Sunday, February 28, 2010

Farewell, Vancouver 2010

Sitting here with Mom, and we're watching the Closing ceremonies of the Olympics! I would love to visit Vancouver someday. It looks majestic and beautiful. The past two weeks have been a lot of fun. I always feel a bit sad when the torch is extinguished at a venue and packed away to Greece to await the next lighting.... My favorite Olympics will probably always be the Lake Placid one. The very mention of the Miracle on Ice brings tears to my eyes. I watched that game with my dear Gramma... When we won, she jumped to her feet and screamed, "I LOVE this game. I never saw it before in my life, but I LOVE this game!!!!" I can picture us in her living room, which sadly is now gone. She, too, has been gone for an unbelievable 26 years. The granddaughter who jumped up and down with her? I'm sad to say she's gone, too. I am not that girl any more.
Kevin Lysachek, a gold medalist on and off the ice. Such a gentleman!
And who can ignore Apolo Ohno? He should have one more silver medal. "He was robbed." But he's a sweetheart. Now I wish I had watched him on Skating with the Stars!!!!
The Night Train and our gold medal.... It almost made all that bobsled watching worthwhile!!!!
Whistler..... It was magical, dangerous, deadly, and memorable....


I am going to watch the rest of the ceremony.... I did a unit with my freshmen to try and inspire them. It had varying reactions. I think you either are or you are not an Olympic fan.... I am...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Words to Live By ......

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. (My beautiful Anne Frank)

Join with Tracey at Notes From A Cottage Industry for more Words of wisdom.

Philosophies of Snow. . . and school.... and silence....

You all know I am a dedicated "snow person," but I'm sure most of you don't know just how much. I. even. like. this. I know. I know. Would I like what the East Coast is getting? No. My heart goes out to those of you trapped with no heat, no lights, no way of satisfying the creature comforts of home. But so far, even though it was pretty weird here, I do love it. I love the isolation, the grandeur, the omnipotence of snow. It humbles me and creates within me a sense of awe, a bowed spirit to the One who created it. So, with that being said, I DO NOT recommend taking a side trip down gravel roads even to the Lake to take some snow pictures. That road wasn't good. I imagined my son's voice when I'd have to call, stuck. "Uh. I'm stuck." Where? "At the Lake." THE LAKE! "Yeah. I wanted some pictures for my blog!" Thank you, Lord, I didn't have to make that call. It was kind of slimy and kind of bad, though. But beautiful with the frozen surface of the lake and the trees. I like the shot of the trees bent and covering the road. I hadn't ever noticed that with their "leaves" on...

Even though I do love snow, I will be happy to see the spring. It has been a hard winter for a great many people, my Mom included. She is tired of the house. Although I don't think I would be, having never been "allowed" to stay in the house longer than a week at a time, I suppose I understand. Nobody likes to be TOLD what to do. I am an indoor, solitary/friendly person. I love phone calls and visits, but I dearly love bumbling about, puttering. My putter passion is squelched lately, but I remember loving it.

We had a busy week at school, although a short one. Monday was another snow day. I have a class of rather incorrigible kids, many of whom---but not all who have the reputation of being heartless, disruptive, careless, cruel, and maybe "bad." They always tell me I'm one of the few teachers who like them. I feel a bit guilty because I also have my "moments" when they are too much to take! Yesterday was such a day. We were dismissed early, and right after their class. That is a formula for chaos in itself. They sit there knowing they are only minutes from freedom, and so they begin their revelry EARLY. However, I was not to be denied with my grammar sheets... Then a little young waif I'll call Honoree comes in with her infamously made up raccoon eyes.... "Can Janera go to the bathroom with me?" Now Janera is notorious for causing a big stir... My initial response internally was, "NO. How stupid do you think I am?" But thankfully, I just said, "Why?" Honoree whispered that her grandmother had just died, and she needed a friend to talk to, to hug, to comfort her... Of course, I let Janera go. The boisterous and nosey class asked what was up, and I told them. I was floored. TOTAL respectful, shocked and sad s.i.l.e.n.c.e... My eyes filled with tears as I began to rethink the heartless part of my earlier evaluation of this bunch. They were wonderful... FOR 8 MINUTES.... Then I began to hear, actually began to listen to their muted conversations, "I wouldn't cry if Alvin (a boy in their class) died... I wouldn't cry if X died. Would you cry if X died? Maybe. I don't think so. Depends..." My faith in human nature? Not so much. My faith in my ability to read it. Reaffirmed. Those kids are some who need some mercy!!!! Lord, have mercy! (on me, too!)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The double dog dare

My mom dared me to post these. Tonight my son had to work late, so we didn't get to have our usual Thursday Night Spinner party, and it was the two of us again. Our neighbor/renter/snow removal hero also decided to turn cook, and he brought us an ice cream carton full of Navy beans. Mom had made potato soup

