Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tasty Tuesday


Some fresh vegies sounded really good last weekend. These bowls can be made with any vegetables you like. I didn’t add them this time, but next time I will add water chestnuts too. Slainte!

Noodle Bowls
3 quarts chicken broth (or vegetable)
1 pound linguini
1.5 pounds chicken breast, cut into small pieces
8 scallions, cut into small pieces
2 cups shredded carrots
2 cups broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
1/2 pound snow peas, cut in half
chopped cilantro (to top bowls)

1. Bring broth to boil in a soup pot.
2. In another pot, cook pasta until almost tender, drain. The pasta will cook more in the bowls.
3. Share pasta amongst 4 deep bowls.
4. Add chicken to boiling broth and poach for about 5 minutes.
5. Add raw vegetables to the bowls of pasta.
6. Spoon broth/chicken into the bowls, covering the vegetables and pasta.
7. Cover bowls tightly with a small plate to steep for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
8. Add cilantro to soup as a garnish.

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My picture came out a little blurry. I must have been really excited to start slurping my noodle bowl!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Welcome, Come On In

Awhile back I posted about my own personal screwy bank story. At that time I had not been able to take advantage of the low, low interest rates because my home had lost value during this economic crisis. Just this past month however, the “funny business” that was giving me trouble actually worked to my advantage. The investor of my mortgage contacted me and has changed the terms of my loan to a REALLY low interest rate for the next five years. This saves me a lot of money for the time being and while doing so will hopefully let me refinance into something better for the long term when things begin to pick up again. To
celebrate, since I get to keep my house, I thought I’d invite you all over for a tour. houseWelcome!

As you enter the front door, you arrive in the dining room/living room. This model intends this room to be the living room, but the last owners turned the wall behind me into a door, so there is only one wall to put furniture on. Now it’s my dining area. About once a month it gets used. Please notice the beautiful dining room chairs.

stuffTo the right of the dining area is my backyard. Really the main part of the yard is on the side of the house, hence the creation of the door in what was once the living room. It’s a nice size yard for my area. I kill any type of plant that gets pretty flowers, so everything is just green. I guess that’s better than brown.hosue 004Let’s walk through the dining area into the kitchen. It is the smallest kitchen ever – very little counter space and even less cupboard space. There are only two things I like about it – the granite countertop and my Amana gas stove. I love to cook and be in the kitchen, just not this kitchen.

If you follow me, we can head into the living room which is right off the kitchen. Because the dining table and chairs is in the other room, my living room area is huge. I have had my furniture since I lived back in Providence. It is time to get some new pieces, but I just love the colors and patterns. The downstairs bathroom is a little “funny”. The old owners had it topiary-ed out. There were topiaries ALL over the place including painted on the toilet seat cover. We painted over the trees on the wall and changed the seat cover immediately. Someday I will paint it all one color, but other than changing the toilet seat, it hasn’t been one of my top priorities. We’ll head back through the dining area to the stairs and the upstairs landing. The first room on the right at the top of the stairs is the office/art room/gym. Just this summer I moved the office into the larger of the two additional bedrooms. My supplies needed more space. The 3rd bedroom was recently changed from the art room to the guest bedroom. Still working on it with art work and what not, but it will suffice if you’re feeling sleepy. The upstairs guest bathroom.Here we are on the landing, facing the backyard. One of my favorite parts of the house. These etched glass windows are just beautiful. Here’s where all the magic happens I spend most of my time because I LOVE my bed. Lastly, this is the master bathroom. Yes, yes, that is a pink bathtub! As you can probably tell from the other pictures, the previous owners where big time, do-it-yourselfers. This pink, spackle painted bathtub is just another example. Someday I will have a new bathtub/shower put in, but for now I have to live with it. At least it matches the tiles, which I do kind of like.

