Monday, October 27, 2008

Tricks of the Trade

I've discovered a delightful "saute secret". Instead of sauteing veggies in oil, substitute the oil with a few tablespoons of pesto. Here is a divine pesto recipe that freezes really well, for your sauteing pleasure:

Throw the following ingredients in the blender and blend well!
2 c fresh basil
1/2 c olive oil
2 T pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
1 t salt
1/2 c freshly grated parmesan
2 T freshly grated Romano pecorino cheese
3 T butter (room temp)

Sunday, October 26, 2008


After much deliberation I have decided to be Encarnacion for Halloween. I'm seeking a robust Hispanic to be my male counterpart, Nacho Libre. All applications are welcome.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Room 341

Some days I am hard-pressed to keep myself from laughing at my students. It’s not a mocking, condescending laugh that I have to stifle, but a gleeful chortle that is provoked when they do the darndest things.

Just the other day there was one such giggle-inducing incident. One of my students, Freddy was not following my instructions, so he had to change his stick color (this is one of the greatest tragedies a third grader can face in room 341). As he was slowly walking to change his stick color, Justin ran up to me, panting and a little bit panicked and said, “Miss Jackson, Freddy just said the ‘s’ word!” I grimaced, and called Freddy over, prepared to have him change his stick color again.

I sternly looked at Freddy and quietly asked him what word he had just said. He looked down , guilty but silent. “Come on Freddy, you need to tell me. I already know what you said, but it’s important that you accept responsibility.”
“I don’t want to say it out loud”.
“Then write it down Freddy.” I pushed a pad of hot pink post-its across my desk and waited for him to write the word. He finished writing and looked up at me expectantly. The note pad said, “Stid”.
“Try again Freddy. Sound it out.”
“Sitpaid”. I looked up from the pad again at Freddy’s downcast face. Apparently he and I need to work on spelling.
“Freddy, it is important that you accept responsibility so that you can begin to change your attitude and behavior. If you won't tell me the word, then tell me what it rhymes with."
“Nothing Miss Jackson, it doesn’t rhyme with anything.” Freddy’s eyes began to well up with tears of shame.
“Does it rhyme with ‘hit’?” He shook his head.
I called Justin over. Maybe his spelling would be better. “Justin, will you please write the word you just heard Freddy say?” Justin carefully printed the terrible word across the hot pink sticky note. I picked it up. Finally, the long-awaited word: “Stupid.”

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Maggot Maddness

Today my roommates and I used an entire role of paper towels squishing maggots. The whole ordeal was just the crowning fiasco of a series of bug fiascos over the last 3 months.

Back in July we discovered that our apartment was over-run with ants. We quickly and painstakingly spread a trail of baking soda around the perimeter of every ant-infested area and stuffed every corner of the apartment with ant traps and poisonous ant gel. Megan’s bed is still encircled by a halo of baking soda, just in case our bad bug luck continues.

Then we found out we had cockroaches so we bought some roach-killer gel that looked like Terriaki noodles when we applied it to the walls and floors. I guess the killer noodles did the trick, because the roach infestation is practically a thing of the past. The only thing reminding us of the quick little creatures that once ran freely through our cupboards is the trail of dried roach-killer noodles we have around our kitchen baseboards. It was next to one of these “Terriaki” noodles that I found a plump, squirming maggot today.

At first I wondered if, no I hoped, the little guy had bummed a ride into our abode on the beets I bought from Vons earlier this morning. If he had fallen to the floor off my beets then he was probably the only worm in our apartment, and I’d never have to look at another maggot again. My hope was immediately squashed (pardon the pun roomies) when I heard Megan screech, “There are TONS of them, over by the door; they’re everywhere—oh I’m going to be sick!”

Immediately I grabbed a paper towel and started popping maggots. Yes, that’s right, they pop. It’s actually just as satisfying to pop a maggot as it sounds. Soon all three of us were popping maggots, and coating every surface of our kitchen with bleach.
We moved and turned over our furniture, checked and re-checked corners to see if we overlooked any worms, and then we started itching all over. I still itch. I periodically run my fingers through my hair just to make sure there are no maggots making their home on my scalp.

We can’t figure out where these little critters came from. And we’re not exactly sure they’re maggots. We don’t actually know what maggots look like; we think they have something to do with fly larvae. We’re a little paranoid there are still some maggots hiding out in apartment #4, so we methodically scan the premises for any remaining worms on the hour. Occasionally another maggot pops up out of nowhere. It’s truly a mystery. We vacuum, sweep, mop, do our dishes regularly, and our food is not contaminated. Where did these things come from?! We’re guessing a fly got in to the apartment awhile back, laid some eggs, and poof! Our bug saga continues. Ugh.

Now, believe it or not, we are trying to keep things in perspective. When Corrie Tin Boom was held prisoner in a concentration camp that was over-run with fleas, she and her sister refused to be ungrateful for the nasty littler critters, and instead thanked the LORD for the fleas. It turns out the presence of the fleas in their prison drove the guards away, enabling Corrie and some of the other prisoners to freely hold a Bible study.

I know it’s a little silly to compare our miniscule maggot problem to Corrie Tin Boom’s bout with fleas in a Nazi prison. Nonetheless, we are trying to thank God for the maggots. Maybe these maggots excrete some sort of cleaning liquid, and are helping to keep our apartment even more sanitary than it already is (because I tell you, it IS sanitary). Or maybe the maggot extermination allowed me and my roommates to bond in a way we wouldn’t have if our lunch had been uneventful. Or perhaps the maggots have some sort of mold-eating power and are saving us from a possibly disastrous repeat of The mold disaster in #8 Whatever the case, I am choosing to be thankful for what I am sure we will all one day fondly refer to as the Maggot Incident of 2008.