Monday, June 8, 2015


Today, I heard from Chuck in the morning as he crossed into Mexico at Mexicali.  I haven't hear from him since.  He is making his way down Mexico Highway 5, headed for La Paz, where I am supposed to meet him on Thursday evening.  I know that he is not calling because there is probably no cell reception in that part of Baja California.  Still, I will be relieved when he can contact me again.  I try not to think of him in the dark on the side of a desert highway, struggling to change a broken wheel bearing. Instead, I imagine him peacefully sleeping in some seaside campsite, snoring away on his futon in the back of the van.  I imagine him eating is fill of ceviche and drinking a couple of beers while trying to make conversation with some local guy in San Felipe.  If I did not have a doubt in my mind, this would not be an adventure. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

May Ends in PIctures

The construction project next door has a roof, now.

 Sara and I experimented with making chia seed pudding.  It's simple:  chia seeds soaked in almond milk overnight.  Add cocoa powder, a little honey and a pinch of salt.  That's it!  As Sara is demonstrating in her somewhat overstated fashion, shake before serving.
Add blueberries for extra yumminess.

We experimented with homemade English muffins, too.  They are a piece of cake.  Or they would be, if they weren't muffins.  The trick is to leave the dough rising at room temperature over night.
They mostly cook on a griddle, and just get a finishing-off in the oven.

The results are in, ladies and gentlemen:  they are very tasty; although a little chewy and biscuit-like in the middle.  With some apricot-habanero jam?  Worth eating...three.

 This is my first ever phone selfie!  I am old, I have decided.  As long as I don't look at myself, I can fool myself into believing I'm young.

Tobi in motion

 Had to empty the hot tub.  Sara had a party on Friday night and, let's just say the tub smelled like teen spirit.

Nathan likes to have a mosquito net around his bed.

 Sara and I went on a little adventure today.  In the morning, we were talking about how much she loved to draw horses when she was little.  She practiced and practiced until she was able to draw (what I thought was ) a very good horse, galloping.  I wondered aloud whether I had saved the "personal best" horse picture and we remembered that she is now sixteen!  That means that she can have her Memory Box. I started saving little things in their Memory Boxes from the time they were born, with a mind to letting them have the contents when they turned sixteen.

Sara called her dad, who was not at home, to ask if she could come to the house, and he said yes.  We stopped there on our way to the store.  I waited in the driveway while she went in to get it:  I'm not allowed in the house when Simon is not there.  Except the foyer, I guess.  I generally wait for the kids in the foyer.  However, she came out empty-handed after a few minutes and expressed confusion about whose box was whose.

"Well, I can't go in.  Where is your dad?  What if he comes home?"
"Oh, c'mon, Mom."
"OK.  I think I can sort this out, but we have to be quick."

We booked down to the storage area in the basement, and I saw what had happened:  it looks like I got confused in about 2009 and put some of Nate's things in her box.  I sorted as quickly as I could.  I don't know why I was so afraid of Simon coming home, but I was.  Actually, I do know why:  he and I have not been getting along well lately (too much discussion about touchy subjects like Sara's car insurance and college savings); and I didn't want to put myself in the way of his wrath.  Then, quickly, quickly out of the basement and up to the foyer.  I had just plunked the box down on the hall table when the door opened and Simon walked in.  I flipped the box open and said, "Yes, this is the right one," and then we said good-bye and got out of there, post-haste.  I was shaking all over.  Driving away, my leg was trembling as I pressed the clutch, as if I had just avoided an accident.

By the time we got tot he supermarket, he had texted me.

"Call me, please, when Sara is out of ear-shot."


So, he's mad, either because I was in his house; or he is concerned that there are items in Sara's Memory Box that have value.  There are a few such things:  a little Madame Alexander doll in her original box; a display of English coins minted on her birthday; a couple of little display boxes with sterling baby dishes.  That sort of thing.  Mostly gifts from his parents.

