Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Americans Are So International And Cultured

On the train to my sister's this week, I tried to avoid contact with strangers who seemed way too eager to chat. For a long time, I had a seat to myself across from a couple from Massachusetts.

How do I know where they were from? Because as you can guess, my ride in peace did not last the entire way and I learned a lot about them. Not because I was talking to them, but because chatty Cathy sat next to me and gave away all the state secrets, the Davinci code and revealed who killed J.R.

One of the facts that I was forced to learn is that the entire family, 11 of them, was going to visit DC for a week. These were the grandparents. They were really excited. And they didn't really bother me. It was only chatty Cathy who bothered me. Until this conversation took place. Then I knew if I didn't get off that train at the next stop, someone was going to get locked out between the cars.

Couple: yeah, we're real excited about this trip. We've never been to DC before.

CHatty Cathy: oh you're gonna love it. DC is great where are you staying?

Couple: DuPont circle? Do you know it?

CC: Oh yeah, it's great there. Really quiet. Great area. You'll love it.

Couple: oh yeah? Great.

CC: gee, I wish I knew some restaurants offhand in that area but I don't.

Couple: well, that's ok,I am sure we will find something.

CC: yeah. ...

CC: yeah there's a lot of great stuff there. Let's see. DuPont circle. Oh yeah,that's where a lot of embasssies are...


Seriously. If my stop had not been the next one, I would have gotten off and walked. Nothing could have been more painful.

Linking up with Finding the Funny and Saturday Laughs and My Turn For Us

Monday, June 25, 2012

Jeeves, Where the Hell Is My Mint Julep?

In my last post, I may have alluded to a carefree summer, full of bonbon eating, bridge party attending and mint julep drinking.

If you have read me for any length of time, I am sure you know just how much of that notion is false,but I think I better clear up some things.

I have never eaten a bonbon. At least, not the rich, chocolatey things that people always think rich people who never work sit around eating. Bonbon means candy in French and yes, I have eaten candy in my life, but never while wearing a mink stole and holding a footlong cigarette in the other hand.

I know nothing about bridge and I really dont even want to take up any more space on my blog with such talk.

And, my biggest confession? I have no idea what a mint julep tastes like. I don't really even like mint that much and I rarely drink. I couldn't even tell you  which alcohol is in it. I did promotions for alcohol for many years (and that, my friends, is what we call irony) and I never did have to sell any julep nor did I ever see it on the shelves.

So, let's recreate the image of bliss that I will experience while your children run amok through your houses this summer, free from the confines of la classe de francais. Picture me in my hammock. A cat in my lap. Some totally low level beach novel in my hand. A gorgeous breeze. And me eating cherries and spitting the pits from my hammock without a care in the world.

Now THAT is the definition of class right there!. And that?   That is my bliss. Typing the original post on an iPad? Not really my bliss but beggars have no choices.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Schooooool's Out, For. Ever

Ok, maybe not forever.  But that was the song we played for Music in the Morning on June 22nd. 

What is Music in the Morning, you ask?  It's a pretty neat program developed by our local symphony.  Basically, all manner of classical music played throughout the school year and research shows that over time, this 5 minutes of music plus a little info about it makes everyone smarter.  I have no objections because I like music and I enjoyed about 96% of the selections. 

Clearly, that song is not classical, but our "maestro" felt it would be fitting to take matters into his own hands.

What were we doing at school on June 22nd, you ask?  Why, finishing school, of course!   Late, you say?  Psssshhhhht.  That's nothing.  One year, it was June 30th.  No.  Lie.

I am not one who usually counts the days until vacations, holidays and the end of school.  Life passes fast enough.  The last thing I want to do is count away even more days wishing for something better. 

However, this year was a little more trying with one particular grade than ever before.  I'm not going into great detail here because I've done that time and again throughout the year.  Suffice it to say, the phrase "good riddance" has never been so appropriate for a group of my students. 

We also had some administrative changes that changed the building in a good way, but in a very challenging way that caused me no end of feeling frantic.  All.  Year.  Long.

