Thursday, May 31, 2007

Testing, Testing, Testing

This week is all about the California Standards Tests. For the last four days, grades 9-11 students had been sitting it out for no less than 2 hours to prove that they have met the standards set up by the State of California re their proficiency in the English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and History. While before they used to finish a 70-minute test in 15 minutes, now they seem to take more time on each question. I take it as a good sign of years and things to come for them and for the school. Julie and her clubmates are busy preparing goodies for the Food Fair tomorrow. They're saving for a dinner at Benihana. Learned that Jacob's two front teeth were extracted last weekend. I'm dying to see how he looks now. I better start teaching him that Christmas song.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What? No "Sounds"?!?

The van will meet with its mechanic today so I have to use Ed's HC. (Honda Civic). What a lonely drive. The car is OK. It drives smoothly. The break is excellent, the gas pedal is very cooperative to my moods, but I miss my morning music. I miss Mark and Kim's Story Behind the Song. HC's "sounds " broke down and now my drive is very quiet I have to sing to myself! Oh, Van, "get well" soon!!! 3:30 A not so good news. Van will still be worked on by Monday so I have to use HC till Friday. Two more days of listening to my own arias! 4:30 Typed the letters that some students composed to thank the companies that donated food and utensils to our classes. 5:30 Visited Sassy Mom's Corner and saw this. Played with it and here's how stylish I am! Thanks ,Sassy Mom ,for the link.
Your Fashion Style is Classic
You like what's stood the test of time... Simple, well styled clothes that don't scream trendy You stay updated and modern, but your clothes stay in style for a while You wouldn't be caught in animal prints, fake fur, or super bright colors

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Souffle and Plantain

Had a quiet Memorial Day.
Jet and Matthew came after lunch and I prepared Cheese Onion Souffle for snack. Was thinking of serving it with Nacho cheese but found out I've run out of it. But I discovered that souffle was good with microwaved plantain.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Ronald Reagan and his Moments

I always admired Pres. Ronald Reagan without his political halo. To me he was always a picture of elegance and gentleness. So, when I heard that his diaries had been published I have to have my own copy. I want to take a peek at his thoughts outside the oval office. Are they congruent to my perception of him as a man, a husband and a father? I am still in the intro and on page xi, I can get a glimpse of his compassionate nature when, "while lying on a bed in an emergency room", he wrote:
I focused on that tiled ceiling and prayed. But I realized I couldn't ask for God's help while at the same time I felt hatred for the mixed-up young man who had shot me. Isn't that the meaning of the last sheep? We are all God's children & therefore equally beloved by Him. I began to pray for his soul and that he would find his way back to the fold.
Till next reading.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Nothing Can Be More True

“I have come to a frightening conclusion. I am the decisive element in the classroom. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power

to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, and a child humanized or de-humanized.” Dr. Haim Ginett Tribes

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

And the New American Idol is.........

JORDIN SPARKS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My Idol

Mr. Tony Bennett. Growing up with his love songs is still very much etched in my mind.


What a lovely tree!
This jacaranda tree greets me every morning on my way to my school's parking lot. When it is in bloom, like now, I see to it that I slow down so I can savor the beauty of each cluster for I know that it will not be long before every petal falls to the ground.

Congratulations, Julie !!!

