Cooking and Composition

adventures in discourse and dinner

Oh, you have a week off? — March 13, 2014

Oh, you have a week off?

Why don’t you enjoy a nice case of the respiratory flu, with a side of ear infection?

No? You don’t want to?

Too bad.

I had so many grand plans for this week. I was going to reorganize all of the things. I was going to shop at the Macy’s one-day sale. I was going to have dinner with my BFF, Marky. I was going to play The Sims! Continue reading

Weekend Productivity & a DIY Planner — February 9, 2014

Weekend Productivity & a DIY Planner

This has been an unusually productive week/end. I am keeping up with my grading in manageable chunks and doing things that keep me feeling accomplished so that I’m not just wasting time.

My productivity really started on Thursday, when my mom and I spent the day at the coffee shop working. I got a lot of papers graded, and it was nice to be out of the house.

On Friday, I kept grading grading grading (because, of course I did) and ended up having an impromptu knitting night with one of my BFFs. We had planned to make ear warmers, but instead she showed me a great pattern for a dish cloth that she uses. I need to practice with the smaller needles, and I thought it would be a good idea to making something more practical and quick, rather than just knitting a bunch of scarves all the time. Continue reading

The Struggle with Breaking my Fast — January 25, 2014

The Struggle with Breaking my Fast

Does anyone else have trouble eating breakfast?

As part of my “get healthy” goal right now, I’ve been trying to do a better job at eating breakfast. When I don’t have anywhere to go, this isn’t a problem. I get up, a spend a little time laying around, and I have a hot tea, a banana, and a breakfast sandwich.

When I work, I don’t get such a leisurely morning. I teach at 8:00 three days a week, and I like to leave by 7:15 or so in order to get to work in plenty of time to park, go to my office, and get my thoughts gathered before I have to start entertaining my students.

botlhouse farms
I really love drinking Bolthouse Farms, but they can be really expensive! Especially on the days when I don’t drink them all.

Lately, I have been getting up around 5:45 in order to eat breakfast and get ready to go. But this is not working out for me. Sometimes I have a sandwich and a piece of fruit, sometimes I try to eat a granola or similar breakfast bar. This past Friday, I had peanut butter on toast.

I just have a hard time with breakfast. If I don’t brush my teeth before I eat it, I usually end up throwing it all back up.

Disgusting, I know.

And it’s here where I meet my conundrum. I find that easy, on-the-go breakfasts are better for me. It’s a lot easier for me to eat a granola bar or a breakfast sandwich while I’m driving to school (not the safest, sure, but whatever) than it is for me to get up even earlier and make real food for breakfast. But everything I’ve been reading lately points to the benefits of eating whole foods over processed ones.

What’s a girl to do?

I keep seeing commercials for Belvita breakfast things, and I found some at the store to try for the next couple of weeks. Nutrition-wise they don’t seem awful, and the ads claim that the energy should last through the morning. If it lasts me longer than the two hours my breakfasts are usually staying with me, I’ll be happy. I think.

I’m going to give it a try and see how it goes. But how do you do breakfast quick, easy, and healthy? Is it even possible?

Quarter Life (Health) Crisis — January 14, 2014

Quarter Life (Health) Crisis

One of the most exciting things about the collaborative research project I’m doing with my students is that we aren’t just writing collaboratively; we’re actually learning collaboratively about an important issue in our society.

I chose to investigate the question posed by Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst, “Is Fast Food the New Tobacco?” As much as I wanted to give my students some stake in this project, I also wanted to have a schedule set when the class started. Fortunately, everyone seems at least mildly interested, and so far the readings have been thought-provoking.

So thought-provoking, in fact, that I’m engaging in my own critical reflection on my own health habits.

Cue yet another aspect of my quarter-life crisis.

Continue reading

A Real Conversation I Had with My Car Today — January 3, 2014

A Real Conversation I Had with My Car Today


Meet Rowena, my almost 5-year-old Honda Civic.


Rowena, say hi to everyone!

Rowena is not happy to be covered in all that snow. In fact, she was so unhappy that she didn’t want to start.

And then we had this conversation, this afternooon:

Me: How are you doing, Row Row? Are you feeling better? Gonna start up this time?

Ignition turns over

Me: That’s a good girl! You’re so good to me, Rowena.

Turns off car after moving it

Me: I know it’s cold, Row Row. It’ll be okay. You’re such a pretty girl.


This is my life. Talking to my car like it’s my pet or something.


It’s the Holiday Season! — December 9, 2013

It’s the Holiday Season!

Let It Snow Landscape
I took this photo at Whyte Horse Winery in Monticello, IN, over the weekend. Clearly that means I’m in the holiday spirits?

Final grades for this semester are due one week from tomorrow, at noon. I’m trying really hard to chug through the grading, but it’s. . .mentally exhausting?

I guess that’s a good way to put it.

Even when the papers are excellently written, it can be a struggle to read multiple research papers in once sitting. Unfortunately, I have about 250 papers (not all research-based, thankfully) that I need to grade and add to the gradebook within a week.

It’s going to be a very, very long week.

But after that, I am free for a few weeks, and I’m pretty excited about that!

I’m going to read!

I’m going to knit!

I’m going to spend time with my family!

I’m going to sleep in and watch TV and spend too much time on Twitter and Facebook, Buzzfeed and Instagram!

Speaking of family and the holidays, my parents, brother and I had an interesting conversation this weekend that I think reveals a lot about each of us. Instead of buying us presents, my parents suggested we all just spend a day out shopping and have some nice meals. My brother and I can pick out our own gifts and then my parents won’t have to worry about it because neither of them have a lot of time left for holiday shopping this year.

Personally, I was all for it from the get-go. A couple of years ago I went shopping with them and picked out most of my own presents. They loved it because they also made me wrap them myself.

My brother, however, kept getting hung up on needing to have that “Christmas feeling” on Christmas morning, and he wondered what we would do if we didn’t have presents to open on Christmas morning.

My dad said we would probably be going to our grandma’s, like usual.

My mom said, “We would still wrap the presents!”

This was a surprise to me. If we were going out shopping as a family, why would we bother with the process of wrapping the presents, just to unwrap them a week or so later?

Mom then called Dad and me scrooges. But it was interesting to see how we each interpreted the experience of going shopping as a family for Christmas gifts.

Just to annoy my brother, I offered to wrap all of his gifts in the awesome glitter paper I bought.

I used it over the weekend to send out a Secret Santa gift, and he keeps complaining that there is “gold glitter everywhere.”

Secret Santa Gift!
Who wouldn’t love this gold glitter paper?

But. . .but isn’t that the reason for the season? To put glitter on everything?

PS: It’s not too late to vote in my giveaway poll! It’s open until midnight this Friday, so vote away!

Vote in My Giveaway Poll! — December 5, 2013

Vote in My Giveaway Poll!

I’m thinking about hosting a giveaway soon, but I want to know what readers would most like to get. Please take a minute to answer my poll!


Thanks, dolls! 🙂