Thank you so much for coming. I am so glad that you could make it. When I first bought my house at the height of the market certain things about it bothered me a lot. I used to point them out because I didn’t want anyone thinking that I didn’t realize that it wasn’t that great of a house for almost a half a million dollars. I’ve been here for four years, and I’m realizing it’s a pretty nice little house considering it’s now worth nothing, ha!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Let Me At ‘Em! (Writer’s Workshop #4)

This week’s Writer’s Workshop is about moxie, more specifically a time where moxie was evident. Last Friday at student dismissal “Moxie” was my middle name.

As to not have to completely explain my school’s dismissal procedures, just know that my school has dismissal procedures that we work very hard for our families to understand. These procedures are in place first and foremost for safety and running a close second is for efficiency/ease of dismissal. Every-so-often a family member doesn’t follow the procedures. That could be because they are new to the school (most of the time) or because they are inconsiderate idiots that don’t think the rules apply to them.

There is a grandfather who picks up his granddaughter everyday at school, and he is just a grumpy, old man. He would fall into the latter category of rule breakers. He never wants to follow the procedures and when he is asked to he yells at school staff (in front of his gd) and drives away.

This past Friday I had had enough! In his impatience and annoyance with a new parent who accidentally drove in the wrong line he decided to pull out in the middle of the driveway/road to prove a point. Because of that, he blocked the entrance into our school. That meant the school bus, Boys and Girls Club bus, teachers who had gone to lunch and were coming back, and maintenance workers were all blocked from getting into our school. It all happened so fast that I wasn’t able to do anything about it, and therefore became so annoyed and upset with this jerky guy that I paced up and down the walkway, thinking about what I would say when he finally drove up.

Up until this point, I didn’t even acknowledge the man, not wishing to be scowled or yelled at. On this day however, I did acknowledge him and just about flew into a tirade over his behavior. When he pulled up, I opened the door for the granddaughter and said, “You can yell at me as much as you want, but I need you to listen to me about this dismissal.” He looked shocked. I told him that he couldn’t block traffic. I told him he needed to be patient. I told him that we would take care of the people who were new and didn’t know the “rules”, and if people who knew the rules kept breaking them they were causing more of a problem. I told him that he blocked all the employees and buses from getting into the parking lot. I told him that he needed to worry about himself and no take matters into his own hands. I told him that all of these procedures were about one thing, safety.

He didn’t want to listen, but I held open the door of the truck, not letting him drive away until I said my piece. When I did, I was exhausted and just walked away, shaking.

Most of the time at school, we are treated with respect and the school rules are followed by both students and parents. Sure, it’s frustrating when the kids don’t follow the rules, but it’s even more frustrating when their parents break them without even a thought. This man’s behavior was inappropriate and I had had enough of it. I am a rule follower, and it angers me when others don’t. I respectfully tore him a new one and maybe that’s what it took to get him to do what he’s supposed to do.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tasty Tuesday


For the last few months I took a little break from my Tasty Tuesday posts. I love to cook and I love to eat, but I haven’t been too inspired to try anything new. That was until my new cookware arrived. I have enjoyed cooking with them and am inspired again. Over the last couple of weeks A LOT of cooking has been done and I have a few recipes to share and hopefully more to come. This week, however, I have to share one that has been a staple for me all summer – basic bruschetta. After my trip to Italy, where I learned how it was really supposed to be made, I make it almost daily. I make it so much I may just turn into a bruschetta. I’ve had prepared numerous ways here in the US, but this is the best I have had. Slainte!

Bruschetta – the way it’s meant to be


5-6 small, ripe tomatoes – sliced thin

3-4 fresh basil leaves – chopped

2 slices bread (I use crusty Italian)

1 garlic clove – sliced in half

extra virgin olive oil – to taste

salt and pepper – to taste


  1. Mix tomatoes, basil, olive oil (about 1 tbsp), and salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Toast or grill bread on both sides. I use the panini press so it’s crispy.
  3. Rub each piece of bread with the cut-side of the garlic. This gives the flavor of garlic without the bitterness.
  4. Spoon the tomato mixture onto each slice of bread.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper.
  6. Enjoy! I know I do.

