Saturday, April 30, 2005

pigeons are nesting under my air conditioner

GRRRRRR! I have no idea how to get rid of them, and I am tired of listening to cooing all day and night long! Damn birds.

Anyone have any bright ideas?

I don't have access to a hose (or a shotgun, for that matter!) I'm stumped.

The daddy pigeon seems to get frightened and fly away when I turn on the AC, but then the mommy sits there and coos like crazy to try to lure him back. I don't know whether this idea would work in the long term, but it seems cruel -- I don't want to starve the mommy pigeon to death. Just cause I don't like them doesn't mean they need to suffer. Quick and painless is what I'm after . . . help!!

Friday, April 29, 2005

I'm at Ann's house

I stopped by Ann's house after work tonight to say hi -- she's in the process of moving, and I was in the neighborhood, so I dropped in. She's working on one of her review chapters for her CPA exams, and I pulled out the Willow Room computer in the hopes of getting some work done . . . then I randomly had internet access! I guess one of Ann's neighbors has wireless internet, which I am currently mooching off of. Hooray!

Let's see . . . at work today, we had some teachers from the Schlitz Audobon Nature Center visiting. (The SANC is just outside of Milwaukee!) It was neat to have visiting teachers from a nature based preschool -- and Gail, the woman who observed in my classroom, had some nice things to say about my teaching! Sometimes I forget I'm actually a pretty okay teacher -- that positive feedback always comes in handy!

OH! And . . . I got an invitation to the teacher appreciation luncheon next week. (The parents organize the whole thing!) The invite is very fancy, I hear the luncheon is quite a good time, AND I get a free massage! Very cool. I can't wait!

Baby animal update: the lamb is very sleepy, the baby goats were romping around this afternoon copying their daddy -- very sweet!, and we now have 4 happy baby chicks in the water table. (One was dead when we came in this morning. Very sad! Don had to dispose of the body -- I couldn't do it.)

FOOD NETWORK! Ann just turned on the TV and I almost had a heart attack. I miss cable. Rachael Ray has consumed my attention now -- I must go.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

baby animals!

It's spring on the farm . . .

Currently, we have 2 baby goats and 1 baby sheep at the farm (the lamb is all black and so darn adorable! He was just born this morning, and the goats, both boys again, were both born last weekend.) They are so cute!!! We also have baby chicks hatching in our classroom incubator! After school today, Don and I moved three chicks out of the incubator into their habitat we had prepared in the water table. They are so cute! One of them was eating out of my hand this afternoon!

Tomorrow is Friday, and I'm ecstatic. Happy almost weekend, all.

I stole this off Chelsea's blog, and thought it was pretty cool:

My Linguistic Profile:

30% General American English

30% Yankee

15% Dixie

15% Upper Midwestern

10% Midwestern

Let me know what kind of English you speak, because I thought my profile was a little odd, for someone who has lived her whole life in the Upper Midwest!

Monday, April 25, 2005

ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow

Oh I am in so much pain from buckthorn and honeysuckle removal! My back, arms, and shoulders are killing me! Today was a loooooong day.

I have a short funny story from work. This afternoon, I noticed a wood tick on one of the children. I pulled it off her and as I walked away to stick it to a piece of clear tape, she called after me in a curious sort of voice, "was it sucking my blood?" I told her that it probably was, but it was a good thing we got it off in time. I also pointed out the tiny white speck near the tick's mouth; I mentioned, "see? I think that tiny white thing is a little piece of your skin." She then calls out to her mom, "see? This is my tick and that tiny white thing is my skin!" She then asked me, "can I take my tick home?" I told her, "sure."

If you knew this kid, this story would be that cuter. She's just such a sweet, easy going kid.

I love my job.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

a plethora of peanut butter sandwiches

I have received several (verbal) comments from all y'all about my lack of posts lately. I so sorry! Let me tell you about my week, since I posted last:

