Thursday, March 29, 2007

Only four more nights...

Until the Great Passover Seder (or GPS as it will be known for at least the next few weeks). In light of the fact I've had a very yucky day (I knew I should have sent that chain letter on!) I've decided to enlighten you all about one of the more traditional foods for Pesach. And the one Ms. K. finds either the most amusing, or the most disgusting. Yes, I've probably told this story before, but it makes me laugh, and like I said, I had a yucky day.
So our lesson of the day is Gefilte Fish. See, this is one of those foods you tend to grow up with when you're Jewish. It's a mixture of different white fishes, ground up, formed into balls and then boiled.
Yeah, I know. Not the most appetizing sounding.
But when you stop thinking of how it is made, it's actually fairly good.
Unless you're Ms. K. and you're sitting in on your first ever (and probably her only, though she'll make that final call) Seder. A seder is the special meal we share on the first two nights of Pesach. Literally, the word means Order, and the meal gets its name from the fact that everything in the meal has a meaning. An order.
Anyway, back to the fish. First off, Ms. K. only agreed to come after I promised she wouldn't offend anyone. Then she ran into one of my mother's oldest rules. You can't say you don't like it if you don't try it. (This would be the only reason I've eaten a brussel sprout...ever.) Mom told her she could not claim she didn't like Gefilte fish if she didn't at least taste it. We promised her she wouldn't have to eat the whole thing, which I think she found only slightly comforting.
Ms. K.'s opinion? Taste like tuna with the texture of Spam.
Seeing as how I've never had Spam, I'll have to take her word for it. But it does NOT taste like tuna fish.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

It's official!

Okay, I'm sure my friends are sick of hearing this, but I'm still pretty psyched, so I get to share with the rest of you. I'm going to Israel! I'll be travelling only a few days after school lets out. Talk about timing...
What I find the most amusing is that I've been there before, and had an okay time. But I've never felt this desperate need to go back. Maybe it's the memories of traveling with my whole family. Maybe it's the memories of being a socially awkward teenager. Maybe it's that I'm not a huge fan of heat, sun or bathing suits. Either way, I never really saw myself going back...until a couple of years ago.
But now's my chance, my time. And I can't wait!! Of course, so far the only proof I have is the itinerary for my flight from New York to Tel Aviv. I sure hope they tell me soon how I'm getting to NY, or this trip could get very interesting. Still, what a great way to start off summer vacation, right?

Labels: ,

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Very Rewarding Experiences...

Dona has once again tagged me for Top Ten Tuesday. Top Ten Very Rewarding Experiences:
  1. Walking across the stage to receive my Masters in Teaching. It's hard to top this one. After having been out in the work world, I made the choice to go back to school full time. Let me tell you, it's much harder the second time around. All the sudden my life no longer felt like the one I'd built. But receiving that diploma, knowing I made it through? Fabulous.
  2. Finishing my first full length manuscript. Again, not much can compare with this one. There something about typing The End on a manuscript when you weren't sure you'd ever get there.
  3. Moving across the country. I sometimes wonder how my life would have been different, had I stayed in Michigan. Almost all of my friends have moved from there, as well as much of my immediate family. Since moving to WA, I've met the most amazing people, and some of my dearest friends. I can't imagine life without them.
  4. Completing a 20-mile bike ride. Completing this ride with my mother makes it even more special.
  5. Dinner with friends. I never laugh as hard when I'm alone (though let's be honest, I laugh plenty even alone), as I do when I'm with good friends.
  6. The moment when a new concept clicks for one of my struggling students. The look of pride on his or her face makes me so unbelievably proud.
  7. When I make a fabulous dinner, even when it's only for me. I love good food, but since I live alone, I rarely cook anything fancy just for me.
  8. When all my clutter is put away. I'm not messy, per se, but I tend to spread out, and I don't have a ton of time to clean back up. But I love that feeling of having a clean, uncluttered kitchen table.
  9. Completing a home project without help. I love that I put my computer desk together on my own, and that I put my coffee table together almost on my own (thank you D!)
  10. Sitting out on my porch on a sunny day, with a good book and a glass of iced tea. I'm usually running around, or working, or writing. So to have the luxury of relaxing outside means that I finished all the Must Do's.

