Two Posts from Last Night

Post #1: "All Growed Up"
I had one of those moments today that let me know that I’m grown up, even though I feel as if I’m still only 21. It all started when I invited my mom, sister, and brother-in-law over for breakfast yesterday.

When Dan the Man’s alarm clock went off at 9:00 AM, I couldn’t go back to sleep because I kept thinking, “I have to peel the papas for the papas con chorizo. What a dumbass, I should have bought some pan or more chorizo last night. I should probably go get some orange juice and my mom’s lechita*.”

Finally, I got out of bed and started prepping for their arrival. I refried some refried canned beans, made the papas con chorizo, scrambled some eggs, made some coffee, and warmed up some tortillas. It was as I did all of the above that I realized that I’m all “growed-up.”

It was kind of nice. It made me think of the days when we’d go over to my oldest sister’s house. She always had, and has, something to offer us as does Gabi. I still have a ways to go, like we still need to get a real living room set, and a bigger place, like a house would be nice. But it’s still kind of cool that I can actually play host. It lets me put to use all the info I take in while watching the Food Network.
*My mom loves drinking her coffee with Hazelnut flavored creamer. She’s been known to carry around a small container with it to restaurants and her day care.
Post #2: Obligatory New Year's Post/Writing While Listening to John Mayer's Continuum
After the aforementioned breakfast, we sat around the living room reading the Saturday edition of the Sunday paper. I came across an article by Ellen DeGeneres about New Year’s resolutions titled “My no-fail guide to New Year’s resolutions (…and do-overs)” that made me think of the upcoming resolution frenzy.

One thing she advised is that “resolutions don’t always have to be about fixing what’s wrong with you. You can use them to celebrate what’s right with you. And, a lot of times, what you think is right with you is exactly the thing that is wrong with you. For example: People who love to be tan.”

Another bit of valuable advice is her recommendation for writing your resolutions. She recommends “writing the list in lemon juice on parchment paper, which makes it invisible to the naked eye unless you hold a candle behind it…[because] it makes you feel like a pirate.”

Although most of her advice is tongue-in-cheek, I think some of it valuable. So this year, I’m resolving to honestly work on my writing. My first step? I’m registering for a writing class.

I’ve filled out the registration form, written out the check, and stamped and sealed the envelope. It’s a fiction class offered to area teachers. There is a bit of a problem because first class takes place on January 27th, the same day as one of my staff developments, but I’ll find a way to make up the staff development. Last year, I was unable to do the memoir class because of the PDAS exam and study sessions. I promised myself that next time I would make it happen.

Other than that, I don’t think I’m going to make any other resolutions. Yes, I need to eat better and exercise, but that’s going to happen because my body is asking me to do it. It’s been giving me some funky signals. I also should probably resolve to be more organized and quit procrastinating, but honestly, that’s something I always work on. Sometimes, I do really well and other times I slack off. I’m also not going to resolve to be a better teacher because if I need to do this, I probably should not be teaching. When I signed the dotted line on my contract last May, I made this promise.

For the first time in a very long time, I’m actually looking forward to it. I’ll be spending the evening in the company of my beloved family laughing and sharing. I hope your New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day is great, and that 2007 brings you many blessings.


Cultural Experiences

Cultural Experience #1 Smashed Peanut Shells

A couple weeks ago, Dan the Man asked, “What’s one place you’ve wanted to go eat and haven’t?”

“Hmmm,” I replied. The truth is that we go out to eat often. Something about coming home to un-defrosted meat or having to stop by Kroger to pick up two or three things that dissuades me from cooking. I find myself second guessing my cooking skills wondering if it was me who used to cook all these wonderful things like lasagna, enchiladas, spaghetti, and gnocchi.

After some time, I finally answered with Texas Roadhouse. I thought back to the conversation at one of my co-worker’s wedding and remembered all the raving my friend Mari did about that place. Also, when I do cook, I try to stay away from steaks because I’m awesome at drying out a beautiful cut of meat for fear or salmonella or e-coli. So this suggestion excited Dan the Man.

After watching the massacre of a book on Sunday (see prior entry), we headed to the Texas Roadhouse. It was quite an experience. I can’t remember being at a place that has barrels of peanuts and allows you to throw the shells on the ground. I thought that was an Aggie thing, but apparently, it’s also a Pasadena thing.

“Does that bother you? Would that make you not come back?” asked Dan the Man.

“The peanut shells don’t bother me; I don’t like their food.”

The waitress was short with us. Dan the Man didn’t think so, but I felt rushed when I was placing my order. She also set down my tea refill to hard on the table, and I really didn’t like that she brought out my salad and held it in front of me until I moved the plate I was using for my appetizer. I guess I’m officially a restaurant snob.

Cultural Experience #2 Mi Tienda

Being on vacation allows for a lot of things like cleaning, shopping, watching Ellen, and cooking. The past couple of days, I have reacquainted myself with the kitchen. I didn’t cook Monday because we went shopping on the other side of town. Tuesday, I heated up some nacho cheese that I’d frozen a couple weeks ago. On Wednesday, I made some chili, and today, I didn’t really know what to make.