Tuesday: I worked, then I inhaled a peanut butter sandwich and met Christine for a walk. Then we watched Gilmore Girls (the episode sucked!), which we had taped while we were walking, and then I came home and went to bed.
Wednesday: I worked, helped to interview a potential lead teacher candidate for next fall, had dinner at Chipotle with Afton, then went to choir rehearsal. I came home and went to bed.
Thursday: I worked, attended the "big" staff meeting, came home, ate a peanut butter sandwich, and went to bed.
Friday: I worked, helped to interview another potential lead teacher candidate for next fall, went to Target (bought nothing!), showered and changed, inhaled a peanut butter sandwich, and picked up Christine. We went to Station 4 in Saint Paul for a preview of the Midwest Music Summit -- Epic Hero was playing. The show was awesome, they played lots of new music, and they covered a Duran Duran song, too. (That bar sucks, though.) Came home at 2 a.m. and went to bed.
Saturday: I picked Lauren up at 9:30 and we went to the nature center and participated in the Earth Day celebration: we pulled honeysuckle and European Buckthorn for two hours, before we had a quick free lunch. Then I dropped Lauren off, showered, and picked up Christine to take her to IKEA. She bought a desk, desk chair, and CD tower. (I have a big car; she doesn't.) Christine and I then went to the Good Earth (her treat) for a very late lunch or very early supper, however you look at it. Then I came home, collapsed on the couch for half an hour, then went babysitting.
Sunday: church/choir, then I ran to Target and the grocery store. I came home, unloaded everything, made myself a sandwich (NOT peanut butter this time!) and began laundry, tidying up the apartment, etc. And now here I am.

This coming week promises to be nearly as bad, but I hope to post a few more times!

I'm switching topics now, and cannot come up with a clever segue.

The managers of my apartment complex have prematurely shut off the heat in my apartment building. It is 60 degrees in my apartment right now. I am wearing a stocking hat while washing dishes and doing my laundry, and I'm still freezing!

Another abrupt topic change coming up.

I bought a couple of mens undershirts (the "A-style") at Target today, and I think they will work wonderfully for crappy summer tank tops for work. I may take a scissors to them since they are about twice as long as I need them, but other than that, for 2 bucks apiece, it's a steal.

I have to quit blogging now -- my fingers are so cold from typing I think they are going to fall off! Later, skaters.

Monday, April 18, 2005

the pillsbury doughgirl goes to culinary school??

Of course nothing in my kitchen is ever as simple as "I'm going to make a loaf of bread."

Nah. I made pesto focaccia and poppyseed and sesame seed crunchy breadsticks.

Masquerading as the Pillsbury Doughgirl

I was supposed to go out for supper tonight with my coworkers for this fundraiser type thing we're doing at the school . . . (a local restaurant sponsored us for evenings where we could invite the kids and their families to come eat at this restaurant and they would donate a portion of the profits from that evening to the preschool!) but I skipped out so I could have one evening at home this week. And it's going to be a busy one! I have to bake bread and cookies for this Thursday's "BIG" staff meeting. It's my team's turn to bring food. We're having a salad bar, but I'm bringing bread and dessert -- required no trip to the grocery store on my part!

(For clarification, we have two "little" staff meetings each month, one "BIG" staff meeting, and one team meeting. They all happen on Thursdays, but we only eat at the BIG meetings, and each team takes a couple of turns during the school year bringing food. It's really rather complicated, and kind of a pain when our teaching team is half the size of the other teaching teams -- Nat, Don, and I are all full time, while just about everyone else at the school is part time. Gah!)

Bet you didn't want to know that much about the innerworkings of the DNP staff meetings. I know I don't want to know that much about them! Occupational hazard, though.

So, I'm going to bake a loaf of bread. From scratch. With my bare hands. And I'm going to take balls of frozen cookie dough out of my freezer and bake them off. (Yes . . . when I make cookies, I bake one pan and scoop the rest of the batch out onto parchment and freeze little individual balls of cookie dough for later bakeage. I'm sort of a culinary geek like that. But it came in handy this time, eh?)

"Bakeage" isn't a real word, is it? Well, I like it . . . and it's my blog . . . so THERE!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

stuff and nonsense

What a nice weekend! After last weekend when I was running insanely from one thing to the next all weekend long, it was nice to take a break this weekend. I read a lot, went to the movies, saw the very last performance of "Martha Stewart's Prison Jamboree" on Saturday night, had dinner at the Green Mill with friends, and walked a long time with Christine today! I also got a few things done -- laundry, dishes, etc. Mark of a great weekend if you ask me!

Friday, April 15, 2005


I can't believe NONE of you have commented about my involvement in Miss Chick's near death experience. I just can't believe it! I thought for certain that entry would generate a plethora of comments. Huh.

Afton and I went to see "The Upside of Anger" tonight -- WOW. Go see that movie. Right now. Drop what you are doing and run to the movie theatre! Well, actually, you might want to drive if you go RIGHT now -- it's raining, and could be kind of slippery if you chose to run. (And if you have no one to go with, ask me -- I want to go again.) I actually almost cried near the end of this movie, it's so powerful -- and I am NOT a crier.

