Saturday, March 08, 2008

Found Beauty - Friday 3/7/2008

At work.

Weens noticed that the Orange Creme that she split with OneL looked really lovely in the glass, so we quickly set up a photo shoot.

Friday, March 07, 2008

All or Nothing - Friday 3/7/2008

It just struck me as amusing this morning that the two largest dairy containers at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf are Half & Half and Nonfat Milk.

I wonder if aficionados of the Whole Milk and Non-Dairy options are as likely to switch their votes as Democratic moderates seem to be this primary season.

Big Day! - Thursday 3/6/2008

Started out the day with a little excitement. One of the other patrons of Sitton's Diner was outside having a smoke when he saw a trash truck come around the corner, smoking. The driver (wisely) dumped the whole smoldering load onto Tujunga Boulevard where it quickly achieved true flamedom!

A little passel of us left our coffee to ooh and ah. One of the servers called 911 on her cell phone. There seems to have been a lot of fire in my life in the past year. I'm more of an earth-type.

Some of you are aware that I started at Taking the Reins today with my own class, once a week for the next eight weeks. Another challenging experience.

Of course it's challenging, I don't know anything about 13 year old girls and I don't know anything about teaching!

The first half of the class went very well. We talked about them and their experiences of the day, etc. The best part was when one of the girls said she'd written a haiku, and we made one up on the spur of the moment. First line was about horses, second was about the weather, and the third was about horses and the weather...we actually wrote about 4 good last lines because they were all calling out ideas and counting syllables.

I sort of crashed in the last half of the class, having run out of stuff for them to do. The main skill I need to work on is getting them to talk more about the questions I bring up. Also need to figure out how to build from simple to something more complex that feels like a satisfying little project for the class period. I have great notes from Mags, but I need to relax a little, too, I think.

An unexpected challenge is that 3 of the 8 girls have done the program before. So their answers to questions like "What did you expect today?" and "How was the experience different than you expected?" were "I expected what happened and it happened."

I think they have a dampening effect on the other girls talking about their fears about dealing with these huge horses, because they're very comfortable. Also very energetic. Did have to separate two of them at one point.

The class was bored toward the end and could probably sense I didn't know what to do with them. I had them draw pictures of what they did. Didn't realize till I was telling about this later, but many of them drew the river, the ducks and the mountains. But they all left out the 20 feet of concrete on either side of the L.A. River (the bed is at least natural at this point with rocks and algae clumps and reeds) and the busy 5 freeway between the river and the mountains.

As my sister pointed out, they've already begun using their imaginations to change the way they represent the world and this is part of what we do in writing. I'll be sure and bring this up next week.

They were all disappointed that they only led horses and didn't get to ride. Hmm, see, there's an opportunity missed. I could have asked them to write about that and about something else they were disappointed about in their lives.

Skills I need to build:

-listening and being more spontaneous within the general framework

-creating my own class plan (even if it riffs heavily off of Mags's plan) so that I don't feel I have to refer to notes etc.

My mom, sister, Mags and other friends have been so helpful in listening and providing ideas for future exercises!!

In all honesty, I did go home and have myself a little cry because it was stressful and I want to do this well, and I am SO uncomfortable not knowing what I'm doing. But I'm glad I had myself a cathartic little private boo-hoo because I woke up feeling more clear-headed this morning for it. (Big Baby!!)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

FPA - Wednesday 3/5/2008

That's Future Peaches of America. (Snapped on our way out for an evening hike.)

I don't know about you, but those futuristic organizations were big where and when I grew up. Future Farmers of America and Future Homemakers of America come to mind.

I just went to my high school's website, which has been newly revamped. Yay, it's about time!

I would just like to say that the newspaper went from the Courier to Cat Tracks when I was there, and I helped design the cat footprint logo that trailed across the original banner. I was editor in chief during the time when we switched from hand-mimeographing to being printed inside the (now, sadly defunct) Noble County American.

Boy, was Mr. Gagen, the editor of that paper a hero to me. He'd come down from working as a reporter in Chicago to run his own local paper, and I thought he did a great job of it.

I just went looking for a link to any archives. All I found were obituaries, including that of my father and my grandmother. I can't believe my dad was only 62. I mean, I can. But he's missed out on so much since 1990.

Okay. Anyway. It's spring and things are blooming. It's amazing where a photo of a blossom can take you.

Cool Thing: Yet another new recipe. This one for Chicken Breasts with Mushroom Cream Sauce from Eating Well rocks if you're able to get all the ingredients without too much trouble. I found fresh Shitake mushrooms for a reasonable price at the always amazing Trader Joe's.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Spinach Soup - Tuesday 3/4/2008

By the time I took this photo I was so hungry that I didn't check the clarity of the shot.

You get the idea, though. I tried a new recipe for Spinach Soup from Eating Well magazine. I didn't make the croƻtons, but the soup is wonderful on its own. It's not too hard either to make or to find the ingredients for. It is good, however, if you have one of those immersible hand blenders, otherwise you have to transfer the soup to a regular blender.

Cool Thing: Hydra was right when he said this wonderful video of a kid's amazing basketball experience would appeal to the Indiana in me. I predict that you will like it. I further predict that if you grew up Hoosier it will actually bring tears to your eyes.

Cool Thing #2 : Bonus! When I sent the above video to The American, she responded with this little gem.

LOL! I have the greatest friends.

Playtime! - Monday 3/3/2008

Mamalisa's two adorables are going to be spending a couple of hours in the office every afternoon, so Hondista came in over the weekend and did a surprise makeover on Mamalisa's office, which included this arts and crafts area.

There are also prints from Disney movies on the walls, magnets on the side of the filing cabinet, a TV with DVD/video player, books, toys, and a corkboard for each girl to hang her artwork on.

You can see why we keep coming back to work here even though there are sometimes hard times.

Monday, March 03, 2008

What'd You Bring Me? - Sunday 3/3/2008

Are there any pistachios in here? Any grapes? Crackers? You know how I like those crackers with the sesame seeds on them!

Honestly, I don't know how he managed not to crumple the bag and fall into it. Granted, he only weighs about 9 ounces, but those Trader Joe's bags aren't all _that_ sturdy.

Or are they? Dodge seems pretty comfortable.

Land Sharks! - Saturday 3/2/2008

Hydra spotted these land sharks just in time to avoid disaster!! Watch out for them in the meridian of Burbank Boulevard by Balboa Park. These guys must be hungry!

Sepulveda Dam was open. I dunno, big public works always impress me.

We ascended from the gloom that was the San Fernando Valley on Saturday to find our own yard getting its bloom on. It was too windy for the fog to hang around.