Sunday, December 28, 2008

What She Said


Amaya's version of Christmas:

"Did you get a present for you?"

Amaya got a lot of fun stuff, especially stuff that is eensy teensy and gets lost the second she takes it out. I am stressed trying to keep it all together because I assume she will have so much more fun if there are two Ariel shoes instead of one, and cups for Polly Pocket's kitchen instead of none. I think Amaya believes her gifts to be the disposable versions, like the paper cups at nursery we buy from Costco.

One thing I love about the way Amaya speaks is that she sprinkles in articles like furikake on rice. Unmistakable and fishy, taking the place of something more meaty.
"I want a go a Turtle Bay."
"I want a go a party."
I guess I should enunciate my prepositions better.

After Da told me how Enzo was answering all her questions about nursery on Sunday, I asked Amaya. "Did you go to Nursery?"
"Nursery."
"Amaya, who was your teacher at nursery?"
"Nursery. Teacher."
"Amaya, what did you do at nursery?"
"Nursery. Yeah," she said, while bobbing her head up and down in agreement.

The other thing Amaya mixes up is pronouns. She assumes "you" is herself. Because of Enzo's amazing ability with puzzles, I thought I would help Amaya with a puzzle. We spent several minutes on a puzzle, mostly with me telling her to turn the pieces around and her trying to force the piece into an obviously incorrectly shaped hole. After we finally got the pieces in I told her to put the puzzle away in the cupboard. She walked up there and tried to force the puzzle into the cupboard, which was too skinny width wise, which meant, she needed to turn the puzzle to fit it on the shelf. She backed up, walked up again, and hit the puzzle against the cupboard again. She did this several times, backing up, slamming, backing up, slamming, never once turning the puzzle to fit it in. She looked at me, who was laughing in a pained way, and said, "Help you?"

I think she's trying to tell me something: I am not allowed to be her teacher. She wants to learn everything herself, and if she doesn't want to learn it, she wants me to do it for her. This is probably why she closes the book any time I try to point out letters, colors, or numbers. It is an immediate show-stopper for her. So tell me, can kids learn all of these things without us, our flashcards, baby einstein DVD's, counting drills, and cultural field trips?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Teachers are Peeps 2

My evidence:
  • we go #2
  • we shop at Foodland (kids are always surprised by this)
  • we are affected by kids calling us beeyatches
  • we procrastinate
  • we eat too many cookies
  • we overreact to your underreactions
  • we leave early when we think no one is watching or if everyone else is doing it.
  • we laugh secretly about funny things our students do, especially if we kept a completely "I am not amused" serious face during class
  • we misspell words
  • we blame ourselves when students do poorly, even if it's obvious that it's not our FAULT!
  • we only pretend to not be embarassed. So far, my bra has completely snapped during class, I dumped water all down the front of my jeans so it looked like I peed, I found my fly was open after several hours, and my top shirt button broke off.
  • we don't know what to do when a student vomits in class, we just act like we do
  • we're very happy to be on Christmas vacation, and count the days until summer break

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Give Me Some Cheese

My dad always asks me if I want some cheese with my Whine. Yes. Please. Give it to me.



Here are my walls. Let me rephrase. Here is my lack of walls as I look into my wonderful neighbor's room. Oh, just the bottom 3rd. But you have no idea how much you like the bottom 3rd of your wall until it's gone. Then you wish you had showered it with kisses and let it know how much you loved it before it decided to pick up its skirts and walk out the door, carrying your heart away forever.

So, you, who take your bottom 3rd of a wall for granted, go home and tell it, "I know I don't say it very often, but you mean so much to me. You make my life complete. Without you, I don't know what I'd do."

Because, I'll tell you, what you do without the bottom 3rd of a wall. You whine. And you ask for cheese, and you look wistfully out the window hoping for its return.

The other thing I realize here. Fences don't make good neighbors, walls make good housemates. I suppose it could be worse. The middle third of my wall could have up and said, "ENOUGH!"

Fiddlesticks! Cheese and biscuits! Flotsam and Jetsam! BLURG! I HATE RAIN!
P.S. My super awesome sis-in-law and her awesome in-law family just got us into their condo at Turtle Bay until Dec. 31st. Wow. Although this won't be fixed by then, at least I can be in denial for a few more days.

More complaining

1. One of my not-so-super-conscientious-and-slightly-self-victimized and constantly-complains-about-me students, after I returned his ipod which was in captivity for using it during the FINAL, hands me a Starbucks gift card and says, "Here. My mom told me to give this to you." What a sweetie.

2. Amaya ate 2 habanero chocolates, some make up powder, chapstick, and was on her way to chug some bleach. Is it any wonder I am worried about her nutrition?

3. I was in the fitness center this morning (my last morning staying at Turtle Bay) before school and a man came in with his newborn baby in one of those carseat stroller combo things. After shushing the baby several times from his treadmill workout, he unbuckled the baby to make him more comfortable. Then he accidentally kicked the car seat as he got back on the treadmill, flipping the carseat over and the baby out head first. I left soon after to avoid yelling at the guy.

4. One of my students become verbally irate with me after I told him to pick up a piece of paper he had flicked across the room. This was right after 9 out of 13 people in the class had refused to help me rearrange the desks in proper order because "we're not maids, Miss."

5. I was just thinking today, "I bet there are going to be more centipedes in the house, now." And just now, I get a centipede 1 cm away from my foot, winding his 10 inch body like a hunter on the prowl. Jake killed the beast with much less determination than when he kills a cockroach, yet since it's a centipede, he gets to keep his manhood intact. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Flood Warning

Evacuating after the rain actually stopped (briefly)

video

videoThe morning after ripping up the carpet.

Most of the people on our street (block) and on the street behind us were flooded. Our next door neighbors had 2 feet of water, we had 2 feet outside and about 6 inches inside because of sandbagging and bailing. The neighbor on the other side was totally dry. We were the edge of what got hit.

2 houses in Waialua floated off their foundations, Haleiwa also had 4-5 foot flooding. Today I am in school, after 20 of us slept at Kaity's house, and I've been awake since 2:30 am, actually up and walking around at 4. Yesterday morning the rain woke me up at 2, so I'm pretty crusty. We basically flung stuff up off the ground, in total denial that the rain would make it in, especially while we were actually bailing water out the window at record speed.

So I'm grateful that our friends are here to help us, that our house did not actually float away, that not everything was ruined, and that we have a place to go and food to eat and water to drink.

BUT, if I may complain for a moment more. This is just not how I imagined spending my Christmas break.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Stuff I just don't like

This is not a comprehensive list, because if it was, you'd have to promote me to heaven, now.

1. OMG. I am so tired of acronyms that take as long to say as the real words, and also mean the real words.

2. I have 4 followers. I should put a button on my blog that says, "I AM SO LAME!"

3. Cream of mushroom soup. I so just do not understand cream of mushroom soup. I just swear that it's cheaper to put in cream and mushrooms, and a lot less globular.

4. Putting stuff away. I like my stuff to be ready to come.

5. Running wedgies. Can someone please create panties that do not do this?

6. Kids basing my knowledge of the English language on the fact that they think I dress like a teenager.

7. Looking at a woman's lipstick that is clearly outside of her lip lines.

8. Too much foam while brushing one's teeth. Do these people buy foam power toothpaste?

BAH! ARGH! GNASHING OF TEETH!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Cosmic Jokes

WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!

If you are offended by the "b" word, read no further. If you are, and want to pretend that you're too holy to read this post, but want to anyway, I won't tell anyone you're here. I promise there are no pictures.

I have always been completely happy with my A cup size. Enhancements? Reductions? Not for this girl. I enjoy running, and am so happy that I haven't had any chest pain associated with the up and down jostles of exercise.

Well, after I had Amaya, I had a natural enhancement. Like 5 sizes larger than I would have liked. Running did cause me pain, and I avoided certain movements.

