Saturday, January 30, 2010

Here we go again

Just when we thought winter was over, it comes back bigger and badder than ever.

Trees bending under the weight of the ice.

Broken branches littering the ground.

Without electricity, there isn't much to do besides watch the candles burn.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Best Project

We are in the middle of a project to help Haiti. Who isn't? But I just love how this project came together. The earthquake happened on JAN 12. Our preacher talked about it on Sunday, JAN 17. After church, Alba & I talked about an all school service learning project to help Haiti.

Monday was Parent/Teacher Conference Day (also Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) so we were able to propose our project to the other teachers. The idea was to have all the teachers teach something about Haiti in their classes. Elementary teachers could teach about Haiti wherever it fits best. English can write about it, geography and history can study Haiti and art/music can focus on Caribbean art and music. Other teachers might have to get creative. The science teacher said his anatomy class is studying diseases and his earth science can study earthquakes. Tech-Ed is studying structural Engineering. They can learn why the buildings in Haiti fell down during the earthquake. Everyone was on board and willing to take part in our all school project.

I wrote a letter that was sent home with the elementary students on Tuesday. It explained our project and asked for donations of items needed for health kits (wash cloths, hand towels, hand soap, band aids, combs and fingernail files). I also sent a similar message to my school newsletter e-mail list. One of the people on that list is Zeke Campfield, reporter for the Lawton Constitution.

Zeke wrote back and told me he could come to Indiahoma on Friday to do a story about our Haiti project. We all got in gear. Nicole spent some service learning money on health kit items so we'd have some things to package when Zeke came. Students made fliers and posters and hung them around town. Carrie got T-shirts made for the service learning group who will present our project at the state capitol on FEB 1.

On Friday morning, several elementary students brought their donations to the library where we took pictures of them. They donated a lot of items. When Nicole brought hers over, there was a long table full of stuff. When Zeke got there, he interviewed Casey and Brya, the two students who are going to the state capitol. He also got information from Carrie and me and then took pictures of the kids putting together the health kits. They made 42 health kits and had 33 partial kits started. Zeke thanked us for letting him come cover this story. We thanked him for coming to Indiahoma and putting the story in the newspaper. We were hoping it would be in the Sunday paper and he said that was a possibility but they might hold it for the Tuesday family section.

On Sunday morning, there was our story on the FRONT page, above the fold. And what a great story it was. It was listed first under TOP STORIES on their web site.

It's very exciting to be part of this project. It came together easily, people are working creatively and enthusiastically and it's just a very good thing.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Mari made an awesome North Pole Ruffle scarf as a Christmas gift for Abby. I have lots of yarn left over from a school crochet project that I thought would be great to use on this pattern. Of course this is different yarn than the "Lion Brand" yarn used in the pattern and I didn't have a "K" hook so I used a wooden one with no size markings on it that looked like it was about a "K." These substitutions were not as successful as my soup project. My scarf is quite a bit longer than the one Mari made. It makes a nice collar around the neck when double wrapped that would be excellent in the next frigid snow storm. When will that be? Or maybe you know a giant in need of a nice ruffle scarf.

My sister, Susan, sent me a link to some really cool patterns for plarn (plastic yarn made out of bread wrappers and WalMart type bags). I can hardly wait to get started on those.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Best Soup

Linda told me about the Bean and Squash Stew/Soup that she served on Christmas Day. It sound wonderful so asked for the recipe. She sent it to me and I will put it at the end of this post so you can have it too. I made it yesterday and it was delicious. I ate it again tonight. Still a taste bud treat.

But can I really call it Linda's recipe? The grocery store didn't have butternut squash so I got an acorn squash instead. I cooked the squash in chicken broth instead of water in a 2 quart sauce pan. I didn't rinse or drain the black beans when I added them. (I love black beans. You can even make brownies out of them. Yummo.) Next ingredient, Mexican stewed tomatoes. I didn't have any but I did have diced tomatoes with green chilies. That's close enough. I substituted blackeyed peas for the the baby corn that I didn't have. Dried onion instead of fresh onion rings. I skipped the tomato paste altogether. No vegetable bouillon cube, but I used chicken broth so that probably makes up for it. I did have chili powder, oregano and garlic powder (ran out of fresh cloves). I followed the cooking instructions: bring to a boil, cover and simmer. I did not have any sour cream so I topped it with Greek yogurt and grated Parmesan cheese. It's the best soup I've had in a long time.

Here's the original recipe. Let me know how you modify it.

