Tuesday, October 31, 2006


That picture is NOT of one of our rowers. It's just to show what catching a severe crab can look like. Mostly you just get hit in the gut with the oar, which is no picnic, either.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Typical Regatta

...which means the weather was complete doo-doo. It wasn't freezing, but the Head of the Fish was marked by almost torrential downpours the entire day with about ten minutes of no rain. The Parents Association, bless them, brought a tent complete with a tarp floor, tons of food, and two portable heaters. The girls camped out at the driest end, of course, and the adults all stood around and tried to stay somewhat dry. At one point DF set up one of our little camp chairs and simply sat outside with an umbrella over him just to sit down. We're talking several inches deep water in the more saturated spots. It was definitely Head of the Suck again,weather-wise.

However, there were a few shining moments: 1) My sister M. braved awful weather and distant parking to come! She got there just in time to see the novice race, which was the one I really wanted her to. Then she followed me around while I did what I needed to do, although we got some good sister time in. I loved that she showed up--what a trooper. Thanks, sister! You made that day so much more bearable. 2) The novice had an awesome race. They got fifth place out of 22 boats...and that was with the stroke catching such a massive crab (see picture; that doesn't usually happen so severely) that the boat turned almost sideways. Then they had this fabulous recovery and looked so good at the end that spectators doubted they were novices. 3) I realize that if I have to be stuck standing up for a day in the pouring rain, as long as DF is there it's ok. It wasn't just misery loving company; it was that particular company that put a different spin on the whole day. He was helpful, calm, stern when necessary, and made all the novice fall in love with him, I think: I was told that I "made a good choice". I couldn't agree more.

Tomorrow's Halloween and we're all dressing up. My intramural team's color is green, so we're having the one younger male teacher be the Jolly Green Giant and the rest of us will be vegetables. Fortunately I still have my bright green rain suit (remember, SJ?) and I'll do something with that. I tend to create my costumes around comfort. In fifth grade I spent hours painting a box so I could be a package of Juicy Fruit and then realized I could neither bend my arms nor sit down. I could still hold that candy bag with two arms, though. Gotta have priorities.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 26, 2006


This week went by in a flash. I've been so busy...I didn't get quite as much work done as I might have during my week off, I admit (don't judge me) and I've been catching up and trying to get ahead at the same time. Didn't have time to exercise once, getting ready for a huge regatta this weekend, and had to deal with some drama this week. Teenage girls being teenage girls, that's all.

But! Our regatta! In case I have not mentioned this, I coach our little rowing team. We're going to the Head of the Fish this weekend, where the weather is getting worse by the minute, it seems. 100% chance of heavy rain, possible high wind warning (although right now it's just 13mph or so, which is doable)...typical mid-Atlantic regatta weather, in other words. It wouldn't be a regatta if it wasn't hideous weather, waiting to see if the race would even happen...and the Fish turns into Woodstock without the benefits in terms of mud. I remember in college one guy said it should be renamed the Head of the Suck because it was that, just sucky weather. Plus at that time it was totally disorganized so it was a complete logjam of boats launching and landing, and every year somebody collided with someone going down the course.

But it's our novices' first race so I hope they get to do it. They've worked so hard and come so far...I can say without much prejudice that our novice women are the best of all the Buffalo crews, hands down. DF is going too and he's almost more excited than I am. He's got his coach's fleece vest and is ready to rock and roll. I also told him I would take the van with the novice women because I'm used to the high pitches they can achieve. Plus my sister M. will be there--I am so incredibly excited to see her and have her see us in action!

So wish us luck! We'll be drenched but hopefully victorious when we return.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Finally, pictures!

Who knows when my video will show up? I found some pictures instead: If you really want details, go to http://www.buffalorising.com/city/index.php?page=2. Click on "View Slideshow". These are pictures of my actual street and the surrounding area. Picture #20 is my car! And if you keep looking, you will even see me! Another site is:
http://homepage.mac.com/mgroll/PhotoAlbum32.html. The streets mentioned are around my neighborhood.

Crazy. And here's a completely girly comment: Why is it so hard to find a pair of fun, formal, go-out shoes? I was looking on-line and there were at the same time too damned many and not enough. The best part was looking under the wedding category and finding these gorgeous babies (see left). I am not going to question too deeply why these were on the wedding page. If you notice the little notch right below the toes? That's where you put money in. I'm not kidding. And P.S., I know DF's really tall, but I am not wearing them to make up for the height differential.

I could write an entire blog about shoes. Any and all comments are welcome on shoes. Although it makes me sad that my little map of readers is so small. Feathernester, who do you have reading your blog in India? Or northern Canada? You're global, baby!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Technical difficulties and other musings

OK, I tried to upload my video to Google Video but it failed. You'll have to live with the other links I put up for now!

