okay i'm kinda mopey today

i guess, if i have to be polite about it, i'd describe our principal as not really a people person; not particularly tactful. she said something today about us being traumatised though, and yes, i guess those are reasonable words. it's not shock anymore; it's just stretched out and unpleasant.

it was the kids' last day today, and then we had a retirement party for the two staff members who are retiring this year. fucking tears everywhere. i got weepy the other day while shelving; sentimental over the gracie faltrain books! they are great, of course, but i can just imagine gracie faltrain being super uncomfortable about someone being sentimental about her so that's a perfect image and if i can just leave with that maybe it will be okay?

christ this is still awful. much as i hate repeating myself.

okay one more week:

  • monday we're going on an excursion/party to a water park.
  • tuesday i'm going to my new school for possibly the world's most awkward induction: hi! i'm going to take leave before school starts next year and i fervently hope not to be working with any of you! but i have to have a school to take leave from so you're it!
  • wednesday is presentation night, and i'm backstage, so wednesday will mostly be setting up & rehearsing
  • thursday is pretty much the last time i have a chance to tidy up and throw things away
  • friday i believe we start drinking at 9; speeches at 10:30; booze-filled lunch from 12:30; bowling at 3ish (with a hip-flask); pub from 6; liver-sponsored death-wishes from 8 or so, i guess. 

to clarify, friday's timetable is the standard last day of school timetable. the lunch is out, where we normally have it at school; i imagine the speeches will have more tears than usual; and there are a LOT of people coming to bowling where it's normally just the sports teachers & the younger teachers, but the drinking from 9am and taxis out of school at 2pm is, well, canon. just, normally, it's happy drinking. watch out twitter that day!

This entry is crossposted from DW. Comment here or there.

an apology, and emergency dessert

After hanging out in a friending meme for a few pages, I feel like I should post something either fannish or substantial here, if not both. But the back of my brain is spending most of its time stressing about work closing down in a week and a half, and still not knowing what I'm doing next year. I will know by 15 January; perhaps then I will start posting about other things than food.

But now: Emergency Dessert. I don't like plain vanilla icecream so when I decided yesterday that dinner needed a dessert I was momentarily sad that it was all we had. But then I saw raspberries, and dark chocolate, and fanced it up a bit!

Pull some frozen raspberries - about two handfuls - out of the freezer as soon as you realise you want dessert. Consider microwaving them (on low!) to defrost them faster. Break some dark chocolate (this is how it's emergency dessert: milk chocolate would already have been eaten, but in this house dark chocolate is an ingredient, rather than food) into a bowl and microwave it to melt. Drop a handful of flaked almonds into a frying pan and seriously consider butter, and sugar, and making almond toffee, but realise that is far beyond the bounds of emergency dessert, and you don't want to scrub the frying pan tonight anyway. Toast the almonds. Get the icecream out of the freezer. Once the chocolate is melted and liquid, stir in a drop of almond essence, a tiny pinch of salt, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a slosh of cream - just enough that the chocolate won't solidify again straight away.

Dish up four small bowls of ice cream, pour over the chocolate sauce, the hopefully-defrosted raspberries, sprinkle with the toasted almonds, and have your family be confused that you managed dessert before the coffee was ready.

This entry is crossposted from DW. Comment here or there.
hurrah we shall have cake

quinoa salad as made for work pot lunch last week

and then emailed to the all-staff list, where i garnered as many compliments for my recipe writing style as for the salad itself.

I totally forgot that I promised to write out my recipe for quinoa salad! here is less of a recipe and more of an idea:

quinoa is probably in the health food or the gluten free section of the supermarket. You can get red, black or white quinoa - you cook them the same, they taste the same, the colour is the only difference. it is technically a seed I think? from south america? it is full of protein and I usually eat it cold but it is perfectly nice warm too. it is pronounced "keen-wa" because it is a trick.

You ought to rinse it before you cook it (apparently it can be bitter otherwise?). I sometimes cook it in the rice cooker (cause then I don't have to worry about it being done, and turning off the heat) or else just in a saucepan. Three cups of water for every cup of quinoa, bring it to the boil, turn it down & simmer for about 15 minutes - it probably says this on the packet. I usually add stock powder so that it's cooked in vegie stock rather than plain water but plain water is fine. I like to put a handful of sultanas in the saucepan too, towards the end.

