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Story: All the clubs

December 12, 2018

It’s been a busy year. I decided that since I only have three years of high school left, I might as well experience as much of it as I can. So I figured I’d join every club.

I go to a pretty big high school. We have, like, around 2,000 students. And there are a lot of clubs. I thought that some of them wouldn’t want me to join – like, the Brass Quintet wouldn’t want me because I don’t actually play an instrument. But I took my plan to the school counselor AND to Mrs. Brinks who teaches psychology, and they both thought it would be a really neat project.

I just thought it would be a good way to see what a bunch of people in school are doing with their spare time.

There are nine months of school. There are thirty-four different clubs. So, I have to join about four clubs every month, to experience them all.


I join Latin Club, Chess Club, Booster Club, and Computer Club. Everything but Booster Club has three events or meetings in September. Booster just has one meeting where they talk about all the stuff they’ll do this year, which includes something called a “cake walk” to raise money for new hangings in the gym. So I won’t say much else about them.

So anyway, that’s a good start.

My first meeting was Latin Club – they’re weekly on Tuesdays. I was the only girl in the room, so okay. The organizer, Steve, said that last year this girl Heather had gone to some of the meetings, but that she moved to Oregon in July. The entire meeting is taken up with talking about who else was a member last year.

Next up is Computer Club. This is one of the clubs I usually wouldn’t be allowed to join, because you have to have finished Programming I and be in Programming II already. But of course, I get special dis-pen-sa-tion. They’ve apparently got some kind of competition in a couple of months, and they talk about what algorithms and things they’ll need to do to get ready. I’m only going to be in the club for a few more weeks, so I spend time trying to work out what the symbols on the Regular Expressions poster could possibly be used for. Oh, and also there ARE girls in the meeting. Good for them.

Chess Club actually meets TWICE a week, Wednesday afternoons and Friday mornings. And it’s the first of the meetings that I have any real involvement in. I learned chess – at least the basic rules and moves – when I was a kid, so I get paired up with someone else and we play until we’re practically just the two kings chasing each other around the board. I might stick with this club…they’ve got some cool moves to teach me.


Brass Quintet (I get to practice with them…they give me a triangle…it’s not half bad!), German Club (I learn a couple of swears and the beginning of that song “This is Halloween” but in German), Student Council (I swear I just about slept through this one), and Soccer. I got to do warm-ups and drills in soccer. I really clearly sucked, but nobody razzed me about it, and a few of the girls were really interested in my “DO ALL THE THINGS!” Project.


…to be continued


Dec 11 journal

December 11, 2018

I’m starting to assign the boys a twice-a-week journal, so I should probably do the same thing myself. Okay, let’s see…ten things:

  1. Lisette and I walked the Dallas Half Marathon last weekend. It was super fun, and REALLY pleasant (as opposed to walking it).
  2. Eric was going to go too, but he got sick beforehand and couldn’t.
  3. My new running shoes (self-birthday gift) did just fine for the race.
  4. Jules came up with a meal ideas chart, divided into “no cooking”, “barely cooking”, and “planned cooking”. Stealing that idea.
  5. I paid a bill today, so yay.
  6. But both cars need inspecting. Boo.
  7. It’s my Mom’s birthday this week. I’m thinking the new Mary Poppins movie would be good.
  8. I’d like to do another race in the not too distant future. Maybe January.
  9. We had biscuits and hash browns this morning, courtesy of Sean. Aww yiss.
  10. Ben is working on a new board game design idea. Cool.



Vegan cheese and butter recommendations

November 30, 2018

If you’d like to get a little (or all) dairy out of your life, I HIGHLY recommend these particular things. While they’re not necessarily “health food”, they are yummy, yummy occasional treats:

  • Miyoko’s – EVERYTHING. This company makes outstanding vegan butter and cheese
  • Daiya – The provolone style slices, specifically. (I’m not super fond of the vegan mozzarella they make, but I can handle it on pizza if that’s what everyone else is having.)
  • Field Roast – the original Chao block is yum. (These folks make outstanding vegan sausages, too. And I seem to remember the burgers are good.)

