Mar 202012
 

Okay, so I made this up. And it was yum (I ate every last bit!) but not as yum as it could've been. What's below includes what I would've changed / added, as noted by a *. I might even add some celery next time for a bit of crunch!

2 small red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed, trimmed, and diced into 1-2 cm cubes
2 small sweet potatoes, scrubbed, trimmed, and diced into 1-2 cm cubes
2 dill pickles, minced 
2 shallots, minced or 2 T. red onion
1/3 cup corn (I had fresh corn from the cob I'd taken off a few weeks ago and frozen, but canned or frozen would work well)
a handful (maybe 10-12) cooked medium-sized prawns
1-2 T chopped fresh dill*
3 T chopped cilantro*

3-4 T of Lemon Sesame Dressing (from Moosewood Cooks at Home)

Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes and sweet potatoes together in a big pot of salted water. Check for doneness (about 7-10 minutes) and remove from heat when fork-tender. Drain, put into a bowl, and pop into freezer to cool.

Prep remaining ingredients, including the dressing if you've not yet made it. After prepping all ingredients, or after about 10-15 minutes, remove the potatoes from the freezer. In a large mixing bowl, put potatoes, dill pickles, shallots, corn, prawns, and dill. Toss gently to combine. Pour over dressing. Taste, add salt and pepper as needed. Dust with chopped cilantro just prior to serving. 

Serves 2-3. 
Dec 182011
 

Lewis Holloway, the superintendent of schools in Statesboro, Ga., imposed a new policy this fall prohibiting private electronic communications after learning that Facebook and text messages had helped fuel a relationship between an eighth grade English teacher and her 14-year-old male pupil. The teacher was arrested this summer on charges of aggravated child molestation and statutory rape, and remains in jail awaiting trial.

“It can start out innocent and get more and more in depth quickly,” said Mr. Holloway, a school administrator for 38 years. “Our students are vulnerable through new means, and we’ve got to find new ways to protect them.”

Social media doesn’t “make it easier” for teachers to form “boundary-crossing relationships with students.” It makes COMMUNICATION easier, period. If teachers have poor judgment about communicating appropriately, that’s a different story.

Likewise, “Facebook and text messages” did NOT “help fuel a relationship between an eighth grade English teacher and her 14-year-old male pupil.” Poor judgment and inappropriate conduct did that!

Let’s be clear about what’s to blame and who is responsible. The communication medium is not the enemy. There were teachers doing inappropriate things long before the Internet. Did we ban letter-writing? And if we had done that, would that have solved the REAL problem — that of obvious teacher misconduct and violations of trust, relationships, safety?

Teachers who communicate and behave inappropriately should be treated with appropriate consequences — sometimes yes, those are criminal. What are those “appropriate consequences,” you ask? Well, I’d say it depends on the professional code of conduct which governs the teaching body in the state/province/country where one is a teacher.

And how many states/provinces/countries have those, hm?

(Not too many, last I checked.)

We have them for doctors, lawyers, even engineers. But not teachers. Let’s raise the standards and values of the teaching profession, and see what happens. To everything. But banning electronic communication is the wrong place to start that journey.

Nov 282011
 

“The fact is, the radio frequencies that are assigned for aviation use are separate from commercial use,” Mr. Altschul said. “Plus, the wiring and instruments for aircraft are shielded to protect them from interference from commercial wireless devices.”

Mr. Dorr reluctantly agreed. “There have never been any reported accidents from these kinds of devices on planes,” he said.

Uh, don’t people get it? Of COURSE it has nothing to do with the interference of frequencies. This is just a guess — but here is my logic of thought:

1- The majority of mechanical or other problems that arise during a flight happen during take-off and landing — btw, I have no stats on this, so please prove me wrong — this is based purely on my own observation of news items involving plane crashes/accidents in my 36 years as a human being.

2 – Thus, it’s kind of important as a passenger to not be distracted during take-off and landing in case anything goes wrong and you do have to pull out your life vest and oxygen while at the same time listening to the flight attendants’ instructions, which could indeed save your life.

3- Portable electronic devices are a pretty big distraction, period. Well, most of them are (I’d probably argue that a Kindle or a camera is less of a distraction than Angry Birds on your iPhone).

4- We’re likely being asked to turn off our devices so that we’re not hugely distracted in the event of there being a problem during take-off or landing.

As a teacher, I have always suspected this was the case. I have always doubted that the reason had to do with any kind of wireless frequencies. But I still do think we should keep these devices off during take-off and landing — I for one want to be 100% aware in the event of some kind of aircraft problem that needs my attention… dunno ’bout you.

Oct 312011
 
Teach the tools that will teach kids to focus, avoid distraction, and judge what to pay attention to as they’re exposed to a slew of diversions.

At first I was just going to tweet about this, not post about it. But I have a bit more to say about it than can fit in to

What I have to say is based on my own experience.

I have been practicing meditation for the last 4, maybe 5 years. Inconsistently, but still regularly, if that makes sense. I meditate on average about twice a week. Sometimes, I practice daily. Then I go for long stretches where I don’t practice at all. And I come back to it wondering what the hell I was thinking by leaving it. Then I settle into a “rhythm” every few days. And then my cycle starts over again. It’s irregularly regular. (This is, for the record, also how my yoga practice began 6-7 years ago, and now I practice daily, so I do anticipate that I will eventually evolve into someone who meditates daily too. These things take time. Baby steps.)

Anyway, I did not begin to practice meditation *because* I wanted to learn to focus and multitask better. I began to practice meditation because I wanted to clear my head and be more mindful in my relationships. However, what I can tell you is that since I began meditating, my ability to focus and multitask has improved across the board, in all activities. I can tell you that when I *am* meditating semi-quasi-consistently, I am more focused and less distracted and more productive all around. It’s this incredible fantastic side effect bonus that I was never looking for or expected, and I love it.

