Saturday, August 20, 2016

Busy Busy Summer

Hi JennyMac Fans!

Can you believe the summer is almost over? Those of you with kids I am sure are already celebrating in the south because your kids are back to school and those of you who are teachers like me may be on the spectrum of already back to school, prepping for classes to start or like me-- savoring the last few days before you are required to report back to school (August 25).
The county I work for starts the first day of school after Labor Day. Always, ever since I was kid and grew up/was educated in the same county where I teach now.  Have I told the story why we start so late? Skip down if you already know the story because you are my coworker and know the struggle is real.  We have an amusement park 2 hours away from here in Richmond, Va. called Kings Dominion and they appealed ("made a deal") to/with the state that since many students work for the park, to please open schools AFTER the biggest travel/last vacation weekend of the year (Really, it's not. That is Thanksgiving, but whatever.) So even though none of my students can work (middle schoolers) and none of the high schoolers are close enough to drive, we have to follow the same schedule.  I have a friend who works in a county about 30 minutes away and she starts school earlier and gets out earlier and clearly their county does NOT follow the "Kings Dominion Rule." So enough of my whining about something I cannot change yet everyone razzes me and says "whoa, you start school late" like I had something to do with it.

I know you haven't heard from me for awhile but life happens, you know....So let me catch you up to speed.

June 2015:
End of the year craziness. Keeping the kids educated and entertained (overly qualified babysitting services), keep myself sane wrapping up school while working through another Graduate Class, packing/cleaning up room, entertaining my "squad" after school, dealing with staff leaving our school for many reasons other than retirement and that is stressful and very sad.

July 2015:
Vacation to Virginia Beach (YAY!) and starting another Grad class on my vacation (BOO!). Yeah, K-man was NOT happy but the good thing is last year my very first Grad class started at the same place at the same time and that was new and daunting. However, now that I have the routine of online learning under my belt, it was not daunting because I became a better time manager of how to organize my work within the deadlines and still enjoy a vacation.  Online learning can be a beautiful thing once you get with the flow of how it all works. Started reading some fascinating books, they are so rich with information, you can stop reading however, you have to stop reading because it's too much to absorb.

The Book "Real Food Fake Food" I saw mentioned in an article that it was upcoming and I immediately pre-ordered it. I have been really obsessed in the past year with food science and the reality of the products we are eating that we believe is food. I am shocked and horrified how the government has much to do with it and as I go on in my little FACS world of teaching the MyPlate model to my students and how to eat a healthy diet, I really have to bite my tongue to go on a tirade. Some of my students find it fascinating, some shrug and some run home and make it dinner conversations and I get emails from parents how hard it is to get their kids to eat period and my education is causing issues.  My health education of our kids is a rough road.  Anyway if you care about fish, olive oil, kobe beef and other meats, cheese (mainly parmesan), wines, honey and coffee then READ THIS BOOK. If you don't care, (but you should) then try reading my other page turner.

I ran into Robert Lustig's work from a six degrees of separation thing. I was doing some article research for my class, found a very long article on The Sugar Conspiracy or Controversy (I can't remember which), which led to a reference to Dr. Lustig, which lead to my finding his lecture about sugar (The Bitter Truth) on (it's over (90 minutes but fascinating) and there is a TED talk by him (The Elephant in the room), but if you want a short 8 minute version see my embedded ABC news segment of him below. Regardless, all of Lustig's work is based on another man's controversial and groundbreaking work on sugar who was swept under the rug- John Yudkin, "Pure, white and Deadly. I have that book too but will save it for another post. If you have been reading my past posts while I was on Whole30....the struggle is real and it is amusing to me how people have finally accepted that smoking is bad and that overeating is a problem but how people go "PHHHFFFTTTT" over how sugar is the underlying base to all our problems with eating and perhaps our health. I think our new food nutrition label this year is gonna shake up some things with sugar, hopefully. Fat Chance by Dr. Robert Lustig, proof if you need to digest this in smaller doses at your own pace. I highly recommend it. It's going on my whiteboard trough at school for kids to see and pick up and read out of curiosity, right next to the Real Food Fake Food.

August 2015:

This was not a good way to end the summer with a loss of our furry 4 year old boy Scooter.  You have seen some of my past pictures of his funny antics and goofiness which we adored. I am tearing up writing this and although all tragic ends have a story, going into all the detail will depress you and possibly electrocute me as I try to type it all out. So we are still grieving and focus on our other furry girl Bikini and keep her happy and watch her evolve in a different level of princess being the "only child" of sorts which has been interesting. Many people think that by saying "are you going to get another cat" is a good topic changer for such a devastating event in our lives but it is not. When people have a human death in the family such as a child or husband, no one should be saying right after, "are you going to have another baby?" or "are you going to get remarried?" Yeah, if you don't say that about a human, don't say it either about a cat or dog loss either. Okay?  Thanks.  I know that loss of any kind makes people awkward. Some people have finesse with saying the right thing or not saying anything at all but just hug. Others mean well and say things that only make the flood gates open for the mourner. No one knows what will trigger tears for one coping with loss. I think I am okay about Scooter and I wonder why I keep seeing a butterfly everyday around the dining room where I sit at my computer. Sometimes I think it is his spirit (since I never had so many butterfly visitations at one spot in a condensed amount of time (yeah, I am huge believer in departed souls and spirits, watch the Long Island Medium and see Teresa Caputo in action and you will be a believer too). Anyway, I have elaborated more than I intended here, sorry about that.

As I return back to school I will go back to posting my Whole30/Paleo adventures in cooking.  I warn you that since September will be a crazy month with my returning back to school routine AND finishing my Master Degree, I offer no guarantees when the next post will be but stay tuned.