Then I quit nursing. Joy of joys, I would soon return to my previous look, one that unmistakably says, "Girl," but not "moobs" or "stacked."

So the jostling of jogging and exercise returned. For some reason, the loss of elasticity in my body somehow dropped the fat to my middle, and I can see my gut more clearly than the area in between.
Plus I have a new problem, where my previous A cup is now unfilled. What do you do in such a case? Stuff? Less than an A is hard to find where I shop. If you look too closely at my shirt, the whole area just looks bunchy.

And here I am, with stretchmarks on my wall. Now that is a cosmic joke.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Family Home Violence

If Amaya turns out okay, everyone will wipe their foreheads with their pointer and middle fingers, and say, "Whew. That was a close one."
It's no secret I love action movies and have no problem watching good guys beat up bad guys. I guess a little (ok, so it's big) part of me wants to be a CIA agent feared for her physical and mental prowess. Amaya has decided I'm the bad guy, and she's the good guy, so she punches me with her little fists, in rapid fire motion like I'm a speed bag.

While watching Kung Fu Panda for the 10th time, I caught her trying to punch out the screen on the computer during the crucial battle scene.

I might have chalked that up to an anomaly, had she not been lately saying, "Hiiiiiiii YA!" and chopping me with her miniature karate hands. This is a perfect mirror of Miss Piggy in The Muppet Show, if you didn't know.

So now I'm wondering. Should I be nurturing this, or squelching it? Maybe I can press upon her my dreams of espionage and Mission Impossible scenarios. Once we get past all of the hitting other little kids in nursery part of it anyway.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Famous for Our Looks










I have a theory about people getting noticed and famous because they look like someone else, hence Naomi and Nicole.
Can I just say here that, sorry, People magazine, I know Hugh Jackman looks like Patrick Dempsey, but he's not the same. Whoops! I won't tell anyone you messed up.




People always tell me I look like so-'n-so who is famous, but I never think they're right.

In this case, I suppose, it's pretty undeniable. Everyone has been calling us sisters lately.
So now I just have to wait for Carol to get famous so that I can get famous too.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

If you want to be a 21st Century Woman

Do not hesitate to leave the Costco sized box of super sized tampons in plain sight in the bathroom. You can even leave single tampons in easy to reach places around the house. You have nothing to be ashamed of.

If you have a baby, constantly remind "people" (read "students") that you have way more important things to do than cater to their "needs" (read "grade papers within any sort of reasonable time period").

When you cook, use every dish in the house, because now you don't have to clean up. You also don't have to clean up when your husband cooks, because he got the dishes dirty.

Explain to your husband that blogging is a perfectly acceptable way to work on crafting your writing style.

Watching Grey's Anatomy can be totally canceled out by watching "24" or any other action-oriented guy show. It can even make you feel diverse. You can up the ante by gushing about documentaries and foreign films.

Get your literature reading in a little every day, by placing a book on the toilet. I have already finished two books this year.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tortured Artists Live











Jake and I watched "Control" last night, the story about Joy Division's singer Ian Curtis. Painful.
I asked Jake if watching this was going to affect him as a brooding artist. He looked over at me, seriously, and said, "Um. Maybe. I still want to watch it."
I think I could never be a great writer. I am not a tortured artist. Annoyed, selfish, obnoxious artist, yes, but not tortured.
Jake is a tortured artist, but at the good end of tortured artist. The passionate about art end, but just enough brooding to keep him motivated.
The other reason I think he's on the good end of tortured artist: We're watching near the end of the movie, and I remark how it's totally crazy sad that Ian Curtis can't even enjoy his own success. He was so much happier before he became successful. He says, "Yeah, I was just thinking how much fun we'd be having. It's the part where you're trying to become successful that sucks!"
p.s. Did you notice the shirt?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Facts of Life

In honor of The Moth and this week's Andy Borowitz story, I thought I'd write a post with a moral:

"If your 2 year old is bugging you incessantly about eating cheetos at 8 in the morning, and you insist there are none in the house, give them to her once you figure out your husband bought some and was trying to hide them from you behind all the cereal."

I have lost all semblance of nutrition with her. I am so frustrated by the fact that she would rather eat some dust, cockroach poop, or bug bodies she finds on the floor than dinner, that I am just throwing food at her that I think she might actually eat.
What she likes:
Mr. Freeze pops
red apples (she eats a few bites, but only if it is a whole and perfectly good apple, after that we have to finish it)
hot dogs
gold fish
chicken
cheese
grapes
chocolate chips (she climbs up the island in the kitchen and stuffs as many in her mouth as possible before we find her)
cake
the insides of tiny tomatoes
ketchup
salad dressing
juice
milk
fruit we find hiking, even if it is rotting on the ground
easy mac
chef boyardee
white rice with seaweed
almonds stolen from Pam's house (even though we have the same bag)
Uncle Donald's (McDonald's-- I have NEVER taken her there, I PROMISE)
cheetos

Except for sweets, she is inconsistent about her "yes" foods.

She refuses to eat bread, grains, or vegetables. Please tell me I am not raising a picky eater. I loathe picky eating. Just ask my brother. I've made a few things from Jessica Seinfeld's book where you hide nutrition through vegetable purees, but she didn't even like those things.
She will never eat if she doesn't like the food. She would much rather go hungry than eat what does not appeal to her, so the old mantra "they'll eat when they're hungry" is totally false.

So tell me, what would YOU do?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Spinach Orange Julius

So maybe you don't read my blog for the good eats.
But even if you're not a cook you could make this. Spinach smoothie. Yum.
Cooks Think.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Overheard


1. Amaya: "Mom, can I go to the party a little later on?"
(there was no party, she just figured if she requested, that a party could be summoned.)

2. After hearing a loud noise on the tv, Amaya said, "Oh! Was that John McCain?" She also calls Obama "Uncle Bama." I claim total ignorance on this one.

3. "The lama says, 'no touchee, no touchee.'" (yes, this would be from "The Emperor's New Groove". For a second after she said this, I was thinking, "What? Is that what a lama sounds like?")

So tell me, just what are we teaching this child?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ahi Wrap

Hello Blog Buddies.
I finally posted the Ahi Wrap. I know, you were all standing on pins and needles waiting for it.

It's so yummy. I'll send anyone a bottle of dressing (well, let's say I'll send to the first 5 requesters) if you can't get it where you live.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Scared Spooky at 7

The WHOLE time I was writing my stupid story for the contest I was thinking, 'Man, I need to write about something real, but I have nothing to write about.' I just love it when my students say that. And then, the second I pushed "post" on my story, I remembered a whole bunch of things.

This is how I saw spooky as a young 'un:
Vampires

Even though we didn't have any books called Twilight, I did read Bunnicula when I was 6 or 7 (yes, people! It's about a bunny that sucks the BLOOD out of vegetables!). I had my own room (my brother had the toy closet, hee hee) and it was kind of big. Plus we had a big, huge, lightless backyard. With trees behind that. I decided that I had to sleep with the covers up to my chin.

This way, Vampires would think I didn't have a neck. They would walk by my bed and say, "Hey, this girl doesn't have a neck," and move on. I woke up many nights worrying about being able to hold the covers up to my chin even in my sleep, and I tried to stay asleep on my back to do so.


I especially believed in this theory after I saw "Interview with a vampire" as a teenager.

Ghosts

I used to wake up at night because of my joints hurting really badly. It would keep me awake and I was afraid to get out of bed, so I would end up staring at the crack in the door so long that my eyes would start making those green lines around everything and then it would start looking like a shape of something in the dark. I was totally terrified that it was a ghost standing at my door, looking in on me, and just waiting for me to fall asleep so it could swallow me whole.