Happy weekend. I needed one desperately this week. TGIF infinity!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Still a smooth operator

I forgot to mention we made smoothies with the kids today. It was messy, I have chocolate syrup in my hair (we made some that were banana chocolate!), but it was fun. I have also had a smoothie for breakfast nearly every single day since I discovered banana pumpkin smoothies. This is my general recipe:

1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 1/2 cups frozen fruit (banana, blueberry, strawberry, cherry, raspberry, watermelon, or any combo thereof,)
1/3 cup liquid (milk, soy milk, or juice)

Blend until smooth. Makes 2 servings.

Favorite combos: banana blueberry, strawberry-cherry-raspberry, strawberries with OJ, and strawberry watermelon

THEN, if I'm not going to drink them right away, I pour the smoothies into coffee mugs and pop them in the freezer. I take one out of the freezer just before I go to bed and put it in the fridge. Then, in the morning when I'm partially awake and trying to get out the door, I just pull the mug out of the fridge, stir it up a little bit, and it is perfectly thawed -- slushy, not runny, but not frozen solid, either. (You can also thaw them in the micro if you forget to take one out the night before.) I'm not a morning person, so it's nice this breakfast plan requires little to no thought!!!! And, it's healthy, filling, and tasty, which is an added bonus.

(not my) news

Since I have been insanely busy with work and have barely had time to make myself a grilled cheese sandwich (let alone something more complex,) I have very little to blog about lately. SO . . . I'll share news of others!

1. Beth called me yesterday to tell me that she is no longer going to law school! She's decided she'd much rather go back and get a music therapy degree and license. Way to go Beth! I know one fabulous music therapist already (Alisa!) and it would be great to have another one in my network. Plus I just think it's cool Beth's following the path she's most excited about, rather than the path she had planned on for a while. Hooray for figuring out what you want to be when you grow up! (It took me a while to figure that out myself -- hence the immediate foray into graduate school!)

2. Anna called me yesterday to tell me that her boyfriend of 4 years, Langdon, proposed! Hooray Anna! They have not worked out the details, but the wedding will probably be in Boston, Michigan, Minnesota, OR Nova Scotia. (!) They had only been engaged for about 24 hours when she called me, so she didn't have much of a plan yet, understandably. ;-) But she's very excited, and I'm very excited for her!

Between those two phone calls, my hour long phone conference with parents of a kid in my class, and two long chats with Christine, I was on the phone pretty much all night last night -- from the moment I walked in the door, until way past my bedtime. I have to get stuff done tonight.

So, here I go.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

like a chicken with her head cut off

I have a nearly tragic but ultimately funny story from work today:

We were out on the playground this afternoon, and Natalie had brought Miss Chick out with us so she could eat bugs and get some fresh air. Miss Chick had been trying to get back inside the classroom for quite some time, but we wanted her to stay out on the playground with us! She is one sneaky chickie, however. I walked towards the classroom door to go and use the bathroom, and Miss Chick started following me. I blocked her with my foot, (or so I thought) and walked through the door. I didn't hear the classroom door latch, which is a regular occurance, so I went to pull the door closed behind me. I heard a sort of squaky/croaky noise and saw a flash of white near my feet. I looked down just as I had my hand on the door to pull it shut and saw . . . Miss Chick's head caught in the door. There was this little chicken face looking up at me, croaking, with this "save me! save me!" pleading look. I screamed "Ohmigod! Natalie!" and threw the classroom door open. I ran outside and Miss Chick stood there for about a minute, very still, (a visiting parent said, "she's in shock!") then sort of started walking around, moving her head, and pecking about. (Her usual behavior.) I brought her a drink of water, and she seems just fine now.

Yes, I nearly (accidentally) decapitated Miss Chick this afternoon. I feel terrible, and I apologise to Chickie for nearly killing her every time I walk past her cage.

The funniest part is, Tammy and Sheila heard me scream "Ohmigod! Natalie!" And came running into the classroom from the front desk. We all had a big laugh. I teased Sheila about whether she was trained on chicken CPR. She says she's not, but perhaps it's time to investigate whether classes exist.

The children are now VERY aware of where Miss Chick is, and as people go in and out the classroom door, they work together to protect her from the evil neck-squashing door. (They block her path with their bodies -- it's pretty funny, watching 4 or so kids looking like their guarding someone in a basketball game, when in actuality they are keeping Miss Chick safe.)

So, I had an incident today with a chicken who nearly had her head cut off, but I truly feel like a chicken with its head fully cut off. My life is completely INSANE right now -- choir concert this weekend, conferences next week, and I am also participating in two presentations for the Midwest AEYC conference a week from tomorrow. I'm about ready to bash my head into a wall. So, if I am a little scatty lately and/or don't post or comment very often, I apologise! (Chelsea, I am staging a protest and will comment on your NEXT post. Tee hee. I'm feeling silly and OVERTIRED right now!)