Potato Soup Recipe

4 medium potatoes
water to cover
salt to taste
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/4 onion, chopped

Rivels (or may use store-bought flat noodles
1 egg, beaten with fork
1 c. flour
pinch salt
work in together until combined and the size of peas

Final ingredients
1 1/2 c. milk
1 stick butter
1/4 c. Velveeta

Cube potatoes and mix all vegetables. Fill soup kettle 3/4 full water or less and cook until just tender. To boiling soup mixture (do not drain) use fingers and mince rivels into boiling water and stir often. Cook about 8-10 minutes util rivels are cooked through and do not taste of flour. Add 1 1/2 c. milk, 1/2 pound Velveeta, cubed, and stick of butter. Heat but never boil again.

I decided to use the beans in a different way. They were very thick, little water, and kind of mushy. Nice seasoning and delicious. I made bean cakes.

Bean Cake recipe
1 1/2 c. thick beans, mashed and drained
1/2 c. flour
1 T Harry and David red pepper and onion relish ( could use pimientos and dash of cayenne))
1/2 c. shredded mozarella cheese (reserve some to garnish tops)
1 rib minced celery
1 t. chicken bouillon

2 T. cooking oil


Heat oil in skillet
Mix all ingredients and form into flat patties. Cook over slow heat until crispy on both sides. Sprinkle tops with a little more cheese if desired.

Not our usual Thursday fare but rather rustic and delicious. I liked the bean cakes in the soup.... Mom thought we were hillbillies.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Beastie by my bed...

In my imagination sometimes at night, I go home. I shut my eyes and imagine I'm in my own little bay window bed with the moonlight right outside my window. I imagine I have my own little kitty, Sal right beside my bed. My son's friend made this a bit easier for me to do, even though nobody until now knew I was up to this... He gave me this cool collage of Sal for Christmas. It was even sweeter because of her walkabout and vibrant homecoming... I love the bottom picture. She's reaching out to touch my son's arm and request the "petting" she thinks she has coming... I have it tucked in beside my bed where only I can see it, beside me very low and behind a candle on the little wooden hatbox I use as a bedside table.... I know it isn't real because in truth, Sally would knock over the glass of water I always sit beside my bed. I had to devise a plan at home of putting my glass of water inside a wooden pail and placing a book over the top... Sal detested glasses of water sitting anywhere. She took her paw and politely shoved them over the edge, peering down and looking amazed... "How did that happen?" she would say.... As I look at this in the photo, it looks kind of autumnal... I think I need to find a new candle ring hanging around Mom's house somewhere... But again, in the candlelight, who cares? It's all imagination anyway, right? My trip to "home."

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Spirit of the Midwest!

Check out all the other posts HERE
If you look closely, you can still see the little deer head in the yard. It's making me suffocated to look at it, so I hope it melts a little soon!....
To the far right is the front end loader and our neighbor, rescuing us from the frozen tundra....
Ugh.... Underneath all this is frozen rain and sleet which will be an icy glue holding my car doors shut....
Lovely to look at, icy to hold! If you want to be out today, you sure are BOLD!!! (and cold)... No school, of course. Our driveway was next to impossible, due to frozen slush that had deep ruts, and then deeply drifted areas that were pushed to the side... Our neighbor, bless his soul, got his regular show-pushing tractor stuck and then went after the "big guns".... a front end loader and scoop... He took huge mounds of snow the size of my car off into the field... I think I can brave the driveway tomorrow... It's one of those winters... He told us that in 1968 on this day it was 75 degrees, and he pitched horseshoes at his brother's 21st birthday party.... No horseshoes today for us.... and no party, actually! haha...

Cheeseburger Soup

Honeysuckle Hill's Cheeseburger Soup

2 lb hamburger

1 C chopped onion

1 C shredded carrots

1 C diced celery

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried parsley flakes

4 T butter

3 C chicken broth

4 C diced peeled potatoes

¼ C all-purpose flour

8 oz processed American cheese (Cubed)

1 ½ C milk

¾ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

¼ C sour cream

In a 3 quart saucepan, brown beef; drain and set asided. In the same saucepan, sauté onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley in 1 tablespoon butter until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth, potatoes and beef; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until potaqtoes are tender. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt remaining butter. Add flour, cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes or until bubbly. Add to soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese, milk, salt and pepper, cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from the heat; blend in sour cream. Yield: 8-10 servings.


This is delicious! I added a bit more chicken broth, a little Velveeta, and a bit more milk to make it "soupier"! We loved it. I also just had the sour cream on the side for some who aren't too fond of it.(like Mom)...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Here it is again!

