Education in “Construction Site”

Yesterday I went to my old community college to see just how far I am from getting an Associates.  If I want one in English I have a little ways to go, the good news is that I have completed all the core classes (except two units of Exercise/Wellness Activity).  I have about 6 classes (perhaps 5, I think they read my transcript wrong) to take and they are all in English, Philosophy, and History.  All subjects I like/love!

Next semester could look like this: Creative Writing, British Literature II, Yoga, European Humanities, and Mythology.  I will be a busy yet Zen person.

It was very strange being there, a lot has change in the last few years.  The main quad area that had the cafeteria, book store, and counseling center is now gated off and referred to as the “Construction site” on the maps around the school.  Though I have been to that school many a time as a student, I was so confused I had to look at the map.  When  I arrived I parked near where the Counseling office use to be and had to walk through a good chunk of the school to get to the “Temporary Counseling Office” that is now located in a bungalow (as they are apparently called) near the NEW 3 level (maybe 4) parking garage.

My appointment was at 9:30, I got there around 9 and waited in the bungalow.  Their was a hospitalesque type of smell.  All of the recirculated air and the new cubicle smell combined in a way that just couldn’t escape out of the one door opening, which remained closed to keep in the a/c.

I glanced around at the flyers and the gabbing staff.  There were two small screens that were in a PowerPoint loop of counseling information.  The information displayed had what day you could drop a class, the system for a first time college student, etc.  Then I saw it, “Fall 2011 cost will increase to $37 a unit” .Shit.  It is currently $26 per unit.  I know this is chump change compared to a 4 year, but still.  On the reception desk there was a sign with a big red exclamation mark on it that said “Due to Budget Cuts-No More Walk-In Appointments.” Hmmm… So it costs more for students to go there, the number of classes have diminished, they do not have as much access to the counseling staff as before.  *Please note: people were calling in for appointments while I was there.  The receptionist told them that  none were available until the end of next week*.  But we will have a brand new cafeteria.  Woohoo, Educational System!

I know it is rough everywhere and students are getting the short end of the stick, but how can they justify to their students all of the new buildings and not enough classes to fill them?  Is this the whole building the railroad tracks though the mountain before a train that could make the trip existed?  I know it is more complicated than my uneducated mind could comprehend, but I wish it wasn’t so in your face with irony.

Unfortunately they have something I want, so I am going to bend to the ways of their current system.  But I will bite thumb at them as walk out the door. =P

A Slightly Messy Manual

When I was a wee lass, my parents went to San Francisco for their anniversary.  As per usual, being a little girl and an only child I was given presents and souvenirs from San Francisco upon their return.  One of those gifts I still have and use today.  It was a kid’s cook book, called KidsCooking A Slightly Messy Manual.  For many years I referred to at as my “San Francisco Cookbook”, thinking since it came from there it must be the only place you could get it.  When I was about twelve I noticed it in my local Barnes & Noble store.  Though I was old enough to reasonably believe the book was sold other places, I was a little sad when I realized it wasn’t as rare as I had originally thought.

It is a very cute cookbook, with it came colored measuring spoons.  As an adult they have moved with me wherever I have lived, they are still currently my measuring spoons.  Within the recipes it has pictures of the ingredients with the colored spoon next to it.  This is how I was able to remember my Disgustingly Rich Brownie recipe without the book when I was in my early 20s (there is one blue spoon of vanilla extract, one red spoon of salt).

The instructions are very straight forward, on one page it will have the ingredients and tools you will need, complete with drawings of the objects.  On the other page it has step by step instructions and warnings about what could be easy to burn and comments about “now here’s the gooey part”.  And on some recipes it has a picture of an adult holding a knife, explaining that you will need a “grown-up assistant with knife”.  Most of the recipes do not call for such an assistant.

As an adult I have tried more of these recipes, and they have always been yummy.  When I younger I only did one recipe all the time, the Disgustingly Rich Brownies.  And when I was a teenager those brownies kept me in the hearts and stomachs of a few young men 😉

Yesterday I made that recipe with my KitchenAid Mixer that I got from Santa this year.  As a kid I use to use my mom’s but I have had to hand stir at my own house the last few years.  Honey had never had the “Mixer Version”, it is soo much better.

I forgot how much better…

Now that I am cooking again I think I am going to try more of the recipes.  It has a Chili Con Carne Recipe, different ways to cook potatoes, a French Toast and Strawberry Butter recipe, even how to make homemade applesauce.  In the back they have non-edible recipes, including how to make Play Dough and Giant Soap Bubbles! Fun!  It’s funny what we carry into our homes after we become the “grown-up assistant with knife”.

I’ll let you know how it all goes.   But since I mentioned it I will give you my Disgustingly Rich Brownie Recipe before I go:

Recipe states:These are only for people who’ve been really good recently

Ingredients and Tools:

2 cups Sugar

1 1/4 cups all-pupose Flour

4 Eggs

3/4 cup cocoa (I use NesQuick-and it works well)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup butter (yes that is 2 cubes, apparently Julia Child came up with this recipe)

8″ or 9″ square baking ban

1 Mixing Bowl

1/4 tsp salt

OPTIONAL 1/2 cup copped walnuts (I am not a walnuts in my brownie fan, so I have never tried a recipe with them)

1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees, use some butter and smear the inside of the pan (they say use shortening-I never have)

2.Melt the butter over low heat

3.In mixing bowl stir (I recommend a mixer of some kind) the cocoa and sugar together.  Then stir in melted butter.

