peachyteachy

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Lennon Wrecked Me for Conservatism December 8, 2013

Filed under: history,music,Uncategorized — peachyteachy @ 5:52 pm
Tags: ,

This day doesn’t pass without a bit of recognition from me.

peachyteachy

Does it count as history that John Lennon was shot on this date in 1980?  It does for me.

I was a bit young to catch the first wave of Beatlemania, so I was not part of any grieving masses at my school that day.  It was as if nobody even knew that something earthshaking had happened, that a huge voice had been silenced.

So Lennon died, and Reagan was elected.  Soon it became so much cooler to care about money than about peace.  Love? Pshaw! The domain of the naïve. I know that people love to hail Reagan as this icon of American-ness, but I always got knots in my stomach when he would speak. I’ve never really gotten over it, although lots of peers have morphed into staunch conservatism.

I’ve had to apply for a couple of forms of public assistance in my adult life.  For a lot of that time…

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Clearly, I Have Been Wearing my Aprons All Wrong August 14, 2013

I am a fan of vintage ads, and of antiquated, chauvinistic sacred writing of yesteryear.  Isn’t everyone?

 

Therefore, I highly recommend that you check out the vintage illustration-packed article, “Ridiculously Bad Advice From the Nineteen Fifties,” from Glo, an online publication that is kind of stylish, and which has notified the free world that big hair is, once again, in.  Great news!

For the record, I do not wear aprons.

 

Midsummer Multiple Personalities August 11, 2013

Here is an example of my midsummer monkey mind.  It is an old public service announcement that single-handedly pushed countless teens into break dancing and drugs.  Amanda, Queen of the Furfiles, this is what I was talking about.  You really should watch it, even if you pitch your tent in the “No one wants to watch a video in a blog” camp.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhHfsOwhINI

On an almost completely unrelated note, I am also in the throes of summer professional development and school supply purchasing so that I will have more than three students who have needed materials–beyond one sparkly folder and a stash of the mechanical pencils that simply have no place in the world until ADHD has been eradicated.

Buying school supplies is a form of reluctant  surrender, and an admission that yes, summer will end.  It’s pretty sucky poo-poo.  A few years ago, one of the big office supply stores was situated next to a liquor store.  I have no idea how it is possible that it was the liquor store that went out of business. It sure as hell was not due to a lack of sales to teachers.  Probably due to the seasonality of all that teacher biz, as the only time we can afford to shop there is when there are penny specials and we send every member of our family in  to get their quota (meager though it is–see my ornery rant about Staples–who have been joined in stinginess this year by Office Max.  No, I can’t just send a supply list home! ).  Let’s not minimize the fact that I am also purchasing supplies for my own biological child, whose teacher feels that it is reasonable to ask for 100 pencils (to be repurchased in January) AND a pack of dry erase markers!  If one of my students came to school with dry erase markers, I would bake that kid a pan of brownies.  Those suckers cost a dollar apiece!!!  What the hell is in there, octopus placenta?

The only person who has any business spending multi-dollars on pens is Peachy herself.  Super-glidey pens with the friction of a curling court.  Or whatever it’s called.   The liquor store should start selling those, because there are times during the workday when sipping margaritas would raise eyebrows, but writing with a smooth, oh-so-fancy pen can stand in as a perfectly acceptable sub-addiction.   We educators really don’t require so much to keep us entertained.

Neither does this dude.  Oh, I love so much about this picture.  The pipe, the happy folks behind the windows, all of it.  Monkey mind.

Image source http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.drcsc.ca%2Fhistory.html&h=0&w=0&sz=1&tbnid=4h17pYPFFukNlM&tbnh=257&tbnw=196&zoom=1&docid=mN64tm9-4yytOM&ei=xOwHUtDLE8-t4AP6qYCwCw&ved=0CAQQsCU

 

The Dorkess of Botanica May 6, 2013

 

That’s my street name.

While lots of folks have been out running various numbers of Ks over the weekend, and getting somehow tie-dyed in the process (see Color Me Rad), I have been seeking my color in the purple-hued Checkered Lilies  that are coming into their own amidst  creamy Sailboat narcissus. See the Checkered Lilies down there, all cozy with the white forget-me-nots? Be still, my heart.