Know what the best part of all this madness has been? I've seen my friends and family almost every day. Friday and Saturday night we hung out at our friends D & D's house with their absolutely adorable 2 year-old, G. G is the smartest, sweetest little guy I've ever seen and everyone on the block loves him. The garbage men specifically stop during their route so they can say hello to him. He loves dinosaurs and can name them properly by sight. He's amazing. I know I'm digressing, but he makes it so easy to digress because he's just so awesome.

Anyway, Sabres games both Friday and Saturday evening so D & D, having both heat and cable, invited us all over to watch. It turned into potluck, since we didn't want to infringe too much on their hospitality, and we just had such a nice time. The next night was even better, since we all brought food and my Weight Watcher potato-zucchini pancakes were a huge hit! I felt so gratified. :-) My friend H. brought W.W. spinach-artichoke dip, D & D made chicken parm...and the Sabres won both nights! What could be better? That's what it's all about, friends and family coming together, strangers helping each other move branches, shovel snow, move cars, and carry bags. My brother and his girlfriend and their two dogs have spent the last two nights here and I'm so glad to have them and not worry that they're cold, using candles and flashlights!

And you can't believe how much destruction is still around. I can't believe my camera's not working, because words can't describe it. I'll try, though: Picture your backyard, your street, a park in your neighborhood filled with trees. Picture your favorite tree-lined street, the one that looks gorgeous all shaded in the summer. (Feathernester, use Colgate or something if AZ doesn't give the right mental picture!) Now picture every single one of those trees with at least half their branches either on the ground or bent like a drugstore bendy straw down to the ground. And make sure in your head all those trees have leaves on them. Some suburbs got hit so badly that schools are closed for the rest of the week. I'm sure I'll be back tomorrow, but I know some of our students won't make it in. I'm going to try to make it a "teachable moment" if I can.

I know my posts have all been about the same thing, but nothing like this has ever happened before in Buffalo. It's worse than the famed Blizzard of '77, which everyone who remembers still talks about, because there's much more destruction. It'll affect all of us for a long time...my children will be my age before the trees really get back to what they were and even then it won't be the same. But if it's only beauty that was destroyed, then we're lucky because we can get that back. One thing's for sure, Buffalo knows how to fight back and regroup, whether it's a failed Super Bowl or a major storm. It's one thing that makes me proud to live here.

Oh! And here's the potato-zucchini pancake recipe:

2 large russet potatoes, peeled and shredded (about 2 cups)
2 medium zucchini, shredded (2 cu.)
1 tsp. salt
1 large egg
3 scallions, sliced
2 tbsp. A-P flour
1/2 tsp. dried tarragon, crumbled
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. olive oil
4 tsp. light sour cream (optional)

  • Toss the potatoes, zucchini, and salt in a medium bowl; let stand 10 min. Squeeze out the liquid and discard. Add the next 5 ingredients into the mixture.
  • Heat 1/4 tsp. of the oil in a large, nonstick skillet over med. heat. Drop in about 2 tbsp. of the mixture, flatten with a spatula, and cook about 6 min. per side (add more oil as needed). Repeat until all mixture is used.
  • NOTE: If you just have one large zucchini, get rid of the seeds as they may make it bitter.
*I used Bob Evans seasoned hashbrowns to avoid peeling and shredding potatoes, vegetable oil instead of olive oil, and minced white onion because I had no scallions. Also interspersed no-fat Pam with the oil during the cooking. I think the seasoned hashbrowns really made them tasty; we didn't even need sour cream.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Snow Day in October

I'm lucky I even have power; something like 400,000 people have none and it won't come back on until at least Monday if not later. It looks like a disaster area--that picture from the news is only a smidgen of what things look like. I'm going to try to upload the footage I took: I went out with my video camera because I couldn't begin to use words to explain things. Check back later and I'll have it up.

Our street is just littered with branches and fallen trees. I woke up at 3am Thursday night to go shake off one of my landlady's trees; she lost the other one. There was thunder and lightning, and you just heard limbs cracking and crashing to the ground throughout the night. One did fall on my car--dented the roof like crazy but I think it's still drivable, once they get the roads cleared of our TWO FEET of snow and countless tree limbs. I kid you not--it looks like the Apocalypse out there. There's a driving ban, and people were trapped on the Thruway (Rte. 90) since Thursday night at 11pm and didn't get moving again until sometime Friday afternoon due to a jackknifed tractor trailer.

Friday morning DF and I were like little kids on a Saturday morning: Even though we didn't have to go to work, we were up and outside by 7:15, headed to Latina (grocery store) to get supplies. Thankfully they were open, and I think the rest of Buffalo quickly depleted them of basic supplies and beer. Everyone was outside pulling up branches, headed to someone else's house to play games and get some heat, shoveling.... It was unbelievable. Nothing's going to get any of this moved but chainsaws and hard labor. A number of places don't even have water and my dad just told me he's bailing out his sump pump every three hours so it doesn't overflow.

