Saturday, January 31, 2009

Oh horrible, horrible, most horrible

To quote Shakespeare. But, I'll start with happy things and end with happy things, so as not to depress you into a stupor from which you would never emerge.

This is my 2nd Knit-Along dishcloth and I'm very happy with it and I like the colors. They are pleasing to the eyes. I enjoy knitting 6-10 rows a day and getting excited to see what comes each day, for 6 days. Yes, my life ambition revolves around knitting dishcloths right now because if I think of my portfolio, online class, and Monday night class, I get a rash. Tomorrow, we start February's dishcloth and I have the yarn ready to go and an assortment of needles at my beck and call. It is time to relive the nightmare that was last weekend. As you know, Travis is remodeling our shower and it promises to fabulous when finished. At the same time, we decided to put in new shower and bath fixtures. So Trav got all the stuff to replace the fixtures and got the tub all hooked up and was working on the shower, but every time he'd turn the water back on, it would spray all over the bathroom and make a big, soupy mess. Well, a bigger and soupier mess than it already was. This went on all day. I was singing with the stake choir for conference so I had morning practice. When I came home, the water was off. When I left in the afternoon, the water was still off and Travis' mood was abysmal. I left in a hurry. When I came home, 5 hours later, water was still off and Travis was mumbling incoherently. He stomped out of the house mumbling something about Home Depot. I picked up the phone and called our friendly, neighborhood Roger. Roger got here just as Travis got back. Roger took one look at the pipes and knew what was wrong: Travis was using the wrong sort of pipe. So they went over to Brad the Plumber's house (Brad not at home) and broke into his plumbing van and got the PVC pipe that they needed to cap it off for the night and provide our family with water. This was accomplished by midnight. Travis was able to shower. As we went to bed, I suggested that since the bathtub was still the ineffective pipe, we shut the water off. Each toilet had one flush in it and we'd be fine til morning. I got up for conference (was singing again) and showered. While showering, the tub pipes burst, spewing water, water everywhere. After church, Roger and Brad came over and they all worked and got the whole mess taken care of and plumbed correctly. Roger and Brad's wives kept asking me why Travis didn't call. Why he didn't leave a message or call back. I had a talk with Travis about his "Lonesome Joan" syndrome. It is this silly Ernie and Bert song about a girl who has to do everything alone and won't ask for help. Because of her stubbornness, she never learns how to tie her shoes, read, or write until she is 84. It is on itunes and You-tube if you want to listen to it - hilarious. I wish I knew how to put sound bytes on my blog, but I dasn't. Anyway, he had it all plumbed correctly, just wrong pipes. It was a most horrid weekend. I haven't been mentally able to revisit it until now, since sufficient time has passed and nerves have been calmed. He is happily and successfully working on it as we speak. He is now in the construction phase (rather than demolition) and is feeling good about it. I just stay clear and take care of the kids and house and my new class that I hate.

After such a rotten weekend, I knew we needed a morale boost, so I went along with our previously planned International Night of Cooking. Remember how we had previously made Puerto Rican food. Well, last Sunday was French cuisine. We made chicken and mushroom crepes and then cream cheese crepes with strawberries and chocolate on top. It was delicious. Maddie and I had a good time crepe-ing.

