Class Dismissed

I channeled Miss Emily Litela today as a parent chaperone on a field trip to the subversive produce mecca of the 17th Street Market, though I didn’t realize it at the time. For those of you not fortunate enough to be reared by parents who worked late into the night, thus allowing you unfettered access to comedians like the brilliant Gilda Radner, take a gander:

Oh, Big Brother and I spent hours dotting and crossing on Mom’s chalkboard! Perhaps this goes some distance explaining why I’m such a teacher groupie, or why I adore the cardigan, or why I can’t pee in the ocean. I think this skit was probably the inspiration behind my brother and I silently, or loudly, saying, “Vacuum!” to one another, though we did occasionally say, “Olive juice,” as well. There was no sport in letting our parents presume we liked each other. Our alliance was forged in secret. Such subversiveness allowed us far more nefarious activity than we otherwise would have enjoyed. When Big Brother is watching over you, you get to hang out at Expresso Royale. Oh, yes. And it went without saying there was nary a snitch about our willfully impious cherry vanilla Italian sodas or peppermint tea brewed in a French press. OUI!

That must have been when all went wrong. Espresso Royale, secret codes, and Miss Emily Litella. “Vacuum? I just did it yesterday. F*** you? Oh. That’s different! Nevermind.” But today was about olive juice with the kid I can actually claim to love in public without Olympic eye gymnastics. Hawt Mz invited us to name our favorite part of the market. Just because I played rugby doesn’t make me a fish fan, but I gotta say the fish monger was my favorite. Brett must have known because he took a picture. And looky who’s there with me!

Yes! I looked deep into the eyes of Emily Litella and hadn’t a clue as she and I mirrored each other’s every move and gesture and indoctrinating comment to future voters of America. At the same time, I think I’m an adequate foil to Hawt Mz, who made fun of me for taking my group to the frozen food isle to admire the ice cream and define decadent for first and second grade students. That’s right! They can’t hear POTUS tell them to stay in school, but it’s totally cool for Emily Litella to define decadent. And that my friends, is nefarious.


Wheat and Chaff

Todd-o and I separated the wheat from the chaff last night. Before you go casting me as a crunchy, wheat-berry hippie, also know that I just polished off a package of Zingers with Suzy Q’s set aside for tomorrow. Diabetes update to follow.

Threshing wheat works nicely, whether by hand or machine. Threshing schools is not such a lovely task. (Winnowing sounds more poetic and does involve a gentle breeze, but it’s not expedient for this transition.) Guess what about charter schools in Arizona! Yeah, that’s what. Needs threshing. Unfortunately, where politicians talk about “government schools” one would expect to see various programs like open enrollment, magnet schools*, and vouchers pop up. In effect, these options overwhelm parents leaving us second-guessing every decision we make with regard to our children’s education. At the same time, these programs suck resources from neighborhood schools and skim the perceived cream. Icky chaff!

How do we find top-notch students to segregate away to bastions of learning? We could always test them, but when the best indicator of test performance is zip code (Google “Volvo effect”), then why bother with the tests at all? Just check out the vehicles in the pick-up lane. Put those kids with their parents’ money in one preci$ely located school easily identified by realtors and watch them soar. Of course those left in the time/talent/treasure void may not perform as well as a group and therefore we should punish those kids by closing down their schools and refusing to educate the former enrollees unless their parents manage to secure digs where property taxes are higher, swing their own college education, and give up on any service sector/civil servant jobs in favor of something tastefully white collar. Of course, a few children will slip past our ivy gated communities and we will laud them as an example of why the rest are truly undeserving.

* I’m not a hypocrite as my kids are special. They attend magnet schools where everything is perfect in accordance with the needs of my gifted and talented (and gorgeous) children. Magnet status, btw, didn’t prevent 1/3 of the faculty getting RIF’d and the total absence of a librarian at the 9-YO’s school. On the other hand, they have a part time attendance clerk because someone should watch after Adequate Yearly Progress.