In fact, as I’m writing this, I’m thinking, “dang, I really need to meditate more often.”

Anyway, I think what Levy’s saying in this article is incredibly important for any 21st century educator or school. How are we teaching our students to focus? It’s not a matter of just telling them. We have to teach them. Howe do we teach mindfulness? I’m not (necessarily) suggesting we teach our students to meditate — though, hey, why not? But I am suggesting that we all engage in some kind of mindfulness training so that we can model it and teach our students how to focus, balance, and pay attention to what’s important.

Reasonable, no?

Oct 282011
 

Our school has all kinds of gorgeous student art work all over the walls of the many buildings which make up our campus. However, this one has to be my favorite. Love it. I pass it often in the year 6 corridor outside the library.

Oct 202011
 

First of all, it’s Today with a capital T. Because there is no other today. It’s only Today. This is it.

Okay. So.

Sometimes during yoga practice — whether in a class or doing your private practice — you will move into a pose that is very uncomfortable. Not painful. Uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable. That is, you are feeling discomfort. This is different from pain. Pain means you should adjust your position; something is not aligned, or is strained, or is over-worked and will be injured if you do not change position. But discomfort — that is, being uncomfortable — is different. 

Being uncomfortable, we have a choice. We can adjust the pose and move into a position that is more comfortable, more sustainable for right now, just to get through to the next pose.

Or.

Or, we can stay in the uncomfortable pose and give it time. Breathe deeply. Focus. Discomfort is not pain. Pain is an indicator that something is wrong. Discomfort is an indicator that we have growing to do, that there is something to move into, space to grow. After 3 to 5 breaths, that uncomfortable position may become less so. After 5-10 breaths it can feel like a different pose altogether. And after more than 10 breaths you may discover that the pose becomes comfortable. 

Or.

Or, maybe after 3-5 breaths today it still feels uncomfortable, but you come out of the pose and realize, “Hey, that wasn’t so bad.” And then you do the pose again tomorrow — still uncomfortable, but after another 3-5 breaths, it’s less uncomfortable. And, 3-5 breaths the next day in the same pose, and the next day, and the next day, and the next, and so on. Until eventually, the pose is not uncomfortable at all. Perhaps it is not relaxing — that will take even more time — but simply not uncomfortable. 

What else in my life is uncomfortable?

Do I adjust uncomfortable situations so they are more comfortable and more sustainable for right now, so that I can just get through?

Or.

Or, do I stay in the uncomfortable situation and just give it time? Am I breathing deeply, focusing, and reminding myself that discomfort is not pain, that there is growing to do, something to move into? 

don’t hold your breath by Mike_tn, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  Mike_tn 
Oct 142011
 

THIS ad is considered “indecent” and is ordered to be taken down, yet 8 out of 10 young Singaporeans (see http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Singapore/Story/A1Story20110926-30… are having unprotected sex with new partners?!

May 262011
 

Conversations heard between 11:15-11:35pm Thursday night on Houston St, from Avenue A to Thompson St.

***

“It’s easy. We just take the six.”

“The six?”

“Yeah, the six. We on the east side now.”

***

“I’m sorry, baby, I can’t take you ‘less you going uptown.” (a cabbie shouting out his window to the Australian tourist who had flagged him down.)

***

“Dude, she took him to Katz’s and then back to her apartment and… that was IT.”

***

“Why you always yellin’? Why you always so noisy?”

“Cause we in Manhattan! No one even notices here!”

***

“The whole places has like… bugs and stuff… eew!”

“Yeah, not really a place with that sexy feeling.”

***

“I been tryin’ to call you but you don’t answer your phone.”

“What’s that? Oh, yeah. I usually can’t hear it because of the traffic.”

***

May 022011
 

I have no rage about what happened on 9/11, only a deep sadness for the many innocent, worthy lives lost and the loved ones who lost so much that day. There have always been madmen, perhaps there always will be. They must be stopped, but with the cold detachment reserved by a surgeon for removing a cancer. They are not worthy of my rage. Neither do I feel anger at those who arguably could have foreseen, and thereby prevented, the tragedies. If there were mistakes, they were the mistakes of complacency, a complacency in which we all shared.

This commission can not turn back the hands of time. There is nothing to be gained by asserting blame, by pointing fingers. The dead will remain dead despite this commission’s best efforts and intentions. But it is my hope that this commission can learn and teach us from its scrutiny of the past, and if the findings of this commission can prevent even one future 9/11, if they can forestall even one plan of Osama bin Laden, prevent even one more act of madness and horror, I and the rest of this nation will owe the commission our gratitude, and I will be proud of the small part I was allowed to play today.

May we all be as compassionate and courageous as Mr. Waizer. This statement was made approximately 10 days after the US went to war with Iraq, if my memory is correct.

May 022011
 

Hayes says: “We are called to forgiveness. And that is the only way that we can be truly free. Holding onto our hatred keeps us in slavery to bin Laden’s madness and gives the terrorists continued power over us.”

There is also a sense of false elation, he adds, “because many believe that the world is a safer place because of this death. That relief is probably misguided.”

Not only a sense of false elation, but a sense of false security, I might add. Later in the article the point is made that these public displays of jubilation might only add to the danger. A former FBI special agent says, “The reasons they hate us have not subsided, and this could reinvigorate things.”

Hatred begets hatred. Darkness fought with darkness does not bring light. Forgiveness *is* liberating. Once you’ve experienced these truths, you can’t un-know them. Perhaps the problem is that not enough of us have experienced these things?