Monday, February 20, 2017

Let's Get This Pie Year Started*

So the robins are back, the spirea is blooming and spring is happening apace (Ha! based on National Phenology Network Data** it is anomalous that I have had Friday field trips with temperatures in the 80s and 70s in early February-- we are somewhere 2-3 weeks early):  I should get this pie year started.

During the Year of Pie, I resolve to:
1) Bake at least 1 pie per month
2) Teach others to bake pie
3) Eat pie with conversations for peace (see post below and watch for updates)
4)  Make meat pies, hand pies, and pot pies
Thanksgiving 2016
5) Eat at least one piece of pie not baked by me each month
6) Try at least six new pies
7) Make pastry with lard, hot water crust, all butter, all shortening and cream cheese
8) Celebrate Pi Day on March 14
9) Read pie books
10) Watch pie movies and listen to pie music.

Of course, as my resolutions are group endeavors, I would be happy to hear your suggestions for books I should be reading, places I should be eating pie, and recipes I should be trying.  Off hand, I know of no pie movies, but I'm sure you can help me.

Happy ten years of themed blogging!
Pie year is started!

(Oh, bird year continues, by the way-- I haven't given up on any of my resolutions***)

*A version of "Let's get this party started" if you can't hear my puns in your head.

**The National Phenology Network records indicators of seasonal change by aggregating data from lots of individuals across a large area with a wide range of species.  Data from the network can be used, among other things, to determine if plants, migrant birds and insect pollinators are reacting to the same climate cues [they typically aren't].  Starting from individual efforts at separate universities, the coordination of the network has been supported by the United States Geological Survey, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Park Service, the National Science Foundation and the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.  Thanks to Sunflower Spinner for bringing this to my attention.

***2016 Birds
2015 Glowing
2014 Roots
2012 Acid
2011 Stars
2010 Noodles
2009 Legume
2008 Luck
2007 Rodents
2006 Fruit or spice, poorly
2005 Fruit or spice, poorly
2004 Pink
2003 Sparkling wine

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Feeling a little less like Nero

Fire and Ice Punch Groundhog Party 2017 (CLP Photo)
CLP Photo
As the political situation in the US has done its thing recently (how I hope that sometime in the future I can look back on this and really have no idea to what I am referring), I've spent far too much time reading on-line late into the evening (how I hope that I'm just getting biased fake news, but I've watched whole speeches and I've read the transcripts released by the White House and I've looked for the missing IDEA web pages and, of course, I have seen the Mauna Loa data) and have proceeded to plan a Groundhog "Fire and Ice" party, meet with a student person trainer about lifting weights, and get all excited about another hair-do for adult prom.  I've been cooking from cookbooks, planning summer travels, sledding, going to the zoo, and deciding on special foods to eat with grains of paradise on Valentine's Day.  I watched the first robins arrive (I noticed a bunch perhaps Tuesday morning? Feb. 14), the first crocus bloom (Feb. 10) and the first bulb iris (today, Feb. 19).

I've been having a good time.
Pin-the-shadow-on-the-groundhog Runner-Up

I've thought that maybe I feel like Nero, except he probably didn't rush his kids to Scouts and basketball.

Flamingos OKC Jan. 2017

But I've taken some steps to at least quit fanning the flames-- I rounded up some interest in a local school board election, promoted the Farmer's Market on Facebook and will be hosting my first pie baking workshop next week, with plans for future intergenerational interfaith discussions over baked goods at my church. Pie year: Sharing a Piece of Pie of Peace (or some similar pun).

I stand by kindness and nudges and good food.

Not sure what red dirt prairie dogs symbolize, but they make me laugh.

Friday, February 3, 2017

On Nudging

Returning from the march two weeks ago, I was somewhat struck by the power of nudges.

I'd certainly never call myself an instigator, but I know that there were eight people marching in Oklahoma City who would not have been there were it not for me.  Mind you, all I did was ask some people over lunch who was going and later picked a spot for us to meet.  It wasn't exactly a hard sell.

About the same time, a former student mentioned how I had (positively) influenced her college experience and another claimed that I changed her career entirely when I asked a question about the food supply.  Being a teacher is to be a nudger whether one knows when one is nudging or not.

I know I changed the course of the history of one small town in West Virginia when I asked The Mister if we were going to go vote in the mayoral election.  The candidate we voted for won by a single vote (something like 51 to 50 to 30 in a three way race).

I used these as examples to explain (and mostly to remind myself) that little actions matter and that sometimes people are listening.

Then the news of the last weekend came in and I felt defeated.  Nudging feels so ineffective when others are bludgeoning.

But even after I directly remind my students that they were valued in my class, regardless of when they or their families came to this country, I still had it in me to recoil in horror at some of their poor answers.  I guess I haven't been bludgeoned out of me yet.