I know it's not very funny but I had to try it out so I know how to create one. I might try to make another one next week.
Photo Story: Adventures in Baking
My adventures in baking continue. I wish i found it more relaxing to bake, maybe it will be when I get more experience, but for now it does stress me out just a little. However, I find it very satisfying when the bread comes out right. I like being able to bring my mom and my sister some homemade baked goods. I am practicing social distancing so it's the only time i get out of the house these days. I bring the bread to my mom and dad's house and we talk to each other from a safe distance. It's strange to see them but not be able to hug them. At least I can bring them some food. I love to cook. I love bread just as much as Oprah and it feels good to feed the people I love and care about. I'm glad to have learned a new skill, but I'll leave the cake baking to my sister, who makes beautiful cakes and cupcakes.
Food is memories...here are some of mine.
Baking Bread for the First Time
I probably should have taken a photo of the whole loaf before I cut one end off of it but I was too impatient to see what the inside of the loaf looked like (and of course what it tasted like). The bread I made was jalapeno-cheddar bread. I have been someone who enjoys cooking for almost as long as I can remember. I learned how to cook from my mom, who learned from her grandmother. I love to cook for people. It's one of the ways I show people I care about them. I make some really good food if I don't say so myself. But I have never been one who enjoys baking. The only time I ever bake is at Christmas when I bake Christmas cookies with my sister and other friends and family. I think it's because baking is more precise, involves a little more math and science and I don't always pay close enough attention to the details of the recipe.
I have been cooking more often since the school building has closed and I am teaching from home. I have made soups, meatloaf, roasted vegetables, sloppy joes, Easter ham and other things here and there. But I have had an idea to try making some bread on my own for the last few weeks. I've seen lots of other people try their hand at it and thought, well, maybe I should give it a try. It looks so easy in the TASTY videos.
It was pretty easy in the end. However, during the process I was stressed out, because I don't like to screw things up and, as I said before, baking recipes are more precise than cooking regular food. So, it wasn't quite the therapeutic experience I was hoping for. I was definitely not feeling one with the process. I made a mistake that I haven't made in a long time when following an online recipe. I DIDN'T READ THE COMMENTS before I used the recipe. The comments, aside from the trolls, are helpful because you can read about some of the problems people who already made the recipe encountered and learn from their mistakes.
In the end, the bread turned out pretty good. I learned through my mistakes some things I can do differently next time. The bread has a little heat from the jalapenos and a crusty top from the cheese, but it didn't rise as I high as I thought it would. Maybe it will next time when I tweak the recipe and correct my errors. I think I'm going to try again tomorrow. I'm grateful for the opportunity to try again.
Picture Prompt Story
It's 9:00 a.m. and I have a virtual class meeting in an hour. This quarantine has really played havoc with my sleep schedule. I probably shouldn't have stayed up until 3:00 in the morning scrolling through my Facebook feed but I had fallen asleep earlier in the evening watching Netflix and I couldn't fall back asleep. Funny meme about teacher's struggles. Like. My friend's 90's hairstyle in the Senior class photo. Like. Italian mayors yelling at people to stay home. Like.
The alarm goes off but it feels like I just closed my eyes. I've hit snooze three times and now I have to be ready for my meeting in 15 minutes. I need to wash my face and shave so that I don't look like a crazy, old man in front of my students. I stumble my way, bleary-eyed, to the bathroom and turn on the hot water. I'm barely awake so I don't notice that I don't hear the sound of water rushing out of the faucet and hitting the bowl of the sink.
I reach my hands towards the faucet, ready to wash the sleep off my face. I scream (like a little girl) when I feel the lumps of soft candies fill my hands. I jump back in surprise and look down to see my sink filling up with gummie bears. WTF? I quickly turn the sink off and look down at the pile of candy that has collected at the bottom of the sink. I rub my eyes, and immediately remember that I'm not supposed to touch my face. Damn. I try to turn the water back on so I can immediately wash my hands. More gummie bears. It turn the facuet off. I turn it back on, again. Over and over. I can't believe what I am seeing. My sink if filled with brightly colored, squishy bears. The smell of sugar and artificial fruit flavors hits my nose. I'm almost afraid to touch them, but the sweet smells make my stomach rumble. Do I dare eat one? Are they safe? Where are they coming from?