Oklahomie Eats

I packed two cut-up melons from Tucson Community Supported Agriculture, along with French bread rolls, turkey, yogurt, sun tea, water with ice, chocolate milk, grapes, pineapple, and of course yellow mustard. Plus, the backseat barfers get to pick a big bag of chips all for themselves as is our tradition.

We ate here (I’m calling this “White Sandwiches, NM”)…
and here (Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, TX, without any appropriate puns).
Of course in Oklahoma, you get food from the backyard including berries
and tomatoes.
That was just one tomato variety of the at least four growing at my mother-in-law’s house. Anything we didn’t find in the yard, we could have purchased at the Farmer’s Market. We only walked away with a watermelon, which was all it took to turn this frown upside down.
I can’t think of my hometown without thinking of The Diner. Handsome Hubster had an eggurrito (Eggarrito? We don’t ever actually read at the menu.) just like he did the day the 9 YO boy was born.
And squeezing it in on the last day, The Greek House.
That plant is more than a little freaky. You know what else is freaky? After you order, pay, and find a seat in the SRO dining room, they FIND YOU without ever asking for a name, assigning a number, or even questioning if it was you who requested the extra yogurt. I didn’t take a photo of the food because I was too busy eating.

I pretty much plan my visits home around food. Winter break we’ll hit Victoria’s*, where the marinara has tarragon and red pepper but tastes cinnamon-y and Misal of India, even if moving by the interstate put the kibosh on the atmosphere. Unfortunately, if the rumors are correct we’ve sadly seen our last meal at Pepe Delgado’s*, who catered both my wedding and the christening of my first born.

We had some good eats outside Oklahoma. Hideaway was consumed in Texas.

Does it count as outside Oklahoma if the food was leftover from dinner in Oklahoma? We definitely ate in Santa Rosa, NM.

The service at Lake City Diner was, uh, er, well, let’s just say relaxed, though I knew that from the reviews. Apparently, not all the diners were familiar with Google. We had already seen The Big Blue Hole, so we weren’t in any hurry to go anywhere. Also, slow service doesn’t automatically mean bad service. Besides, the architecture was interesting and the green chili everything was worth the wait.
Best of all, on this entire trip, not one single person or animal barfed.

* Sorry Denveater, I think Victoria’s Pasta Shop and Pepe Delgado’s are both possessively named restaurants.


Mother Earth Day

About mid-way between Earth Day and Mother’s Day, Caddo Artist sent me this:

Caddo Care Carton Contents:

Sandy Springs Buffalo Meat Jerky, Hinton, OK
Pepper Creek Farms Dip Mix, Lawton, OK
EEMB Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix & Peanut Butter Brownie, Lexington, OK
Lasley Roasted Peanuts, Eakly, OK
Scott Farms Tortilla Soup Mix & Reds, Rice, & Spice, Altus, OK
Sooners Salsa, Amigo’s Salsa, Ardmore, OK
Native Roots Market Bumper Sticker, Norman, OK

That there first item was done et straight’way. The brownie soon follered and the salsa wern’t long for this world. I’m not saying that Caddo is fattening me up for reunion slaughter; I am saying I haven’t exhibited much self-control.

Caddo included a card with the quotation, “There is nothing more honorable than motherhood.” I have plans in the coming days to disprove this, but for now, I am embracing the honorific. A separate note read, in part, “I wanted to send the apple pie, it was a party in your mouth with every bite!” The tease! I guess there is honor in motherhood, but cruelty in friendship.

Okay, while she did everything as I have written, the expanded contents of the note were personal, touching, inspiring, and directed straight my way. Perhaps there is nothing more honorable than motherhood, but for sure there’s nothing more humbling than reflective generosity. This mother of three who takes care of her family and friends so well is certainly most honorable.


That’s Right, Kale Chips

The most insanely fantastical librarian gave Hawt Mz. a tip on kale chips, which she then passed on to me in lieu of getting emotionally involved in my daily drama. Now all y’all will benefit from a resourceful woman-to-woman, educator-to-educator network.