Labels: ,

Sunday, March 25, 2007

I'm done!!

Well, sort of. I finished all the "You must do these by Monday at 5pm" items for my report cards. In honor of that, I bought new bathroom stuff, which I'm very excited about. I never knew my bathroom could look so, well, bright is the best word I can come up with.
Now, hopefully, my hands can recover from the excessive typing I've done this week.
Also, there have been sightings of spring in the Pacific Northwest. I actually saw the sun today! And the cherry blossoms are flowering, which makes me very happy. Now if I could just remember to get a pic of them to share.

Labels: ,

How adults celebrate a birthday party...

A few weeks ago I received an invitation to celebrate my friend Renee's birthday. Originally it was envisioned as a game party, with food all day long, and I couldn't wait. I planned to go later in the day, so I could work on report cards first. When I got there, a lot of the soup was already gone, but I arrived just before the cakes were brought out. Do I have good timing, or what??
After a few hours of chatting amongst friends, the fun really got started. We broke out....
The Play-doh.
A group of twenty and thirty-something women sitting around playing with Play-doh, while the men of the party went down to play video games. At one point we had a Play-doh bear army, set to take over the world. Eventually they became a peaceful protest group, though we aren't entirely sure what they protested. We had one sign, and all it said was, "No." No what? We have no clue. One bear became a cow slayer, when a toothpick was turned into a stake. (Okay, I admit that one was mine.)
But this, my friends, is how adults have a party.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

My plot to take over the world...

Well, I don't know if I can truly claim ownership here. I think I'm sharing the honor with Shannon, actually. See, she's the one who told me to read Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh. She even loaned me her copy. She tried to warn me I'd love the book. She tried to make me understand.
And she failed miserably.
Since reading Slave to Sensation, the second book Visions of Heat has been released, making both of us dance with joy. Even better is that the madness is spreading. First Ms. K. bowed to the pressure and bought the first one. Then, while out with another friend, I convinced her to buy the first book. She wrote me 48 hours later to curse me for introducing her to the fabulousness. Then Dona emailed Shannon about talking her into buying the book.
So here's my question? Who's next? Who else can we trick, erm, talk into buying these books?

Labels: ,

Wandering in the desert for 40 years...

I realized something last night. When the Israelites were running for their lives through the Red Sea, they never anticipated that the search for the appropriate Kosher for Passover foods would take nearly as long as their 40 years wandering.
Okay, I'm exaggerating, but not by as much as you'd think.
I'm sure many of you are tired of my comparisons between where I grew up and the Seattle area, but this is the one that makes me the most crazy. At this time of year, you can walk into just about every grocery store in Michigan and find a huge Kosher for Passover section (and yes, this is different from simply the Kosher section, but that's not what this post is about).
Here, I walk into my local grocery store, and they still don't know there is a difference between the two. I basically have two options at this point. I can drive over one of two bridges either to the University District of Seattle, or to Mercer Island in search of the two grocery stores in the Greater Metro Seattle Area that actually know what they are doing when it comes to Passover.
It's just not right.
So last night Mom and I drove out to the Mercer Island Albertson's in preparation for the holiday that is still two weeks away. Not really the way I intended to spend my Tuesday night. But I have macaroons now.

Labels: ,

Monday, March 19, 2007

What I'm reading...

