Anticipation of empty nest pushes Debbie to new career
By Betty Street
Anticipating the empty nest hit Debbie Griewski hard, but she worked to find a way to fill those expected empty hours. Her youngest child was in fourth grade at the time, and Debbie sat in the back of her classroom observing the teacher aide and thought, “I can do this.” That was how Deb started on the road to becoming a paraprofessional teacher.
From 2002 to 2004, Debbie earned a two-year degree from Northern State University. She also took courses online. In 2008, Debbie moved to Aberdeen and enrolled as a junior at Northern to finish her bachelor’s degree in elementary education. But, she said, it was very strange, even scary, to be a middle-aged woman in classes with 19- and 20-year-olds. It took about two lonely weeks for the college kids to accept her as a friend. When one of the professors addressed her as “Debski,” the age difference no longer mattered to anyone.
She said going back to school “really was a great experience” for her. Debbie excelled in college. She was always on the honor roll and the dean’s list and graduated in December 2009. She was able to student teach locally in Wakpala. Debbie has also begun working towards a master’s degree and has to date earned 21 credits towards the required 30.
Debbie taught school in McLaughlin for two years and then went to Sitting Bull School in Little Eagle. This fall begins her second year in Little Eagle and she is very much looking forward to the start of school.
She said the days are long, but she loves them. She’s out the door at 7:10 a.m. and home around 6 p.m. She cooks supper for husband Gregg and herself, then corrects papers and prepares for the next school day until 10-10:30 p.m. and then calls it a night. The cycle starts over the next weekday.
Debbie said she has no time anymore for hobbies. She enjoys cruising the Internet looking for different ways to teach. She used to enjoy crafts, biking, and reading; and she wrote a children’s book, illustrated by daughter and graphic designer Alonna Griewski, Bebop’s Hungry Adventure, published in 2011. Deb says she has another children’s book plotted and ready to be written and is waiting for Alonna to have time to illustrate it, but doesn’t know when that will happen.
Debbie was born near Timber Lake. Her parents, Sam and Verna Goetz, both now deceased, were from Isabel. The family moved to Eureka when Deb was two years old. She graduated from Eureka High School in 1977. She moved to Mobridge to get a job soon after graduation and worked as a waitress, then as a bookkeeper for Aberle Well and Davidson Chevrolet. After her marriage to Gregg Griewski, the owner and head of Gregg’s Drilling & Excavating, and the births of sons Matt and Brent and daughter Alonna, Deb was a stay-at-home mom until Alonna was in the fourth grade, which is when she became a paraprofessional.
When her children were young, Deb “did everything with the kids including bowling, supporting youth activities, Cub Scouts, Daisy Scouts and Girl Scouts.” She was a leader for the Daisy and Girl Scouts. She went to Jaycee meetings and was on the city council for several years. Deb spearheaded the effort called “Project Restore,” which raised money to purchase durable playground equipment for the west side play park in Mobridge.
Deb is a very good cook, but she doesn’t have time or the inclination for that anymore, and since she had one hip replaced and is having the other one replaced this week, she has lost a lot of weight and is in the process of losing more. Nowadays she concentrates on eating very simple meals like broiled fish, fruit and vegetables.
She admitted she often burns stuff on the stove since she cooks on high instead of low and vegetables tend to run out of water. Deb said her worst cooking disaster occurred some years ago when taking an apple pie out of the oven. There must have been a microfracture in the pie plate, she said, because as it came out of the oven, the pie plate broke in half. Debbie didn’t use words to describe the mess; she just gestured expressively and the meaning came across very clearly with that and the look on her face.
Then Debbie said, “Note to self: never cook chicken in the microwave. It turns to chicken jerky.” Both times she tried cooking chicken in her microwave, she said it “came out as this dried-out … thing.”
Debbie’s recipes are are all very tasty and have been shared with family members.
DEBBIE GRIEWSKI’S RECIPES
1/2 cup margarine
1 (17-oz.) can each: whole and creamed corn (and liquid)
8 1/2-oz. box cornbread mix
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Melt margarine in 9×13-inch pan. Add corns and cornbread mix. Gently mix with fork. Drop sour cream by tablespoons in different areas and gently fold in. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes. Serves 12. Can be mixed in casserole dish also.
Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups shortening, softened
4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. each: vanilla and baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Cream shortening, sugars and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Combine flour, soda and salt. Add to wet ingredients. Stir in chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not brown. Makes 3 to 4 dozen.
Ham ‘n’ Cheese Omelet Roll
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup milk
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 cups finely chopped fully cooked ham.
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
Line the bottom and sides of a greased 15x10x1-inch baking pan with parchment paper; grease the paper and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and milk until smooth. Add flour and salt; mix until combined. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until blended. Add cream cheese mixture; mix well. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until eggs are puffed and set. Remove from the oven. Immediately spread with the mustard and sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Sprinkle with ham, onions and 1 cup cheese. Roll up from a short side, peeling the parchment paper away while rolling. Sprinkle top of roll with remaining cheese; bake 3-4 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Cut into 12 slices; makes 12 servings.
10 cups zucchini
3 cups onions
4 red bell peppers
5 Tbs. salt
3 cups sugar
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1 tsp. turmeric
3 cups vinegar
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. coarse black pepper
1 tsp. celery seed
2. Grate zucchini in food processor, along with onion and bell peppers.
3. Mix salt in with vegetables in large plastic bowl.
4. Let stand overnight.
5. Next morning, rinse thoroughly in a large strainer and drain well.
7. Place shredded vegetables in large heavy pan and add remaining ingredients.
8. Mix well and boil for 30 minutes.
9. Pack and seal in hot sterilized jars.