Archive for April, 2009

I’m back…

April 28, 2009

Today it was 93 degrees. Tomorrow there is a high of 63 degrees. That’s a thirty degree difference. I’m back in New England!

our first day here

April 20, 2009

Yesterday (our first day here), we went to brunch at Hermosa Beach with two friends of Bruce and Randy. We ate outside; the restaurant was steps from the ocean. The food was delicious, and I was overwhelmed by how good the sunshine & warm air felt. Afterward, we walked on a bike/pedestrian path along the beach. It was absolutely beautiful–sunny and a little over 85 degrees, but with a nice breeze. We then came back and hung out at the house.

The view from Bruce and Randy's deck.

The view from Bruce and Randy's deck.

A lemon tree--one of many fruit trees--in their yard.

Later in the afternoon, David and I went and walked the trail that runs behind their house, along a ridge above the ocean. It’s one of my favorite things here, and I’ve walked it at least once every time I’ve come. It’s stunningly beautiful, and it drives me nuts that it seems so everyday for David (but I guess if you woke up to this every day for most of your life…)

A lizard at the start of the trail.

I'm walking down the trail.

I love this photo of David.

What a spectacular view... (That's Catalina island in the distance.)

Flowers & cacti along the trail.

When we got back, we all went to pick up David’s cousin, Jeremy, from the airport, and then we went out to dinner. We got back around 9 and Jeremy left for Santa Barbara, where he lives, and we headed to bed shortly after. The night before, when we got in, we didn’t go to bed until 1am (4am our time), so we were pretty exhausted.


Flight to LA

April 20, 2009

I booked our tickets on Orbitz and reserved seats next to each other. When we checked in at the airport, they had a record of David’s seat, but not mine; I had no seat. The gate agents said this happens all the time when people book though Orbitz. An hour before my flight, they called me up and handed me two first class tickets. All the coach seats were overbooked, so we got bumped up! David and I were giggly and ridiculous. It was especially nice because we had a direct flight–3,000 miles of first class!

David drinking champagne before take off.

Clouds everywhere.

We were given a menu with options for our multi-course meal. We started with bowls of warmed nuts. The flight attendant then came around with warm, wet wash clothes. We skipped the mojito shrimp, then had a chile cucumber salad with balsamic vinaigrette and multigrain rolls.  Next was our entree. We ordered the vegetarian “semolina pasta filled with four cheeses, offered with a mushroom tomato cream sauce, sauteed shallots and sliced mushrooms.” We then split a hot fudge sundae and a cheese and fruit dish. Next, they delivered Ghiradelli chooclate. Later on in the flight, we had warm chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies with milk. (Please excuse the poor photo quality…I didn’t use my flash and was trying my best to be discrete…we were clearly the only ones who didn’t fly first class regularly.)

Day of Silence

April 18, 2009

Yesterday was the National Day of Silence, “a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Students from middle school to college take some form of a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior. The event is designed to illustrate the silencing effect of this bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT.”

One of my students made enough ribbons for half of the school, but ran out before first period.

My students make me so proud.

Sam’s bean salsa

April 18, 2009

Since we are leaving today for LA and we had a ton of cilantro that I didn’t think would make it through the week, I made my friend Sam’s bean salsa recipe last night.

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can sweet whole kennel corn (I buy no salt added)
  • 1 sweet vidallia onion (I didn’t have one, so I used a yellow onion, which gives the salsa a quite different flavor)
  • 1 large handful of cilantro
  • Juice of 1 or 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of oil (I only used 1)

Directions

1) Chop up cilantro and onion

2) Drain and rinse the corn and black beans

3) Mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl

And that’s it!

Twilight & Easter & wall hangings

April 14, 2009

I haven’t updated much in the last week and a half because I’ve been reading the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. I started off using the excuse that all my students are reading them (”Why can’t you keep your eyes open in English class?” “Well, Ms. Richardson, I was up until 3am reading the third book…”) and I wanted to be able to discuss them, but I became genuinely engrossed about 100 pages into the first book! In one week (Saturday-Saturday) I read all four books, or about 2000 pages. I don’t think that they’re even close to the quality of the Harry Potter books, but I cared about the characters and they were a lot of fun to read. It’s a teen romance and adventures series–not the best writing (inconsistent, I think), but very engaging (and steamy!). I haven’t been that unwilling to put a book down in quite awhile…

On Easter, we drove to my parents’ house. We met them at their church. Sitting in the balcony, I smiled, thinking about how Sarah and I used to sneak plastic eggs from our yearly egg hunt to church with us. We’d eat chocolate and jelly beans in the pews. We then headed to my parents’ neighbors’ house for brunch. Mimosas, frittatas, french toast, fruit salad, lemon cake… I ate so much good food! Carol, Jeff, Parker, and Grandpa came to my parents’ for dinner. Homemade mac & cheese, sweet potatoes in a cilantro lime sauce, green beans…. angel food cake and chocolate gelato with my mom’s homemade raspberry sauce for dessert!