One night as I was practicing this scaring myself technique, there was a loud, screeching noise coming from downstairs. It went on and on for what seemed like an eternity, and no one in the house stirred. I lay terrified, waiting for the screeching to come get me with its knives, sharp metal, Freddy Krueger claws, or whatever it was. I finally started walking silently down the hallway and down the stairs (theorizing that if it couldn't hear me walking, it wouldn't get me, and if I saw it first, it would immediately disappear). I considered several times just getting my parents, but I also assumed that the evil demon was only torturing me and would only return once everyone was asleep again.

I turned on the kitchen light, shaking like a coke addict, and the noise immediately stopped. I looked around, petrified and almost in tears. My eyes searched for supernatural beings. I finally calmed down enough to turn the light back off and started walking back up the stairs, while still looking over my shoulder. Before I made it back to my bedroom the noise started up again. This time it sounded worse, and I started tripping towards my parents' bedroom like a victim in a scary movie--they can never run properly, and fall at the slightest dip in the ground and you think, "COME ON! RUN!" but they always get caught by the barely walking boogey man. The door opened before I got there, and my dad came out, looking sleepy and in his garments (extremely scary), and I yelled, "What is that noise!? DAD! There's something in the kitchen!!!" as if he couldn't hear it.
He looked at me and said, "Go back to bed. It's the hamster wheel."
He went downstairs to WD-40 the thing and I waited at the top of the stairs, sure he was going to start screaming for help.

The noise stopped.

Scary Movies
Once when my parents weren't home I watched a movie on tv about a girl who dies in a terrible fire and then comes to haunt the sister, and convinces her to help kill the family members one by one. In the last scene of the movie, everyone's dead except the sister (in a mental hospital) and the mom, who has been terribly hurt but seems to have escaped with her life. She's being taken care of by a nurse at home. No one knows about the dead girl being behind the whole thing except the sister, and suddenly, when the mom has been tucked into bed for the night after surviving this terrible ordeal, the girl says, ">

I saw "Event Horizon" in high school with some friends, and we got scared silly. Well, the guys didn't really admit it, but when I dropped Grether at home I was running late for curfew, so I left him at the front of his driveway. He lives in the hills of Wilsonville and his driveway was a block or so long, complete with an old growth woods surrounding the area, and no street lights. He called me the second he made it in the door and chewed me out for leaving him there. At the time he said it was the only movie he actually thought was scary.

Did I mention we watched it again when it came out on video?

I watched the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" with my boyfriend (and incidentally, Grether and his girlfriend) and purposely started making out with him (my boyfriend, not Grether) so I could stop watching it. Everyone was laughing at it except me. I was scared spooky. I still remember that meat hook.

Spooking Others
Mostly I only cared about scaring my brother. It was so much easier because he was 6 years younger than me. After we watched "Raiders of the Lost Ark", I screamed and screamed, and then flopped on the floor as if I were dead. He started crying and poking me and began to call 9-1-1. So I woke up immediately.

We also used to tell spooky stories to each other in my room using a keyboard musical instrument thingy. One person would sit in the closet with the speakers part of the keyboard, and we would stretch the microphone under the door where the other person would tell the story from outside the closet, and blow eerily into the mic and try to make sound effects to enhance the experience. It actually was kind of scary, especially because all of my dolls lived in the closet (the kind with the blinking eyes-- YEAH. Why else do you think I left them in the closet?). He thought I was really good at it and would beg me to be the story teller. When I was in the closet he mostly said "ooooooooo" and "then there was a GHOST!" and funny stuff like that.

Once I noticed that the wind was howling, and I swear I heard a name. Like "Mary" or something similar to "Mariko" if you were a really paranoid 10-year-old. I tried to record it on my keyboard thingy, but it didn't work. I decided that ghosts couldn't be recorded because they weren't constrained by mortal human world rules.

Unsolved Mysteries
My mom used to watch "Unsolved Mysteries". I was fascinated with it at age 10, in the same way I was fascinated with Stephen King (I devoured those books) and Dean Koontz. The bad thing about "Unsolved Mysteries" is that they reenact the stories, and you become convinced that it's actual footage of the situation. Out of all the unsolved mysteries I watched, the one that still kind of freaks me out is the TV that was alive. Two guys were in a haunted room at a hotel and these eyes popped up onto the screen. The eyes looked around the room and directly at the two guys, and when the guys unplugged the TV (I actually SAW them unplug the TV with my own two eyes, I swear its true), THE EYES WERE STILL THERE.

Whew. Totally FREAKY.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Jake's Story

Here's Jake's. Way better.

(This story is 100% true and if there is any deviation between this and the real experience it can only be attributed to my inability to portray how stinking scary it really was.)

This Happened

This happened back when I was a Junior in college. I was living with my parents so I could save money. At that time they owned this slightly charming/ creaky wooden house on Laie point that made noises from time to time. It’s the kind of place that can spook you every once in a while even if you don’t scare easily. The room I was in was like a microphone for noises all over the rest of the house, so if someone was walking upstairs I knew it, but more often than not the noises I could hear were not made by anyone at all. The wood expands and shrinks a little throughout the course of the day because of changes in temperature and it clicks and bumps all the time, especially at night. When the wind blows hard it makes a noise or two as well.
This night was a particularly gusty one and trees outside were wagging around and scratching the walls and windows. I had just barely fallen asleep and it was kind of late when a noise woke me up. Sometimes little noises don’t mean anything, but once in a while they get under your skin and wiggle around. They make you stiffen up and pay close attention to where they’re coming from; this was one of those. At about the time I was telling myself it was nothing and floating back to sleep it came again. This was not one of the usual sounds that the house makes, it was more like someone trying his best to say something through a mouth that couldn’t quite form the words. I didn’t move an inch, but you better believe that my senses were all peaked on that noise. A sturdy gust shot at the house and that same noise swelled up at the same time as though it was seeping in through each little crack in the wood. It sounded just like someone trying as hard as they could to say the words “Help me”, but all they could get out was “ellllp meeee” in a windy old voice that seemed like it was inside and outside the house at the same time.
I was still not quite convinced that the noise was a voice, but I was scared enough that moving even a little was not an option. The other four of my senses had surrendered priority to my ears and they were paying attention like never before. Clearly and unmistakable this time, a voice bled in from the ceiling and walls crying, “Help meeee!” My mind flipped through its files with jittery fingers trying all the possibilities of what might be saying “Help me.” Of course the only file that I could pull up was a dingy manila folder that hadn’t been opened since I was a little kid—the one marked “Ghost” in shaky letters.
As I was trying to figure out how I was going to get myself out of this situation it came again: “Help me!” This time the tormented voice came louder and clearer than before and it seemed to be coming from the darkest, dustiest corner of my closet. Right about this time I remembered a story I had read about a boy who had hung himself in a dorm closet at UH. Supposedly, he still haunted that room. “Help me!” called the voice one more time and I was certain that some poor old guy had hung himself there in that closet of mine before my folks had bought the house and was doomed to hang there for eternity.
In my mind I could clearly see that sallow black-eyed figure trying so hard to squeeze the words “Help me” through his stretched out neck that was cinched up tight in a cracked old leather belt. There without a doubt, dangling among my sweaters and church clothes. He called out again, more desperate than ever, “Helllp Meee!”
This was not a spooky movie, or a particularly good ghost story at a camp out, this was happening! It’s a whole different kind of scary when it’s the real deal, trust me. I was unable to get myself even to run away. I lay there for some time trying to figure out what to do. The only idea that seemed to empower me was that maybe I could help the thing in my closet. I forced myself to sit up, then to stand up. I stepped briskly over to the light switch and flipped it up with a clumsy hand. The light came on just the way it always did and my room looked normal enough, but still there was the closet with its dark brown doors closed. I didn’t really want to know what was in there, but there was no chance of sleeping again that night if I didn’t have a look.
I stood for a moment and looked at the closet doors. I thought that I could hear the plastic hangers inside clicking around a little. With a quick, decisive motion I stepped forward and threw open the door which made more than a little screeching on its way and lo and behold (imagine a drum roll during this part) hanging there on the bar were my clothes and nothing else: jeans, shirts, slacks, a pin-striped suit that hadn’t been worn in years and neck ties, but no corpse hanging from a belt. No blue skin, no fat tongue filling the opened mouth that naturally sucked in vain for just a little more air, just old clothes gathering dust.
Where was my ghost? Had it floated upstairs to play its games with someone else? Had it shrunk back into the shadowy corners of my closet waiting for me to close the door and turn out the light again? At this point I was resolved to action and I didn’t want to lose momentum so I looked through my closet a bit more. All of this earned me a sneeze or two but that’s it. Finally I decided to go and see if my dad was awake and if so ask if he had heard anything.
Making my way up the steps I could hear the television being turned off and someone walking down the hall. I got to the top just in time to see a white figure walking into my folks’ room. The most obvious conclusion under normal circumstances would have been that it was my dad who regularly fell asleep watching TV and eventually woke up and went to bed. I had ghosts on the mind though and was sure that the white being that I had just seen was a specter and not my father. I walked quickly and nervously to my parents’ room and must have startled my dad who was in fact just getting himself to bed after a long snooze on the couch with the boob tube on.
I pulled him out into the hall so as not to wake my mom and asked him if he had heard anything odd. He said “No” without thinking much, because what do you hear when you’re sleeping? I told him that I was certain that I had heard a spooky voice calling for help, and how it kind of sounded like the person couldn’t quite get the words out at first. He thought about it for no more than a second or two and then started laughing. I, just a little indignant, asked him what was so funny. He told me that he had just had a dream that he was a store clerk and some thieves were trying to get in after closing time. Says my dad, he didn’t know what to do so he tried to call for help but in the dream he couldn’t quite get the words out so he kept trying. Finally he did manage to yell it clearly enough, but at that moment the sound of his own voice woke him up. He was sleep talking and because the TV room was directly above my room it kind of sounded like his voice was coming from the closet. The ghost was just him having a bad dream and yelling “Help me,” mixed with a little imagination on my part. We both had a good laugh about it and went to bed. The silliest thing about it is that I was still a bit jumpy and didn’t sleep much that night even though I knew there wasn’t anything scarier in the closet than my dusty, old pin-striped suit.

