Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A little insight

I think I have figured something out about the attitude differences between people in the Bay Area and Placerville.

Bay Area: People are primarily interested in how they can get ahead in life.

Placerville: People are primarily interested in how they can get by and be happy.

Very interesting differences. I was thinking about this on my drive home last night from class (you know, the one that I teach at Sierra College). The difference seems to be that people in this area are concerned with how they can be happy in life while getting by with the simple things - you know, a house, a car, and of course a family. Those that are in the Bay Area are concerned with how they can get ahead, be rich, famous and make their mark in life. Big differences, very blatant. I think I like the attitudes up here much more. :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Quick Update

I am proud to announce that my Cantaloupe plants and Broccoli plants have sprouted. I am so excited!!!!!!!! Now, just waiting for the Lettuce, Carrots and Watermelon to rear their heads. Of course our tomatoes and zucchini are already growing out of control - yipppeeeee!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Carol's First Day of School

Last night I taught my first class in 6 months. After 6 full months of my brain turning to mush, I must say, I was pretty on top of my game last night. I employed all of the methods I was taught a couple of years ago as a beginning instructor, and I must say, it went pretty well. At the beginning of the class I was really nervous, but that quickly subsided after the evening began. I did find out though, through the course of the class that I have about 15 nursing majors in my class, one person who is going to be a Physicians Assistant, and a gentleman who is the Police Chief of a nearby city. A diverse class in some respects, but not nearly as diverse as my classes in the Bay Area. I think this summer session is going to prove to be fun and interesting. :) Of course, I do have the person who has a million questions about everything - which, of course happens in every class....and, I do have the "I have all the answers" person - of course this person is quickly going to become my "go to" person, or the person who is going to assist me in class (by the way, us instructors have a way of 'including' the know it all's, extra enthusiastic students etc.... by making them 'group leaders', discussion facilitators, mini guest lecturers for a short lecture, etc.... Honestly, these students are mostly an asset to the class, but sometimes could become a bit overbearing at times - not for me, but for the other students, because quite honestly, I like those students. However, some of them need that inclusion in the leading of the class in order to feel like they are an intragal part of the class - and I am one of those instructors who is more than willing to accomodate). :) So, all in all I am excited about this class. I am not excited that it's three nights in a row every week, and that my commute is about an hour each way.

Oh yeah - interestingly enough, my class was full last night on the roster, but not in the class. I had 27 enrolled, and 19 showed up on the first day of class. This absolutely SUCKS for other students who looked at the class online and noticed that it was full and didn't try to add the class by showing up. I could have taken about another 10 people. I did talk to the admission guy, who by the way is super cool, his name is Alex and he's from the Ukraine - he said that the summer add/drop rate is really really really high - so a word of advice to those out there that think they won't be able to add a class - show up anyway. More than likely you will be able to add it, even if the class is full online. :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Things about Placerville

Things I didn't know about Placerville before moving here (the BAD list - the GOOD list is coming soon)...

1). Everyone here gets married and has babies really young. God bless those that do and do it successfully, but it seems like there are waaaaaayyyyyyyy too many single moms that are about 15 on the scene here in P-ville.

2). It is a small town in all sense of the phrase. Everyone knows everyone else, and everyone knows everyone else's business. (Apparently we bought this house a while ago....oh wait a, the story goes: our parents bought this house for us....and another version is: We bought this house so our parents could live here with us....hmmmmm, neither version is true, however, this is what our neighborhood thinks apparently. We promptly set them straight the other night). Crazy, senile, yenta neighbors (and not just out neighbors, people around the block too....weird!!!).

3). Drugs are prevalent. You call the cops because you see a drug deal and they laugh at it's unusual or something.

4). Speaking of cops - some of the cops in P-ville are about 12. You heard me right, they are about 12, with guns, and cars, and that ultra big Mag flashlight waiting to bonk you over the head if you step out of line (but not if you deal drugs).

5). You walk downtown at night, where nothing is open but the three quintessential bars. Women in their late 40's and early 50's still think they are 17 wearing denim mini skirts, halter "T" shirts, and some outdated shoe like Ug Boots or Gelly shoes with that all too noticeable snaggle tooth (if they have teeth left at all), listening to Bon Jovi from the 80's and smoking a cigarette thinking 'they got it goin' on, when really, the goin' left many years ago and it's no longer cute to 'work the bar scene' trollin' for men on a weeknight. A little word of advice - GO HOME AND TAKE CARE OF YOUR KIDS SO THEY HAVE A CHANCE IN THIS LIFETIME!!! I'm just sayin'!

6). People named Chet really do work at places like Sherwin Williams (I worked that in twice in two days - I rock!!!)

7). Walmart is a fancy department store - because of course, in Placerville, you can stop and get a medical exam, your glasses, get your prescription filled and get a manicure and a pedicure all at the same time.

