Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My favorite new spelling

Stewg. Can you guess what this person attempted to spell? Stooge. It makes sense, when you consider it. I guess....Sigh.

Monday, January 26, 2009

My husband is also a busy bee

This is a reference to a post that Feather Nester put up a few days ago about her industrious husband. Well, it's no dining room table, but he and our friend M did put in a new kitchen floor this weekend. Color me impressed.

In case you forgot, here's our old, gorgeous vinyl:

Notice the beautiful green-brown, perma-stained glory? I know what you're thinking: "Fools! Who could give up such a floor to a mere whim for a more 'modern', 'clean' look? What utter foppery!"

The menfolk began the process using laminate wood:

Ah, but feast your eyes upon this marvel!

Doesn't it look great? I think my favorite part, aside from how terrific it looks, is that Penny would not walk on it at first, as you see here:

See the scrap in the bottom right-hand corner near the trashcan? That's a large dog treat for her to chew that she whined at until I moved it close enough for her to dash onto the floor, grab it, and go safely back to the rug. I don't know if she didn't like the newness of it or if she feared she would slip...but it took us a lot of coaxing and food to get her to even put all four paws on there. We, however, plan to eat all our meals in there from now on. A special thanks goes out to M, who devoted his entire weekend to us, forcing his lovely wife H to come eat a delicious meal at my parents' house with me so she wouldn't be alone while the guys ate leftovers. It was a real chore for her, I could tell.

Next project: new cabinets. Those probably won't come for a while, but we are going to paint our dining room, so that'll be fun.

Enjoy your day!

p.s. You'll all be relieved to know that Penny seems to have gotten over her new-floor fear, particularly since that's where we put her food. It's all about priorities.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An Inauguration to Remember

I felt so pleased today that many students felt annoyed that they had to come to school instead of staying home to watch the inauguration. It meant they understood the importance of the ceremony and the day. I had my writing lab students watch it from 11:30-12:15 in a classroom with other kids. At first they didn't entirely pay attention, but when the invocation was spoken, they all got quiet, and when Obama took the oath, I only heard televisions overlapping as he spoke. What a great speech; what a great day.

I told my students that today they truly became a part of history; their kids will one day ask them how old they were and where they watched President Obama's inauguration. I told them everything would be a little different. I hope I told the truth--I think I did. We spoke about how he won't get everything fixed in four or even eight years, but that he can get this country moving in the right direction. He gives so much hope to so many that I have to believe we will want to change as a nation for the better. We've had so little hope for the past five years (more, really).... I want to see what we can do. It's not just about one man but about what he represents. I felt that today. Perhaps it's corny, but he made me proud to be an American again.

The speech isn't up yet, but I wanted to post this:

Tiny Miracles, or how I got my husband to eat tofu

Yes, I did it. Here's the easy, tasty smoothie I skilfully tricked him with:

- 1/2 cu silken tofu
- 1/2 cu soymilk (I'm sure you can use regular milk)
- 2 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 TBS honey
- 1 frozen sliced banana

Put the first four ingredients in the blender and mix. As you're blending, throw in the banana slices one at a time so they all smooth out. Drink with lip-smacking gusto. It's incredibly tasty and it's 5 Weight Watcher points, plus it has 17 grams of protein, so it's essentially a protein shake that actually tastes good.

We've gotten into recipes lately, as I found time to rip a bunch out of Cooking Light recipes. The new year has brought renewed interest in eating well, healthily, and Weight-Watcher friendly, so I've found a few new faves, including a ridiculously easy Shrimp Fra Diavolo and a pita appetizer that we fell in love with on the spot. I'll post them for anyone who wants them; I just don't have the exact quantities in front of me.

For me, playing with spices makes all the difference in the world. I read that paprika works well for alleviating fevers and colds, so for two days last week I came home and chowed on popcorn sprinkled with paprika (and butter. Ohhhh, yes). Cardamom in your tea helps with indigestion. Cinnamon has some kind of amazing effect. Plus they really do make dull food extra tasty. I know the pita chip app involves something as simple as cooking spray, salt, garlic powder, and red and black pepper. Yum! Ooh, and I bought this delicious, fair-trade, organic hot chocolate mix from my co-worker J (your students looked a little forlorn today without you, BTW) that has jalapenos crushed in there--such a delicious combo! Temperature and spicy hot chocolate-- so tasty....

Mouth watering yet?

Sunday, January 18, 2009


1. What's the political rationale behind TNT showing Independence Day so much recently? That we're getting an "alien" in the White House? (I mean that strictly tongue-in-cheek. Don't get angry at me.) It's a victory for the planet? A kick-ass African-American man will come in and save the day? I vote for the latter two.

2. Why couldn't it have been just five degrees colder on Friday so we'd have had -20 wind chill and therefore no school?

3. Is it crazy of me that I kind of love the tons of snow we have?

4. Will I ever again find pants on sale at Ann Taylor Loft that were a) in my size, b) in a color I wanted, and c) cost $7.76?

5. Will anyone act foolishly enough to take a shot at Barack Obama on Tuesday? God, I hope not. It's one of the reasons my friend D decided not to take her five year-old to the inauguration. Small child in D.C. while riots break out....hmm.... And what sort of changes will occur when he's in office? I'm so interested to see it all unfold.

