Thursday, November 29, 2007

Are You Smarter Than a Sixth-Grader?

Oooh, I've been a bad blogger, haven't I? I took a few days off there (okay, 20), but I'm back now, so we shall never speak of it again, shall we?


I mentioned awhile back that I was going to be tutoring as a part-time job. I had grand visions of myself in a grand library, by a crackling fireplace, discussing literature and diagramming sentences. (Because yes, I do enjoy diagramming a good sentence every now and then. No, I don't think that's weird.) I think I thought cognac would be involved.

It seems, however, that the Powers That Be had other things in mind. Math, to be exact.

Now, I can't really say that I'm BAD at math. Not exactly. More like . . . fuzzy. I've been frantically googling around the ol' internets, trying to bring myself up to snuff with my sixth-grader.

And you know what? It turns out that the PLAIN Geometry that I thought I was studying, way back in middle school -- that geometry that I thought was just ordinary geometry, nothing special about it?

Well, all along it was PLANE Geometry. Which, APPARENTLY, doesn't mean that it's ordinary at all, but means that it is the geometry of two-dimensional figures.

Who knew? I ask you, WHO KNEW? Obviously, Mrs. Jennings and Mrs. Willhite didn't know, because they never mentioned it. Nary a word.

I'm off now, to google "scalene triangle."

Friday, November 9, 2007

Wifely Worries

So, Todd has gone backpacking this weekend. I was okay with this when the trip was first planned, because he was going with someone else. But then, due to some unforseen circumstances, he ended up going solo.

This always worries me. Yes, I know he's quite competent; yes, I know he was an Eagle Scout and all, but seriously . . . he's going out to some godforsaken spot ALONE with nothing but a fishing pole and a big ol' backpack. That he's doing this voluntarily just confirms my ongoing suspicions that my husband, while I love him dearly, may not be quite "right."

And here's what worries me even more. He's undertaking this trip COMPLETELY SANS CELL PHONE.

Why, you ask, does anyone these days venture out into the wild without a trusty means of communication?

Well, in this case, it's because he dropped his cell phone in the toilet. This, apparently, is not good for cell phones.

I wish I had a picture to post of my fingernails, because come Sunday? They'll all be bitten to nubs.

Monday, November 5, 2007

An Around the Subject Public Service Announcement

As I'm writing this, I'm planning out all the things I have to get done tomorrow.

I have to swim, because I've started it up again and am almost back up to a mile. I have to put dinner in the crock pot, because we have to eat. I have to go to work, because, well, you know . . . bills. I have to go to my first tutoring meeting, which I'm very nervous about, and which I'm sure you'll hear about in days to come.

And I have to vote.

Ahh . . . voting. I hope you're all planning on doing that one, too. It's important.

When I was a kid, my mom took me with her once to vote, and I asked her who she voted for (I doubt I even knew the candidates, but I asked anyway). She told me that who a person votes for is totally their business, and when you vote, you don't have to tell anyone who or what you voted for, NOT EVEN YOUR HUSBAND.

Whoa. My mom was quite the rebel (and still is, most days).

The first presidential election I was able to vote in was Clinton's first term. When he won, I felt like I had been part of it. When he won the second time, I thought, "hey, this is easy!"

Since then, it hasn't been quite so easy, not if you're on my side of politics, anyway. But I still vote. We can take it for granted, but it's a right that was not easily won. We have to appreciate it, and we have to take responsibility for it, and we have to keep casting our vote in the hopes that things will change for the better.

So, while I bitch and gripe and moan and complain about how democracy is a broke-ass joke that doesn't work and why the hell do I have to live in a red state, anyway . . .

I still vote. And no matter what side you're on -- you should too.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sunday Musings

For the past six years, much of my life has been concerned with, for lack of a better term, "crime and punishment."

When I was a Public Defender, the work was hard, but the philosophical standpoint was easy: I had a client and it was my job to believe he was innocent and act accordingly. As a prosecutor, though, I've discovered it's not quite that simple. Now I'm supposed to figure out the truth -- and not only that, but I'm supposed to figure out what the "just" consequences are. I'm supposed to consider the evidence (or lack thereof), the jury appeal, the person's prior record, etc, etc, and come up with something that makes sense -- while satisfying my boss, the judge, the victim, and all the myriad other people who think it's any of their business.

