Friday, April 12, 2013

Problem Not Solved

One of my students showed up during lunch to report that the sandwich in his lunch, which was supposed to be his leftover sandwich from a trip to Quiznos yesterday, was not right.  Somehow he ended up with his mother's leftover sandwich.  There were four of us sitting in our team area at the time so it didn't take long for two to chime in with a solution the problem.

For most kids a solution like buying lunch would work out fine.  Many kids would have simply eaten the sandwich in the bag without a thought.  Yes, but this particular student isn't like most other kids.  He has Asperger's Syndrome so he's not so good with the unexpected. 

At this point in the year I've come to realize that reasoning with him doesn't work- no matter what the problem is that arises there is no satisfactory solution except to not have the problem in the first place.

After some back and forth between student and teachers the sandwich problem remained unsolved.  He left frustrated, so much so that he yelled Sh*t! as he stomped away.

Later I saw him for English class.  When I handed him the quiz that was scheduled for today he became agitated. 

"Dang it, I didn't study!"

I started to say something, but stopped short when I recalled our earlier discussion.

"Just take your time and do your best." I replied.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Yup, Spring is Busting Out All Over

Sure I've heard the phrase "sitting around watching the grass grow," but I've never think much about it until springtime rolls around.  Thanks to the mini heatwave we've been experiencing the last few days spring has indeed popped out all over the place.  Just last evening I stood on my back patio and stared at the tree branches that towered over me.  I was searching for the source of the bird calls that echoed from above.  The branches were pretty much bare except for the buds, mostly red in color, that outlined the mass of limbs.

This evening those red buds were gone, having been replaced by small bunches of tiny green leaves waiting to extend themselves to their full reach.

Wow, I wonder if my cat spent the day watching them grow.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Which Oil?

When I grew up there was only one kind of oil used in the kitchen.  If you were looking for oil in our kitchen you would find nothing but a bottle of Wesson vegetable oil.

At some point vegetable oil fell out of favor and everyone slid over to canola oil.  It was healthier, so THEY say, than that nasty vegetable oil. 

Now it's all about olive oil, or as Rachel Ray likes to say, EVOO. 

I like olive oil.  Recently I found that it makes the best popcorn ever!  There are many who rely on the microwave stuff for their popcorn needs.  I try not to judge them but I sort of do.  Yes, I'm somewhat of a popcorn snob.  I pop my own in my Westbend Crazy Popper and only use Orville Redenbacher's kernels.  A great bowl of popcorn involves the best kernels, lots of butter and the right amount of salt...not too much. 

The initial layer of EVOO makes what was already pretty damn good close to damn perfect.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Feeling Good

My friend told me I shouldn't be telling people that I'm anemic.  It makes me sound weak.  The truth is I have been weak.  Just like many cases involving one's health I didn't realize how bad I was feeling until I started feeling good.

There's no reason to go on about how long I've been feeling bad.  After all there are many people in the world who feel so much worse than I ever have or ever will.

B-12 shots help.  I've been getting them for a few weeks now.  It's easy enough to run by the doctor's office and get my weekly jab and move on to the next thing.   Today I ran into my doctor, who also happens to be a good friend of mine, in the parking lot.  Due to busy schedules on both of our parts we haven't seen each other since I started getting my shots about 3 weeks ago.  She asked if they were helping.

Yeah, I guess they are helping.  At least that's what I said when asked.  The proof came a minute later when I walked in the front door of the office building.  Without a thought I spun left, past the elevator, and zipped up three flights of stairs to the office.

Stairs.  I haven't walked those stairs in quite a while- probably since before last summer when this whole thing started. 

I'd say that one small, unconscious decision is proof enough for me.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Hello Sunshine

We have finally arrived at that time of the year when the sunrise takes place before I have to leave for work.  This morning the sun made its appearance at 6:43- well before my usual departure time of 6:55 or so.

It's a nice change of pace to have the sun, instead of the moon, help light my way to my car. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Good Day

This morning I made my yearly trek downtown to check out the Cherry Blossom activity around the Tidal Basin.  With my camera safely packed up and my bike ready for travel I hit the trail near the Iwo Jima for the easy ride across the Memorial Bridge into DC. 

There's nothing like DC in the springtime to remind me why I like living here so much- a good thing since I've spent a lot of time lately considering the idea of moving on.  The Lincoln Memorial, the Reflecting Pool, the Washington Monument, Albert Einstein relaxing in front of The National Academy of Sciences, flowers in bloom and of course the Cherry blossoms that line the Tidal Basin- there's so much to see in this little place that's been my home for the last 25 years.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Getting Art

My first experience with performance art came in college when I entered the arts building on campus to find a gal sitting, rather conspicuously, in the center of the building "watching" a cardboard replica of a television set.  I stared for a while and then walked away sort of shaking my head.  Yeah, I didn't get it.

