Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Spicy Turnip Greens & Goat Cheese Pasta

Wow, I am so proud of my creation, I am sharing it with you. I used, naturally, gluten free pasta, but regular pasta would work also. I used spiral pasta, but honestly I think anything would work just fine. i bought the greens from Wayward Seed farms at the farmers market today. So super fresh!

1/2 bunch big leafy turnip greens
4 oz goat cheese crumbs
2 cups chicken stock (you will not use it all)
1/2 small onion thinly sliced
red pepper flakes to taste
black pepper to taste
salt to taste

Boil pasta following package directions.

Meanwhile, pour 1/2 c stock in large pan, toss in onions cook 2 minutes, then add the chopped greens. Cover and stir until greens are wilted and bright green, they are not cooked, but cooking at this point. Add salt and pepper and pepper flakes. Stir and cook uncovered, adding stock as needed. You must keep a bit of stock in the pan, so that the bitterness of the greens has somewhere to go. Let rest a few minutes and serve. Yumm-o!

When the pasta is almost done, add a ladle or two of the pasta water to the greens mixture, drain the pasta and toss it into the greens, tossing to coat. Then toss is the goat cheese and stir until melted.

Monday, October 19, 2009

In my Operations Management class, I have been studying my writing habits as a process, which I would like to see improved. Week 1, I drew up a process/flow chart and then I studied, how I am doing with my process. The reality is there is too little time in some days. Maybe I should get up at 5 am and write for a solid 2 hours. But I can't. Why? I cannot function with any brain capacity at 5 am. So I am left to work with the day light hours. I did think, however that this paper, which needed a MUCH higher word limited frankly, is very much about hoe writing, for a commercial purpose, is manufacturing in a way and I am not sure that is the kind of writer I ulimately want to be. My stories are important to me. If I am not feeling it, it shows.


Time or Creative Resources, which is the limited resource

A bottleneck is any point in the process, which slows the process, derails the process or adds costs unnecessarily to the process. “A potential exists to manage the resources better by allowing a cost structure where the resources are shared among a group of customers…, it is still a valid argument that a customer paying for the resource mismanagement of a company will have a negative impact on the business. Following this logical argument, activity based costing does not suggest assigning the cost of under-utilized resources to the customers. Therefore, the cost of resource under-utilization does not get its due attention. ..resource under-utilization cost to be an important consideration in order to identify potential bottlenecks in the manufacturing systems for a better resource management… provides an activity based costing model to identify resource under-utilization assuming normally distributed demands. The main justification for picking the ABC methodology to identify potential bottlenecks lies in the fact that we need activities in order to manufacture a product. These activities in turn need resources.” (Gill, 2008, pg. 165)

The process being study is my ability to carve out 4 hours per week for focused creative writing; there are two main sources of bottlenecks in this process, time and creativity. Sometimes those two resources feed one another and sometimes they can be identified in distinct ways. Most writers would not view their writing process as manufacturing, but in fact that is in essences what the writing process is, manufacturing a document, a creative work, a work product, the summation of hours of labor.

An expert opinion on the matter of creativity in this writing process holds, “Given that a lot of good writing is achieved through this day-after-day, draft-after-draft, down-to-earth manner, calling what we do the "creative" process is a bit of a misnomer, and a dangerous one at that. The term leads us to believe that we actually need to be feeling creative in order to write successfully. As such, we wait for inspiration to get started… and there goes another month or year with no pages to show for it.”(Cole, 2009, p. 26)

In a careful review of the data collected, the study reveals no lack of creativity on my part; I have notes and notes, drafts of poems, partial poems, made carefully on the days I simply could not be at my computer. The true bottleneck in this process is too little time. Some days it may be lack of careful discipline on my part, some days it is being too tired, given the demands of the day and over the period of the study, issues have cropped up, which have eaten into the carefully created weekly process plan. Could these issues have been mitigated, in part no, some are well and truly outside of my control, such as ill children and my mother needing additional supportive care. Going forward, I may need to revise my planning process or accept that for as long as I am attending the University of Phoenix, my expected creative writing time, may well need to be pared back. There truly are only so many hours in the day.


Cole, J. (2009). The (not so) creative process. Writers, 122(10), 26. Retrieved from

Gill, A. (2008). Identifying potential bottlenecks through activity under-utilization cost. Manuscript submitted for publication. Retrieved October 16, 2009, from

Thursday, October 15, 2009

He's such a guy...

E: What are you doing?

Me: Christmas shopping?

E: For what?

Me: For presents.

E: For me?

Me: I do not know what you want, how can I get you presents if I do not know what you want.

E: You can just buy me what I want.

Me: You have to tell me what you want.

E: You can just buy me what you want me to want, or have, or want to have.