A Spooky Story

So yeah. I want to enter Crash's contest, but I really suck at short stories. And I have no good real experiences to write about. So here's my semi-crappy story that I am posting here, because I think Crash requires it that way, but I really don't want you to read it. Blurg. Only her. Because I think it's kind of a crazy lady kind of story, and she will probably at least laugh once, because I think she probably laughs at many things. Thank goodness for people like that. I'd have no audience otherwise.

The Tell Tale Mynah of Naniloa
Chapter 1:
Terrifying stories notify us of psychotic, evil genius. True evil genius can never be understood, and its motives are so far from the common mind that even glimpsing an evil’s ruminations is distressing. It puts the realm of fiction into the realm of possibility, because no person could make this stuff up. Real evil has little motive. Evil motive is simply to pursue a horrifying task with complete dedication.
To this end, you should write from the evil character’s point of view, as if you were in his mind. This creates a pro-antagonist.
“Deliberately I walked six complete steps to cross the road towards the gutter, turned and stepped precisely within those same steps again to return. Yes, yes, yes, this should do. I could do it here, and there would be room for the deed.
Chapter 2:
Once the point of view is established, the plotter must reflect an extremely complicated, stick to the rules type of plan. It must show incredible forethought and commitment to a yet unknown feat.
“It would be easy enough, to measure the height of the tree, the length of the rope, the degree of the night air. I had already plotted his movements for 37 days, graphed his waking and sleeping hours, coursed a five minute window of time where my action would go unnoticed.”
Chapter 3:
A large vocabulary will serve you well, here, because uncommonly technical diction points directly to genius, a trait we want never to let the reader forget, and gives the scene a cold, clinical impression.
“Three days was adequate to gather my utensils. Although I considered my own acumen, I did not want to take any chances that any charlatanerie would guess as to my monomania. I warded against this by gathering caoutchouc rope from a different store than where I claimed a ladder. I inquired about avian ichors at the local sanctuary and learned that I would surely need a cloth to avoid droppings of evidence….
Chapter 4:
Soon a reader should encounter the antagonist’s antagonist. The ant-antagonist, although harmless, should become an enemy through the pro-antagonist’s point of view. At this point, an audience would rightly begin to question the narrator’s reliability.
“I lurked in the hedge next to a bamboo fence listening to the screams in the nearby “Haunted Lagoon.” The noise created the perfect cover for my situation, and no one would find any sounds amiss in the foggy air. I waited for my cue: a chainsaw revving up for the crowd in the lagoon (without the chain, of course, so its running blade could only make excoriations if it met with human skin). Yes? Yes? Was this it? Was I finally to begin leashing myself to a life of misprision? I began to creep slowly, placing my hands in the dirt to balance and making small movements towards the tree of my target. Even above the noise of the lagoon I could hear its call: “Fatty.” “Fatso.” “Chubs.”
Chapter 5:
The intensity of the character’s actions will increase quickly, almost giving way to panic, but then become a sort of hyperactive direction that falls into a rhythmic whirlwind of activity that plows through the field of corn, whipping ears and kernels into farmhouses with terrible velocity, creating permanent dents in its metal.
“I grit my teeth to bite back my answer to this devilish creature. I knew that my response would alert the very Satan living in his black-feathered frame, and would evince my true course. It took all of my willpower to hold in the words and just continue my now frenzied bear crawl towards the avian castle. Once I reached the small lit section of road I slowed, inch by inch creaking my bones to his lair. The nearness of my success suddenly filled me with the strongest pleasure that I nearly laughed out loud, especially picturing his beaked jaw dropping when I finally brought him face to face with his eternal end. I recalled the pain of my daily walk towards McDonald’s and his heartless, ruthless cries and consciously gripped my wrist to prevent it from shooting towards the bird of malevolent design and ruining the soon tasted victory. I placed hand over hand to reach the top of my ladder and immediately wrapped the bird in the rubber rope, pulling tightly, tighter, tighter still! His eyes seemed to grow in recognition as his heart beat and my heart sang, no more! No more will I stuff my French fries before returning home! No more will I forego my chocolate shake in case my encounter with you shakes my conscience. Here I finally allowed myself a laugh as I twisted and squirmed the life from his body, and the deed was finished.
Chapter 6:
Epilogue: Introduce the only way a madman’s conscience can haunt: through hallucination of his victim’s end.
“This is where I have reached an end, and forever sealed a life of grief! I was happy in the days following the disposal of the fiend’s body. The nearest rain gutter seemed a logical place, and no one would question its end if it were ever found. I acted perfectly calm and never once let on that I noticed any sort of change in my daily routine. The path to McD’s almost whisked me to and from my house in a blissful state. I should have considered that the imp of Satan could find me again, which is why I am waiting in this closet until the wicked immortal is finished with his demonic torture. Almost hourly I find myself near an open tap, a manhole leading to an underground network of plumbing, or a shower at a beach park, and I hear it: “Butterball.” “Tubby.” “Tons-o-fun.”

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Food Blogging for Dummies


So, I started a blog on wordpress, about 2 months ago. This is going to be a foodblog, and I finally just posted my first entry today.

Now, I thought when I switched over to wordpress it was going to be all strawberries and cream. Not so. I have had nothing but headaches over their template issues. For one, I can't just use whatever size font I want for the post title. What is WRONG with that? I have looked up and down the CSS text and cannot see what I can change. It is so disappointing.

Secondly, I've had a helluva (it's not swearing when you put the three together) time picking a &%*$&@# wordpress theme (again, not swearing when these are reduced to cutesy pictoral signifiers) and am very unhappy about my choice.

But I decided to stop whining and just do it already. I will fix it once I meet someone who knows CSS and then I will bathe him/her in baked goods for the rest of his/her life (or at least once).


