Saturday, May 17, 2014

Dancing in the Rain with Fiddleheads and Fried Chicken

Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing?

As You Like It, Act 1, Scene 4
One week ago I was sitting in exactly the same seat I'm sitting in now, typing on the exact same computer. But instead of typing the words I love to type, I was furiously trying to get through what felt like a never-ending pile of Special Education paperwork. I believe my exact words to my husband were, "I feel like I'm trying to bail out the Titanic with a Dixie cup."
 And the reason I was sitting inside & working on what turned out to be the nicest Saturday in forever? Because 24 hours before that, I came home from school in total freak-out mode because I had a TonOfSpecialEducationPaperworkAndThreeTrackMeetsNextWeekAndOurEcoschoolsAudit AndMoreThanSeventyEssaysToMarkAndMothersDayAndTheSportingLifeRunAndIDesparatelyNeeded
All. In. The. Same. Week.
Logically, I knew that it wasn't right to complain about all of this; after all most (if not all) of them were very good things. Good things -like a well paying job and the ability to run 10k- that many people the world would consider a privilege. Good things that I had chosen to take on.
But judging from the hyperventilating/excessive swearing freak-out session I had on Friday night, despite what "They" say, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.
And just when I thought I'd pop like an over-inflated balloon if one more "good thing" came my way, I was bombarded with a whack of a whole other kind of good things. Fortunately, they were the kind of good things that made my crazy week seem not-so-crazy after all. Things like...
1. My husband offering to take care of our kids all day Saturday so that I could get my work done. Which I did.
Nancy and Me right before
the Big Run
2. When I joined the other 30 000 people in the marshaling area for the Sporting Life 10k, I ended up standing right next to a friend I hadn't seen in a while. A friend that makes me smile and feel calm all at the same time. Something I needed on that chilly race-day morning.

3. I ran that 10k in what turned out to be my second-slowest time our of the eight times I ran in. And you know what? I truly didn't care. Because I ran it all. Without stopping. And in my books, that's not bad for a 40-year-old gal who'd only been training for about 6 weeks after not running a lick all winter long.

4. Another friend and fellow blogger, Christine, spent a good hour on the phone with me giving me advice on how to help one the Special Education students I'm struggling with. I have no words for how meaningful that conversation was to me; not only did she validate everything I was feeling, but she also gave me amazing advice that I tried out this week. And you know what? It's working! Thanks to you, Christine, for the first time this year, I have a conversation with my student that was both meaningful and productive.

Hochberg and Puder
We're like Cagney and Lacey
Except not at all
5.On Tuesday I attended the first of three track meets for the week as the coach of my school's team. However, the other coach who was supposed to come with me couldn't make it. At first that stressed me out like nobody's business but it turned out to be awesome because he asked another teacher to fill in for him and thus,  I got to spend the day with my long-lost friend and colleague, Michelle "The Pudes" Puder. I say long-lost because last year she was in the classroom across from me on the second floor and we were total besties but this year she was banished to the third floor, otherwise known as Siberia, and we barely get to see each other.
6. As part of my day-long gab fest with The Pudes, I found out that foraging for Fiddleheads can only
be done every other year and that this is their year! This inspired me to pick up a whack of those curious curly-q'ed veggies on the way home and cook 'em up for dinner. They might look weird, but they taste great. So great that my son asked begged me to make them again two days later. Did my son really just request a second helping of a freaky-looking vegetable? Could my week get any better?
7. Yes it could! Because the next two track meets were amazing. "Who cares?" you might ask. I care!
Yes that is the microphone
from the announcer's booth
at a sports stadium.
And why did I have it?
Because I WAS the announcer
for a sports event.
How super cool is that?
Because not only are they the first two track meets that I ran all on my own, they are the first two track meets that I ran all of my own that were riddled with a crap-load of crazy problems, such as being short-staffed, thunderstorms looming on the horizon, being forced to switch the entire schedule of events for 800+ students without letting even one of them missing their event, breaking up a vicious spit-fight between two grade two boys in the standing long jump pit, and last (but certainly not least) a 10-year-old girl getting her head caught in a fence. And guess what? I took it all in stride and rocked it out like a boss.

My KFC dinner at The Fry:
Fried chicken with corn, pickled radish,
iceberg lettuce, and macaroni
salad on the side. I don't know who came
came up with this crazy combo,
but it works. It really works.
8. Because I am a total rockstar when it comes to running track meets, we got outta there earlier than expected, which meant that for a few hours, I didn't need to be anywhere to do anything for anyone. So what did I do with my new-found freedom? Well, go to the doctor and get new asthma medicine of course! I know... that sounds super-boring. Which it was. But then after that, I went shopping and found jeans that fit me and new running shorts and a super-cool necklace that was on sale and then when I went to pay it rang up even cheaper that I thought! Could this afternoon get any better? Yes it can! Because then I found out that I didn't have to even go home to make dinner for the fam so I treated myself to dinner -KFC (Korean Fried Chicken)- at this place I heard about. It was described as this nondescript joint in Koreatown North (Yonge north of Sheppard) where the clientele is almost exclusively Korean, there are lineups out the down, the portions are huge, and the fried chicken is awesome. Every single word of that description turned out to be true. It was fantastic. So fantastic, in fact, that I don't really want to tell you the name of it because I don't really want it getting any busier than it already is. But since I like you so much, I'll tell you: it's called The Fry. And it's awesome.
9. Today was free donut day at Tim Hortons. Yes, you heard me right. Free donuts. At Tim Hortons. And it was warm. I got a warm, freshly baked donut for free. It was So. Freakin' Good. Let's just take a moment and think about that.
10. So remember how I told you that just about a week ago I was freaking out over the million things
I needed to do? Well, one of those things was make Friday night dinner for my Mommy for an early Mother's Day celebration. As part of that celebratory meal, I decided to make a cherry pie. It turned out to be one of the most delicious, yet ugliest pies I've ever baked. So ugly, in fact, that I took a picture of it and submitted it to the National Post's Gastropost mission of the week. And they liked it! So much so that my ugly pie got it's 15 minutes of fame in today's paper. Yay ugly pie!

So there you go; what I anticipated as being one of the craziest, most stressful weeks ever turn out to be some of the greatest seven days I've had in a long time. Sure, there were moments that my feet were so sore from standing for 12 hours that I thought they'd  fall off. And there were other moments when I was standing in a full-on rainstorm trying to herd dozens of boys into their appropriate place for their relay races. And then there were those moments when it was late at night and I just really wanted to go to sleep but I couldn't because my husband was still meeting with a client and when your husband is a criminal lawyer and is out late meeting with a client you can't fall asleep 'till he gets home.

But other than that?

It was a good week. A really, really good week.
I am not sure what I am more thankful for: the fact that I was blessed with all these great things or that I was able to see through the chaos of my life and appreciate all of these great things.
Either way, thanks to whoever is responsible for all this. It was awesome.
How to Cook Fiddleheads
1. Rinse them a whole bunch of times until the water runs clean.
2. Cut off any scaly bits and the woody end of the stem.
3. Boil them for about 10 minutes or until they're tender. Then finish 'em off however you want. According to Health Canada, it's not really safe to eat undercooked fiddleheads.4. Cook 'em and eat 'em like you'd cook and eat asparagus. This week I first made a sorta pasta primavera with them using
orchiette (Fiddleheads & little ears; get it?) and then later in the week I pan-fried them with a little butter, garlic, onions, and mushrooms. Both ways were yum.

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