6. Why does Penny insist on eating what she shouldn't when we surround her with yummy toys?

7. What will my first loaf of homemade bread taste like? (I've almost got all the tools--I'm sure I'll blog about it because honestly, I'm going to be pretty excited.)

8. Who will win Top Chef?

9. On Battlestar Galactica, why did Dee make the decision she made? And is the fifth Cylon really Ellen Tighe? I think it's Starbuck. Yes, the sci-fi dork in me loves that show.

10. Can I ever cure my students of over-using the word "thing" and the verb "be" in their writing?

11. What will 2009 really bring, for all of us, personally, financially, emotionally?

Feel free to ask questions of your own or give me answers to some of mine.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Husband=Good. Students=Bad.

Well, that's not entirely true, but it worked as a heading. I've had yet another rotten cold for the past three days: a little sniffly, throat like a sandpaper-covered golf ball, and a pathetic joke of a voice. Chugging tea has helped to a tiny extent.

Yesterday with my pitiful voice I attempted to make it clear to my first period class that I could not carry the discussion. Now, when you're a teenager and have to sit in class at 7:25am (I KNOW), you may not act chipper and awake. But I asked them to please TRY. They don't hate me; they could've done it. But noooooo. Crickets chirping, pins dropping, me desperately trying to get something going. I gave them questions like "Are all people capable of murder?"! Do you not have an opinion of that? If I call on you, could you please not say, "Well, I pretty much agree with what X just said, so....[trail off into nothingness]"? Gave up at 10:30 and went home sick. Sleep is marvelous. I also learned to love Top Chef--whoops. Like I need to watch more TV. I did sleep, honey! I did, I swear! (T gets very sweetly militant about me sleeping when I'm sick so I can actually get better.)

So last night DH brought me soup in a bread bowl--soooo soothing; Bee M.D. throat drops, which ROCK; and a humidifier. You cannot believe how much difference that little, magical contraption makes in a dry, heated house. Not that I'm complaining about warmth, mind you. It's been close to zero the past few nights and if the wind chill gets below -20 (they have predicted it), we won't have school again. But I digress. I love the humidifier. Go get one right now. It will change your life.

Today I'm a bit better, went to work, watched videos in two classes legitmately, and made it through. Now I'm going to douse myself with TheraFlu, my other good, drowsiness-inducing friend, and go to bed again at 8:30. Stay well, kids.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Change is Good

It's not what you think:

Yesterday we collected all the change we had in the house, amassed over at least the past five years, filling random mugs, glasses, and coin banks. We separated them into denominations and so far, we have $220 in quarters alone. Haven't touched the dimes, nickels, or pennies yet. Perhaps a Wii is in the cards after all...? We'll see.

Last night we also did a date night, only to realize that everyone in the 'burbs goes out to dinner no matter how rotten the driving (and it was nasty). They will also wait 40 minutes to get into Red Lobster. I don't care how succulent the shrimp is; I just don't have the patience. Thus we ended up at Wegman's (best grocery store EVER) where there was no wait, no screaming kids and overly permissive parents, and sushi. I think the whole suburban chain thing will get us going back into the city itself or eating at home, both of which I prefer anyway, thanks for asking. Ah, then we saw Gran Torino: Amazing. As my sister M said, nobody growls like Clint Eastwood. The man takes an old, racist, bitter, gun-toting throwback to another era and makes you fall in love with him. Just really well done, we thought. I won't write any more--just go see it.

I forgot to mention that we had this date night partially because T took me out to dinner to soften the blow from the $120 ticket I got for talking on my cell without a hands-free device. Yeah. [groan] It did not matter that I was literally five minutes away from my mom's; trust that I will not make such an expensive mistake again. Neither should you--we all need to get the frig off the phone in the car anyway.

Golden Globes tonight--I plan to see if Heath Ledger wins for The Dark Knight and then read the fashion commentary on Go Fug Yourself tomorrow. Happy Monday, folks.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I Resolve.... 2009 Version

As many others have written before me, I don't like to make New Years' Resolutions. I start out all gung-ho and Yes! THIS time I will do it! I will never watch TV again (except for favorite shows)! I will grade everything the very second I get it! I will not forsake a workout to surf the net! I will write all thank-you notes promptly and be less forgetful and go totally green and have a perfect marriage and not make impulse buys and do all of it with fantastic hair and glowing skin because I will never forget to take my vitamins!


I think if I make a list, it'll be one of suggestions, of goals. You and I know we all lose resolve every now and then. Only drill sargeants and tax collectors deal in resolute terms all the time. And I bet there's some drill sargeant somewhere right now talking baby-talk to his cat instead of readying the troops, and somewhere a tax collector is sitting on her tush watching Law and Order while important forms sit in a pile on her desk. (Because some version of L&O is ALWAYS on. That, or CSI. Not that I'm complaining.) Thus, a few goals for 2009:

- Take care of myself in terms of mental and physical health: exercise more, continue good eating habits, let myself take a few minutes to expel my thoughts on this blog

- Keep greening up my life and the lives of those around me, gently, without acting pushy

- Become a better teacher by engaging my students and colleagues in discussion and working on a little self-evaluation from time to time

- Allow myself to make mistakes and recognize I do not have to do everything perfectly. As long as I'm giving full effort, it should be enough for myself and that's the opinion that matters most

- Walk the dog more: It's good for her and for me

- Forgive myself for being a human being

That's a good start, I think. I just have to keep at these things a little every day and see what 2009 brings. Happy Monday, dear readers.