Now, this is when you're going to tell me that there is already a site called "cookthink.com" I know. I know. I know. Plus what they do on cookthink.com is what I was envisioning my blog to be. I got frustrated by the fact that every single site I wanted was taken, and when I found this one, I was overjoyed, and then immediately despaired when I was told about cookthink. ARGH.

So, I'm separating my cooking life from this blog and writing on the other. I'm hoping to write about my own cooking, as well as political, economic, social issues associated with food or cooking. If you have ideas for what I should write about then PLEASE tell me. I've got a list going already.

Also, if you are wanting to join me as a writer on my duplicitous plagiaristically named blog, and eventually become famous and be a millionaire blogger to support your food porn addiction, I'm taking applications.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Spooky Story Contest

Can I direct you to my sidebar?
Please take notice of Crash and Sewl's contest. I was thinking of trying to keep this to myself, because I REALLY want to win the blog makeover (for my as yet unstarted cooking blog on wordpress), but I thought I should pass the word around.
If you'd like to visit Crash's blog, and you are the Mormon friendly hoity toity literary type who likes to laugh at yourself, I suggest you go to: http://www.crashtestdummydiaries.blogspot.com
I've been enjoying myself there lately, and you will too.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

When I Grow Up

Here's what I want to be when I grow up and why I deserve to be so:

1. Tall (because I already know what short is like)

2. A doctor (because I watch many medical themed shows and always know when it's not Lupus when I watch "House")

3. A culinary school graduate (because I cook a lot, and it is just not fair that I don't know how to cut properly-- I definitely should have learned that through osmosis by now)

4. The next Jane Goodall (because as a teenager, without prior research, I correctly identified why a group of monkeys at the DNA research facility in Oregon were led by matriarchs, and I wrote a book about the Amazon in 4th grade, complete with a painting of a sloth)

5. A persuasive person (because I am going to pull my hair out if one more kid ignores all of my arguments as to why they should try to learn how to read)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Skittle Heaven


More evidence of terrible mothering:

Amaya fell asleep while eating skittles yesterday. Back from a birthday party, I was blogging, she was enjoying the fruits of her new stash. I didn't even try to hide them. She just munched away. I looked back and saw she was comatose, bag clutched in hand, skittles in mouth.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Edgamacatin' Part 2

Today Sioeli tells me that (in reference to our discussion about dropping gas prices and the possibility of energy independence) soon we will be making cars that run on water.
"Water? But we need water," I reply.

"What?! Water comes out of the tap. We have tons of water."

"The amount of drinkable water in the world is very little."

"No way. There's so much ice and stuff."

"Yeah, it's ICE. We can't drink ice," I say.

"So go melt it!"

"Sione, that would cause a million problems that I am just not going to get into right now. Did you know there are many many places in the world where people have hardly any water, and no running water? Why do you think there's so much of it?"

"Oh yeah, that means they can't take showers and stuff," he says.

"That's sick," replies Kona. "You gotta take showers."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Healthy (?) Debate


I've been thinking a lot about what Sarah wrote on her blog about the difficulties in discussing politics. I want to link her blog here, because it is hilarious, but I'm not sure how she'd feel about it (if you're reading this, Sarah, let me know if I can). I have in the past enjoyed talking to Iz about his politics, and I've wished he was here so I can hear what he has to say about McCain (and Palin), since our previous discussion was about a certain Mormon who has vanished from the race, and at the time he disliked McCain.

Sarah's totally right that talking to people who agree with your politics is not a discussion. It is hard to find people from either side who do not only want to speak partisan politics.
Basically, I'd like to think I'm not a totally crazy Obama supporter. I probably am.
Two of the encounters I've had (with people I actually KNEW and respected):
1. Student, who reads my blog, who I think I offended because I questioned her representation of the partial-birth abortion situation, and I admitted in the conversation I didn't know enough about it either. We both came back with more information, and I think I came back more confused. I have had a difficult time finding information that was not obviously partisan, and I totally agree that Obama voted against partial-birth abortion ban, 3 times (?). From what I understand he defends himself saying that the language in the ban could be construed to not protecting abortion in certain situation, except the 3rd time of voting was not reflecting that, and his vote doesn't make sense in that case. So shame on Obama for that. I am pro-life, except in abuse, rape, and when it threatens the life of the mother (many would say that makes me not pro-life), so that is an issue I've wrestled with. I'm also not sure how that should affect my vote.
2. A teacher at school who I respect and had done some obvious digging into Obama. His problems with Obama that I didn't have answers for? foreign campaign contributions, remarks Obama made in Westbank, offshore drilling tactics, liberal voting records indicating that he will become Marx #2, and he's sure that taxes will go up for middle America... There were more but I lost mental notes to write on. I did some hard thinking, I did not deny, and then I did some research, which distracted me from work I should have been doing. Hard to say what's true here. Almost no information on the foreign campaign contributions situation that isn't a specifically partisan source (snopes denied 2 specific claims to foreign contributions, but doesn't address the rest). Liberal voting records, according to http://voteview.com/sen110.htm refutes the other report that Obama's is liberal, and according to their study (which seems legit and scientific) actually looks more middle of the road dem (not between the two parties). I couldn't find what remarks he made in Westbank (someone will help me out with this, and I found some good stuff on the tax plans here. Not that it assures us that he won't lie and change it later.
Anyway, I come away from all this wishing there was a way to get solid stuff that didn't have clear bias.
One problem I have with both candidates are their political tactics. Why is it that the only kinds of people that want to run for president obviously want to be the boss?
One problem I have with all of my encounters (small and large) with those on "the other side" is that I am mostly on the defense. It's never about McCain, it's about what's wrong with Obama. So that's what I want to know. Why do you support McCain? Why do you think people support McCain? I probably only know the negatives about him (I do know some pros, but I'd like to hear what other people think before I say so). I'd actually like to know. And does anyone know about these issues I've posted about here?
I realize I'm opening up a possible rats' nest here. I'd like to avoid slander, I'd like to see your sources (look for sources that appear to be showing facts rather than partisan opinion). And I'd like to protect friendships. I'd like to think I could engage in some debate without being threatening. I'm trying. Help me out.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Beach Closed due to Whale Sightings

I've only admitted to a few people (who live here) that I've been doing South Beach. Wherever South Beach is, someone should go really mess that place up. They should quarantine all the people who live there, those happy sugar free people.
Yes, I'm still doing my P90X videos, which has had zero effect, probably due to the fact that my metabolism immediately adapts to a lot of exercise (thank you not, 3 hours a day cross country practices for 4 years). I have gained a lot of arm and leg muscle, but when bigger muscles are covered with fat, it's not pretty. Everyone who I tell this to kindly suggests that I should actually diet.
Diet? Me? No way. I am opposed to diets on principle. Diets disgust me.
So I'm embarassed to admit that I'm on a diet.
I don't count eating healthy as on a diet, but I've done that quite a bit with no success. Prior to this, I was drinking vegetable soy juice for breakfast, fruit as snack, small lunch with lots of fruit and vegetables, snack at home, vegetables with carbs at dinner (and then desserts a couple of days a week, obviously, since I was NOT on a diet). I've been doing this since the day school started (about 3 months), except for the 3 weeks that Da was here, when I was eating everything. And during which time I gained no weight.
Anyway, South Beach is: no sugar, no carbs, no fruit, no certain vegetables with too much sugar, no milk (some low fat cheese) and low fat meats. For 2 weeks. And let me tell you, this has been the longest 5 days ever, and I have too many days to count left (I'd rather not think about it). I've had symptoms that are highly similar to drug withdrawals. Seriously.
Why would I do this? Well, my dad talked it up, and he lost 12 pounds in two months himself. Now, I don't need to lose 12 pounds (yes, I do but I'm trying to be realistic). I'd be happy with 3 at this rate. And that looks about to be what I'll get.
So, I haven't wanted to post about food much, obviously, and I've been in a terribly witchy mood for the past 3 days. And I am SO sick of eggs and meat. Disgusted, in fact, that I may never eat them again. I've been trying to eat a lot of beans, but you can't eat them every meal. Thank goodness I'm not sick of those.
If anyone has even one suggestion of what to eat for breakfast that isn't eggs and canadian bacon, I will kiss you (via the internet).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sweet, Spicy, Sour

I had promised myself that I wouldn't be buying any "specialty" ingredients this month. Today, I reasoned that white wine vinegar was a totally acceptable non-specialty ingredient.