It expands a little when cooking so 1 cup of quinoa (with plenty of other salad-y bits in) is enough for three giant lunches, which is the way I like my lunch, or one big bowl for a potluck.

Dress it while it's still warm with some olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon or lime or orange juice if you like, salt & pepper, and put it in the fridge until lunchtime/time to make your lunch & go to work.

Then add the salad-y bits. I like a couple of chopped tomatoes, some red capsicum, a grated carrot and some flat leaf parsley. Segments of orange or mandarin are tasty in this; toasted cashews maybe; spring onions or red onion; dried apricots; a can of chickpeas or black beans - anything you might put in any other salad. And then everyone at work will admire your colourful healthy delicious lunch.

This entry is crossposted from DW. Comment here or there.

how to take apart the library

saddest first week of term 4 ever, i feel - although (still!) super glad that we're closing down this year and not trying to hold out one extra year. I'm on the committee to organise the last day (for students) party; my suggestion was a frozen margarita machine but that got turned down.

Apparently this is how it will work (from my point of view):
books go to schools in our coalition or I can send them to charity (assuming the charity can pick up/pay freight).
no one is allowed to come and look over the collection - i (arbitrarily!) pick what books go to what schools
by the end of this term, i need to have every book off the shelf in a pile - one pile for each of the schools - and then, next year, the coalition school librarians get to come pick up their pile (and if they don't need anything I've put there, they can put it on the charity pile)
i don't have to withdraw anything or pass on catalogue records or do any kind of stocktaking (yessssss)
if a teacher knows where they're going, and knows that something is a valuable resource, they can ask me to put it on the pile for the school they'll be moving to (assuming they're moving to a coalition school i guess)
and all the vhs is going in the skip (a lot has already been dumped, i'm quite gleeful about dumping the rest of it!).

man i feel so much better knowing what it is i'm supposed to get done!

i also managed not to laugh at the principal when she told me to put books in "one corner for each of the five schools - and one for charity" our library is a square, we don't have that many corners. feels a little weird that "every shelf and every cupboard should be empty" by the last day of term - but the floor should apparently be covered in books?

I wore a pretty skirt and a tshirt and a cardigan and knee high boots yesterday - a fairly standard winter outfit for me, although admittedly not a cardigan i'd worn very often this winter - and apparently looked so good in it that three separate people confusedly asked me "are you interviewing?? i thought you wanted to go to uni next year??" so today i'm wearing jeans and a witty internet-saying tshirt. no job interviews for me!

This entry is crossposted from DW. Comment here or there.

i have made a lot of plans lately

It occurs to me that none of this information has actually all been written down anywhere, and has only passingly been referenced on twitter, so noone does actually know everything that's going on with me lately! i keep telling one person at a time and then being surprised that everyone doesn't know. oops.

first, then: at the end of this year, assuming the minister for education signs off on it (and there isn't anything else he can do), Parkwood Secondary will close down, and its students and (ongoing) staff and resources will be dispersed to various other schools in the area (the contract staff will all lose their jobs. essentially that's the integration and the it department (non-teaching staff) and also two teachers).

related: the various employment agreements by which education staff - both teaching and non-teaching staff - are employed by the government have expired, and new ones are being negotiated. apart from an offer to increase our pay by less than the rate of inflation, the government would also like to remove the right of ongoing non-teaching staff to be moved to new schools, if they are no longer considered necessary staff in the school that first hired them. it seems unlikely that the union will actually let that pass - in fact we are currently participating in industrial action - but it's still unpleasantly timed.

so next year i'm going to uni to study teaching. i have mentioned this to disaffected teachers (two of my favourite people at work are only teaching cause it's what they've got qual's in and they need money) and they laugh, and tell me it's a funny joke, and what am i actually going to do next year? and i guess after the paragraph above - teaching does not have the best employment conditions, i know.

and yet: i like my job. i particularly like the bits of my job that involve helping teenagers. me and some of the junior english faculty run a comprehension program and it's both satisfying and really interesting, and what else do you want out of work? i have also talked it over with teachers who like teaching, and various other friends and relatives, and i'm pretty sure that this is, actually, a good life choice. i have promises of sessional jobs (if the people in question are in a position to give them to me, at their new schools) and references, and although this is SO MUCH not something i could have done even as recently as three years ago, i am looking forward to it now.

