Sunday, December 31, 2017

A new delicious food and today’s entertainment

(Insert obligatory but sincere Happy New Year! here)

Today’s food experiment was rice pudding.  Brown rice, vanilla, almond milk, agave sweetener, cinnamon, a little nutmeg, walnuts and thinly sliced banana.  Note to self. Two tablespoons of cinnamon might be a little excessive. Also if you think it needs more milk, add a little at a time-that will keep it more ricier and less puddinger.  All that being said, it was delicious and more importantly filling without too many calories.  Also very very dessert-like. As in a tasty treat that’s fun to eat.

Daughter-in-law sent a vegetarian cookbook as a gift and there are a handful of recipes that definitely look interesting.  Assuming I sleep well and have the right amount of pep I may experiment on Tuesday.  We return to school on Wednesday.  There may or may not be children there as the temperatures allow.  Teachers now report on cold days and kids are supposed to work on their chrome books (that they left at school for the break.)

As for the entertainment-it was the greathusbandbob show at lunch with aunt and company. And the company is growing weekly.  We started as four Aunt, lornadune and Juanita. Husband joined in as did new resident Louise and Carol who usually eats with her daughter but not as much lately-possibly for fear of missing some laughs.

GHB plans some material which always feels awkward and stumbly but he doesn’t notice. While he believes everyone is entertained by the story, it’s usually his telling of any story that works for him more than the story itself.  Today’s most annoying moment was when he said "Becky, do you know what a fable is?"  Annoying that he doesn’t realize how obvious his question is (Carol taught English for crying in a bucket.) and I lean over to Juanita and whisper "they're old not stupid."

Lornadune reminds me of Aunt Agatha on Bewitched but not as dingbattish.  She’s from Minnesota and I adore her.  She’s often quiet until she isn’t and then she’s either funny or absurd- both winners in my book. 

Juanita doesn’t match her name but I’d peg her as Endora.  Especially if I get to be Samantha.  She makes a point to be at my side for the under the breath remarks. 

 Carol is definitely the Mrs Kravitz of the bunch without any ill intent.  She just hears all the gossip and knows all the stuff.  

Aunt fits in as Dr. Bombay although she seemed tired today so it might have been Dr. Bombay with some wacky illness that needs cured. 

 I haven’t been around Louise much but today when a funeral director resident made small talk with Carol she leaned in to me and said "He's licking his chops" which set me to cackling because I did not know that he was a funeral home director and thought she meant something else.

Most significantly there was no talk of aches and pains or illnesses and prognosis.  Just laughing and conversation on how that is in fact the best medicine.  Last week aunt said she had a dream that she died and I was a hot crying mess.  Then she said "promise you won’t cry when I die."  I told her I wasn’t making any promises. But there is a small part of me that thinks she’s feeling some deterioration in her wellness and thinks she is trying to prepare me.  But what will be will be.

Here’s a gratuitous cozy dog pic if you made it this far.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A list of thoughts.

Number one-  when someone dies and the funeral home has a picture montage it is not appropriate to include photos of those who are still living that DO NOT INCLUDE the deceased.  Relatives or not.  Even if you are a happily married gay couple proving a point or if you just visited Disneyland.

Number two

The high school students seemed pleased,with their mitts- but maybe I already posted that.

Number three- I don’t care how fashion forward it is or how much I like teaching music, this dress is just no.

Number four- greathusbandbob was elected Minority Election Inspector with a write in vote.  His own.  He tied with another funny man who wrote in his own name and they flipped a coin.  Not sure what the duties entail but he got a certificate.

Number five- in case there was any doubt about the sincerity of my principal- here she is making pancakes for everyone on the last day before break

And number five-  a text exchange with a former colleague who crushed hard on me a long time ago brought this insight to mind.  Everybody has the one.  The one that visits when you are sleeping.  That you’re certain, short of the unfortunate circumstances, should have been a happily ever after-the fates just got in the way.  If you’re lucky enough you married that one.  If you’re not, you’re not alone in carrying a torch for the unrealistic ideals you assigned to the "one" over the course of time.  It’s always good to know you’re not alone.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Lost In Space-season 2 for the win.