"Mom, just don't call him."

The contents of the box belong to Sara; and no, I'm not worried about the fate of the doll or the coins.  She will box those items back up and store them in her closet until they are moved to another closet and yet another.  Poor little keepsakes:  doomed to a life under wraps.  What she is really enjoying is all the art work, and photos of her with her little friends.

Yes, here we are in the supermarket parking lot, looking at drawings she (and her friends) made when they were little.

"This is my Family"
Clearly, all of us except Nathan were potatoes.

 Chuck has been working all weekend on a construction project in Park City.  He is home in time to get cleaned up and fry taco shells for our party this evening.
Happy Birthday, Darling!
The party...

The aftermath....

The exhausted birthday boy.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Take Your Blog to Work

Today, I will take you to work with me.

I am hanging out in the school library.  When the students glance up and realize that I am lurking here, they nudge each other. They look at each other with a she's-watching-you-no-she's-watching-YOU look. What?!  I'm not watching...exactly...  I'm observing! It's different!

Unlike the other teachers, who have eight groups apiece, I only have three.  That's because I'm the director and (to quote one of my colleagues) need to have time for "director-ing".

My most basic group is studying occupations, learning to make sentences like "I am a teacher.  He is an artist."

My high basic group is working on maps and directions:  "Turn left, go straight ahead."

And my intermediate group is reading a short passage about RFID chip technology, and what we are "are able to" do with it. They are studying "can" and "be able to".

Everyone also spends quite a bit of time chatting and discussing things that come up spontaneously.
I'll listen in.

"'Get up' means the same thing as 'stand  up'"  [Or does it?  Because you can get up from a sitting or a lying position; but you really only stand up from a sitting position....]

"Do you want to write it on the board? Here's a marker. "
I have a sister who have a little pet named "Coonie" and now she use RFID. 
I like that hospitals use the RFID to newborns because I think they can prevent kidnapping.

"What does battle mean?  See where it mentions the battle against France?"

"What do you do for Day of the Dead?  Only go to the cemetery and put flowers."

"What do you think of the weather here in Utah?  Do you like it?  Why?"
"Like snow."  "What about summer?"  "I like summer."  "Why?  I like summer for vacation!" "How about autumn?"  "Autumn?"
I'll wander downstairs and see what is happening in the English for Certified Nursing Assistant class.  Body systems.  "Contracture.  What is that? Stiffening.  What is stiffening?  When you can't move the muscles.  Normal changes of aging include.,..  muscles weaken...bones lose density and become more brittle."  Pause for practice pronouncing "brittle".  

Just little snippets from my day.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Operation Rescue "Grand Illusion"

Today I started pulling together the stuff I need for an expedited passport, so I can leave the country under my married name, ASAP.

Life with Chuck being what it is, you never know when you may need to make a quick getaway.

To Mexico.
A little jaunt...all the way down Baja, to La Paz.
In the van, pulling a trailer that is almost strong enough to haul a 28-foot sailboat called "Grand Illusion" back home.  Why?  Why not?

A couple from California bought this boat and sailed it to La Paz in 2012, then left it there.  It's hard to sail back up the Pacific coast; and expensive to have it trailered all the way up to San Diego.  So it sat there, and they paid $200 a month in slip-fees to the marina. 

They listed it for sale, but got no buyers.  Storms came and broke the rudder - so now it needs work.  Finally, they just wanted it gone, so they wouldn't have to pay its room and board.  Chuck heard about it and asked for it.  It's his if he wants it.  Free.  The title is already signed away from them and the documents are waiting at the marina.  We just have to go and get it. 

"Grand Illusion"? Not a name that inspires confidence.  Better name than "Money Pit", I guess.  But what about a nice name like "Stalwart"?  Or "Excellent Choice"?  "Lucky Break?"

We have a bare hull for a 22-foot sailboat already.  We were about to start fitting it out; so I questioned this decision.  Chuck pointed out that a larger sailboat that is ready to sail could be a better option.

