Monday, February 27, 2012

Lots of Monday Morning Misc. - With Pictures

I have a lot of unrelated pictures so will make them into a Monday Morning Misc. post.

Last Monday evening (President's Day) we met our dear friends Jack and Patty for supper. We don't get to see them very often - surprisingly so because we only live about an hour apart - but it's always nice to get together with them.

I am a sucker for a new dishtowel--as long as it is good quality. Saw this one in Wal-Mart and thought it was too pretty to pass up what with springtime coming.

Made a skillet of fajitas this weekend. I always think of my sister in law Ginny, who taught me how to make them, and my sister Rhoda, who learned how to make them from me. The seasoning is an Italian dressing packet, which is a little surprise considering it's a Mexican dish--but it's delicious.

This didn't turn out so well - the camera was thoroughly confused at trying to focus on the edge of the house and the sky at the same time, but it's supposed to be of the beautiful conjunction of the crescent moon and Venus that was out Saturday night. Jupiter was above the two, and last night, because of the movement of the slightly larger crescent moon, there was a beautiful conjunction of it and Jupiter.

Made these last week also. This is the leftover so it doesn't look quite as nice, but it was one of those recipes that isn't really a recipe, but turns out well. I browned some chicken strips in a little oil, and seasoned them with some "salad supreme" in the spice cupboard, as well as some Italian seasoning, and squirted both sides with lemon juice as well. I cooked them until they were slightly brown on both sides. Then I took out the chicken strips and thickened the remaining oil/lemon juice with cornstarch, and added more lemon juice for a little sauce. They were really good, very little work, and something different. Made a nice meal with some Uncle Ben's rice and sauted zucchini and yellow squash.

And this represents the picture I didn't get. There is a wire suet box hanging in the tree to the right. I glanced out there late one afternoon and saw a large female red-bellied woodpecker clinging to the suet feeder - with the male in the tree slightly above her, waiting his turn. It would have made a beautiful picture.
For awhile we weren't feeding much but finches (house finches and goldfinches), but this weekend got cardinals, doves, and a Carolina wren as well. A pine warbler and a downy woodpecker also feed at the suet box. And of course we see a lot of titmice, juncos, and Carolina chickadees.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Three-Year-Olds On The Playground

Yesterday at the end of last period, I stuck my head out the window of the second-floor chemistry lab and talked with the 3-year-olds running around on the daycare playground directly beneath me. It was a warm day, and it was more practical to open the window for fresh air than change the heating system over to air conditioning for the afternoon. I called out "Hey, Eli!" to a little boy who knows me, and almost immediately an entire group of three-year-olds came and clustered around, calling up, wanting to know who I was. I told them I taught the "big kids." Then one responded, "Oh, you're the big teacher?" Not so sure I like the connotation of that remark.

Then a latecomer looked up and said "Is it YOU?" I know he meant, and didn't have his grammar quite straight, to say "Who are you?" But the inflection was so cute--it sounded like "Oh!!! Is it you? You have finally arrived!!!"

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Morning Misc.

Just haven't had the wherewithal to think of anything interesting for several days. This recuperation has been two steps forward, one step back, so about every other night has been difficult as far as either sleeping or coughing, and that is fatiguing.

Anyway, in lieu of a completed thought, here are a few random Monday morning miscellania:

--I did teach last week, but thanks to my mom did not have to teach first period any morning, which meant (since 2nd period is free for me) I didn't have to be there any morning until 9:45. That was a huge help.

--Junior rough drafts for their research papers were due Friday. I had given a bonus to those who turned them in early, so they dribbled in all week long, and I got them graded and returned as they did so. However, there were still fifteen in the inbox at 3:15 Friday afternoon. I decided to just stay until they were done, so didn't leave until almost 5:00. On a Friday afternoon! But it was a wonderful feeling to go home knowing they were graded. Now to tackle 13 more senior final papers, but that won't be as big a hurdle. Rough drafts are more work than final papers.

--It's President's Day, and Mike and I are both off. That is rare for a holiday.

--Brach's Lemon Drops are very, very good for soothing a cough when it's at a stage that Hall's are too overwhelming for it.