Julie with her mom at the C-CAP Breakfast Awards Ceremony at Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Well done, Julie!
May you continue to pursue your dream until it lands at the palms of your hands.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Busy, busy, busy. That's the only way I can describe my last week-end. Saturday: In the morning, cancelled my medical appointment. Jacob's mom was to be a godmother to a baby girl while his dad was meeting with his ninang and another teacher for a group-study session so Ed and I had to go with Jacob to his soccer practice. It was Jacob's last day. He had his 3 minutes in the limelight as he footsied his ball to the goal all by himself. Clap, clap, clap from all the moms and grannies that were there. Clap, clap, clap some more for the other 4-5-year-olds who had their own individual turns. In the afternoon, attended the baptismal party. Had fun eating, playing mahjong, karaoke-ing, talking. Stayed till midnight. When we got home, had to fold the clothes from the morning's laundry that I left on the bed. Purposely left everything on the bed so I would have no choice but to fold or hang each piece, or else, bye-bye laundry, till next week! What would have been worse was I would have nothing to sleep on! Sunday: After breakfast, took Kirby to the airport on his way back to Stockton after which we proceeded to Paramount to visit Manong Fred. Manong, besides being a very good friend, is a father figure to all of us who had been from Nigeria. In 1987, he figured in a car accident and had to be operated on his head because of a clot at the base of his neck. Then after a few years he had another operation, this time with his heart then after a year another trip to the operating table because of some ulcers in his aesophagus. Inspite of all those operations he never slowed down in what he loves doing - carpentry, masonry, taking care of his grandchildren, gardening - you name it, he does it. But this trip he had two weeks ago made us all nervous. He was in bed for more than a week! We thought that was very unusual. Then, we learned he forced himself to stand and walk. So, we paid him a visit to celebrate his new life (as his wife calls it). On our way back home, we passed by COSTCO for some fillers to our balikbayan box. Then, from the eleven o'clock news I learned that a suspicious fire had gutted the auditorium of my school! Thank God nobody was hurt. This morning, I wanted to see the damage for myself, but I have to be at the Awards Ceremony with Julie. She received a scholarship towards tuition to a local college. Hooray to her!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

RED Doing the Samba on the Road

He darted into my lane without signal I almost hit him on his left rear side. The pick-up looked small atop four humungous tires the driver must have felt like he was atop the Eiffel Tower looking down at the city of Paris! That's when I woke up from my reverie while listening to the featured song at KOST's Story Behind the Song. I'm glad my brakes are all working fine. Then Red, that's what I'll call the car, got impatient and darted to the right lane. I didn't change my speed cuz intuition told me Red would come back to my lane. And I was right! The right lane had a gap, the car in front of Red was rather slow for Red's taste, so Red darted once more to the right lane, then to the next right. But there was a big truck that changed toward Red's new lane so Red was slowed on his track. It was easy to spot Red in the traffic because of the tires and also, Red's color was metallic red. Parallelwise, Red was just a car ahead of me. I could sense Red's impatience because the driver would turn Red's tire abruptly to the left and back, to the right and back. Suddenly, Red zoomed to the slowest lane I thought he was going to make his exit. There must have been an opening cuz Red's car was going much ahead, still on the rightmost lane. I went back to my music station. Then, there was Red again in the lane to my immediate right. I stepped a little harder on my gas so there was no way Red could cut me again. No way, I thought to myself. Traffic on Red's lane got slower, Red seemed smalller and smaller behind the other cars. Then I couldn't see Red anymore. Hey, Red will you make my morning drive exciting again tomorrow?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Practice makes perfect. Perfection's what Julie has been working on since Monday. She will compete on Friday and she needs to smooth out some rough edges in her execution of the contest recipes like - maintaining smoothness in her pastry cream and chocolate sauce, keeping the chicken's juiciness and balancing the flavors in her meat sauce. Oh, yes, and making sure she has seven equal and smooth sides to her tourne, precision in slicing her meat, perfecting her plating and to top it all maintaining her work station as neatly and orderly as she possibly could. Quite a top order, yeah? I had written one of her teachers for permission to excuse Julie from attending that particular class tomorrow so she will have time to tie up any loose ends. She needs to double check her utensils, uniform, and that she has enough stock and glace to bring. She also has to learn to relax. She can not afford to get rattled and forget things if something doesn't go her way. Tomorrow, it will still be: practice, practice, practice! If I may add: prayer, prayer, prayer, too!

Monday, May 14, 2007

He is a Soldier

This is Victor. He is a soldier. He was fighting in Iraq but had to come home because of a back injury. He came to visit me during the last Parents Conference Day. We talked about many things including where he was seated when he was my student, his family, his love life, the muslim people he'd met, etc. But what I will always remember about our conversation are his thoughts about the war and the "thrill" he gets when he is in the war zone!