So, when June rolled around, I was more than done with school.  I wasn't counting the days, but I was getting excited that school was almost out. 

This past week, I could hardly contain myself.   Especially when the heat wave came on Wednesday and just about killed me.  Packing up a room in 90 degree weather , with no AC is pretty much the definition of torture.

A lot of the mothers whose blogs I read are, shall we say, a little sad that school is out and that now they have to entertain their kids 24/7. 

I will think of parents with glee as I spend the next two months lesson plan free.  Parent phone call free.  Rude teenager free.  I will think of them as their surly preteens treat them the way they treat us 6.5 hours per day. 

Ah, bliss.  I will think of you all fondly as I sip mint juleps in my hammock.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

All Star Blogger Not So All Star

Well, I've just spent 3 days on the surface of the sun. Apparently, New England pissed off whoever is in charge of the weather, so they turned up the heat. And I think the dial broke. For three days, it was in the 90s. I think I've seen 100 degrees about a handful of times in my life and  we get 90 degrees maybe 2-3 days each summer.

I definitely enjoyed the 90s, as a decade, but as a temperature bracket? HELL no! Heat makes me mean, especially when there is no relief from it.

We don't have central AC because 80% of the time, we really don't need it. And it kind if interferes with my loving-summer-with-all-the-windows-open lifetstyle. We have a window AC for those unbearably humid nights in August and the occasional unbearable days here and there.

With k-ster landscaping in the heat, I had little objection to him putting in the AC on day two of the heat wave and we slept peacefully as we added to the greenhouse gases.

As the rain moves in to clear out the heat, I'm heading south for a few days at my sister a-ster's. It would appear that I actually do like the heat, being so foolish as to visit in the summer, but such is the life of a teacher, traveling only when school is out.

Plus, I don't have to do hard work outside while I am there (at least, thats what she told me) so it's not like I'm going to be out working the cattle or anything. And where they live, there's AC everywhere.

School ended yesterday and I jumped on a train today. Not the wisest choice as far as getting things settled at home. The Run for the Arts was last week and there are remnants of that all over the house and then I brought some stuff home from school that have to be dealt with and I did more laundry, so I've left k-ster with quite a mess.

And to add to the end of June confusion,my laptop, the one that I won in a raffle just two years ago, took a powder. Permanently. Or,as we are so eloquently inclined to say, it $h*t the bed. Only two years old. So I am without a laptop.

It's like I almost cut off a limb. It's still there, but barely manageable. I can use my old computer but it's a tad inconvenient. And since I didn't have my laptop to play with on the train, I borrowed my mothers iPad again.

You might remember how much I enjoyed using that the last time I tried to blog with it.  There are limitations. And beggars can't be choosers, so I'll take what I can get. I've had a few moments to blog about but I've been paralyzed without my own computer, so it's been dull around here and I apologize.

Expect better things this week.

And if you have a laptop you love, tell me the brand and why you love it. HP is on my $h*t list right now, so it looks I might have to venture into greener pastures.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Dirty Bulge

It's no secret that keeping a Spanish teacher in my building in the 16 years I've worked there has been more difficult than, well, I can't think of a good analogy but really, really difficult.

With teachers who are not effective in the classroom, come students who misbehave.

And who touch things.

Things they should not be touching.

Like this unfortunate matador.

Well, not this one exactly.  We had a very special matador who had a purple costume.

And his own bull at his feet.

And a bulge right there---->

Many, many times, that bullfighter had to be hidden or even removed from the room so certain kids would just leave that thing alone.

And over time, do you know what happened?

His purple matador pants became very dirty right over his bulge.

He was a very sad, sad matador.

And he has since disappeared.  Which is a good thing.  Because when you used to walk into the Spanish room and see a matador barbie doll posed....

Well, it was just something that you shouldn't have to see.  Whether you were 12 or 60, it was just an appalling sight.

Now, if that matador had happened to look like this...

Well, then he could have carried any color cape he wanted and no one would have bothered him.