I've decided to take a break from writing report card comments on my students to let you all in on what I'm reading. I've actually had a really tough time getting in to books lately, partly I think because of feeling the stress of needing to catch up after being sick a couple of weeks ago. So, in light of my need to be entertained, here are a few titles to entertain you:
  • Visions of Heat, by Nalini Singh. What can I say, I love this book! I think Shannon and I are out to take over the world on this one. We just keep recommending it to everyone. So
  • Dangerous Tides, by Christine Feehan. This one came out last summer, and has sat on my bookshelf since Nationals last July. I finally picked it up the other day. I've read all the other books in her Seven Sisters series, and this one fits right in. This was a nice, light read for me.
I've also started several books, but can't seem to get into them just yet. I'm hoping once I get through report cards, I'll be able to dive in with my usual verve. On the upside, Borders is about to have their Teacher Appreciation Days, so I'll be able to buy the following books I've been anxiously awaiting...
  • Smart & Sexy, by the fabulous Jill Shalvis
  • The Nymph King, by Gena Showalter


Saturday, March 17, 2007

The honeymoon is officially over...

The night started out so well. I met a friend for a writing powwow. We ooohed and ahhhhed over my new Dana. I played with various features, falling more in love with it by the minute. It has a word count! Now I can tell how much I've written, and if I'm okay to stop without having to upload to my computer.
Life was good.
Then, through no fault of my own, I was fatally rejected. Seriously. The error message read: Fatal Rejection. Then it shut off. Traumatic enough, I know. But apparently the Dana wasn't done with me yet. No, it had to go and put the icing on the cake by deleting everything I'd written over the last half hour. And it was good. Fabulous even! Those words were quite possibly the best I'd ever written, and their gone. Poof! Just like that. Now, here it is 10:33 p.m. and I'm trying to
resurrect them from my very tired brain.
This can not end pretty.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ways to play fast and loose...

Wait until two weeks before the deadline to decide you really want to go on the big, extra-special trip. Then frantically contact all necessary parties to get the information about payments.

Never let it be said I don't know how to live dangerously...


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

In memory...

I want to take this moment to remember a wonderful woman, wife and mother. Pearl Friedman passed away Sunday night, leaving behind a family who loved her and friends who will never forget her. Growing up, Pearl (or Peari as we always called her) always felt closer than simply a cousin by marriage. She was like an aunt, always wanting to see you and talk to you about your life. For my father, she was much like a second mother, considering all the time he spent at their house while growing up. She spent the last years of her life battling emphesema and a host of other health issues. I know that even as I type this she is watching her family with all the love in her heart. She is finally at peace. But in all this, it is her husband I think about. After 56 years of marriage, Ernieis alone, and he doesn't know what to do. His wife was his life and now he's lost. I can't help but cry every time I think of him.
The funeral was held in Michigan on Tuesday, in accordance with Jewish law, and the family has already begun the seven nights of Shiva. This blog entry is my shiva, since I cannot be with the family right now. If you have a moment, please take an opportunity and let those you love know it. You never know when you'll have another chance...


Giving up the ghost...

Well, it finally happened. The alpha-dumb has finally been laid to rest. Over the last two years my AlphaSmart has grown steadily sicker. At first it simply refused to transfer. I would flip between files, turn it on and off, and eventually it would transfer. Then came the time when it wouldn't turn on. That was fun. When I sent it back to the company, they fixed it so it turned back on, but for some reason decided not to fix the transfer issue. The latest problem was when it decided only to transfer from file 3. If I typed in file 4? Fuggedaboudit. So when tax time came back around, I decide to take some of my earnings and invest in a new machine. One that wouldn't take five years of my life to transfer 2 pages.
Enter...the AlphaSmart Dana. Currently it's charging, but when it's done? Think of all the fun I can have! As an added bonus, the keypad is lighter to the touch, so maybe my hand problems won't get quite as bad again. It does appear to be slightly more complicated to use than my other one was, in terms of the file management, saving and such.
Still, I can finally stop fighting with my machine, and won't that make me want to be more productive.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Why I shouldn't be allowed to talk to waiters...