I love people watching.  I can be completely entertained by the comings and goings of people in public.  I love airports simply for watching the way people are greeted as they meet up with family members who've been waiting to see them.  Maybe I'm sort of a sap, but I love a good emotional reunion.

Today while catching up on a few blogs I found out about a recent reunion of a pair of former performance artists, Marina Abramovic and Ulay.  They worked as a performance art team for some years until they came to the realization that it was time to say goodbye.  They ended their artistic partnership by walking the length of the Great Wall of China-each from a different direction.  When they met up with one another they hugged and parted ways.  The two artists didn't see each other again until 2010.  Marina Abramovic was performing a piece at The Museum of Modern Art. 

It's a great story and a powerful reunion that you can see here.  I did read somewhere that the two had seen each other earlier when Ulay came to the opening of the exhibit.  So I guess it's possible that the emotion is more acting than reality, but I was touched just the same.  Knowing the back-story helped.  I certainly don't get the piece itself, but I do get the moment they shared.

Friday, April 5, 2013

BeeLieve It

Apparently the bees are really excited.  Well, that's what Julie told me this afternoon.  She's been taking a beekeeper class and has access to a beehive at her workplace, so she can tell me with some authority that the bees are excited.

That's good news for someone like myself who has been waiting...and waiting... for the real spring weather to arrive.  It is gorgeous this afternoon.  It's the kind of afternoon that found the outside patio full at the local pub, filled with happy faces all wearing dark sunglasses to keep the squints our of their eyes.

In my neighborhood walkers and dogs were out in force moving with purpose down the sidewalk with heads tilted toward the sun.

Yes, I do believe we're really getting somewhere this time.  In fact, I'm just as excited as those bees.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

What Was I Thinking?

With getting to sleep at the forefront of my mind I scurried around the kitchen just minutes ago cleaning up a few things from tonight's writing group meeting.  In the back of my mind I was happy with the evening, measuring coffee and drying off a huge wok-like skillet.

Accidents often occur when one isn't thinking clearly, don't they?  Yes, tonight was no exception.  That wok-like thing never quite made it on the hook it usually rests in the kitchen.  Instead of resting neatly the way it usually does that darn thing fell and gave me a nice little banging underneath my eye.

Whatever I had been thinking of disappeared rather quickly and the only thing I can think of now, as I rest with an ice pack on the eye, is I hope I don't wake up with a shiner.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Back to Doing Things Right

Cooking for one has it challenges, most revolving around motivation.  After a long day it is much easier to whip up a bowl of cereal, or even popcorn, than it is to throw together a dinner approved by the food pyramid.

I have been trying though. 

A few years ago my freezer was filled with frozen meals prepared by the chefs at Lean Cuisine.  Eventually, I grew weary (and leery) of those mediocre meals and started preparing my own food.  The change was good.  I was making fresh salads for lunch, fish and chicken dishes for dinner and doing a pretty darn good job getting enough fruits and vegetables.

And then somewhere along the line I got a little lazy.  My motivation to cook and eat well dwindled along with the quality of the meals I was eating.  Cereal and popcorn were showing back up on the dinner menu much too frequently.

And so it's time to refocus.  Tonight I looked in the fridge to see what was there and was able to come up with a nice dinner of chicken, spinach and mushrooms.

Tomorrow's menu looks like steak, spinach and Parmesan red potatoes.

I'd say that's two steps in the right direction.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Waiting Impatiently

Today's bright blue skies were deceiving.  Scanning the view from my classroom window I could see a few clouds scattered in the azure atmosphere.  The glare of the sun, along with the budding trees, just about had me convinced that the warmer weather had finally arrived.  As I strolled, with eyes squinting, to my car after work I considered the possibility of wearing shorts, or even my capri yoga pants, for my walk this afternoon.  I mean really, how could it look so beautiful and bright out and not feel like at least 60 degrees? 
It should have felt that way, but it didn't.  Another day of waiting for the real springtime weather to arrive would have to be.  I'm not so happy about the wait, but on the bright side...the baseball season has started so it can't be long.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Write Makes Right

So for the past month I took part in an annual writing challenge called "Slice of Life."  This is the fourth year I've tried my hand (or fingers perhaps) at writing something each day for a month.
Wow, it's a difficult task and one that I'd like to continue working on.  I can't say where this will lead this year...who knows; maybe I'll make it until December 31st?  The only thing I do know is that writers write and the more a writer writes the better writer that writer will be.