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

silly sock

Today I have a funny story from work . . .

We went hiking this afternoon, and as we were coming back on to the playground, we had to cross a very very muddy patch outside our bottom gate. One of the children got her boot stuck in the mud; she then lost her balance and did a complete faceplant into the mud -- covered head to toe in muck! She pushed herself up, looked around, and went to take a step. Of course her foot came out of her boot, which was stuck in the mud. She then put her socked foot right down into the mud. She picked her foot up and said, almost to herself, "oh. I think I need a new sock."

What a sweetie. She's covered in mud, and all she thinks of is that she needs a new sock! Ha.

Monday, April 04, 2005

boob tube

I was just thinking about this as I finished my hour yoga practice this evening . . .

Since I had to get rid of cable for financial reasons, I have realized how much TV I watched before, and how little I watch TV now! (Since my reception royally stinks, I pretty much only watch Gilmore Girls.) I think about how I used to spend my days before, and how I spend them now -- yoga, walking, reading, getting stuff DONE! Now, I think there are many wide and varied factors influencing the American Obesity crisis, (added sugar in everything, few people cook, few people exercise, a quick-fix attitude towards everything including weight loss, no fruit or vegetable farms subsidized by the feds, no sidewalks in the suburbs, our auto-dependent transportation system, I could go on all day!) but I think TV plays a large part -- video and computer games, too. Maybe we all could spend less time in front of a screen. (I don't mean to be preachy -- I just feel very strongly about this!)

I am somewhat horrified by the new billboards I see all over the place -- the "groove your body 10 minutes 3 times a day" ones. I think, "that's IT? 30 minutes a DAY?" But then I realize, most Americans have to start somewhere! (I think I pretty much "groove" my body all day long. And I've never been in better shape!)

I hear a good book to read on the subject of healthy eating and living is Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy by Walter Willett. I need to get myself a copy.

curry craze

Lately, my favorite ingredient to cook with has been curry powder! I experimented with some on-hand ingredients and came up with . . .

Curried Chickpeas and Rice (1 serving)

1. Saute about a 1/4 cup sliced onion and 1 clove garlic, minced, in about 1 tsp olive oil until soft.
2. Add about 3 shakes curry powder, 1 shake ground ginger, 1 shake cinnamon, and 1 shake Garam Masala. (All these spices are to taste, of course.) Salt to taste. Add 1/4 cup Basmati rice. Cook a few minutes to lightly fry the rice and toast the spices -- brings out the flavor of both!
3. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and a small handfull of raisins (I used regular, but golden would have been nice, too.) Bring the rice to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to just simmering. Cook, covered, 15 minutes.
4. Stir in 1/2 cup canned chickpeas (drained and rinsed) and a really big handfull of baby spinach. Stir and cook just until the spinach wilts and the chickpeas are heated.

For some reason, I really love these 1 pot meals, too -- especially during the week. Less dishes.

The weather today was absolutely gorgeous -- we were outside nearly all day. Sigh. I'm so happy it's spring!

After work I skipped out on the all-staff meeting and went to Caribou instead -- I had a LOT of paperwork to catch up on. I powered through a bunch of stuff for conferences and our upcoming presentation in just a few hours.

I'm so confused by the change in time -- it's nearly 7:30 and I'm just now starting to get hungry. Yay! My rice is done!

(sllight pause while I finish cooking and take my first bites . . . )

YUUUUUUMMMMM! That's one I'll definitely make again.

I'm going to go and enjoy my dinner now . . . toodles!

Sunday, April 03, 2005

spring at last, spring at last . . .

thank God Almighty, we have spring at last! I have spent so much time outside this weekend -- hooray! Emily and I went hiking at the Nature Center on Saturday, and today Ann and I walked around Lake Nokomis. Whee! I've also been getting lots of things done and watching lots of movies and I finished a book, too: Something Rising (Light and Swift) by Haven Kimmel. I think it's time to start reading Wicked by Gregory Maguire.

My alternate title for this blog was "Smooth Operator," because I just made the most awesome Banana Pumpkin Smoothie, courtesy of my most recent issue of Cooking Light. Here goes:

Chuck the following in the blender and blend until smooth (makes two 1-cup servings):

1 cup vanilla yogurt
3/4 cup canned pumpkin, chilled
1/2 cup ice cubes
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
dash cloves
1 ripe banana, sliced and frozen

This is a nice way to use up bananas that get away from me and I then chuck in the freezer with every intention of making banana bread, but never seem to get around to it!