And of course, you can always make your own cheese.

  • Our go-to staple vegan cheese is this homemade ricotta:
    • 1/2# tofu
    • 1/2c soaked & drained cashews
    • 1/2 t salt
    • 1/4t white pepper
    • 1/4c lemon juice (or red wine vinegar)
    • 1 T olive oil
    • 4 cloves raw garlic garlic
    • 1 t dried thyme
    • “brrt” in a food processor or blender until it’s more or less smooth. Eat.
  • This nacho cheese is similar to what we make, though ours involved cashews and coconut milk.
  • I haven’t yet tried making this vegan parmesan…the recipe looks like it wants some nutritional yeast, maybe 1 tablespoon.

Salmonella outbreak: let’s skip the turkey this year

November 20, 2018

I’m gonna ask you NOT TO COOK TURKEY THIS YEAR. We still cook meat for the extended, non-vegan family on Thanksgiving, but this year we’re going with chicken for them.

This PBS article tells you why, but I’ll give you short highlights from the article:

– No single outbreak source

– 164 hospitalization in the last year, 1 death

– No oversight on salmonella; it’s up to consumers not to get sick

– “the Thanksgiving turkey you lug home from the grocery store is likely contaminated”

– They consider it too costly to regulate

Longer highlights:

Federal health officials have identified no single source of the outbreak of Salmonella… As of Nov. 5, the bacterial strain has led to 63 hospitalizations and, in California, one death.

…There is no U.S. requirement that turkeys or other poultry be free of salmonella — including antibiotic-resistant strains like the one tied to the outbreak — so prevention falls largely to consumers.

That means acknowledging that the Thanksgiving turkey you lug home from the grocery store is likely contaminated, said Jennifer Quinlan, an associate professor in the Nutrition Sciences Department at Drexel University.

Other experts contend that simply telling consumers to handle food properly is unfair and ineffective. Regulators and industry should be responsible for preventing contamination in the first place.

“They ought to be going after these guys like gangbusters,” said Carl Custer, a food safety microbiology consultant who spent decades at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “This is a seriously virulent strain.”

“Salmonella is still common enough that it would be hugely impractical and costly to make it an adulterant,” he added. “It would double the cost of poultry.”

“Salmonella is still common enough that it would be hugely impractical and costly to make it an adulterant,” he added. “It would double the cost of poultry.”

Share, share, share.

Oh goody, it’s time for the turkey-salmonella lottery :(

November 15, 2018

“…the potentially contaminated turkey brands have yet to be identified.” Uh, guys? Americans? Please share this all over the place.


Milk is super bad for you (go figure)

October 26, 2018
Photo by Ján Jakub Naništa on Unsplash

While this article sounds tinfoil-hatty, I have heard and read the same from multiple other sources which I deem to be credible. AND this article does a decent job of linking to other studies and articles.

Key point:

“Because milk is very mucus-forming in the human body, it is believed to contribute to allergies, ear infections, Type 1 diabetes, anemia, and even constipation. In addition, the food may contribute to various types of cancers as consumption of the product increases the body’s level of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1).”

I’m starting to drift toward the philosophy, “nearly anything the government wants to sell me THAT BADLY, probably isn’t all that good for me”. (An incomplete list of exceptions: vaccinations, exercise.)

Article: ‘Milk Does the Body Good’ Is the Biggest Lie Ever and How Government Helps Big Dairy Sell Milk


P.S. I’ve been dairy free for 17 months, and I’m doing just fine.

P.S.S. Don’t start with me about underdeveloped countries. We’ll talk to underdeveloped countries when they get up to the point of feeding most of the population, and pushing THEM to spend lots of money on milk and cheese, k?

Note to self: books to read

October 21, 2018

I should look into the replies to this tweet…