January 2014

It’s been a very busy month around here so the blog has been neglected. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Sarah’s birthday!
  • Unbelievably cold weather. I wrote a post about the cold in December, but that was nothing. On January 6, the Governor officially closed all the schools in the state due to the cold for the first time since 1997. That was the first of a string of ultra-cold days. Local public schools have missed five days already this month due to dangerously cold temperatures; these were not snow days. At SPA (my school) we missed only 4 ½ days because we reopened at noon on one of the days. This many lost days is unprecedented in the memories of my veteran colleagues.  We’ve had multiple days where the high temperature was below zero, and wind chills in the Twin Cities have dipped into the -40s. Crazy! With that said, I’m pleased to note that my cold weather gear is handling it marvelously — those ski goggles are getting far more use than usual!
Griffin and Daddy, ready for the wrath of Boreas
Griffin and Daddy, ready for the wrath of Boreas
  • Sandy’s shoulder surgery. My mom, Sandy, (usually known as “Grummy” around here) had shoulder surgery at the beginning of the month. Recovery looked very good for 24 hours, then very bad for another 24, and a slow but steady recovery since then. I flew out for MLK weekend and had a wonderful visit despite the struggles.
  • “Winterupt.” At SPA we’ve launched a new two-week program for 8th graders called Winterupt. (See the announcement letter I wrote to 8th grade families if you’d like more info; it’s a bit PR sounding, but it gives a good overview.) It’s been a ton of work and we’re only half-way through, but the first week has been outstanding. I feel lucky to work with an amazing team of educators who make this whole thing come alive. Today I simply had a blast doing my job. In the course of a few hours this afternoon I got to play with legos, tromp around in the snow with 80 kids (taking measurements and trying to locate hidden rubber ducks), assist students in creating accurate scale sketches of our playground, blast great music, and try to get a cookie from my forehead to my mouth without using my hands (I succeeded, but then had to spit the cookie out because I’m not eating sugar and flour right now, see below).
  • Whole30. Sarah and I are almost done with our second Whole30 program. It’s basically 30-days where you don’t eat or drink sugar, grains, dairy or legumes. This is, obviously, a royal pain in the ass, but it’s worth it. We’ve both experienced it a bit differently this time around. Sarah has been less excited about it this year, and is definitely ready for day 30 (next week). I, too, am a bit fatigued by it (I had to spit out an oreo, grrr) but have mostly found it to be far easier than last year. In particular I like how it resets my appetite, makes food more about sustenance than emotional satisfaction, and makes me pay more attention to what I’m eating.
  • Escargot! The cafeteria today featured food from France and China (this connects to the language immersion component of Winterupt, and our cafeteria is awesome.) I had never had escargot before, and there it was for the taking. At first I was a bit leery, but then I saw some of my students heading back for seconds. If they could try something new, so could I. Overall impression… not bad. Loved the garlic sauce. Reminded me of shellfish or octopus—the chewy texture. Will definitely try it again some time. (Note that technically this broke some Whole30 rules because I think it was soaked in butter, but trying somewhat legendary cuisine trumped the fine print.)
My snail.