Friday, February 26, 2010

Getting the garden started

The girls were out of school today and the weather so nice that we got started on our garden. We're in Arizona and I've never gardened here, so I'm going to see what works. Can it get too hot for watermelon, cantaloupe, and pumpkins? I haven't lived in a long summer area since I was a teenager, so this is my first chance to try melons.

The girls and I planted "grape" tomato seeds, cantaloupe, watermelon, and basil seeds. We have spinach to plant as soon as we get some compost to work into the little garden patch I dug up, and the pumpkin seeds to plant in the dirt in about a month. Oh, and I bought some sunflower seeds tonight. We had great success with them last year.

I've never planted "greens," so the spinach is kind of an experiment.

In addition I pruned the small, neglected rosebush in the back yard. Maybe I did it right. At least it looks more open and like we'll actually be able to see any roses that manage to bloom.

The final two tasks were chemical-related. So much for organic gardening. I fertilized the orange and grapefruit trees. I just remembered I didn't fertilize the lemon tree. It needs it the worst, but it's in a different part of the yard and I forgot about it. In addition, I put down a pre-emergent weed killer on the rocks that cover the yard in the front. I should have done it a month ago before the rains came and weeks and Mesquite trees started growing, but better late than never. I've actually never used this kind of thing and hope I put down the correct amount.

So there it is--my yard-busy day, although if you were to look at it, you'd never know how busy I was. :-)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Need a ride?

Today the girls and I went to the largest non-motorized parade without elephants in the world. I guess there is a non-motorized parade bigger than ours in Sri Lanka, but theirs has elephants. ;-) It is to celebrate a big rodeo we have here every year. The girls are even out of school for two days because of it. Anyway, the girls were more interested in playing with trash and in the dirt than in the horses and marching bands passing by, but it was still nice to get out and see a part of town we hadn't seen yet.

I found this sign right by the street near the parking lot we used. I'm really glad it doesn't apply in my life. Let's just say the part of town that hosted the parade is um . . . different . . . from my own part.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'm not getting to it all

I have too many things going on and some of them are needlessly unimportant. Is "needlessly unimportant" even a real phrase?

I have my regular part-time job. I have my irregular part-time job. On days I have them both, I work about seven hours. Not a ton of hours, but they are spread out and pretty much go from 4:50 am to 5:30 pm.

The Olympics are fascinating and so easy to spend a lot of time watching them. I want to see Yu Na of Korea skate but haven't found where she is in my DVR recordings yet. My students are gaga over her and I hear she is expected to take the gold.

My children are in school full-time, but during their at-home hours they are all over me. Very often at least two of the three want my attention There is other "stuff" going on at home that also takes a lot of my attention. Lucky, lucky me that dh is pretty self-sufficient. He is the easiest part of my life right now. What a great husband he is.

Then there is the shopping and laundry and cooking. No one likes my cooking much these days except me. Shopping is a real game for me and if I had just a tad more time it would be more fun. Laundry is stacking up which is rare for me as it's my favorite household task. Did you notice I didn't mention actual house cleaning? Haha. There is only a bare minimum of that going on right now.

I'm a moderator on a forum I've frequented for years. The boss has asked the moderators to kick up their participation a notch. It's coming at a time when I've considered dropping off the forum all together, but I decided for now I'll rise to the occasion and increase my participation. I also agreed to be a moderator on a shopping forum. That one pays a bit in the form of gift cards and so forth. That will probably start this week.

My magazines sit mostly unread. The newspaper gets read 4-5 times a week. I plow through the mail and see that all the bills get paid.

I guess I'm getting a lot done but it doesn't feel like it. Whine, whine, whine. Now I'm done whining and I'm off to bed!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Olympic musings

1. Canada is putting on a wonderful show.
2. Evan Lysacek is a hottie.
3. Torah Bright is LDS.
4. Practically every athlete from a developed country has Ultra-Brite teeth. They must have gotten a group rate.
5. I had no idea curling was Canadian's second favorite sport after hockey.
6. Watching the luge/skeleton/bobsled runs makes my stomach a bit sick. Three LDS in those sports also.
7. Shaun White looks androgenous.
8. Most of the figure skaters' costumes have gotten out of control.
9. Why should the male figure skaters have to do a quad?
10. Most countries' national anthems are nice and zippy.
11. I have never seen the blue lines on the snow before, yet in some footage from a race in 2007 I saw them. When did they become standard? I think they are a wonderful idea.
12. If I could learn any of the sports I've seen and be good at it, I'd like to learn to snowboard. Curling comes second. I like the slow-mo slide and release.
13. The Great Gretzky is getting old. Me too.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

So busy I lost a student . . .

Well, I didn't exactly lose a student, but I was so busy I didn't check my email properly (I get a LOT of personal email) and didn't realize I'd been assigned a new student for the next day. I hate to lose out on an opportunity, but the lesson time was not going to work for me anyway, so it's probably better I didn't get the student. I hate to disappoint my company though.

I'll admit some of my busyness comes from spending time watching the olympics. I really love both the winter and the summer events. It's been a number of years since I've been able to really devote some time to watching them and just decided I was going to do that this year.

There have been some other things going on that have kept me moving. One of the nicest is that the weather is so warm (72F or 22C) that I've been hanging clothes out to dry. Sure wish I had a clothes line, but I've been doing all right using a drying rack and clothes hangers hung on the back porch. The clothes probably come out looking better this way anyhow. No "ears" on things from being hung with clothespins on the line. I like to find the good side to a situation. :-)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Bring your favorite Valentine treat"

That's what the invitation to our monthly church ladies' meeting said. Unless I find a box of See's candy lying around, I won't be bringing my favorite. But in my email today I found this recipe for brownie hearts. I have a huge stash of brownie mixes so I didn't make it from scratch, although I could have. Don't you think this will be a nice dish to bring?

