Thursday, September 10, 2020

Inside Out

 Many things that were inside activities are now outside activities:Harp

 My kid is the red head with the mask.  😊



Can you spot my kid?

Friday, August 21, 2020

Teachers as Essential Workers

 President Trump has proudly declared teachers as "essential" workers.  President Trump has been in office since January, 2017, and he has left teachers out of his spotlight, until now.  Now, teachers are essential.  

What is an essential worker?   According to the U..S Department of Homeland Security, essential workers are those who conduct a range of operations and services that are typically essential to continue critical infrastructure operations. Critical infrastructure is a large, umbrella term encompassing sectors from energy to defense to agriculture.  (Link to original)  If you ask me, police officers, firefighters, military, doctors and nurses are essential workers.  People who need to show up every day to work.  Police stations have a staff 24/7, as do hospitals.  I didn't notice that teachers have a 24/7 station.

What else has President Trump done for education?  He named Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.  Ms. DeVos doesn't believe in public schools.  According to Wikipedia, "She was Republican National Committeewoman for Michigan from 1992 to 1997 and served as chair of the Michigan Republican Party from 1996 to 2000."  She is part of the RNC.  She attended a private high school.  She attended a private college and earned a degree in business.  She didn't attend public high school or public college.  She doesn't have a degree in education.  But yet, Trump, who ran on draining the swamp, appointed a person with no experience in public education to Secretary of Education of the United States.  Has she advocated for more funding for public education?  NO.  Has she made community colleges more affordable?  No.  She hasn't advocated for the public schools or the teachers.  She hasn't provided funding to rebuild old public school buildings.  She hasn't provided funding to public schools, because according to President Trumps, are a local issue, but yet President Trump has declared public school teachers essential.

Has President Trump provided Covid19 tests to the public schools?  No.  He wants the doors open to public schools, but yet he won't provide the same kind of testing the White House to the public schools.  Public schools educate everyone - the poor, the wealthy, urban, suburban, rural, gifted children with high IQs, autistic students, students with asthma.  The public schools accept every student.  But yet, the teachers, students and staff can't get tested on a daily basis.  Imagine if every public school could test everyone that walks into the school for Covid19, similar to what the White House.  How would parents, students and staff feel about the safety of the schools?  President Trump hasn't and won't provide that testing for the public schools.  (I won't even get into the details that President Trump's child, Baron attends a school that is remote for the first month.)

President Trump hasn't stepped into a public school.  He doesn't know (or care) the daily issues public schools face.  President Trump wants schools to open so he can pretend Covid19 has disappeared.  However, by opening the schools, he will cause the death of many teachers and students.  But he doesn't care.  He hasn't led this country in mourning that 170,000 Americans have died of Covid19.  He hasn't provided PPE to nursing homes, hospitals, schools, cities and towns.  Instead, he had each of those entities try to purchase equipment in the open market, while also purchasing PPE for the Federal Government.  It was a giant mess.  He hasn't accepted responsibility of the PPE shortage.  

Please, teachers and students aren't firefighters with years of training of how to run into a burning building and fight a fire.  Students are still learning.  How do you keep a room full of 25 first graders six feet apart?  How do you keep a room of 25 second graders with their masks on all day?  President Trump can't answer these questions.  He doesn't care to answer them.  He just wants the schools open so on election day he can say that Trump beat Covid and opened the schools, but he won't tell you the expense - the death toll. 

PS:  Robert Redfield said on August 21, 2020 that teachers should self isolate and be out of the classroom if exposed to COVID19, which is not what other essential workers have to do.  Yesterday, it was expected that if teachers are exposed to COVID19, they should continue to be in the classroom.  Follow the science of Dr. Redfield.  Exposed teachers should not be in the classroom.

PSS:  “The wearing of masks is not an alternative to social distancing. It’s not an alternative to hand washing. It’s not an alternative to decompressing class sizes. It’s not an alternative to all of the other measures,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, from the WHO.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Traveling to Mizzou during a Pandemic

 We moved our son into the University of Missouri (Mizzou) this past week.  He is a first year student, and I am proud of him.  Mizzou is the public university in the state of Missouri.  It has about 30,000 students!  It has the first school of journalism in the US, and that is my son's major.

Here are some photos from campus, which is a botanical garden:

The creator of the comic strip Beatle Bailey attended Mizzou.  Cool statue.

This is the bridge from my son's dorm area to the campus.

