Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Wow oh wow. Words cannot even begin to describe how incredibly touched I was to see all the supportive comments on my previous post. Thank you so much everyone for all your kind words. Reading your comments really helped lift my spirits during a time when I was feeling very lost.

Apparently I worried a few people with my last post, and I want to apologize. I may have been a bit dramatic. I was going through a very rough patch with my teaching and I may have made it seem worse than it really is. In all honesty, I do enjoy teaching - for the most part. It's frustrating when my students slack off and show little interest in their work, especially when I think about all the effort I put into my classes - I work about 9-10 hours per day during the week and at least 6 hours per day during the weekends. Of course, I have some amazing students, who are engaged and appreciative, but it's difficult to ignore the ones who aren't. Here's an example...

A few weeks ago, I gave a midterm exam for my Operating Systems course (yes, I teach Computer Science and yes, I am a nerd). Here is one of the questions on the exam:

In the context of Operating Systems what is atomicity?

And here is the response from one of my "less-engaged" students:

Atomicity probably has something to do with how processes work with eachother (?? I dunno, maybe? I got nothing).


Let me mention that this student comes to class everyday, sits in the front row, and...falls asleep. EVERY DAY. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I don't mean dozing off every few seconds. I mean full on sleep. Frustrating, is all I can say. Why would you even write "I dunno, maybe, I got nothing" on an exam? Why oh why?

Then there are the excuses. The (what seems like) thousands and thousands of excuses. I've been teaching for less than a semester and I feel like I've heard them all already:

-"I wanted to come to class, really I did, but I accidentally set my alarm for 8pm instead of 8am"
-"I meant to submit the homework, but somehow I just totally forgot"
-"I really wanted to hand in this assignment, but I just fell asleep instead"

These are not jokes. These are actual excuses I have gotten from students. Actual excuses. From real-life students. Frustrating.

OK, I'm done ranting for now. There will be more later, I promise.

I know I'm complaining a lot, and really I shouldn't be. There are so many wonderful things going on in my life and I too often let myself lose sight of them. Remember the BF? Well, he isn't a BF anymore, he's now an F - as in fiancé. And he's officially moving here in January. :)

Here are some random pictures...

I'm also extremely blessed to have the most amazing family in the world. Despite my everlasting grumpiness they've made the long trek from their little pockets in the country to visit me here in the middle of nowhere (Ok, it's not really in the middle of nowhere, I'm just being dramatic again). Which finally brings me to this baklava. I cannot take credit for this dish, because I didn't make it or even help make it. My sister did all the work when she visited me a few weeks ago, and I'm so glad she did. This is an amazing dessert made with wonderful ingredients: walnuts, honey, lemon, and delicate sheets of phyllo. Use a pastry brush to apply thin layers of butter or olive oil, and you actually have a (somewhat) guilt-free dessert. Thanks Didi. :)

Baklava (adapted from allrecipes)


* 1 pound chopped walnuts
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
* 1/2 cup butter, melted or olive oil (may not even need this much, see below)
* 1 cup white sugar
* 1 cup water
* 1/2 cup honey
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish.
2. Toss together cinnamon and nuts. Unroll phyllo and cut whole stack in half to fit the dish. Cover phyllo with a damp cloth while assembling the baklava, to keep it from drying out.
3. Place two sheets of phyllo in the bottom of the prepared dish. Brush with thin layer of butter. Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of the nut mixture on top. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used, ending with about 6 sheets of phyllo. Using a sharp knife, cut baklava (all the way through to the bottom of the dish) into four long rows, then (nine times) diagonally to make 36 diamond shapes.
4. Bake in preheated oven 50 minutes, until golden and crisp.
5. While baklava is baking, combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir in honey, vanilla and lemon zest, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
6. Remove the baklava from the oven and immediately spoon the syrup over it. Let cool completely before serving. Store uncovered.