It's enough to give a person a migraine, I tell you. And it's getting to me. I'm starting to dream of "happier" careers, jobs in which people aren't arguing and fighting all day long. Jobs in which I'm not constantly trying to come up with ways to make people miserable -- even if they deserve it. I'm just not feeling that I'm really behind it, anymore.

Today in church, the sermon was about Zacchaeus the Tax Collector, which besides inspiring one of the best Bible School songs ever, has a pretty good moral of acceptance and forgiveness. It seems, according to the story, that Jesus will forgive everyone: tax collectors, prostitutes, even Republicans (no, Republicans aren't specifically mentioned anywhere, but one can assume).

I realize that this is Sunday School 101 stuff, but today it struck me as revolutionary. Forgiveness -- just because you ask for it. It seems so comforting, but more than that -- it just seems restful. I can let go of that running tally of my own sins that I've been carrying around pretty much since birth, because they're already forgiven. And while, at work, I still have to figure out the consequences for other people's actions, somebody else (whoever that somebody else may be in your own head) is already taking care of forgiving them. It's not ALL something I have to solve.

I've been teetering around, religion-wise, for a while now, trying to figure out the answers to some questions that bother me. I'm not so sure, these days, what exactly I believe. I've even asked myself, now and again, "could I be losing my faith?"

But, putting some of those tough questions aside, I guess I'm still feeling good about the basics. This whole forgiveness thing? Now THAT's something I can get behind.

Friday, November 2, 2007

A Recipe in Lieu of Scary Pictures

Well, Halloween has come and gone and I have nary a picture to show for it. It's not my fault, really -- I whipped out the camera as soon as Maddie was suited up (a witch with pink hair) only to remember that the batteries had been removed to power the GPS on our last ill-fated canoe trip (don't ask).

So, just take my word for it. Maddie looked stunningly scary. (I really think the whole no-teeth thing added to the effect.) We had our annual Eat Chili/Pass Out Candy/Walk on Hillcrest get-together and it was a rousing success.

When Todd and I moved in together in early October of 2003, we had no idea that we were moving to Louisville's Halloween Mecca. The Disneyworld, if you will, of Halloween. We are just around the corner from Hillcrest Avenue, where people go ALL THE HELL OUT for this holiday.

Seriously -- you think you are in the spirit because you carved a pumpkin? You got nothin' on these people. Giant inflateables, cobwebs everywhere, yards transformed to graveyards, you name it, Hillcrest's got it. My favorite this year was the house which had a giant screen showing The Wizard of Oz while they played "Dark Side of the Moon." (Since I've always wanted to test out that urban legend, I was so tempted to stand there and watch the whole thing.) And of course, the brass band is always a favorite. (I remember the first year, I thought that a bunch of people had decided to go to a party dressed up as orchestra members, which makes for a very boring Halloween costume, but definitely adds something to the whole event.)

We handed out candy with a vengeance. We always start out slow, giving just a piece or two to each kid, then when it gets late and I start to panic about the house being perpetually filled with Nerds and Laffy Taffy, I start hurling it out the door in handfulls. At the very end, Todd and Maddie were out in the street overflowing the poor kids' bags with everything we had left.

This year I expanded the inside-the-house offerings to three different kinds of chili, almost like a chili cook-off for myself. I didn't take a vote, but if I had, I think the white chili would have been the hands-down winner. And since I actually tried very hard to remember what I was dumping in the pot, I can pass it along! I hesitate to actually call this a recipe, because the amounts are all approximate, but I think it would be pretty hard to mess up. AND, it would totally be a good way to use up leftover turkey, so consider it a late Halloween and early Thanksgiving present from me to you.


2-3 cups of cooked chicken (or turkey!), diced or shredded
1 big ginormous onion, diced
2-4 cups chicken broth
2 cans of chopped green chilis
1 can green enchilada sauce
a dash or two of hot sauce
Oregano and ground cumin (I just dumped in a handfull or so of each, kind of heavy on the cumin because I like it a lot.)
5 or 6 cans of white beans, UNdrained
1 cup of salsa

Saute the onion in a bit of oil or butter until soft. Add the oregano and cumin and saute a couple of minutes more. Dump all the rest of the ingredients in and simmer for at least 30 minutes or so to let all the flavors blend together. (Mine was a bit soupier than I like, so next time I'll go lighter on the broth, but I like chili to be REALLY thick.)

Garnish with shredded cheese, crackers or crumbled tortilla chips, sour cream, and salsa.