4. Add the eggs and vanilla, and stir again.

5.Now add the flour and salt, and mix until smooth.  Not too much. (if you are adding walnuts, now’s the time)

Cooking:

1.  Scrape the mixture out onto the pan and spread out in an even layer

2. Bake in 350-degree oven until the brownies just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan (or until you can stick a toothpick in and pull it out with no batter sticking to it.  Takes about 40 to 50 minutes.

3. The hardest part.  Let cool for a while before cutting.

I will add a step

4.  Wait until the next day to start worrying about burning off the calories consumed, just enjoy it today.

As you can see this is a very loved (used) recipe

Bread

This morning I walked to Henry’s from our house to pick up a loaf of bread.  The sky was bright blue with thick, puffy white and gray clouds and the wind made my cheeks rosy.  As I walked along the main street with stones for the road and brick buildings, it had another feel that East County does not usually have.  The door to one of the restaurants opened up as I walked by and I could smell baking food, sugar, and soft hint of beer.  Suddenly I was in another town.  I was 18 walking down the streets of Sonoma in late winter.

I was only there for a weekend, but it was a fun weekend.  I was being showed around town by a guy.  A guy that I had pretty much known all of my life, I think I started having a crush on him around age 9. Friends of the family’s son, you know the drill.  During that trip it came out that we must have been in an unofficial arranged marriage because both sets of parents supported our budding relationship-despite the age difference.  We never did establish a relationship, beyond friendship.

For that weekend (and a little while after) I thought he was the bees knees.  He took me around to tea shops, all natural grocery stores, and even a few friend’s houses.  My favorite part was when we drove to Sebastopol listening to Pink Floyd and Bob Marely, we stopped at a bakery that made this very yummy bread.  At this point I had not seen anything like it in San Diego, so everything seem so different, raw, and Earthy.  Damn hippie chick, right?

As I walked home today with my Orowheat bread in my reusable grocery sack, I realized I am getting a little closer everyday to being back at that state of mind.   Even with a hiccup today of getting an update on waht’s going on at my old company. I still feel the stress knot in my belly.  But a few days of not thinking about it and I will be fine.

I need to visit NorCal again soon, John and I haven’t been there since we got married-almost 3 years ago.

Thoughts on My So-Called Life

Netflix streaming now has My S0-Called Life and I have been watching a few episodes in the last few days.

Random thoughts on it, in no particular order.

  • Dang, Angela was emo
  • Her parents don’t sound nearly as annoying as they did when I was a tween.  (Wait, I am too old to have ever been called a tween…hmm… when I was technically not a teenager but had the hormones of one)
  • I am now concerned that what the parents said seemed reasonable (most of the time)
  • Jordan Catalano is a douche but somehow still so dreamy 😉
  • I’m sure Ricky started having a whole lot more fun after he left that High School.
  • Why are the girls wearing plaid boxer shorts as skirts?
  • The mom has a lot of issues
  • Its my guess that many years later, Brian and Angela’s sister ended up dating while he was in college.
  • Was I the only high school student that did not cut classes on a regular basis?
  • Rayanne was a likable delinquent
  • The narration really reminds me of how I saw things in high school.  -Everything had DEEP meaning, there were no coincidences, it was fate, your true love was in your Math class with you…blah, blah….  I blame English teachers that made you over analyze your textbooks for that.
  • I like that the family didn’t have an updated kitchen, it looked as old as the house.

Pinky out and make the ‘clinky’ sound

Tomorrow is Kauwffe Talk (say out loud with a Linda Richman accent) .

This a ritual that has happened (almost) weekly for about a year.  Two fabulous women and I meet for coffee and talk about our week and other entertaining  tidbits of life.  It began accidentally as just a one time thing, just an excuse to catch up with one another.  We drank our coffee (and tea), did the usual banter, and then started talking some more.  It was really lovely, and then as we parted ways someone suggested (probably Red) that we should do it again the next week.  So we did, and then we met the week after that, and after that, and so on.   It became something I really looked forward to, and in some cases got me through the week.

I have enjoyed the company of these two women, who are wonderful in their unique and talented ways.  I respect their opinion so much that when I second-guessed myself over the decision that I made, their encouragement pushed me that extra inch.  Seeing one even write “I am so proud of you” brought me to tears.  While the other made me laugh with a silly, but appropriate joke. Clinky-clinky.

This will be my last regular meeting with them.  I will try and come up as often as my gas budget will allow, but it will be different.  Life evolves, all three of us are in different places than we were last year.  Who knows where we will be next year…  Perhaps enjoying ourselves in a café in the South of  France.  Or maybe we’ll start a Skype version of Kauwffe talk.   Or maybe I will have to finally get a passport just to have an international Kauwffe in Canada.  =) Whatever happens I hope we keep on tawkin’.