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Orelie, Sonika, Zarina, Doreen, Kane, Pazia
I don't know what the hell these people are doing to the rail roads tracks - there have been trucks, cranes, special cars and other things I can't quite identify and I just know that it has been LOUD and OBNOXIOUS trying to get anything done these last few days. Last night, the trains were obliged to lay on the horn because the crossing gates are confused by all this activity and there are people with the work vehicles. They were not doing anything this morning but for the past two hours, it's this relentless drone with the occasional pounding sound thrown in.

If I had speakers on this computer, I'd try blaring music but somehow doing so with headphones just feels wrong. and the cord limits my movement and that's also rather annoying.


Back to work.

Current Location: Home
Current Mood: frustrated frustrated

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I'm in my classroom, administering my French 1 final. I have three versions and they're allowed an 'aide-memoire' so I'm not overly concerned with cheating. It's long but it's not impossible by any means. It's about the same length as last years and they did well. I know the title is this week - and this week has been nuts, but really this week is just a culmination of this year.

For reason both within and without the sphere of control of the school, this had been a crazy year. There was the usual scheduling snafu to start out but the studetns were coming to class. The attendance was amazing! I was happily surprised at the number of studetns regularly attending class and doing so on time. I tried to be more consistent, lay the ground rules and that worked alright.
Then, Hurrican Ike. 1 full week off of school followed by another week at 50% attendance. The 2nd week after Ike, most studetns had made it back but it wasn't the same. I see now that I should have made a more concerted effort to make sure the students got back on track. We started out the 2nd six weeks pretty strong and I thought we would be okay but Ike affected the schedule for the rest of the sememster - gradings cycle, sports events, etc were reset, delayed or cancelled. With the underlying chaos that is already ever present in this environment, the stabily was weakened just that much more.
The return to school after winterbreak went well. We made it back, got started, discussed whole-class credit to motivate those who were less successful the first semester and we were off. The ELA Taks felt a little crazy. Not too bad but whenever we have lunch in th classrooms and spend an ENTIRE DAY in homeroom - even if the kids are finished, that's just a weird day. The return from Spring break - that was a bit rough. I think some have still not really returned. It's not as bad as last year. I do not have tons of students who did 'three day' school weeks but tutorials began in earnest after Spring Break so I had some students, who despite needing this class to graduate, had tutorials EVERY DAY during my class. So then wht I' can't grade work that they don't do and it's not fair to the stuetn of to me to expect them to come in for ALL of that instructional time that they've missed so I ended up excusing those assignments and had 4/5 students who got 6 week grades based on 2 weeks of work. We were given strict instructions, repeatedly - not to mark studetns absent in they are listed as attending tutorials during that class period. Not a system I agree with. My class is considered an elective - hence they're pulled during my class but it's a graduation requirement so the unsaid expectation is that I will give them a grade.

Craziness! After TAKS, I had one senior in particular who didn't really make it back. 6 weeks of not coming to class, then end of year senior activities...ended with only 5 assignments counting as the entire 6 week grade. At least he did the final project. That's more than I can say for so many others.

There's more I could write - heck I'm just getting to this week...but I should really do the scantron keys for the final so let me get on that...
I'll write later I'm sure.


Current Location: à l'école: Houston
Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

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So things are coming together. I've sadly realized just how bad I've been at keeping in touch with people. I really need to start doing Christmas cards. That would help.

I need to buy my train tickets for Limoges and then I'll have all the tickets I need to get before leaving. I need to contact the woman I'll be staying with to ask about keeping a bicycle at her house. I hope that'll be alright. I'm looking forward to biking to and from 'school'. From what little I've seen, Strasbourg is a very bikable city.

The train tickets and hotel/hostels are arranged for the weekend of Sabine and Mikael's marriage. I'm going to Mont-St.Michel! and it's all arranged for me to see Jeremy and Sabine M. I just have to think of appropriate gifts..I want to know if my host has kids and all that too...I'm leaning toward dark choclate covered pecans as my 'food' gift. I don't recall seeing pecans while I was in France. So I have a couple of ideas...
let me write some of those e-mails...

Current Mood: okay okay

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My latest endeavor at Young at Art and a chance to test out the mobile posting feature on my journal.

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so, I almost didn't but then I did. I know I could do the plus with the ads and since more people read these through Facebook then on my actual journal - the ads thing isn't that big a deal but then I decided that if I ever decide to really do the pictures thing for my pottery - then I have a lot of customization options through the scrapbook on LJ and then I have my voice posts and mobile posts thrown in too so why not. Hence, I renewed. Not sure if I'm ever gonna do the pictures of pottery thing all out but for now it's still an option.

