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Compost Happens is a personal blog: part family, part garden, part crunchy green eco-writer. I'm Daisy, and I'm the groundskeeper here. I take care of family, garden, and coffee, when I'm not teaching and doing laundry.

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  • Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    Worry is still my middle name

    They do grow up, our children. Do they ever really outgrow us? Or it may be us, the parental units left behind in the empty or almost-empty nest, who feel the pain as the apron strings snap.

    Amigo sent me the following email while he was away at school.

    Hello all

    What a night we’ve had here in the LIFEhouse! It all started when I was cooking a frozen pizza in the oven. All of a sudden when my pizza was done, I started to smell smoke. I opened the oven door and sure enough, the whole room literally filled with smoke.

    It turns out that a towel that was hanging on the oven door somehow got in there and almost caught on fire. Anyway, Ms. A, our supervisor, pulled it out using a pot holder, ran it under the sink, and opened the windows to try and let out the smoke. Wouldn’t you know it, the fire alarm went off and we got a visit from the fire department. The moral of this story is, never let anything besides food fall into a hot oven!

    The next day he sent this one.

    I am cobbing dowd with a head code. All mording I hab been blowig by dose like a trubet. I’b wondering if I should dake sobe psudifed or somethig to help be get over this?

    That night he called. That tug on my heart? Apron strings stretching, stretching until they're taut. Everyone survived the adventures without injury, Amigo didn't freak out or melt down, and his pizza was still edible, with a slight smokey flavor. He called it a "learning experience." His cold is improving after a long weekend at home. TLC and a chance to sleep in each day must have been good for him.

    Good for him, maybe. For me? I still worry. Maybe not the same worry I felt when he was little, but it's worry nevertheless. When these apron strings get cut for good, I hope it's a clean cut, the kind that heal quickly and easily. I'll need all the help I can get.


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    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    And more Granola

    In our home, I'm the one who most likes granola.
    In our home, I'm also the only one who enjoys coconut.

    Here's another granola recipe, this one including coconut. I haven't tried it yet, but it looks good. Maybe I could take out the coconut so Chuck could enjoy it, too. My current granola is delicious on yogurt and makes a good breakfast cereal, too. It's certainly less expensive than the granola-type cereals in the store.

    3 cups old fashioned oats, uncooked
    1/3 cup brown sugar
    1/3 cup wheat germ (What about flaxseed?)
    1/3 cup sunflower seeds (optional)
    1/4 cup vegetable oil (Do you think olive oil would work?)
    1/4 cup honey
    1/3 cup coconut (I hope this is optional. I'd think so.)
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/3 cup raisins (plump by adding water, microwaving for 1 minute; let stand and drain)

    In a glass dish, heat oats for 3 minutes on high in microwave.
    Add brown sugar, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, oil, honey, coconut, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stir well to coat dry mixture evenly. Microwave 4 to 5 minutes on high, stirring twice. Add raisins. Microwave 2 minutes on high, stirring midway through cooking.

    Cool. Store in airtight container.

    Well, readers, what do you think? How does this compare to my other granola recipe? And my other question: would this work in the oven like my other granola recipe? I'll try it as is first, and then play with it a little. Maybe. If I can resist making changes the first time... I hear you. Yeah, right.

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    Monday, November 28, 2011

    Flat Stanley visits Lambeau Field

    When Flat Stanley arrived in my mailbox from Irving, Texas, we knew one place we needed to go: Lambeau Field. Chuck folded Stanley into his wallet and headed off to work.

    Stan's first stop was the Lombardi statue at the entrance. He held onto Vince's left shoe; that first step would be a doozy.

    The best place to start any tour is the Lambeau Field Atrium, including the entrance to the field itself. Can you see the lines on the floor? They line up exactly with the yard lines on the field itself. "Impressive," thought Stanley.

    Stanley's first stop was the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame where he saw the collection of Lombardi trophies. He felt a lump in his throat as he viewed the most recent addition to the collection, the trophy from last season, Super Bowl XLV.

    Then Stanley considered his choices. Locker Room or Field? The locker room was locked, so on to the field it was.

    "Wow," thought Stanley. "This is hallowed ground, not frozen tundra."

    Flat Stanley had the good fortune (and the connections) to sit on the sound board during the evening show of Larry McCarren's Locker Room. The studio audience overflowed the place for this guest: Aaron Rodgers himself.

    Stan was exhausted after his Green Bay adventures, so he climbed back into his envelope in Chuck's wallet and went to sleep. After all, tomorrow would be another day. There were places to go, people to see, and adventures galore awaiting his flat little self.