Why?

Because I had to have this:

Readers, this is grilled pickled eggplant, also known as perfection.
Now I see that white wine vinegar will come in very handy, because I plan on making this a LOT more.
I didn't grill it, and I didn't have chili paste, but I did have chili sauce (sriracha) and a cast iron pan. When I went to the store I read the ingredients on chili sauce and chili paste-- exactly the same. Chili paste is chunkier, so if you're a purist, it will be a little bit different. But it still tasted wonderful. Emphasis on FULL. Hungryengineer on Twitter was nice enough to respond to my need for an eggplant recipe. Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Culinary Mama


My mom pours over the food section of the newspaper just as much as I do. When we met up in Kauai, she had a newspaper clipping of recommended restaurants (from The Oregonian) in the area.

The first restaurant was called "Hamura's Saimin". When I saw the name, I knew immediately what it was-- a local saimin joint, probably with counter seating. I tried to warn her, but she seemed set that this was going to be a good place. After all, the Oregonian had recommended it. I chalked it up to a possible "cultural experience" for her. If you know my mom at all, she's classy, and expects classy.

Surprisingly, she didn't run when we saw the place. We actually walked in and sat down. Unsurprisingly, it was exactly as I thought. It tasted fine, but it wasn't what she was expecting, to say the least. I don't think my mom touched the counter the whole time. We laughed about it afterward, especially about the looks that she made at us whenever she witnessed something she found alarming (when the waitress gave us our spoons by their heads, for example).

Somehow the newspaper clipping stayed in her purse. I researched "Hanalei Gourmet" in a local magazine, and showed her a picture of a diner looking scene complete with a picture that appeared to be from the 70's. She finally dropped that one from her "to do" list.

We did, however, take the trek to the North Shore, where we went to Kilauaea Fish Market. We walked in, and she immediately walked back out, went around the courner of the place, and ripped up her newspaper clipping into little pieces and stomped on them.

Being helpful, I laughed my head off.
I asked her afterward, "Why did you stay in Hamura's Saimin? And why did you continue following the list after the first two we tried weren't great?"
She said, "I wanted to believe."
So that's where I get it. It is so hard for me to admit that a restaurant is plain ol' bad. I want food to taste good, especially if I heard or read a good review.
Then I proceeded to convince her to try to this place. We walked back in and ordered. I had a lovely Ahi wrap which I will post about next.
You have to keep the dream alive. Mom, however, was not impressed.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Daddy Dear


While watching Jake and Amaya on the plane ride over here, when he held her and made up silly games to entertain her and keep her from annoying the rest of the plane, I decided that being fun is a male quality. It's a good thing women have the babies and get an automatic leg up on the dad, otherwise I'd have nothing with Amaya. Sure, I'm being sexist.


Yeah, if it wasn't a gender thing, then I would have to admit to the fact that I am just a boring person. I wouldn't want to do that now, would I.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Crackers du Sel and Other Classy Stuff

Have you seen this?

I got a teacher catalog in my mailbox full of fascinating educational materials to buy, and this was featured on the back cover. Yes, it was a totally serious catalog, complete with equally serious advertising for the hours of fun you will have with this doll.
Luckily for you, you can get a free sample of the doll here, and there's even a John McCain. If you buy the set, you also get clothes and the rest of the Obama family.



Fellow Americans, you can see Barack Obama (and his family) in his underwear. If that's not enough to get you to vote for him, I have nothing left to say.







The other part of my post is in reference to a recipe on the Premium brand saltine crackers I bought today (for Amaya, who has diarrhea-- Joy). On the front of the box it says "Delicious Recipe on Back!"



Lo and behold, a recipe for "Corny Macaroni and Cheese" graces the back of the box. This recipe is scrump diddlyumptious looking, especially knowing that 10 saltine crackers are mixed into this corny pasta masterpiece.

I said to Jake, "Really? Do they really think that people buy this box of crackers for the delicious recipes?" To myself I am thinking that the only reason people buy saltine crackers is if they have soup, diarrhea, a stupid camp relay wherein a person eats several saltine crackers and then attempts to whistle, or a baby in her uterus. This is not a recipe that appeals to this audience. In any case, the digester of saltine crackers is only thinking, "Why did I buy a whole box? I won't even like these after the first five, and I am so never eating saltines again."

For years I truly thought that saltine crackers only existed in 2 cracker portions, wrapped in clear plastic, and available in salad bars. In these cases, saltine crackers taste wonderful, and are fit to steal.

Jake said back to me, "You know that someday you are going to meet someone who bought saltines for the recipe on back, and it is going to be hard for you not to laugh at them."

Ah. Too true. Does this make me a bad person?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Money, Get Away

I realize that this post is going to annoy my friends who have, for years, budgeted, gone through debt, are currently in school, and have had to pay 10 or 20 times in loans what I have paid in my entire educational career. This is not related to the current economic crisis and not inspired by it. This rant is not intended to encourage any of you to feel sorry for me; rather I hope that we can agree on a certain ridiculous fact:
Teachers just are not paid enough.
Jake and I have been lucky to come away from our educations debt free, and largely, we have been budget free. Not that we have spent exorbitant amounts on cars (well, that can be argued at this point, over a previously known issue), rent, clothes, swimming pools, travel, or anything of the like (I would like to point out that I did not put "food" on that list, simply because we all know I spend more money than anyone on food). I generally just keep in mind what we have, what I know we can afford, and what is coming up. We certainly have been able to afford many luxuries. We have been able to save, and we always had enough to cover whatever came up, and I'd like to think that we've come away with quite a bit (in terms of 20-something year olds and no real aspirations in the housing market, not in the rest of the world terms).
So I looked at our current earning potentials yesterday, in light of some recent income (read "pay cuts") and expense changes (increases in gas and childcare needs) in our lives, and was appalled to find that, if we are VERY VERY careful, leaving no room for extras (I am including medical costs here), we will be left with a tiny amount each month to save. Meaning, if we lived in any situation that involved a two bedroom apartment instead of one, we would be going into debt.
I am completely floored by this fact.
I am not expecting to be paid any sort of fortune. When it comes to being a teacher, I expect that most of what I do is volunteer work.
How does the world answer to such a mess? I live in a society where a full time teacher could not afford a mortgage or more than one kid (notice the use of the conjunction here). Absolutely any other profession that requires as much schooling as a teacher would demand more from an employer. Even my salary reflects a higher pay grade (due to credits I've worked up to) and an additional $50 per paycheck to be Department Head. How do other teachers live?
So this is what it feels like to be a doormat.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cooking Light? Wouldn't dream of it.


I used to be an avid follower of Cooking Light Magazine. I looked forward to their magazine, faithfully tested out their recipes, and even bought one of their cook books.
Oh, to be young again.
Now I see that making their recipes full fat makes them taste much much better. I should be one of those people who writes in the food section of newspapers, the ones who adapt recipes, except I would have the opposite task-- The Recipe Doctor: Change your food from fit to fat. I can just see it, someone would write in, asking, "Dear Dr. Jackson, I recently ate some sweet potato pancakes and the woman who made it informed me it was a light and healthy recipe. Can you adapt a more succulent version I can serve to my family who needs help gaining weight?"

Just to keep it healthy, I added wheat flour and flax seed meal to the recipe.

