Half a Cup of Blues

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Comfort Foods ...

I love the smell of (good) food cooking.

We headed out to the local farmer's market this morning so that I could pick up 5 large bunches of basil. Fresh pesto is nothing short of divine. While we were there I also grabbed a few bundles of Chinese Long Beans (also known as yardlongs) and they are now simmering in a large pot with some smoked bacon. A little bit later I'll be slicing some sweet, white onions to put into a roasting pan with red potatoes, and then when everything else is nearly done we'll be grilling some seasoned pork steaks on the bbq (my tried and true seasoning is onion powder, garlic powder, and fresh black pepper).

As I was getting the beans ready earlier today I was reminded of how comforting some foods can be. Fresh green beans has always been a very southern, homey, feel-good food for me. I also love real mashed potatoes with white country gravy (made from fried chicken drippings), and cheese toast (buttered sourdough slices covered with garlic and cheddar cheese and broiled until bubbly and nearly brown on top).

The one comfort food that I really do realy on on a regular basis is not a food at all. It is, as Edieraye pointed out in a comment, hot tea. I love a cup of hot tea when I'm stressed, when I'm feeling a cold coming on, or for no other reason that just because! My favorite tea to sip is a Stash brand - Mango Passionfruit with nothing in it. It tastes like a mellow, sweet, almost honeyed tea so it needs nothing added to it. I think that I'll make a cup now!

Thanks, Edieraye, for reminding me!
What are your favorite comfort foods?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Transitions ...

Today we celebrate our relationships.

The new classroom opens on Monday so today is the last day for three of my students and one of my staff. Our room truly operates like a close family unit on many levels (including the bickering ones) so to lose this many at one time is a fairly tremendous impact.

The students that are leaving were chosen carefully and the move to a smaller, one-on-one, instructional environment should be good for them. But... I worry that the loss of the group dynamics might also have a less then positive impact on a couple of them. I guess that these are the times when you just have to trust in the future and the ability of people to find their strengths and live up to their potential whether they are with you are away from you. I'm not a control freak. Really.

Anyways. It's raining again.
I actually really like the rain but, today, it just seems appropriate for the mood of the day.

EDIT: How right I was. What a dreary day this turned out to be. There are days when I am very proud of the company that I work for. This is not one of those days. This whole week has been one that has really made me somewhat ashamed of my administration. Staff morale is low and it appears as though "power and control" are more important than integrity and respect. *sigh*

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

It's raining ...

And Yibbyl is out of town for the rest of the week.

It was a lousy day at work today.

So was yesterday.

I'm going to bed early tonight.



Monday, October 24, 2005

Open House ...

I started this last week and then got so busy that I wasn't able to finish or post it.

I guess that I'll just recap a few of the highlights and move on since time is almost nonexistent these days.

Our school Open House was last Wednesday evening. Eight of my fourteen students came through the classroom and showed off their work. Many other students wandered through, too, and were very interested in what we were doing. We have a fairly popular classroom since we're always doing something fun (or so it seems from the outside). This was an especially poignant evening since I will be losing three of my kids when they open a new classroom on the 31st of this month.

The young man I that spoke of in the last entry was not able to come to the Open House but he did write me a note this last Friday that said how glad he was that he was still in my classroom and not changed to another room. That's sure worth a lot!

Yibbyl and the Goobers (my teenage boys) came with me and were able to see just a little of what we do and what it is like around here. They met quite a few of the students and saw some of the other classes, too. A small buffet was laid out in the cafeteria so the munchies were one of the highlights of the evening for the kids.

We all had a good time and it was nice to see my worlds (home and work) overlap for a while.


Thursday was Nor Cal Think Pink day in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness. On the way to work that morning I stopped and picked up 25 of the free bags that were being given away. I gave each student and staff one of the bags (after removing anything that could be conceived of as "dangerous" from the student bags) and we spent half the morning talking about being self-aware and responsible for our own health.

We talked about breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate issues and many of the things that men and women (boys and girls) find uncomfortable. The kids were asking TONS of questions and we covered all of the issues with a light humor that made it all just a little easier to manage. I told them to ALWAYS tell someone when strange changes occur in their bodies. Any lumps, bumps, or bleeding that is unusual needs to be looked into. They seemed to really "get" it!

I mention all of this because one of the students wrote me a note today and told me that he was too embarassed to let the school nurse know that he's been bleeding rectally off and on for a while now. After our talk last week he has decided that he needs to take care of himself and have it looked into. I went to the nurse and an appointment has been set up for him. Sometimes those "off the cuff" lessons turn out to be the best ones. When the kids respond and really let what they have learned improve their lives then you know that you have done your job well that day.

This is what teaching is ALL about!
And these are the moments that make me so glad that this is what I do.


This last weekend we decided to grab one last camping getaway before winter set in. I'm so glad that we took advantage of the nice weather while we could. We drove up into the
Trinity Alps and found a lovely campsite overlooking Lewiston Lake. Just a few miles up the road was Trinity Lake and the dam between the two lakes. We were camping at Ackerman and had an awesome view of the dam from our campsite.

We saw quite a few deer (and heard LOTS of gunshots). This was the last week of hunting season but it sounded like quite a few of the hunters in the area were hunting birds as well as or instead of the deer. We also saw a bobcat run across the road right in front of us. That was pretty awesome! I had seen a mountain lion before but never a bobcat.

At night we slept under the stars and the bright moon (the rainfly for our 13'x20' tent was left back at home!) and listened to the howling and yapping of the local coyote population. The temperature dropped down to about 39° - 41° at night but we didn't mind so much. The beautiful night sky more than made up for it.

The boys did some fishing but didn't catch a thing (well, maybe a cold). We could see some fish jumping so we knew they were out there. Maybe next time we'll have a canoe or something and they'll do better. They seemed to have a pretty good time. I know that I did!

Well, that's about it for now. Take care of yourselves!


Sunday, October 09, 2005


It's a beautiful day outside and I feel puny! Yibbyl gave me his sore throat and general ickiness that he had last week. I guess that's what happens when ya keep on kissin' between the sniffles! Oh well, it was worth it!

I'm making myself get up and get going today. I'm heading to the grocery store so that I can make some homemade calzones for the goobers (good football grub) and plan out the rest of the week, too. Yibbyl has been out of town most of the weekend but should be HOME later this afternoon. Wow. That sounds good. He's coming home. I miss him when he's away. I sleep better when he's home.

I should have been doing some classroom work this weekend but I needed a break so I am taking one. We just wrapped up a unit on ancient Rome and Greece and my class hosted another room (also studying similar themes) in a Greco-Roman Symposium this last Friday. That's really just a fancy name for a TOGA party! We all dressed up and brought in tons of food for the day. We lounged around and watched "Helen of Troy" and, I have to admit, we all had a wonderful time. It sounds like a rather lazy day but it wasn't for the staff. It was exhausting! We received tons of compliments from the administrators but it was the excitement of the kids that made it all worthwhile.

We're moving into themes of "revolution" next and I'm not sure that I can dress up the French Revolution to be that exciting (even though it was such an incredibly pivotal time in the history of western civilization) if we do another theme day. Maybe we'll be inspired as we are reading Dickens.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity . . ."

Well, that's all the catching for me right now. I'm hoping to do some blog-hopping later this evening and catch up on what everyone else is doing. I miss y'all. Be well and happy, each of you, and know that you are always held close in my heart.