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Friday, May 30, 2008

Welcome to "Pimp My Book"





I've been reading Jess Riley's blog since I started blogging 2 years ago. She is quite a talented writer, is laugh-out-loud funny and is a Midwest girl like me. Her long-awaitedbook, Driving Sideways has just recently been released. I am excited to read it and am really hoping she does a book signing that is close to my home!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

I got this as a forward- enjoy!

BARACK OBAMA:
The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a CHANGE! The chicken wanted CHANGE!

JOHN MC CAIN:
My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

HILLARY CLINTON:
When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure -- right from Day One! -- that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.......

DR. PHIL:
The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must
first deal with the problem on 'THIS' side of the road before it goes
after the problem on the 'OTHER SIDE' of the road. What we need to do is
help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his 'CURRENT'
problems before adding 'NEW' problems.

OPRAH:
Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he
wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn
from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to
give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and
not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

GEORGE W. BUSH:
We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to
know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is
either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

COLIN POWELL:
Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image
of the chicken crossing the road...

ANDERSON COOPER - CNN:
We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been
allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

JOHN KERRY:
Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it!
It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's
intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.

NANCY GRACE:
That chicken crossed the road because he's GUILTY! You can see it in his
eyes and the way he walks.

PAT BUCHANAN:
To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

MARTHA STEWART:
No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a
standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price
dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider
information.

DR SEUSS:
Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the
chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY:
To die in the rain. Alone.

GRANDPA:
In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told
us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

BARBARA WALTERS:
Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the
chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it
experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its
life long dream of crossing the road.

ARISTOTLE:
It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

JOHN LENNON:
Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.

BILL GATES:
I have just released eChicken2007, which will not only cross roads, but
will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your check
book. Internet Explorer is an integral part of the Chicken. This new
platform is much more stable and will never cra...#@&&^(C% .........
reboot.

ALBERT EINSTEIN:
Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the
chicken?

BILL CLINTON:
I did not cross the road with THAT chicken. What is your definition of
chicken?

AL GORE:
I invented the chicken!

COLONEL SANDERS:
Did I miss one?

DICK CHENEY:
Where's my gun?

AL SHARPTON: Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Road to Crazytown

Pardon my hiatus last week. Apparently, all hell decided to break loose last week at my school.
Let's see, Monday there was a huge fight between 1st and 2nd Block in which a boy pushed another girl down the stairs. He is now up for expulsion. Minutes after that and one floor below, there was another huge fight. I was in my room not doing hall duty, I know, bad me, when I heard the din in the hallway change - sort of a rise in pitch, reaching near hysteria. I opened my door to see my 6'4" principal barely able to hold back one of the kids and a police officer practically lying on top of the other kid to hold him down. Whew. All of this in an 8 minute passing period.
I had to come back to school in the evening for the Junior/Senior awards ceremony. I parked my car in the usual parking lot, left at around 8:15. I checked my school email from home later that evening to find out that there had been a shooting in said parking lot that afternoon at around 4:30. Holy shit! A shooting. With actual guns. Shot out the window of one staff member's car-$2600 worth of damage- insurance will cover, except for the deductible, of course. Who will pay that? I think the district should be responsible for it, but we'll see how that goes.
Tuesday there were 3 huge fights at school- 2 girls got suspended, then one of them decided to come back to school-texted her sister, who was in class and subsequently left in the middle of that class to go fight someone outside. WTF?
In the meantime, we had the honor and privilege of having the youngest survivor of Schindler's List come and speak to us. How amazing was that????
Thursday, a man was shot to death at the IHOP- going to work.
Friday, everyone on my floor was mysteriously hustled into the auditorium during 2nd block because a container holding an unknown substance was found in the hallway. Keep in mind that we've been having all kinds of crazy bomb threats scrawled on our bathroom walls the last month. So, they called in the Bomb Squad to make sure that we weren't all going to be blasted to smithereens. 20 minutes later we were all dismissed back to class. The superintendent came, there were about 5 or 6 cops . And for what? Well, one of the science classes had done experiments using a calorimeter. One boy was trying to put his in his friend's locker and it accidentally got left on the floor next to the locker. The funny thing is that this kid is an itty-bitty slip of a boy- probably weighs 95 pounds soaking wet and is the nicest, most unlikely culprit. I guess they cleared him of any charges, since it was completely without malice.
So, by the time Saturday rolled around? I was ready for some down time.
8 more days ....

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Prom King

There are a handful of things school related that are currently bugging the ever-living hell out of me, but I'm not going to post about them. I'm sure you all have your own fresh hell to gnaw on. I'll save it for another day. Posting about them doesn't promise to be cathartic, but rather to have me re-live them all over again. So instead, I have somehthing nice to share.

There is a senior boy at my school who has mild autism. I'm going to call him Ron. He is quite funcional- I had him in class for 2 levels of Spanish and his written work was impeccable. Socially, he is a bit off- it's like having a brilliant 8 year old in class, but intellectually, his mind is like a steel trap. One of his goals has been to refrain from blurting out answers and waiting to be called on. Having him in class was really delightful, as he and I have somewhat of a rapport and the other kids get used to him and are quite nice to him.

