Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The End of an Era

There was the year of the skeleton costume!

And the Anakin Skywalker year, with the bat costume.

This year, Nate wants to be David Beckham. And I'm actually feeling bereft, despite the fact that I whine about Halloween costumes all through the month of October every year. "But Nate, don't you just wear your Beckham jersey and some other soccer stuff? That's a BORE!" No, 'cause I'm doing a Mohawk for him. That's all that is required of me this year.

Sara? WILBUR WRIGHT. I kid you not. All that is needed is a jacket, tie and a bowler hat. "Well, and planes, right Sara? You need to fill your suit pockets with paper planes and bombard the other kids during the costume parade." She asked permission to do this, and was denied. Against school rules. Someone could lose and eye, I guess. Or start feeling like they want to join a gang. I explained to her the virtues of apologizing instead of asking permission. I helped her make the planes as well. "Do you want me to get sent to the Principal's office?!?"

Geeze, Sara, if you are going to be sent to the Principal's office once in your life, please let it be for exuberant plane throwing.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

More Crazy Cock-Ups in the Kitchen

The weather sucks today! So windy that there were times when I looked out the window and expected to see a chicken coop flying by, a la Wizard of Oz. So much for hiking with Diane! But all is not lost - there's still wine; and Diane had beets from her garden. We decided to play kitchens, while it was Si's job to uncork the lubricant for our talents. Or something. Tonight's menu: Two Potato and Beet Hash with Poached Eggs and Greens. [Ohhhh. Now that I am looking at the recipe again, I see, in small print under the name of the dish, "For tips on poaching eggs, see p. 230." Would that have helped?]; crusty bread; Pear Upside Down Spice Cake.

First, the cake. I make this cake all the time, and I think I have even blogged this recipe, so never mind about how it is made. I'll just say this: it's easy enough that you can chat and drink while making it.
The kids each got a beater. Rubber spatula? Mine! Diane is company, so she got the bowl.

She's such a lady.
Now, down to business on the hash.
Ingredients, for 4 servings:
1 T of EVOO

1 C finely chopped onion

3/4 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed

3/4 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1T chopped fresh sage

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 lb cooked beets

1/2 t salt

1/2 t black pepper

1 T red wine vinegar

4 lg. eggs
First, chop all this shit. Drink while chopping.

1. Heat 1 T oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion to the pan, saute for 5 minutes or until tender and golden brown. Check.
Add potatoes, 2 t sage and garlic. Here's my sage. Still holding out in the garden.
Cook for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. We were roasting the beets in the meantile, so I get those out and peeled them.
I look lke a murderer. It's one of my favorite things about cooking beets. Out! Out damn spot!

OK. Stir in beets, 1/4 T salt, 1/4 t pepper, cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Still looking good...

2. Poached egg time! OK, I confess, I have never poached an egg. Scrambled, fried, over-easy, hard and soft boiled, yes. Poached, no. So, sue me! It's just never come up! But the instructions were clear, and I followed them.

Add water to a large skillet, filling it two-thirds full. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer. Add 1 T vinegar. Break each egg into a custard sup, and pour gently into the pan.

Look how gentle I'm being! See how the water is slightly tinged from the vinegar, and that we have a good amount of water!
Cook for three minutes, or until desired degree of doneness. Uh... are they supposed to look like that!?! Now, I have to tell you that I went to page bloody 230, and there was no additional wisdom there, except to tell me that poached eggs are tricky. You don't say... Remove eggs from the pan using a slotted spoon. Unless they are kinda stuck to the bottom of the pan...

Still, it plated up beautifully. Look at that!

And the taste testers agree: IT SUCKED! Uneven doneness in the potatoes, messy eggs, and an overall lack of melding in the flavors. Simon did not complain, but just now I saw that he has made a big "X" across the recipe in the magazine. I get the hint, my love. It wasn't apalling, but it is not a keeper. Diane, there are only a few friends that I wold invite over to cook and eat experiments!

But, there's still the cake. God, I love an upside down cake. Just the "voila!" factor. Watch this!


