While baking 3 batches of cookies and 3 of mini-muffins this evening, I've been nostalgically listening to CD's from my high school years. It's interesting. I find myself picking up on just a line here and there, even on songs I know most of the words to. They are the lines that resonate most with my experience and my personal faith, inasmuch as one's personal faith differs slightly in emphasis from everyone else's. (Anyone wonder why we put three words together into one word? We do that with "insofar" also. Interesting.) Some songs, of course, I sing almost all of, but even on songs with whose basic premise I now disagree I sing a few lines. (Why is that "whose"? A song is not a "who;" it's a "which," but there's no possessive form of "which.") My brain automatically discriminates between the lines, without me thinking about it. Even after several years, the words are still ingrained enough in my subconscious for that to happen.
This discussion is not really going anywhere. . .it's just me transmitting my current thought processes. That IS what a blog is for, right? Feel free to comment.

Blue Bonnet Sue, Bakers & Chefs

Ever searching for the elusive "perfect" cookie and taking advantage of my self-appointed task to make an enormous number of chocolate chip cookies for my AP class to enjoy after their AP test tomorrow, I decided to make 3 batches using 3 different recipes. The winner, with the slight modification of a whole bag of chocolate chips rather than just 1 cup (1 1/2) and no nuts, is actually a tie and comes from the back of the Blue Bonnet Margarine box and the back of a Bakers & Chefs brown sugar bag:
Blue Bonnet Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup Blue Bonnet (of course) margarine, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mix as usual (Read: combine margerine and sugar; add egg and vanilla; add flour and soda; add chocolate chips). Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes or until edges harden and centers are still soft.

B&C Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mix as usual (see above). Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Yes, I realize there are at least a zillion (I counted them! Really!) (Okay. . .not really.) chocolate chip cookie recipes, and everyone probably already has their favorite. The first one is different because it uses melted margarine, and I don't remember doing that before. It results in less flattening during baking, because the margarine is already melted. Next time, I shall add nuts. (My students rarely get nuts in their cookies for 2 reasons: 1) They're expensive. 2) They take time and energy to chop. When making many batches, those nominal obstacles become Herculean. (No, probably not Herculean, but I wanted to use the word.)) I also noticed, with the other batches, that butter creates a much flatter cookies than a margerine/shortening mix. It must be thinner when melted. Also, the cookies flattened less on a dark, non-stick pan than on my other, textured, light pan. All interesting observations for you to enjoy. Anyone care to share your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe? Or maybe you should try mine first, so you don't have to retract your statement later. Hee hee.


For the Future

I post this link here in hopes that I may remember to read it again when I have boys to raise.


On the Evils of Fast Food

One can't be expected to eat a burger and fries every day, and they don't warm up in the microwave. In fact, burgers and fries in the microwave s---oh, wait--that's crude.
And there are only so many times you can go to Subway for a sandwich. There are Long John Silver's and McDonald's and Carl's, Jr. The problem with Sonic is that you have to eat in your car, or wait and bring it back, but then your tater tots are all soggy and wasted. And everything is so expensive. Who can afford that? It's just a lose-lose situation.
What's that? Bring simple, tasteful, nutritional food from home? But it's so much easier to run pick something up. . . .
This litany of complaints I overheard while waiting for to have lunch with my dad yesterday. . .with a small bit of poetic license, of course. . .highly amused me, and I hope it does you as well.


Congrats are in order!

I feel that I deserve congratulations for single-handedly wading through 20 months of bank statements and successfully reconciling bank records to checkbook records over the weekend. Nevermind that only I am responsible for the backlog or that the vast majority (say. . .all but 3, "all" being at least 25) of the mistakes were recording or (mostly) math errors on my part. (Dare not to recommend better practices in the future!) A simple congratulations will do. Thank you, in advance.


Noon Sustenance

My lunch today: Danon Light'n Fit blueberry yogurt, Nature Valley Apple Crisp granola bar, several dried Turkish apricots, and water. My dessert? A watermelon-flavored Mexican-produced sucker from one of my students. Weird.
It is Friday. That and the fact that we have 25 days of school left please me. This afternoon I administer the state Biology standardized test for 18 students. That should allow me to get more grading done, which is good. My AP class turned in research rough drafts today (I always want to spell that "ruff" drafts. . .fitting, somehow), and those will take hours to check thoroughly.
Typing in this position really hurts my shoulders, so I am finished. Besides, lunch is now over, and students are returning. Happy Weekending, everyone!