View 2013-05-06 16.21.51.jpg in slide show

Never heard of Checkered Lilies?  Let the Dorkess of Botanica enlighten you.  Fritillaria meleagris is the correct, Latin name—for those of you who give a rip.  Lilies are something entirely different.  I can’t help it.  I am cursed with an encyclopedic memory for plants, especially flowers.  I feel disingenuous if I use common names that mislead and misrepresent. As a result, people mistakenly say “Gesundheit” around me, at least when the conversation rolls around to gardening.

I have also been waging war on the DMZ of vinca vine that tries to sneakily take over more desirable and better behaved citizens of my backyard.  For many, this would truly be tantamount to shipping out to an overseas destination for jungle-machete-ing. For me, it is a charming recreation of  The Secret Garden, where I am the rescuer of delicate treasures that have been overgrown and lost for so long.  For example, I have an old, double white lilac in my back yard. When we moved in three summers ago, I had to take down a black walnut that had insinuated itself right on top of that lilac.  It had been weakly attempting to reach into the sun enough to throw a bloom or two, but it was a sad old thing. And black walnut trees are in the business of poisoning things that try to grow underneath their canopies, so they can find no purchase in my landscape.

Most folks would probably have pulled it out and started with something new. But lilacs are so incredible, can live for well over a century, and are part of what I consider the history of the land upon which we dwell.  My mother would as soon rip out an old lilac bush as she would rip out her toenail.  It’s just a gross and painful thing to endure; why would you do that on purpose? Instead, I cut back dead wood, and have been careful to allow the new branches to grow freely.  This year, there are a handful of buds about to open, and this is a triumph for the Dorkess of Botanica.

Consider the amazing wonder of greenitude that is the unfurling of hostas.  I can gaze at this green and feel my stress level drop, despite a hellish afternoon at work.  If I could just bring my class to my garden, things would be so different.  This would, however, be an unquantifiable, unscorable “different,” and therefore, it would not count.  Wait. Stress level. Greeeeeeeen.

hosta waking up

And THIS green:

View 2013-05-06 16.26.38.jpg in slide show

That is hakenochloa, Japanese forest grass.  And lysimachia nummularia “Aureum”. I’m sorry, but it is. And if you want THAT plant, you have to know that. It also goes by the sweet, old fashioned moniker: Creeping Jenny.  It’s a creeper, can be invasive, so go for the gold kind, because you are never going to get rid of the old school, green one. So you want to plant that next to your mean neighbor’s parking strip or something.  Very passive-aggressive.  If I could plant it in some of my students’ desks, you bet I would. It would reduce their stress, probably.

This baby fern can make me emotional. This is why I am the unchallenged Dorkess.

View 2013-05-06 16.27.29.jpg in slide show

 

Now THIS is Corned Beef! March 17, 2013

1932 Libby’s Corned Beef Ad ~ Recipe File, Vintage Food Ads (Other).1932 Libby's Corned Beef Ad ~ Recipe File

As I prepared to embark on the corned beef and cabbage pilgrimage, I was pondering how very difficult it can be to make corned beef actually look appetizing.  Is it any wonder that the above version hides out inside a can until the cash has been exchanged?

Settle down; I am not serving canned corned beef—just because I like Jell-O doesn’t make me that scary and misguided.  However, I am considering departing from the unfortunately named “Boiled Dinner,” and opting to make some nice crispy roasted potatoes, rather than sending them to bathe with cabbage.  If St. Patrick is that offended by a little olive oil, I don’t know how he could have affiliated himself with the Vatican.

Just in case you haven’t bothered (lazy reader syndrome) or can’t (NEEDS readers syndrome) read the copy on the ad, I have to quote some of my favorite portions:

“Everybody’s happy when the mastermind that plans the menus remembers Libby’s Corned Beef!

The family rejoices! Families have a way of being pleasingly outspoken in their approval of this mild corned beef—mild, yet rich-flavored.

She rejoices—the mastermind, that is.  Nothing to do but chill the can in the ice-box, then slice the firm, tender meat.”

Moo0-hooo-ha-haa! The menu mastermind strikes again! Cabbage, schmabbage! We’re having peach halves with maraschino cherries as our side dish! Excuse me while I go and slice that firm, tender meat.

 

Lennon Wrecked Me for Conservatism December 8, 2012

Filed under: history,music — peachyteachy @ 1:03 pm
Tags: , ,

Does it count as history that John Lennon was shot on this date in 1980?  It does for me.

I was a bit young to catch the first wave of Beatlemania, so I was not part of any grieving masses at my school that day.  It was as if nobody even knew that something earthshaking had happened, that a huge voice had been silenced.