Now I just have to clean the egg out of the bottom of the pan.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friends Don't Let Friends Wear Flip-Flops, I Guess

BTW, do you have any idea how hard it is to take a picture of your own foot? I mean from the side? I almost rammed my heel through my monitor.
Yesterday, I was perishing for a stiff drink by 11 AM. What, only 10 more hours to go?
I started off by calling a student who has been missing school, to ask her to please get her butt back here (in the nicest possible way, of course). After a number of rings, the line picked up, but the only voice was a SCREAMING little baby. Either the kid answered himself or the mother just held the phone on front of the baby's gaping maw. "This'll show that meddling teacher. I'll sic the BABY on her!" Meanwhile, I was calling, "Hola? Bueno? BUEno. Eh, BUENO!! BUUUUEEEENNNNOOOOO? Buenobuenobueno?"
And, I discovered that my carefully planned tutor training workshop was going to be FUBAR. In order for this new routine to work, we need an activity for the students who are displaced when their volunteers come to the training. We have a special class for them, built up around an episode of the Cosby Show. Yeah, I know, we should just buy the season we want instead of ordering it off my Netflix account. However due to budget cuts, the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off: effective immediately. I was unconcerned until I received, instead of Cosby Show, Wild at Heart, with an e-mail notice explaining that Cosby Show is not currently available, and that Netflix hopes I enjoy Wild at Heart instead. I love Wild at Heart. But would an elderly Vietnamese lady be able to learn much English from it? "I bet you can fuck like a bunny?" Yeah, and don't tell me that Cosby Show is on YouTube. Guadalupe blocks YouTube, just to mess with me and stop me from watching Kevin Federline sing Dick in a Box all day.
And then there were the shoes. I run right before I go to work, so I have to put my work clothes in my gym bag and change in the girls' room when I arrive. I had my cute little outfit with the pink camisole and brown shortie sweater with my brown and pink skirt, and no I looked again. Nope, still no shoes. Ooooh, my Nikes are going to look so HOT with this outfit. Shit. Inspiration! Months ago, B. swiped a colleague's flip flops and hid them. This was an unsuccessful practical joke, since the colleague never even noticed they were gone; and B. forgot about it. I went and checked the hiding place. Still there! Yes! Really dusty, ugly black rubber and, you know how some flip flops make a sexy little snick, snick, snick as you walk along? These go FWOP FWOP FWOP. Lots of smirking. My colleague W. would never be caught dead in ugly shoes at work. Neither would she ever forget to bring shoes. She brought me this pair and gave them to me. Not such a bad day after all. Thanks, W.!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Back From Another Journey

Gosh! According to my Neopod, I have some very persistent buddies out there who kept checking to see if I was ever going to come back. Here I am! XX

OK, a pattern is emerging. Every time I have a mid-life crisis, I disappear. Why not vent right here in my little vent-o-sphere? Beats me! So this time, if you check out my picture, you can see that I cut off my hair; and the scissors slipped and cut off my smile, too. Oh, whoops. I'm happy about the hair. The smile has already grown back. I get tired from these little trips outside myself. They come from a need to go further and do more. Like there isn't plenty to do right here in Cottonwood? Hell, today I played a rollicking game of Simon Says (the traditional version, not the marital version), and engaged in a gender perception analysis of horse movies. Who could ask for more?

I was at home today with Nate and Sara and two other kiddos - their version of Simon Says was driving me nuts:
"OK! OK! Simon Says! Are you ready? Simon - no hold on a sec. Uh... Simon says........[really long pause] Touch your toes!"
"Wait, did you say, Simon Says?"
"Hah! You lose!" Etc...Etc...

Oh, for Pete's sake. I looked up from my work. There are ways to make this game entertaining for [sadistic] grownups.

"All right. Let's get real about this game. Simon says, put our hand on your butt. Simon says, put your other hand on your butt. Simon says, stand on your left foot. Simon says, wiggle your bum. Wait! Did I tell you you could put your foot down? You're out. Simon says, put your finger in your ear. Simon says, put your other finger in your other ear." After, that, I just move my lips, while they go,"Huh? Huh?"

We also went to see Secretariat at the matinee. A leeeeetle bit schmaltzy. OK, REALLY schmaltzy. Complete with scenes of fathers dying of strokes (comforted by daughters who actually manage to reach the fathers' bedsides in time), which made me gouge my nails into my palm. But, I got to sit with the boys on one side of me and the girls on the other, which gave me an interesting perspective. And Sara had Junior Mints. She would insert one of these into my mouth whenever I opened it, baby bird-style. At any rate, from the girls' side, I could hear [sniff, sniff, muffled sob] at the more sentimental bits. From the boys' side, just the sound of fidgeting. Nate told me afterwards that he did not dig that girl movie. I pointed out that it was actually a horse movie. Same thing. Wow. Who knew?

So, back to the issue of getting my groove back. I need to do a few things. I'm compiling a list in my head. It's already well past midnight, so I think I'll commit the list to the eternity of the Web tomorrow.