Thursday, September 23, 2010

You Dirty Dog

This evening when I got home from work the puppy was waiting for me to let her in from the backyard. When I went outside to see her she ran around the grass 93 times like a crazed wild animal. The sprinklers had gone on a bit before so not only was the puppy wet she was a muddy mess from running around in the wet grass.

When we go to the dog park, she “swims” in the water bowl before running around and rolling in the dirt. That also makes for a muddy mess.

This muddy messy dog is a new concept for me. My last dog Koho was tough and protective, but she was also dainty and proper. Koho would run along the outer edges of the lawn, stepping mostly on the borders to not cross wet grass. She hated water and wouldn’t step foot in a puddle or wet dirt.

That is so not the case with the puppy. If it’s wet or muddy she finds it. Then I find it all over my downstairs floor. 

Picture 021This is the rotten puppy…clean.  Pictures are hard to come by when she’s a muddy mess since I’m the one who has to clean her up.  Pictures are the last thing I want to do when grumbling while holding her with one arm and the hose with the other!   


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It Is A Tragedy To Me

I am truly lucky that in my life I have never had something so extraordinary awful and tragic happen. (Knock on wood) I have gone through some hard emotional times as well as minor illnesses and accidents. So as I write about a tragedy in my life it almost feels lame as I know there are people out there who have been through so much worse. In any case, the sudden death of my dad 5 years ago has greatly effected me as a person in the recent past.

The death of our parents is, of course, a part of life. They are older and will most likely pass away before we do (they wouldn’t want it any other way). However, with my dad it was much too early. I’m the only child and my dad and I were close. Now it’s just my mom and I left in the family. That’s just not enough family. I worry about what happens when my mom is gone. I never did that before my dad died. They were both here and I didn’t worry about it. Now I worry about it all the time. Now I fall apart when I hear about someone else’s parent passing. Now I can’t talk to him when I think of something funny that I know would make him laugh. Now I can’t call him on the phone. Now my dad is gone and I am no longer the person I used to be.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Who Taught (or Didn’t Teach) You Manners?

This past weekend I went out to dinner with some friends. There was a little bit of a wait so we stood in the lobby area. It only had one small seating bench, and when we arrived there were some older folks sitting on it. Those people were showed to their seats shortly after we arrived. Once the bench was free, a couple which included a very pregnant lady, started towards the seat. However, four teenagers who looked to be maybe 16 or 17 pushed passed the couple and the rest of the crowd to sit down.

It took everything I had in me not to say something since as I teacher I’m ALWAYS trying to correct poor manners at school. I kept staring at the teenagers thinking, “Give ‘em a minute. They’ll figure it out.” But NO, they didn’t. They were the next table called. When they got up, the pregnant lady sat down and the visible tension in the air lifted. All at once, the husband, two other guests, and I said, “NOW you can sit down.” Everyone standing around the bench saw what had happened and all wondered the same thing…where were their manners!?!?!

I wonder if these kids’ parents would haven been embarrassed by their kids’ behavior. Part of me wants to think that, of course, their parents have told them better, but kids are kids, they were on their own, and just didn’t think. On the other hand, there are plenty of adults out there who are just as inconsiderate. I’m sure those parents are raising kids who are inconsiderate as well.

I’m not a big fan of teenagers. I think that for many of them their ego is larger than their brain. So my perception of this one incident might be distorted. What do you think?

Friday, September 10, 2010

My Love Affair With Red Velvet

I’m not much of a dessert person. I prefer salty to sweet. Over the last couple of years however, I have had a growing infatuation with red velvet cake. OMG! Just saying those three words makes me swoon.

After my first encounter, I researched and tested recipes wanting to make it at home. I have never made a cake before so instead I tried cupcakes.


They turned out great and are now a fun staple in my dessert repertoire. That cream cheese icing pushes me right over the edge.

In the last year, the Cheesecake Factory came out with a red velvet cake cheesecake. {drools} It is truly the most amazing dessert ever.
Since I don’t make a batch of cupcakes that often because I’d eat them all by myself the recipe makes too many, and the closest Cheesecake Factory is at least 20 minutes away, I don’t have my red velvet cake that often. So sometimes, I pine for it.

The past couple of weeks, I have really, really been wanting some. I talked a friend (the one who turned me onto in the first place) into going to the Factory this past weekend. If you’ve never been to the CC Factory, the meals are huge so truly after having dinner, the last thing you want or need is dessert. So instead, I ordered my red velvet cake cheesecake to go.

Oh heavens! Since Monday, I have allowed myself ONE bite of my coveted dessert each day. Is it sad that that bite is one of the best parts of my day?
This is where I’m at at posting time. Not too many bites to go. It might get me through the weekend. That should tide me over for a month or two. I might have to plan a party in the near future so I have an excuse to make my cupcakes and satisfy my red velvet needs again soon.

Which food do you have a love affair with?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tasty Tuesday


When I lived back East, about once a month I went to my friend Steve’s family’s house for Sunday dinner.  As a big Italian family who lived in Federal Hill in Providence, they had food, food, and more food.  I miss those all day affairs and that delicious Sunday gravy.   This weekend, I was missing my East Coast friends and decided to make my own version of Sunday gravy.  It’s a basic tomato sauce with sausage (“real” gravy has a lot of other meats too like meatballs and braciola), but I’ve added some red pepper flakes to give it a kick.  It’s not super spicy, just tasty.

Spicy Tomato Sauce with Sausage
1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 small red onion, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz) can whole  tomatoes, removed from liquid, squished
1 (14.5 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
3/4 cup red wine (I love cooking with wine)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
salt to taste
1 pound package dry pasta (I use ziti)
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

1.  Cook sausage in a skillet over medium heat until browned.
2.  Stir in the red onion and garlic into the sausage, and cook until onion is tender.
3.  Add the mashed whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and red wine.
4.  Season with basil, parsley, oregano, red pepper, black pepper, and salt.
5.  Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low. Simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. 
6.  Serve over cooked pasta with grated cheese

blog 003 
This recipe makes about 8 servings. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I’m Picky About Pencils

Today while in the supply room at school I actually “whooped!”. I love office supplies, but they don’t usually make me cheer. I had good reason today!

Since the end of last school year, these pencils have been the bane of my existence.

pencil 2

They come pre-sharpened, but who cares when they are lousy pencils. They don’t sharpen in the pencil sharpener. I think my students have spent more time trying to sharpen these pencils in the last 6 months than they ever have in my entire 11 years of teaching. I’ve grown so frustrated that I just keep filling the pencil jar with boxes and boxes of these pencils so the kids can just throw them away when they get too dull. I know it’s wasteful, but that has certainly been a better option than losing my mind. My hope was that my new procedure would use up all those dumb pencils, in the whole district, so they’d have to buy us new ones.

Of course, the state of California is BROKE and schools have been hit really hard with budget cuts. I get that, and I know we have to cut back, but on the other hand in “my business” we kind of need good pencils, that are usable.

Well, today my pencil struggle came to an end! Boxes of my favorite pencils of all time, the Dixon Ticonderoga #2 pencil, were sitting in our supply cupboard.


Hooray! No, they weren’t pre-sharpened, but at least they have the ability to be sharpened.

Since I had no idea what kind of pencils the bad ones were, I had to do a little research to find them. It took me awhile because they are not part of a school’s regular repertoire of pencils. I found out that the crappy pencils, in bulk, are about 22 cents each and the Ticonderogas are about 17 cents each….

Well, no wonder we’re in a budget crisis!