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    Saturday, November 26, 2011

    State politics? Felonies? Say it isn't so, Wisconsin!

    One Wisconsin Now felt compelled to raise money for the recall cause - but not to fund a candidate or circulate petitions. This progressive organization raised $10,000 to create a reward fund: a reward for information about recall petition destruction.

    Wisconsin progressives noticed conservative leaders boasting about their plans to circulate bogus petitions or circulate real petitions and then destroy them. Some posted their boasts on Facebook, declaring their intentions to burn enough petitions to heat their homes for the winter.

    Hyperbole aside, destroying recall petitions is a felony. Whether they really mean to interfere with the recall election process or just wanted to thump their three-piece-suited chests, Governor Walker's cronies are looking rather ridiculous right now. Publicly bragging about the possibility has attracted people who may have been neutral, and those people are donating money to organizations like One Wisconsin Now to fund the recall and offer rewards to those who report interference.

    It's so sad, so disappointing, to see my state reach record lows that have nothing to do with winter temperatures. I applaud One Wisconsin Now for its creative PR efforts and its willingness to raise money for a reward fund that should be unnecessary.

    When the disagreements interfere with the Democratic process, that's going too far.

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    Thursday, November 24, 2011

    The Fabled Fairies of Thanksgiving - Reprise

    What are you doing reading blogs on Thanksgiving Day? Go spend time with friends and family!

    But if you must, here's my classic Thanksgiving post, The Fabled Fairies of Thanksgiving.

    Thanksgiving Dinner? No problem! I'll call in the fairies. They'll do everything.

    The laundry fairy washes, dries, and presses the table linens, including the cloth napkins. If she's feeling generous, the sheets and towels might get folded, too.
    The turkey fairy will practice her specialty and make sure the bird is cooked and carved just in time for dinner. White meat and dark, it'll all be moist and savory and leave just enough leftovers for sandwiches and a turkey noodle soup.
    The baker fairy will take care of pies, pumpkin and otherwise. He's an expert on flaky crust, selected spices, and the perfect portion of whipped cream. Don't let that Simple Simon guy get in the way; the kitchen's too small for anyone who begs to taste the wares.
    The brownie -- the cunning little house elf -- will clean the home thoroughly, put the leaf in the big table, and get the extra chairs out of the basement.
    I wouldn't dream of neglecting the wine fairy: the sommelier so tiny she only recommends, never lifts, a bottle. Her taste is impeccable. Now if we could stop her before she over-imbibes and falls asleep on top of the piano...
    Did I mention the decorator fairy? She'll fix the fireplace mantel with something tasteful and seasonal before she makes sure the couch and rocker are properly arranged for the annual holiday gladiator contests known as NFL football.
    The ambiance fairy keeps the wood fire crackling in the fireplace, the aromas wafting deliciously through the home, and the family discussions neutral and unpolitical.
    The kitchen fairies: really, there must be a whole crew of these talented sprites. One to do the shopping early and avoid the crowds, another to make sure the cranberries are perfect (and local, of course), and a magical maestro with the potato masher. Then we'll need a feisty fairy, one with attitude -- yes, you, Tinkerbell, you can make the coffees.

    Mom, you can send the fairies over to my house now that we're hosting the annual family Thanksgiving dinner. Let them know that I'll have their room ready and their favorite cookies baked. If they arrive on Sunday there should be enough time to get everything done.

    Wait. What do you mean...they're...not....real?

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    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Eating the Opponent - and Michigan's U.P.

    We'll be eating a traditional turkey dinner at Grandma's on Thanksgiving Day. Grandma is cooking most of it ahead of time so she can watch the game.

    What do you mean, what game??!!??

    The Green Bay Packers are playing the Detroit Lions, of course. That's The Game. Turkey Day dinner will be on the table after the fourth quarter clock winds down. In the meantime, our Eating the Opponent project continues. We decided to broaden the definition of Detroit to include the entire state of Michigan, including the Upper Peninsula - da U.P., der hey, to us Wisconsinites. U.P. residents, affectionately known as Yoopers, have their own unique menus.

    I stopped at a local pasty cafe and shop -- okay, okay. Stop the snickering in the peanut gallery! That's Pass-Tees. Not pays-trees or pays-tees. Pass-tees. The pasty was a food that miners could carry in their lunch pail and eat with their hands when they had their mid-day break. Traditional filling ingredients are beef, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, onions and other good stick-to-your-ribs edibles stuffed inside of a strong crust. Yooper history contends that the pasty was brought to the continental United States by Cornish miners (not minors) who came to work in the copper and iron mines of the mineral rich U.P. Nowadays, locals serve pasties with ketchup (not gravy) or a special sauce that tastes like a spicy ketchup with jalapeno peppers.