8). The only Asian people in Placerville are the ones who work at/own the million Chinese restaurants or are the ones giving the manicures/pedicures (probably to the same women who are hanging out at the bar downtown listening to Bon Jovi until 2 am). Hmmm, I should qualify that - I love Bon Jovi, always will - but really? In a po-dunk town, with no teeth, on a Monday night, smoking a cigarette - it fits all too well.

9). There is normal speed, and there is Placerville speed. You do the math!

10). Everyone is white - except of course for some choice restaurants and manicure/pedicure places. It kind of weirds me out a little bit. There should be more colors, you know, like the rainbow. I am so used to San Jose where everyone is so diverse. Yeah, not so here!

I have learned some other things too, but for fear of being hunted down by the Placerville mafia, who bear a close resemblance of the women down at the bar, and whom I am afraid will come attack me with said snaggle tooth, I shall stop here!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Some things...

Things I have learned over the last few days:

1). Building a vegetable garden is HARD work!

2). Filling the vegetable garden with really good soil is hard work. Picture this: a truck load of soil from a local gardening center (a cubic yard to be exact), shoveling it into a wheelbarel and moving it across a yard is hard work. As Shawn and I always say, "And Jesus walked to Galilee" (this statement may not be historically accurate - maybe you could enlighten me - but the statement itself means that there were simply 5 words to describe probably weeks of walking in the blazing sun, facing hardship, eating grain along the way, probably not the most pleasant walk in the world, but it was done, and simply described in approximately 5 words).

3). It's probably not a good idea to take an hour and a half walk after shoveling soil for about an hour.

4). Our neighbors are pretty nosy people. I must qualify this - our immediate neighbors are really really nice people. It's the other people in the neighborhood that are a bit nosy and gossipy.

5). Since our neighbors are slightly yenta-ish, we found out that the woman we bought the house from was NOT a nice person at all. I could have told you that. But, apparently she was NOT a nice person to her mother whom she was taking care of. And, not to get into too much detail, explains some of the markings on the walls and stains on the walls in our house when we moved in.

6). A man named Chet works at our local Sherwin Williams (I learned this weeks ago, but have been trying to work into a post since then).

7). Tess likes ice water as much as we do after an hour and a half walk.

8). I want to lead a mission trip VERY soon. I was a TL with TM a couple of times and really enjoyed it. I would like to go back with either TM or another organization next summer and actually lead the trip as a PD or something in a logistics capacity. Now that we are settled in our house, there really is NO excuse not to go on a mission trip again. So, if anyone out in blog land needs a logistics person for their next mission trip, I am your lady. :)

9). Many people read my blog, but about 3 of the comment on a normal basis. So, comment people, comment. (I didn't learn this in the last week either, but really - I love the comments). :)

It is finished

I am officially ready to start my class tomorrow. My course packet is ready, my lecture notes are ready, activities are ready - - - I am ready to tackle teaching my first college class in 6 months. It hasn't been that long, but it feels like years since I have taught a college class. WOW! I am excited to start, although, I would rather be on a mission trip. :(

Tomato Lovers Pasta

Since I posted the last recipe, I have been thinking about how to make it better, and today I decided to tweak it a little. Here's what I did:

*1 can of petite cut tomatoes (mostly drained)
*4 - 6 medium vine ripened tomatoes (seeded and peeled)
*8 cloves of garlic (separated from the head, but still in their casing - do not peel)
*Artichokes packed in water (or oil, but drain the oil)
*12 oz. of pasta (I used a confetti pasta, but penne or other medium pasta will work)
*Fresh Basil (I skipped this today, but it would have made it soooo much better)
*Sundried tomatoes - I don't know how much, but DO NOT get the ones packed in oil. Get the
dried ones and reconstitute them in hot water until soft.
*Pine Nuts (to taste - I have no idea how much I put in, but add as much or as little as you'd like)
*2 Chicken Breasts - cut into bite size pieces and sauteed
*Olive Oil
*Fresh grated parmesan cheese
*Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In an 8x8 baking dish, add can of tomatoes and a splash (about a teaspoon to a teaspoon and a half of olive oil), salt and pepper
to taste
. In another 8x8 baking dish, add quartered tomatoes that are seeded and peeled. Add the garlic cloves to this 8x8 dish (I actually put the garlic into the pockets of the seeded tomatoes to keep them moist - it worked well). Splash the tomatoes and garlic cloves with a but of olive oil, about a teaspoon and a half, add salt and pepper to taste. Bake for about 40 minutes or so, but watch to make sure they don't burn.