Linking up with Finding the Funny

Monday, June 18, 2012

Field Day Woes

Yep, it's me again.  But I've added some style with a cowboy hat.  And it looks like maybe I have a little Captain in me.

It would certainly make the day much more fun if I did have some Captain in me.

Today was Field Day.  Since I know many of my readers have only recently joined me, I doubt most of you read the post I wrote about Field Day last year.  Being such a fan of recycling, I decided to go ahead and reuse a lot of that post right here.

If you remember field day, it's really just for the athletes.  Yes, we try to make everyone feel good about completing something, but when Susie is running the 880 in 1.5 minutes and Johnny just jumped 75 feet in the long jump, your ability to roll a tire 20 yards or catch an egg in the egg toss doesn't really matter, does it?

In my elementary school, we had field day every June.  I wasn't an athlete in those days.  
I'm not sure I'm one now, either, but I think some people think I am, so I let them believe what they wish.  
As I recall, we all had to do every event because we had such small classes and it was necessary for everyone to do everything.  My sisters will have to chime in here, because I may be wrong on that.  I just dont' remember selecting an event the way we have our students do now.

I remember thinking I was really dashing during the 50 yard dash, but there was no speed in me in those days.  And it was on the tar parking lot of the church, so I think I feared crashing to my death on that tar.   I think I might have even done field day in my white moccasins one time. 
I also remember the high jump, which we don't even do at my school now, but no one knew the word "liability" back then, so everyone did the high jump.  I had such visions of the heights I would achieve.  
An ant could have jumped higher.

One of the most vivid memories for me at field day in my youth was actually two fold.  A)  we got to wear SHORTs.  TO SCHOOL!!! and B)  we had LUNCH served to us AT SCHOOL. 

I know you wonder what sort of Amish life I must have lived.  We went to a small, Christian school that didn't have a gym or a cafeteria.  The basement of the church was our gymnastics center in the winter, in which everyone had to run around in socks because it was gymnastics time and there were mats on the floor but I was afraid to breathe because I was afraid of smelling feet; and the basement of the church was also the cafeteria in my early elementary years.  My sisters probably dont' remember this because I think it had stopped when they came through.  But, in 1st and possibly 2nd grade, we traipsed to the cafeteria with our lunches every day.  Except Friday, most people didn't bring their lunches because they would serve hot dogs on Fridays.  But I never bought lunch because I was weird.  Eventually, we just ate lunch in our rooms and no one served lunch to anyone but on field day?  Someone made hot dogs and we had watermelon.  That was a big deal.  
Watermelon at school.  
While wearing shorts.  (we had a strict dress code)

So, when I first got to the public, middle school that I teach in, and they said that field day was June whatever, I was thinking:  50 yard dash on tar, high jump with a bamboo pole, watermelon, hot dogs and SHORTS.  Of course, being a public school in 1997, anyone could wear shorts any day they chose as long as they were long enough (no so much a problem in 1997, but today?  Long enough shorts have been the source of many a battle in the past few weeks).

I arrived on field day the first year, and every  year since  to find:
- there is no high jump
-50% of the kids HATE field day because they aren't good at any of the events we do offer, not even the sack race, tire roll or egg toss
-those kids who are not doing events and looking like star athletes are constantly in trouble  
-there is a special "cookout" that involved a hot dog, chips and watermelon, but it wasn't FREE!  our was always free!
So, after my first field day in the real world, I too HATED field day.  I would often take a personal day on field day just not have to deal with the bad attitudes of the kids and the lack of teacher support.

Fast forward a lot of years and we have different gym teachers.  While there still isn't a high jump or free lunch, it's not such a nightmare anymore.  Yes, everyone has to participate and there are some who can't even do the sack race, but there's something different.  We have our roles down to a science, we are a well oiled machine.  
Kids are allowed to sub for their classmates if they are absent- this used to be a major issue and if they hadn't notified the queen gym teacher of their subs by a certain time, they couldn't change and it would pit kids against each other and ruin the day.