Sweet Potato Pancakes, adapted from Cooking Light

1 1/4 C flour (substitute 1/2 of the flour for wheat flour if desired for a heartier flavor)
2 1/4 t baking powder
1 t pumpkin pie spice
1/4 t salt
1 C milk or half and half (I used a mixture, mostly half and half)
1/4 C packed dark brown sugar
2-3 T flaxseed meal (optional)
3 T vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 (16 oz) can of sweet potatoes or yams, drained and mashed. About 3/4 C.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, spice, salt in a bowl. Combine milk and next 4 ingredients in another bowl. Add to flour mixture and stir in sweet potatoes until smooth.
Melt butter in a non stick skillet over low heat. Add 1/4 C of pancake batter to the hot pan and spread out a little. Turn when small bubbles are starting on the sides. Cook on low or the pancakes will burn.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Vegan with a Vengeance



Vegan, for some reason, has come to be synonymous with "healthy", and therefore a difficult dietary change. That's probably why I don't make the switch completely. Instead I like to dabble in it. Steak tacos one night, vegan moussaka the next. I usually like everything fatty about food. Just ask Da. I squealed with delight upon locating a tub of lard during a late night shopping trip.

You'll eat one of these and think, "HA! Being vegan is a piece of cake."

Or, really, an extremely chocolate cookie.

This cookie is adapted (only very slightly) from the Veganomicon cookbook, a collection I adore. I think that veganism is one of the most time consuming styles of cooking, making it one of my favorite styles of cooking.

These cookies, though, are really simple. And I cheated. I only used one bowl to make them in, and they came out perfectly.

Amaya helped me make the cookies, so it's only fair that I feed them to her too. I should do all my food photography this way.


Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookies

(adapted from Chocolate-Chocolate Chip-Walnut Cookies from Veganomicon)

Makes 24 cookies


2 C flour

2/3 C Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

2/3 C canola oil

1 1/2 C sugar

4 t ground flaxseeds

1/2 C soy milk

2 t vanilla

1 C chocolate chunks (Trader Joe's dark chocolate bars are awesome for this)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

In a large pyrex measuring cup, mix together the oil and sugar. Add the flaxseeds, soy milk, and vanilla. Mix well.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Use a fork to stir once it starts getting stiffer. Add the chocolate chunks. Mix with your hands until combined.

Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. Scoop about 2 T out at a time, flatten into a thick disc, and place on the baking sheet about 1 inch apart.

Bake for 10 minutes, let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.

I like to freeze them in ziploc bags for later eating. They get a nice chewy texture this way.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sandwich Fetishness

I've been doing something unholy. Making sandwiches with fruit. I blame my dad and his monte cristos (if you are unfamiliar with a monte cristo, you have only yourself to blame).

Jake warned me that this looks slightly suspect. I assure you it is divine.

Fresh mozz.

Turkey.

Papaya and mango salsa with cucumber.

Ciabatta roll.

Try it.
Papaya and mango salsa with cucumber
1 mango, diced
1 papaya, diced
1 half cucumber, seeded and diced
1 roma tomato, diced
salt to taste
2 tsp white vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
Stir all ingredients together and let sit for at least an hour so the flavors can meld.
Add a minced jalapeno if you like some heat.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Church Is True

Multicolored flat carpet. They knew that Nursery could not exist without Play-Do.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Rebanquet

Lately, when I glance at the breakfast dishes laid out on the counter by the kitchen sink, I consider the fact that I haven’t eaten at an Indian restaurant in a while. I can’t make out what a hot naan with garlic feels like in my hands when I tear off the piece, even if I can sense the next step of flour slipping a fine dust onto the roof of my mouth before the first chew. I make it a point to review past tastes (I call them rebanquets). I started to plan a “because” in that last sentence, but there’s no clause to tie up that conjunction. I’m very elaborate about my rebanqueting, and I consider past meals to also be ones I’ve read about in books or stories, fictional and not. I think of these tastes as if they are my own, and I do, I suppose, lay claim to them even if they are someone else’s intellectual property. My reoccurring moral dilemma: is it plagiarism to review tastes that are enjoyed on paper? Will I be told, at some point, that Madeleine L’Engle has exclusive rights to liverwurst and tomato on white bread, and I must desist with my rebanqueting fetishes?

The best thing about rebanqueting is that I may enjoy many foods that I will never eat, and possibly never like. I still have not tasted liverwurst, but it remains in my senses a rich and sensible food, one that I could pop out of a can (does it even come in a can?) and enjoy as a late night snack, with the thunder and rain at my window. While one might consider me a connoisseur of sorts, I think I’ve unintentionally fooled those people. A definition of connoisseur, in the dictionary of me, hits on someone who enjoys new, fabulous tastes, and is bored by the old ones, unless those old ones are impossibly cultured and extravagant. My tastes seem to hit on relatively simple foods, and I rarely venture to new taste bud markets. For example, I have a hard time with organs in general, and have tried tongue and liver, but shy away from visiting those cubes of memory during my rebanquet. The only reason liverwurst stays in the course menu is that I didn’t put liver and liverwurst together when I was in second grade, and it remains unchanged for me, despite that new knowledge of word parts. The menu of rebanquet isn’t limited, rather filled with lush foods, but it avoids organs. Organs are what seem to set connoisseurs from people who eat food. I’m not sure what I am. Somewhere in the middle. On the line between “organs” and “spaghetti o’s,” because they look similar, but taste much different.

In my memory of tastes I have had salt pork (from Where the Red Fern Grows) with cornbread, roasted over a fire; coffee and meat pies (from The White Mountains), german stews and doughnuts (from And Never Said a Word); boiled eggs with salt, bread and jam (from Frances); chicken and potatoes (from Homecoming); a meal of fine French restaurant smells (from Family Under the Bridge) and I see when I start this list it may never end. My whole life is filled with meals I had with fictional characters and foods they have enjoyed during a long journey or at the table. I do note that in all of my food memories that these all taste rich, linger in the back of your throat, and act as the kind of food that fills your soul.

The only time I can remember that same feeling from a real life meal is a time that my grandparents and my family caught fish from someone's pond, cooked it at a fire, and ate it in the dark. We pulled white flaky meat off the bones, and I couldn't imagine anything tasting better. I'm not sure we even had salt to flavor it. I got a little piece of the skin I had tried to avoid. It melded so well with the soft fish. I remember being surprised that the whole meal could feel so warm and strengthening. I thought about it as I lay in my bed in the trailer house we stayed at because it was too late to go back to my grandparents' house.

And I don't even like cooked fish. But it's this meal I go back to draw from when I read about Huck roasting Mississippi fish over the fire while he contemplates a starry night.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Oregonian Hearts





























I love Hawaii. But I love Oregon end of summer even more. If it could always be end of summer, almost fall, I wouldn't even need to visit anywhere else.
When I was there I was able to eat lots of local blueberries and blackberries, with yogurt and granola. Thank goodness costco just started picking up Oregon blueberries here. I downed a box of them last week.
Then we have my parents' garden. Artichokes, peas, cucumbers, and a gorgeous tomato. Here shown is the last strawberry of the summer. I did miss strawberry picking season which I am still miffed about. I also missed a few other plants, so I guess I shouldn't try to cut my end of summer visits so close to the dead last day of summer.
My dad is a farmer at heart still. I like thinking of him checking on his plants. You know my dad is related to me because he takes terrible pictures too. I inherited the "close the eyes when the picture is taking" gene. I took several. This is the best one. He has a band around his arm because he gave blood. He gives blood as often as they let you because he has O negative, the universally accepted type. They treat him like a celebrity, and even call to remind him to come to his appointment at least twice.
I really recommend greek style yogurt for fruit eating. It's about as fattening as cream, but much more healthy (ha ha). Greek yogurt is much thicker and is a sensual eating experience. If you can't get greek yogurt, just put a piece of cheesecloth in a colander, that over a bowl, and scoop whole milk yogurt in the cheesecloth. Put it in the fridge overnight. Use brown cow whole milk yogurt because it isn't as sour as most other brands.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Far Fetched Birthday Wish

