Bike Rides. Pumpkin Curry. Period. Cultural Studies.

Bike Ride

When we left school today to walk the quarter mile to our cars, I almost had Lisa, my friend and colleague, pinch me, because it’s January 30 and the temperature was hovering nicely around 50 degrees. The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing, and the air just smelled joyful and springlike. I felt like running and playing, but since I had just run on Saturday night, I thought I’d play it safe by taking my dogs for a walk. We walked down to the dam, where I like to watch the water spill over, and where the dogs like to sniff things and pee on the concrete wall that separates the road from the water.We lingered there for a bit enjoying the weather and the majesty of the water before heading home.

When we got home, I brought the dogs inside to play for a bit, but I was feeling antsy, like I didn’t quite want to settle in for the night, so I decided to go for a bike ride. I rode down the White River Greenway to Jackson Street, staying on the pavement the entire time. As I turned off of Jackson back onto the Cardinal Greenway, I got a little adventurous notion—probably a side effect of the paleo lifestyle, I mean who doesn’t like to play?—and I cut off the path to ride cyclo-cross style (on my mountain bike) back along the river bank, stopping only to carry my bike across two railroad tracks. While I realize this little side trip off the asphalt isn’t that adventurous, riding on private property along the river is not my usual bike trip.

I always see this group of guys—and, yes, they are all guys—riding along the river bank at night, wearing headlamps. They always look like they are having such fun. I think they are the same guys who practice their cyclo-cross skills by riding in circles around the trees in the field at Minnetrista. The riding in circles is a little odd, but I can see how liberating it is to ride near the river in the grass. I may even give the circle riding a whirl! Even that little bit of transgression against the societal norm here in Muncie makes the world seem like a little bit better of a place. A little less restrictive and a bit more free. Maybe once I get in better shape, I can join them sometime. They have to be some kind of Ball State club. Maybe I’ll check into it.

Pumpkin Curry

During the fall and winter, I can’t resist a good, hearty soup, stew, or chowder. Tonight for dinner, Bec and I had Creamy Pumpkin Curry. The soup/curry was amazing just like the recipe is written, but when I make it again, I plan to halve the amount of shrimp to one pound and add in some fish chunks for a bit of variety. I may also add in some kale for a little bitterness to offset the sweetness of the pumpkin. I found that since I eat very little sugar these days, things like pumpkin taste really sweet to me, particularly when paired with coconut and spices like coriander. Don’t get me wrong: the soup was amazing like it was. I just like to experiment, and I needed one more layer of flavor to dilute the pumpkin-sweetness.

Period: Yes, That Period.

I was beginning to feel sorry for myself because I hadn’t lost any weight this week and because I was having all these cravings for sweet things the past couple of days. Then I realized that I am supposed to start my period soon, and that means all bets for normalcy are off. I must say, though, that being paleo has really cut down on the PMS and mood swings I typically experience during this week. In fact, had it not been for the constant craving for ice cream this week (coupled with not losing weight) and my new-found obsession with writing everything down including the days of my menstrual cycles, I wouldn’t have even realized that this was the week before my period.

I wonder if other people have the same experience with paleo living and their menstrual cycles or if it’s just me. I can only assume this is yet another excellent bonus of living this lifestyle, though I am unsure if my non-angst-riddled pre-menstrual mental health can be contributed to diet or to my general physical well-being and differentiated exercise routine. Either way, I’ll take it.

Cultural Studies

I’ve decided to take a new approach to teaching my high school literature class, particularly the modernism section that we are heading into right now. For some reason, Modernist literature seems like the most difficult genre/time period for my students to understand. This could be because of my own apprehension at defining Modernism, or it might be because of their own inability to understand that historical period. They seem to get tripped up on what that time period really entails historically. They know the wars and some of the industrial situations, but as far the rest of the cultural milieu of the early 1900s, they are at a loss.

I decided to fix this difficulty this year by having them do some historical/cultural situation of events in the time period. For tomorrow, each student will come to class with a newspaper article from 1890-1935, one that was written then, not about then. They will use these articles as background knowledge for the texts we’ll read. To choose from, I gave them topics, such as fashion, industry, war, science, psychology, agriculture, music, art, and politics. I hope they come in with a broad range of “current” events to discuss, and I hope they have lots to say about their articles and what those articles tell us about the Modernist time period and the few years leading up to it. We’ll see how this works out, and I’ll keep you apprised.

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