The best part of today was that the sun never came out during school.  This greatly reduced the sweating, near-fainting, throwing up, flinging of water on everything and everyone, the tank tops and the likelihood that everyone will have outrageous sunburns tomorrow.  In fact, it was kind of cold today and for about 1.5 hours, it was raining.  On us.  So my hat was useful not for keeping off the sun, as I expected, but for keeping the rain off my face.

If only we could find a way to get rid of field day once and for all.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Blogger's Block

Either I have a bad case of Blogger's Block or there's just nothing worthwhile going on in my life this week.  Sad day.

I found this amazingly appropriate post on Royal Legacy's site today and I think it's worth visiting.   It's particularly appropriate if you are a daughter or have daughters or know someone with daughters.

All I can say is thank GOD I went through the teenage years before boys were wearing their pants around their ankles. 

Go read her funny words and pray that something entertaining will happen this week over here on my site.  Because peas and horses just ain't doin' it.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Peas on the Half Pod

I've had such a good crop of peas this year!  I love eating them raw because they are still sweet.  Cooked peas aren't so great.  For lunches and at supper, we've been eating them out of the pod, like this.  No canning of peas in this house!

The leftover pods remind me of shellfish after it's been eaten!  All the shells left behind!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Two Brains Converged By Genes

My sisters and I never played those problem solver type games that they have nowadays where you have situations you have to figure your way out of or you can't move to the next level until you figure out xyz, etc.  Maybe they played them together, but I never played them with them.

As illustrated here, I did not get the gene that does math the way the two of them did.  I got the gene that really WANTS to do math but not the one that really GETS why it is what it is.  But that's OK, I tell myself, because I got the gene that lets me talk in front of groups of people day in and day out without batting an eyelash, which most of my family could not do.

And I'm not teaching those people math, so all is well.

However, 2 situations have recently come up wherein my sister e-ster and I have been elected to solve a problem.  Not really of the math type, per se, but problem solving that probably does require the math gene.

Situation #1:

How to make e-ster's iphone work in her fancypants new car.  She has a super nice car with the option to put an ipod/phone in the glove compartment (I always say glove compartment, do you say glove box?) and play it from there with a fancypants hookup.

We are smart enough to know that there are buttons on the steering wheel to control the radio and all sorts of things, but there seems to be no way to control the iphone when it's hooked up.  It's really weird, you can see on the little dashscreen that there is a song playing, but there seems to be no way to change the songs.  So you're stuck listening to whatever song comes next out of your million songs on your iphone.

That seems pretty outdated for a fancypants car.

Especially when another option on that display lets you talk directly to the president.  Or maybe it lets you get current weather.  Something like that.

So, we fiddled.  We pushed buttons singly, together, in sequences.  We tried an iphone and an older ipod to see if there was a difference.

And YES we got out the owner's manual.  I have a degree in reading, remember? That was my first suggestion.  But it didn't really address the whole ipod thing beyond saying "plug it in here".  Not much about scrolling or changing the volume or anything.

So, e-ster hit upon the magic when she accidentally clicked on the right sequence of buttons.  Or as I like to call it, the scroll button....  and it worked!  Now she can scroll through her songs and pick what she wants to listen to!


We were pretty surprised that they didn't write this information down.  I guess they figure all fancypants car drivers have phDs.

And do you know where we eventually found this information was written down?

No, not in the owner's manual.  I already told you we looked there.  In the booklet that fell out of the owner's manual called "how to make your i devices work" or something equally offensive to two people who spent 30 minutes trying to operate the radio.

Situation #2

Now, this one is really difficult.  I will bet that 97% of you do not have the slightest idea how to do this either.

How to make a graph (which I now know I should probably call a CHART) out of information you put into an excel spreadsheet.

I asked e-ster to help me with this because:

a) she was a business major and I imagine that somewhere in some econ course or some other course that we teachers dont' have to take (still thanking God for that every day) she must have had to be skilled at taking numbers and manipulating them into charts, graphs, percents and whathaveyou

b)  she is pretty tech savvy (disregard the first situation) and works for a tech company

c)  she likes to figure things out and usually does (again, disregard the first situation)

So, I had some data that I needed represented in what I would call a bar graph.  You know, like little thick lines showing that this number of people got this score on the test.  I also know that it's totally possible to do this with excel and I'm pretty sure they learn that in like 6th grade in my school.

