Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Title Too Scary to Post!

Amy and I went to the nutcracker last night, and it was really cool. I know as a guy that I'm not supposed to say things like that, but a good ballet isn't as bad as our gender makes it sound. Yes, it is a lot of dancing, and there is no talking what-so-ever, but the majesty of the movements is quite captivating. Of course, I also got to sit by the most beautiful woman ever, so that always helps!

The play was held in the Phoenix Symphony Hall. It is a beautiful building in downtown Phoenix and the inside is awesome. I loved the balconies that overlook the waiting area. The wood paneling lightens everything up, without being too bright, and the seating is really nice. Amy was able to score seats on the bottom tier of the bottom section. They were off to the side and provided a great view of the play.

I thought the climax of the play would be the battle between the nutcracker soldiers, great name isn't it, and the rat king, but that was the end of scene 1. The climax was traveling off to see a wholebunch of dances from around the world, and it was really neat. I liked it a lot better than the first act. One of my favorite dances was the one pictured above, in which a whole bunch of ballerinas danced around as snow fell. It was visually stunning!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mr. Ed is Dead!!!

Mr. Ed
why are you dead
just one more more holiday death

you made us wiggle
with laughs and giggles
but now you have no breath

Our hearts were a flutter
when with peanut butter
the producers helped you talk

So for hours on hours
we put off our showers
Away from you we couldn't walk

It was not our desire
that you should expire
But that is life, and we will cope

So for you one last wish
oats and carrots they'll dish
in animal heaven, that is what we'll hope

Goodbye Mr. Ed!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I Got the Message!!!

Yesterday, Monday, I took the day off. It is the first "peronsal" day I have ever taken. I mean, I have gone on vacation once, maybe twice, but this is the first time that I took a day just for myself for the 5 years that I have been teaching. I think God is punishing me for it!

I went back to school today energized and ready to go...until I walked in. My substitute did a horrendous job. For the first 90 minutes of class, I tried to get things back in order, fixing the mistakes she made. It was horrible.

I spend 3 1/2 hours on lesson plans for the substitute. I printed everything out, made detailed instructions, and set everything up in an organized manner. She didn't follow a darn thing! She went off on her own, did things here way, and completely forgot to give the students 2 assignments. 2!!! That is most of the morning!

In the afternoon, she lost the lesson plans and made everything up. The assignments were sitting ON THE DESK, and she didn't bother giving them out.

So, that happens and I'm starting off the day horribly, when boy #1 decides to begin his constant blabbing, talking back, and disruption. He begins by telling me that he doesn't care about any consequences from the day before. Then he says he didn't start working on something they did for 20 minutes. After sitting down, and talking the entire time, he says he couldn't remember what they did yesterday, so I take him in the hall and he says they didn't read anything. I ask the class, and they said that they had, so I asked the kid and he said he doesn't remember. Well, I send him to the office to do his stuff, and he gets angry. Turns out that he had participated and done what he was supposed to do after all, so I bring him back in and apologize.

He continues the day not listening to instructions, turning in unfinished work, mouthing off, and disrupting class. I talk to him, I plead with him, I even left the room for a little bit to calm down. Upon returning, he continues the same stuff after consistent warnings, and then gets mad when I "yell" at him and send him to the office. When I show up later he looks at me, turns around, and says, "Don't even talk to me!"

So, he sits there, I finally get him to talk after math class, and he does just fine, like flipping a switch.

So...a day from hell after taking a day off. I got the more days off!

(The rest of the class still hadn't turned in assignments that they have had a week to do. Everyone was missing at least one assignment, and then the wouldn't be quiet when working. The kept talking, and moving, and talking. Then one of them had the nerve to talk back when I told him to sit down. ARGH!)

Guess I must learn patience....lots and lots of patience!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Frustration Reigns Supreme

As you may know, I am a die hard Arizona Cardinals fan. I have watched the Cardinals since finding out Arizona had a time when I was 11 or 12 years old. I have watched the Cardinals now for 18 years, and it has been a roller coaster of a ride. Last year, they made it to the Super Bowl. I felt like after years of frustration, I was finally able to boast about my team. It was a high point in my sports watching career.

Now, the roller coaster is on its way back down and I feel like throwing a cat through the television. Tim Hightower, a running back, fumbled for the fifth time this year in the first half of the football game. You are a running back. People are going to be pulling and smacking, and hitting the ball out of your hands. It is your job to hold onto do it!

