veggie om noms
Farmer's market was a big hit today, lots of nummy foods. From my regular stalls I picked up watermelon, cantelope, corn, two kinds of squash, bell peppers, okra, apricots, plums, and limes. I also got a lovely bouquet of flowers, some hummus, and MOST EXCITING!! There's a new stall selling mushrooms and fresh eggs! The mushroom/egg stand said that it's their second week at the market, I really hope they keep coming back -- I'm super duper excited about having fresh, free-range eggs at the market!! (And hubby likes said the mushrooms look really good.)

YUM! Meals on market days are really exciting :D

For lunch we had the hummus and some pita chips from Trader Joe's ... but for dinner I browsed around looking for okra recipes. I've never cooked (or eaten) okra before, so I wanted to follow a recipe before branching out on my own experiments. Here's what I found:

Okra and Corn with Tomatoes

Serve this Carolina favorite over a bowl of long-grain rice with a piece of hot cornbread. The okra should be young, not longer than 2 inches. Vine ripen tomatoes and fresh bell peppers add to the richness of this dish.

  • 2 tablespoons each butter and canola oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon each thyme, red pepper flakes and basil
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 3 large fresh ripe, tomatoes seeded and chopped
  • 4 ears corn, remove kernels, about 2 cups
    (may use frozen or canned whole kernel, drained)
  • 2 cups small okra pods, left whole or 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1/2 cup water or chicken stock
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a 10 inch iron skillet or heavy pan, heat olive oil and add onions, bay leaves, thyme, basil, and red pepper flakes. Sauté, and stir until onions are limp add bell pepper and continue cooking until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes, okra, water, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add corn and cook 5 minutes longer. Taste, adjust seasoning if needed. Serve hot.

Makes 6 servings.


I halved the recipe and made minor adjustments - leaving out spices I didn't have and using fewer tomatoes because I didn't have more (only four small ones from my patio garden, didn't think to get some this morning from the market). It was really good - very different from what I usually make but oh so delicious. I'll probably make it again. Mmmmmmm.

Oh, and watermelon for dessert!

I HAVE MY VIOLIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The brother-in-law was in OH for a little over a week for meetings, I picked him up from LAX yesterday and he had it (we'd left it with my in-laws rather than in storage like most of our other stuff)! MY VIOLIN!!! Thus endeth the longest separation my violin and I have ever had, and now I can play it again! WHOOOO!

the new me.
lion, tea
I'm feeling like a new person the last few days ...

School is out for the summer! WHOO!!! (or at least for four weeks until summer school starts ...)

I cut off my hair this last weekend. I'm enjoying shorter length and the subtle layers. (much cooler!)

We're off the floor for the first time nearly 21 months - that's almost 2 years!! We bought a bedframe and put it together this weekend, it feels FANCY!

...I'll share some pictures when I have them :)

meme, it has been so long!

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

A strong-willed herald of causes against injustice, you passionately strive to right the wrongs around you. Somebody has to save our skins!


Who are you?

And big thanks to pixel_curious for posting this tonight. I've spent the last several hours sitting here writing the next update for the Vikings and I almost had brain explosion. Between my pancake dinner and that fun little test, I think the danger may pass.


throwing it out there ...
lion, tea
Walking home from my weekly farmer's market trip on Sunday I saw an unusual (to me!) tree with great big leaves that remind me of a sassafras. However, the fruit (large and green) and bark (smooth and white/creamy) make it not a sassafras (see here). I've tried various tree identification routes, but when I search by leaf all I find is sassafras, and when I search by fruit I'm not sure I'm looking at the right stuff because I haven't tried to cut into the fruit to see how thick the husk is or if there are seeds or pits. Besides that, I haven't found anything like this fruit that has this sort of leaf. It's a MYSTERY!!

Can you help me solve the mystery?? Clues:: The bark is smooth and white/cream colored. For the leaves and fruit, I took a picture ... Collapse )

Any ideas?

[ETA: I just remembered, when I rubbed my fingers on the leaves they were rough, not smooth. Sometimes that's a helpful identifying factor :)]

lion, tea
So I think I should do it.

Well, two things actually. (Wait, make that three!)

First of all, I should actually submit the necessary forms to get my teaching credential in California. I took the next step tonight by filling out the application form (and printing it!!) and copying several of my test results/credentials. Next I want to check with someone at work that I've filled it out properly. Hopefully it can get sent off *sooN*

The second thing I think I should do is to apply for grad school. I've been sitting on this thought for two years now, but I think I should Just Do It already. I want to get my certification in Special Education so that I can have my own classroom and utilize some of the multitudes of ideas/methods I have running around in my brain. I've been thinking a lot recently. (That, and playing Sims2, lol!) I've been thinking about autism, about Montessori, about Floortime, about practical and functional skills and activities for my kids, about pre-reading and pre-writing skills, about potty training, about communicating ... about what I actually want to do when I grow up.