Right prior to the kids’ spring break, the perfect storm of crazy busy, interpersonal frustration, and a visit from Aunt Flo hit like police brutality. I met my teacher guru in a dim corner of the breezeway where she gave me excellent advice, which was to get as ugly as I needed to get in private, then use that to inform a more calm voice.

Hawt Mz. spied me purging my soul and afterward brought me from the dark into the garden’s light with a gift of beets and kale. The produce was about to go to the chickens because it was time to harvest, but our farm stand wouldn’t be open until after spring break, or so she claimed. Then she passed on the kale chip recipe.

Washed & dried kale
Oil to cover
Salt to taste

I translated this to 1 Tbs Kosher salt, 1 Tbs oil, kale.

The sheet on the left is straight up. The sheet on the right uses 1 Tbs of apple cider vinegar. The photo doesn’t do it justice, but the vinegar kale took on a deeper green.

Here they are, crunchy, over-salted chips. That’s right, “salt-to-taste” is way less than 1 Tbs of Kosher salt. FYI, the vinegar chips were mo’ betta’. Generally speaking, kale chips taste like paper thin, ultra crisp Veggie Booty.
You could totally replace the salt with Lawry’s or BBQ seasoning or popcorn seasoning or powdered cheddar or qual quiere.

The kale chips were a diversion from my bad attitude, but keeping me emotionally afloat is a community where people recklessly embrace each other with new ideas, thoughtful advice, and perceptive support.



Not the real sort of housekeeping where I wash dishes or any of that. As the hubster will attest, I detest such frivolity and won’t entertain even the thought it. For example, here is my drawing room:

And my library:

Okay, these are photos of the Collyer Brother’s home, but only because we don’t have a drawing room or a library. Instead we have a landfill and a Goodwill drop-off station, and unlike these photos, my clutter is in color. I’m ignoring the real cleaning for now. The housekeeping to which I refer is the mental, electronic sort. Therefore, today I’m presenting a listy sort of thing.

1. I’ve delivered another phenomenal guest post to Denveater. Seriously, I am so erudite, sophisticated, amazing … where was I? Oh, yes, I am well edited. That’s what I mean. She makes me smart. Big hearts to the glamorous, hilarious, and freakishly intelligent Ruth for whom I’d write anything.

2. While driving around in the minivan listening to the oldies station and not paying attention, the 6 YO girl says, “Mom, if it is a bad case, then he probably should go to the doctor, but I think he’s talking to his girlfriend.”

3. I’ve been crazy stand-on-my-head while running in circles busy. This is the afternoon of my dreams:

Thems are beets from Hawt Mz who identified and lifted one of my many recent foul moods, veggie fried rice fortified by backyard chicken eggs, and a Mexican Coke made with real sugar and not the post-New Coke crap.

4. I’m proud of my for pay job. It’s fun, interesting, and challenging. I actually get to use my college degree. Yup. I got one or two or three. I know, I know. You are shocked, but it’s true. I don’t do anything without my computer guru, Ultimate. Except this, I did this all by myself (with the help of a zillion other people). You can see me in the background trying to convince people how cool my job is. Get out your tissue. Two asides: A) don’t get me in trouble and B) we are in a capital campaign and if you have a check for a million or so, your gift will be fully tax deductible.

And just like that, I’m exhausted and can’t sweep up one more item for you. Those dusty corners aren’t going anywhere. I’m totally going to do a Scarlet O’Hara on them.


These are the days, my friends…

I should start at the top of the morning. The 9-YO boy debuted his mad skillz as a photojournalist. He’s got reporting in his blood from Gramp-A-Long and a fair amount of language ability from both Gigi and Grammanina. Also, as he reported to KOLD, his mom is always at school and I guess his boredom with that or my insistence that he entertain himself inspired him. The story was written one morning after a Borton Community Garden meeting and during the time I take the girl’s class into the garden. Use the link since my scanned copy, well you can see the problem with it.

Then the Friday routine hit with the BELL coffee cart (donations welcome), frequent readers help (the 6-YO made a book mark and earned two books to reward her, er, frequent reading), work for pay, then help the newly single mechanic watch himself and his kid on television (Did you hear that girls? I have a single male friend who can fix stuff AND be daddy about school). Around lunch, I came home to find gently used shorts for the boy and these freshly picked goodies.