i've got the prior qualifications to let me train as an english, history, or society & environment teacher, and i'm hoping to wangle my way into IT teacher training (i have just enough technology subjects but i got them as part of a "business information technology" course, which is to say the librarianship course at rmit). because one applies for victorian graduate entry teaching courses through vtac, i won't find out where i got in until november or december, but i've applied to the two universities that actually offer IT teaching methods as an option: melbourne and monash.

and i'm moving back to the parents house. again. i was in the middle of looking for somewhere to live when this all started - the penguin house as a whole is dispersing - but if i'm not going to be employed next year then i'm also not going to be able to pay rent. so the penguin house is full of boxes, empty and full and part way in between, and the movers are booked for saturday week. luckily my parents already have the internet, and all my devices are familar to their network, and i shall not be parted from twitter at all.

so now you know.

This entry is crossposted from DW. Comment here or there.

still haven't touched the desserts chapter

So anyway, the other thing I've been doing lately is cooking my way through Viva Vegan. It's a great book, generally well written and full of interesting sounding recipes, and ingredients I don't often cook with. The first thing I cooked out of it this year was the potato & chickpea enchiladas, which got the response "how is this vegan? it's really tasty!" which is amusingly wrongheaded but flattering nonetheless.

In the last two weeks I've also made the seitan chorizo - look, before i say what i thought, i should qualify that a) I'm not actually vegan and b) pretty much my favourite way of eating animals is as spiced preserved pork products - salami, chorizo, bratwurst from the vic market - all those types of sausages are why i end up being "vegetarian-ish" and not actually vegetarian. so, look, the seitan chorizo is good, sure, but it's not a lot like chorizo. It's the same texture all the way through (chorizo usually has lumps of meat and fat in it) and it's awfully bread-like. Which is unsurprising for something made from flour and spices. The recipe made six sausages, which i put in the freezer - still have one left!

The first meal we ate the chorizo in was caldo verde - a potato soup with leafy green vegies stirred in, and chorizo on the top. I quite liked the soup, but next time might make it with more chilli in or something - it was the tiniest bit bland. I also chopped one chorizo into some chilli sin carne one evening, but it was wasted in there.

The other day I made drunken beans with seitan chorizo - i used two cans of pinto beans so that I could make it after work and not soak and boil the beans for 10 hours or whatever. I also changed the recipe by using a whole can of tomatoes (instead of one cup) and left out the tequila (cause i wasn't going to buy a bottle for the sake of one tablespoon). Really good. Really really tasty. definitely making this again.

I served the drunken beans with yellow rice & garlic - should have broken up the annatto paste more, it was a little lumpy - and simple cabbage salad. I don't even like cabbage much, but i thought i'd give it a try: shredded green cabbage, grated carrot, dressed with cilantro-citrus vinagrette. and it was so good! so tasty. now i kind of want cabbage in the vegie box next week so that i can make this again! The recipes were written to serve six; we got two serves of leftovers and still both of us ate so much it was almost painful.

Last week I made the chimmichurri baked tofu, brazilian orange rice, and silverbeet with raisins and capers. The rice and the silverbeet were good - the silverbeet particularly is on my "make it again!" list - but the chimmichurri baked tofu seemed like a lot of effort for not a particularly great result. I'd like to try the other baked tofu recipes, still, but I wasn't particularly impressed by this one.

Actually all the baked tofu recipes seem to be a little awkward: one bakes the tofu for about twenty minutes, and then coats them with the marinade/sauce and bakes it for another 20-30 minutes. It seems to me that that's only good enough to have the flavour around the edges of the tofu and not really all the way through! But the ppk forums are pretty enthusiastic about the orange mojo baked tofu so I'll give that a go soon.