But I was at home and needed to make the data like 3 days ago, so I didn't have a student to help me.

I tried.

I tried everything I knew how to do.

And excel just laughed at me.

It made me charts/graphs but they were not representing anything accurate.  They could represent one piece of the data but not the other.  Round and round I went.

So I called e-ster.

She told me about a cool website that you can go to that allows you to get a password to remotely visit someone else's computer and help them work through something.  Yes, for all of you whose parents get lost trying to find pictures they just downloaded, this could be a GREAT way to help them remotely without punching them when they are sitting right beside you and still don't get it.

Anyway, so I closed all the secret files and let her into my computer from her house, oh a whole 15 minutes away.  But it was supper time and we had things to cook, so we couldnt' just drop over each other's houses.

I explained what I wanted and I let her go to work.

And I watched her do the same damn thing I'd already done for 25 minutes yesterday.  Do you have any idea what patience it takes to let someone who isn't sitting beside you manipulate your cursor?  I was on the phone with her while she did this and I kept pointing to things with my finger like she could see them.

Then I realized I could also manipulate the cursor to show her things.  Or to fight with her and undo what she was in the middle of undoing because I forgot she was actually in my document.  Wow, the 21st century is really amazing, isn't it?

Anygraph.   So we futzed around (wow, spell check actually believes that futzed is a word.  Not a single red line under that!)  and fooled around and took turns doing the exact same thing over and over and still not getting the right results.  That's the definition of insanity, right?

After a whole hour, we had somehow cobbled together enough brain power to get it right.    When she tried one thing, I noticed something she didn't see and vice versa and eventually we did one completely correct graph.

Talk about the blind leading the blind.

The real test was in creating the second one.  Eventually, we made two accurate graphs that actually represent real information that can be read and interpreted by the masses.  And right now, I could probably do it for you again, but a week from now, we will both have forgotten we even made graphs, let alone how we made them.

One whole hour. Plus the 25 minutes I had already spent.  Plus the amount of time she spent when she learned how to do this a long time ago and hasn't done it since.

I suppose someone would say that we should work together because we'd make a great team, figuring things out.  Sure, if all you ever wanted from us was the completion of one, single thing.  Forget mass producing anything.  We like accuracy in our problem solving.  Even if by "problem solving" we really just do what the other one did to see if it works better for us.

I continue to live in secret horror that someone, someday, might actually bear witness to our ineptitude or worse, that we might be in a situation with a-ster too and have such moments as described above.  She likes to figure things out too.

But then there'd be 3 of us trying to control the cursor.

The internet is definitely  not ready for that.

Sharing with Finding the Funny and Saturday Laughs.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Chair

When I first moved into this house, I didn't have a lot of furniture.  K-ster brought a few pieces with him and my favorite became a rocking  chair.

Over time, we got decent furniture and there was no more room for the chair.

My sister a-ster took it to Seattle with her about a decade ago and then she brought it to her new house on the east coast when she moved a couple of years ago.  She was in love with it.

Like I was.

We love this chair because we are short and so is it.  It rocks but it's not crazy and doesn't move all over the places like some rocking chairs.

Apparently l-ster loved it too because she was nursed in it many times in her first year.

Sadly, the chair was replaced with a "real" rocking chair for Mother's day this year.  Probably because s-ster didn't think it was safe after he had to glue it together in more places than I can explain.  Because the chair is probably as old as I am.

So, what do you think happened to the chair when a-ster got her 'real' one?

Of course!  She sent it home with our parents and it's been sitting in my living room for a month.  I told her she could keep the cushions and I'd make new ones. 

I'm so glad the chair finally found its purpose. 

And I can't believe k-ster hasn't dragged it upstairs to put it out of its (his) misery.  Because it's really in the way.  And completely ridiculous with no cushions.