Just a few more flakes of gorgeous white stuff, folks... As my banner announces, only 27 more days until Spring! Today is sleet, ice, snow, and brrr! We had a great homecoming. My juniors "bombed" the banner, but they made a slam dunk on their Chili Supper. A lot of great kids in that class, and those parents are angels! They worked so hard, and the dinner was a huge success. I helped take tickets at the gym gate for the game, discovering that making change, snatching differing colors of tickets for different categories of humans, and making small talk was really not my forte, especially in a maxed out capacity gym... Can I spell claustrophobic? Today I am making a new recipe, Cheeseburger Soup. I'll post the instructions if it turns out okay... My son is coming to lunch with a friend, despite the weather. Yay for 4x4's!!!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wild Week

This is homecoming week at school.... Banner on the wall, Chili supper on Friday. Teachers are having payday treats on Friday. I'm going to take tickets into the game on Friday night... Routines by the cheerleaders, parade and pep assembly on Friday... I hope it all works out okay and we get it all in. In the meantime, my son and his friends have driven to Decatur, IL, St. Louis, MO, and Versailles, MO, in search of a vehicle. There's more... My life is usually so quiet, so calm, kinda dull.... I've become very accustomed to that. Whew... I'm already tired.... but it will be fun! I need the "stink" blown off me, as my gramma used to say... when I'd been really lazy and dormant for a while....

Made it to school!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Show off your Cottage "Monday"

Well, what a surprise! I could NOT navigate the corner of Mom's driveway. I was fortunate enough to be able to back out of the drift and come back to the house. But I hadn't even reached the worst part of her driveway, the dreaded corner curve. I knew I was going to be stuck. It had drifted almost two foot deep around that curve. I'm home again. The way I'm coughing, it's a blessing!

Here are some pics for Cielo's "Show Off Your Cottage Monday" post. I'm a bit late, but hey, it's okay.... I cleaned Mom's china hutch and rearranged it about a week ago. We washed all the dishes and made them sparkle... The "Give Us This Day" plate was bought on Mom and Dad's honeymoon.... Isn't that sweet?

Check back at Cielo's House in the Roses for some more beautiful homes!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Crawling into bed

Today was the infamous Parent teacher conference. I have wonderful parents, most of whom once sat in my classroom themselves. I honestly had no trouble, yet any time a person with half flu/half sinusitis and 3/4 laryngitis (I don't teach math!) has to sit and "chat" from 12:45 to 6:00 in a crowded cafeteria... Yeah... I'm crawling into bed and pulling the covers over my wittle head... Talk to you guys tomorrow...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Say you're having a bad day?

A little update: The UPS truck buried itself in our driveway... We have a curve that drifts fairly deep. Here we see my good-hearted cousin trying to pull him out with her 4 x 4. No luck. She pulled him out and in to the house, but he got stuck going out again. After a phone call to his boss (who wasn't really all that nice to the poor guy), they're waiting on a wrecker. But I see my cousin's husband is out there now trying again. Country people are so kind-hearted. All for a book from Amazon... I'm really worried that I can't navigate that curve, especially now, in my Taurus... ??? It looks like a herd of elephants "wallered" in it now. I don't think I'll make it now. The wind is drifting it shut anyway... Looks like it's "me and Mom" again if I can't figure out a way to get out the drive. I wish I my car were out... I could "hitch" a ride with a four-wheel drive person... I dunno....

p.s. Look at that poor concrete deer in our front yard. It is being buried "alive"! What is deer-speak for "HELP!"?

The Perfect Storm

What a surprise! Last night the phone rang, and it was the calling tree with the news we were off school again today. It shouldn't have been any surprise since the snow had been steadily falling all day and evening, and the snowplows were audible, as well as visible, from the highways. When I can hear them grinding into the road surface, I know the highways are a little rough. Today is cold, cold... only seven degrees at noon and 1 degree this morning when I got up to listen to the radio. How weird am I? I knew we were off, but I turned on the radio just to hear our name called in the school cancellations... It made me joyful to listen to the music before the announcements because instead of that nervous dread, "Will we? Won't we be on the list?" I KNEW...

I have developed a pretty decided upper respiratory thing, as well... So a day off is a blessing. I can't imagine trying to be heard in this voice above my freshmen... It's one of those "worksheet" or movie days... maybe a great story from the literature book. Thursday is Parent conferences, and I've been through those before with laryngitis. Not fun. I am hoping for a fast recovery.

I downloaded Beth Moore's simulcast, The Perfect Storm, from this website HERE. It is really good. Just what I needed to hear, actually. I transfer these downloads to my Zune, which is a larger kind of IPOD and not as expensive, I think. Then I can curl up in bed with my earphones, my Zune, and Beth and a Bible... Is that spoiled or what? All I know is it sure is cozy when the winds are howling and the windows rattle... I can't take a picture of that... but it's beautiful.

