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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Recipe Blogging: Easy College Meal with pictures

The easiest, yummiest, quickest meal is to follow: Toasted wrap with secret ingredient, homemade creme fraiche.

Begin with the best tortillas on the market.

After cooking one side, flip over, add some deli turkey or any other meat of choice. Then sprinkle with cheese.

I love extra sharp cheddar, but anything will do. I buy the bar because it is cheaper, and because then you can avoid the chemicals that all grated cheeses have in order to keep the pieces from sticking to each other.

Add some black beans from a can. You can save the unused beans in a tupperware for tomorrow when you are craving this meal again. I didn't add the beans today, but I am wishing worth France that I did.

Then add all your favorite vegetables. Green onions might just be my absolute favorite food. So I cut up two green onions for my wrap. I bought a bunch of other vegetables - cucumber, avocado, sometimes peppers and tomatoes - but I found that just a good dose of green onions alone does the trick. Other vegetables sometimes take away from the greatness of the green onion.

In order to speed up the cooking process, I just use kitchen scissors to cut up the onions instead of a knife. 

I just so happened to have some left over creme fraiche from a month or so ago. Creme fraiche is quite expensive, but it is so easy to make. Just put a few cups of heavy whipping cream in a bowl and mix in a few tablespoons of buttermilk. Then let it sit on the counter with a clean rag over it for 24 hours. Viola: Creme fraiche. It will get thicker as you let it sit in the fridge.

Easy Breazy. The creme fraiche turned this simple I-didn't-have-time-to-cook recipe into your everyday gourmet meal.

I hope you have enjoyed. Signing out.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Book Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Betty Smith, in her novel, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, weaves together the perspectives of an American family about one hundred years ago. This book was a mind opener for me, and I would definitely recommend it to any mature adult who knows what he or she believes in.

Although I am a conservative person (maybe getting more conservative every day), I do believe in the poverty cycle as a force that cannot always be over come by the American Dream. Although I have not experienced poverty first hand, I think we are too quick to say "work harder" or "spend your money differently" to those in need. This book takes a peek into social class issues, European racial issues, and even just people issues that occurred around 1910, but it turns out, many of these "issues" as still prevalent today, maybe in a new skin, but still very much alive.

But then again, this book not only lends a lens today humanity today, but digs into life right after the turn of the century, the ideas that sprung up, that died, that carried on. The acculturation, or possibly assimilation, that immigrants must experience upon entering the melange of America, and how that trickles out among second and third generations, how family culture and the culture of Manhattan blend or veer apart - what's more is the families of this novel are German and Irish, races that are now a part of most people's schema of America (although I have to add in that the American race should not be looked at as white or European, but a beautiful blend of many other cultures as well: these "other" races should not be seen as an separate other, but as a part of the whole, an important part of the true picture of America).

Nearing the last few chapters, I was longing for this book to never end. I wanted to follow Francy's story further. I wanted to know if she lost her Brooklyn accent, who does she marry, what happens to Neeley? But I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone. I has many "mature scenes" including an almost-rape, adultery, and the main character regretting saying no to losing her virginity. Nothing, I felt, was disrespectful or crass, but I know I would not put this book in the hands of one of my eight graders. The themes are really beyond their years anyway.

I will admit, at parts, the beginning was a bit slow, but now I am missing the story and the characters like you miss an old friend who has moved away and lived a bit since you saw her last. I actually listened to it on CD and enjoyed how the reader imitated many different accents. If you want to fall into a different life, learn more about people and humanity, or just become more well read, I recommend this book. It's a charm.

Monday, March 3, 2014

A few phrases that I like today

Heavenly Father is so aware of you.
Rejoice and wait upon Him.
Hard days hard, easy days easy.
Anything for you baby.
He can guide the feet that move.
You decide today, and every moment until that day.
"It is important to look at choices as opportunists, not as frustrations." 
I have confidence in Him.
"It seems to me the very desert is singing." from Ben Hur
"Be thankful for the fleas." Corrie Ten Boom
"If you are not in over your head, how will you know how tall you are." - T. S. Eliot
"I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears." - Proverbs
"But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." - Job

Sunday, March 2, 2014

My defiance of coats

It is only just barely March here in Utah, and I have developed a defiance of coats. For the past week, I have attempted to go to work, church, or anywhere really, without a coat. Besides being a cold all the time, there hasn't been too many consequences.

Today, for example, I didn't wear my coat to church, so I didn't have to carry a coat around at church, and I did't have to pick hairs off my coat the entire time at church (okay, gross, I know, but long hair gets everywhere, especially on coats).

So now as I sit in my empty apartment, gazing out at the dimming sky that often comes with overcast evenings, I am sitting on my couch next to my coat, because I threw it there before I walked out the door to church this morning.

And I am serious when I say that it is sitting there with me, making that same zig-zag position a person  makes when sitting down. If coats would talk, would mine tell me it's lonely? Do coats get cold when people don't wrap inside them?

My purple plum coat stays silent, like coats should. Probably happy to be off the hanger, on the couch by the window, watching blue-grey skies turn steal, in a quiet apartment on a Sunday afternoon.

There will be no mountain glow tonight. That's what I call it when the setting sun shines on the mountains making them illuminate. But when it is cloudy and cold and a coat is needed or advised, dusk slips to dark without mountain glow.