And now that it's holding laundry, it might never be used for its proper function.  Ever.  Again.

K-ster hates it when I post pictures of messy rooms.  At least it's all tidy in one chair, right?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Many Puns Intended

I have the most juvenile sense of humor.  It takes so very little to have me rolling.  Especially if it's a pun and a witty one at that.

It's all my 4th grade teacher's fault.  She taught us about puns.  The one I remember the most vividly,and which still makes me laugh is this one:

An ant was standing on the top of a potato chip bag.  He read the directions and suddenly he ran as fast as he could across the top.  His friend asked what the heck was wrong and he said "I'm following the directions.  It says tear along dotted line!"

Have you recoverd yet?

I found this post the other day and I decided it was so hysterical, I had to share with all of you.  Go read them and then come back and tell me about your favorite.

Was it #21?  Because that might be the one that would make me blow milk out of my nose.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

That's A Horse of A Different Color

First, I'd like to introduce you to the laziest horse in New England.

This is Dewey.  It was so tiring eating all that hay at 9:30am, he had to lay down to do it.  For like a half hour!  Dewey bites, so I don't really like Dewey.  And now I know he's lazy, so one more strike against him.

The other day, I mentioned that I've been riding Jake.  After all this time with Tucker, there is a lot that's different about Jake.  For example, his size.

Jake is only about a hand shorter than Tucker, but I have never seen over Tucker's back!  I can see right over Jake's and I can look right at his spine.  I don't even know if Tucker has a spine.

Everything is just a little smaller.  Smaller head, smaller feet, smaller belly- well, maybe not.

And he's a very different color.  Tucker is bay which to me means different shades of dark brown.  Jake is chestnut which is lighter but in the sun, he's coppery like a penny.  He's really pretty when he's all cleaned up.  He's also a quarter horse where Tucker is a Thoroughbred.

He's also got a very different gait and the ride is so different that the first time, it was like I'd never ridden a horse before.  He has a self propelling engine that takes nothing to get him going, and I couldn't make him stop for anything the first time.  He's much more sensitive to my leg than Tucker, so I cantered from almost a standstill the second time I rode him which was a surprise to all of us.  He understand my signals better than Tucker, so I can focus more on what I'm supposed to be doing instead of wondering why he isn't listening to me.

He's also just that much closer to the ground that if I fell off, it might not seem soooooo far down.

Cantering has been many a subject I've blogged about because it's the one gait that scares me and thrills me at makes me crazy all at once. Where Tucker's canter is like booooiiinngg, booooiiinngg, booooiiinngg, Jake's is boing, boing, boing and it feels ridiculous.  Shorter legs mean a shorter stride and self propelling means little work to get him moving so a lot of my cantering with Jake has been racing around.  Sometimes, I feel like I'm riding a dog who's after a rolling ball!

He also has this very scary habit of leaning in when he's cantering on a circle which scares the pants off of me because I am certain we will just fall right over.  Tucker does not do that.  Instead, Tucker doesn't like the way I ask him to canter, so he bucks and kicks and refuses and then stops at the slightest indication that I might be thinking about stopping.

It's fascinating to learn the way another horse operates, especially after only ever riding one other horse.  I have no idea how long I will ride Jake before going back to Tucker but I like some of the differences I've noticed between them.  I certainly don't work as hard to get Jake to work as I do with Tucker.  I leave feeling like I exercised but not like I've run a marathon, the way I sometimes feel after I ride Tucker!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bounty Hunter

So far this spring, I've been getting a good amount of Swiss Chard and green beans, but you've seen those before, so I'll spare you the pictures.  I also had a surprise lettuce and ate most of it, though I wonder if that was the best idea.  Sometimes I get weirded out when I get surprise plants, especially when I didn't plant any lettuce last year....

The best new offering from garden #1 has been these little beauties:

I've had strawberries growing for years, but I never get more than 2-3 berries to actually eat.  The others have always been eaten by slugs. 