Enjoy what's left of the day, and for those of you in line for more snow... take good care and stay warm and cozy.... Spring is on its way. Love, love. @@@

Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl Tailgate Party

We had a snacks tailgate lunch on Sunday... Nothing. I repeat nothing was very healthy or nutritious, and next week we will reverse that trend. Meanwhile, today was Teriyaki wings, sweet and sour meatballs, hot Ro-Tel Cheese, chips, biscuits, Harry and David cream cheese, and sugar cookies!!! Oh, my.... I try to think about all the protein??? But my team didn't win anyway. Actually, to be fair, my team didn't even get to play! Have a nice week. We had a snow day today, and that was delicious, too... Made a big pot of chili with home grown tomatoes we had preserved from the summer... Lovely for our icy snow which continues to drift from the heavens to the earth... Blankets of eyelet for the earth...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

500th Post

Well, unbelievably, this is my 500th post. Oatmeal and Whimsy began Saturday, February 18, 2007, with this picture and this post:

Today was another day I spent at home, playing hooky from the real world. Maybe that is why I adore winter, snowfalls, and wintry mixes. A new day and another new start at blogging. The wind chill outside has been extreme, but today was sunny, windy, and a blowing around of the snow we've been getting. I declined to visit my little shop, Shady Peanut Lane, today. A couple of reasons: Too cold for any real customers to try to come. No desire to shovel the snow from the uneven bricks outside the shop; the beginning temperature in there is probably about 25, so it would take all day on high blast to reach about 50; and I felt like snuggling in with Sallycat in my big wing chair and watching television. I made a delicious couple batches of warm batches of brownies. Batch number two I drizzled with warm white chocolate... Yum.

Have a nice day tomorrow and be safe on icy, wintry roads. I'm personally gunning for another snow day!!! Hugs...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Project Complete!

Friday was the deadline for our Sophomore Class project: Cookbooks from the Heart. Whew! Despite the snow that pelted the area, the early dismissal, and the wild? parties that were blazing in honor of the 2nd Quarter Honor Roll students, the 25 students turned in their three versions of the same book... All done in their own creative flair. Some groups worked well, but most suffered the usual woes of group participation: early excitement, latent boredom, some worker bees and some down-right drones. I also assigned them a 600 word reflective essay, which they LOVED. They got to tell me what they did or didn't do and why. They got to make a double entry journal about their classmates. They got to reflect on how they'd improve the project if they were teachers. Most importantly, they had a huge paragraph about what insight they had learned about themselves, which ran the gamut of "I learned I'm lazy!" to "I learned I LOVE to make layouts and create books!" If you would like to see the essays and recipes in blog format, which we did first to make all the papers available to all, go to SHOOFLY PROJECT. I removed the last names of my students, and most of the recipes look solid... Mom noticed we turn on the oven for Peanut Brittle and never EVER use it...... haha... It's a grass roots project. Not Paula Deen! haha.. Hugs and stay cozy in the snowstorms!

Friday, February 5, 2010


The Long Lane at Mom's

Out and about on the way home from school... No pics from trip to school because I needed to keep my head in the game!!!
So, this morning the silent snow had filled the yard, the car windows, the lane... our lives. We didn't hear from school, so we knew. We had to go in despite the deep and wet-slick roads. Why? I have no clue. What is it that drives the schools to go "no matter what"? I realize days made up are forever long in the spring, but so are the days we slide into there in a prayer and a huff... Today was such a day. I couldn't see the road, but I could see a few tracks. Thankfully those ahead of me hadn't gone into the ditch, so I was able to make it to school just fine.
A few sweet students rushed out to my car and began to hover around and help me carry in my 500-pound purse and I "frozen toe roostered" it into the school.. Whew! No slips.
Some of my kids weren't as lucky, and I immediately began to hear stories of cars slamming into ditches, stop signs... each other... nobody hurt, thankfully. Two boys asked me for my cell phone and they immediately plugged in their cell numbers so I could call them if I needed help getting out of a ditch. It was so sweet (but kind of a vote of no-confidence in my driving ability, don't ya think?) The parents of one family notified them they'd been in an accident. Hit by a Coca-cola truck and then by the ambulance.... Wow... not anybody's idea of a good morning!
It was party day, so to speak. We give the kids a three-hour party to honor them for making honor roll. This festivity was NOT the key item on everyone's agenda today..... Immediately we got the word we were going home at 11:30. Great. Two times on the roads before noon. Everybody's dream day. The highways were clear by then, but the side roads, the blacktops, and the country lanes were NOT.
So, here I am at Mom's... snuggled in and all the better for a lovely cup of hot cocoa stirred with a candied spoon and melty marshmallows... We are due to go to Columbia to the doctors on Monday, but that may or may not happen... In Missouri we have WEATHER... and plenty of it! Hugs to all.