Tuesday, January 29, 2008

snow and a test

I am testing something Wayne told me I should use to blog.
It seems pretty cool so far, but I've yet to hit "publish."

It snowed yesterday, and we were lazy. Did not play in the snow. I love snow for it's ability to cancel school and cause life to come to a standstill. All for one inch or less of the stuff. Don't love the coldness and eventual wetness of it all.

We did miss a field trip yesterday because of the snow, though. Oh well. Maybe we'll visit the district's central kitchen (ew) another time.

Brittani is home from her extended stay at her mom's, if I haven't mentioned that.

Semester ends Friday.

Paige has her Winter Formal on Saturday.

Maya finishes swim this Thursday (yea!) and starts ice skating in two weeks (brrr). We go from barely being able to breathe at the pool (damn chlorine fumes) to freezing our heinies off at the skating rink.

February starts Friday and the countdown to B-day 37 will commence. Yes, I am getting older and older. I won't dwell on it...yet.

Test over. Please put your pencils down.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Business of Being Born, Birth and my Business

Wayne and I went with two other teachers last night to watch The Business of Being Born. We were mere feet from Ricki Lake during the Q&A after the movie. It was cool!

So, the movie was so great; it really shows quite well the norm of hospital birth. Conversely, it shows some awesome homebirths (the homebirth midwife is such a character). There is even a cesarean, which is done nicely and is a reasonable cesarean, unlike so many, which are unnecessary. I really appreciated the scene with all the pit orders. It was so frustrating but so real. Also, I liked the part where Ricki asks three OB/GYNs how many natural--intervention free-- births they have seen. The blank looks on their faces for a beat or two (or three!) was priceless. The replies: "rarely." "almost never."

You can see that part in this trailer:

I am at a crossroads of sorts with my teaching. I feel uninspired, and I don't know why. I have pulled away from former students, and I really don't go out of my way to gain new students. I enjoy teaching...a lot, but I feel like my students aren't hearing me like they used to. Obviously I feel it's me and not them. I think some of it has to do with the fact that I haven't worked births in a long while. Now that Wayne's work schedule will be less time consuming, I will be able to provide labor support again, which I hope will be inspiring. You learn so much about women and strength and birth when providing labor support. Then you can take that experience back to class and make the info real and relevant to the current birth climate.

I have a class that is supposed to start at the beginning of February, and I'm not ready; I have one couple, and if I have only one couple, I will not teach. One couple in a class doesn't work. I've only had that happen one time, and I won't do it again. I need at least three couples and five couples would be a full class. But what am I doing to procure more couples? Nothing. No marketing. No networking. Putting off calling back potential students... yeah, real proactive stuff. Ha!

I was talking to a friend not so long ago about how much I would love to punch a clock and not have to worry about marketing and networking, which are not my strengths. I've always hated it and felt weird schmoozing.

I was talking to the other two teachers last night about how I've been teaching for 5 years now, and I feel so much like I am swimming upstream against a steadily rushing flood of highly interventive births: inductions, pain meds, instrument deliveries, I'm seeing episiotomies again(!), and so many cesareans... I feel so helpless. I'm hoping that with the two new teachers in our area that we can encourage each other and build a community for ourselves, as I was able to do with the two Bradley teachers who used to teach out here (one will be returning to teaching in March). There will be 4 of us in the same county, so we can really serve the community, if we work together.

I don't know...I hope I unfunk soon.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Recipe: The Best Tortilla Soup

I've made this a few times now, and it is easier and tastier than the last tortilla soup recipe I used. I bake the chicken earlier in the day. I salt and pepper it and drizzle it with olive oil and bake at 375 for 45 minutes (I use Costco's frozen Foster Farms breasts). This soup is quick and easy to make and so yummy! And I have to say, homemade tortilla chips are the best thing ever.

6 T canola oil
8 corn tortillas chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 medium onion, chopped
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
2T. ground cumin
1T. chili powder
3 bay leaves
6 cups chicken stock
1tsp. salt
1/2tsp cayenne pepper
4 large chicken breast halved, shredded.

shredded monterey jack cheese
diced avocados
corn tortillas (I used 6) sliced and fried crisp

In dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat.
Add tortillas, garlic, cilantro, and onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil.
Add cumin, chili powder and bay leaves.
Add chicken stock and return to a boil.
Reduce heat, add salt and cayenne and simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove bay leaves and add shredded chicken.
Garnish with cheese, avocado, sour cream and fried tortillas, if desired.

6-8 servings.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


It is so damn cold here lately. 29 degrees when we went to bed. 31 right now (10:30am PST). Sunny though.

Dry skin weather.

Since Wayne's second job ended, we have really been trying to make cut backs where we won't feel them.