Just steal blue sky glow tonight, just soft rainless skies tonight.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

March Slice of Life Challenge

So it is March again, and that means the Slice of Life Challenge. I am don't think I will actually post the the challenge this year, but just write every day in March. Lately I have had a lot of thoughts about life, bloggers, people, those types of things, but I haven't blogged about it. So here goes my type of March Madness. To tell you the truth, I am not even committed to doing the challenge. But it is 8:40 in March first, and I thought that I better post today to keep my options open and give me one more day to decide. So au revoir - 再见 - see ya tomorrow - maybe.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Poetry Throwback

I just found this poem nudged somewhere in my journal. I wrote it in August, but it seems quite applicable now.

there are some sticks
that, when put in a mason jar of water,
leaves from them grow;
they are on the coffee table in my apartment,
and they were uprooted once.
still they grow.
and why? because that
is what plants do; they grow.
and how are we so different?

Poetry love. btwfyi: the sticks with leaves featured below, at present day, still doing the plant thing, aka growing.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Chinese vs Spanish

In the quest to figure out what I want to do with my life, I fell in love with learning languages. I studied French in college, but really need to work on my grammar, so I am reading French everyday and basically loving every moment of it. But I really want to add a third language to my repertoire. So I was thinking Spanish. I already knew a few words and conjugations; it is so useful; and it is probably the most common foreign language spoken 'round these parts.

However, Latin based languages develop the more creative side or your brain, and Chinese, develops the more mathematical side. I speak a Germanic language, I have a working knowledge of a Latin one, but Chinese would open up my mind in so many different ways.

So I am out on a quest. Today I learned how to say the numbers zero through ten on an online podcast. I also learned the four different tones. And maybe, hopefully soon I will take a class, which I will probably really struggle with, but learn so much from. So who is with me? Learn Chinese??

This was one of my favorite places in France.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

When you accidentally fail an entire class

My students were reading silently, a few weeks ago, and I was entering scores from their latest article of the week. Typed in the scores, clicked save, viola: updated grades.

Problem number one: Chloe, a pretty close to perfect student, now had an F. I looked back at the few other grades affecting this term; they were all perfect scores. The article of the week I had just entered was not a clear fifteen out of fifteen, but it was no where close to a failing grade.

Problem number two: The rest of the class was failing too. An entire class was failing. Panic surged through my veins for a second. What had just happened? My brain scanned through all the consequences of this handful of F's.

Turns out, I forgot to change the assignment to be worth 15 points instead of 100.

Details matter. Balance restored.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sometimes I write my thoughts down in poetry form.

Peace - the glass of day
break: the composure;
I am on the wings
of eagles - I rest;
I wait.
I feel all types of unforecasted
weather - and I give
it all away.
Abide here: I must stay.
Change me, over
and over. I will
become clay somehow. I act
in thy confidence:
the very breath I breathe
is thine.

"Busy" is now banished from my vocabulary

I solemnly vow to never say the phrase(s), "I have been busy," "It has just been really busy," and/or "It has been crazy busy," or any such variation of the phrase pendant le rest de ma vie. I don't believe in busy. I don't believe such a state of being exists. And, if by the chance that such state does exist, I do not believe it to be an admirable, desirable, or productive way to live.

Instead, I believe in a full life. A life brimming with love - in whatever shape or form loves takes. Obviously this takes some figuring out: What does matter most to you, and what do you really, deep down, what do you really love?

I am not busy, and I am never too busy, for those things that matter most. Check out one of my favorite speeches of all time - What if love were our only motive?

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Symphony of Snow

Alright all you snow haters, I have to confess, I love snow. I love to see it falling, lighting up the night. I love to feel the safety blanket it lays over the city. I love how it gathers light, making ordinary things more beautiful. I even like driving in it, at least on small roads with no other cars around. Untouched snow - innocence. And snow with footprints and bike tire tracks and the remnants of a snow angel - the beauty of human experience, how we mold and change because of the influence of one another, reflected right there in the snow. And it melts; like other good things, it passes away, leaving us with memories, teaching us to treasure.

It took me four snowy winters  to come to this realization. I mean, how's a girl to know when every complaint is about the wretched snow. I almost thought I hated it just because every else talks about how much they hate it. I do absolutely hate being cold, and that is why I chose to be born during this modern time of electric blankets and hot running water, so I could enjoy the symphony of snow and only be cold a little bit. Rejoice, there is snow.

Friday, November 15, 2013

One more observation

And the rhythm of the seagulls wings as it catches, on and off, the light - how have I not noticed this before?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The seams of life are beautiful

I have been wanted to write about this for some time now. I have witnessed something spectacular. The type of beauty that asks for your full attention; steals for your entire self for just a moment. Waterfalls has often done this for me, but recently I discovered - no recently I noticed - these small black birds, possibly Blackbirds, flying patterns into the sky. They move together in a wave, resting for a moment, then rising back up as a music note would if it were to move along with its song. Each bird flies it own flight, and alone, just a small bird in a field it would be. But together, as an entity of one, these birds are pure soul on a canvas. They beg me: get out of your car and come sit. Forget the commute; forget papers to grade; just come sit and see a piece of nature's voice. The black birds flying in formation.

But I don't. And my eyes only watch the road. Then today, Autumn's dying, Snow is pushy, soon to coming, and the cars are all zooming down the street where I'm driving. Wind was blowing and Fall's leaves in the streets are a bouncing. They're jumping and riding the gust from the wheels of the cars. To the rhythm of rush hour, they tap the streets - their own ensemble of pianos - a ta-ta-tah-ta-ting. And their colors, a sparkling, like Christmas a coming, say even the dead leaves in the street have a voice.

Saying breathing and driving, commuting and grading, are all fine and good. But look, stand over here. Hear the loud crash of water on shinny black rocks. Feel the mist of the falls; let it prick on your face. The voices around me, though silent they are, tell of the beauty that makes up the seams of life.