The Whirly Girl

Unlike many, I don’t love fall.  At least, I don’t love all the typical fall-y things that are so popular this time of year.  I don’t like pumpkin spice lattes.  Pumpkins are not actually in season yet where I live–watermelon was offered in my CSA share this week.  The leaves don’t really change color here.  October means eight more months til summer vacation and parent-teacher conferences.

There are, however, a few things that make this time of year kind of nice deep in the heart of Texas, though they may not be as traditional as an apple pie-scented candle:

  • It’s cool enough in the mornings to drive to work with my windows down.
  • Our electricity bill is smaller.
  • Lettuce is in season again.
  • On that note, we  get CSA shares again, after several months without.
  • It’s finally not too hot to cook soup.

Happy fall, whether you enjoy it with lettuce or pumpkin muffins.

Yesterday I canned tomatoes for the very first time.  The mystery has been dispelled and the veil lifted–I now know how to use a pressure cooker.

Because I am a teacher…

  • the big thrill of each week is getting to wear jeans to work on Friday.
  • part of my morning was spent painting the faces of students for a school spirit event.
  • by lunch time I had a wrist full of confiscated rubber bands.
  • it is completely normal that I went home with dry-erase marker dust on said jeans.
  • I will spend tomorrow night chaperoning the school dance.

Scott and I regularly find ourselves in situations that require us to feed a large group of people, with a.  We’ve gotten kind of good at this.  Our latest food for the masses meal was the church life group meal we hosted last week: pancakes, which were to be supplemented by other breakfast-y things brought by the rest of the group.

My recipe is slightly adapted from the More-With-Less cookbook and I’ve been making it since I was first learning to cook in my mom’s kitchen.  I felt very nostalgic as I made them, especially for the white, cinder-block house on 40 acres that we lived in for several years in south Mississippi, when my sister and I were both young.

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

Combine in a bowl and mix with a fork:

1 cup buttermilk (I usually use yogurt)

2 tablespoons oil (coconut oil gives a delightful flavor)

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

Add and mix only until moistened:

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup white flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

Fry in hot, lightly greased skillet (cast-iron, of course)

After yet another unintentional, born out of laziness, blogging hiatus, The Whirly Girl is back.  Things are nice and calm here on the home front.  My big news is this: Working part-time has been amazing.

I love it.  I have time to go for a walk in the mornings before work, and then maybe do a chore or two in the afternoons when I get home, before making dinner.  I can get the chores and errands done in the afternoon during the week, so we don’t have to worry about it on Saturday.  I have been able to sit down and read.  Not during summer vacation, in September.  I can’t remember the last time that happened.

I also feel a bit guilty for loving it.  The guilt is two-fold.  First, the practical guilt: I earn a noticeably smaller amount now.  Plain and simple.  I chose to do this and still feel a little weird about it.  Second: Given the turn or events, am I allowed to keep my hyphenated last name?  Do I have to turn in my feminist card, now that I’ve chosen to spend more time doing housewife things?  Why don’t I want to use my degree anymore?

Regardless, I love it.  “It”, I think, is the balance that has, at least for now, been struck.  The joy of the balance outweighs the amount of a paycheck and speaks louder than the whispers of my confused inner-feminist.  Plus, I have fewer papers to grade and get to sleep later.  Can’t complain about that.

Hello, late-twenties...

...so far, you are delicious.

I bought my first basket of pears at the farmers market yesterday and that can only mean one thing:  Summer vacation is over.  A new school year is here.

I’ve been contemplating how I will do life this school year, primarily because it will look slightly different from years past.  For the first time since graduating from college, I’m not working full-time.  No, we’re not having a baby and Scott didn’t change jobs.  The part-time teaching is an attempt to do several things: maintain my sanity, begin weaning our budget off of two incomes, make time for more homemade/hippy endeavors, etc..  Truthfully, maintaining sanity was the reason I initially decided to take the part-time plunge, with the others resulting naturally from the decision.  And, truthfully, it could go very badly–but I don’t think it will.

Lots of things made part-time work even a possibility, namely working at a small, private school that is willing to exercise flexibility and a marriage in which both spouses are generally okay with the other doing what they want (it helps that what we want basically includes him playing poker with the boys once a month and splurging on the occasional steak, and me creating more time in the day to make homemade cheese and grow tomatoes for pizza).  So, two weeks from now I’m starting the experiment of splitting my days more evenly between school and home, and we’ll see how it goes.  Until then I’ll be remembering how to write a lesson plan and eating all those pears.

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