time. Have defended him to students. Truly believe that he's not as dumb as he looks. But thank goodness that the two terms are over. Now an entirely different set of people can be frustrated with the chief executive and in four years, we'll go to the polls and do it all over again. But on this day, and for the next few, I'm just going to be happy and hopeful and calm and assume that many things are right with the world. At the end of it all, I like America. Your guy doesn't always win, but the system works well most of the time.

In that same vein, here's a post of astonishment for the celebration of the birthday of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. He did the unpopular, fought the system, continued to believe in the essential goodness of people even though, quite frankly, there was little reason to. An amazing person, an example to us all, without whom tomorrow would not have been possible.

From the NYT, here's a story on teachers using the inauguration in classroooms. Also, one on bad meetings and lots of them.

From NPR, a story concerning bells, Trinity Church, and the inauguration. In addition, a story concerning letters written to Obama from young Navajo students. (Made me bawl, but worth it.)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

How Complicated Can It Be?

Who knew that figuring out car insurance was almost as complicated as online dating?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Here We Go Again

So, here's my latest roundup of stuff I think is interesting:

From the NYT:
- fiction reading by adults is up!
- charter schools that emphasize culture over the American "melting pot"
- the death of the lecture at certain colleges
- emphasis on manners for children
- letters in response to the editorial which suggested cutting taxes for teachers

From Slate:
- What are the rules for giving someone the finger on TV?
- At the intersection of math and politics, an article discussing how congressional districts are formed

And, for fun: it's Fish! (not actually, but representationally...)

Sunday, January 11, 2009


A friend who writes a cooking-related blog put out a call for casseroles that do not contain a can of condensed cream-of-whatever soup. I said that I had lots of them, but that I needed to consult my cookbook. So, here are the recipes... they come from The Big Book of Casseroles by Maryana Vollstedt, published by Chronicle Books (2000).

Chicken, Black Bean, & Tortilla Casserole
Ingredients: vegetable oil, 1 large yellow onion, 1/2 green bell pepper (seeded & chopped), 2 cloves garlic (minced), 1 can tomatoes (including juices), 1/2 c. salsa, 1 t. cumin, 1/2 t. dried oregano, 3/4 t. salt, pepper to taste, 2 cans black beans (rinsed & drained), 3 c. cubed chicken cooked, 8 corn tortillas, 4 c. grated Monterey Jack cheese

Saute onion, pepper, garlic about 5 min. Add tomatoes, salsa, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper, and mix well, stir in beans and chicken.

Preheat oven to 350. In a 4 quart casserole dish lightly coated with cooking spray or oil, spread one third of the chicken & bean mixture over the bottom. Top with 4 tortillas and sprinkle with 1 c. cheese. Add another third of the bean and chicken mixture, 4 more tortillas, and 1 c. cheese. Finish with remaining bean and chicken mixture. Cover and bake for 40 min. Remove lid, add remaining cheese, and bake until bubbly, about 10 min. more. Let stand 5-10 min before serving.

Chicken Enchilada Bake with Salsa Cream Sauce
Ingredients: 3 T. butter, 3 T. flour, 1 1/2 c. chicken stock (low sodium), 1/4 t. salt, pepper to taste, 1 c. light sour cream, 1/2 c. salsa, 10 corn torillas (cut into 3/4 inch wide strips), 2 1/2 c. cubed cooked chicken, 1 can black beans (rinsed and drained), 6 green onions sliced, 2 1/2 c. grated Monteray Jack cheese

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and blend. Whisk in stock, salt, and pepper and stir until mixture boils and is thickened, about 2 min. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream and salsa and mix well.

Preheat oven to 375. Cover the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish with one third of the sauce. Scatter half of the tortilla strips on top. Next scatter the chicken, beans, green onions, and half the cheese. Pour one third of the sauce over all. Top with remaining tortilla strips, sauce, and cheese. Bake, covered, for 30 min. Remove cover and bake until bubbly, about 15 min longer. Let stand 10 min before serving.

Tailgate Casserole
Ingredients: 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef or turkey, 1 t. vegetable oil (optional), 1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce, 3/4 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, 1/2 c. sour cream, 3 oz. cream cheese at room temperature, 1 c. lowfat cottage cheese, 6 green onions (sliced), 8-10 oz. egg noodles (cooked & drained), 2 c. grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Brown beef or turkey in a large skillet. Add tomato sauce, salt, and pepper and simmer 5 min. With an electric mixer, beat together sour cream, cream cheese, and cottage cheese in a medium bowl. Fold in green onions and mix well.

In a 9x13 baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray or oil, add half of the noodles, half of the cheese mixture, and half of the meat mixture in layers. Repeat the layers, ending with the meat mixture. Top with cheddar cheese. Cover and bake 30 min. Uncover and bake until bubbly, about 15 min longer. Let stand 5-10 min before serving.

[End] Pity Party

So, that's over for the year. I went through the annual letter reading and all is well with the world again. (You know, except for the obvious.) Laundry? In the dryer. Bread? Rising. Schoolwork? Getting there. Music? I win at Schubert and the Porpora is coming along slowly. Counting down to the latest visit to the motherland? You bet.

Mom's birthday was on Wednesday and mom's anniversary was on Saturday. Happy happy to them.

In other news, here's the latest stuff that's been keeping me busy on the internet:
- an interesting series from Slate documenting a woman who is visiting the Holocaust archives of the International Tracing Service in Germany
- from the NYT, a staging of Sondheim's "A Little Night Music" (I love Sondheim ever since my class on him during first year J-term
- a suggestion from an editorialist in the NYT who thinks it would be a good idea to eliminate all federal income taxes on public school teachers (hey, those of us in the private schools would appreciate it too)

Also, I've been watching the news from Gaza. You should too.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Today would have been my dad's 64th birthday. Some days, it's hard to believe that he's been gone for 17 years.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

End of the Break

Oh my, here we are. It's the end of break and time for school to begin again. I'm a little reluctant to begin the deluge again, big surprise. AP class is on track and they finished Reconstruction before Christmas.

There was one second added to the space between the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009. Here's an article from "Slate" on people who are official timekeepers.

Also from "Slate," an article for budding politicians on how to avoid Facebook-based embarrassment in later years.

And, my friend Katie has decided to walk in a 3-day to raise money for breast cancer research. If you can, can you help her out?

I know I've read some other interesting stuff over the past few days, but I forget what it was...