Bean and Squash Stew/Soup

2 cups water
1 cup butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch thick cubes (do larger chunks)
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 14 1/2 oz can Mexican style stewed tomatoes
1 cup frozen or canned baby corn.
! small onion sliced and separated into rings.
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1-2 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
Dairy sour cream, optional

In a 3 quart sauce pan combine water and squash. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, corn, onion, tomato paste, bouillon cube, chili powder, oregano and garlic. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes (until squash is cooked). If desired, top each serving with sour cream. Makes 4 main dish servings.

163 calories, a gram total fat (0 sat fat), 785 mg sodium, 36 grams carbs, 9 grams fiber, 11 grams protein

Saturday, January 16, 2010

No New Phone Yet

The Razr still doesn't work but Daryl says it takes a day or two for the battery to totally dry out. He's had some experience with this.

In the meantime I looked at prices of phone batteries. The full price is $50. I googled the battery brand and number and got a result from Amazon. I shop there a lot and am always satisfied so I went to see what they had. I ordered a battery for $4 and car charger for $3 and a book I've been wanting to get for 70 cents. With postage it was $18. Well worth it. So now I wait on either the battery to dry or the one from Amazon to get here. I guess I'll also be waiting on my new iphone.

As an afterthought, let me mention that this morning's shopping experience at Amazon qualifies for the best of the worst. Not a a good thing to possibly ruin your phone's battery, but to replace it or get a back-up battery for $4 is the best solution to this problem to me.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The best, unchanged

I was thinking today that I'd run out of the best of the worst and would have to actually start writing about the best of what's good. I even have a couple of ideas, but then tonight as I was helping my grandson out of the bath tub, my cell phone fell in. I got it out as quickly as possible and dried it off. It said, "Remove battery." I would, if I could figure out how. Finally it came open and I have it in pieces, letting it dry overnight. Maybe it will work tomorrow. If it doesn't, how could this be the best of the worst?

I've been wanting and dreaming about an iphone. But I haven't had my razr for a year yet and it's on a 2 year contract. Seems unnecessary to upgrade at this point. And still, an iphone, how fun. This may be the accident that gets me an iphone. We'll see.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Best Exercise

I hate exercising. I am not athletic. I don't do things like ski or play tennis. I used to dance and swim, but those things aren't available in rural Oklahoma. I tried walking. Boring. And the scary dogs running wild, potholes and uncooperative weather (it's too hot, too cold, too windy, too many allergens) make it an unworthy form of "exercise." I finally realized that I had to do something. I decided to try Curves. I know that if I pay for something I will try to get the most out of it. I joined Curves and I can say that it is the BEST exercise program for me. It only lasts 30 minutes. You do aeobic exercises on a "board" for 30 seconds then move to a machine where you only stay for 30 seconds. From the very beginning I was sure I could do anything for 30 seconds. And I was right. I like the other people who go there and usually see different people on different days. I would rather stay home and watch TV, write letters, do my computing or crochet, but I know I need to exercise. It gives me more energy, better balance and coordination, helps with my weight and I just feel better. So today Curves wins "the Best of the Worst" in the category of exercise.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What to write about?

I haven't felt inspired to write about the theme "The Best." The best what? Then inspiration struck. What is the best thing that comes from a bad situation? For instance, it has been freezing cold here, from the Christmas snow blizzard of 2009 up until today when we had balmy, 50 degree, leave your coat inside and go out to catch some rays weather. So what's the best thing about temperatures below 32 for days on end? For me it's dressing for warmth, not caring about style. Jeans, a hoody and boots. The professional dress code forgotten, every day is casual Friday. That's my silver lining, the best thing about being cold.

Playing in the snow is fun too.

Monday, January 4, 2010

National Blog Posting Month

I just joined NaBloPoMo. January's theme is BEST.

We started back to school today after two full weeks off for Christmas vacation. I love free time, sleeping in, staying up late, going where I want when I want...but since I've got to have a job to support the lifestyle I've become accustomed to (hot water, food, shopping, gas in the car...) , the job I have is the best for me: school librarian. I have classes with students whom I am glad to see. Interesting, fun to be with people. Other people, younger people, are my library patrons and they bring me great joy too. Funny stories, enthusiasm, energy and in a way I play the role of their grandma. Their teacher (parent) sends them to the library for a visit. I keep them, spend quality time with them and then send them back home again. 3:30, time to go home.

I am really grateful to have a job, and especially one I enjoy so much.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Looking back over 2009, I thought I'd use today to post "my" other URLs.

My daughter, Mari, created this blog. I do most of the updating since she lives in New York City. From the blog you can go to the church web site.

You can find me under 7th-8th-High School and Library "tabs" on the red bar at the top. There are links to my assorted school websites from there (computer social network, LeapBlog, ACE Wiki, service learning blog, Library Blog & Twitter)

I'm sydperry23 on Twitter and Sydney Perry on Facebook.

Have fun surfing!