We made some extras for a neighbor who had brought us some homemade cannolis the previous week - wow, those were delicious!!
We all survived the last and longest week of January. What a nightmare. Nothing was bad, it is just my least favorite week of the year. It always has been and it has nothing to do with weather. Heck it was 80 on Tuesday so it can't be winter doldrums. But then it rained really hard on Thursday and I'm a traveling teacher and I have to go outside to get to my classes. Even though I had an umbrella which kept my head and shoulders dry, my crate and books got SOAKED, as did the cuffs of my pants. It is a soupy mess out in the portables. One day, those things are going to wash away and then they'll wish they had built a real school. I am nearly finished with my portfolio. My Monday night class has only 6 more classes. And I am down to 12 of 14 for my Reading class. When I hate something, I count down. It may seem that it makes it go slower, but for me, I need to see progress that it is passing by. Glory and Amen. I can't wait for this school year to be done.
As for the kids: Morgan and Roz are nursing colds. Morgan has taken good care of hers. She sleeps, sneezes, wipes her noes, then loads it up with Carmex! She even missed her 1st day of Seminary yesterday. But, it had to be. She is sneezing so much and she produces so much snot, she just couldn't go. She blames her father for her propensity to sneeze. If you have ever spent time with Travis, you'll agree. She is participating in All-County Band and they perform on Tuesday. She brought home a vial of her DNA taken from her spit this week. Then she proceeded to tell us how her science teacher had to go and talk to the campus resource officer (the sheriff) and explain it when a boy was caught with a suspicious vial. Apparently, his little vial fell out of his backpack and a teacher saw it and was suspicious and called the police to come and get him out of the room with his drugs.
Rozzie's cold is just blossoming today. She will likely spend some time caring for it tomorrow. She is enjoying being in the play at school - an adaptation of the "Wizard of Oz." She is working on 2 research papers. And her math grades are staying afloat with the help of a tutor - it is handy to work at a school and share an office with a young, funny math teacher who specializes in helping kids who struggle with math!
Maddie is in the midst of making another cell. This year, we are using junk around the house. I'll post a picture when it is done. She is helping her dad in the bathroom right now. She will be handy in the house when she grows up! She already knows how to lay a wood floor.
That was a long post. I've ranted and raved and now I'm done.

Monday, January 19, 2009

This, that, and someone else...

This is my dishcloth. I pulled up an old pattern and tried it out. I had to reference youtube to get the yarnover stitch right, but then everything went according to pattern! I'm giving this to my English Dept Head. We just finished up 10 weeks of cafeteria duty together and she was rather intrigued with dishcloth knitting. She didn't think it strange at all. She also promised me her room when she retires next year (if she goes through with it).
That is the new mess in the house. We over bought flooring and when Travis returned it, they would only give him store credit. It is hard to come up with a home improvement project on the spot. We really weren't planning on doing anything else at this time. So we are re-tiling our shower. I'm acting like this isn't going on. I have another class starting tomorrow and I just can't handle the mess. It just makes my ADD brain breakdown. It will be very nice when it is done. I'll then have a bench on which to sit!!

Someone else is Savana! She was in Orlando with her college dance team. Travis and the girls went down to meet her and have dinner. I couldn't attend due to church meetings and stake choir. I'm so sad that I missed seeing her. She is a dear girl. Savana and Morgan always had such a special friendship when they were little. Savana really watched out for Morgan and took care of her. In return, Morgan loved her the best!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Beans, Beans the Musical Fruit

Recipe for the Puerto Rican Beans - and we like them over yellow rice

3 potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cans of Rosita (pink) beans
2 packets of Sazon with achiote (in the Mexican foods aisle - with the Goya products)
4 ounces of tomato sauce
2 T olive oil
2 T Sofrito
2 packets of sazon - ham

mix it all together and simmer till potatoes are done. Yummy! I have doubled this recipe and it feeds our family, plus some. Also, I froze the remainder of the tomato sauce in premeasured 4 ounce servings, rather than toss the rest of the sauce, so now it is ready for a few more meals! Here are some pictures of the ingredients that I was unfamiliar with:

Jake, I was interested in all your different ideas on serving plantains. I'm glad to hear you like them. I like the fried/salty plantains better than the sweet/ripe ones. I can't remember what they are called.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dishcloths and Plantains

I finished my first monthly knit-along dishcloth. It was such an easy pattern, even a child could do it, but I mucked it up just to keep myself humble. Actually, there is plenty to keep me humble these days - just look at me!! Anyway, that is not the purpose of this post. I wanted to show my sister that I did it! I'm so proud of myself. Yes, I knit plenty and all that, but I'm still excited. I'm now nervous for the mid-month knit-along as it is usually more difficult. So, now I will explain how I mucked up this charming dishcloth. First, I casted on too tightly. I don't know why, and I certainly know better. That is the reason that the bottom puckers in on both sides. Then, and I don't know how I did this, I got the pattern wrong on the last two rows. It was so easy and I was very careful. But, i just had to get it wrong and then not notice until I had bound off. Oh well, it's just a dishrag, right?Next, I thought I'd share with your one of our favorite meals. Mr. Skullcandy introduced us to fried plantains when he was out here a couple years ago. I had always wondered about those ugly green bananas. Then we had some friends (Puerto Ricans) that came over once and made them with us. And to top it off, a Puerto Rican sister in our ward came to Mutual one night and brought recipes and we made fried plantains and beans/rice. YUM. We've made them a few times here and it is always fun. The kids are getting good at it and I let them do it while I worked on a sewing project! So here are pictures of the delicious meal! Let me know if your interested in the bead recipe - it is very different from what we are used to and it is really good. First, you fry the plantains.
Then you flatten them using the peels.Then you fry them again and salt them. They have an "essence" of banana, but they taste more like a fried potato - maybe a thick potato chip. Very good with rice and beans on them!!