The ingredients are enough for two pieces. Adjust accordingly.

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Just like heaven on a plate.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Another Funny School Conversation

A post written by Maureen over at Island Roar got me thinking about a funny conversation I had with a student last year.

Shawn arrived in my classroom upon our return from winter break. At first sight he was as cute as can be; a very tiny boy with the voice of minnie mouse. Over the next few weeks, Shawn developed a crush on one of my other students, Danica. She was a very sweet girl who also happened to be one of my selective mutes (that's right, I had two last year). On a daily basis, Shawn told me how much he liked her, how nice and kind she was, or that he couldn't wait for recess so he and Danica could play.

One Friday at dismissal, after a hug and a high-five, Shawn looked up at me and very seriously asked, "Do you think I could get Danica's phone number?" "Oh," I said , "why do you need that?" "I'd like to ask her to spend the night." I gulped and of course told him that it wasn't appropriate for me to give him her number, etc. Certainly, it was an innocent request, but I was still taken by surprise. Thinking back now, it just makes me laugh.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Writer's Workshop #3...I Could Only Laugh On the Inside

The Writer's Workshop topics didn't inspire me too much this week, but one from last week did. On Monday I was kind of involved in a conversation that made me guffaw on the inside.

I was in a speech IEP this afternoon. For those of you not in education, this is a parent meeting with the speech teacher, the classroom teacher, and an administrator to discuss a child's progress and goals for their speech and language time. At today's meeting the administrator was also the translator as the child's parent doesn't speak English.

During the meeting, the speech teacher went over the goals that were set at the last IEP meeting and shared the child's progress. She asked me about his articulation in the classroom. She then told the mother about some concerns. It seems as if he still has trouble making his "sh" sound. The parent asked what she could do at home to help him, and the speech teacher gave some recommendations. After the recommendations were translated this was the conversation that took place...

Speech Teacher: Oh, wait, is there a "sh" sound in Spanish? (Certainly an acceptable question for someone who doesn't know the language.)

Translator: (Finishing up the translation) Yes.

Speech Teacher: Oh, right, ha, ha, Spanish (emphasizing the "sh" at the end of the English word 'Spanish')

It took every fiber of my being to not laugh out loud. The translator looked at me out of the corner of her eye and muffled a laugh.

Stop by and visit Mama's Writer's Workshop. Thanks to Hula Hank for the "info" on linking up the above picture, but if anyone wants to explain to me in English this time, please do. :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Another Cooking Dream (kind of)

I don’t dream very often, or if I do I don’t remember my dreams very often. When I have dreams that I remember they tend to be after I have worked on some project and/or obsessed about getting something done before going to bed. I used to dream about falling asleep in the back room of the restaurant where I used to waitress and the bar where I bartended. When I prepare school projects up until I go to bed, I prepare them all night long in my sleep.

The other night I had a dream about cooking with my new pots and pans. That dream came after spending the evening unpacking, washing, organizing, and reading about how to use this new cookware.

In addition to the “ruining my new pots and pans” dream, I had another dream that night, or maybe it was part of the same dream. After the cooking fiasco, Tom Colicchio (from Top Chef) appeared in my backyard.

I’m not sure why he was in the backyard, but while he was there I watched him wrap a plastic bag over his hand and pick up a mouse that was crawling up the side of my house. “Ohhhh,” I said with surprise. He wrapped the plastic bag around the mouse and I’m assuming took it away. In the meantime, my cute neighbor from down the street was also in my backyard as well as some other fellow, who I still remember what he looked like but have no idea who he is. Chef Tom, sans mouse, was chatting with the others and there was some concern over the football game on TV that they weren’t able to see. After apparently figuring out the football dilemma, my cute neighbor walked home, Chef Tom and the nameless man agreed that they had a good solution and they left too. At that point I woke up and quickly replayed the dream in my head. I was relieved that the kitchen disaster hadn’t really happened and wondered what this other part could possibly mean. Dreams are funny things. I know they do have meaning, but what could this dream mean? Any thoughts?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

New Toys

Look what I just got….