Suddenly, I hear a blaring sound coming from all around me. I open my eyes and realize my snooze alarm has gone off again. I wake up and realize it was just a dream...and I am late for my virtual class meeting.
I read an article on NEWSELA about a man who paid for groceries for 30 people. (If you want to read the article click here. The article talks about how the man and his 11-year-old daughter wanted to do something for some people in need in their neighborhood. They weren't sure about how to go about it but when they were standing in line at the grocery store, the woman in line before them was short on money for her grocery bill and he told the cashier that he would cover it. Then he just kept going, paying for groceries for 30 people.
The article got me to thinking about remembering that even though things are scary right now, there are still good people in the world doing good things. Sometimes, when things get difficult, the constant state of fear and alarming news can really make a person feel hopeless and even more frightened. It can make a bad situation even more stressful. That's why it's important to seek out the good things that are happening in the world. What we are living through right now can bring out the worst in the people...but it can also bring out the best. For 30 people, one man's actions, made their day just a little easier. Those families have some groceries to get the through a little longer.
I think that these seemingly small acts really help us to get through. We need to help each other however we can. I've read some stories of kindness that help make me feel a little better. It also makes me wonder what I can do to help others get through this really difficult time. This pandemic has revealed so many flaws in our current society. Really big issues of inequity that need to be addressed. It's overwhelming. So, I think its important to see the expressions of selflessness and love to help us to remember that kindness to each other can help us be better.
This is the Friday before Spring Break. Usually, the school is buzzing in anticipation of an entire week off away from the building. Of course, this year it's just another Friday. I'm still stuck inside, wearing my pajamas, sitting in front of my computer trying to make a plan for what we are going to do online when we come back. We've already been inside for more than two weeks, haven't seen each other and I'm missing my students (even the ones who require lots of extra attention). During this time I've rebuilt my entire website, watched an enormous amount of television, held some online class meetings (with very little turnout) and planned some projects for the future.
Beyond that, I haven't done much. No grand projects or deep cleaning of the house (I haven't even done laundry yet). My car had a flat tire (almost to the day I started self-quarantining) and I finally had a service come to the house and fix it. I think for my Spring Break treat I'm going to take myself for a drive. I haven't been out in the world for a few weeks. I'm not planning on going to any destination, just get out and drive a little. See what the city looks like through my car window.
I am worried about getting sick. I have been following the shelter-in-place guidelines very strictly. A friend of mine dropped by last week to leave something for us on the porch. Hers was the first new face I had seen in almost two weeks. It was nice to be able to talk through the front door window for a few minutes, just to connect with another human being (almost face to face). The visit lasted just a few minutes. Through a door. But it lifted my spirits for awhile. It was a nice unexpected break in my new routine.
I'm thinking of trying to come up with some new things to do to break up my routine while I am stuck at home. Especially next week, when I don't have any school work planned with my students. It got me to thinking that maybe my students are bored and stuck in a routine as well. So for Spring Break I challenge you to try and do something different, from your own shelter-in-place location, than you have been doing for the last two weeks. It might make you feel good.
If you are stuck on ideas, check out this article from the Sun-Times that offers up some suggestions. If you try any of these suggestions, or come up with an idea of your own, let me know in the comments below how it went.
Welcome to my page!
Throughout the school year I have had my students create their own Blogs to create a space for the students to share their writing and interests. Now that I am stuck inside during our shelter-in-place order I finally had some extra time to start my own blog and update my website. I have spent a great deal of time the last week gathering all of the videos and photos I have been collecting highlighting the work my students have been doing in my class and in other areas of the school.
I hope you can take some time and enjoy all the great things that I have witnessed during my time at Harper HS. This is indeed a strange time and I thought it might be comforting to look back at all the different things we have accomplished together. Drop a line and let me know what you think of the site.
Theatre and English Teacher at Harper High School