I listen to Lost in Space on the way to work. Occasionally, when traffic is stopped I get a peek at the screen.  Imagine my delight to discover that season 2 is in color and this is what they are wearing.  I think it might be velour. You’re welcome.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Winter program streamlined.

Once upon a time there were notebooks. And lists. And more lists. And xeroxed copies of lists. If 30+ years does nothing else it teaches one to streamline. Pictured here is the list of songs with page numbers. A treat from the sound guy who is also my "sub" for the day (I give him the day- he sets up and breaks down the equipment) and also works at a bakery.  Some knitting for all the time there is to hurry up and wait.  The only thing not pictured is the list of where kids stand and the Reader's Digest Christmas Songbook.

It’s 30 minutes before the show and already the grownups are pouring in to get the best seat.

And still there is healthy news to share. Pictured below you will see the short stage with risers.

Last year at this time the idea of one big step to get up there (in case of emergency) from the gym floor was unimaginable.  This year, no problem.  Next year I want my core to be solid enough to be able to hop down without fear of losing my balance-though I likely won’t do it because I don’t want to break my hip.

There is an extra pair of mittens no more.  I gave them to my millennial sound guy. He works at a restaurant.  I know he will have snow to shovel. He immediately put them on and clapped his hands and  although very manly in a hipster way, may have been heard to sqeaul with delight.  Now THAT'S how to receive a knitted gift.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Wait, this is a knitting blog?

The mittens for the students are finished.
  There is also a new 100 watt bulb for the lace that’s next.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Cashew. Gesundheit.

Make a soaked cashew cream sauce they said.  It will be great they said.  Just add a nut milk and food process they said.  I did what they said opting for fully loaded coconut milk and adding garlic and tahini.  And I ended up with a cream sauce that could compete with any Alfredo I’ve ever had.  Just a small sampling over some boiled red potatoes with plenty left to put over pasta later.

Cooking.  Have some basic ingredients on hand.  Pick something to be the main ingredient.  Think of a texture and a flavor. See what happens.

Friday, December 08, 2017

No Nap. No Pizza.

But it was a close one.  I was starving on the drive home and so ready for a GIANT double cheese pizza.  I knew I was in trouble.  I’ve also been exhausted all day which meant that if I napped, the odds of pizza would have increased exponentially.

Instead I cooked brown rice pasta in vegetable stock. Added leftover celery and carrots.  When you cook brown rice pasta you boil for 2 minutes and let stand covered for 16. That seems wrong but it turned out well.  The best brown rice pasta to date. Which I think is partly due to leaving it alone and not trying to get fancy.  Then small corn tortilla shells with refried black beans and Mexican cheese folded over and fried in a pan like mini quesadillas.  Also filling and pretty tasty. However many calories I may have eaten I’m certain it doesn’t equal a giant pizza.  Also I’m pretty sure I won’t need any Roland’s later.  Crisis averted.

I’ve taken to running on the indoor track now and again.  I even did a half mile of walking/running before Zumba last night. I’ve held on to the new number in the tens column for three weigh-ins (morning and night)  so I’m losing a little again.  Pretty close to 35 so far.

Friday, December 01, 2017

When you can't predict the future, you should just laugh at the present

Item number the one- A pre-k aide shared this story with me-  The classroom teacher told the kids that before they lined up they had to spell their names for the teacher.

T: Harrison, spell your name for me.
Harrison: B............ I............. N.............G.......O.

Can't you just hear it?  If I need to laugh that's a go-to story.

Item number the two-  GreathusbandBob filled in his own name in an office with no one running.  He received a letter last week that told him he had tied with another candidate and they would draw straws on Monday at noon.  He may, in fact, become the local Minority Election Inspector in this community that is sorely lacking in minorities. (if you click it you should be able to read it if so inclined.)  He said that next time he's going to make sure I write him in too so he'll win by 50%.

The last moment of blog hilarity involves the as yet unending saga of where the dog would like to sit.  We moved the chair.  She's happy in it.  Mostly.  Every now and then she puts her paws on the arm of my chair and leans over without actually coming over.  If you invite her to come across or try to pick her up she gets a little snappy. I ignored it, put her on the lap and there she stayed for the rest of the evening. It's better than my weighted blanket.

