Hello, again. I definitely did not mean to leave that last post up for so long like some sort of dramatic headline or something. I’ve been trying in vain to upload some videos from Rolo’s school singing performance thingymabob. It’s just not working!

In the meantime, I’m swamped with end of year stuff. I’ll get back on track soon. In preparation for turning in my computer on layoff day, I have been transferring my stored photos to Google Photos, so let’s just have a play with google photos type of day.

Things That Are Happening

Nothing quite puts a damper on counting down until summer like receiving the gift of a lay-off notice on a bright shiny Friday morning. Granted, I had been forewarned. I can’t even take it as personally as I would like to since it is literally every non-tenured person in the entire district and will soon be followed by some as yet undetermined number of tenured teachers as well.

Now my yearly countdown to being able to sleep in for a spell lacks the usual excitement. Turns out that sleeping in is only fun when it’s a finite good.

I don’t really write about work, and I’m not really writing about work now. This just veers over into “Life Events” pretty spectacularly. I felt I couldn’t avoid mentioning that I won’t have a job come May 20th on the blog. There is a chance that being laid off could result in a domino effect of other new life events at some point and you needed some warning. It could also be that eventually the legislature will get tired of using teachers as pawns in budget negotiations and my job (or some job) will trickle back down to me before too long. I’m not sitting around waiting in the meantime. Instead, I am sometimes manically applying for jobs and checking on other teaching licenses, and other times I am taking impromptu naps. It’s a real either/or situation.

Since I don’t know any additional information at this point, and have no word on when I will know more information, let’s move to a silly anecdote about my kid.

On the way home from Girl Scouts yesterday, I started singing the opening lines to “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid under my breath. When I got to “wouldn’t you think I’m a girl, a girl who has…everything,” Rosalind yelled for me to stop. Our exchange was as follows.

Her: Stop!

Me: What? Why?

Her: She doesn’t have everything!

Me: What doesn’t she have? (Fully expecting it to be legs or a prince)

Her: She doesn’t even have a SHIRT! Or PANTS!

Me: Snort.

Rosalind Cate – Pragmatic since 2009.

A Little Bartok

Rosalind participated in her first piano competition today. We have zero personal experience with this as neither of us played musical instruments growing up. We knew she had to play her classical piece from memory and that she would be judged. That’s about it. It’s pretty intense! Lots of dead silences and waiting during dead silences and public critiquing of 8 year olds on a stage!

Rosalind prefers to play this piece really fast and with a bit of anger behind it, but this is the pace her teacher asked her to play. She hit every note, and I’m proud of her. She did not medal, but I think it was a great learning experience for her. She handled the pressure like a champ.


Weekend List

    • I pretty much lost my voice due to an uncategorized general snottiness. Perhaps it’s low grade allergies, or perhaps it’s a low grade cold? Either way, I don’t feel sick or even allergic. There is no aching or red eyes or anything that tells me what is happening. It’s just that I cough a lot and get exhausted from my cracking squeaking voice by the end of the day. Everyone else feels beyond exhausted with my voice. I have been told to stop talking by everyone. I’m sure because they care about me a lot and not because they can’t stand it anymore.
    • I worked out both days anyway! I am bragging.
    • I ate a lot of comfort food though. Not bragging.
    • I also took my kid to the March for Science! My participation in this rally felt more connected to education in general than science in particular. I think that was a common draw for many people based on some of what I heard around me. My entire profession is based upon teaching future generations to gather information, think critically, and use evidenced based reasoning. What do I tell them when an entire nation is turning away from basic intellectual practices because it doesn’t fit with their preconceived worldview? So though I didn’t feel the same sense of rage that spurred my involvement in the Women’s March, I felt it was still important to lend my body and voice to this march as well.
    • Rosalind went because she likes science! She would like to be a scientist. The type of scientist changes regularly. She had a great time because the weather was lovely, lots of people were there, and organizations gave out cool stuff like free donuts. She was disappointed there was less chanting this time.
    • After having gotten stuck in line behind 4 million teenagers ordering a Unicorn Frappuccino, and watching the poor baristas have to tediously make the technicolor drink that takes 4X as long to make as anything else, I vowed I wouldn’t bother trying one. However, on Sunday, our local Starbucks had samples out. All three Barron’s feel that the Unicorn Frap is quite disgusting. Not even the 8 year old could be convinced to take a second drink. It’s like, uh, sweetened sour cream mixed with sour candy? Bad aftertaste too.
    • We had this legit ham, brie, and arugula sandwich. I’ve always thought I preferred a grilled version, but this turned out to be my favorite iteration. I want more right now. Sergio can make a mean sandwich.
  • Ham and Brie Sandwich
    • We also decided to make double decker tacos at home. I actually highly recommend doing this even if it feels silly because then you can feel like a kinda gross person in the privacy of your own home instead of publicly at Taco Bell.
    • BIRBS! We’ve been seeing some evidence that the migrating birds might be around, so we stopped by Creamer’s Field on Saturday. They were there! Ducks, geese, and swans at least. Plenty of other types will show up eventually, but there were still hundreds upon hundreds of birds to watch. Going to Creamer’s Field feels different every weekend because of how the snow melts. Right now it looks like a wetland full of ponds pushed right up to the fence. The birds get right up close to you and it’s fun (if a bit mean) to watch them spend the morning falling through the melting ice or squawking off interloping males trying to win away the females. Next week the area by the fence could be grass and the water will be more toward the middle. The cranes may have shown up by then. You never know. Rosalind had the best time on Sunday trying to get as close to the ducks as she could to take some pictures. She was very quiet and stayed very small and the ducks totally hung out right with her. Eventually some kids having less luck (because loud) came and joined Rosalind. She dutifully shushed them as they came close and everyone got a nice show.
    • Finally, Rolo and I sat on the porch and watched Sergio grill. It wasn’t really cold enough to be wrapped in a blanket, but when faced with the choice of cuddling in a blanket or not cuddling in a blanket, cuddle in a blanket.