    Pasties out of the oven, ready to eat!

    Pasties are baked, never fried, never nuked. I bought "breakfast pasties" with bacon or sausage and scrambled eggs inside - 5 for $10, plus one free - to serve Thursday morning. Our official Turkey Dinner will hit the table after the game, so we'll need a solid breakfast. I think Yooper style Breakfast Pasties fit the bill.

    Now if any of you doubt that U.P. food is appropriate for Eating the Opponent, I give you this. I asked the cafe staff, both native Yoopers, if football fans in da U.P. are Packers or Lions backers. Without hesitation, they both declared, "Lions!"

    I think I'll serve these with a side of Trenary Toast.

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    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Granola with Fruit Butter

    If you're not reading Food in Jars, you should be. This is based on one of her recipes. I made it with my apple butter, and it's making the house smell so good! If it turns out well (and so far, it is), I may include small packages of this in my holiday gift baskets.

    2 cups oats (old fashioned are best, quick oats will do)
    3/4 cup chopped pecans
    1/2 cup slivered almonds
    1/4 cup peanuts
    1 cup fruit butter or sauce - I used apple butter.
    Spices to taste.

    Stir together.
    Toast at 325 degrees F., turning on the baking sheet several times.
    Optional: after cooling, add raisins or other dried fruit. I like dried cranberries, or craisins. As for the nuts, 1 1/2 cups of anything nutty will work.

    My apple butter has its own unique flavor, so I didn't add spices. Ginger or nutmeg might have been good. I think any combination of nuts would do. Next time, I might experiment with nuts, too.

    It's fun to find a recipe that offers so many options and yet is so easy to make.

    This granola is simple and delicious. Next batch might be made with my super-thick cinnamon applesauce.


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    Monday, November 21, 2011

    I do recall being political, now and then

    Saturday we (all three of us) signed recall petitions for Soon-to-be-Former Governor Walker and his Lt. Governor, Rebecca Kleefisch. Is that spelled right? Well, no matter how we spell it, she's on her way out of office.

    Saturday night I found an email in my inbox letting me know that the Barack Obama Made in the USA mug is once again available. Make a donation to the Democrats, get a mug, and enjoy your morning coffee while sticking it to the conspiracy theorists.

    Get your limited-edition mug

    Go for it, people. Here's a great gift idea for the progressives in your family. Wrap it up with a pound of Obama Blend coffee, and you're all set.

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    Saturday, November 19, 2011

    Eating the Opponent: Green Bay vs. Tampa Bay

    There was a recipe email in my inbox this morning with the subject line: "Plan ahead now for Thanksgiving!" Ahem. If you haven't started planning for Thanksgiving yet, it's not early. In fact, grocery stores will probably be mobbed this weekend with people who really did plan ahead.

    Before the harvest celebration next Thursday, the family at Chez O.K. will once again be eating the opponent, Tampa Bay Buccaneers' style. Chuck did a little research and found that the Tampa area plays host to restaurants that serve foods with a Spanish influence, a nod to Florida's history. The menu for tonight features that influence.

    Albondigas: Meatballs made from a blend of ground veal and beef with breadcrumbs and jerk seasoning simmered with tomato sauce and carrots and potatoes. No, we're not calling the Buccaneers jerks. We're using seasoning with a Caribbean influence. The tomato sauce will feature some of the last fresh tomatoes, harvested before the final frost and ripened indoors.

    Breadsticks warmed with olive oil and cayenne pepper

    Fruit salad of Passion fruit and oranges

    Key Lime Pie for dessert. I admit it, the Florida Keys are not directly related to Tamp Bay or NFL Football. It is, however, delicious.

    Main course alternatives were:
    Grilled snapper topped with olive oil, diced tomato, garlic, onions, and artichoke hearts
    Chorizo Espanola: sliced chorizo and onions sauteed in olive oil

    We'll save those for next year. Go! Pack! Go!

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    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Political Fodder - Again

    I attended a school board meeting. I was one of many teachers who crowded into the board room and the hallway, spilling out almost onto the sidewalk. We said little or nothing, just applauded when our representatives spoke. Our presence, however, made our position clear; we are the teachers. We do the work. We want to continue doing good work for the children. Bashing us into the ground isn't the strategy that will improve education.