--Squirrels are getting into our bird feeders. Mike takes the .22 out there and gets them when necessary. Always nice to hear that shot and know that they are being dispatched. Our neighborhood is overrun with squirrels - they are everywhere. So for those of you who are offended by his shooting squirrels - Consider it herd management.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Red Roses

Yesterday, right after lunch, I was juggling about three things in my classroom - two different student issues as well as getting ready for fifth period - when students said "Did you just hear the office call in? They said there is something in the office for you."

Well, years ago I got over thinking that Mike would send flowers to school on a day like Valentine's day. That's just not his style. He is a great guy, who shows love in many ways, but flowers are not it. (He's more the kind of man who would get up on a morning he's off, just to cook eggs with ham and cheese, with toast, for me before I leave. I'll take that!!!) So I figured the call from the office was some kind of form to fill out, or somebody's gym clothes, or who knows what. I sent a kid over to pick up whatever-it-was.

"Whatever-it-was" is in the picture above. The card read "Maybe these will help you feel better." Not bad for a man for whom flowers are not his thing!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Breathing Miseries

Well, after a week of breathing miseries, tonight for the first time I feel a little bit like I can maybe stick my head out of the water a little bit and inhale freely. Not entirely. But a little bit.

Don't know what is making the difference. Probably a combination of medication kicking in, 11 hours sleep last night, use of a humidifier, and the effect of time. But I do feel some better. And it is very nice to have my mom's help with the first period class every day, which means I don't have to be at work so early.

And Mike came home from work tonight - sick as a dog again. When one of us goes up, the other goes back down. We're pitiful. I couldn't even give him a hug because he didn't want to give me, nor did I want to get, his germs. Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Reader's Digest Changes

At the doctor's office Thursday, while waiting my obligatory hour in the waiting room, I looked briefly from time to time (when headache and fever would allow) at the latest issue of Reader's Digest. What a colossal waste of time and tome. How far the mighty has fallen! RD has been reduced to a collection of advertisements broken up by a multitude of lists such as "Twelve Things Your Pediatrician Won't Tell You," and so forth. The book condensation at the end is now about the length of what an earlier feature article used to be, and there are no more than maybe four articles of any substance at all--and I use the term "substance" very loosely.

There was a card in the magazine for ten issues for eight dollars--something that five years ago I would have snapped up as being a good deal. Now I wouldn't waste my time.

Contrast that with a couple of issues from the early '90s that I picked up somewhere along the way and have read in these last few days of illness, when reading or studying anything extensive would not have been easy. It took quite awhile to wade through all the good reading in those issues. Decent articles and a true book condensation. I closed the covers of both issues feeling somewhat more informed on a number of different subjects.

I wonder what the editors of RD really think they are accomplishing by dumbing down the magazine so far.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sick, Sick, Sick

Well, I knew I was sick, sick enough to be pretty miserable. And I knew that whatever it was, was rapidly affecting my chest. I did not think that the doctor would say "Pneumonitis/early pneumonia.". It's a relief to know it's not "all in my head."

Friday, February 3, 2012

My New Toy

This is why I was excited about getting an iPad. A special connector puts it right up to my projector and I can put any kind of app up there - or the internet, or whatever (though I can put the internet up on the board right through my MacBook).
But here is the nice part. This is an app for writing/drawing. (It reminds me of the Magic Board on Captain Kangaroo when I was a kid and thought it was really, really, cool.) I can sit at my desk, write on the iPad app, and it is displayed right on the board as if I am standing up there writing. Great for keeping an eye on the class; great for days when I don't feel well. And I feel high tech (and cool) for using it!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Eventful Day

Mike had quite a day yesterday.

First he woke up sick with a headcold, and had slept very little the night before.

Then I had a flat tire on the way to school and he had to come rescue me.

Then he lost several major programs on his computer and spent most of the day putting it back together.

Then he found out that the staff at work is so short-handed that he needed to come in today, in spite of feeling so bad, and even though he has used very few sick days during his tenure there.

Today he is at work, my tire is fixed, and the computer is 90% restored. I hope he's making it OK!