This is a panoramic view of his dorm with his bed and his roommate's bed.

Signs like this all over campus.  Has a big agriculture school too.

The rental car loaded up.

The Columns

Student Center

Mark's Dorm

Another cool sign between two statues

The J School sign

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The movie: The American President

 One of my favorite movies is "The American President."  The acting in the movie is fabulous, and there are so many good scenes:  Lucy playing the trombone, Annette Benning in the "Dish Room" are among my favorite.

But then there is this "speech" from the President when his girlfriend is being verbally attacked by his opponent:

For the last couple of months, Senator Rumson has suggested that being President of this country was, to a certain extent, about character. And although I've not been willing to engage in his attacks on me, I have been here three years and three days, and I can tell you without hesitation - being President of this country is entirely about character. For the record, yes, I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU, but the more important question is, why aren't you, Bob? Now this is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights, so it naturally begs the question, why would a Senator, his party's most powerful spokesman and a candidate for President, choose to reject upholding the Constitution? Now if you can answer that question, folks, then you're smarter than I am, because I didn't understand it until a few hours ago.

America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours." You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.

I've known Bob Rumson for years, and I've been operating under the assumption that the reason Bob devotes so much time and energy to shouting at the rain was that he simply didn't get it. Well, I was wrong. Bob's problem isn't that he doesn't get it. Bob's problem is that he can't sell it! We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things, and two things only: making you afraid of it, and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle age, middle class, middle income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family, and American values and character, and you wave an old photo of the President's girlfriend and you scream about patriotism. You tell them she's to blame for their lot in life. And you go on television and you call her a whore. Sydney Ellen Wade has done nothing to you, Bob. She has done nothing but put herself through school, represent the interests of public school teachers, and lobby for the safety of our natural resources. You want a character debate, Bob? You better stick with me, 'cause Sydney Ellen Wade is way out of your league. I've loved two women in my life. I lost one to cancer. And I lost the other 'cause I was so busy keeping my job, I forgot to do my job. Well, that ends right now.

Tomorrow morning, the White House is sending a bill to Congress for its consideration. It's White House Resolution 455, an energy bill requiring a twenty percent reduction of the emission of fossil fuels over the next ten years. It is by far the most aggressive stride ever taken in the fight to reverse the effects of global warming. The other piece of legislation is the Crime Bill. As of today, it no longer exists. I'm throwing it out. I'm throwing it out and writing a law that makes sense. You cannot address crime prevention without getting rid of assault weapons and handguns. I consider them a threat to national security, and I will go door-to-door if I have to, but I'm gonna convince Americans that I'm right, and I'm gonna get the guns.

We've got serious problems, and we need serious people. And if you want to talk about character, Bob, you'd better come at me with more than a burning flag and a membership card. If you want to talk about character and American values, fine. Just tell me where and when, and I'll show up. This is a time for serious people, Bob, and your fifteen minutes are up. My name is Andrew Shepherd, and I AM THE PRESIDENT!

The part I like is "We've got serious problems, and we need serious people."  President Trump is acting like Rumson and wants to blame EVERYONE but himself.  Trump is blaming China for COVID 19.  Trump has had enough time to use the DPA to get testing available to EVERY AMERICAN, but instead he is in the White House (or at his club) blaming China.  This is a serious problem Mr. President, and we need YOU and your TEAM to get us out of it.  Stop the blame game, and get us testing.  The testing will allow us to open schools.  Will allow us to get into crowds.  If someone tests positive, go home, and keep testing until you are negative.

And then this weekend, he created the payroll tax deferral, but he will only make it permanent if the American people elect him again.  This is a threat?  Fix the problem Mr. Trump.  We need serious people to fix the problems.

Florida has SERIOUS problems, and the Governor of FL is a Trump fan.  Florida is HOT right now, and people are waiting in long lines to get tested in unbelievable HOT weather.  The President of the United States can get more tests if he makes it a priority and stops blaming China.

Trump wants the SCHOOLS to open.  (His own son's school is remote until at least October.)  But he wants the rest of the kids to go back and get teachers and themselves sick.  The President of the United States could HELP public schools by shipping them tests, and PPE but instead he points the finger and blames China.

