Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorable Memorial Weekend

{Minimalist Baker}
I love a good three day weekend! I've accomplished quite a few things over the last three days but the best parts were several social occasions seeing friends and hugging people in my circle. We had an engagement party last night and a graduation party today. We also had lunch with friends on their patio. I made these strawberry rhubarb margaritas for the occasion. The recipe is from Minimalist Baker and they were delicious, so refreshing and tart.  

Last week I tried a new recipe because I just couldn't figure out what to make for dinner. We recently have had a lot of pasta and I'd made tacos and salmon other days so I just was looking for something different to try. A friend from school mentioned that she'd made lentil sloppy joes and so I searched and found a vegan recipe to try. I made them on Friday night and I loved them. Because of Groovy Girl's tomato allergy I switched out the cans of tomato and used one 28-oz can of pumpkin. I feel like I could add in sweet potato to replace tomatoes as well. I had lovely brioche buns that I broiled in the oven first because I like them a little crispy/crunchy. Both my husband and I loved them and GG, well, she was not quite as in love because it had onions (next time I would make sure to really dice up the onions) but she ate it. I liked that it was a super easy slow cooker recipe that I put together and it was done in about 3 hours. Here is the recipe I used from Yummy Mummy Kitchen and here is another one I plan to try next time from again the amazing Minimalist Baker.  

I did do some gardening this weekend as well, channeling my lovely Grandma Bruch. I think of her so much as I cook and plant as those are two areas she excelled at in life. She loved geraniums and irises and planted lots of vegetables. My love of rhubarb comes from her as she had a several large plants and did a lot of baking and jam making with the stalks. She was an amazing and wonderful grandma and I miss her very much. I'm glad my son was able to spend so much time with her and I'm sad that she never met my daughter. I can still hear her voice calling my name. I wish she and I could play one more game of spite and malice, our family card game. I can still hear my dad's voice as well and I wish I could play one more game of backgammon with him. 

How did you spend your weekend? 

Sunday, May 23, 2021

We are oh, so close!

Kim Reynolds decided on Wednesday night just around midnight that she would tell school children (and their parents) in the state of Iowa that is was optional to wear a mask around school. At midnight on a school night this was decided. I mean I get that she's never really believed in the pandemic and she IS all about free choice for Republicans but this still seemed a little extreme to me because we are so, so close to closing out the school year. We have two weeks to go! And unless you actually work or teach in a school you may not know how this would play out on a Thursday morning. Our district in an attempt to be open sent an email out alerting parents of this new decision by the governor.  Some parents read this email or knew about the decision handed down but other parents might not have had the luxury to see their email and don't follow late night decisions from Des Moines state house. They sent their kids to school with masks as they have every damn day of this year. Other parents celebrated this and sent their kids happily to school finally free of the damn mask. Still other parents sent their kids to school with a mask asking them to still stay safe. There was bullying in the first few minutes within our school walls until teachers could get students in their classrooms for a calm and inclusive morning meeting. Havoc. Pure havoc and one more way to politicize the wearing of masks and the pandemic in general. Thanks Kim. Cannot wait to work against your re-election campaign. 

In other news I finished Ground Zero by Alan Gratz. This book caused a major stir when it first came in. Lots of students wanted it. I found one of my copies on the shelf the other day and I decided to bring it home to read. It was so riveting I read it in 2 days. The story centers around 9/11 and the war on terror that was the aftermath of that major tragedy. Alan Gratz does not sugar coat the history either which I very much appreciated. I remember watching the towers come down on the news that morning and I was a graduate student at the time and turned on the news because someone at my son's school mentioned the weird thing of a plane hitting the first tower.  I remember what it looked like to  see it crumble and it was terrible and the aftermath of what we did as a nation was awful.  What ever age you are read this book for a comprehensive look at the reality of that time in history and be ready for a gripping tale told in alternating points-of-view. 

I'm taking two classes this summer; one is on questioning and the other is on kindness which are both great topics to introduce more of and next year I will be ready for fresh perspective.  After experiencing this election cycle and George Floyd trial with students and the negative comments I want to have some new tools in my school bag. Bring on the kindness and positive discussion!

(Cookie + Kate)

I've made a few good recipes recently including this rhubarb crisp from the NYT. My mom gave me some rhubarb stalks. I love rhubarb but cannot grow it for some quirky reason. This crisp was delicious and I will make it again as soon as I locate more rhubarb. I also made this red lentil curry soup from Cookie and Kate tonight and we all enjoyed it with toasted sourdough bread. 

I really still want it to be Saturday and not Sunday night but there we have it. I need to get ready for my day tomorrow. I probably should shower as I spent a lot of today with my hands in dirt weeding and planting flowers and herbs around the yard and in my big pots. It was the first good hot day and it didn't rain. Rain is important but sunny skies help my mood. Peace and love to you...

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

May Celebrations

The weather is chilly here, I am still wearing a warmer coat to walk the dogs, and haven't planted anything yet because it gets too cold at night. Every once in a while the sun is strong in the afternoon and feels nice and warm. I'm ready for the intense heat of summertime. I'm also ready for my school students to run wildly out the door, to be free for the summer, to put this year behind. I don't know what next year will look like but these kids need a summer break. 

Yesterday I drove back home after visiting my brother and sister-in-law in the Minneapolis area. It was cold there also. Friday night we had an excellent dinner with this chickpea soup prepared by both my brother and his wife and old family friends helped as well.  I feel like I've known them my whole life and there is something so reassuring about having people in your life that knew you as a young person.  Marv was one of my dad's best friends and Marcia still remains one of my mother's besties. It was wonderful to watch the two of them talk at the table together, heads leaning in. My mother broke her hip in a recent fall and uses a walker right now and Marcia has her own. Marv recently recovered from a very serious heart surgery as well. We are all getting older.  Yep. The night was magical though and it was lovely to visit with both Marv and Marcia, sharing and listening to their life stories. My nephew Beckett interviewed Marv about his Cold War experiences guarding the Berlin Wall. I loved hearing Marcia's stories about childbirth in the 1970s where she had to argue to have her husband in the delivery room. We've come a long way baby.

The next day we had a lazy morning (I slept until 9:30!) and then went to Excelsior, browsed and had lunch at Coalition.  We celebrated Mother's Day all weekend and my brother's 49th birthday. We had four different delicious desserts over the course of two days. And then I made fresh cinnamon rolls for Sunday brunch before we left town.  I should think about giving up sugar for a few weeks. My brother is an amazing chef and really enjoys planning a menu and sharing food with friends and neighbors. 

And then we had to come home, back to reality, back to lesson planning and waking up early. I did come home to a lovely daughter, and another calling me to leave a happy message from Brooklyn, and a son who took time to call and chat about everything. I felt loved all weekend long and even more so pulling into my own driveway, reaching my home destination because my family was happy to see me and my dogs were so excited to see me. I could tell because of the full body tail shake! 

I finished The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich, an excellent read, Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi, the author of Homecoming, another excellent read. Now I am reading The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, author of The Mothers, both wonderful stories. I'm trying to squeeze in lots of adult fiction before summer hits because I'm taking two classes and I have lots of award contenders to read before August. Librarian Life. Enjoy...