Easter, 1987.

It's nice that the Easter Bunny still comes for you when you're twenty-something! (David's and my Easter baskets.)

On Saturday (the day before Easter), I spent some time making wall hangings. I had the canvases since last year (when I ruined them by being too indecisive and repainting them too many times), but couldn’t find the just the right fabric. David and I hung them on the wall yesterday.

Here are all four wall hangings.

Here's a close up of two of the panels.

Here's a close up of two of the panels.

There’s so much more that’s been happening, but I’m feeling pretty sick and want to lay here and do nothing. I have a terribly sore throat and I am really congested; I think I have a fever, but haven’t checked. On Saturday, David and I leave for Los Angeles (can’t wait!!), and I just hope that I’m at least a little better…

Trip to Ogunquit

April 11, 2009

Yesterday I had the day off of school. David had a doctor’s appointment and when he got home, around noon, I asked him to go to the beach with me. It was a beautiful April day, sunny and around 65 degrees. We jumped in the car and drove to Maine.

It’s so nice there now, when there’s hardly anyone around. We parked right by the water and climbed down the rocks, instead of walking around to where the sand meets the parking lot. The tide was so far in there was only a couple of feet of beach. I ran around barefoot, jumping in and out of the icy water. We walked on Marginal Way, a path that runs along the ocean to some restaurants and shops. It was hard to find any place open to eat lunch; almost all of the restaurants had “Closed ’till mid-April” signs in the windows. We bought saltwater taffy and ate some on the way back. By the time we walked back to where we had parked, the tide had gone far out. It’s difficult for me to think of anywhere so peaceful & reassuring.

Banana bread

April 11, 2009

I wrote this entry on April 1, but didn’t put the photos in, and saved it as a draft. Here you go, a week and a half later!

On Monday, I bought some bananas so I could make banana bread for my students. This week (Tues, Weds, and Thurs) the 10th graders are taking the English MCAS, a high-stakes standardized test they need to pass in order to graduate. Each day the teachers are bringing in breakfast foods for them. We all hang out before school in the morning in one of the math classrooms, eating breakfast and listening to loud pop music.

I didn’t get home until late that night, so I ended up just bringing the bananas, which students ate up! I saved three bananas so that I could make the bread for David, who loves it immensely.

Ingredients

  • 3 bananas
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg (beaten with fork)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • Optional: Approximately 1 cup of dried cranberries (I get the orange flavored cranberries at Trader Joe’s)
  • Optional: Approximately 3/4 cup of chocolate chips

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) Mash bananas with a fork

3) Add melted butter and stir

4) Mix in sugar, beaten egg, vanilla, and baking soda, followed by the flour

5) Mix in cranberries and chocolate chips

6) Pour mixture into a buttered loaf pan (9×5 and 4×8 both work)

7) Bake four one hour. Remove from pan (if you flip it over, the bread should come out easily) and let cool.

positive attitude

April 1, 2009

Today, one of the principals at my school e-mailed me, “I have to thank you for always being so positive, even in the face of tasks that might seem daunting.  Your ability to always consider the positive aspects of a task, challenge, or new situation are greatly appreciated!”

It means so much to me…

daffodils

April 1, 2009

On Monday, when David and I were at Trader Joe’s, I bought myself some daffodils. Spring is technically here, but it’s elusive (as it always is in New England). Yesterday was sunny and warm and it felt so good to be outside; today it is cloudy and cold and damp.

I used to always find so much relief & joy in seeing my mother’s daffodils popping up out of the ground and surrounding the white birch tree in the front yard. The little green stubs meant that this long, cold mess was almost gone. I found it so remarkable that the flowers would consistently come up every year, no matter how much it seemed to snow or how cold it had been. It was such a hopeful thing.

I put the daffodils in a vase in the middle of the kitchen counter so that on days like today I can feel warm and remind myself that there’s a resilience behind things.