Thursday, March 15, 2007

no roll sugar cookies...

Thank goodness the women of the Gainesville Homemaker's Extension Club in 1980 decided to put together a cookbook of Favorite Hometown Recipes. And thank goodness, on page 21, my mother's No Roll Sugar Cookie recipe appears. And one more thank goodness goes out to Mrs. Pettit, my Home Ec teacher, who loved this recipe and gave me the opportunity to bake these cookies every semester I took one of her courses, even the sewing classes (which is possibly why I am so bad at sewing.) She always bragged that this was "Casey's mom's" recipe. I liked the bragging...everyone else liked the cookies.

Here it is as it appears in Favorite Hometown Recipes.

No Roll Sugar Cookies
Carolyn Daugherty

2 eggs
2/3 c. Wesson Oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. grated lemon
3/4 c. sugar
2 c. sifted flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat eggs until well blended, stir in the oil, vanilla, and lemon rind. Blend in sugar until mixture thickens; sift flour, baking powder and salt, stir into the oil mixture. Drop by teaspoons about 3 in. apart onto the ungreased sugar cookie sheet. Gently press each cookie flat with bottom of a glass that has been dipped into oil and then sugar, continue dipping into sugar for extra crunchiness, pat several times, bake 8-10 minutes. Remove immediately from cookie sheet. Makes 3 doz. 3 inch cookies.

yikes...i just realized...

It's the Ides of March.

But I'm on top of things. I changed my clocks today.

All this getting organized deserves a Toga Run through Circus Maximus, around the Fontana di Trevi, and down the Spanish Steps.

Ohhh...Italy in the spring does sound nice (with or without a Toga). ;)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

an autobiography in five chapters...

Chapter I
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.I am lost…I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in - again.
I can’t believe I am in this same place. But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there. I fall in… It’s a habit…but, my eyes are open.
I know where I am. It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V
I walk down a different street.


I'm actually still in Chapter III. I don't get out immediately. I sit at the bottom and pound my head against the wall and say...geez...I did this AGAIN!? I'm skipping right to Chapter V 'cause if I see that hole again, I more than likely will fall. I think Proverbs says a fool who returns to her foolishness is like a dog who returns to its vomit.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

what are you doing for the next 36 hours?...

"My passport's in my pocket and my bag is packed--where're we goin!?!?" I replied when my sister called with the title question. Sad to say, no where exotic, but any trip with Caron is always memorable, and if I can rearrange my schedule, we'll be at Mizzou tomorrow and dine with the jazz band at Murray's tomorrow night. Lunch at Shakespeare's sounds scrumptious, or a burger from Boochies. Yum! I can't wait to make the trip (it's all about the food, you know. :) It will be a great start to an expected great week.

It's spring break. A much needed and much deserved spring break I might add. This is the first break in a long time I haven't "gone" somewhere. My students were floored when I told them I'd be staying home. (It seems they all like to live vicariously through my travels.)

Nope, this spring break I'm going to relax and enjoy Missouri spring weather. I'm going to clean out my closets, mop my floors, wash my windows, grade papers, visit my dad, have dinner with friends, enjoy my coffee, play with my animals, listen to a band, watch a movie, do laundry, go for a run, sweep the garage, clean out my classroom, attend a wedding reception, write a letter, prepare for 4th quarter, take my granny shopping, write a blog or two, update my I-pod, visit my grandparents, go dancing, read a book, road trip to St. Louis, sleep late, and bask in some sunlight like a turtle on the North Fork. I hope I can get it all in.

I'll check back in next Sunday.

useless blog (now not so useless and titled "the face of an American teenager...")

I'm blogging because I need to write, but I have nothing to write about...or maybe, just nothing I want to say at the moment. I feel like my students who look at me with blank stares and glazed eyes.

I've perused through several other blogs already this afternoon, some to get ideas, some because they are my friends and I want to know about their lives.

Mark in London wrote about his near death, but hilarious, experience in The Ox and the Lamb Pub a few nights ago. Cool Cat Teacher quoted another blog about an ICT conference for kids, where kids teach the teachers what they have been doing in their classrooms with technology, and what lessons were important for them. Kids will be the keynote speakers and participants throughout the conference. Of course, this is in theory mode right now, but I think it's a novel idea.

Probably the most disturbing blog to me this morning was when I linked from Janet Morrison's Community Dialogue to Larry James' Urban Daily to read about Monica. This heart-wrenching story about an illegal immigrant teenager who, with no prior records, spent the weekend at an immigration center and then in jail because she did not have proper identification on her. About to graduate from high school, Monica is an honor student with good grades and no discipline record...and although her country (she's been here over a decade) will deny her any rights, her school teachers don't. To them, she's a typical American teenager about to graduate high school. She doesn't look out of place because she buys her clothes at the mall, or finds trendy bargains at local thrift markets. She uses local cell phone service and pays for things she needs from local stores. She carries her school work in a back pack or a fashionable bag. She has conversations about music and movies. She listens to an Mp3 and has a MySpace. She studies. She listens in class. She gets her homework done on time. She's thinking about her dreams of a family, her college applications, and her aspirations about a career. Inside, there's excitement about the new chapter in her life that's about to begin, and a little nauseous anxiety, even though, like most 18 year-old's, she would never admit it.

