Tuesday, July 31, 2012

things that make me happy

We replaced a smallish louvre window with a patio door in our bedroom and it makes me ridiculously happy. The reja is a box so I'll be able to put some plants in it. We need a blind and I would like some new bed-side lamps and we need to put stuff on the walls... but I am so pleased. The light filtering through the big trees is lovely.

When we bought the house this small, low-ceilinged bedroom was painted navy (!!) and the window had blackout material taped to it, sealing any light out. The woman who owned the house suffered from bad migraines and this was her solution. So this particular room has come a long way.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

5 observations and puffed wheat cake

  1. I ran an 8k race this morning and it went pretty well. It was steamy hot. But, I don't have a headache. I think that means I've finally mastered the art of hydration in this god-forsaken climate.
  2. I am teaching Romeo and Juliet to 9th graders. I love teaching Romeo and Juliet to 9th graders. I don't think I'd have any particular affection for R & J, if it weren't for how much they dig it.  I know it's famous for its poetry, but I love it for its characters and plotting (and maybe its excess of dirty jokes). My students were on the edge of their seats as Mercutio and Tybalt  fought this week (oh and we were reading not watching). 
  3. I continue to volunteer teach at Calicanto. It's been such a great experience. In fact it has changed the way I think about teaching. I think I knew, but I didn't really understand, that so much of teaching is about human interaction. There is the subject being taught of course, but there's so much about respect and kindness, and how to interact with other humans... I feel quite strongly, that the classroom is one of the important places we learn about how to treat each other (and where we might get the idea that we don't matter if we are treated badly). I have seen women change profoundly in a few short weeks of training, and I believe that it has as much to with kindness and respect as it does with the subjects being taught.
  4. We had no school on Wednesday because of a water main break. There's really nothing like an unexpected day off. We were supremely lazy and didn't shower, even though there was water at our house. 
  5. Have you seen this? It's mash-up of the two ubiquitous songs. I think I like it better than either of the originals.

Here's a recipe for puffed wheat cake. It is the easiest thing ever and it is delicious. It reminds of being a kid and it reminds me of tree planting--it's totally nostalgic, but more nutritious than peanut butter marshmallow squares (which I also adore). I've been making it a lot lately (3 times last week!). 

Puffed Wheat Cake
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 cups puffed wheat (or a combination of puffed grains if you want to mix it up)

Butter a 9x13 cake pan.

Boil the honey, sugar, butter and cocoa for five minutes. Take off the heat and stir in vanilla and then the puffed cereal. Press the mixture into the pan.

If you live in 90% humidity, you will need to keep this in the fridge.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I got up early on Sunday with the intention of writing a blog post. I made coffee and sat down. I had lots of ideas and even a recipe. Then the power went out. Of course I could have kept writing, but without the cheery buzz of the Internet, my laptop had no hold over me. I took my coffee to the backyard. I noticed some plants that needed re-potting and a couple that needed dividing. And then I noticed some gaps along the wall, and before long I was in up to my elbows in top soil. I never made it back to my computer. I spent the entire day in the garden. It was great. Rubber boots on, and dirt under my finger nails, great.

As you can see, Cookie was a big help. Honestly, I really have nothing but admiration for her splayed suntanning poses. She is the picture of relaxation.

Friday, July 6, 2012

it's been a while

So I've been busy. Mostly busy being a teacher. My school does English week every year (the week of July 4th). We fill the bulletin boards with English content (see above)  and have a bunch of contests for the students. This year I organized a film festival for the high school. It went really well, and I'm very proud of my students. I'm also very relieved that it's over. The last two weeks have been hectic and stressful and I've lost sleep wondering what to do about poor sound quality and some questionable content from the tenth grade. And now, Friday afternoon, after all the awards have been handed out and the annual picnic has been eaten, I am tired and wired, I can feel the sharp edge of a migraine lurking at my temple. I need to sleep. I need to recover and catch up. So, all this to say, hello, I'm still here, but just give me a minute. I will be back for real next week.