The first thing we did was switch our grocery store from Safeway and Fred Meyer to Winco, which saves us a ton of money in groceries every month. We have saved, I swear, over $100/month in groceries by shopping at Winco. Amazing. I was so reluctant to try Winco-- mostly because I like my produce to look pretty. Winco pretty much loads the produce off the truck, opens the boxes and put the boxes on the shelves. You have to dig around a little more for the good stuff.

I've heard their ground beef is yucky, but we eat ground turkey, which has been fine so far. If we need ground beef, we'll get it at Fred Meyer.

I do miss pretty produce, though. Maya had a field trip to the Spanaway Albertson's Monday, and it was a great grocery store field trip. I was drooling over all the pretty produce, the great lighting throughout the store and the attractive layout. Winco is like a warehouse. So not attractive.

But I'll take money in my pocket over a pretty store any day.

We also canceled our DISHNetwork. We had the mega package with the HD channels. We were paying $100/mo. for TV!!! Gross!! We did a combined package with our phone/internet provider, which is a local company (not Comcast). We are saving $50/mo by making that change.

I've been thinking about whether we could cut all the way back to basic cable. We still have the HD package because we have these expensive HD TVs, so we feel compelled to subscribe to the HD channels. There was a time when we didn't even have cable. For years we didn't have cable. Then we moved up to basic cable, which was fine. It's so much easier to upgrade than it is to downgrade, I tell you. Easier on the psyche, I mean. It killed me to get rid of DISH and all the wonderful HD channels to get three HD channels that are offered through our current provider.

Today I canceled our XM radio subscriptions. Yes, we were paying two hundred and some odd dollars a year for nearly three years to listen to radio. That's not a hell of a lot when you break it down by the month, but we need every penny. That money could be a pair of shoes for one of the kids. Or a haircut. Gas money. Contacts. So many options.

Well, when I canceled our XM, they gave us three months for free. Bastages trying to keep me addicted. We're hoping that in three months we can get the money together to pay for our two XM radios. As bummed as I was about downgrading the cable, I did cry over losing XM. I listen to XM exclusively. Maya got in the car the other day and asked to listen to Radio Disney, and I had to tell her that we didn't have it anymore. She had a complete meltdown. It sucks. She doesn't remember when we were always so damn broke because she wasn't born yet, so these cutbacks have made her less than happy. She also cried when we changed our cable.

The thing that sucks is that Wayne makes a waaay above average income, but I still feel like we are always struggling as the next payday approaches. Cars, insurance and gas/electric kill us. The mortgage is do-able. Credit debt is there but manageable (one credit card and two student loans).

I think we'll be okay, and we're trying to avoid either Wayne getting another job or me getting a job, though the idea of working is kind of exciting. I'm just super picky. I want a mindless job that is 20 or less hours/week, and the hours must be 9ish to 1ish. No weekends. Potential employers could be really turned off by my very specific needs, I'm pretty sure.

Work...I'm putting off my January class. I don't mean to, but week after week goes by, and I'm still unprepared. I have bumped it to February, which means it won't end until the end of April, which means my next series won't end until the end of July. Ugh.

I'm in my wintertime lull; my impossible-to-get-motivated mode. I hate this time of the year, but it happens every year like clockwork. It's annoying.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Wayne, Maya and I just returned from our annual January trip to Leavenworth, and we had a great time, as usual.

We had plenty of time for lots of swimming, we went sledding on the hill in town, and we made our traditional trip to the bookstore in town, where Maya chose two books: Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones and Lucia and the Light, which I really wanted. The illustrations are beautiful and very evocative of the cold winter days. The main character is a very strong and brave little girl who does not rely on a male to protect or save her.

And Skippyjon Jones, if you haven't read any of the books, is a hilarious Siamese cat who pretends that he is a chihuahua. The first time I read a Skippyjon Jones book, I didn't know whether to laugh aloud or cringe. My less sophisticated self over-powered my politically correct self, so I laughed.

We came home yesterday, and it was a beautiful drive along Blewett Pass and Snoqualmie Pass. We decided to stop at Snoqualmie Falls on the way home, so Maya could see the falls. It was a lot busier than I expected, and the trail to the bottom was closed (bummer). I took some pictures, and we headed home.

We drove through Snoqualmie Ridge on our way to the falls. I'd never been there before; when I lived in the valley, the development was still being argued about. I have to say, the neighborhoods look very much like the one we live in, but the setting is spectacular. I feel a pull to the valley sometimes because it is so gorgeous, but I also feel that same pull to other beautiful places I've visited (Ashford; Belize) or lived (Steilacoom). Actually, I feel quite a strong pull to Halifax, too. It is my dream to live in Nova Scotia, but Wayne says I should at least visit first. I've had quite an infatuation with Canada for years and years now, but I don't think Wayne will ever want to take the leap across the border. I think it may not be as easy as I think it is for an American to move to Canada.

I have pictures of the weekend. Lots of pictures of Maya sledding.

I love the snow.