Friday, June 29

Ooops, she did it again

I can't wait to post pictures of this...

I arrived in Atlanta the day after my sister's birthday. She pulls in my parents driveway - radio blasting - about 30 minutes before we're supposed to leave for dinner. Mom and I were still in the middle of a Scrabble game and we all needed to shower. So we head upstairs. Two showers are running, two showers end and then I jump in. Meanwhile the phone rings, it's the neighbor, "Did you hear that crash? We think Sarah's car rolled down the driveway... again." Yes, my sister left her standard transmission car in neutral without the brake set. My parents' driveway is mostly flat with a small hill that curves down toward the garage past the pool. The first time it was minor, it rolled and got stopped by a huge shrub. Mind you that time still cost $2,500 to repair her Jetta.

This time though it missed the big shrub and instead took out the concrete lion (about 1.5' tall) and rolled onto hit the wrought iron fence. Oil pan is dragged off and a terrified toad is covered in oil. My dad and I rescued the toad and the neighbor used his HUGE truck to pull the car out. My sister is hoping its totalled. I thanked her for an amusing start to my visit :) I know, I'm so cruel.

Three Kinds of Love

The boy and I were talking about our futures, whether they are aligned or not. I've been a huge ball of stress thinking about a long distance relationship between Moscow and Japan. He's just applied for a master's program where next summer he'll be taking lab courses in Maryland while I invision myself travelling through Eastern Europe or China.

Regardless of all this, he says that if our love is a love of the soul, we'll come back together. See, he believes in three kinds of love: love of the body, love of the mind and love of the soul. Love of the body is superficial, the first wrinkle, sign of weight gain, grey hair you're out - obviously not our kind of love. Then there's love of the mind, where you have conversation, intellectual match, fun. Even if you separate you can still be friends and possibly come back together. I believe this is the love we share. However, I think we both desire love of the soul - the kind that even if you're separated for ten years you ~have~ to come back together there is no one else for you.

So where does that leave us? I have no idea - but I'm feeling better about just seeing what happens.

Thursday, June 21

Good-bye, Serafina!

I sold my car yesterday, woo hoo! But now I have to say good-bye. She is a great little car, incredible gas mileage, I never once had a flat or any other problem really. Of course saying good-bye to her also means saying good-bye to my St. Mary's debt, WOO HOO! Thanks, Serafina!


Ok, now that I've written about my stresses, I can write about my first, but certainly not my last!, Izakaya experience. Wil and I met up with two other couples down at Yume-Ya in Sunnyvale for dinner. One of those dinners that I love that lasts almost 2 hours and includes the waitresses coming with multiple dishes and taking aways multiple dishes, several bottles of cloudy Japanese liquor that comes in a pink bottle.

So Izakaya is a type of Japanese dining that involves eating small plates of food whilst consuming sake. I'm fairly certain what we were drinking was not sake, but we did eat many small plates of food:

  • We arrived to spicy fish balls waiting at our seats

  • Spinach with sesame sauce

  • Lotus root stuffed with shrimp

  • Shrimp stuffed mushrooms

  • Cuttlefish (squid) in butter sauce

  • Some sort of incredible pork stew

  • Bitter melon (it is not named so in jest) with (sweet succulent) pork belly

  • Pumpkin Croquettes

  • Snail skewers (the only really disappointment of the evening)

  • Pickled Vegetables (far different from the kim chi type of Korean cuisine, these were mild and delicate, but had enough unique vegetables that I was still intrigued, until that last unidenified horrible green)

  • Chicken Cutlet with Ponz sauce

  • Halibut sashimi with ponzu sauce - this was awesome. Paper thin slices for you to roll around two types of radish bits

  • Dessert - panne cotta, yes, I know bizarre, but wonderfully creamy with a strongly flavored caramel topping

Thank you to my friends for introducing me to this place and this type of dining!

Stress Managment

I don't manage stress very well. I can't sleep or when I do sleep I grind my teeth. I get knots in my shoulders and mostly take it out on William, the calmest of calm. And this shouldn't even be stressful. I mean, damn, someone is coming to my house to pack for me!

Oh, but wait, the packing in and of itself means I'm moving to MOSCOW. Where I know no one, where it will be FREEZING for an average of 5 months out of the year. I've been very lucky in the bay area, hell, in my whole life really, and I'm confident that Moscow will be no exception. I've always said I wanted to move abroad and in actuality, will probably end up staying abroad for many years.

So then what else is there, hrmmm, oh right, there's that whole I've been living very happily with William for the past 8 months and in all likely hood that too will end as he moves to Japan. The current plan is that he'll join me next school year in Russia, but we both acknowledge that it's just a plan and is subject to change. Beyond that he has his whole life planned out, Japan, then law school, then working on making this world of public education a better place. My plan is that I have no plan - yes, I am incredibly anal about planning the present, but the future, well that is the one area of my life I just sort of fly by the seat of my pants. I can see myself hopping from international school, country to country. I don't want to come back to the states just to follow the boy to law school - though at some point I do want to get my masters in mathematics, but whose to say that has to be at a US university???