This year, I've picked 4 big handfuls like this and there are a lot more.  For the most part, the pests seem to be leaving them alone.  They aren't the sweetest, probably because I am mean to them and they dont' get much sun, but I'm pleased that they are growing so well.

The first big loot that I've been getting from garden #2 are these:

I grow peas every stinkin' year and they grow meager little plants with about 3 pods each and then it gets too hot and they die off.  Never anything spectacular.  Plus, I never plant enough.

This year, I planted A LOT in buckets in the greenhouse and then moved them outside when it was still really cold.  O.M.G.  Look at these plants!

There are so many and they are so lush and dark green.  And so tall!

They are literally taller than me.  Peas!  Can you believe it???

Just for fun, I thought I'd show you how the carrots and beets are doing.  After the very traumatic munchfest by the slugs and then the ripping out by the crows, they've come back with a vengeance.  I put little styrofoam collars around all of them and they seemed to really get a good start.  My theory was that the slugs were too lazy or stupid to climb all the way up and then down inside the cups.  And that must be it, because they stayed away.

Since I removed the cups, I've only dealt with one slug and we had a ton of rain this week and things seem to be happy out there.

I've never grown underground vegetable before, ok, except this one time,  so now I have to figure out when I can pick them.  I know you can brush away the dirt and see what they look like from up top, but I'm so curious, I want to know NOW!

I have more seeds so I think I'll start more beets and carrots for a mid summer round and then try another for fall.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dressing Me Up

We had an optional dress up day for 6th grade students today.  The topic somehow came up and the kids said they'd dress up but the teachers had to dress down.  That seemed like a strange trade off:  we get to be comfortable and the kids have a self imposed day of discomfort?

Count me in.

What I didn't realize is that the rest of the school had no idea this was going on.  So, seeing some 6th grade boys in ties and a few girls in heels wasn't so eyebrow raising.

Seeing the French teacher who usually dresses like this, or this  or this  oh no, wait they've never seen me like that, dress like this:

Really threw them for a loop.   I would never say I am a snazzy dresser.   I am a far cry from stylish or up to the minute in my fashion choices.  I refuse to tuck in my shirts, so I wouldn't wear a belt if you paid me.  Ok, I would if you paid me, but it would have to be cash and lots of it.

So wearing a t-shirt with words all over it and yoga pants and sneakers just sent them around the bend.  My wonderful colleagues flooded me with:

 "oh, is it field day?"
"did you just go for a run?"
"dressing for success today, are you?"

While my 7th grade students whispered and stared until I had to address my outfit in every class with them.  That made them laugh.

Again, I'm not fancy but I rarely wear anything with a print, let alone a word on it, and I never wear sneakers, so the two together was too much for everyone.

8th grade didn't say a word- SHOCKER.  I could be standing there naked and they wouldn't even notice.  They live in an oblivion like no other.  Seriously, I might show up naked tomorrow just to see what they'd do.

Let me tell you what a comfortable day I had.  Wow.  I just felt so free and easy.  This might catch on.  Uh-oh.

Maybe tomorrow I'll try this outfit.  Oh right, no hats in school.

Maybe this one.  What, it's a skirt, the tank top is at least 3 fingers wide.  Oh yeah, again, not hats.

Seriously, naked is looking like my only option. Let's link up with the Finding the Funny ladies and Saturday Laughs and  see what they think. There's a giveaway at Finding the Funny,  so GO!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mini Tarts Are So Exquisite

Now that I have some of the Pampered Chef items that I never intended to buy (such as the mini tart maker), I thought I'd try them out so I'll know what to expect.

I googled mini tarts and this was the first one that popped up. Amazingly fast to make and sooooo delicious.  Sadly, mine do not look so gorgeous but they taste gorgeous and I learned my lesson about letting things cool.

So, in a very rare scenario in my kitchen, I took frozen, store bought pie crust and set it out to thaw.   I don't EVER have pie crust waiting in my freezer like that but back when I was trying to horde gas points, I bought a bunch because they were going to double my points.

But then my sister stole my points and I was left with boxes of frozen pie crust to wallow in for months.

