Sweet Release

There’s that saying about the freshman fifteen, and perhaps due to the fact that I didn’t live on campus my freshman year, I never experienced it. Even when I did move on campus the start of my junior year, I began working out more at the gym and made healthy food choices at the dining halls, so if anything, I lost weight.

The first-year-teacher fifteen, though? Now that’s a real thing.

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8 Things You Need to Know About Chanukah

In my last post, I spoke about the uncomfortable reality of being a non-Christian in a country that mistakenly believes its religious identity (which doesn’t exist) is synonymous with its civic identity. I also alluded to a conversation with a friend who assumed Chanukah is a much bigger deal than it is–but instead of making my misconception corrections then, I decided to make them their own post.

So before the candles burn low, here I go.

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From Cookies to Life

What My Experiments with Baking Have Taught Me About Life

Or: I want to talk about cookies, so let me make it a metaphor.

I like cooking (and I like eating what I cook–most of the time), but like blogging, being in school (and often over-committing myself), it’s not something I get to do as often as I’d like–so when the opportunity to cook arises, I jump at it. Team potluck? Let me try my hand at salmon casserole, spicy chicken dip, or cranberry kugel. Need a dessert for a bake sale or snack at the meeting? Let me make a hundred oatmeal cream cookies (those were a hit! and they lasted for months, great snacks between classes!), gluten-free black bean brownies, or red velvet cake batter cookies. My mouth is watering at the memories!

So I’m going to a friend’s housewarming party tomorrow night (no spoilers, Katie, stop reading) and I decided I wanted to surprise her with some made-at-home cookies!

But sometimes baking doesn’t always go so well.

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Salad September

Or: What Darren Did When Sweetless September Went South

I’m a goal-oriented person. I love nothing more than the sweet satisfaction of striking an item off my to-do list. I keep spreadsheets of daily goals to fill in and monitor my daily responsibilities–study for all seven classes, make progress in leadership and immigration paperwork, stop that annoying scalp scratching and relax for ten minutes each day–and filling in the boxes makes my day feel complete. All that time? It accomplished something.

So, fond of alliteration as I am, I’ve imagining Sweetless September since March.

Except it didn’t turn out like I intended.

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I Smell Stress and Candy

It’s no secret how stressed I’ve been lately–in fact, the past few days I’ve felt flat-out overwhelmed by everything–but I don’t think I realized just how much it was messing with my head until I fell asleep last night.

I almost feel like posting this on Silent Soliloquy instead. It feels more like fiction than reality. But didn’t my grandmother used to say fact is stranger than fiction anyways?

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2014 Goalkeeping #2

It’s been a while since I’ve checked in on my goals this year–but mostly that’s because I’ve been keeping to them well and I haven’t had much to write about. Now that I’ve achieved a few of them and the summer is about to start, it seems fitting to look at them once more.

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Deep in the Kitchen

Imagine two cooks deep in the kitchen, working so closely it’s like they’re cooking hand-in-hand. Now shut yours eyes for a second and think about all the moments that come to mind.

For me, it’s a lot of time in front of the TV. Food Network is a favorite of my family’s, and we often spend our time watching shows like Chopped and Food Network Star together–and we’d probably cook together, if our kitchen could hold us. At the moment, it can’t.

Think deeper. Think back to the moments growing up when the kitchen was alive with the heartbeat of working hands and the warmth of the oven overflowing. What do you see? What aromas fill your lungs?

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Cacao Kapow!

Coffee and chocolate. For me it’s been a love/hate relationship, and yet it seems coffee and chocolate are staples of the Alternative Spring Break trip I’m going on in March. It’s a comical story–but it has grave consequences.

Then again, I might just be full of beans.

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