Friday, October 14, 2011

The Nature of Responsibility

"I am here to accept responsibility for that which I did.  I will not accept responsibility for that which I did not do."  ~Oliver North

This morning, a friend at work came up to me and said, "You should teach."  I made the same noncommittal sound I made when my neighbor asked what my new project would be -- a cross between a groan and a shrug of the shoulders.  She had read my blog and wanted to weigh in.  "You have a passion."  As if that speaks for itself.

But, it does, doesn't it?

I started in on my argument about the nature of responsibility.  "But, everyone wants a guru," I lamented.  The experience of people wanting to hand the reigns of responsibility and personal power over to someone else is so common in my life -- probably because despite my best intentions, I've done it.  And I've been on the flip-side, too, where others would much rather let me do the thinking -- and ultimately the decision making -- for them.

Haven't we all?

My friend went on to say that when she goes to a class, she doesn't expect that the teacher knows everything.  She knows that she has to trust herself and her own experience, while being open to what the teacher does know and does have to share.

She's right, she's right, I know she's right!

In a perfect world, that would be the mindset of every student who walked into any class.  I'm doesn't seem possible.  In all fairness, it probably isn't.  Maybe, just maybe, it's a teacher's job to set those boundaries in the way that they teach, being sure to leave decision-making in the hands of the student as much as possible.   Empowering students rather than allowing the responsibility to shift.

Maybe what's in question here isn't whether I would be a good teacher but simply, what kind of teacher would I want to be?

What our conversation brought to my awareness is my tendency, more past than present, to take on more than my share of the responsibility...regardless the situation.  In fact, as my role at work has shifted over the years from lead baker to general manager, I've had to ask myself exactly that -- what kind of manager do I want to be?

The beauty is that we always have a choice.  But then -- and here's the kicker -- we have to take responsibility for it.  I never thought I'd quote Ollie North of all people, but I admire the clarity in his statement.  We must do as much...we need not do more.

Hopefully, though, we are able to temper the imperative of "it's not my responsibility" with adequate respect and compassion.//

What's For Dinner Tonight?
For many years, Friday night in the Marek household has been "Pizza Friday!"  As of late, we've been woefully negligent in keeping the tradition alive...until now!  There's always been the flexibility of whether we'd get delivery, go somewhere to have pizza, or make it ourselves (either in the oven or on the grill).

To kick it off with a bang, we're making our own.  And throwing a little Pumpkin Beer tasting in for good measure.  Read on...

Homemade Pizza
1 chunk of dough from your local Great Harvest (well, that works for us)
all your favorite toppings:
meats, veggies and cheeses of choice.  By all means, get creative!

Want some good pizza ideas?  A great book I found is: Pizza: 50 Authentic Italian Recipes by Pamela Sheldon Johns. (Looks like it might be out of print but there are used ones available.)

Not many details of the pizza making process tonight, we were busy trying to make a video instead.  All eight seconds of it.  Watch me toss the dough like a real live pizza baker (there's gotta be a more exciting name for "pizza baker"!).

I guess you get to enjoy it twice since I put it in once and a second one magically appeared and I can't get rid of it...drat you technology!!!

Obviously, we need a little work...

The pizzas, however, were perfect!  Could be that we haven't done it in so long, but I think they were just that crazy good.  Mine was homemade pesto sauce with italian sausage, mushrooms, onions, red pepper and mozzarella.  Terry's was homemade marinara sauce with italian sausage, mushrooms, onions, red pepper and a Kraft slice for good measure (I did said "get creative", didn't I??).

I tried to get a picture of them while they were baking, but apparently this is what 500 degrees does to my camera...

In case you'd like it, here's my pesto recipe (adapted from Mollie Katzen's The Enchanted Broccoli Forest -- love this cookbook!)

3 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
4 cloves of garlic (the more the better, in my book!)
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup melted butter
freshly ground black pepper to taste (lots and lots!)

Puree everything together in a food processor.  Spread on your pizza crust (or dollop on your freshly cooked pasta) and SMILE!  It's amazing.  I promise.

Now to the Pumpkin Beer tasting portion of the evening...

We tried Post Road Pumpkin Ale, New Holland Brewing's Ichabod Pumpkin Ale, and Lakefront Brewery's Pumpkin Lager Beer.

Post Road: Nutty flavor, just a touch of pumpkin and spices.
Lakefront: richer in color, creamier, a little spicier than Post Road, still not much pumpkin.
Ichabod: hands-down winner for coolest label!  Oh, right...lots of nutmeg, a smokier, more bitter finish than the others, not much pumpkin.

I'm actually surprised how little pumpkin they all seemed to have.  They all taste good -- easy drinking and enjoyable.

And the winner is...(drumroll, please!)

I think we'd have to call it a tie as both were empty at the time of this writing.  Lakefont (her) and Ichabod (him).  Don't worry, we won't let the Post Road go to waste!

All in all, a fantastic night!

 What are you doing for fun this evening??

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