So Lennon died, and Reagan was elected.  Soon it became so much cooler to care about money than about peace.  Love? Pshaw! The domain of the naïve. I know that people love to hail Reagan as this icon of American-ness, but I always got knots in my stomach when he would speak. I’ve never really gotten over it, although lots of peers have morphed into staunch conservatism.

I’ve had to apply for a couple of forms of public assistance in my adult life.  For a lot of that time, I would have fallen solidly within the category of the working poor.  That may have something to do with why I never had the luxury of easing into a more conservative perspective—I would have had to vilify myself! There’s already enough of that to battle when one is struggling to feed one’s kids,  trying to do things right, but not being able to pull those damned bootstraps up high enough.  WAS a Working Class Hero really something to be? I always tried to behave as if it was. I succeeded, sometimes, I think, but I also carried a lot of shame about it.  Truth be told, I still do.

Today, I tell my students that the reason I teach them Standard English is because it is the “language of money”— that, when they get older and go for a job interview or apply to college, they will want to sound smarter than the other people who want that job or that admission.

Still, they plan to fight each other after school, and threaten to punch each other in the face for cutting in line.

It turns out that I am slightly full of crap, when I think about it. While I’m teaching the curriculum which is designed to make these young Americans “competitive” in the world market, I don’t, in the end, want to teach “the language of money.” I don’t really even know the language of money.  I don’t think the competitive language of money is worth much when you solve your problems by beating each other up.

Here’s what I want to teach (or at least teach first): all you need is love. War is over, if you want it. That is not in the curriculum.  I get no points toward my evaluation score for that.

Naïve!

http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlfeyeMFiYA

 

Peachy Likes Apples, Old School November 11, 2012

I spend so much time immersed in the ridiculous, it becomes absolutely essential that I find my way to the sublime as often as possible.  Food, gardens, and a select group of awesome people are my Xanax.

A passion for apples was instilled in me from an early age, when my mother would roam the family homestead’s orchard, which had been planted somewhere around 1890.  She would name varieties like Transparents (varieties were usually referred to in the  plural), Greasy Pippins, Spies, Winesaps, Jonathans, Russets, Dutchesses,  and Snows.  It was, really, a wild orchard of sorts, as she didn’t “cultivate” the fruits.  An occasional trim of dead wood was the only maintenance of which I was aware, and the apples probably resembled their predecessors as a result.  These were not fancy, unblemished fruits—and yet my mom extended affection and respect to each one, spots and all.  I suspect that this was a mater of course for earlier generations, especially those with connections to life during the Great Depression.  There would be a good deal of grave rolling if those folks saw some of us in our petulant rejection of imperfect-looking, diminutive fruits, as we lob them down the orchard rows as we seek the perfect apple-picking experience.

She rejected almost no apple.  She would sit on the porch, or in the kitchen if it was later in the fall, with an enameled pan full of apples on one side, another full of water in which to deposit the prepared slices.  She peeled, quartered, and sliced using a little paring knife that wasn’t particularly sharp.  She would salvage any part of a yucky-looking apple, even if it resulted in two slices being added to the pan of water and apple slices.  I suppose that this was a meditative practice for her, despite the fact that her lovely pan of apple slices was periodically raided by kids.  When I think of the considerable labor it takes for me to make a pie using enormous, perfect apples, it’s pretty humbling.

I am a better cook, in general, than my mom was.  We didn’t have a lot of financial security growing up, and she used some cheap-ass ingredients and menu-stretching methods as a result.  She was also allergic to onions and to black pepper, so the Flavor-Meter was pretty much permanently set to “Bland.” Another side effect of Depression days was the practice of cooking the hell out of everything.  And when I say “hell,” I mean flavor and texture and nutrients.  My mom burned out many a cheap pan while cooking vegetables on the stove.  The one exception to this rule was her baking, and especially her pie baking.  The apple peeling process described above yielded a mixture of apples, whose flavors would meld together into something pretty remarkable.

Right now, I have some Granny Smiths and some Winesaps in the kitchen.  Neither are shiny from the grocery store.  Both were locally grown.  Winesaps are tough to find, and they were not named after an over-emotional drunk.  You must try them, especially in a pie, to understand.

I know, I know—those pricey Honeycrisps are trademarked and tasty.  But if you get a chance, hit a farmer’s market and try something that is old along with something that is new.  And remember that it won’t kill you to cut off a blemish; it takes a lot of chemical seasoning to make an apple look “perfect.”

 

 
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