For the first time in my life I have new pots and pans; new, good quality pots and pans.  Up until now my cookware has been piece milled together with hand-me-downs and crap purchases from Target or Kmart.

These new ones are not the best money can buy, but they are pretty darn good.  Stainless steel and an assortment of sizes…I could kiss them.  I love to cook, but recently my love has turned into an “ehhh”.  My new pans have inspired me.  This morning I planned my menu for the week and just returned from shopping for ingredients.  I plan on cooking all weekend!

The only problem is that they are almost too pretty to cook in.  I don’t want to ruin them.  Last night, after unpacking them yesterday, I had a dream that I cooked with them and it was an utter disaster, so bad in fact that I burned them up and even warped one of them.  I woke up this morning so relieved that I had not really melted steel.

I think more Tasty Tuesdays are to come!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Writer's Workshop #2...Scaredy Cat

When it comes to fears, I thought I had quite a few, but as I went down the list in my brain today most of the things that I think of as fears are really just things I don't like, i.e. bugs/having to kill them in my house or mayonnaise. These things don't scare me, so they couldn't be classified as fears.

When it comes down to it, there are two things that I truly am scared of. One is a phobia and one is a worry.

Snakes are my phobia. Just writing the word snake just now made me shiver. I can't look at them in real life, on TV, or even in a picture. Thinking about them makes me lift my legs of the floor and sit on my feet. Once when I was about 12 years old I was camping at the river with my family. We spent one afternoon at the water's edge; swimming, fishing, playing. Shortly after coming to onto shore from a swim, my cousin was fishing on a rock in the river and a big, black snake swam over to the rock and lunged at him. He waved his fishing pole around trying to scare it away. We all screamed and did not go back in the water. I don't think that was the origin of my phobia, but it sure didn't help. Part of the 2nd grade science curriculum that I teach is about animals. Snakes are so very high interest, especially to the boys, so I have pictures and books about snakes that I keep in the research center. Inevitably, a very excited student runs up to me during "research" time and sticks a snake picture under my nose, "Look Miss Delight! Isn't it cool?" I squint my eyes and pretend to look at it and nod. I am constantly worried that if I show my fear that one of my kids would bring one to the classroom. Then I shiver on the inside.

My worry is family related. My immediate family is very small - my mom, my dad, and me. All of my grandparents are gone and my dear dad passed away about four years ago. Other than a step aunt and some step cousins, my mom is the only family I have left. I worry that if something happens to my mom, I am completely alone. I worry about that a lot. That scares me to death. I don't know what I would do if the only person who cares about me every single day isn't here anymore. This is the worst kind of fear. I have no control over it.

OK, I'm pretty tech savvy, but for the life of me I can't figure out how to post this little sign with the link, so here's the link to the little sign for our Writer's Workshop coordinator...Mama's Losing It.

Monday, September 7, 2009

For Your Reading Pleasure

The President’s school speech has been released today. I’ve been waiting with bated breath for it to appear online to see what he planned to say that was causing such a ruckus.

So let’s take a look at the main points of this address shall we…

  • It’s the first day of school for many students in the US. (Gasp!)
  • Teachers, Parents, and Government are responsible to teach, motivate, and set high expectations. (Ahhhh!)
  • Students are also responsible for their education. (Oh, the horror!)
  • Examples are given of three students who come from diverse backgrounds and very little means who have taken charge of their future by staying in school and putting forth effort. (How dare he!)
  • Tells students that failure is a part of success in life. He doesn’t want those failures to stop them from working hard in school and life. (OMG!)
  • Restates that parents, teachers, and families do everything they can do to help kids achieve, but the bottom line is that students are in control of their education and their lives. He asks that they take that control and make us proud of them. (How offensive!)

