Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Brew news

I've started a sourdough thingie, and so far I like having it around. It's nice to come home and look at the bubbles. Somehow I even enjoy the slightly tedious chore of putting it in a clean jar and washing out the old one. It's cool to always have a jar of discarded almost-dough in the fridge, which you can mix with flour and other stuff to make pretty much anything.  So they say; I've only made muffins and cookies. They were good. I guess it's good for you, too. I haven't made sourdough bread yet because I'm afraid of the commitment. It takes a lot of flour to make bread, man. I'm worried that somehow my starter won't be potent enough to leaven 13 cups of rye or whatever and I'll just have a big bowl of icky playdough. But I'll try it this weekend. It can't be that hard. My recipe-blog research indicates that all kinds of bad writers are able to do it, so why shouldn't I?

I'm getting into a rhythm with my kombucha, too. Pineapple and ginger seem to give me the fizziest brew, which is good because J'ADORE totally that flavor combo.

You've probably guessed by now that our landlord won't allow pets, so my familiars are fungi.

Last night we popped open some of Farrand's homebrewskies from last year, and they were much better than they used to be. Sadly, he doesn't have anything currently brewing, so that Striplings-2014 can be as happy as we are now.

We've made some changes to the class schedule at school, and so far it is marvelous. Last semester, on most days, I had three 60-70 minute classes to get through before lunch, and then another class after lunch. Now I have two very leisurely 90 minute classes before lunch and one after. We accomplished this by eliminating two of Farrand's five classes (junior high Greek and 4-6th grade History and Geography); he has taken one of my five classes (4-6th grade English), leaving each of us with four. Before, each student and teacher had four classes to prepare for each day (sometimes five for the kids!) and now nobody has more than three classes per day. It may not seem like a big deal, but it is a heckuva lot easier to think about three things each day than four.

Now I'm teaching:

  • Junior high "Humane Letters," in which we are currently reading Thucydides' Peloponnesian War. The other big change is that our colleague Z is now joining me as the "junior tutor" in this class, which makes an exponential difference in our discussions. I relish the chance to reread authors like Thucydides at a more sane pace than we did (or didn't) at St. John's College.
  • Art for 2nd-6th grade, which is actually rather difficult. 6th graders are definitely ready for a disciplined classical training in realistic drawing. Younger students draw symbolically and from their imagination. Both stages are crucial, and I worry that I'm making crippling compromises for both of them. Everyone seems to enjoy themselves over all, and I have seen improvement, but it's certainly not an ideal situation.
  • Pre-Algebra (6th grade). I have two students. We are reading through Leonard Euler's Elements of Algebra instead of following a textbook sequence. Luckily my students are very verbal, so reading a treatise works well for them. It's great preparation for logic and geometry, as he unfolds various proofs of laws that most people just memorize. In the meantime, we play "Warithmetic" (a card game I invented) to keep them sharp on basic arithmetic.
  • Junior high Latin. It's fun. We diagram a lot.

I just woke Farrand up with the smell of burning cookies. Oops!


  1. You are funny and interesting, and I like that in a person.

    1. I blame my father for the former quality and my mother for the latter! You have made me feel better than a thousand "likes" ever could!