Now, her new chapter is scarred for a decision her parents made when she was five to bring her to a new country so she could get a better education, a better job, and a better life. She was offered a place to live, a loving family and neighborhood, and an education. She offers the 21st century American society money, work ethic, intelligence, and a voice to vote.

I don't know Monica personally, but I know her. She's a daughter and a best friend. She might be a sister and an aunt. She might even be a teacher's pet. The point is, she's someone. She's not an illegal immigrant. Monica is the face of an American teenager.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

the dark side of the moon...the senior project experience

Hanna showed me her novel today. In the month of November she wrote nearly 40,000 words and has consistently worked on it since. This morning we printed 89 pages of it to bind for her Senior Project. We changed margins, numbered pages, and titled the book in the header, which is The Dark Side of the Mirror; however, as you can tell from my title, I CONSISTENTLY wrote Pink Floyd's album title "The Dark Side of The Moon." It became a joke we couldn't seem to get over, and a waste of my time that I couldn't seem to cure. Hanna's face beamed when she shared the plot and bound a special copy just for me to read.

Last night, Ryan showed me the engine he's restored for his 1966 Ford Galaxie bought last summer for $1100. "We finally got it painted Ford Blue, just like the original...and the best finally starts!" The car is sweet (and has a sweet name in my opinion, especially in the days of the Explorer, The Pathfinder, the Highlander...who wouldn't want a car named the Galaxie during America's Space Race?) Ryan has gutted it and plans to restore the interior to its original. Right now, everything is missing. The the seats, the dash accessories, the door handles, the paint, the hood...but the Ford Blue engine stands out like a knight in shining armor. And who knew bands like Blind Melon and Reverend Horton Heat wrote tributes to their own Ford Galaxie getaway cars?

In the basement of Daniel's house, his homemade electric guitar blew my mind. It's not finished, but he's routed (not sure if that's the right woodworking terminology) and sanded and perfected the body. And now it's time to set the coil pick-ups, lay out the scratch guard, wire the interior, glue on the neck...and so many, many other terms I can't even remember now and don't even know about musical instruments. He showed me his current electric guitar, which was "made for Rock 'n Roll," an old Fender Strat "made for bluesy type stuff," and an acoustic, "made for anything." Daniel's guitar isn't quite finished, but the final product is in the works and looks great.

And who knew Mountain View had so many Hip Hop Dancers? Six-year-olds with attitude strutting their stuff at Reach Dance and Fine Arts Studio with Leah, owner and instructor, leading the way. A few minutes later, a change of music for Crystal and Jamie's solos, then onto Middle Eastern Belly Dancing, which they invited me to join..."not with this belly," I replied, and giggles were served around the room. From the office space to the 'parent's lounge', to the guitar lesson/coffee room, Leah's Senior Project has gone above and beyond the expectations of many.

But Leah isn't the only one. It seems the senior class of 2007 has set high expectations for themselves, and this week, while I've traveled over 70 miles around Willow Springs, I've witnessed their hard work and proud moments. I can't wait to see the final products on the big day in April.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

happy birthday tyler!

Here's to birthday cake at Skateport, inchworm cycles at Grandma's, and Happy Meals in Mr. Crocodile's Booth at McDonald's on Battlefield.


Have a great day.

It snowed here--in honor of your birthday I'm sure. When I started my run at 7:00 a.m. it was 43 degrees. Within minutes it was near white out conditions and by the time I had finished a mile it was down to 29 degrees. Snowflakes stuck to my cheeks and eyelashes and I felt like Rocky working out with the frigid air and dark skies, but the Rocky theme just wasn't working for me. I was singing Julie Andrews "These Are A Few of My Favorite Things," even over my ipod tunes.

Two hours later....deceiving sun.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

it's twister season...

Jagged clouds, a still humidity, a drenching rain, low pressure, cooling air. All the ingredients for a tornadic event. And an event we did have today in the Midwest. When my students got to school, the early morning tornadoes were all the talk. And when we learned by late afternoon teachers and students were killed in a high school in Alabama, my students realized the danger of a storm and value of the new storm shelter the school is building.

There was no doubt tornadoes touched down. As we read online news articles spotlighting Caulfield and West Plains, we began to see some trends through the news writing. It seems now we have to be politically correct, even when dealing with the weather. On MSNBC, the staff writers consistently used the term "apparent" tornadoes. Is this like an "alleged" crime? I understand there's a difference between high winds, thunderstorms, microbursts, and tornadoes, but please, are we just looking for words to use to clutter our articles and make them sound as if we know what we are talking about? Or has the staff writer simply never seen the results of a tornado?

I have my own experiences with tornadoes. When I was 13, the back screen door of our house was ripped off its hinges at 9:00 p.m. when dad was stepping out to his patrol car. He turned and yelled for us--me, my friend Kathy, and my granny--to get to the bathroom. Petrified, we did as we were told and rode out the storm that did minor damage to our place, but tore off the roof of our neighbors. When I was 16, Tina and I watched a tornado crawl across the sky in front of her house one afternoon when school was released. And in college in Nebraska, I spent an entire night in the basement of the student union when tornadoes plagued the prairies.

I can't remember a spring of my life that I haven't used the word tornado, but I have never used the words "apparent" and "tornado" together. I just find that amusing.