I read in one of the Pampered Chef cookbooks that you could use this measuring cup to cut the perfect size for the tart pan and I was amazed at how well it worked.

Pardon me, I looked up the tart pan on my website and it turns out  that it's called a Deluxe Mini Muffin pan.  Tomatoes, tomatoes, tarts, muffins.  Whatever.

I am so rockin' the Pampered Chef lingo.

I bet they have NO IDEA you can also roll your leftover scraps with it too!  You know me, I can't rest with one idea, I just have to keep seeing what else I can come up with.  This is that really cool measuring cup you can use for peanut butter and crisco and all that sticky stuff that never comes out of your measuring cups.

So, then you take the magic little wooden pusher thing and push the circles into the tart pan.  Again with the proper verbiage.

Wow,  it was like I was a gourmet chef.  The recipe actually had a crust you make yourself, but I wanted to see if the whole refrigerated crust idea would work, so I had to imagine what the baking time would be.  I baked them at 450 because the box said to, for a about 8 minutes because I said to.  Maybe a minute or two more.  I suggest peeking often or those suckers will burn!

So cute, I want to make like 50,000 of them! 

I did not wait anywhere near long enough for the custard to cool, and then adding fruit to them made them tip and get really ugly.

But it was the taste that counted and WOW.  Very excellent.  Although I am kind of done with pie crust.  I would rather have had a shortbread crust, maybe.

What do you do with your little muffin pan things that make little tart shells?  Ideas are welcome!!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Nacho, Nacho Man/Lady

I am not a big food lover, though I do discuss food quite often on my blog. I'm pretty sure food is the thing that kills us, but we need it to survive. This is the ridiculous paradox in which I live.

I generally am a healthy eater and I am not a fan of restaurants. Usually, anything I get in a restaurant is sub par because there's always that one thing about it it that ruins it- too much salt/grease/fat, too much of this or that spice, too much of the food in general, not cooked the way I'd do it, etc.

And then there's the price.

And the tip.

And the harassment by the wait staff:  canigetyousomethignelse, howarethingshere, canigetyouadessert/coffee

I do occasionally succumb to the lure of the ease of going to a restaurant and I can find a few things on some menus around here that please me enough.

One such place is the BBC, or British Beer Company. It's a very hoakey place that is meant to make you think you're in a quiet old pub in England. They put dirty looking paint on the walls with quotes from famous Brits. They have a mini telephone booth that's like the style in England (I know, what the heck is a telephone booth????). They have all sorts of British Beer.

And last night, they even had a family of Brits.  I was amazed they'd go in.  I don't think I'd go into a place in London called The American Honky Tonk. 

And they have these.

Right, who orders nachos in a British place?  I do.  And I do it with abandon.  I don't know what they do to these things, but they call to me and make me fantasize for months.  And I eat the whole thing.

Ok, I don't eat all of that sour cream, but I eat just about every other piece of it.  As my meal.  And I eat it like I might never have food again.  I make a mess.  I dont' even come up for a sip of beverage.

K-ster could burst into flames and be replaced by Jesus himself and I wouldn't even notice until I was done eating.  Or until he tried to take a chip.  I don't like it when someone tries to "share" with me.

Here's what in this marvelous dish:

various colors of tortilla chips

Now there's the interesting part.  I hate jalapenos.  I don't like spicy food and anywhere but at the BBC, they are not very spicy.  I don't like it when k-ster eats them because they create a stench in his mouth that I can smell as his truck pulls in the driveway- not kidding.  He could never win at hide and seek with me if he were to eat jalapenos 24 before hiding.  I'd sniff him right out.

Somehow, amidst all of the beauty that is deliciousness in this nachofest, I can and do eat the little suckers.  I pick out a lot of them but I eat a lot too.  And I don't taste them for hours later.  I don't have acid reflux for days afterwards.

Basically, when I'm eating these nachos, I'm like a pig in shit.  Pleased as punch.  Happy as a clam.

Don't tell anyone that knows me though.  This dish might indicate that I too can fall off the healthy food wagon.