The problem was that since none of the trees have lost their leaves, much less even changed color, the incredibly wet, heavy snow was too much for everything and the trees couldn't stand the weight. I heard on The Weather Channel that the snow weighs 12lb. per square foot, which probably explains why none of the trees could take it. If you click on that link right now, you can see a brief slideshow of pictures from Buffalo. Here's an article, too, about the Buffalo snow.

I call it Friday the Thirteenth: Winter's Revenge.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Autumn Leaves...Literally

So today's weather called for high 40s, rain, fall stuff. Around 1pm it began wet snowing. A little weird, right? Well, it's 7:30 and it's STILL SNOWING. Yes, it's on the ground. We have about three inches of wet, heavy snow. You can hear branches breaking off the trees up and down my street. I tried to get a picture with my video camera (my digital camera's not working...sniff). The problem is that since the trees all still have their leaves (some haven't even changed colors yet), the combo of that and the snow are snapping branches right and left. A large one's already fallen in our yard and I just moved my car in the hopes that anything else that comes down will miss it. At least we still have power at my place....I wonder if they'll cancel school tomorrow? Snow day in early October? Cool! Wait, no, cold!

I'll see if I can't post the pictures in a little while. I'm off to carefully walk to Just Pizza and get dinner. Wish me luck! I promise I'll walk in the street.

Friday, October 6, 2006

Freaky Friday

Quick Friday post: I promised myself I wouldn't write bad things about my job, and while this is not bad per se, it's frustrating. I had a girl get sick in class (she has something chronic--she didn't throw up or anything). While I walked down the hall to get another adult to help with her, another girl up and fainted, falling right out of her chair. Girls shrieking, calling for me, anyone, minor mayhem. AND did I mention that this was happening a) during a test and b) while two girls were shadowing (looking at our school for next year)? Yikes. Let's just say that they won't forget THIS visit.

But everyone's ok: The first girl went home, the second came back after she'd gotten herself together, we postponed the rest of the test, and I advised them not to make it the latest bit of trauma-drama but instead to just be calm about what happened. They're all nice kids; they leapt to the one girl's aid when she fainted. I'm just glad everyone was ok, we got things under control quickly, and the girls all handled themselves pretty well.

It's a sunny fall day--can't wait to get out on the water for crew this afternoon!

Five Senses Friday:

Sound: Singing the school song in morning meeting

Sight: My landlady's old dog, Twiggy, rolling over for a tummy rub

Taste: The complimentary dessert platter we had last night out to dinner: two kinds of creme brulee and tempura-battered cheesecake! I don't even LIKE cheesecake and I liked this.

Touch: Warm slippers on a crisp fall evening

Scent: Just-cooked butternut squash and pear soup I made the other night-mmm!

Tonight's the home opener for the Sabres. GO SABES! (the picture is the old logo but the new image looks kind of like a cross between a banana slug and a large gold eyebrow.)

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Canadian theme

So we went to Stratford earlier this week to see Twelfth Night, and it was terrific! The town itself is so neat and picturesque, and my friends and I spent almost half an hour in the coolest toy store ever. We had to force ourselves to leave because we were getting too involved in the cute stuffed animals, including this awesome stuffed frog that came with flies you could stuff in its mouth (cute, not gross) and then pull out of its tummy. It was all very sweet, including the noises it could make: a "ribbit", the flies buzzing, and, best of all, a giant belch from the frog after eating the flies. I wish I could find a picture of it! And the other cool place was Ten Thousand Villages, this amazing store which has items created by artisans from all over the world. The best part is that it's all fair trade: The artisans directly benefit from the sales, "disadvantaged producers", as the site says. It's a lot of carved wood and onyx, clothing, instruments, jewelry: all beautiful stuff. And there's actually one where I live, which I was shocked by. We don't usually have such terrific cultural stores.

Oh yes, the play! Very neat: Theater in the round, a sort of Arabian motif which meant colorful costumes for half the cast; the other was dressed in traditional English garb (they did colonize India for many years). Great acting, deceptively simple sets, good time all-around. And I have to say our students behaved beautifully, which is more than I can say for the schoolgirls behind us talking, putting their feet up on the chairs, and even playing with the hair of our girls who sat in front of them. Some people just don't get that they're not in their own living room. Aside from that, we had a good day. Plus I played Strict Teacher when I made them take out Scary Movie 4 in the bus on the way home; they were laughing like crazy but so much of it was so inappropriate that I couldn't condone our showing it to them. As I said, they'd all seen it and they could watch it on their own time. Just really puerile and gross humor. I didn't know I was such a square, but apparently molding young minds has become a quest. We watched Ferris Bueller's Day Off instead, which they didn't like as much, but what they didn't know was that it was kind of the secret teachers' choice. Hah!

And last night: Sabres beat Carolina in their first game of the season! In your face, Stanley Cup winners! We know who the REAL winners are...