And finally I've moved from getting snappy during program prep to being hilarious.  Also my filter shuts off.  It should be a great week and a half.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Musicological journey through the 12 days of Christmas- also Hey Lisa Simpson

This is absolutely going to work for my class-

I also found a cheat sheet and will be able to introduce some of the pieces used at the end as part of this semesters work with style periods.

Hey Lisa Simpson, you're the best and thanks for continuing to read the blog!

Monday, November 27, 2017

One hour for the win

I danced the whole hour at Zumba tonight (as opposed to having to stop because I feared I might have a heart attack)   A second new friend and I chatted- her name is Julie.  She counts every class we have as in "there's another one down."  Which is actually confusing to me because it sort of implies there's a set number that we'll get to.

There was a woman in the back who was struggling and I had planned on saying hey to her afterwards.  Then I heard "Hey Mrs. Terry!" and she was the mom of former students.  It's funny how it works.  I knew her last name- always called her "Mama Lastname."  Then as I drove home all three of her kids appeared in my head as well as the time I shut the youngest ones hand in a door on his birthday and the first baseball game of the season.  Her middle initial and signature also appeared in my head.

I get it-that's how people think and all- but I am the girl who remembers absolutely nothing prior to 1980.

And finally- music teacher friend story time.

Once upon a time I went to a summer workshop.  There was a music teacher I recognized from the southern part of the state.  She recognized me.  We were not friends.  In fact, I thought, by the looks of her she was probably a horrible judgy mcjudgejudge person. (note the irony) I later learned she thought the same of me. (We we’re both right, sort of.)We ended up sitting next to one another at a group lunch and after a glass of wine realized  we were sisters from a different mother.

This made us happy and made for a laughing summer- I paid a visit to her house once- then I got married, we lost touch- then Facebook.  We reconnect, exchange a few words etc etc.  Several years later I see that she has become a knitter.  And then a few years after that I discover that although she doesn't advertise it like I do, she is a fan of the ridiculous sci-fi movies that I love.  How can that even be?  Two friends, separate lives,  no keeping in touch, same favorite things. Same very eclectic favorite things.

Nowadays there are random Facebook texts with knitting questions and newly discovered movies (although she is much more a connoisseur than I am).  Also I've let her know that if, in our dotage, we both find ourselves occasion or need for companionship it would be a travesty not to grow old and die together.

Until then we always have these-

IMDb: The Twonky (10 June 1953 (USA))
Tweedy college professor discovers his new TV set is animate, apparently possessed by something from the future, and militantly intent on regulating his daily life.

IMDb: The Tingler (29 July 1959 (USA))
An obsessed pathologist discovers and captures a parasitic creature that grows when fear grips its host.


IMDb: The Monster That Challenged the World (June 1957 (USA))
Giant mollusk monsters attack California.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Experimental Saturday

Did a Zumba class this morning.  Still have to stop in the middle so I don’t have a heart attack but I made an accountability friend.  Took the cousin shopping and then, having failed to find any recipes, looked to the produce section for inspiration.

Squash, zucchini, and baby bela mushrooms added to garlic sautéed in sesame oil. Flavored with red pepper and tamari sauce.  THEN some cornstarch to turn the liquid into a sauce.  It’s still cooking.  I’ll eat it over some brown rice.  I’m hoping it tastes amazing as I plan on it being the meal for the rest of the weekend.

Edited to add:  it was amazing!  Exceeded expectations.  Squash and zucchini added texture and variety.  Mushrooms were about the flavor and bulk.  Hint of red pepper so it wasn’t boring and the cornstarch sauce was perfect.  I can’t believe it. It’s the first time I’ve gotten cornstarch to do what it was supposed to.

Friday, November 24, 2017

A week later...

It has been a good week off.

Let's talk about laundry.  It's taken every bit of this entire week to this point to get all of the clothes clean and folded.  And by all I mean all of them except that last load in the dryer.  It's always been a chore but even more so when it involves sorting and trying to figure out which clothes still fit and which are too big.  Because there are in fact now some clothes that are just too big to wear.