What if it is in bad condtion?

Then we will cannibalize it for its parts.  He was telling me the value of its motor, its mast, anchors, electronics, sails, fittings, etc...

And if it is just a picked-over joke?  I made him promise that we would reserve the right to climb back into the van and drive home without taking possession. 

 So we will go in a few weeks.  We'll make it into a little vacation.  Vacation?  Or adventure?  Or boondoggle?  As long as we don't break down and end up stranded on the Baja.  As long as we don't get pulled over and tossed into jail because we don't have the correct permits.  

When I brought up a few potential pitfalls, he basically shrugged and said, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained".  That's my boy.  Never a dull moment.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

May Begins in Pictures

 You can see that our neighbor's home construction project to the west of us is proceeding nicely.  You can also see that the ridge line is going to neatly cut off our view when the roof goes in.  However, Chuck eyeballed it and said he thought it was higher than code.  He mentioned it to the contractor, who double checked his plans and found an error.  It IS three feet too tall.  The contractor came over the other day to thank Chuck for catching the mistake now, when it is relatively easy to fix; rather than later, when the county inspector would have made him tear the whole thing apart.  I was just so happy that he was nice to Chuck!  The neighbors who are building on the east side of us spent last summer dragging us into court for such infractions as watching construction too long. Of course, she and Chuck have a little baggage, to say the least.

When Sara gets her driver's license, I won't have to do these long drives to school in the early morning.  

This one has a "late start" on Fridays.

They are SUCH PIGS.  I get so tired of trying to keep my space livable.

 Has anyone ever had part of your washer agitator break off?  This happened:  I found the broken piece in the laundry basket; then located the sharp edge in the washing machine, lurking... waiting to destroy everything it touches.  We'll try filing it down and see if that works.

Colleagues!  I LOVE my colleagues!  BUT..

...I have so much work to do...

 Enrollment data... more enrollment data...  I was making good progress until I made the mistake of checking my e-mail and found a rabid message from one of the Fifth Grade teachers, accusing the Adult Education program of trashing her classroom last night.  Plant knocked over; markers dumped onto the floor; a bucket of other items dumped out; and (here's the kicker) VOMIT on a computer, pillow, desk and the floor.  Really?!?  She thinks one of our adult students PUKED in her room?  What kind of debauchery does she think we get up to!? She said, "I think it is shameful that  the children take better care of our spaces than your adults do."  Of course, this didn't happen.  I was in that room off and on all evening.  There were only two groups that used the space.  I checked with the staff and the volunteers and noting unusual happened in that room at all.  Plus, after we are finished, the custodians come in to do night-cleaning.  The custodian said he found no vomit either.  So, I have no idea what is going on, but it made me mad to be called in to my boss' office and questioned about it. And mad to have my department treated so poorly by some silly goose.
The circled area represents all the stuff I didn't get done while I was dealing with "vomit-gate".  

Nathan told me that he HAS to have a set of earphones for standardized testing on Monday morning.  He wants to take ear buds to school; but he left his lying around and Tobi chewed them.  I won't lend him mine, because I want to go running on Monday.  No worries, I tell him.  I have a really nice, school-issued head set that he can use.
Nate:  No way!  They can't be head phones, Mom!  They have to be ear buds!
Me:  Why?
Sara:  Nate, they have head sets there for you to use!
Nate:  No!  We have to bring our own!
Sara:  You just don't want to use mom's 'cuz they don't look cool.

Chuck found a pair for him to borrow and ended the discussion.  I was amused.
Get me out of this place and the crazy vomit accusations of a teacher who has issues with sharing.  

Sara and Ilan have prom tomorrow.  

Picnic!  I need to let go of my work day.

Let's take Ilan to the concert with us!

Acoustic music at the Unitarian Church.  Dinner, followed by...
...blurry Bluegrass, courtesy of the Lab Dogs.