Poor guys. All they are trying to do is help me out. They just want to serve the food, and I go and ruin their fun. Now, to be fair, ruining his fun was not part of my plan. I simply wanted my salad with the dressing on the side. Not an uncommon request, in these days of weight conciousness. So when the waiter arrives at the table with our food, I foolishly assume he'll simply hand me my plate as he as done with the rest of my group, and leave the dressing of my salad to me.
Silly, Erin.
No, apparently I ordered the fancy salad. The one they toss at the table in front of you, so as to somehow prove to you that they are cool, and you aren't. Cuz really, we all know what would happen if I attempted to toss the salad myself. It likely would have landed across the room on some poor, unsuspecting fellow diner.
So the nice waiter tries begins to pour the dressing on to the salad before tossing it. Thankfully I managed to not yell, "STOP!" at the top of my lungs, but it was a close call. I managed to cease his actions before the salad was completely ruined with too much dressing. "But don't you want me to toss the salad?"
"No, really, that's okay. I'm picky about how much dressing I put on my salad."
"But I washed my hands!"
Yeah, he really did say that. Poor guy. I think I really ruined his big moment, his chance to shine. Frankly, I should have let him toss the salad. Maybe then I wouldn't have noticed the serious lack of lettuce in my salad. I actually had to ask the waitress for more. It's just not right.
*shaking head* Poor waiter. I really am sorry.

Labels: ,

Doesn't take much...

Proof I'm having a good day and that I'm feeling better? New dishes, a couple of hours with good friends, and an invoice for my new Alphasmart (which they've hopefully sent). Yup, doesn't get much better than that.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Erin can't come to the phone right now...

She's home sick, and is too busy coughing to answer. Please leave a message after the beep.

Hey, I have to do something to amuse myself at this point. So far I've spent 2 out of three days home. Yesterday I was ordered home by the school nurse...and really, after you turn 18, how many times can you say that in your life? So I'm sucking down orange juice like there's no tomorrow, and wondering how I can magically create food in my refridgerator where none currently exists.
To make matters worse NYC, who is supposed to finally come visit on Friday, is also home sick. Actually she's worse off than me. My fever is low grade, hers is apparently making her wish for a tie-dyed ceiling. Hopefully she'll go on the mend tomorrow, and can still come out here. We may spend the entire weekend on my couch watching movies, but it beats our most recent phone conversation of "Who is most pathetic sounding?"

So here's hoping health for all of you. I'm going back to my couch and my nap.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Stupid human tricks...

It apparently wasn't enough that I burned my mouth on my tea earlier today, while out at lunch with an acquaintance. No, apparently the rest of me was jealous.
This entry probably should go under the "caution, don't drink and talk" heading. I was chatting away with Ms. L, pretty darn proud of myself because I finished my pages for the week, well before my self-imposed 6pm deadline, when I went to take a sip of my tea. Thankfully, it had cooled down quite a bit from when I'd ordered it, since I'd been working on it for at least 40 minutes at this point, or else this story would not have the happy ending I know you're all waiting for. So there I am, talking, when my tea took on a life of its own and decided to go visit my shirt.
Yup, spilled it right down my shirt. Not on it, mind you, but down it.
Yeah, I'm smooth.
There I sat, trying to continue my conversation in the middle of Starbucks, while sereptitiously trying to dry myself. At one point I was trying to wipe tea off my stomache before the rest of the front of the shirt got wet, all the while wondering how bad the whole thing must look. At least I can say that I'm pretty sure no one noticed.
Man, I hope no one noticed.

Labels: ,

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I've been cursed...

T called me last night to ask me if I was ready for another snow day. Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know about the nightmare that was our November, December and January. I can feel Spring, it's almost here...but apparently not quite yet. The snow hit the cities north of me yesterday afternoon. Apparently it creeped south, because my school is now running two hours late. He cursed me, I swear! All I can say is that I'll take the two hour delay over being closed completely. Two hours I can work with.