Food- I made some fried tofu.  I did not hate it.  Marinated in red wine vinegar, tamari (vegetarian soy sauce), roasted sesame seeds and garlic and then coated in corn starch and fried in olive oil. Eaten over brown rice.  That was the weeks biggest adventure- The computer is now charged and I may go in quest of something to try this weekend.  There is still chili in the freezer for lunches next week.

Zumba- and then some. The burg of Wayne has a new rec center built by the energy company EQT and the local hospital foundation.  I am now a member.  I went to my first zumba class there on Monday.  It kicked my damn ass.  She's not inclined to stop.  Also there are more cute skinny perky there than fat old and trying to get it together people.  I prefer the latter. But I will go back.  It happens on Monday, Thursday nights and Saturday mornings.  I'm in it to win it.  There is also an indoor walking track.

I do much better on this than I do on a treadmill.  I managed 2 miles in 30 minutes today. Then moved to the thing that pretends you're skiing (apparently called a freestride trainer) which I can only do for 60 seconds at a time and then a thirty second rest- and that for only 5 minutes.  Then a little recumbent bike pedaling.  I listened to Beethoven today and the longer pieces seemed to keep me going longer.

And finally- I was hoping to get several weeks of music appreciation lesson plans completed.  I've got three documented days which will likely stretch into five because I always overplan.  We are moving from the Baroque to the Classical period.  Sonata form, Mozart, Beethoven, a little opera, some Bugs Bunny cartoons.  It's a little overwhelming.  What's important to learn, what's the best way to teach it, how do you teach it and make it interesting enough to feel relevant?  Is personal enthusiasm enough or are there more inspirational ways to approach it.  On the other hand I'm learning some stuff I didn't know and revisiting the time period with less hurried teachers eyes so it's been fun.

Greathusbandbob found the ecowool too itchy and has opted to use the Kaffe Fasset afghan.  This means I get the ecowool.  This little space could not be any cozier.

There are seven pairs of mittens completed.  Three to go. Sadly the last three are in the same color so it will seem endless.  I haven't woven in any ends.  I'm going to keep knitting and save the weaving for knit night.  I'm looking forward to doing some lace for the accountant and then with the sweaters from the past fitting a little better, I may soon heed the call of the top-down.

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Baroque Period

That's where we just finished in music appreciation- where statues art and music were all about the movement of things and the space they took up.  It seemed like a good day to bring out some clay.

What's most interesting to me is that the smartest kids in the class were the least motivated/creative and those who seem to be B-C students really took to it.

Take the words "Grandparents Tea" and attend to what comes to mind.  Then make it a little bit bigger and then make it bigger still.  We had one of those this morning.  There were 275+/- grandparents in attendance.  All of the tables in the school and all of the chairs in the school were gathered for a tea to begin at 9:30 which was supposed to end AND be cleaned out by 11:30 so the kids could have a reward dance.  And it worked.  Call me surprised.  My choir sang. The program was  Skiddamarink, You are My Sunshine, and Over the River and Through the Woods.

Yesterday one of those little choir people randomly asked me what my favorite pie was.  Getting such questions are not unusual but it's more often the K-er's than 5th graders asking.  When she got off the bus this morning, she handed me this-

It's one of the small kind (thankfully).  I ate 1/2 of it - which was about two pieces- and gave the rest to the school nurse.  It was just calling my name. And it really is more of a vegetable than other treats.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Spoiled much?

Note the empty chair and the dogged chair.  We used to have a love seat there.  Me near the wall, dog on her pillow on the other side.  The support of the love seat was no longer adequate.  I moved it. (out of picture at left).  Then we had center chair, husband chair, love seat with dog pillow over there.  We directed the dog to her new place.  She looked really pissed.  So I moved her pillow by the newly placed red chair (on the floor) along with her afghan.  She tolerated it but was disgusted to be in the same place as the cat- as in the floor.  When I got up to fold clothes, she hopped up onto the red chair as if to declare it her own and to express her displeasure.  Thus greathusbandbob and I could be seen carrying the lighter colored chair around the house, down to the basement (it wouldn’t go pas the railing on the stairs) and creating the set up you see here. All is well again.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Baby steps.