Boil pasta to desired consistency, maybe a little aldente (or keep a bit of a bite to the pasta). Aldente means "to the tooth" - or translated, means sticks to the tooth a little bit. Anyway, while the pasta is cooking, sautee the chicken in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Take the tomatoes out of the oven and remove the garlic. Squeeze the garlic into a bowl and smash the garlic into a paste (throw away the peels). When the pasta is done, add the roasted tomatoes, roasted garlic paste, reconstituted sundried tomatoes, artichokes, pine nuts, basil and chicken. Stir together. Add parmesan cheese to individual bowls. Yummy!

This is by far one of the best pasta dishes I have made yet. You MUST be a tomato lover in order to eat this dish (obviously I am a big fan - I eat fresh tomatoes by the bowl on a continuous basis). Since this is an original creation, let me know if you have any questions. And, if you decide to make it, send me a message. :)

Some of the items do not have quantities - I did that on purpose because I think that people need to experiement with food and find out what tastes good to them. I could easily say, 1/4 cup of basil shiffonade, but that's what I would like (or even more for that matter). I would just add little by little until it looks good and tastes good to you. If you need more specifics, message me and I can guestimate for you. :) Happy cooking!

Friday, June 15, 2007

We're Exhausted

Today Shawn and I assembled 3 vegetable boxes. Wow, we did not think that it was going to take so freakin' long, but it did. Yesterday, or at least I think it was yesterday, we bought the wood, and today we tackled the project! We did not work during the hottest part of the day though, which was apparently 97 degrees here in Po-dunk-ville, but we did work through some pretty hot weather. All in all the boxes look great and will last us at least a few years,probably many more though. The boxes are 10 feet by 5 feet (one of them), and the other two are 5 feet by 3 feet. I think I am going to grow watermelons, cantaloupe and different squashes in the big one, and I can't decide what I am going to do with the others yet. But, I can tell you this though - if it ever came down to it and we needed to grow our own food, we are set! When the world comes crashing down, y'all are invited to dinner. I'm just sayin'!

Pictures to come....

Thursday, June 14, 2007

It's Time

For a new Recipe!!! Yeah!!!!! This one is from Ellie Krieger, and it's GREAT!!!! It's got yummy tomatoes, basil, beans and pasta. I LOVED this recipe....Shawn, not so much. He really liked the flavor, but didn't like the beans. I think next time I make it I will add some chicken and/or pine nuts to it to kick it up a bit. But, I really love the recipe just like it is. It's healthy, lower in calories and simple. Without further ado, here it is:

Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic, and White Beans

3 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1(15 ounce) can cannellini beans
1/2 pound penne pasta
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Slice each tomato into 8 wedges and discard the seeds. Put the tomato wedges and garlic into a 9 by 13-inch roasting pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and a few turns of pepper. Roast in the oven, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

Drain the beans into a large colander in the sink. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta into the colander containing the beans, so the hot pasta water will warm the beans. Return drained pasta and beans to the pasta pot.

When the tomatoes are done, pick out the garlic cloves, squeeze the garlic out of the skin into a small bowl and mash with a fork. Pour the roasted tomatoes into the pasta pot, add the garlic, the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the basil and additional salt and pepper, to taste. Toss to combine. Serve topped with the Parmesan.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

You may be wonderng...

Some of you out there may be wondering why I was whining about completing my syllabus yesterday. After all, a syllabus is a two or three page thing that you give out to your students. Who cares what it says right? Well, what I was preparing yesterday took me about 9 hours. As it turns out, I had plans for a course packet which was 30 pages, not just a syllabus. I didn't know that's what I was planning, but as I sat down to complete it, it only made sense to put one together. So, there you have it folks - lots of whining, procrastination, 30 pages and of course a beer later, and I am about 80% done. I have to add some stuff, proof read, then it's off to the copy center at Sierra College. Fun times!

Monday, June 11, 2007

You know what helps?

You know what helps when you are EXTREMELY FRUSTRATED over your syllabus that needs to be done TONIGHT??? A beer!

And so it begins

I officially have 8 days to prepare a semester long class that is only going to last 6 weeks - or, at least I think it's only going to last 6 weeks. See, I am still unprepared, have no idea when my class is going to end, but, at least I know when it begins, and that's a good thing right? So, I sit here procrastinating, thinking about the things we need to buy like refills for our popcorn machine, order shoes for Shawn (because they don't carry them in the store anymore), a refill for my favorite pen, and try to find a reasonably priced fire pit for the outside of our house. Are any of these things necessary? No!!! But, I sit here procrastinating because I simply don't want to put together my syllabus for the class that starts in, oh, 8 days - and beyond that, simply don't want to gather my materials. But alas, by the time I go to sleep tonight, I will have completed the syllabus, gathered the materials I need, send out materials to the college to be copied - and maybe, just maybe, I will stop shaking because of stress and the things I keep putting off.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

The good, the bad and the exhausting...

