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.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Speed Demon

I decided I wanted to take Amaya to the Honolulu Family Fair at Magic Island yesterday. Jake was kind enough to oblige, so we braved what we thought would be tons of traffic and tons of people for greasy food and ride some gut wrenchers directly after eating. We parked far away at Ala Moana, thinking there would be no way to get in to the park, but there weren't very many people. It was just about the perfect size.

We bought our tickets and first took Amaya on the carousel, and the spinning tea cups type ride. She actually understood that turning the wheel spun the car. She was doing it as fast as she could by the end and the guy had to stop us so he could unlock the door. Luckily for us, the company who runs the amusement park doesn't care how tall you are as long as you are "accompanied by a responsible adult, who will use proper judgement" in bringing you along on a ride that you should probably be banned from. That really opened up the possibilities.

Yeah. I took Amaya on the roller coaster.

Granted, it was a kiddie coaster, no loops and huge dips, but there was some speed, rising and falling of the stomach, and quick turns. Amaya was definitely the littlest kid on there. If anything, I was worried about the tracks actually holding up.

Right before it was our turn to get on, I heard two of the operators laughing. "Yeah!" he remarked, "that last one was super fast! I guess the rain makes it go faster around those curves!" I still didn't pull out though.

I asked Amaya one more time if she still wanted to go on. "Yep," was her reply.

We strapped in, I held tight to Amaya, slightly worried she would get bumped out, and when we started around the first time I looked down at her. She was still smiling. I encouraged her by saying, "Wheeeeee!" and every other person on the ride was screaming bloody murder for effect. I thought that would probably scare her. Somehow she picked up on the idea that the screaming was for fun. By the second time around I could hear her yelling, "WOOOOOOOO!" She totally knew the appropriate times for reacting.

So I'm a proud mama bear. She may not want to drink her vegetable chocolate milk powder in the morning, potty train, or sit down through dinner, but she likes a good carnival ride.

Although I really really really wanted to eat a funnel cake, fried oreos, and a fried twinkie (I still have never tried any of those things), I relented and let Jake take me back to Ala Moana for a classier dessert. On our way to Panya bakery, we saw La Palme D'Or Patisserie. (I forgot my camera, so I stole this picture from Yelp: bel d. Thanks)

Yummmmmm. I got flourless chocolate cake and mango pudding to share. Then we went to Panya and got some Hokkaido Milk bread pudding. A pretty good way to end the evening.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Blog Search

icerocket is kind enough to tell me who happens upon my blog (just their city and state, or country in some cases), and what they've searched on google that would bring up my page in the first place. I have noticed that my blog comes up when people do some funny searches. It really makes me want to know why a person would be searching for these terms. The best ones so far?
"College age women who wet their pants during lectures"
"run peeing"
"cut my bangs up to my hairline"
There are some other funny ones, but I especially like these.

So far, the posts that win for the most number of searches is tied between the urination one, and the hair cut post. Soba with spicy peanut sauce is a close third.

For the people who are looking for advice about cutting your bangs: DON'T! Although I prefer really long bangs to no bangs at all, I've decided. Certainly bangs cut up to your hair line is a bit excessive, don't you think?
For people who want to know about urination, I'm no expert. Can you tell me why you want to know about female urination during lectures? Does that happen? Now I'm curious. Did that happen to you? Are you worried that someone posted about it and are now scouring blog sites to see who has revealed your story to the world?
Poor thing. I hope it turns out okay.
I'm assuming the "run peeing" search is a marathon runner. If this is your first marathon, I have to recommend port-a-potties. You don't really get away with it unless you are a world class runner. If you're not that, you probably just look like a moron. I mean, what's 5 minutes to you?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Piss and Tell

You may think this is a weird thing for me to write about. I think it is too. I still want to write about it, even though I know that I have a student who looks at my blog every day and will probably tell everyone she knows. Hopefully she'll also portray to everyone she knows that it's kind of a funny thing, and not really the worst thing to know about someone. I appreciate honest stories, even if they are a little embarassing.

Last night, around 3 am, I was dreaming about something. It was probably about my class, because that is always when I am needing to go pee. In my dream I walked into the bathroom and sat down to use the facilities. That's when I woke up. Kind of.

Part of me thought, "Ah, whatever. Just finish it." I was seriously mid stream.

I remembered that this thought had occurred to me two other times.

When I was four, I was at a keyboarding class, and I had to go to the bathroom. I couldn't reach the light, so I just felt my way around in the dark, pulled down my pants, and sat on the toilet.

It was then that I realized that I was sitting on the lid. That's when I thought, "Whatever. I have to finish now." When I went back to the keyboarding class I didn't tell a soul. Until now.

Around eight or nine years old I was walking home with a friend from school. It was a good twenty five minute walk, and it was the first time I had walked home. I had to follow this friend so I wouldn't get lost. I thought I could hold it.

At one point he thought we should cut through the woods. By the time we figured out that the whole path had overgrown so much that we couldn't get through, it was too late. That's when I thought, "Whatever. I have to finish now."

I was wearing jeans and there was no way to hide it. I was totally mortified. Here I was, on my first walk home with a boy, and I had wet all the way down my legs. We ended up walking with another group once we got out of our "shortcut", and everyone commented on me peeing my pants. I do have to say I got quite a talking to when I got home. I pretty much potty trained myself before I was two, according to my mother. I don't remember wetting the bed ever. I'm sure I did at least once, but it was never one of those things that haunted me.

So when I woke up, completely, I realized that it was probably not a good idea to finish peeing. I jumped up so I could run to the bathroom.

Now I see that I have grown up. I do learn from my mistakes. Mommy, wow. I'm a big girl now.

Of course, I did leave the house this morning without telling Jake exactly why there was a wet spot on my side of the bed.
Maybe I shouldn't be giving Amaya such a hard time about toilet training.