Victor reminded me that he was included in my 1997 roster. His younger brother, Jonathan, was in my 2002 class (him I still remember) and the youngest, Christopher, is currently my student.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

It Came and Went

Mother's day came and went but left memories to fill my heart. Yesterday, Patrick took his Dad and me to the park for a picnic with his family. Dondon and Paolo's families were there and reserved a very nice spot for all of us. On the way home, Patrick whispered to me that that quality time we spent together in the park is his mother's day gift to me because his car needs to be taken to the shop. Got the message loud and clear, Patrick. Just to let you know, being with my grandsons, Jacob and Joshua, was already a mother's day gift beyond compare. Early this morning, we celebrated Matthew's dedication to the Lord at his parents' church. This time I received a bouquet of flowers from Jet. Sweet! When we reached home, there was a gift on the dining table from Lester and Rachelle, then received a call that they couldn't wait cuz Rachelle wasn't feeling well. I was disappointed, of course. But what can a mom do? Move on so as not to spoil her day, oh yeah? After reading the Sunday papers we went to my mom-in-law who, according to my sis-in-law, was already threatening not to talk to Ed if he wouldn't come. She's 84. We enjoyed the lunch that she lovingly prepared. To complete the day, we visited a department store and bought some gifts to bring on our trip to Batangas. But wait - there's a bouquet of flowers and a balloon on our doorstep. They're from Hazel, Kirby's special girl. Oh, what a mother's day!!! Now........ back to reality. Tomorrow is Monday!!!! PS: Patrick came at about 7:30 pm and took us to a late Mother's Day dinner. Said it's their treat for Mylynn's mom and me. (Have resigned to the fact that they wouldn't, anymore) . Another surprising postscript to another special Sunday.


Image hosted by by prncs104 Roses - my gift to all of you, mothers and mothers-to-be. (You may click on the picture for more roses)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

My take on Chilaquiles

Ed will be home any minute and I haven't prepared anything for breakfast yet. The refrigerator! Hmmmnn.... corn tortillas, cheese, eggs and, and, and voila!!! Mexican chorizo! Perfect. Everytime the students prepare this dish, my mouth gets so wet I feel like licking the spoon they stir their recipe with. I am talking about Chilaquiles. (I tried to look for the exact meaning of the recipe and I found different versions, so I leave it all up to you to find your own favorite.) The aroma always fill the whole building some teachers stick their necks at my door to ask what we're up to. The spices in the chorizo is like perfume in the air. You know what it is and yet you don't. The recipe is very simple: Cut up 8 corn tortillas into small pieces and fry until crisp and golden brown. Meanwhile, in another pan, fry approximately 1 cup of chorizo until most of the fat had been extracted. (You may drain the extra fat). Beat four eggs and add to the chorizo Stir in 2 cups of grated cheese until melted. I used mild cheddar (Monterey Jack or Mozzarella are good choices, too). Add 3/4 of the fried tortilla chips. Blend well. Serve with either red or green salsa and the rest of the chips. Bon appetit!

Friday, May 11, 2007


Today has been a good day.

The traffic was smooth, the temperature in my room was perfect and the classes went on without any hitch.

Some of the students were taking their AP exams so my periods were ideal in terms of "population".

Alex in my fourth period had his birthday yesterday but the ladies in his group decided on surprising him with a cake today. They even frosted and decorated the cake before it had time to cool.

Jonathan, on the other hand, was alone in his table and didn't want to work with another group. He didn't want me to take a picture of him but consented to have his hand working the dough photographed instead. Jonathan is the only one, in a group of six, who is not in the AP program. I've noticed that he is so quiet and just do as the others would tell him to do, which is more often than not, to wash the dishes and pots. Many times I'd ask him if he wanted to join another group but he would only shrug his shoulders. I really want him to show what he could do but his has always been a 'no-care' attitude. Today, he was left with a dough that his group had prepared yesterday. He didn't want to touch it, said he'd wait till his group is complete. I told him: "Jonathan, this is your time to shine. Show us what you can do with this dough. Just by yourself. I know you can do it. Come on!" He shrugged his heavy shoulders again (he's a big lad I look like a midget beside him), smiled ever so shyly, and took the dough. And to the amazement of everyone, he finished rolling, shaping and baking his pastry and cleaning his area! (Just a few minutes more than the others.)

I also worked on convincing him to move to another group and be the lead person. To my surprise, he agreed!

I can't wait to see a new Jonathan on Monday!

Thinking back, when I tried to pat him on his arm to tell him how impressed I was with his performance, he acted startled, moved his arm away, almost with a jerk. I wonder why........

Thursday, May 10, 2007

You are The Moon

Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

The Moon is a card of magic and mystery - when prominent you know that nothing is as it seems, particularly when it concerns relationships. All logic is thrown out the window.

The Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. You may be going through a time of emotional and mental trial; if you have any past mental problems, you must be vigilant in taking your medication but avoid drugs or alcohol, as abuse of either will cause them irreparable damage. This time however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. You can and should trust your intuition.

What Tarot Card are You? Take the Test to Find Out.

Thought this was fun.

Oooooopppppsssss!!! Where are my pills?

FELIZ DIA DE LAS MADRES ! As I was checking out from the grocery store I noticed three men carrying either a bouquet of flowers or a pot with full blown tulips in them. What day is it, I was wondering. Then when I reached school a student hugged and greeted me: "Happy Mothers' Day, Ms.!" So that is it. For me, it won't be until Sunday. I am wondering again. Will my sons remember?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

How about an Appetizer?

I had been out of the classroom for two days. Friday was Preliminary Competition day and yesterday I had to see my doctor. I changed to a new primary physician 4 months ago and it was only yesterday that I had the chance to meet with him. He seemed nice and sympathetic to my questions and complaints. I found that a good sign. I had been suffering from an allergic reaction to pollens so he prescribed me a pill that will put me in deep sleep for about 4 hours. I told him about my addiction to Dancing with the Stars and American Idol so he instructed me to take the pill 30 minutes before I go to bed, which was what I did last night. I was fine up to lunch time today. But now my body feels like hitting the sack. Oh, my, just when I am about to hit the road! Today was Pate Sucree moments for my classes. After the dough was rolled out it was spread with tomato paste and topped with chopped ham. There was supposed to be cheese, too, but I didn't have the budget for it. Then the dough with the filling was rolled and saved in the freezer. The roll will be sliced like thin cinnamom rolls and baked. That will be for tomorrow. It was only the advanced class that was able to bake the recipe. Students described the finished product as a tortilla roll in a cookie wrap. Would you like the recipe to this appetizer? I saved this as a draft and only remembered to publish it now - 5/09/07 - 2:15 pm.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

There it goes again....

I was so excited yesterday when I was able to upload some pictures to my posts. But this morning I am noticing a new problem - after visiting a blogsite this computer goes blank on the next I had to close and re-open my machine. My patience is running very low. I don't want to aggravate the problem any more than it already is so I'll have to take an unwanted rest one more time until Lester comes and help me solve whatever and wherever the bug is. Am I the only one encountering this problem? Or, am I the only blogger who is this low on technology that is called computer?

Saturday, May 05, 2007


Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Mexican Rice, Pozole, Chile Relleno and Horchata. The students who prepared this menu also prepared Bionicos for dessert.

Nice to be Back !!!

These are some of the few flowers that greet me everyday from my kitchen window. They somehow help me stay sane this past week!
For almost a week now technical difficulties in my computer kept me away from blogging. Sad to say I only know how to hit on those keys that are self-explanatory.
I called my son who installed everything for me but his calendar is full so I was left with no choice but to consult with him via e-mail or phone! He asked me what exactly was my problem so I told him "I can't use my computer! Just come, will you please?!?"
Three days ago, he instructed me to open AdAware. I did but instead the Google pack appeared! I tried my luck again only to find out that not only could I not upload pictures, this time I couldn't even read my e-mails!!! I tried to uninstall the pack, tinkered with some Verizon/Yahoo buttons and voila!! the message box for my e-mails re-appeared. I opened my blog but the old problem's still there. Had to call Lester again. This time, he told me to unplug everything connected to my computer, wait for about 3 minutes then plug everything back in. I did. So, here I am. What a nice feeling!!!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Taking a Break

I am taking a break from blogging. I am having problems posting and uploading images and I am also having a hard time interpreting or translating the suggestions and solutions the Google Groups sent me. Till then.........

Immigrants Walk

Today, May 1st - Labor Day, makes me wonder.... how many of my students will be coming to my classes? Yesterday, I told them that today will be a Latin Food Day. Did I convince them enough to go to school instead of marching to City Hall? 12:30 update I believe I did, so now the smell of roasting corn tortillas and carne mollidas frying in cumino and other latin spices will be with me the whole day! But I am not complaining. I don't mind, don't mind at all!!! Which reminds me - I still have one period to go. I better hit the loo before the bell rings!