These oranges are HUGEMONGOUS! That’s one of the largest bowls we have and you can see the oranges dwarf it. I need a new descriptor for my friends because they are beyond “awesome” and “generous” to the degree of “intergalactic” and “magnanimous” or something like that. OH! I needn’t neglect reporting the glorious package from the artiste in Oklahoma with 50 YO heirloom 4 o’clock and lemon basil seeds, pet rocks, a pep talk, a totem for the chicks, and an indication that my pal also loves credit unions.

Oh, but that’s not the end of the day. The librarian sent to the planet to make my life wonderful set up a little RR viewing on the big screen. Robyn, point out to your mother that one of her hand sewn dresses made it onto national television. If you look carefully, I’m person in the crowd 1, person in the crowd 2, person in the crowd 3 ….

Hawt Mz was mas bella tan siempre (I’m trying to learn Spanish again), if a bit touchy at being the center of the universe for all of 3 minutes. HM, I know you love math, so how about this equation? 15-3= 12 more minutes of fame to account for. What’s next?

I hope it never ends.

My House of Carbs

Look at this, wouldja? Just look it! Robyn gave me some Amish Friendship bread.

Robyn isn’t Amish. I think she just wanted a bloggy shout out. She’s such a blog whore. If it were possible for me to exist in Arizona, or Earth for that matter, without Robyn – forget it. It’s not possible and I don’t want to contemplate an Earth without her. I wanted to hate her friendship bread because she’s always so sickeningly spectacular (Girl Scout leader, social worker, gaiety engineer), but I couldn’t. The crust was sweet and chewy, the center oh so moist. I still don’t want a baggie of dough sitting on my counter cluttering my tidy collection of clutter, thank you very much, but I’ll take more bread.

Ah, but this wasn’t my only gift of grub. The Interim Rector’s wife gave me some of her Irish soda bread.

Her ingredient list includes currants, orange peel, and brandy. Add some butter and lightly toast it. HEY OH! She recommends marmalade or honey as a topper. I have it pictured here with the last bit of the Hubster’s aunt’s pepper jelly. You wouldn’t want to use it, but it sure makes a pretty picture.

Once again my friends shine with generosity.

Not Selling Girl Scout Cookies Online

Let me start off by saying we are not selling Girl Scout Cookies on-line. No, we are not. We are not because that is clearly against the rules. GSUSA prohibits internet sales of Girl Scout Cookies. This includes on-line auctions, broadcast e-mail messages, and/or council Web sites. Got that? Are we clear? Let’s face it, even if it were allowed, we’d never get to the post office to mail your order to you.

Now that we have covered how we are not selling GSCs on-line, I’d like to point out that many of you who adore the 6 YO girl and do live in Tucson may need of a source for GSCs. Consider contacting her since her personal sales goal is 185 boxes, approximately 1/4th of the goal for her entire troop. Think big baby girl!

GSCs claim no trans fats, but they do have partially hydrogenated oils in them anyway. Perhaps that would be inappropriate ingesta for you, but you would still like to help a sista out. Our church, Grace St. Paul’s, has a food ministry called Joseph’s Pantry. It is an agency of the Tucson Community Food Bank and Association of Arizona Food Banks. George and a Daisy GS sister of hers are taking donations of boxes of cookies to the pantry for their “Gift of Caring”. You could also talk to her about how to donate cookies toward that project.

Yes, I did just return from a GS meeting. At that meeting I picked up two uniforms in need of patch sewing. Some of you may know that in the process of sewing the 6YOs uni, a needle broke and flew at my face so quickly I heard a tiny sonic boom. OUCH! Sewing? Cookie sales? What the? And if you remember correctly I joined the PTO at my son’s school for a t-shirt discount. I drive, and love, a minivan with easy listening on the radio. I’m forcing my kids to eat carrots to help them poo. Fundamental shifts have occurred in my whoaminess. Where are my old lady jeans and hair scrunchies?