Current Location: Chez Moi: Houston
Current Mood: calm calm

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once again, haven't tried it yet but it looks good...

Cook Time

5 min


6 servings


30 min
Inactive Prep
5 min
35 min

* 2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
* 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
* 1/2 teaspoon honey
* Big pinch gray salt
* 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 4 1/2 pounds zucchini
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 teaspoons thyme, minced
* 1 teaspoon rosemary, minced
* 1 teaspoon sweet smoked Spanish paprika
* Cherry tomatoes (20 large or 40 small)
* 2 bunches arugula
* 1/2 cup crumbled feta, preferably French (about 3 ounces)
* 1/2 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives (about 3 ounces)


Preheat the broiler.

To make the dressing, in a small bowl mix the vinegar, mustard, honey, and salt. Whisk in 3 tablespoons olive oil. Season with the zest and pepper.

Using a mandoline, slice the zucchini lengthwise into 1/8-inch thick pappardelle turning the zucchini and slicing on 4 sides only until the seeds in the center are reached. Discard the centers.

In a small bowl combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, and paprika with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Spread the zucchini slices on a large baking sheet and brush them with the garlic mixture. Broil for 3 minutes until light brown.

Coat the cherry tomatoes with the remaining garlic mixture in a bowl. Put them on another baking sheet and broil for 1 to 2 minutes or until some skins pop and the tomatoes get slightly caramelized.

Put the arugula in a serving bowl and top with the zucchini and tomatoes. Drizzle with the dressing. Sprinkle the feta and olives on top and serve.
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I haven't tried this yet but I'd like too...


* 1 pound (1 pint) plain yogurt (whole milk or low fat)
* 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled and seeded
* 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
* 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
* 1 tablespoon good olive oil
* 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
* 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh dill
* Pinch freshly ground black pepper


Place the yogurt in a cheesecloth or paper towel-lined sieve and set it over a bowl. Grate the cucumber and toss it with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt; place it in another sieve, and set it over another bowl. Place both bowls in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours so the yogurt and cucumber can drain.

Transfer the thickened yogurt to a large bowl. Squeeze as much liquid from the cucumber as you can and add the cucumber to the yogurt. Mix in the sour cream, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dill, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. You can serve it immediately, but I prefer to allow the tzatziki to sit in the refrigerator for a few hours for the flavors to blend. Serve chilled or at room temperature.


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I made this chili for a superbowl gathering this year. I used Penzey's Medium Hot Chili powder and did NOT add the additional cayenne written in the recipe. It was an excellent chili.


* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 4 large cloves garlic, minced
* 3 tablespoons chili powder
* 1 medium-size sweet green pepper, cored, seeded and diced
* 1 medium-size sweet red pepper, cored, seeded and diced
* 1 medium-size zucchini, diced
* 1 medium-size yellow squash, diced
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
* 1 can (14.5 ounces) stewed tomatoes
* 1 can (11 ounces) corn kernels, drained
* 1 can (15.5 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* Accompaniments, optional: cooked rice, sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese


Heat oil in 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and chili powder; saute for 5 minutes. Add green and red peppers; saute 5 minutes. Add zucchini, squash, oregano and ground red pepper; saute for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes; cook 10 minutes. Stir in corn, black beans and salt; cook for 5 minutes.

Serve with the accompaniments, if desired.
Note: Chili is always better with the extra punch of a tasty garnish, from scallions to sour cream. Try this easy-on-you guacamole:

3 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted

3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

1 jalepeno, seeded and minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Mash avocado flesh in a bowl. Stir in red onion, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeno, salt, and hot-pepper sauce. Refrigerate. Spoon a dollop on each chili serving.


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I went to the clinic to do my blood test today. How am I feeling? I need to read that hypothyroidism stuff. I'm not eating well or working out...I think that may be responsible for my feeling rather blah. Things are alright overall. I need to get in to the studio for a few hours at some point and do some lesson planning. I also need to design the signs and memo about the school supply store.
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from foodtv.com

Chocolate Peanut-Butter No Bake Cookies
Recipe courtesy Helen Ostrosky
Show: Cooking Live
Episode: Organizing Your Pantry Cook Along
2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 stick butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups oatmeal
Waxed paper
In a heavy saucepan bring to a boil, the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk. Let boil for 1 minute then add peanut butter, vanilla and oatmeal. On a sheet of waxed paper, drop mixture by the teaspoonfuls, until cooled and hardened.

Point of information - if you're cookies stay chewy and don't seem to ever set - the mixture didn't boil long enough. If it's dries out and is very crumbly - it boiled too long so it's important to boil it at full boil for 1 minute and not much longer!


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