So, there you have it. The thoughts that have me awake 5 hours after I laid down. Now the curtains have to come off the wall and the sheets off the bed to be packed.

Wednesday, June 20

I hate moving

And this time it isn't even so bad. We had a highly successful yard sale Sunday where we ended up selling almost all the furniture we've acquired over the past year, including our beautiful table and six chairs. We ended up getting almost two-thirds of what we paid for it even! The couch, bookcase, kitchen island, kitchen shelves, dressers are all gone. Meaning all the stuff that lived in those places is now just sitting around the house. It's driving me crazy, but then it will all be gone tomorrow with the movers. And then we'll be in a house that has only a bed and our suitcases of clothes for 5 days.

The reality of the whole situation hasn't really set in yet. I still have not begun studying my Russian in earnest nor have I bought a statistics book to brush up on. Instead, Wil and I went and saw Mr. Brooks. Shockingly, Kevin Costner has made a movie that didn't suck, excluding Robin Hood Prince of Theives, of course! It was dark, a bit scary and fascinating.

And now tonight, we're off to try Izakaya which is akin to Japanese tapas. I'll post how that goes later (assuming I remember ;))

Thursday, June 7

End of Year

Finals started today, thank god. I've been mean recently to my students. It's so frustrating watching so many of them fail. Our principal has been telling us we need to figure out ways to make students pass. Ooh, I've got one, make them come to school - counting up total absences for the semester the highest was 76. Now that was extreme, but many were in the teens, low twenties and that doesn't include tardies.

But then, I still have several students who come every day and are still failing. They do no homework and maybe half of all the class work, thus, failing most tests. I just don't understand how you can come to school every day and actively do nothing. Then there are the ones who I told "You have to get a "B" on the final to pass." And then these past 4 days when I've given them review problems and time to ask me questions. They'd sit there chatting. When I'd remind them of the needed B, they'd say, don't worry you'll get it. As if it were a contest.

Don't they know I've already passed algebra!

After I finish grading finals tomorrow, I'll come back with statistics.

In the mean time, I found out that I'll have 3 preps next year in Moscow, meaning of my 5 classes, 3 of them will be different. I've got 3 9th/10th grade, 1 upper level IB juniors and 1 12th grade Math Studies, which I'm assuming is equivalent to "Math for music majors" or something. Grumble. I wanted all higher level math. Or at the very least a maximum of 2 preps. There go my visions of me walking around Moscow in the evenings.

Friday, June 1

CSA week of 5/30

Our box has been brimming with great stuff these past few weeks and I've been making great stuff with it. We got some wild arugula and basil last week which became a spicy pesto. After a visit in the country with Amy, we turned some of her fresh milk (omg so good!) into ricotta, which got layered with the pesto, sliced potatoes, artichoke sausage and homemade tomato sauce into a "lasagna."

This weeks fresh basil got turned into Basil Beer Bread which was incredibly fast. I got the recipe from my CSA news letter, which they inturn got from Eating Well magazine:

Preheat oven to 400. Coat a baking sheet with evoo.

3.25 cups all purpose flour
1 package yeast
1.5 tsp kosher salt
.5 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup parmesan

Stir in just until mixed:
1 12 oz bottle of ale

Turn onto a counter and knead just until incorporated:
1 cup chopped or torn fresh basil

Form bread into a round. Bake until golden brown, 40-45 minutes. I did 40, but should have gone at least 45 (yes, it was still doughy in the middle, d'oh)

Let rest on a wire rack 10 minutes before slicing.

It's very yeasty tasting, toasts up great and would be great for sandwhiches. I put a fried egg on it for breakfast this morning. Delicious!

I also made a basil vinagrette for the fresh spinach and salad greens. I haven't decided how to cook the kale yet and of course the strawberries got devoured on the ride home.


I get movers. The kind who will come to my house pack everything up for me and ship it off. Then a few weeks after I get to Moscow, my stuff will arrive and presumably be unpacked for me. I have a shipping allowance of 6 cubic meters, roughly 1200 pounds! Return trip is 8 cubic meters. Hoo boy!

Also, I just received a letter from the girl vacating my soon to be apartment. It's 2 bedrooms - so visitors you'll actually have a guest room! Aparently very roomy with a gas stove in the kitchen with tons of storage space - did I mention I'll have movers to pack up all my kitchen gear!! - a large living/dining room and a laundry room. I haven't known this decadence since living my corporate life in Denver.

Oh, and I also signed up to have a once a week house cleaner come. I promised William I would try to live neater in Moscow and I think this will be a great help. Spoiled, yes. But I'll have more time to learn Russian and cook this way. That's what I'll keep telling myself...