Rolo and mom on porch


This photo is how I am currently feeling. 

A little whisky, honey, lemon, and hot tea for when you can’t breathe without coughing. 

But I’ll be marching again tomorrow anyway. You should too! Or today, if you are somewhere that it is already tomorrow? And there is a march organized? Then go for it! 

Easter 2017

Our Easter Day shaped up to be a very chill and pleasant day at home. We made a terrible/wonderful discovery when we decided to spend 8 hours smoking a pork belly. Possibly the most decadent food item I’ve ever eaten. Rolo and I also made apple and cherry hand pies on a lark. Don’t judge the appearance. I’ve never made them and pretty much winged the whole thing. Pretty tasty! We had so much leftover filling that I went on to make cherry applesauce. I feel so homemaker-y. 

Rolo, of course, had a visit from the Easter bunny. Alas, he was relegated to hiding things inside again this year due to below freezing temps. Still. In mid-April. Forgive Rolo’s wet hair. The Easter bunny has never quite figured out how to hide eggs without the aid of making Rosalind go get showered and dressed. She always has wet hair in the Easter hunt pictures. 

I hope your holiday was as relaxing and pleasant as ours! It’s hard to say who was happiest with the pork belly, but I’m willing to give that title to Rolo. This is her savoring an end piece in her cat jammies.

This Dog Meme Represents Everything You Need To Know About Me


The principal of my school recently complimented me on how calm I always seem (I guess it was a compliment? Maybe he was hinting that I should care more intensely about things?). He noted that I seem to take everything in stride. I smiled and nodded and continued on my way just like a taking-things-in-stride person should. But actually I am this dog. All the time.

Gotta get myself one of those vests.

Not A Lot To Say

Nothing new to report here. It’s probably not worth writing a post, but I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to find something to say somewhat regularly. 

Rolo and I finally found some time to go see Beauty and the Beast this weekend. I had heard a lot of reviews that ranged between “meh” and “yuck.” It really dampened my enthusiasm for the whole thing. Let me just say, I had a great time! Perhaps the problem lies in these Disney movies not really needing live action remakes, but there is nothing wrong with the remake itself. 

Rosalind LOVED it. It occurred to me about a quarter of the way through that she hasn’t seen the original enough to internalize the story, so for her, much of the story was a surprise. At the point in the story that Belle gets a chance to run away, but then Beast saves her from wolves, Rosalind literally turned to me with her hand clasped to her chest and said, “I have very mixed feelings right now.” Rosalind visibly FELT the action of the movie. I had the best time watching her watch the movie. Not to mention the probably 20 year old military guy that sat alone behind us and seemed to be having the best time too. He genuinely enjoyed himself so much that it increased my enjoyment of the movie too. 

Not the best pic. We went straight from the gym and I hadn’t even quit sweating yet, and Rolo has soft pretzel in her mouth. It’s the only one I took though. 

The only other news to report would be that we finally broke out the grill yesterday, and lo, it was good. Still piles and piles of snow on the grass, but spring in many other ways. 

So, It’s April Now

It’s that time of year! The time of year when I start counting down the days until Summer break! There are 7 weeks to go! I just looked at my calendar and realized there are even less full weeks than that! 6 and a half! 45 total days! 33 school days with students! Nice!

I’ve had a really chill year, so don’t take my countdown as any indication of wishing the year away. It’s just entirely a countdown toward not setting an alarm and then eventually the beach.