    Then, at 12:01 A.M., the recall movement officially began. If every teacher recruits ten people to sign a recall petition, we'll have it done. All the while, this story wove its way through my mind. It's worth another retell.

    Let's call her Mrs. Lerner, the teacher in this story. Mrs. Lerner passed away, and continued on her peaceful way toward the pearly gates. St. Peter met her with, "Welcome, Mrs. Lerner. Here in Heaven, we all make contributions. What would you like to do?" Mrs. Lerner responded, "I'm a teacher, so I'll teach."

    Peter called over St. John-Baptiste de la Salle, the patron saint of teachers, and had him escort Mrs. Lerner to her new classroom. When she got there, she was was shocked to see the conditions. 40 desks. 35 textbooks, all outdated. Pencils, pens, and paper were sufficient to supply the class for perhaps one day, no computers existed, and a cracked chalkboard hung on the front wall. A single piece of paper lay on the teacher's desk, reminding her of hall duty and recess duty.

    "Holy crap, St. Johnny-B. What the hell is this?" she exclaimed.

    Suddenly, Mrs. Lerner was in an entirely different locale, escorted by a devilishly handsome young man. With a fiendish smile and a flick of his very attractive -um - tail, he brought her to a very different classroom. 15 desks, well-equipped with supplies, books of all reading levels and interests, an interactive whiteboard, a stack of iPads enough for the entire group, and behind each student, supportive parents. On her desk lay a contract offering the opportunity to bargain for decent working conditions as long as she continued to teach.

    "I don't understand," she murmured, shaking her head. "Why the advantages here, of all places?"
    The devilishly handsome escort twitched his - um - tail, smiled his fiendish smile, and slyly reminded the dedicated educator, "Mrs. Lerner, when you asked the governor for this, where did he tell you to go?"

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    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Eating the Opponent: Wild Rice Hot Dish

    Yep, Green Bay played Minnesota last night. The Badgers played the Gophers, too, for the prize they call Paul Bunyan's Ax. Saturday night Amigo and I had a wild rice dish to invoke the taste of Minnesota.

    1 lb. lean ground beef
    1 cup Minnesota wild rice, uncooked
    1/2 lb. fresh muchrooms, sliced (optional)
    1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
    1/2 cup onion, chopped
    3 Tablespoons soy sauce
    2 teaspoons beef bouillon mix
    1 1/2 cup water

    Rinse and soak wild rice in hot water for up to three hours. Drain.
    In a four quart saucepaan, cover rice with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain any excess water.
    Brown ground beef in a nonstick skillet. Drain any fat or juices. Combine cooked ground beef with remaining ingredeitns in a large casserol dish. Mix thoroughly.
    Cove and bake one hour at 350 degrees F. Uncover and bake 15 additional minutes.

    Serves 6. Amigo and I had a lot left over.

    Daisy's comments: I also added a diced chili pepper, one of the last from my garden. It spiced up the mix considerably. The final result was rather monochromatic. Delicious, but not much to decorate a plate. Next time I'll add something with more color. Various peppers, perhaps, or corn or peas (frozen from the garden or Farmers' Market, of course) would make this look as good as it tastes.

    One more addition: this wild rice dish with its flavor and its beef made a great addition to potato soup. Potato and beefy wild rice soup; easy and delicious. I'm packing some in my lunch tomorrow.

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    Monday, November 14, 2011

    Putting the garden to bed for another winter

    It's that time again: time to put the garden to bed. I've been restricted by cataract surgeries and out of town for state testing through most of October, but I did manage to get the garden put to bed well enough for the winter. One rain barrel is drained and tipped over; the other is drained and ready to tip. The rest? Check out my Monday contribution to Green Spot-On for the rest of the story.

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    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Hint, hint...

    Dear family;

    'Tis the season -- the season for wracking our brains, thinking about birthdays and Christmas and birthdays (in that order). 'Tis the season for stimulating the economy a little bit. This year, our family economic stimulus will be limited, I know. And that's why, dear family, I'm dropping hints about practical gifts. You're all creative people; you can make them special.

    A new shredder. Mine (okay, our) gave up after many faithful years of use. If you replace our home shredder, you could address the gift tag not just to me, but also to Chuck. We'll both use it.

    Winter boots suitable for walking. I might beat you to the punch on this purchase. I really, really enjoy walking to work, and I don't intend to stop when the snowflakes fall. My current boots are suitable for shoveling, driving, and everyday winter wear, but not for walking the 3/4 mile to my workplace. Since size is always an issue with footwear, keep the receipt.

