Archive for April 2009

This Week’s Adventures in…..

April 30, 2009

Drivers’ Ed    After the rousing first time on the road with his instructor put him into the middle of a 75 mph gale of wind and rain, the Prince was looking forward to an easier time on his second road experience.   As luck would have it, he hit a pothole and they spent part of his session learning to change a tire on the Pontiac G6 they used.  And as FURTHER luck would have it, the instructor got to complain about the super tight lug nuts with the person who was part of building the G6 – the Prince’s Daddy.  LOL 

Track  The Princess ran the short hurdles, the long hurdles and the once around the track race (sorry but I am new to this sport).   Here’s a You Tube link if you want to see the girl go.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfSONTLmPFo

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Driving?

April 26, 2009

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Uh…yes he is.  Got a good report from his driving instructor for hisfirst journey on the road…..which happened to be during the whale of a wild storm system that plowed through and left us without power for eight and a half hours.  It can only get better….right?

Reflections from a Foodie

April 21, 2009

Foodie  n. Slang  A person who has an ardent or refined interest in food; a gourmet.

I wouldn’t call me exactly a gourmet.  Absolutely not.  But I have a profound interest in  food.

I live  in a house with someone who could subsist on meat, potatoes and corn…..with a green bean casserole thrown in once in a while. Oh…and an occasional pizza.   The other of the male species is highly suspicious of anything green…and yellow and sometimes red.  His meal of choice usually comes from a box that you  add ground beef to.  He cannot abide the taste of tomato unless it’s in a sauce of some kind.  His sister on the other hand fancies herself to be a vegetarian.  I have no doubt that she will try that life style when she is older but right now, she loves her chicken too much and, on a rare occasion, a grilled steak.  She snacks on carrots and celery and cold sugar peas and can easily go through an entire bag of apples in one day.   She makes an entire meal out of a baked potato and a couple of tomatos.  Set a dish of unfamiliar veggies in front of her and she will most likely give it a try.   She is also a pasta lover.   I guess all of us are.  Take them off the beaten track….away from their ‘norm’ and you are likely to have a mutiny on your hands.  Or lots of grinding in the garbage disposal and many empty cereal boxes.

And their kind of food and  food preparation bores me lately. 

I can’t find anything that tickles my palate and makes me want more.  Unfortunately this malaise has not stopped me from eating.  I just keep trying to find….something. 

I guess I am just tired of the usual.  The casseroles, the meat loaves, sandwiches and soup, salads….everything lacks that ….pizzazz.  Barbecued chicken hit the spot the other night however.  I am looking forward to doing more of that again this summer.  I love grilling vegetables too.  But, more and more, I find myself longing for the food of  the two days I spent in New York City last fall.  Morandi.  Josephines.  Magnolia Bakery.  The quaint little market on the main drag with the very interesting sandwich combinations.  And to the meal my family shared at a ritzy restaurant in our town with a thoughtful gift certificate given to me at the end of the schoool year.  Everything from the salad (argula greens) to the shared dessert (chocolate volcano cake) was beautiful.  I remember holding everyone back as I marveled at the beauty of the presentation.  And then they destroyed it with forks and spoons.  In seconds.  Sigh.  It was something meant to be enjoyed…not inhaled.  But they argued that they HAD enjoyed it.  A lot.

I guess I have always been the kind of person who cares about how food…looks.  I can spend a good long time looking at something before I actually put a fork to it.  I love ‘presentation.’  When I prepare a meal I try to make sure it has a complimentary color palate as well as a taste palate.  I don’t like anything too green….or an over abundance of yellow.  Or white.   That was very clear to me in New York.  I have introduced my family to a lot of things they have never had before since NYC.  I have thrown spices into unexpected places.  I am finding that sometimes it’s best to operate on the ‘what they don’t know, won’t hurt them’  tactic however.  Like tonight. 

I spent the day making pasties.  Northern Michigan Pasties…with a few minor adjustments.  I picked up some things – potatos, rutabaga, carrots and parsnips – at the grocery store, grated them all together and wrapped them in  pastry with lots of smallish chunks of meat.   I have gravy for the guys to drown them in and plenty of veggies to keep the Princess happy.   In case they don’t like it.   We’ll see. 

As for me, the fun was in the making, I guess.  They look darn good.  I hope the taste is there.  The ‘pizazz.’   Its missing in my life right now.

Sigh.

I gave them a choice…..