They took Hightower out and put in Stephens-Howling. He fumbled on his first touch of the football. Once again, you are a freakin' running back. It is your job to hold onto the ball. Were you expecting to be playing against fifth graders? No, hold onto the stupid ball.

So Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinal receiver demi-god, goes up into the air and pulls down a tremendous catch. The first good thing that happens in the game, and the refs call it off. I'm sorry, there were three guys around him and he held onto the dang thing. He jumped and fell to the ground, holding onto it all the way down and as he slid on the ground. He was then stripped, but his knee, butt, back, and elbows were already down. How can you call off the catch?

No, our quarterback threw an interception, his first in five games, and we are down 10 to nothing.

We are only in the second quarter and we have most of that to play. We are playing the hapless 49ers, a team that I respect from my childhood of watching Steve Young and Jerry Rice, but I really want to win. frustration is gone, I am going to eat the pancakes my wonderful wife made me and try not to throw Abby or Ariel at the television. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Darn the Wind

You know what the title should say...I just don't know how many of my kids read my blog...probably none of them!

I hate the wind. It blows all night, its blowing now, it is too strong to let the kids go to recess, and it will blow all day. I woke up at 3:00 this morning and had to take advil for a wind head ache, and it looks like I'll be dealing with the wind all day. So, in the truest sense of the title, Darn the wind!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pumpkin Madness

For Halloween we did our traditional party with Kim. This year we decided to have a pumpkin carving bananza and the seeds were flying. We had werewolves, Jack Skelington, spiders, dragons, Elfaba....all manners of creatures and characters. I think we'll continue to do it, just because it is so much fun to bring a character to life.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Where is Tim???

Alright, I take back everything I have ever said about a principal's weak decisions with detentions.

Tim, our principal, went out with surgery about a week ago. I've been taking over the discipline, and I have to say, it is horrible! On day one, I had a kid written up for problems with a sub and 6 other kids for throwing rocks at each other. Total detention time, 23 days. The next day I had to talk to two of the rock throwers about their attitude in class. I told them I didn't want to see their face in my room again...didn't work. The next day, one of these boys was once again in my room....Oh yeah, and then there was the boy who bonked a girl on the head and got 5 days and 1/2 day ISS. The boy who was cussing on the bus...two days....the girl who slapped a boy across the face.....four days...and the tetherball incident that resulted in three more detentions. Thus far, I've given out all these detentions and I have been "principal" for five days.

So....this has taken up all of my time, preps, and energy. I can't wait for Tim to get back.

May your week be less busy!

(PS...We took 2nd again in our tournament, which makes it two in a row. The greatest part was that we only lost to Blue Ridge by one game, a great accomplishment!)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Yahoo....I Love Chess!

The Holbrook Chess Team took 2nd place in Tuba City last weekend. We took home a large trophy, which is always fun as it shows the school that we are a valuable part of their community. A lot of times, we feel like the red-headed step child...left out and unimportant, so any time we can do something well, we celebrate it.

My second board did a great job on our varsity team. He took fourth place in the region, winning 4 out of 5 games. On JV we took 1st and 3rd place, showing that we have some great talent coming up the ranks. I look forward to our next tournament in two weeks. It will be a team tournament, where we will be playing shorter games and every team. I'm going to put my second board up on first board, allowing him the chance to really gain that experience. This will also help as my first board will have a better shot down on second board...confused yet?

To summarize, we took 2nd! Yeah Chess!!!

Scare the Boy!

Last week I had the pleasure of getting rid of one of my student's hiccups. This is a student who continuously interrupts class, so when he repeatedly shouted out that he had the hiccups, I told him to hold his breath, and if that didn't work we would try something else. So, I kept class going, and waited for the perfect opportunity. I set the entire class to doing a problem and as soon as this boy had turned and put his head down to work, I attacked!

Getting close to someone in a quiet environment and screaming a bloodcurling yelp is quite effective in getting rid of someone's hiccups. This boy, and most of the class, jumped...but not just a startled jump. This boy began his own terrified scream as he began running away, backwards, in his chair. It was hilarious!

So...thoughful, unselfish, caring I was able to help a young man get rid of his hiccups. I love my job!