We have serious problems Mr. Donald J. Trump, and I hope your fifteen minutes are up.  We will not be speaking Chinese if Biden is elected.  We will be electing a man who will listen to science and get testing and PPE to people.  He won't sacrifice college football players and school teachers.  He offers us hope.  He offers us a change to the blame game.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Tomatoes with herbed ricotta

I love the days of fresh grown tomatoes in New England.  Of course, I have NO talent growing a garden, so I rely on the local community farms.  Early August is here and so are the tomatoes!

2 cups fresh ricotta
3 T minced scallions (about two)
2 T minced fresh dill
1 T minced fresh chives
Kosher salt
2 pints assorted tomatoes
1 t minced garlic
1 T olive oil
1/2 julienned fresh basil leaves
Fluer de sel

In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, scallions, dill, chives, salt and pepper.

Cut the tomatoes in wedges and place in another bowl with the garlic, olive oil. 1 t salt and pepper.

When ready to serve, add the basil to the tomatoes and mix.  Put the ricotta in a small glass bowl on a platter, and surround the bowl with the tomatoes, discarding the liquid.  Sprinkle with salt and serve.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

One of Adam's most favorite dinners: Kung Pao Chickpeas

I am not a fan of super spicy, but my husband is.  I found this recipe from the cookbook Myers + Chang at home.

Kung Pao Sauce:
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 T unseasoned rice vinegar
2 T sambal oelek
1 T minced garlic
1 T peeled and chopped ginger
1 T sugar
2 t cornstarch

Mix in a small bowl.

1 15 oz can chickpeas - drained, rinsed and dry
2 t cornstarch
4 T canola oil
8 dried Thai chili peppers
3 scallions - cut into one inch pieces
1 small red onion cut into 1 inch cubes
1 red pepper, cut into one inch pieces
1 green pepper, cut into one inch pieces
1 large celery stalk, cut into one inch pieces
1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts or cashews
1 5 oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 recipe of Kung Pao Sauce

In a small bowl toss the chickpeas with the cornstarch.

In a wok, heat 2 T of oil over high heat and then add the chickpeas and stir for 4-6 minutes.  Remove the chickpeas from the wok.

Add the remaining oil to the walk and heat over high heat.  Add chilies and stir for a minute.  Add scallions, red onion, red pepper, green pepper, celery, peanuts and water chestnuts.  Stir.  Cook 2-3 minutes.  Add chickpeas.  Add the Kung Pao sauce.  Stir and bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes.  Place in a large bowl and serve with rice.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Beach Cupcakes

Directions to create Beach Cupcakes:  - makes 12 cupcakes


1.5 cups all purpose flour
1.5 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk, room temperature

one stick unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into small pieces
4 cups powdered sugar (you might need 1/2 cup more)
1/4 c milk at room temperature
1 t vanilla extract

Blue food coloring
1 1/4 c graham cracker crumbs
colorful paper umbrellas

Cupcake Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 bake.  Put paper liners in cupcake tins.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl (use a mixer if you have one) beat butter until creamy - about two minutes.  Add sugar gradually, beating until light about three minutes.  Scrape the bowl at least twice during this process.

Beat in vanilla.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Scrape down bowl.

Add the flour mixture in four additions, alternately with the milk.  Begin and end with the flour.  Beat on low-medium speed.

Pour into cupcake wells.  Bake for 18 minutes (check at 16 minutes).  It will be done when you insert a toothpick into the center and there are crumbs but no liquid.  You can always bake more.  You can not take away baking time.  The center will spring back when lightly pressed.

Cool pan on rack for five minutes.

Remove cupcakes on a cooling rack to cool completely.

(NOTE if you want a marbled cupcake, melt 1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate and allow to cool.  Divide batter in half and fold in melted chocolate into one half of the batter.  Divide yellow batter into cupcake wells evenly and then add chocolate.  Use a butter knife to marble the batters together)

Frosting Directions:
In a mixer beat butter until creamy (about two minutes).  Add 1 cup of powdered sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy (Three minutes).

Add one more cup of sugar and half of the milk.  Beat well.  Scrape bowl.

Add 1 more cup of sugar and milk and beat well.  Scrape bowl.

Add 1 cup of sugar and vanilla.  beat on high until light and creamy - 5 minutes.

If you need more sugar add the remaining half cup.

Tint the frosting blue.  Frost the cupcakes using an icing spatula.

Place graham crackers in a bowl.  Hold each cupcake over bowl.  Using a spoon sprinkle crumbs over HALF of the cupcake.  This is now the beach.

You can play with the waves to get them the way you want.

Insert umbrellas.