Here is my funny for the day: last night's dinner. C has gone on a cooking spree lately, wanting to help me cook and wanting to make things on her own. I actually see a budding chef because she doesn't care much about recipes and prefers to make things up as she goes, out of what she has on hand.

This is the recipe card she wrote out, but it's not all she put in. As close as I can recall, these were the ingredients:

potato soup base (1 teaspoon)
potato cubes
an asparagus spear, broken into pieces
"lettuce" which thankfully turned out to be greens so it held up after boiling
carrot slices
bay leaves--one for each person so that was six
salt and pepper
a pinch of brown sugar
a LOT of cinnamon

She was pretty pleased with it. Thank goodness I suggested she make some Ritz-cracker-and-peanut-butter sandwiches to go along with her soup. Honestly, if she'd left the cinnamon out it wouldn't have been too bad. She and I were the only ones who finished our soup. She, from pride of ownership and I, from the habit of eating what I'm served and not wanting to hurt her feelings. I did suggest that next time I'd probably leave out the cinnamon.

Edited to add: I can't say my Valentine treats are quite as beautiful as the ones on the Kraft website, but considering mine are only about 2" across and thus the frosting hard to get even, I think they turned out really nicely and I'll be glad to bring them along tonight.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Brown Baggin' It

I make my daughters' lunches for several reasons: they are picky eaters, they eat a small quantity of food, and I can pack a lunch for at most half what the school cafeteria charges. Do I enjoy packing lunches? Not really, but as someone pointed out, I have to make lunch for them regardless of where they eat it, so does it really matter whether I make it the night before and put it in a bag vs. make it at 11:30 am to be eaten immediately?

This lunch met with mixed success. I made turkey wraps.First was a layer of ranch dressing (should have used a bit more because I could hardly taste it), then the meat, and last a lettuce leaf. I rolled it up and stuck it with a couple of toothpicks because 1) they're easy and 2) the girls like them. Each girl had half a wrap. I added the rest of the lunch and sent the girls off with them.

The mixed success part was that two of the three girls brought most of the wrap home, along with 1:3 bags of mandarin oranges, 1:3 bags of fruit snacks, and even 1:3 Girl Scout cookies! Oh well. The positive part was that my mom and I thought the 1 1/2 wraps we ate for lunch were really delicious!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Glorious day

That's what today was. It started fairly early for a Saturday. It's dh's month to be in charge of the Saturday morning church cleaning and no one showed up. He was frustrated, but I'll come back to that.

Today was my second Bountiful Baskets food co-op day. C and I walked over to the park and arrived an hour early which is the time for the volunteers to arrive. It was perfect. THEN I realized I didn't have my own basket with me to take the food home!! So C and I hotfooted it home, got our basket, and drove the van back over. We were 15 minutes late, but worked hard and had fun distributing the fruits and veggies into the 96 pairs of baskets. It seemed like we got more last time, but it was still a nice selection of food. These two pictures were taken of the front and back of the same food as it sat on the counter. C was the photographer. The most interesting thing was the jicama. I've had it at luncheons and that sort of thing, but I've never had it in my home. It is crunchy and lightly sweet. Everyone liked it. Oh, and the only place I've ever eaten Asian pears (in the netting) is . . . well, Asia. They are like a really juicy apple with a little bit of the grit you get in a pear. Very tasty. We had one at lunch today.

After that we all went back over to the church to help dh get all the chairs set up. Our chapel has fixed pews, but some of the other large classrooms have folding chairs and those are put up and taken down each week. I'm really not sure why the ladies' meeting room really needs to be vaccuumed each week, but for now that's how it's done.

Once that was done we decided we didn't want to spend Saturday at home so we headed east of town to Saguaro National Park. If you ever wanted to see saguaro (suh-hwar-oh) cacti, that is the place. We had stopped for lunch fixings on the way in so ate lunch near the visitors' center, then went on a short ranger-led walk to learn about leaf adaptation of desert plants. It was interesting and informative. Then we decided to part with the $$ for an annual park pass and we headed for the wilderness part. Well, we drove the 8 mile loop through the wilderness park and took one of the interpretive trails. Fascinating. We'll be back. We hope to take visitors (gwp and his dd have first dibs if they want) and summer teens there as well. With sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-60s, the weather today was perfect. Couldn't have had nicer.

I had been noticing the girls were short on jeans so we stopped in at the mall to visit The Children's Place. We got four pairs of jeans and three skirt and shirt sets. The girls are going to look cute.

We got skirts in pink, blue, and green.

Last, we decided to go look for the school that wants to merge with our school. We'd love to have them come to our school and they'd love to have us at theirs. Of course. No one wants their own school to close and everyone wants more children at theirs to help insure it doesn't close in the future either. I'll have to say I was not too impressed with the physical facilities of the other school. Our school is nicer, in a better location, and has more students than the other. It is clear they should move to our school next year, but I understand why they don't prefer that option.

We got home to a house that smelled like BBQ. I had some BBQ baby back ribs in the slow cooker that smelled divine. I microwaved some ears of corn, heated up a big can of Bush's baked beans, sliced up some of that jicama and had dinner on the table in no time.

It was a great day.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Some help for Canadians

Here is some helpful information:

It's what we had tonight, as we do every Friday night. Over the years we have had lots of interesting toppings and lots of fun making pizza. Mine had sauce, mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, red pepper strips, and olives. Everyone else had pepperoni+.