Friday, March 27, 2009

Lowest on the Totem Pole

I think that even as of a few months ago I felt like I was always apologizing, I was, to draw from some old symbolism of my own, a fetus. Incapable of doing almost anything at work on my lonesome.

And you know, even before I was born I still had my built-in partner-in-crime, my twin sister.

Today, I realize that there are a lot of things I am able to do as someone who primarily works with our primary service population that my supervisors can't do. There's a lot of change and good I make, and that's one of the reasons I can't for the life of me worry and fret over politicians--I make change at a grassroots-level. That's what I am lucky enough to get to do for a living.

I have so much to learn. I mean, my brain isn't even fully-developed, I'm still a teenager in there. Connections are still being forged.

And even though I don't help interview summer staff, or write the June training schedule, I still get an awful-lot of self-determination in my position every day. I get to make suggestions, set precidents (like sending things in PDF), and share the knowledge I do have with my colleagues. It's not a whole lot, and I am in awe 99% of the time at the experience, knowledge, and common sense held by my co-workers and supervisors.

There are also unique things I bring to my work. Coming from art school, having the ability to sew, having the ability to design publications and format files into portable documents to e-mail. I like that there are some things uniquely mine, and yet so much of what I am experiencing are things that all my colleagues have experienced, too. And they can't just tell me what they learned, because that's not how lessons are best learned. I have to experience these things for myself. Sure, there are growing pains, and times I feel incompetent or out of my element. I also need to have faith that my colleagues wouldn't put me in a place that I would flounder.

Oh, also, I have to get in shape and do more backpacking. Totally do-able. I didn't think I could ever swim the 550 but I have that thing nailed (even if my breaststroke form is TERRIBLE). As frustrating as the stubborn streak that runs in my family is, that's the same stubborn streak that helps me accomplish challenging tasks. I might WANT to give up on them sometime. And some days, I do. But I'm a pretty tenacious person. I don't have anything against me like half my kids have against them in the inner-city.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

No-Fail Fundakowski-Feldman Lemon Bars

My parents recently sent me a whole Priority Mail box of lemons, and prior to my backpacking trip I made a batch (cooked a little longer at a lower temperature for both chewyness and durability and because the power went out in the process). Lemon bars, after all, are a combination of carbohydrates, simple sugars, bright, bold flavors and pure fat--perfect for any cool-weather camping or backpacking expedition!

Without further ado, my parents' no-fail recipe:

No-Fail Fundakowski-Feldman Lemon Bars
makes one jellyroll pan or 9 by 13 pan, makes around 40-50 cookies

  • 1 Cup (1/2 lb.) butter (or margarine)
  • ½ Cup confectioners sugar (you can go 1/3 c confectioners then remaining sugar in the raw if you like the crunch like me)
  • 2 Cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional, my addition)

  • 2 Cup sugar (or, 1 1/2 C. turbinado sugar, 1/2 C. white sugar if you like the crunch of the big crystals)
  • ¼ Cup flour
  • 4 Eggs
  • 6 Tblsp. Lemon juice (1/3 C. plus 1 T.)
  • Very outer rind of 1 – 2 lemons, micro-planed if you have one, grated if not
  • 1 tsp. Baking powder
  • pinch-dash salt (I go dash, recipe says pinch)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting the top (1/4 c)

  1. Coat 9x13 inch baking pan or jelly roll pan with non-stick spray or margarine and preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Assemble crust; cut butter into sugar and flour mixture (or food process for great ease!).
  3. Press crust into 9 by 13 inch coated baking pan.
  4. Bake at 350º for approximately 20 min. or until barely browning (your nose knows when the crust can come out!).
  5. While baking, beat eggs in large mixing bowl; If using raw sugar or turbinado sugar cream in sugar at this time to give it a little more time to incorporate.
  6. add all but lemon juice and rind and mix until smooth and creamy.
  7. Finally add lemon juice and rind.
  8. Pour on top of baked crust and return to 350º F oven for 25 minutes or until top is set. Dust with confectioners sugar and cut into bars when cooled and set. Bite-sized bars work best, no matter what size the bars at Starbucks are.
  9. Keep all the chewy edges for yourself, give away the ones that look nice but are inferior in texture.
  10. Store in airtight container with wax paper between layers of cookies. These freeze very well.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009

See you in 4 days!

Some people may be surprised to hear that I've never been backpacking before. I am in the car heading to High Point, New Jersey for work. I am hoping I can catalogue the trip well enough to relay in a fun and interesting way. I am thinking really hard about starting a facilitation weblog, if only because I would love to do some presentations at AEE regional conferences, and I think it'd be a great way to roll those ideas around the Internet. Part of me wonders if there are any collaborative blogs or groups of experiential educators who write.

Getting carsick, gotta stop. Back on Sunday!

Elle's shared items