Now usually I have a hard time coming up with a list of what I want for my birthday.
This time I know exactly what I want.
At $1395 for the conference, it's practically a steal. And it's even right during my birthday. I think that's a sign that I need to go.
So for all of this I would need a plane ticket (I have miles), a place to stay (Temple's couch), and funds to buy the registration. This is where you, the rich person reading my blog, comes in.
Oh, and the school to gift me a couple of weeks off without pay, because you know I'd want to do some hanging out and sightseeing with the Temples before and after the conference.
A girl can dream, right?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Perfect Sandwich

After too many tantrums to count, I brought Amaya home early from Stake Conference. She literally threw her first tantrum (in which she rolled all over the CAC floor in her dress) within seconds of arriving. All of these tantrums had to do with not wanting to do any of the fun things I had brought for her. When we got home, I was trying to talk to her, in a very patient voice, how I wanted her to be nice to Adelade (sp?), Marc Allred's daughter who was the angelic example of toddler-dom, and who Amaya pushed once she got close. During my very sweet and very short discussion with Amaya, she slapped me in the face. So I put her in time out.
I retreated to the kitchen for some immediate reward for being the most sweet and patient mother in the world, otherwise I might start screaming.

First I ate some leftovers of our vegan rollatini (I've been loving the gorgeous if time consuming dishes from Veganomicon lately), and then I decided to make a sandwich with the bread I made yesterday.
This is what I got:
I really do think this is the most perfect sandwich in the world. Avocado, brie, and pluot.
Before I ate it I went to check on Amaya, who was being suspiciously quiet.
She figured out how to get out of her crib a couple of weeks ago. She was just playing with the clothes, and didn't look a bit sorry.
I just went back to my sandwich.
I also want to make a note of how I made this bread. The crumb is better when you knead it in this way. You pick it up by the end, let it stretch back to the counter, and kind of slap it down and fold it over as you do it. Supposedly it traps air into the dough. Don't ask me how, I appreciate the science of cooking, and in the end I just go with how it turns out. I learned about it from Gourmet a few months ago. It seems like a crazy sticky mess when you start kneading, making it impossible to keep off your fingers, but you are rewarded in the end. The dough becomes tacky and smooth and beautiful.
You can read the gourmet article here. There's also a video showing the kneading. I totally recommend the sweet dough (it's not super sweet like dessert bread, just has a nice warmth). The bacon pastry slices with this dough base are Soooooo yummy.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Just Like Freedom Writers

Today was a good day.
Specifically, my reading class was good, and that makes everything better.
They were angels in the first hour, and a little rowdier the second, but I was pretty happy with myself. This whole thing is probably good for me. The patience I'm practicing lately is practically saintly. I think they know it, too.
I'm still skeptical that this class will change their lives. Aupiu said, "I don't think I need to even be in the class. I'm so smart already."
"You can't complain about it now. When they tried to take you out, you said you didn't want to," I replied. It's true.
"Well, I'd already decided it was okay," he said in that ambiguous way, like he might change his mind now.
Michael jumped in: "Yeah, Miss, you make everything fun."
Now, Michael is just about the sweetest kid in the class, but no one made any cracks to the contrary. And even Chasity, the sassiest girl I've ever met, hugged me today when I showed up for the second hour with creamsicles.
So what if I bribed 'em. They deserved it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

So It's Not All Bad

Left on my laptop by my daily morning, recess, and lunch visitors, exactly how it was written:

Dear Mrs. Jackson,
Hi! I’m really bored and this computer was on and open so I decided to write you this thing. Sydney is TOTALLY writing on your bored with red permanent marker and it is NOT and I repeat NOT coming off! Do you know what kinds of things take sharpie off? Well, I hope so. Well, have fun!!!
Love ya,
Dianne Veras
With syd and jess!!!

Aren't they sweet?
At least they tried to take off the red sharpie. And then fled the scene of the crime before I came back.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Revenge of the Money Pit

Remember that old movie "The Money Pit" about the house that ended up becoming a deep canyon of money sucking misery?
I am currently living the sequel to that movie, where the house is reincarnated (after being burned to death) into a car. Sounds like the Chucky series, actually.
I have previously mentioned my disgusting story of ticket issues.
Well, my appeal was finally denied, and my bond was forfeit to the court. I did feel some relief, however, that it was over.
Dun dun DUN!
Not over.
Got a notice from Municipal Services Bureau on Saturday for two more tickets.
You can imagine my stages of grief.
First, denial: "Yeah right. This must be a repeat of what I've already paid."
Then, doubt: Today I broke down and called the Kaneohe district court.
Then, annoyance: 15 minutes of "discussion" finally led to me demanding to know exactly which tickets had been paid, and which had not, and did my actions of filling out several items of paperwork, three trips to Kaneohe District Court, and several hundreds of dollars flung in their general direction do NOTHING to merit at least a list of infractions?
Then, anger: Not only do I have two more tickets outstanding (currently in residence with the collections agency), I have THREE. The woman refused to go over tickets that were closed with me because it would "take too much time." I finally wrestled a number of total tickets issued to the vehicle, something I've asked for before from at least 5 different people at the court, and only now am I finally hearing the number NINE. I only have to explain 4 times to this woman that I cannot look up this information on-line because I am not in possession of any case numbers because I am not in possession of any tickets.
And I say this again, not because I am unable to remember saying it already, but because I am unable to process how this can be possible, but why is it that every time I asked these people exactly how many tickets I had and how much I had to pay that I did not get the correct answer until now? Now that I have yet two more tickets against my record and credit report and one on its way? I suppose I should have taken the worker I spoke to in March at his word when I asked him if this was all. He said, "Ummmmm, I think so."
Nine tickets to a vehicle not posing any sort of threat to the general population. Only to Pam, because it is still sitting in her driveway (so of course she will not see a cent of this money). And a threat to my general well being, because I am just sick, sick, sick of looking at it. Did I mention that a bill for insurance came in the mail last week?
This story just seems like some crazy fantasy to me. Really. It sounds like something that should be happening in one of those Big Brother post-apocalypse government takeover kind of movies. Like, "This totalitarian government issues tickets without proper notice and makes you pay them! And there's nothing you can do about it!"
The last stage of grief is not acceptance. It is a gut wrenching stress of hatred for Kaneohe District Court and their law-abiding officers.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

2 Years Old Going on 2 Old 4 Me


Pretty much the exact day after Amaya turned two she figured out how to put on her own slippers, even if sometimes she puts them on the wrong feet and gets the thong between toe three and four instead of one and two.

She also wants to wear dresses. Randomly. And she gets them out of the drawer herself. She says, "Mom, I wanna put on a dress." Like she's saying, "Doesn't anyone have any fashion sense around here?"

Suddenly more of her words sound like actual human words, especially the ones that sound like "Mom, come on. It's time to get up. Open your eyes. I want to bee-book." (okay, so "read a book" sounds like a book about bees, but it's pretty close.)

She knows everyone's names. And gets very excited about certain ones.

Jake took her out surfing at Castles. Yes, he took her about as far out from shore as I go myself. She just held on to his neck. When he brought her back because she was shivering so bad from being out too long and went back out himself, she screamed and cried for Daddy to come take her surfing again.

Amaya has to be in the bathroom when you are. We've been getting her to use the toilet in the mornings, so when Jake was using the facilities she scrutinized his work and said, "Good job!"

Today in nursery she had at least 7 tantrums. The flop on the floor, kick your legs, and scream so loud I would rather pretend I don't know her kind of tantrums. The last 2 were about the fact that the blanket she had for her doll was not laid out perfectly straight and kids who were trying to walk around accidentally got too close to her and her baby wrapping area.

Who is this person? I have a feeling that this is what I'll be thinking when she's a teenager.