The Problem with Blogging

I think I figured it out. The problem with blogging is that I feel like I need a picture with everything I blog. Of course, there is also the fact that I just don't feel very interesting sometimes, but hey...maybe I'm underestimating myself. Anywho...Thank you for coming and reading the blog. I hope that I can post a little bit more for you to enjoy.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lemon Berry Trifle

So, I tried a couple different things last week. On Sunday, we were supposed to bring dessert to family dinner. Rather than have Amy whip up something awesome, as she always does, I decided to give a new recipe a try. Lemon Berry Trifle turned out really well. It was light and delicious. Better yet, you can add whatever fruit you want. We had strawberries, peaches, and blueberries on ours. (Recipe on the internet)

Amy went down to Phoenix on a training and I stayed in the classroom for a long while. There wasn't a lot of food in the least not a lot of Eldon food in the fridge, so I had to do something I normally wouldn't. Grandpa Turley is an awesome gardener, and he gave us some zucchini and peppers. I decided to make pepper infused, fried zucchini.

I went ot the cupboard, and couldn't find my Italian bread crumbs. So, I grabbed some crutons and crushed those up in a bowl. I added diced green chili to the crutons and beat eggs into another bowl.

I thought it would work! I dipped the slices of zucchini into the egg mixture, and then into the crutons....nothing stuck. I was so dissapointed. Usually breaded stuff, like my parmesian chicken, take milk, but I thought it wouldn't matter. Even now I don't know if it would have stuck if it had milk....but, I had all the material and didn't want to throw it all away.

So, I improvised. My pan was heating up with just a little bit of oil, enough to fry zucchini slices, but not cover them. I battered all of my zucchini, and then dropped some of the cruton/pepper mix on top. My idea was that the egg would fry, and the otherstuff would stick to that...rather than the zucchini. It worked. I had a nice, golden crust on one side of the zucchini that was really flavorful. The chili added a great heat and taste that I haven't had with zucchini before, and I loved it. (salt and pepper to taste)

Of course, the best thing I ate this week came from the master chef! Amy made some kickin' raisin butter tarts, the best I have ever had. She outdoes herself every time she walks in the kitchen!

Awesome School Idea

Alright, so I was in the middle of class, talking to the students, when an epiphane struck. Every year we start out writing by building better sentences. It basically just means that instead of, "The man went to the store", we say, "The ugly, bearded man slowly sauntered into the dark, dismal store." Well, I was talking and immediately stopped class. My kids looked on in wonder, they don't know me very well yet, as I exclaimed, "Ooooooh! That is awesome!" I went to the board, wrote down Act out BS, turned around, and began class again. The students looked confused, but it won't be the last time! :)

So, my chess kids came in after school, looked at the board, and said, "How do you act out BS?" I didn't even think about the initials I wrote out.

Anyway...the idea is to act out the sentences, rather than just write them out. It should allow for the kinestetic and artistic intelligences to become involved in the activity. Hopefully it works out well.

Two days down...a bunch more to go!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Treat From My Past...

So, this isn't a current recipe, but it was really, really good. I do not recommend it to anyone who cannot handle something sweet. This is raise the blood sugar of twenty elephants, but still very, very good!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Experiment Failed?

Yesterday, I tried to make Carne Asada. I found a recipe on the internet that promised an authentic marinade, and thought, "Wow! Lime, Lemon, and Orange Juices...this has to be good."I marinaded the skirt steak, grilled it up, and we put it into a cheese quesadilla. So, the idea was to have Carne Asada Quesadilla...Well, the juice was overwhelming. It tasted like somebody had found a way to breed, butcher, and sell Lime Cows...

Today, I am attempting to rectify the mistake. I just got done making steak and eggs with chili peppers diced and scrambled all together. When the meat is with other food, it doesn't taste so limey...but I tell you, it was a citrus explosion earlier.

I'll post a picture of the steak/eggs/chili later on!

(When using citrus in a marinade...add something to sweeten the flavor...we thought pineapple or apple juice might have helped...maybe some sugar.)

2nd Thought: The steak and eggs was really good. The chilis were grown from grandpa's garden and had a great flavor and heat. The best part, however, was the addition of garlic powder. It added an extra layer of flavor that I think should have been connected to the steak in the first place.

