Saturday, February 17, 2018

Chinese Korean

Mike: Please clean your room this morning before you start playing video games.
Noah: It got messy yesterday, because I couldn't clean because it was Chinese New Year.
M: What??
N: We learned in school that it's bad luck to clean on Chinese New Year because you might sweep out the good luck.
M: Ok, but you're not Chinese. You're Korean.
Janel: Yesterday we decided to be Chinese for the day.
N:  It's good to have cultural empathy.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Warm Winter Walk

It was foggy and fifty degrees this morning, and it's supposed to turn cold and rainy this afternoon, so I felt obligated to go for a walk.  Noah was up for it, so we took off in the fog.
 We didn't get far before I had to stop to take a picture of water droplets on tree buds.
 We thought we saw a body in the street from far away, but as we got closer, we found out it was a dead snowman.  We debated taking him home but finally decided not to.
 All the sudden we noticed two dog heads on this fence.  We were pretty sure they were fake, because they didn't make a sound and didn't move. Just stared at us.  I had to go closer to investigate, and when I did, these dogs (which were quite real) got so excited that they flung mud all over me. 
I thought these frozen footprints were interesting. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Fun with fennel

I admit it.  Before today, I had never eaten fennel.  When I saw this beauty last night at Kroger next to a sign that said, "SALE: Organic Fennel 99cents", I couldn't resist.
 It sat on the counter all night while I pondered what to do with it.  This morning, I sliced up the root with some other vegetables and roasted them. 

There's Noah's hand grabbing the roasted vegetables.  They were a delicious breakfast.
Next, I tackled the stalks.  They looked like celery, so I cut them up and put them with our salad for lunch. They added a nice licorice-ish crunch. 

But what to do with those beautiful feathery fronds?  I took one in each hand like a pompom and danced around the kitchen, waving them.  The cats were very interested in that and decided that fennel fronds look like cat toys, so I used them as such.

They all loved playing with the fennel fronds, but when Shadow started gobbling one, I stopped to find out if they're harmful for cats.  It turns out that fennel has no harmful effects on cats.  In fact, it freshens their breath!  So I encouraged all three of them to snack on it.  They all did, but Shadow enjoyed it the most passionately.

I also saved some of the little green feathers to use as a garnish on our salad and roasted vegetables.  In the end, I really enjoyed discovering a new vegetable and used every bit of it.  Definitely 99 cents well spent.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


Last month, in the few days before my period started, I hated everyone.  Every little thing made me angry.  I knew I was wrong, but I couldn't get control over my feelings.  My period is overdue again this month, and I'm crazed again.  Not as much anger (but still too much), but overly emotional over inconsequential things.  Yesterday, for example, was a terrible day with poor Noah, who is the only student of a teacher who may or may not become a lunatic once a month.  His faults seemed magnified out of proportion, and I was feeling despondent about his future.  I cried.  I'm also confused and easily overwhelmed.  Sometimes I can't follow what the teenagers are talking about.  I feel old.

After the difficulty of the day, I still had to pick up Sarah from school and make dinner.  Sitting there outside the school waiting for Sarah, I was overcome with love for her and excited to see her.  Fifteen minutes later when she still hadn't come out and my feet were numb, those good feelings had evaporated, and when she finally came out chattering with her friends, I was annoyed.

I made a stir fry for dinner.  While chopping vegetables for a good thirty minutes, I angrily thought, "Mike and Sarah aren't even going to eat this.  If either one of them says one negative thing about it, I'm just going to walk out the door and not come back."  Mike came home.  I offered him some stir fry.  He looked at it and said, "Uh, no thanks."  I begged him to try one little tiny bird-sized portion.  He did, and he said something like, "This is actually pretty good."  I started crying right there at the table.  Relief and thankfulness and hormones I guess.

At 10:30 p.m., I ate half a bag of potato chips and too much chocolate.  I couldn't stop.

This morning I read something on facebook that started the waterworks.  I cried and cried and cried.  Pulled myself together and taught biology, Korean, and history like a normal person.  Now taking a lunch break, typing this, and crying.  Noah just came over and said, "Why are you crying?  Is it about me?"  I assured that it wasn't, and he rubbed my back and said, "Don't cry. You're depressing me."   Am I ruining him? Is this menopause?  Is it supposed to be like this? 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Family dinner

Sadly, family dinners are pretty rare anymore.  It's almost impossible to find something that everyone will eat.  Here's tonight's attempt:
 That's Sarah's plate.  Chicken cordon bleu, roasted broccoli, and a tiny dab of quinoa/kale. She at least tried the quinoa/kale but refused to eat her bird-sized portion.  She did eat the broccoli. Mike's plate looked just like hers but included more quinoa/kale, which he ate. 
 Noah's plate.  He ate roasted broccoli and so much raw broccoli and cucumbers (not pictured, because he already ate them) with hummus that he was too full to finish his quinoa and kale.
There's mine.  It was good. 
At least we were all at the table at the same time, so I guess it was a success.

Sarah's bee

 Yesterday was the big spelling bee. 
 There's Sarah, looking as nervous as I felt.
 Practice round. Easy word: "nice". 
Round 1. "Thrilling".  I was worried, because she's always had troubling remembering when to double the consonant.  She remembered the rule I taught her and spelled it correctly.
Round 2. The word was "superb". She got it. 
Round 3. The word is "tete a tete".  I think I scoffed out loud.  How is she supposed to know a French word?!  She listened to the definition, asked for a sentence, took a reasonable guess, and got dinged.  At least she went out on an impossible word instead of one that would haunt her for the rest of her days. I'm proud of her.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Learning things

Conversation with Sarah on the way to gymnastics.
Sarah: I've learned so much at school that I never learned at home.
Me: Like what?
S: Like how straws work.
M: Oh. Well, I guess that's good to know.
S: And how air pressure works.
M: I taught you that. Remember the experiment we did with the balloons lifting the pile of books?
S: Oh yeah.  I also learned that there's a census every ten years.
M: I taught you that at home.  You just weren't listening.
S: And that you have to be born in the United States to be President.
M: Yes, I never told you that, because I didn't want you to know.  I was hoping that stupid law would be changed before you found out about it.