I was watching Ellen as I finished addressing our Christmas cards (yeah, I know they’re late) and was suddenly inspired when Selma Hayek showed Ellen how to prepare and eat a grasshopper taco. Although I would not eat grasshoppers, I do love me some tacos of any kind really. I’ve given up on the idea of carnitas because I haven’t found a place that sells decent carnitas tacos. Mexican food around these parts is strange to me. When I ask for a taco, I expect corn tortillas but always get flour. Once when I ordered a gordita at a Mexican restaurant, I got this thick tortilla cut all the way through with tons of greasy melted cheese.

Anyway, I decided that my goal for the day would be to make some yummy tacos with maybe some fajita meat. Since I had to go drop off the Christmas cards at the post office, I made my way to Mi Tienda. I tried to go to this store once before, but there was not a single empty parking space. This time, I had better luck.

It took forever to get through the parking lot though because there were so many people walking to and from cars. Getting into the store was also a challenge because there were people standing around looking at signs to the various produce that was at the entrance of the store.

I wound my way around the produce section, and the bachatas and cumbias playing on the intercom made me want to dance. As I walked through the store, there was young Latinas standing around helping people. There were also people handing out free samples for Cacique cheese, yogurt, tortillas, and various other items.

I don’t know that I would go back and shop there always, but it was fun. No one spoke Spanish to me in the store. They just assumed I was a “gringa” in the Latin grocery store. I let them believe it too. I guess it was just one of those days.


Why going to the movies with me is annoying...

I can't take the suspense.
We went to see Eragon today and I couldn't contain myself. Halfway through the movie I said, "I hate this! I'm going home!"
I didn't get up and leave, but I did fidget throughout the rest of the movie. I pulled on my hair and cursed at myself for not having read the book.
If they decide to make a movie out of Eldest, I'm definitely reading the book.



This is the hallway. Don't know if I mentioned before that we wrote the kid's names on the snowflakes. Also, can you tell what year this school was bult? Thank goodness we're getting a new building in a year or so.

Here is the showcase we worked on for almost a week. I think it turned out pretty nice, eventhough those damn snowflakes shocked me. It was my fault though. I was putting them up on a Friday afternoon and not thinking and I started stapling away while they were plugged in. Anyway, I couldn't get a full frontal shot because there was a wall in my way.



Christmas shopping has been rather tedious this year. Of course, there are some people that are very easy, like Dan the Man’s mom, my mom, and my nephews. But my teenaged nieces and one year old niece are really hard to shop for. So is my Secret Santa person. I hardly know this woman. When I drew her name, I thought of throwing it back in the bag and doing it again, but they came by in the middle of class. I quickly decided not to because I had too many witnesses.

When I was talking to my mom the other day, she said, “Jorge dijo que quiere libros para la niña.”

This was the best thing I’d heard all season. Books! Someone was actually asking for them. A gift that I would really enjoy buying.


“Si, dijo que le gusta leerle a la niña. Pero que nomas tiene unos cuantos libros asi que se los lee muchas veces.”

Yesterday, I ventured out to buy books for Little G. Since shopping for all the others took about an hour or so, I figured that I’d be done in time to swing by the craft store to look for some stockings and still have time to get home and record the Razorback upset, I mean game, for Dan the Man.

However, once I did get to the bookstore, I realized I may not make it home in time. As usual, I was drawn to every table set up along the aisle. I must admit, I went to Barnes and Noble because it’s down the street and because I was getting an extra teacher’s discount. Anyway, I started off with a stack of paperback copies of the Bernstein Bears, but after much deliberation, I ended up with the following:

The Paper Bag Princess (teaching her about Feminism can never begin to early)
Five Little Monkeys (I remember discovering this book in kindergarten.)
Where the Wild Things Are (I never really read this book until today, but I know it’s a classic.)
Dora’s Book of Manners (Daniel sarcastically said that all Latinos have to like Dora which only got him a nasty glare from Bandit and I.)

My family doesn’t have many traditions, but it’s nice to see that my brother is trying to keep one alive. My mom always tried to show us the importance of literacy. Books were a treasure in our home. They were not to be written on or thrown. They were to be kept in a place where they would not get damaged.


All Things Winter

I’ve been sitting her with a blank document for a long time. I had the urge to write, and then, just like that, it was gone like snowflakes on El Paso pavement.

My life seems to have gone back to normalcy. It was good to go back to work even though I hate waking up early. I enjoy having time off, but I think I enjoy working a lot more.

I was very busy this week. My neighbor across the hall and I decided to take it upon ourselves to decorate the 6th grade hall. My mentor, who used to kick this off, is now teaching 7th grade and so she got their butts in gear instead of ours. Anywho, it took us the whole week to get lights strung all the way down the hall and tie snowflakes to the lights. We also redid the bulletin showcase with a winter theme. We’re not completely done. I’ve yet to make a sign that says “6th Grade Winter Wonderland,” seeing as how we have many JWs this year. I’ll take pictures once it’s all done and post them up here.

Bandit has become my new best friend. I think it’s due to the cold weather. Instead of hiding under the couch or in the corner under the bookshelf until Dan the Man gets home, he now cuddles up next to me where ever I happen to be. I imagine that once it starts to warm up around here, he’ll go back to his old ways.

There is a flurry of thoughts going on in my mind, but I can’t seem to get out in a coherent manner. I think I just need to stop listening to John Mayer. I forgot what his music does to me.