My second thought came to me as I was sitting watching television. Rather than sugar, I think adding honey to the marinade would really tie things in well. I'll have to try that on my next attempt.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

BLT Without the "T"

As Joe would say, tomatos are red cubes of death. Amy doesn't care for them either, so for lunch yesterday I decided to put together a Bacon, Lettuce....something... on either an English muffin or bagel. As the idea progressed, I added a little flair for myself, as Amy went out to eat with a friend from work. She did get some of the left over bacon, which made her happy...and in turn myself happy. So, without further ado, my idea for "BLT Without the 'T'".

Tip Before You Start!!! Bacon: Everybody has a different way of doing this. Some like it crispy, some like it flexible. Amy likes hers crispy and I like mine flexible, so I try to get it in between. My trick is to cook it on one side, until it begins turning translucent...spelling? I then flip each slice over until bubbles begin frying on the side that I can see. I flip it over once more, and do the same, careful not to let it burn, because at this point it can go that way pretty easily. I find the bubble test to be easy to pull off, and it usually gives me my bacon just the way we like it.

1. So, fry X amount of bacon. After bacon is fried, place on a paper towel (placed over a plate). This allows the grease to be soaked up.

2. Dump in ringlets/half ringlets of onions. Do not drain the grease, as it will help the onions take on flavor and cook. Fry until onions are translucent and begin to go limp. For those of you who like stiffer onions, fry until you like them. Drain in the same way you did with the bacon...heck, use the same paper towel.

Now, I tasted my onions and decided that they were a little bland. Good, but bland. I sprinkled some salt over them, and I believe that it kicked up the taste by quite a bit. The onions were excellent! The best thing is that my choice of salt can be changed. At this point you can sprinkle any spice over the onions, and get a variety of tremendous flavors.

3. Cut lettuce, toast bagel/muffin/bread, apply chosen condiments to bread. (I used mustard and a slice of cheese)

4. Build sandwich and enjoy!

Pros to Dish---- The toppings were stupendous. I love what I did with the onions, and bacon is always good. Together they sang symphonies!

The Romaine Lettuce was a good choice as well, not as watery as iceberg.

Cook time, for my first time making it, was less than 20 minutes!!!

One bagel makes two sandwiches, folded in half.

Cons to Dish----The cheese over powered everything! I think I would do without next time.

The bagel was really thick and I don't think there was a good bread to toppings proportion.

If it sounds good, Enjoy!

Revelations at 4:40 in the Morning

My sister, April, said that this early in the morning wasn't morning, but night. Therefore, last night I had a weird dream. I dreamt that they moved me from my fifth grade teaching position to a high school class. The high school students were obnoxious and reminded me of the kids on that Antonio Banderas dance move. The ones who just needed to be reached by something outside of the normal realms of education. Apparently, they thought that me teaching cooking would be a good idea.

So, where better to do this than a room covered in straw and candles. I had to put out a couple of student started fires at the beginning...."Freudian for smashing dreams maybe?" But then my next hour began and three middle aged women came in with recipes something they had made the night before. Homework maybe? We tasted each one of them, the worst being split pea soup that had turned into paste, and I woke up before talking about it all.

I couldn't get back to sleep! Too many ideas for the classroom and this blog are floating around my head. Believe me, I want to turn off my mind, but for some reason it is running too fast, so I thought I would get on and share what I "learned" from the dreams.

School wise, I think I'm going to form a book club with my students. We'll all read the same book, as homework, and the next day we can come back and as questions about the book. I don't want to overload them, so the assignment would only be a couple pages at a time, maybe a chapter if I can find the right book. We might make it a classroom assignment so that they can have help as well...who knows.

When presenting a "dish" of information or a project, other students are going to have two choices on how to respond. They can provide two compliments and a suggestion, or ask a question about how or why something was done a certain way. With both of these the goal is to help students increase the "Miles on Their Tongue", a phrase started around my school last year.

Finally, and most importantly, I don't think people are actually going to do, read, or listen to anything that is not important or that doesn't have vital information in it. I don't like pea soup, so the lady who brought pea soup didn't have my attention.

Therefore, I think I am going to change the idea of this blog. No body is going to care about my day to day life, and lets face it, why should they. I live in Sleepy Holbrook, I'm a school teacher off for the summer, and I don't blog enough as is. So, if I'm honest with myself, I'm just putting down things that I think are interesting, and I believe that nobody else does. (It's 4:54 in the morning, please don't take offense to any of this). So, I think I'm going to do a couple of different things. Inspired by "The Julie/Julia Project" coming to theatres, I'm going to start blogging about the recipes I try at home. Amy is going back to school, so I should have plenty of practice. Also, I'm going to try a book study, starting with the Harry Potter books.....maybe. After all, I was the one who supported Snape even after he killed Dumbledore.