    Coffees, of course. I have a decent coffee grinder now, so beans are fine. In fact, grinding coffee is an activity that makes the kitchen smell wonderful. Well, it smells great to me, that is.

    I've been told my workplace offices are cold, colder, and coldest in the winter. It's an old building, drafty, with unpredictable heat. Family, something warm for the cubicle would be a thoughtful gift. A poncho/cape, the thicker the better. I already have my fingerless gloves, but I've been advised to bring a blanket. A Snuggie (did I really just suggest a Snuggie?) would probably fit the bill.

    Canning supplies and tools. Always. You know I'll use them! I might even gift you with the resulting goodies.

    On a similar note, gardening tools and supplies are always welcome. They're not exactly in season, though, so I'll understand if you wait until spring and Mothers' Day for those.

    I know, I know, I won't get what I really want. I'll dream, though. What type of gift is this? I'll tell you. If money were no object, and all things were possible, if wishing on a star really made a dream come true, I'd ask for: Green Bay Packers stock.

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    Wednesday, November 09, 2011

    What's Goal Ball?

    I asked the same question at first. Amigo explained the playing techniques, but I still couldn't picture it. I looked it up online and found out that goalball was developed after WWII as a sport for blind veterans. Today the unique game is part of paralympics, and many schools for blind students have a competitive team.

    Amigo's team lost a close one, a heartbreaker of a game in overtime, to eliminate them from the conference competition. The coach arranged an informal scrimmage with the team from Iowa so that both teams could play a little more. These pictures are from the scrimmage.

    First: Amigo is not sleeping. He is in ready position with his arms and legs stretched out to cover as much space as possible. If the ball comes his way, he will block it.

    You may have noticed details about the gear. Players wear hockey shorts, the padded kind, along with knee and elbow pads. All players also wear covered goggles or sleep shades to eliminate any residual vision they might have. The goggles prevent a player with some vision from having an advantage over a totally blind competitor. All players compete totally sightless.

    The ball itself is soccer ball size, hollow, with bells inside it. Players track the ball by listening intently. They keep track of their positions on the court by calling for a "tap" - a player to slap the floor. In this photo, Amigo is the right wing. The girl in the middle is the center. Before he rolled the ball, he called, "Center Tap!" and she slapped the floor so he could hear where she was and plan his throw. All this happens quickly; the team must get rid of the ball within ten seconds.

    Here goes the throw - or more precisely, a roll. If the ball appears a bit blurry, that's because Amigo rolled it quickly. In fact, he rolled it so low and so quickly that the bells were effectively silenced - a technique that makes blocking difficult. He scored on this one. Yeah, Amigo!

    Goalball. It's unique, it's fun, it's competitive. And when the competition is over, the team members socialize with an awards ceremony and a dance. The tournament? Great. The opportunity to socialize with other teenage blind athletes? Priceless.

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    Tuesday, November 08, 2011

    Apple Cinnamon Muffins

    Apple season is winding down, so I hope all of my favorite readers (that's all of you, by the way) have stocked up on the best apples available. If you're a true apple aficionado, you'll know that some are best for eating and some for baking. While you enjoy that honey crisp in your lunch box, consider these muffins for a warm and cozy weekend breakfast.

    1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (you can use all-purpose if you must)
    1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    3/4 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 cup milk
    1/3 cup butter, melted
    1 egg (1/4 cup egg substitute)
    1 cup peeled, cored apples: tart variety such as Granny Smith works well.

    Stir flour, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Add milk, butter, eggs, and apples next, stirring until smooth. Fill muffin tins about 2/3 full. Bake 20 minutes at 365. Let cool five minutes before eating - if you wait that long.

    Readers, you know me. I'm already asking myself, "What if I shred these apples in the food processor? Or make them more the consistency of applesauce?" I'm also thinking, "How about raisins? Or dried cranberries?" It's harvest season, after all, and all of those cranberries need to be used up somehow, somewhere.

    Let me know if you try either variation. I'm curious!


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    Sunday, November 06, 2011

    Eating the Opponent - a different angle

    Here's a look at the opponent wall in the Packers Hall of Fame from a different angle. This week we took a different angle on our Eating the Opponent project, too.

    The Packers played the San Diego Chargers. Normally we'd look up a signature food from San Diego and cook it Saturday night. This weekend was different because the time available for research and grocery shopping was slim to nonexistent and because we visited Amigo on Saturday to watch a Goal Ball tournament. A what tournament? Stay tuned; I'll have a post on it later.