That's not to say I'm unhappy where I'm at, my team is great and I LOVE my kids, really. Every year I think that I couldn't possibly love any kid more than I love so-and-so, and every year I'm wrong. Every year I love them more and more. Seriously, my kids this year are giving me grey hairs, but I don't even care because they're so darn cute and amazing and puzzling and FANTASTIC! (And exhausting, but that's just about a given.)

All that love aside, I'm tired and disenchanted. I can see so much potential in the students and the staff, but it's all jumbled up in a chaotic mess! I'm not naive enough to think that I can change the system as a teacher (whether it's class size or curriculum or policy), but I want to try some different things, share some bigger ideas, and have a little more say than I currently do as a TA. I'm ready for my own classroom. Maybe. But at least I think I'm ready to take the next step.

(And lastly, I think it's about time I posted on LJ. ^.^ HAIIIIII)

a christmas song, for all of you :)

Joy To The WorldCollapse )


a weekend adventure. from two weeks ago :)
About two weeks ago Hubby and I adventured our way to Exposition Park. Exposition Park is located across the street from USC (University of Southern California) and near-ish to downtown. There are several museusms there (and the Olympic Stadium!), but what I was most interested in was the Rose Garden. I was not sure what I'd find at the Rose Garden in mid-November, but lo and behold! There were flowers!

We arrived in the late afternoon, but we still were able to walk around and enjoy the flowers before the sun set. We were getting hungry (and it was getting a bit chilly once the sun went down), so we sought out a place to eat. We found a yummy Japanese ramen place, right by a bus stop that would take us where we needed to go. We enjoyed a very delicous meal of chicken and rice, and chicken ramen. Yum. It was a particularly meaningful adventure because Hubby started his new job the next morning! When we could see the downtown skyline, he made sure to point out which really tall building he'd be working in.

Saturday (or Sunday) adventures are the highlight of my week. I love the weekends! Not only do I get to see or do something interesting in this new city, but I get to spend time with someone I love very much! Hubby's new job is a blessing (really), but it is also a big challenge and adjusting to it is difficult. Between his work schedule and mine, we only really see one another Friday evenings, Saturdays, and Sunday mornings. During the rest of the week I see him when he's asleep (and I'm getting ready for work in the morning), and he sees me when I'm asleep (when he comes home at night), but that doesn't really count in my books. Finding a new rhythm for my school nights has been the challenge of the last weeks. There are many *alone* moments. I keep looking for the calm, and every now and then I find some - knitting quietly with the cats around me, washing dishes and listening to music, or drinking a lovely cup of peach tea. Here's to finding a calming rhythm, and to next Saturday coming soon! *holds up tea mug*

(There are a few more pictures of the Rose Garden in our Zen Gallery here.)

Even if you don't love weekends quite as much as I do, I still hope you had a fabulous one! (and Thanksgiving too, if you celebrated it!) Good night!

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... i love it :D They had these sorts of stairs at the Children's Museum in Ann Arbor. Maybe if I explore all the metro stations here in LA I'll find some here :) What a cacophony it must be at rush times, LOL!

according to the funtheory website, they're having a contest. I wonder what the winner wins? I want a contest where the winner wins fun things in their hometown! And I want to win! XD


exploring with books.
inverted tower
In addition to the various exploratory adventures I've had here in California (like trips to the Central Library, Santa Monica Pier, and Griffith Park), I've also been doing a fair share of exploratory reading about my new home. The landscape, weather, and plants (animals too!) are just *different* than what I am used to from my Michigan Great Lakes/Midwest upbringing. Deserts? Ocean coasts? Palm trees? Mediterranean climate? I don't know what all this is about!

So, what do I do? I get a library card as fast as I can (first piece of mail ftw!) and check out some books. Here's a list of books and dvd documentaries that I've enjoyed exploring lately:

City of Angels: In and Around Los Angeles by Julie Jaskol and Brian Lewis, illustrated by Elisa Kleven - a children's book with fantastic illustrations (I love Elisa Kleven!) that describes the histories, events, and character of sights in and around LA. I enjoyed this one.

California A Knopf Guide

National Geographic Field Guide to the Trees of North America - gotta start learning about the different trees that grow here (and finding some of the same ones too)!

Stories from Where We Live: The California Coast by Sara St. Antoine - these short stories, poems, and biographical exerpts have been a great way of familiarizing myself with life on the California coast. A wide range of experiences - from ocean tide pools to the 1906 San Fransisco earthquake - are explored in this collection.

Blue Planet: Seas of Life -- Tidal Oceans, Coasts - I've watched most of the Blue Planet episodes as they showed on TV, but I think I missed at least one. Somehow these episodes in particular feel a little more applicable now. One of these days I'd love to get to a beach that is less peopled and more ... rugged?

It's time for another trip to the library!
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