It hit 51 degrees here on Saturday and Rosalind took full advantage. She played on the back deck, about half of which is completely clear of snow while the other half supports a snow tunnel she built up a few weeks ago. She spent her time blowing bubbles, finding old sidewalk chalk, and carting toys to and from her play space. Then she took it upon herself to go down into the backyard and dig up her campfire chair from the snow, clean it off, dry it up, and place it on the back deck. She then set herself up with a book and some juice and stayed there reading for a long time. It was great. Never mind the fact that it was probably her body’s way of telling her she is in dire need of naturally occurring vitamin D.

It never got quite that warm again, but it seems that we are finally hitting spring. It even rained on us yesterday. I am so beyond ready to see grass. Unfortunately, the first step in Alaska is to see all of the discarded trash and dog poop emerge from the snow pack. THEN you get to see grass. To put it simply, this is not the prettiest time to come visit Alaska, but it is full of hope! And sunlight!

I don’t have much else to share since our weekend activities were pretty much limited to going to the gym and the grocery store. You’ll be thrilled to know that I got a great deal on curtains! I also bought some new perfume. We don’t just fun shop much, but there are a few stores around town that can make you feel like you are having a normal Saturday just about anywhere. Sergio and I are also both working through a program to increase our running distances and speeds. I ran enough this weekend that my legs and rear end are both hurting as I sit here doing nothing. That’s good, I guess?

When you aren’t surrounded by any (pleasant) spring color in nature, you create your own. I cleaned out my classroom sharpies during prep the other day and then realized I had created something very friendly by accident. Rosalind wanted badly to make a tie dye cake for her at home birthday. She was adamant that it be spring colors that she mixed up herself. Enjoy.



Things That Are Good

As we have established before, I am not a lifestyle blogger. There is little about my life that is styled, organized, cutting edge, or particularly enviable. However, I have wanted to write an ode to my tea kettle for about 6 months now. Luckily for me, I have recently collected two more kitchen gadgets that deserve their own odes, and now I can make a slightly more complete post.

Electric Tea Kettle: I came to understand around the age of 18 that British people, among others, have electric tea kettles with which to make cups of tea. I had literally never heard of or seen this phenomenon before staying with my friend in her Faversham home that summer. It was nice, but what would I need with one, being a purely soda consuming human? Over the years, I came to appreciate the idea of a tea kettle for easier hot beverage making. In Alaska, it is not uncommon to find electric tea kettles in most classrooms. However, we waited until six or eight months ago to finally buy one. I still thought of it as an unnecessary luxury that would take up kitchen counter space and only be used for the occasional tea or hot cocoa. We were so wrong! It is probably the single most utilized gadget in our kitchen on a weekly basis. Gadgets, for the sake of this post, are all non-lucrative kitchen items. On an average week we use it to: make various cups of hot tea, make pitchers of iced tea, make after school hot cocoa, make ramen noodle snacks, and speed boil water to make quicker dinners in a variety of ways such as softening our rice noodles last night. Just when I think that we have exhausted the ways we will find to use the tea kettle, we find more ways to use the tea kettle. If I am any indication, Americans don’t know what they are missing when it comes to tea kettles. Buy everyone you know an electric tea kettle. Heck, buy me another. I want one for my classroom.

Bialetti Stovetop Espresso Maker: I have never been satisfied with my coffee making. It just never seemed like it came out quite right. Part of this, I’m sure, is that I prefer milky espresso based drinks when I have the choice. Sergio introduced me to the idea of this stovetop espresso maker. It seemed too simple. When you look up espresso makers and milk steamers, you usually get really complicated and expensive machines that seem hard to clean in your results. This thing! It is so simple! And quick! It is nearly fool-proof! I say nearly because there was that one time that I forgot to put in the espresso ground coffee and just brewed up some water, but I’ve also done that with a regular coffee maker a time or two. I never just drink straight espresso, though, which brings us to the next gadget.

Bialetti Milk Frother: I warm up our milk and then froth it with this little doo dad and then I pretend I’m a really cool barista in my mind. The combination of the espresso maker and milk frother have cut down on our artificial sweetener intake and our trips to the coffee shop. Double score! Sorry, I can’t find a link on that one, but it is the thing that looks like a small immersion blender in the picture below.


Since I am recommending things, let me offer this totally random, non-gadget related activity. If you find that your brand new eight year old is open to new types of movies lately, and you have always known that your spouse somehow missed out on some key childhood Steven Spielberg experiences, sit down on a weekend night and watch E.T. with your family. It’s on Netflix. You won’t regret this decision. Have nice cup of tea, a homemade latte, or some hot cocoa while you do. See how I pulled all of that together right at the end?