Somebody bought healthy treats for his wife today.  He still got muffins and ice cream, but baby steps.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

A Letter

Dear arctic blast, 

I love you.

Also I can’t wait for some action in my new weather glass.

Dear school of mine,

The flags for veterans looked amazing today.  I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that you charged for them as a fundraiser.

Dear kids selling stuff for fundraisers,

Here's $20.  Take it as a donation or pick it up someting for me in your catalogue if you need credit for selling.  It’s not the money I mind.  It’s the deciding on which junk I don’t want less.  Although rumor has it that one of the high school choir kids ordered me a kitchen knife and a spatula which is totally awesome.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Midweek what the what?

Spotted this sign in the cafeteria this morning.  The juniors working on calculus nearby affirmed my suspicion that it was this sign, in fact, that keeps them from using drugs.

Monday, November 06, 2017

We interrupt this week for the annual birthday post

There may be the 2nd annual banana split birthday knit night at Sarris' tomorrow.  Except I don't know if anyone is coming so I may have to entertain myself. Ice cream cake tonight with greathusbandbob so there's no chance of feeling pathetic.

Also in birthdayness-

Flowers from the big guy and a charm for my chamilia bracelet from the mama.

All that being fabulous- yet I don't have any lesson plans for the high school class tomorrow so there's still that to do.

An update on the Christmas/Winter program.  I ditched the spirituals for the year- a parent told her kid "tell Mrs. Terry to do some different songs" (she's had three kids come through the school).  So instead of that we are doing all of the classic hear on the radio carols.  

Third grade is singing Nutting for  Christmas and Up on the Housetop- one astute student said "Mrs. Terry- these songs don't have anything in common- "  

No Caitlyn, they do have something in common- it's just vacuous and shallow. Give the people what they want.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Back in the kitchen

Today's experiment is from The Minimalist Baker. Sweet potato coconut curry soup with roasted garbanzo beans.

Both spiced with curry, and lots of other good stuff.  Once it cooks it will go in the food processor and become a creamy soup.  I halved the amount of curry and added a pile of cinnamon.  I have a love/hate relationship with curry.  A little goes a long way.

It tasted absolutely delicious.  I couldn't make the chickpeas float on top the way they did on the site but they added perfect texture.  I've never worked with 100% coconut milk.  I have a sneaking suspicion (given the calorie content) that it's not unlike cream cheese in that added to anything makes it infinitely awesome.   And so I say- take that Panera's butternut squash.  I got this going on!

It's birthday week here in these parts.  Cousin said she wanted to get me a bathrobe but "Walmart didn't have any" so instead I got this.

Quel surprise- it's either going back or going to the school pantry. Again, she doesn't know about emoji or poop so just keep thinking warm pajamas.

Baby Rowan visited Facebook sporting her blanket and her fox hat- captioned "Aunt Becky knows me spirit animal" I agreed  but doubted my knowledge of the size of babies heads.

Cheating Cheating Cheating.  This has been two days of off diet chaos.  I had to go for one of those followup mammogram picture/ultrasound things (results on Wednesday) and just did not feel like thinking about food.  I ate a cheese pizza.  Then I ate ice cream bars- stress eating anyone?  

We went to the casino Saturday night and I ordered a double tequila in a tall glass of ice.  The bartender accidentally just filled the glass with tequila so however many calories that is as well.  This week will bring ice cream cake on Monday with husband and hopefully Sarris' banana split on Tuesday.  Then back on track. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

It's Saturday- that means it must be blog time

Where to start-

No food experiments this weekend.  The repertoire has expanded enough to allow for non-repetitive repeats.

I was knitting some lace in malabrigo lace weight and was wearing blue cotton pants.  Come to find they were heavily dyed blue cotton pants.  Dye on hands.  Dye on rows of lace.  Drawing board.