I mentioned earlier that we have a Sadie-Hawkins type dance every winter in which Senior boys are nominated for the honor of being crowned King. Well, this year, Ron was the recipient of this honor. It was really a genuine gesture on the part of most of the student body- there weren't any snickers or sarcastic remarks. He wore that crown all week- and then sometimes just for the heck of it.

Fast forward to April. The kids are in Prom-mode. Ron puts a note up on the bulletin board in the cafeteria looking for a ride to the dance. A Senior girl in one of his classes asks him about it. "Ron, I saw your note. Did you end up getting a ride to Prom?" No, not yet, was his answer. "Well," she said, "I talked it over with my parents, and they'd be happy to drive you to the Prom. And a bunch of us are going out to dinner before the dance and we'd like you to join us- your dinner will be all taken care of." These kids all chipped in to pay for his meal, as well as his Prom ticket, and arranged for his ride home. They didn't do it for any recognition, nor for any fun to be had at his expense. They just did it because he's their classmate, and they think he's cool and they know that he's not like them in many ways, and they wanted him to have a good time at his Senior Prom.

So the next time you see teenagers being loud and obnoxious or hear about some heinous crime commited by teens, I want you to remember this story.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Tree and Random Monday thoughts



You can barely see the little green buds, but they are there, along with some eager dogwod blossoms. Every couple of years, this tree is amazing when it's in full bloom.

Here's another, up-close and personal"




In other randomness:

- Is it just me, or are we being surveyed to death? Every time I answer the phone it's another marbles-in-the-mouth doing market research. I used to do them, then I got a small case of paranoia and wondered if the people conducting the surveys were really who they say they are and just what exactly are they doing with this information and could it ever be held against me. And, I'm just sick of it, so now I say "We don't do those." and hang up.

- Although I am big fan of The Leftover- a huge believer in the "Cook Once, Eat Twice" philosophy, I think food reheated in the microwave is kind of gross. So, I've discovered that using my huge honking Pampered Chef non-stick skillet is perfect for reheating most leftovers. Just put your stuff in and put the lid on. Sometimes you need to add water or broth- depends on what it is Tonight I had leftover roasted potatoes, and grilled chicken- enough for the 4 of us. We had a Greek salad and pita, which we wanted warm and I didn't want to use the oven, so I wrapped it in foil and just stuck it on top of the chicken and potatoes. Worked like a charm, and I didn't heat up the kitchen with the oven.

- Speaking of Greek salad, here's a recipe:

romaine
feta cheese
kalamata olives
tomatoes (I use grape tomatoes- they have a good taste even in the winter)
red onion, thinly sliced
cucumber
pepperoncini

Assemble the salad to your liking.

dressing

good quality, fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil
red wine vinegar
oregano
garlic
salt & pepper

Pour oregano into the palm of your hand- it should be several tablespoons. Rub it between your palms into a glass jar. Rubbing dried herbs releases the flavor. Crush several cloves of the garlic and add to the jar. Salt and pepper to taste. Add oil and vinegar. Last but not least, add a couple of tablespoons of the pepperoncini brine. Shake it all up. Enjoy. It's good on the salad, of course, but equally good on warm pita, chicken. I would like my casket to be lined with this dressing, please.

I use a 3-1 ratio of oil to vinegar. For a cup of dressing, use 3/4 cup of oil, 1/4 cup of dressing. For more, I use 1 1/2 cups oil to 1/2 cup of vinegar. (I'm sure you are all smart enough to do the math, but it took me a while to figure this out.)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Queen of the May

My younger daughter, Lydia received her First Communion this afternoon. Her second grade class (they go to Catholic school) has been preparing for it for months. I love that her school maintains some traditions for this celebrations. For instance, several weeks before the big day, the class goes to one of those "paint your own pottery" places and everyone paints their own chalice, which the priest then blesses. After the First Communion mass, which is on Sunday, the school has a special May Crowning ceremony. All of the second graders are to come in their First Communion duds, and the 8th graders who are being confirmed are to come in their special clothes as well. All year long, the 2 grades have been getting together- they are assigned a "prayer buddy" - an older child with a younger. They attend mass together- and it's really cool, because the older kids kind of keep the younger ones in line. So anyway, on the day of May Crowning, the kids come all dolled up. Each family is asked to bring flowers to place around Mary- they haul out this huge statue- they say a few decades of the Rosary, they sing "Salve Regina" and the crowning point (get it?-couldn't resist) is when the 2nd and 8th graders walk up with their prayer buddy and the boys bring a votive candle and the girls all bring flowers to place at the base of the statue. 2 girls are chosen to crown Mary. It's all very sweet and old-fashioned. I love it because the 8 graders are so lovely- some of the girls are so pretty and they have no idea how beautiful they are. Most of the moms cry.

Here is a picture of Lydia in front of a rhododendron in the courtyard at her school:



And another:




It was sure something to see all of the little girls running around in their white dresses and veils before the mass. The boys were all in blue blazers and khakis- horsing around. I could imagine them all in about 15 years at a wedding- acting the same way, pretty much, only probably enhanced by too much keg beer.