“8 + 5 is… 12… no, 13! Aaargh!”
I love how this happens at the most inopportune times; it’s as though my mind has a little hiccup if it senses it is “under attack”.
Oh, it doesn’t take much to rattle it. Just put me on the spot and ask me to introduce you to a group of people, all of whom I’ve known for years. My brain will just “blip” and check out. Not that any of these situations are even remotely threatening. Awesome.
I do know that it started in my early “Math Terror” years at school. I skipped Grade 2 because I could read. No one asked me if I could do the times tables… or divide. No one asked if I was emotionally ready to be with a group of peers a full year, sometimes 2 years older than I (January baby:). But I could read “Tip and Mitten” like nobody’s business, so matriculation was the order of the day. How I loved “Tip”… best first book ever read, quickly followed by “Hop on Pop”.
I vividly (and painfully) recall standing next to my desk and having to recite the times tables from memory and failing miserably… in front of the entire class. I recall slipping out my scribbler with the chart and cheating on tests.
I thought I had to be perfect. Somewhere in those 3 years compressed into 2 I had missed out on some basic math… and, more importantly, some confidence.
It’s not a big deal, it’s only inconvenient and occasionally embarrassing when it pops back up. It’s the real reason I can’t stand to have attention drawn to me in a crowd. More importantly, it motivated me to become a teacher myself.
I’m happy to celebrate that my mind has other funny little quirks that I love…you could ask me to spell anything and I can rattle it off without skipping a beat. Ask me to write you a story, a poem, finish a sentence… no problem. And I am no longer shy.
I do have one other strange little habit, though. A new word will pop into my head and refuse to leave until I do something with it. I obsess until I discover what it means and then it “insists” on being either written down or spoken.
Let’s just say that any attempt to engage my son in conversation using these new words has been less than stellar. He just looks at me like I’ve finally, truly lost my mind then says, suspiciously, “OK, mom, I know you’re just trying to get me to learn a new word.”
And I do love to write… and cook…
Today’s Word Impulse came from CBC Radio 2 (I think):
I gather that, apart from being a “powerful and epic attack in Problem Sleuth” (what the #*&& is that??) it is also a word that can be broken into Sepulchre (death) and Pulchritude (astonishing beauty). So I think it communicates that something can be so incredibly beautiful that it can actually kill you (not too good); better that it be “a deadly display of physical attractiveness.”
And, naturally, I was wandering through the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables aisle of the grocery store (what can I say, it’s a mundane life that I lead?) when the word struck. There I was, just minding my own business, trying to select the perfect ingredients for my Acorn Squash recipe…
Ultimately, the ingredients were finally selected, those little acorn squashes were baked and I’m happy to say it was “Sepulchritudinous” (even made the word a little longer for ya’) and every mouthful felt like I’d died and gone to heaven!
Sepulchritudinous Acorn Squash
- 2 acorn squash
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1 apple, diced
- 1/4 cup dates, diced
- 6-8 dried apricots, diced
- 1/4 cup dried pomegranate
- flavored Craisins (or dried cranberries)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 tbsp honey
- zest from one orange
- juice from one orange
- 1/2 tsp Asian chile sauce
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 cups water
- 1/2 cup feta cheese, drained
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Cut the Acorn Squash down the center, from top to bottom. Scrape out seeds and remove pulp. (They should look a bit like hearts?) Place 2 halves open-side down in a microwave safe container. Fill with water to about 1 to 1-1/2 inches. Microwave on high for 15 minutes (or more depending on your microwave). Remove, add a bit more water and repeat for the remaining 2 halves. Set cooked squash open side up in an oven-proof baking pan.
- In a small saucepan, mix quinoa and water together. Bring to a boil, reduce and cover. Cook until quinoa has softened and “pops”, about 8 minutes. Keep an eye on it as it can boil dry quite quickly.
- Meanwhile, add butter to a skillet over medium high heat. Add the ginger and when it starts to heat up add the diced apple. Cook until apple pieces have softened. Add all remaining ingredients, except the feta cheese. Stir then cover with a lid so that the ingredients steam and reduce for about 4 minutes. All liquid should have evaporated or thickened by then.
- Stir the quinoa into the fruit mixture.
- Spoon the filling into the acorn halves. Sprinkle small bits of feta over top.
- Bake for about 10-15 minutes, until the filling is hot and feta is lightly browned.
Adapted from Hugh Carpenter’s recipe in Hot Vegetables.