    What to do? The tiny bit of research I did named seafood and Mexican food as typical San Diego fare. That's rather general, but it got me started. Most of the seafood in my freezer is Midwestern in origin - tilapia, etc. I did have half a package of shrimp, so I made it with thin spaghetti topped with butter and grated Parmesan cheese. Yes, I know, it's a lame attempt at seafood. Saturday we ate lunch at Taco Bell, but that's far from authentic, so it doesn't count either.

    Chuck got a little silly on Sunday. Since we hadn't cooked a good San Diego food, he created the following. Readers, I give you: Sandy Eggs on Charred Jer-sey (beef). Trust me; it was an improvement over the Sandy Eggo waffles he thought of first.

    Translation: grilled steak with an egg over easy, topped with finely crushed pecans to resemble sand.

    It's a groaner, I know. Next week the Pack will battle the Minnesota Vikings. I have a dish in mind already, and it has no puns whatsoever.

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    Friday, November 04, 2011

    Signs of Recovery

    It might be a good sign that:

    • I'm looked on at work as "the one with a sense of humor."
    • Being busy feels good.
    • Walking to work is enjoyable, and I miss it when I have to drive.
    • I'm smiling more often - and I notice.
    • I find myself providing moral support for others - but not neglecting my own needs.
    "Signs of what?" you might ask. Well, readers, if you're new to Compost Happens, you might not know that one year ago I was falling into the worst and deepest depression of my life. Looking back is both encouraging and frightening.

    I'm frightened by the possibility that this may happen again. It's not the first depression of my life, but it was by far the worst. I don't want to experience this level of suffering ever, ever again.

    I'm grateful for the good medical care available, even though I'm disappointed in the less-than-optimum treatment options. I feel lucky to have friends and family who gathered and rallied around me, refusing to let me slide any more deeply into the pit of despair. They set up a figurative rope ladder, tied me to it, and held fast.

    I'm encouraged by my recovery. In this marathon, I feel like I've set up a good pace and I'm keeping to it. Setbacks still happen, but they're minor in comparison. I'm encouraged by the list above. As the list of Good Signs of Recovery gets longer and longer, I'll share with you, readers. Those who have suffered similar illness know there is a light at the end of this tunnel. Depression is treatable, and people do recover. I'm living that recovery right now.

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    Wednesday, November 02, 2011

    Testing, 1, 2, 3

    State testing. Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam. Criterion Referenced Items. Rubrics. Fill in the bubble. Make sure you erase completely and make your new mark heavy and dark. Use only a number 2 pencil. Any questions? You have 40 minutes. Begin.

    I teach online, and my students live all over the state of Wisconsin. Since we can't expect all of them to come to us, we go to them for the required tests. I put on my test season sweatshirt (above) and get ready to go.

    My destination: a hotel with conference room that will hold all of our area students. Two of my colleagues and I set up camp in our hotel rooms, including connection to the hotel wi-fi and an in-depth investigation of the in-room coffee makers.

    I set out my clothes for the next day -- casual, yet teacher-dressy -- on the spare bed.

    In the morning, students armed with number 2 pencils would be ready to attack their test booklets.

    I hope they all remember that multiple choice items have only one answer, and they should make their marks heavy and dark.

    And I sure hope I can forget this repetitive test proctor speech so it stops running through my head and invading my dreams at night!

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    Tuesday, November 01, 2011

    Packers Bye Week; Racing Sausage Kabobs

    Sometimes simplicity is best. Having a good pantry and fully provisioned freezer have gotten us through some busy days and harried weekends. This weekend should have been easy: the Packers had a bye! No opponent dishes to research and create! Instead, there was a feeling of let-down. Our Packers are doing well, but our Brewers didn't win quite enough. We decided to celebrate the Brewers' success, as far as it went, by making Racing Sausage Kabobs.

    Here are the ingredients and basic supplies:

    A side dish of baked beans - Chuck can never keep himself to just opening a can of beans. He adds several of his own special touches.

    Another simple side: a can of fruit with sliced banana creates a fruit salad.

    Here we go: Italian, Polish, Bratwurst, Hot Dog (natural casing, of course), and Chorizo - all on a stick for easy eating.

    There you go, folks: a taste of Miller Park in our own home. Maybe they didn't make the World Series this time around, but the team did well. Very well.

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    Search & Win

    About 1 in 5 child deaths is due to injury. CDC Vital Signs


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