so, this week is vida vegan con in portland, and i had every intention of going, until i realized several weeks ago that it just wasn’t going to happen this time. i’m pretty bummed about it, because it means i’m missing a lot of super-awesome people, and amazing talks, and delicious food… so i’m burying myself in the #vvc2013 hashtag on twitter, and drooling over everyone’s instagram snaps, and feeling alternately happy and sad and envious and nostalgic. womp womp.
but then i realized, i kind of don’t even deserve to be there, considering i have blogged precisely TWICE in the past entire YEAR. let’s just let that sink in for a moment, shall we?
so, for realsies this time, i need to remedy that. truth be told, i have plenty of material to babble on about, and i could probably use the healthy outlet of talking freely among fellow vegans. i have new obsessions and new frustrations and just random jibber-jabber to share! and holy moly do i have tons of pictures i could be narrating. pictures like this one of my adorable maia-dog!
i mean, look at that face! she’s waiting for me to get going and write some blog posts, amirite? i guess i’d better hop to it. hopefully some of you are still out there, and i won’t just be rambling all by my lonesome. holler at your girl.
remember when i was a big whiny baby who hated whole foods for discontinuing all the best cereals? if not, allow me to jog your memory right here. yep, they gave the ol’ heave-ho to their apple cinnamon morning o’s, cosmic cocos, and rainbow rings. jerkfaces galore, i tell you. well anyway, i am here to tell you that i made that hoarded stash of apple cinnamon morning o’s last FOREVAH, and just today i opened the very last box. *sniff* it’s totally expired and everything, but i will savor each morsel because i’ll never eat them again.
i have complained many a time about The Man taking my awesome favorite products away, and in looking back at 2012, i realized i had to give up a whole bunch of stuff. perhaps i shall prepare a proper rant.
so, i kind of dropped off the face of the earth again, hey? sorry about that, if you’re the kind of person who notices and/or wonders. basically, after prepping my new grad class in a whirlwind and getting settled at the beginning of the semester, i was very soon hit with devastating news about an incredibly beloved colleague. she was diagnosed with an aggressive lung cancer (the kind healthy non-smokers get) in week 3 of the semester, and she passed away in week 8 of the semester. to say it was rough is an understatement, but i’ll just leave it at that. many, many tears were shed. <3
on top of that, there have been aaaaall kinds of stressors and shenanigans at work this semester, and it has honestly ranked up there as the worst one ever. i spent the vast majority of it just willing it to end, and now it finally has. whew!
on a happy note, my new grad class went super-well. i loved my students and i loved the material and we all had a grand old time. so at least even in the worst semester ever, something awesome happened. yay!
summer school starts tomorrow, and i’m teaching two classes — one face to face, and one online, as has been my custom. i prefer to teach in the first six weeks of summer because it feels more like a continuation of spring (and less like i’m “working during break” or “cutting my summer break short” or whatever). in a rare burst of productivity, i got both classes totally prepped and ready to go with time to spare, so i’ve been enjoying a little downtime this weekend, including sniffing around this blog again. i hope to be back soon with on-topic vegan stuff, but i thought i’d at least post an update to get some momentum going.
okay, i have no idea what on earth took me so long to try these, but i am sorely regretting all of that lost cocomel-eating time right now. they’re amazing! (i know, i know, a lot of you are saying “well, no duh” right now, and rolling your eyes at me)
my husband and i were at vegan essentials the other day, and while we were technically there on a dog food run, i can never help browsing once i’m there. my husband has only ever been there once before, so he’s even more interested in browsing than i am… so browse we did! while wandering, i saw a bunch of different bags and boxes of cocomels, and something clicked. i remembered hearing about them in various places, and so i pointed them out to e, who is a big caramel fan. he was game to try some, so i stood around forever trying to decide until we finally just grabbed the variety pack. it includes 12 pieces: 3 each of original, vanilla, fleur de sel, and java (which i made e promise to eat because i hate coffee-flavored-anything). and, because i absolutely couldn’t help myself, i also grabbed a box of chocolate-covered chai spice cocomels… it comes in an adorable be-ribboned four-pack, like truffles.
i think we lasted a day before we tore into them, and once we started there was almost no stopping us. we ate half the bag in one go, until i forced us to put it back in the kitchen (we ate the other half the following day). these things are DELICIOUS. they’re chewy yet creamy, buttery, delicately flavored, and everything i ever liked about caramel but didn’t realize i missed so much. seriously, i think i could eat my weight in cocomels. e loved them, too, so i’m pretty sure i’ll be picking up some more when i’m at vegan essentials again. it’s probably a blessing they aren’t available at our co-op, because yikes.