April 20, 2009

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Once in a while – in my line of work – something just comes along to tickle your funny bone.  It was a drab and rainy Monday morning today.  I had three classes of second graders before lunch and it was time to do a report card assessment piece.  They were to create a poster using Microsoft Word.  They were directed to finish a sentence, center the text, change and enlarge the font, add their name in a smaller font, insert, center and resize a picture.  They could use color and/or Word Art if they chose.  They were to print their work and save a copy to their files.  Their ability to do those things were all I cared about.  Spelling and subject matter was not really an issue.  Spell checking is our next BIG lesson anyway. 

I gave them a choice.    The sentence they were to finish was a toss up between ‘It is important to RECYCLE because…’ or ‘It is important to Save Animals because….’ 

I had 78 papers to grade.   I wanted to do them quickly because the four 4th grade classes in the afternoon had a more involved project that would need grading.  Sooo….I was flipping through papers, checking off the five things I was assessing when I came across the work of a sweet little blue eyed blonde.  Stopped my green marker (it’s an Earth Day project after all) in it’s tracks and drew a gut busting chuckle.

“It’s important to

Save Animals

because if we don’t they will all

dye and We WilL have to be

Vegirteriauns.”

 

 

The Irony of It All

April 18, 2009

The weekend is here. 

 I have a stack of paperlets on my desk representing the 100 or so power point projects I still need to correct.  A new 4th grade project with Microsoft Publisher about Michigan Lighthouses is looming and it scares me to death.  I haven’t even begun to think about the 537+ report cards I need to mark.  I am knee deep in paperwork for the Princess’ citizenship certificate and it’s confusing the crap out of me.  I have seven…..no SIX….soccer games to sit through this weekend.

And it’s the weekend.

And it’s only 52.5  hours until the Prince begins his first Driver’s Education class.

I think I need a drink.

Or maybe a prayer?

Leader of the Pack

April 17, 2009

Okay…so I am a bit upset with myself…and Sprint…right now.  I forgot to take my camera to her first track meet ever.  Rats.  I did, however, shoot a video on my phone camera.  I have one of those teensy memory chips and it’s accompanying big buddy that slips into a slot on our computer.  Pictures load nicely.  Videos not.  Rats.

If you COULD see the video, you would see her racing down the track for the 44 meter hurdles.  And I mean racing.  And jumping.  Like this.  Seriously.gazelle20leaping1

Except SHE was in front.  So far in front that she probably cost herself some time looking back to see where the rest of the hurdlers were.  Seriously.

Her time in her very first 44 meter hurdle was 11.34. 

Seconds. 

Seriously.

Embracing the Mystery

April 14, 2009

We have been talking about it alot again.  Just like last year in Chicago.  I am never sure what brings it on.  Maybe, this time,  it’s the middle school girls’ interest and preoccupation with the start of their feminine life?  And babies.  Not sure.  But the wondering and the questions and the conversations just break my heart sometimes. 

 She wonders about her birth parents.  Where they are.  What they look like.  What they do to support themselves.  What they like to do for fun.  And why they left her alone at a bus stop one day.  The answers to those questions are a mystery.  And we are trying to embrace that.

Somewhere in Siberia there are two people who – maybe – fell in love and created a child.  That child is bright, funny, very athletically gifted and loving.   Oh gosh…..is she loving.  She embraces everything that comes her way with a fevor and excitement that is almost excruciating to see.   You wonder how you can stop her from trying anything she wants to try.   She is a ball of non-stop energy.   And you can’t help but wonder about the two beings that created her.   So, I guess I understand her curiosity.

I also know that the answers to those questions might not be the kind of answers that she wants to hear.  We  have talked about that.  We talk about reasons that people might have in choosing not to raise their child themselves.  Our conversations have a lot to do with finances, desperation and maybe  just flat out caring.   About caring more for the well being of your child than what ‘people’ will think.   We have talked about medical reasons.  We have talked about the poverty her Dad and I saw while we were in Siberia to complete her adoption.  We  also talk about the pride we saw in the people we met there.  Their pride in the beautiful child they were trusting us to raise and raise well. 

It doesn’t answer her real questions though.

So this time we talked about the positive things about not knowing.  The ‘fun’ you can have creating your own background in your head.   There was a time when we laughed that our child evolved from a circus family because she loved to tumble and giggle and make people laugh.  And then we were certain she was from a military family because she always marched so easily in that oh so Russian way.   We were also certain they weren’t dancers because of her own aversion to ballet.  She loves hearing about things like that.   So, maybe, in not knowing….she can be anything she wants to be.   She’s still thinking about it.

In the mean time, there are two people in Siberia who created a life and gave us a real gift. 

And that….is no mystery.