I am going to keep this brief because I am absolutely exhausted. Friday a friend called Shawn very upset about his marriage - it may be over. He headed over to his house, I joined him about an hour later. This visit ended up to be a 9 hour conversation - which continued today for about 5 hours (for me, not Shawn). Apparently I was the one that he wanted to talk to since I had the 'female' perspective. No problem, and I am glad to help, but I am absolutely exhausted - and I have a feeling it's not over. The friend wants to meet with his wife, and Shawn and I this week sometime - yikes! Again, happy to help, but neither of us are counselors and feel very unqualified to do what they need. Of course we suggested counseling, which they are going to do - but they still want to have dinner (or at least he does). Keep them in prayer if you would. They can certainly use it.

On a bit of a different note, Shawn and I were complemented on our marriage - which was nice since most of what people see (at least in our families anyway), is all of the 'showy' bickering we do. Rarely do we bicker at home, it's just something we do in front of our families (why? I have no idea, but we have always done it - and it's kind of become sport to us now). Anyway, a couple who knows us complemented us on how much we love each other. It was nice to hear! And, in front of some people anyway, we are 'normal' and do love each other.

Another 'good' thing that happened, is someone commented to Shawn how 'cool' his wife is. That too was nice to hear. Not that we need outside affirmation of our marriage, because honestly, we have a darn solid marriage (even though some people may not think so - and to say it plainly - screw them because they know not the in's and out's of someone else's marrige), but all in all it was nice to hear that someone recognized how much Shawn and I truly cherish each other.

Ok, there is more I want to type, but I am to tired from spending about 5 hours on the phone today with said friend - and tons of hours yesterday! I am done!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

What could one do with a photo???

People keep telling me that I should do something with my photography. Hmmmm, I think I would, but what? What would I do? Open up a Carol's Photography studio? I would have to probably sell out and do family portraits and weddings, which wouldn't be a problem - except that I HATE WEDDINGS, and the only photography that I really like is objects in nature etc... So, what would I do? Maybe go to art galleries to see if they would carry my work for sale? I have no idea! Here are a couple pics people said they liked:

Besides teaching, I absolutely love taking pictures. The thrill of taking the perfect picture is so exciting. Maybe this summer Shawn and I will take some trips and I will take some pictures - who knows. But, besides giving the pictures away and putting them on my walls, what the heck do I do with them?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Eye Sporks

I just explained to Shawn what it feels like for me to be congested and not be able to breathe out of my nose. It feels like someone has tied me down and slowly inserted a spork into my eye, not a spoon, not a fork, a SPORK......and now they are twisting it at about a millimeter every five minutes - it's torture for me to not be able to breathe out of my nose. I can't wait to be better!

Monday, June 4, 2007

It's Official

I am sick. I haven't been sick in a couple years, so this has really thrown me for a loop. I think it's because of all of the preparation for the party this past month. The last month has been extremely hectic, and we STILL didn't get the house looking the way we really wanted it. Oh well! It's just a house right?

I have had a really bad sore throat for the last two days - - - haven't slept a full night in a few days - - - stuffy nose - - - weak - - - dizzy - - - exhausted!!! I am not quite sure if this is a cold or what, but I do know that the exhaustion of the last month has very much caused this sickness. My immune system is weak because of the non-stop past month. All in all I am pleased with the party (look for a wrap up post soon that will review the party) - but I am more pleased with the house. Every room is now livable, which I am extremely happy with. Now Shawn and I can have some fun this summer without having to worry about the house and home improvement stuff. In a couple of weeks we are going to put planters in the back yard for veggies, which I am excited about. I have a bunch of different melons, and veggies I want to plant, and it's almost perfect timing. We are a little late, as we should have planted a number of weeks ago - but we were simply too busy! Better late than never I say!!!

Real quick though - I must publicly thank my sister Melanie and brother-in-law Justin for all of the work they put into getting the decorations together, food prepared and all of the help the past two weekends! Those two really worked their butts off for the party. Shawn and I appreciate their help beyond words. Thank you Mel and Justin for all the effort you two put into the party - you will never know how much we appreciate it! :)

Also, our friends Maggie and Brian came up and helped out a tremendous amount. They helped with the set up, food prep and clean up of the party. I am truly thankful for all of the effort that was put in!!! The day after the party, I was eager, even though I was sick with a bad sore throat and was about to pass out, I wanted to clean the house so I didn't have to look at it anymore. I must give a huge thanks to Maggie for standing at the kitchen sink for about an hour (which isn't an easy task) getting all of the dishes clean in addition to all of the other things she and Brian did over the course of the weekend!

All in all, it was definitely a group effort to get the party going. Mel, Justin, Maggie and Brian did such a wonderful job. There is NO WAY Shawn and I could have done it without you guys. Our appreciation runs deeper than you will every know.

Also a big thanks to Brenda and Sharon for helping with food prep stuff the day of the party! :)

I must log off now as I am extremely exhausted and need to rest. This 10 minute post has already zapped what energy I had. Until later.....