I've also made the quick red posole twice now - once for just two people and once for four. the cans of hominy i can buy in melbourne are twice the size of the ones called for in the recipe, so when i served it for four i just used the whole can. Actually I should have upped the beans when making it for four too - to be honest i can't remember if there were leftovers when i made it as written for just me and danni! but the quick red posole is totally on our make again and again and again list, and I've even got a couple extra cans of hominy in the pantry so that i don't have to keep going back to johnston st (which makes it considerably less quick). new fact this year: hominy is actually really tasty! it's just corn, but processed in such a way as to make the kernals both fluffy and chewy, and it is delicious in a tomatoey-beany soup with avocado and chilli and corn chips on top.

on the weekend i'm going to make tamales, i hope: red chile seitan and veggie mole. The thing about a lot of these recipes is the other recipes you have to make first: for example, the enchiladas way back in march required green tomatillo salsa (which is pretty simple - things in a blender, then cooked up a little) and pine nut crema (which is even more simple - things in a blender, then left until the next day), but it means you have to keep flicking back and forth between different chapters to put together your shopping list and plans, and that you often have to prepare part of the meal the day before you eat the rest of it. I find it a little off putting, and it's why I've mostly stuck to the simpler recipes so far. but not now! tonight i shall make steamed red seitan, red chile sauce and mole sauce, and then tomorrow make fillings, and then make the tamales themselves. And then our freezer shall be full of delicious foods! conceivably i will even get danni to take pictures and then do a real food blog for it.
This entry is crossposted from DW. Comment here or there.

i ran a con!

oh my god it's over!

it's mostly over. we had an issue with the trophies so i still have to post them out when they get here. plus, i should send out one last newsletter - thank everyone & let people know about the open committee meeting for next year's con. oh, and i gotta add some resources to the website!

i've been getting messages from various people telling me what a great time they had, but to be honest all i can really think about is the stuff that got messed up. i now have an extensive & incredibly comprehensive list of all the stuff that one should really have had for the registration desk, which is to say all the many things i forgot to bring.

i was really worried about the venue ending up too small - which it was! and the bar closing too early - which it did! but i guess in the scheme of things these are not such bad things.

I didn't end up getting to any panels that i wasn't on but i did get to meet a bunch of new people, which is cool, and hang out with some people i knew a little but hadn't really made friends with. also i bought all the books.

continuum 9 is on the way, we have guests and a chair and even flyers; continuum 10 exists in the vaguest of ways and yet has been selected as the natcon! somehow i am now the natcon standing committee representative for two separate conventions - 2012 and 2014. which means i am on the committee until the business meeting of 2015 at the very least. i should say i volunteered for this: i have things i want to do.

i have a real conreport, i guess, with how/why natcon worked, and notes towards more underconstruction reports, but first i have a lot of books to read and food to eat.

This entry is crossposted from DW. Comment here or there.

semi-related thoughts and an invitation:

would you like to come to watch doctor who with us on mondays? we have been rewatching from the beginning of new who, in order to edumacate C, who finally got sick of not knowing what we were talking about. also i will cook you dinner, if you text me by 5pm on any particular monday (not valid june 11!). i admit that, being fairly familiar with season 1, i am actually sitting in the corner working on continuum while the tv is on, but it is entertaining nonetheless.

one of the reasons i like the otw is when i email them, they reply to "emilly" and not, as many of the replies i've gotten from various hotels lately "emily". (hotel person x has NO EXCUSE cause my given name is IN MY EMAIL ADDRESS. why should i arrange to give you thousands of dollars when you don't read?)

Because of reasons, I'm working on the continuum 8 conbook. I didn't plan to, this year; i've done it twice already, and i had other things to do! and yet. in the past when i have done this, i have really liked the bit where i lay things out, and mess around in InDesign, and go over it again backwards to find typos. This year I haven't got there yet but do you know what is FAR easier? Asking for people to pay for advertising! I hated doing that in 2009 & 10. This year I'm just flinging out the emails. They say no? whatever, they lose. They say yes? yay! I don't know if it's because I have "Chair, Continuum 8" in my signature, or if it's cause it's so not the most important thing i have to get done this week, or cause I'm a grownup now? I don't know, but i'm super happy with it!

I have also delegated much of the writing i - well, i never wanted to do it, i've begun to develop a thing about writing lately - but the writing i thought i'd like to have in the book. things that are easier when your girlfriend is a writer and interested in the same subjects you need writing on: my life.

i have opinions on things unrelated to conventions! i just haven't written them out yet. maybe one day.

This entry is crossposted from DW. Comment here or there.

read some books and want to tell you about them

I have actually been reading books that are not ya and books that are not written by ladies but this looks like a theme so let's run with it for now. Not really spoilers, i don't think, but some of these books are pretty recent plus some of these reviews got quite long.

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My conclusion: high school in books is probably not somewhere anyone wants to be, which is awkward given all these books are from my high school library.

This entry is crossposted from DW. Comment here or there.