Friday, January 30, 2009

Joy of Cooking

I was very blessed to have grandmothers who were awesome cooks. The first thing my Mama Pat would ask when we walked in the door was if she could make us something and Grandmother always had a container of cookies ready for grandkids. Even though my mom never really encouraged us to be anywhere near the kitchen when she was in there, her influence comes from all the different recipes and new foods that she was constantly trying. Most people don't have stacks of cookbooks in the bathroom but they're my bathtub reading of choice. I couldn't tell you though what my most dog-eared cookbook is because there are a lot of them but one of my favorites is an old spiral-bound copy of the Joy of Cooking. The page with the the recipe for Paprika chicken probably has the most stains. As you know, to find the best recipes in any cookbook, look for the dirtiest page. My most beloved cookbook is an old one from a homemaker's group in Garvin County, Oklahoma. It has old fashioned recipes using such things as oleo and lard. I have never made anything bad from that cookbook and I love the fact that it has recipes from my great, great aunts in there. So many of my favorite memories of my family are tied into the food that I cook: making cookies with my son while pretending to be the Swedish Chef from the Muppets, my brother trying to steal a cookie fresh from the oven and a melted chocolate chip falling between his toes(things always happen to him), dancing around the kitchen with the girls while music plays probably too loudly, a pressure cooker exploding into the ceiling while navy beans slowly rained down on me and my Mama Pat and we held each other laughing hysterically, my Daddo showing me how to fry a perfect sunny side up egg in an old cast iron skillet, sitting on the kitchen stool watching my grandmother's amazing ability to cook w/o measuring a single thing( brought that stool home with me recently), making fresh sopapillas with my mom...I am probably at my happiest in the kitchen and may have an unhealthy attachment to my Kitchen Aid mixer. Ok, not really, but I am quite fond of it. I guess what I really love though is making that dish that makes someone happy. That lets them know I care. I guess that's my joy of cooking.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

TAG: Five things Meme

Name 5 things that are not true, but that you wouldn't mind if people thought they were:

1. I am an accomplished artist. Ok, I can throw a fairly decent mug or vase and my design skills are decent but my drawing skills are still not up to snuff.
2. I play the harmonica beautifully. So far I've taught myself to play "When the Saints Come Marching In". My 7 year old makes better noise on it.
3. I am very graceful. I can be very polite and have good manners...if that's the meaning we're using. Unfortunately, I seem to be unable to walk w/o tripping or running into things.
4. I make the best chocolate chip cookies in the world. I have been challenged lately so I am grudgingly holding the title until confirmed.
5. I love coming to school everyday. Hmm, hard to come back after a snow day.

TAG, you're it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Today's blog is gonna be about WoW so if you're an education person, I'll catch ya later. I've been talking a lot to my sister about the dynamics of relationships that are formed with people on WoW. The most complicated one you first form is with your guild. It's almost a bizarre social hierarchical experiment that is impossible to explain fully to anyone who doesn't play. My guild is very casual and people tend to come and go all the time but there is a small core group of players. In the year that I've been with them, we've had two major schisms that resulted in a reformation of the guild and a loss of people that I've gotten used to playing with regularly. It's kinda strange because I've never met these people face to face but there is a sense of sadness and loss when someone g/quits as we call it. The tumult of emotions that occur watching guildy after guildy g/quit is quite interesting to say the least. I think that I have formed some very close friendships with some of my guildies and might know more about them than they've told their closest friends. I wonder though if I shouldn't become too attached to my guildies because when it comes down to it, we're all just people playing a video game and maybe I'm taking it too seriously. Is there really a friendship or relationship formed when you're communicating thru your Warlock and Rogue? I'm trying to figure this out and can't even come close to a logical conclusion. I know it hurts when people leave. It feels even worse when they don't say goodbye and drop off the face of the earth. It's such a strange alternative universe in WoW. Though when it comes down to it, I don't think I would have missed it for the world despite the people I am missing.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I hope I Don't Sound Like an Idiot

A great blogger and fellow teacher in the trenches, Learnmegood has graciously allowed me to guest blog for him today. I hope I haven't embarrassed him. Go read his blog. It's a daily read for me.