This is my new word. I have now seen it several times in various contexts and have looked in a dictionary for its meaning twice. It means interchangeable, exchangeable, or substitutable. Yes, those are the exact words. . .although I wouldn't have guessed the last one WAS a word. Research says it takes 7-9 exposures to a word before it sticks in the memory. I'm guessing I'm at 5 or 6. . .maybe I can beat the odds.

Bodily Harm

I was almost injured today when two students frantically competing over an index card barreled in my direction. It's heartening to see them so excited over vocabulary. . .even if it does require some sort of competitive activity. We were playing a vocab review game in which 2 opposing team members compete for the correct vocabulary word index card as I read out the definition. It was quite spirited.
I just went to check my thermostat. It was set at 90 degrees. That's what happens when two classes with two displaced teachers are assigned to a random room. Only 3 more days of testing, and it's all over.
And here's my profound observation on life for the day: It's very sad to watch people ruin their lives without even trying. And yet, that is the very problem: they're not trying. Success--in any of myriad shapes it is perceived--takes effort. Apathy is perhaps the most malicious "anti-virtue" of our day.


God Loveth a Cheerful Giver. . .

but a bitter one is better than none at all.
I was thinking this morning about cheerful obedience. So if we're not cheerful, does that mean we don't have to obey? Of course not. It goes back to following faithfully, regardless of feeling, and letting those troublesome emotions fall back into line later. That's my sermonette for the day. Have a lovely one (day, that is, not sermonette).


Wisdom from Bonhoeffer

Speaking of the importance of familiarity with the Old Testament, not only the New:
It is only when one knows that the names of God cannot be expressed, that one can express the name Jesus Christ; it is only when one so loves life and this world that the thought of losing them appears to be the end, that one can believe in the resurrection of the dead and a new world; it is only when one submits to the law of God, that one may really speak of grace; and only when one is convinced that the anger and vengeance of God against his enemy is justified, that forgiveness and love of our enemy can begin to move our hearts.


Clean Socks

Shhh! This is a secret, sort of. . .
I was asked today to participate in a school drama activity, a spoof of the TV show Desperate Housewives. In said spoof, I was expected to play the part of one of these famously, scandalously promiscuous women, a part that included kissing another member of the faculty. . .who was, of course, to not play my "husband." Thrown into some slight state of mortification and a definite state of consternation at even being asked to do such a thing, I managed somehow to gracefully (I hope) and respectfully refuse. The whole thing will no doubt be completely forgotten, and I would not wish otherwise, so I will not make an issue of it other than on this oh-so-private record. Since, however, we are making an issue of it here. . .WHAT kind of world thinks it is ENTERTAINING to show high school students 2 random faculty members acting out an AFFAIR??? And WHY am I in it??? *AUGH!*
On further thought, I had to wonder if I do indeed fit the part. . .but no, desperate to be a housewife is very different from desperate housewife. And, on that note, a lovely quote from my new favorite book, the book that makes me laugh aloud, gasp in horror, and dream of times to come:
Some of us have goals different from men's; we are content to provide clean socks for our husbands and are even grateful for each day we can do so.


Tootsie Rolls and Teaching

The good thing about tootsie rolls is that their wrappers don’t make any noise. This is beneficial when discretely sneaking a piece of candy in the middle of a roomful of students taking a practice test. The bad thing about tootsie rolls is they are no substitute for real chocolate. It's a trade-off.
That's about all the news of note I have to report. I graded 2 classes' work in the course of the day, and now I only have 4 classes left for the weekend. Somehow, that is not very encouraging. I trust grading will go faster when I'm not interrupted by the demands of teaching. . .if I don't find some other way to interrupt myself, which is likely.
Tomorrow the Farmer's Market opens for the first time this season. Have I already shared that exciting bit of information? I'm very excited and hope they have lovely things for sale. I've been reserving my cash all week just for this event.
I'm prattling now, so I will go. Fare thee well.


Quotation Answers

Before the answers, I must confess that I did excerpt both quotes, and I may not have known the first one without the rest of the piece. So, before I give the answers, the speech from which the first quote is taken begins These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot. . . . There. Now I've been fair. . .for the second time tonight. Anyone know it?

To be fair

Not to be unfair, I offer this description of mothers.


Quotation Quiz

". . .yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods. . . ."
"Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgment and dispostion of business; for expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one; but the he general counsels, and the plots and marshaling of affairs come best from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies is sloth; to use them too much for ornament is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules is the humor of a scholar. They perfect nature, and are perfected by experiences; for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by study; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much as large, except they be bounded in experience. Crafty men condemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them and above them won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider."
Can you identify the source of these quotes? I had to research the second one.