My goal is to provide something that you would like to read, not something that you can get through a phone call. With any luck, I will have a blog that you will want to visit.

So, at 4:57 in the morning, and barely lucid, I will leave it at that. I'm going to post later about something I made for lunch, picture to be included.

Sorry for any offense given! It is way too early to be honest with myself...own worst critic and all!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fourth of July Fun!!!

Just some pictures for your enjoyment!

Are We Done Yet?

Alright...the remodeling is almost done. Everything is back in, we have a new toilet, sink, bathtub, fixings....etc. All we need to do is touch up on the paint after sanding off the rough spots and, with any luck, the only thing I'll be doing in the restroom is something I won't be talking with you about. The following are the pictures that I promised!

We started by taking the tub out, rebuilding the wall, and redoing the water pipes. Then we put up the cement board, got all the old laminate up off of the floor, and began tiling the walls. After the wall tile went up, we tiled the floor and painted. The end result is, in our opinion, beautiful!!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

What Stinks???

So Amy and I put up a compost heap. I was worried about it because of the stink, but amazingly it doesn't smell. We dump all of our non meat food stuff, through the sliding roof I built, and walla! No food trash.

We are also recycling which cuts down on our trash. Usually I fill the dumpster with trash bags. Recycling has cut our trash in half. Just another wonderful change my wife has made and I love.

Walnut Canyon

After summer school, we took a field trip to Walnut Canyon. I made two trips around the Island route, as one of the parents didn't want to take her group. Little Riley Moody came with me both times, and was tuckered out around lunch time.

Coolest Thing: The view and chance to see more of Arizona.

Weirdest Thing: Besides the kids....getting hit in the head by a twig that flew through the window on the bus ride home.

Saddest Thing: Forgetting my sunblock and hat!

Renovate Slave, Renovate!!!

Amy and I are renovating the restroom! I'll post pictures as they come.

The before picture. It is a small bathroom, so there isn't a lot of room to shoot. Notice the green wall color. We put that there and are changing it to blue. Everything is going to be gutted!!!

The walls with one coat of paint up. The cabinet above the toilet and sink are gone, dismantled by moi! The white lightens everything up and suddenly our bathroom looks bigger!

No more time for me to do this!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Addiction of FarmTown

I told Amy, "I don't want to play"
but she made me an account anyway
now I sit at the computer and harvest crops
deciding where to put animals, and other such props
trying to take breaks to clean the house and eat
but tearing away becomes quite the feat
as the time goes on, there is more to plant
decisions to be made and leave I just can't
so my farm prospers and slowly it grows
if I pay close attention, I can buy more hoes
of course I'm talking about the garden tool
if you thought the other you are playing the fool
so get your mind out of the gutter, and boogie on down
to share my addiction in Farm Town

Monday, June 8, 2009

Look at that Glass

Amy and I took a small vacation to the valley a couple weekends ago. One of the coolest things we were able to do was attend the glass exhibit at the botanical gardens. I was a little skeptical at first, after all an exhibit is an exhibit and glass is glass, but I ended up having a blast. Not only was I able to spend time with my beautiful wife, but we were surrounded by amazing work on every side, both natural and manmade.

The glass seemed to blend into its surrounding. They were placed in the desert landscape, in water, surrounded by trees, and surrounded by cacti.

Some of my favorite sculptures were the blues. I loved the way that they contrasted against the greens and browns of the desert. They sun seemed to bounce off of the blues with extra vibrancy (spelling?).

Of course, the natural surroundings were just as amazing as the glass. One of the first pictures I took was of a dragonfly that caught my eye. It was huge! The ground squirrel things, lizards, plants, and California King Snakes made sure that anyone watching knew that God was the first sculptor.

And then there were the bizarre. The scuptures that didn't quite fit in, but were fun none-the-less. I enjoyed them for their chaotic nature, but if you know me you know I like things that are linear.

With any luck, all of these pictures will load. I apologize if I crashed your computer, but there were just too many beautiful things to choose from. Thanks, as always, for being one of my readers.