Friday, January 09, 2009


There's been an unwritten post flavoring my writing for several months and with the anniversary of my grandmother's death coming up, writing this post has been in my mind more and more. It's just a subject that I am not sure how to talk about and one that makes most people so uncomfortable to even have mentioned. The week before school started my cousin James Darren killed himself. I can come up with a myriad of reasons why he might have done it but it doesn't satisfy anything. I shouldn't even be calling him James Darren because he was always Bubba to us. He was 43 years old, divorced with three kids and had been struggling with drug addiction for quite a while. He also was just one of the nicest guys you could meet. He was the kid who always carried around the younger kids and babies and the one who always let you tag along even though you were an annoying girl. He taught me how to ride a horse, how to catch a baseball and turn it around so quickly that the catcher was caught off guard, helped me get up on water skis successfully for the first time, helped me with Algebra homework when he lived with my family for a while and gave me the heebie jeebies the past couple of years because he was such a walking shell of himself. Growing up, he looked like a younger version of my dad and was obviously my dad's favorite. By 40, he looked more like a thirty years older version of my Dad but was still my dad's fave. At family get-togethers, it was always a toss up as to whether Bubba was going to show up. Sometimes, he would come in with fresh pressed jeans and a ridiculously large cowboy hat that he favored or he would slink in after dinner, hanging around the side yard, nervously chain smoking. He made you nervous. Mostly because he was so ill at ease at times and you didn't know what to say to him. My dad would catch up with him though, and after falling into some huge discussion about this and that, you could visibly see the tension fall off Bubba's shoulders. When my aunt called my dad with the news, it really wasn't that shocking. I think the saddest part though is that maybe we all had seen it coming. We knew he was slowly killing himself, but just didn't expect this. My grandparent's deaths were so hard on all of us but I think they were very much a lifeline for Bubba. Their house sat empty for about 9 months and I know Bubba used to go hang out in the side garden and just sit in the swings. I wish he had waited for my parents to move in. I thought it would be strange having my parents there but it feels right. I know my grandmother would have very pleased with the way my dad is taking care of the gardens. I think Bubba would have found a place there. My dad would have welcomed his company. I wish he had just waited.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Thursday's thirteen...13 Random Things in/on my Desk

1. Over-sized Desktop Marines Calendar-full of doodles and random parental phone numbers-you can really track who was on my nerves on a particular day with it.
2. 500 count pastel paper clips container-these paper clips are like crack for my kids
3. Four different tubes of lipsticks-you'd be surprised about the effect of wearing lipstick on a class. You'd think I was dressing up for a ball.
4. Twelve sets of earrings-which explains why I can't find earrings on the weekends
5. A box of 100 1/4 inch folded origami stars and cranes that my ESL class from 7 years ago folded to celebrate the birth of my youngest daughter
6. A grey stuffed animal armadillo that we pass around during discussions to designate a speaker
7. Three Starbucks gift cards that I got for Christmas from students-FTW!
8. Four boxes of green Flair Pens-I am obsessed with only grading with these pens..Idk why...
9. Metal Jersey Cow Deskset(udders included) they're cheesy.....they make me happy
10. A bag of Buttered Popcorn Jelly beans....yummm
11. Lilo and Stitch Figurines
12. Box of Kashi Trail Mix Granola Bars
13. A stack of filled out office behavior referrals that I never turned in....sigh

Monday, January 05, 2009

Face Value

I'm a bit amazed by how open people are with Facebook and MySpace. I think of people from my past that I'd really like to see but there are also a couple of people that would make me duck and cover if they materialized out of the woodwork. I don't know if guys have these experiences, but I can think back to some slightly creepy encounters with guys who stood a bit too close to me while talking or guys who seemed to know a little bit too much about my personal life. I quickly took down some personal info from when I saw that one particular scary character from high school had looked at it. Let's just say, you should never tell a 16 year old girl that you know which bedroom window is hers. When I google my name, I am sometimes appalled by the info that shows up that connects the dots of my life story. This is the actually the second version of my blog. I deleted my first when I had a moment of panic with a particularly paranoid employer. Wish I hadn't done it though, because there was some pretty funny stuff there. Oh well. Maybe I'm just secretly jealous that people have such exciting lives that they share with all the other people with exciting lives. I do know that when I ask my students if they've checked my teacher page for make-up asignments, they look at me if I'm talking about space alien cloning. On the other hand, they update their mood indicator on Myspace every other hour. A quick glance online will tell me whether or not my sixth period is coming in sleepy, bored or just peachy. I am not sure if this posting of our lives online is actually making communication better as a society. I have found myself saying things online that I probably would have a hard time saying in person w/o feeling like an idiot. Is this a good thing or bad thing? Am I able to express myself better within the safety of my keyboard or am I really just creating an image? When do you take what you see of that person online for face value when they can pick and choose what people can see?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Thursday's Thirteen 2009 Songs

Got up at the crack of dawn to a beautiful sunrise. Took the dog for a rather short walk around the lake because frankly, I was freezing my tail and his off. Here are the first 13 songs that my Ipod shuffled to greet the new year and my pathetic attempt at a walk. It's definitely an interesting mix of songs but for once, it didn't try to play Peter Gabriel every other song. Doesn't matter though, that sunrise had all my attention.

1. Pretty Fly (For a White guy) by The Offspring....This is so my brother in the early 90's
2. California by Phantom Planet... reminds me of that missed L.A. road trip with an ex-Bf that I will always regret passing up
3. Radio Nowhere by Bruce Springsteen...sigh...Bruce
4. Glamorous by Fergie...I shouldn't like this so much but the girls sound great singing it from the backseat of the car
5. Without Me by Eminem...ok, guilty pleasure number two
6. Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight by The Oak Ridge
7. So Much for the Afterglow by Everclear...still mourning their breakup
8. Paradise City by Guns and Roses...falsetto everyone...
9. Lonely Teardrops by Jackie Wilson....I'm sure a lot of people sing and walk too...quit staring
10. Shadow of the Day by Linkin Park...this song always seems to play on the way to school..hmm
11. Hands Open by Snow Patrol...."It's hard to argue when you won't stop making sense."
12. Love You Again by John Hiatt...I love this song....
13. Little Black Backpack by Stroke 9...what a great line, "Up smack turn around, he's on his back."