When this issue came to light last week, I was appalled. As I said in the previous post, angry. How could a large group of people be opposed to the President of the United States speaking to our youth about their education. How? Even more upsetting that this group was against the speech BEFORE IT HAD EVEN BEEN RELEASED. How could they know what is was going to say. Which shows it isn’t about the content, but instead about the person giving it.

We have an entire generation of school students who have been raised in a world where things have been made easier for them – cell phones, computers, text messaging, DVR, video games – and not always for the better. A lot of these kids wait around for others to do “it” for them, and if it doesn’t happen then they don’t put forth any effort on their own.

I see it on a regular basis at my school. The teachers there stand on their heads to motivate our kids and we still have a level of apathy from many of them. There are lot of reasons for this, but what it comes down to is that they are failing because they aren’t making the choice to succeed.

I don’t care if he (and hopefully one day she) is republican, democrat, or alien (which some believe the current one is) if the President of the United States stands up and tells our kids that it’s their job to make “it” happen, I think a lot of them will listen. How is that a bad thing?

Saturday, September 5, 2009


So this whole Obama school speech outrage has got me angry! When I'm angry I'm irrational, and things spew out of my mouth like Linda Blair in The Exorcist. So, I am choosing not to rant and rave on this subject matter, yet, but rather direct you to a fellow blogger Teacher Tom and his post on this current "event". He writes exactly how I feel, just far more eloquently than I could ever in this frame of mind. He doesn't call anyone names like Hitler, or a Nazi, or a Socialist, or anyone's children Hitler's Youth, so it's a calm, educated, and sincere post. Since the media likes outrage, there isn't too much speaking out FOR our school children watching the President's school address on Tuesday, so I am glad that Teacher Tom has tackled it calmly and rationally.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Writer's Workshop #1...Mommy Play Dates

Becky at Life With Kaishon has been urging me to try Writer's Workshop over at Mama's Losin' It. Each week for the last several months I somehow missed it and then it was too late and, well, whatever, I just didn't do it. I think it's a grand idea as often I want to blog, but I just can't think of something interesting enough to write about. Tonight I got home with some spare time and visited "Mama". After reading the prompts, I have chosen the "Mommy Play Dates" prompt.

I am not a mother, nor do I plan to be, however I have been on a lot of play dates. I can count on one hand the number of close friends that I have who are not parents. Therefore most of my time with my friends includes time with their children. It's fine with me, but every-so-often it's nice to go out without kids. I would think it would be for the parents too.

A few years back some friends decided to have a "girls' night out" monthly bunco group. One of my closest friends invited me to join them. I was thrilled because a night out with the girls, without kids...well I was just as excited as the moms were. Two or three of the group are pretty down to earth people and when they are not around their kids, they do fine, they can talk about adult things other than their kids. If you play bunco though, you know that two or three are not nearly enough to play the game. The remaining 8 members of the group reside in a very snooty neighborhood in town which I will call "Agrestic". For those who watch Weeds, you'll know exactly where I'm talking about. These ladies are all very nice people. They are not good friends but more like acquaintances. It took me a few meeting times to get to know them better, but as I did I realized that even though these ladies did not physically bring their kids to bunco, the kids were there just the same.

I've never talked about other people's kids so much in my life, and I'm a teacher, so that's saying something. "Would you like another glass of wine?" "Yes!!!! And keep them coming!" When these women found out I am a teacher in the same school district as their kids and knew their kids' teachers I had to start bringing my own bottle...with a straw. In addition, bunco was on Fridays and after teaching all day, I was in no mood to go out and talk about kids into the evening.

After about a year and a half, a lot of wine, and a lot of "most buncos" I hung up my dice. I need to find some more childless friends! (no offense to my with child friends - I love you all very much, I'm just sayin')