Down the hall he marches, dragging a rope and a pillow.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Writing Style

I posted this to the team forum this morning. They are wasting time obsessing about who is going to write the hell out of each bullet point and wondering why their grade last round was not what they had hoped. I truly believe what I wrote below. There is a time and place for list based writing, like an RFP response for example, a how to manual, or guide. At the graduate level, however, you have to take a position, synthesize the facts and and add to the discourse. The style may vary based on the area of study, but regurgitation is not the path to an A. It just isn't.

Since I have no professional insight on the topic of this class, I will offer you this, as a writer...

I think the biggest mistake people make in writing is being too literal. So when I hear the team obsessing about each bullet point, I think, well they have to be in the paper but not as a hit list. I think a true sign of a professionally written paper, a graduate level paper is synthesis. Can you blend, braid and explain a complex idea in a complex and fresh way. Can you make meaningful connections. Can you take a concept and present it in a fresh way. can you combine "bullet points" in a single section of the paper seamlessly.

Teacher, I am willing to bet understands all of this material. I bet she can lecture on it in her sleep. There is no reason to spoon feed it back to her. That merely demonstrations that you can paraphrase from primary sources. Setting up a paper with headings that equal the bullet points is not exactly what she has in mind, I am willing to bet.

The papers I have been most successful with at UOP, and in thinking about it now, were the ones with vague guidelines, where I simply tried to tell the story. I took what I had read and thought about and applied it. It is harder and it is scarier I think, because it means taking a risk. It means taking an opinion and really selling it in terms of the writing. It means not pulling punches and not hedging and second guessing. When I read back over last weeks paper, I was like - ok, I get it, I see how I managed something I thought I was failing at...

So I think we need to read her lists, think about them critically and then apply them as we tell our story. What is it that we are going to do with the knowledge we have enmassed together. A "term paper" in my experience does not merit an A... I would not, if I were in her shoes give a "term paper" an A. If I got a paper, which merely answered the questions I asked in the order I asked them, would not give that an A either...

We need to, in the business setting, surprise and delight her.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lost and Found

May I just say it has been a day? H left this morning early for a trip and he grumbled last night he was staying in Chicago at Loft A. I asked him what that was and he said he had no idea. I suggested it might be an overflow hanger at the air port, he told me not to give anyone any ideas.

So we were up early, him dashing off to catch a flight and me dealing with a sick E and a distraught L. E came home from school with a hurting ear and he was up in the night for support care and snuggles. L has been missing her most treasured possession, Babalicious, her bunny. The bunny with a hole in its ear and who is more gray than white. She went missing over the weekend and we have not been able to find her.

So I dressed the three of us, managed a breakfast and then we took a trip to the neighborhood park before school to see if she was there. No rabbit. So we went to school, while I held for the pediatrician's office, securing a 9:30 am appointment. I went into school with her and we pawed thru an impressive collection of sweatshirts and jackets, but there was no little bunny.

Seeing as I had not brushed my hair nor put on make-up, thinking I could come home after the bunny recon mission, I looked a site as we arrived at the pediatrician's office. I will say at least I had on a nice pair of capris and a sharp black 3/4th length sleeve sweater. I was not in old Yoga pants and one of H's T-shirts.

The new doctor with the practice saw us and confirmed my suspicions, ear infection in BOTH ears. Ugh.

So armed with a script for antibiotics we stopped at WalMart to get my mother some tube socks. She is in a walking boot, that goes to her knew, given her broken foot and nearly sprained ankle. She needs the socks to keep her foot warm and prevent any rubbing and chafing of the boot.

Then to her house, where I gave her the socks and parked E on her sofa. I took her list and was off to pharmacy, and two groceries.

For reasons I do not understand the antibiotic was free at Kroger. I did not ask questions, I just smiled and nodded.

Went back to my moms, fed us all lunch, watched some tv and snuggled E and then off we went, coming home.

Once home E wanted to nap, so I got him settled looked at the clock and well hell it was almost time to go get L from school. Ugh.

So I swallowed my pride and with grace and humility called my neighbor, who agreed to pick up L. Whew. I then called school and let them know of the change.

Then I made the executive decision to be truly needy and called my other neighbor who takes dance lessons at the same place as L at the same time. She agreed to take L to dance lessons. I just could not see having E there for an hour while he is feeling poorly. On a good day he is a handful during this hour.

Then I just got them tucked in and I am going to bake a cake.

The best part of today? After in little windows of opportunity, I have been combing the house searching for this ratty rabbit. While packing E's suitcase for the trip to grandpa and grandma's this weekend, I move his blanket and low and behold in a basket snuggled up with E's puppy is Babalicious. We were roaming the park this morning, while she slept peacefully all covered up and warm.

So in the midst of seeming chaos, my mom got to spend some time with E and I learned that I really do need to just ask for help when I need it and if you look long and hard enough, what is lost will be found, where you least expect it.