The high school kids.  They are great with class projects.  Not so much on taking, rereading, or using notes to learn stuff or take tests.  We have just started a quarter of western European music and even with using notes, only three passed with an A.

This weeks quarterly project, rather than becoming a report that would mean so little, will be a notebook with their notes turned in for  20% of their grade.  This is what I anticipated to some degree.  But, like I said, they've got the in-class projects figured out.

Last night was cousin's monthly night to eat out and we took her friend.  I refrained from the apple dumpling with ice cream but I did have fries on the salad.  The same salad I used to eat and call eating healthy was a guilty pleasure last night- fries AND ranch dressing on it.

For this morning's shopping trip, cousin informed me she would need extra money and to know my size so that she could shop for my birthday.  I unload her groceries into the car and into her house.  If I am not mistaken,  I believe that she has gotten me a plush hoodie in the design of the poop emoji.


Equals my birthday present. She has no internet savvy.  I'm certain she thinks its chocolate frosting.
Happy Birthday- here's your pile of poop.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

This week's experiment

So the recipe of the day was  Lebanese Spicy Potatoes (Batata Harra- which is kind of hilarious since today was also the day I went and had my tata's examined.)

Red potatoes, lemon, garlic (6 cloves!) red pepper flakes, tahini and fresh cilantro.  No cilantro to be found.  I bought some cilantro in a tube.  And then forgot to add it.  No wonder they tasted bland (I only just realized I forgot to add it as I posted this.  I may be able to squeeze a little taste into it yet.)  Those facts combined with the fact that I bought walmart red potatoes and its no surprise it wasn't may favorite experiment ever.   The cilantro would have cut the overwhelming tahini feel.  There are three potatoes left- I may try it again.

There are red lentils in the crockpot.  The tata squeezing place is right next to the middle eastern grocery store and I sort of  bought some stuff.  Cracked wheat, red lentils, more green lentils, ghee, medjool dates (5 lbs!) another container of tahini.  The dates are for the brownies.  As they last forever it was easier to buy in bulk.

The ghee is to spice the red lentils- I'll eat them in tortilla shells for dinner.

There will be hummus and carrots for the game tonight, red lentils for dinner and I'll likely get to the brownies tomorrow.  It's just so sticky and messy.  They are a must have though.  There were no healthy late night snacks to nibble on last week and I accidentally sleep walked and ate an ice cream bar.

There are also bananas and honey crisp apples to have as a back up.  I finally made a master list of all ingredients that I always forget at the store so this weeks shopping trip was pretty thorough.  I figure I'll experiment with bulgar later on.

Again, adventures aren't so bad when you don't lose so much money when you have to toss it.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Win Some, Lose Some


Coat of arms activity-  I failed to give an example of how exactly I wanted it done so several of them took it as a writing assignment and just wrote words.

Shishkabob Catapult- The premise was nice.  The construction was not strong enough to actually apply any physics to hitting premade targets.  So when in doubt- just throw the ammo (marshmallows)  One kid invented the cross bow with his and it was plenty effective.  Then he held it up and said "Look, it looks like a cross."  And I said "hence the name...."  A light bulb went on.


Using runes to code the notes for class and having them decode them.  One student said "it made my brain tired but I liked it."

Transcribing compositions using a feather quill pen and a bottle of ink.  One said "this is a disaster waiting to happen."  To which I repliied, "Yes, Mrs. Terry, Danger is my middle name."  No disaster yet.  A little ink on the back of a chair- barely there.  They were completely engaged AND asking questions about medieval times.  "What exactly is a monk?"  "What did they do?"  "That's all?"  "didn't they have to copy books?" (yes- remember that part in our notes about the church holding all cultural and academic knowledge!"  "I can see why it took all day."

Next week a little more on daily life with costumed paper dolls, a game of Nim, a game of chess culminating in the making of the knight's helmet.  Meanwhile their ears are being acclimated to the sound of medieval sacred and secular music.  My guess is they will easily be able to tell the difference by the time the two weeks are finished.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Double Trouble

These two little monkeys finally fit their hats!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Later in the week

Yes,I am going to try to get high school kids to create knight in shining armor hats.  Time will tell