i only tried 3 of the flavors (i had 2 each), and e ate all 3 pieces of java, plus 1 each of the other flavors (we are nothing if not fair). i honestly can’t tell you what my favorite was, because they were all fantastic. if you haven’t tried them yet, please do yourself a favor and figure out a way.
i still have the cute little box of chai cocomels on the kitchen counter — i’m a little afraid to open it because i’ll probably want to eat them all once i start. i’ll check back in once i gather up my courage, and let you know how it went.
i had no idea that newman’s own made licorice, did you? i’m not sure if this is a new development, or if i’ve just been hiding under a rock. today i went to a brand-new store on our campus, which aims to offer natural, minimally processed foods. they just opened two days ago, and the little news blurb they put out included a photograph of a case full of zevia flavors (love.), so i was really curious about what vegan goods they might have to offer.
my husband and i had a brief break between meetings this afternoon, so we wandered over to check it out. it’s small, but they have a pretty good variety of snacks (including frozen dinners and microwaveable soups, etc.) and a bunch of it is vegan (yay!). they have practically an entire aisle of clif and luna bars, and they have a lovely selection of newman’s own cookies. they also have fresh falafel, pita, and tahini sauce in the refrigerated case, which is great! anyhow, i digress.
in my quest to throw them a little business, i was browsing for something i hadn’t tried before, and i found an entire display of newman’s own licorice. they had four flavors: black (i am not a fan), strawberry (the ol’ standard), tangerine (interesting choice), and pomegranate (also unique). on the shelf above that, they also had a bunch of sour flavors. i didn’t make a note of what all they had, because i’m not sure i’m a sour licorice person. anyhow, we decided to give the pomegranate a spin, and i also bought a cream zevia because i had never tried that flavor.
the licorice smelled wonderful as soon as i opened the package, so we were off to a good start. we ate most of the pack on our walk back to our building, and we both liked it a lot. it’s a little more ‘natural-tasting’ than twizzlers, as you might expect. the pomegranate is an interesting twist, too… basically it’s fancy licorice in a cute little snack-size package. i’d definitely eat it again, and i’d like to try the strawberry sometime.
okay, so i successfully prepped my grad class in record time and i think (i hope) i came up with something that will be really fun/good/educational/interesting. that’s all i can hope for, right? the topic is a little dark, so i worry a little about having a downer of a class, but i’m going to work on doing ‘fun’ stuff and/or focusing on positive aspects of whatever we’re discussing each week, too. my group seems just fantastic, so i’m excited about this semester. here’s hoping we all love it!
in any event, that means my life has officially Settled Down and i can (with any luck) start blogging regularly-ish again. i even have a tiny baby post lined up to get things rolling, so stay tuned for that.
teaching winterim ate my last three weeks and now i have something like two days to get my shiz together for spring semester, which starts on monday. except that also during those two days, i have to grade 19 six-page papers and grade 19 exams and figure 19 participation grades and sleep and eat and maybe watch just a little tiny bit of teevy? and also perhaps have a little tiny breakdown. i am not in panic mode yet, but i trust it will come.
for my undergrad class, i’m almost ready, because i had a productivity burst right at the end of fall semester and i worked ahead a bunch. the big task that remains is to create the course calendar, which involves scheduling what happens during each lecture and discussion for the whole semester, and then going back to the beginning and slating in what happens in each of the four stand-alone sections as well. it’s kind of a puzzle and i put it off because it’s a little crazy-making, but it always sorts itself out in the end. so i really need to do that. maybe i’ll start working on that while my winterim class takes their final tomorrow.
but for my grad class… sooooo sooooo much to do. i have a title, a working list of topics i’d like to cover, and a potential book or two we might use. that’s better than nothing, but i’d say i’m about 14% of the way there. i need to finalize my topic list, seriously hustle when it comes to selecting readings, and let the students know if we’re going to use any books (so they can order them in time). i did this last winter as well, in about a week, and now i’m cutting it really close (my seminar meets next thursday). i think the only reason i’m not in full-on meltdown mode is because i’m clinging to the fact that i pulled this off last year. here’s hoping i have it in me again. blerg.