Sunday, February 3, 2013

Trying again.

So... unsurprisingly, it has once again been a while. But this is Work of Mouth after all, so lots to mouth off about regarding the last 6 months especially.

In July, I finally finished school. Early August, I was hired a for a high school chemistry teaching position. I moved to the other end of California as a result of said position and for the first time in my life, I am living alone. Having my own space is great, for about a day, until you realize that "alone time" isn't going to end when your roommate comes home. There is no roommate. There is only a now 8-month old cat named Phi to get riled up when the sound of your keys jangling in the door rouses her from her day-long nap.

Phoenix N-G... Phi, for short.

The school that I now teach at is fabulously wealthy with educational resources, awesome teachers and hundreds of hard working students. I've encountered a few of the more... shall we say, relaxed students in my time there so far. Incredible to think that I've already survived a semester there and teaching chemistry, no less. It's funny to consider that when I first decided to become a teacher, I wanted to teach chemistry, was required to student teach biology instead, and am now teaching chemistry for the first time as a professional. Holy crap. I'm a professional.

The view from the top of the stairs of my hallway.

The kids at first were weary of me. I look young-- young enough to be a student. About once a week, I'm still being mistaken for a teenager, be it by a distracted secretary, a well-meaning security guard, or an office TA "looking for my teacher". I may be young, but I'm still something of a hard-ass when it comes to my classroom. Having the role model that I do-- my own high school chemistry teacher-- it was inevitable that I'd try to emulate her teaching persona. Despite this, the kids warmed up to me and I to them.

Drawn on a quiz by a student in a fit of boredom. She did well on the quiz, too!

Living alone means suddenly cooking only for one, which, I admit, has been a bit of a struggle for someone who grew used to cooking for two, three, or fourteen people. After realizing that one pasta casserole lasts me more than a week even if it's the only thing I eat, I gave up for a while on doing what I always did and just drank wine and ate cheese. I lost 10 lbs in the first 4 months of living here. That being said, I still do it right-- no Kraft singles and 2-Buck Chuck in this joint.

Wine and cheese party for one.

Recently, I started cooking properly again. It took some acceptance that food simply is NOT as good when you constantly eat alone. Work has settled down enough that I know what I'm doing (most of the time) in advance enough that I'm starting to have some free time for baking and cooking. I am a grown woman with an income now. Bring on the gourmet ingredients! 

Filet mignon with mixed vegetables and Cupcake Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

Turkey meatloaf with spinach and pine nut salad

You can guess where one who lives alone eats alone... Yes. At her desk. With her laptop. Sometimes with people on Skype! Every now and then S comes up for a visit and I gain back a couple pounds after consecutive nights of real food. Long distance love is probably the most difficult part of my life right now. Not just with S but with every person of importance in my life-- I've never been this far from my family and so many friends are still in LA and San Diego. Thankfully a few really good ones reside in nearby cities up in the Bay Area, but it's still not quite the same as being able to roll over to someone's house in 5 minutes and spend the rest of the night noshing on snacks and watching stupid YouTube videos.

Meet Henri. He is probably one of my favorite cats, after Phi and Simon's Cat, of course.

As a result of this persistent solitude, I've taken up a slightly haphazard search for hobbies. So far, the list includes interior design, DIY kitchen organization, crochet, a rebirth of abstract painting, and eating my way around the neighborhood with only impetus as my guide. Results have been varied. 

Phil's Sliders, Berkeley

From left: Blossom Bee, Dublin; The Cheeseboard, Berkeley; La Boulange, Danville

La Boulange, Danville

Maybe now with all of this idle time that I want to spend not thinking about work, more cooking posts will come. For now... leftovers for dinner. 

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