These are the beans. Oh, can you smell them? This is mouth watering stuff. Wish you were here to enjoy it with us!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I am the Epitome of Preparedness

At least I thought I was. Before we left school for the holiday break, I had worked tirelessly to prepare for the first week (nay, the first month) back at school. I typed. I copied. I stapled. I filed. I did all the things needful for me to be prepared to walk back into that school on Tuesday and greet my students. I got to my 2nd period class; lo and behold, no "Prepare to Read Moby Dick" worksheet. I didn't panic. I was prepared. I could easily start the movie that day and then do the Prepare to Read the next day and they would still get all their information regarding Herman Melville. So, without missing a beat, I put the movie in and got it going. What? What are these subtitles. No, Caleb, it isn't Chinese. No, Dalton, it isn't Japanese. I believe it is Korean. Where is the remote? No, the DVD remote is not here. The two remotes are for the TV and VCR only. The people were speaking English but the subtitles were in Korean! I went to look at the DVD case and sure enough, I had ordered the Korean version. How on God's green earth did I do that? The kids found the subtitles distracting. I handed out the study guide that goes with the movie and the kids started yelling "this is stapled wrong, " "why is it stapled like a book?" "I don't like it stapled like this." When copying the study guide, I hit the wrong staple option. So much for being prepared. In my next class we were able to turn the subtitles off and we put it on the "Englsish" subtitles (that is how it is spelled on the DVD menu). Also, the subtitles were obviously done by someone in Korea as the words and spelling are horrible. Oftentimes, there will be two or more words for the one spoken word. I just shake my head.

But good news, one of our very low level reading girls who had no hope to pass the state tests passed the ACT with a score that the state will allow to substitute for the FCAT. We are so happy, there were tears. She will graduate.

The week went by quickly and wasn't all that bad. A friend of Rozzie's who is in the chorus and the school musical asked Rozzie to join the dance ensemble for the play ("The Oz"). She had all the answers ready for me when she presented the idea. As she told me about it, she said that Emily's mom can drive in the morning and there are only two rehearsals that conflict with violin. She already has the black leotard, black tights, and jazz shoes that are necessary. So she is going to be involved with that and it very excited.

That is what I have, thank you for reading.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back to the Grind

It was so wonderful to have those two weeks off. My goal was to finish my portfolio. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA..... Ok, I did nothing in it. One week + one week = nothing. I did rewrite my Macbeth unit, though, and that counts for something. I'm at a rebellion point with my portfolio. Really, though, it is almost done.

Can I just say how much I loved my time off? I did. It reminded me of how much I loved being a stay at home mom. I loved the freedom and the mundanity (did I make that up?) of it. I really don't mind not going anywhere. Christmas was great. New Year's was great. We got it all cleaned up and the house is back to normal. Mind you, it hasn't been normal in months. Travis FINISHED the flooring project. No, I'm wrong. He still has to caulk and paint the baseboards. However, the house is free of the wood floor mess. So, it was nice to get Christmas packed up and go to what seems like a sparse house.

Now I'm back at school - no students today. I like being able to take baby steps back into school. I think I'd have had a meltdown if we all came back. I needed today to get everything organized, copied, delivered, etc. I guess it won't be so bad. The days go by quickly. The year will progress, and soon it will be Spring Break, then, before you know it, the year will end!

Have a happy day and welcome to 2009. Oh, this is a big year. Mark your calendars, March 26th I turn 40 and that is a big deal. Then September 1st is our 20th anniversary. See? I knew 2009 was destined to be great!!