Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Caffeine, Andrea Bocelli, and Krispy Kreme

I ran out to the post office during my free period (shhhh) and grabbed a cup of coffee (café au lait, to be exact) from Bull Street Gourmet & Market which is right next door to la poste.  I am too proud of myself for mailing a box to Mama Mildred way before Mother's Day.  Go me.  I just hope she doesn't faint.
Anyway, when I returned to my desk to check emails, I saw my daily horoscope--


The emotional Moon meets transformative Pluto in your sixth house of health
and service, placing increased pressure on you to be responsible and
dependable. People at a distance may not be reliable, so if you're waiting
for someone else to come through for you, you need to investigate further.
Take care of yourself by avoiding caffeine, alcohol and anything that
disturbs your delicate nervous system.

Oops.  Too late.  The coffee is almost gone.  But I do not think that my nervous system is very delicate anyway.  

I am listening to Andrea Bocelli's CD Passione.  He is a new discovery for me.  I saw him on Dancing With The Stars recently.  (Yes, we watch this in our house... emphasis on we here-- the Ex-Ex is a big fan-- the secret is out.  Sorry.)  Absolutely lovely music.  I don't understand much of it.  Except for his rendition of Elvis' Love Me Tender.  Doesn't matter, though.  Music is like that. 

Well, sometimes it actually does matter if you understand the words.  I found that out recently.  The French kids brought me a DVD of photos from our visit with them in March.  It is fabulous.  All 29 of them signed the DVD.  

Three very talented jeunes filles, girlies, put it together.  I put it in the computer to watch, thinking how great it would be to show to the entire school during the assembly that I had just signed up for.  They even put it to music.  Song #1:  We Are The Champions by Queen.  Yoohoo! '70's music.  I can name that tune in 3 notes.  Song #2:  (and I only know this because I asked one of my advisees who actually listens to this stuff) Young, Wild, and Free by Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa.  Not a good idea.  Drinking and getting high.  Not exactly the kind of music I would want the middle schoolers to listen to.  Especially the little innocent 5th and 6th graders.  I love my job too much to lose it.  So, I went into panic mode and grabbed Mme P and explained the situation to her.  She found the girls and I explained it to them.  I wonder if they were thinking What's the big deal?  Et alorsMadame L'Américaine?  Anyway, they managed to work around it and find a new song for the slide show.  I still have my job.  Moral of the story-- listen carefully.  Sometimes it matters.

Here's this year's group.  Yep, I introduced them to hot Krispy Kremes.  Love at first bite!

Nice to meet you!

Bon appétit, my Frenchies!  Vous me manquez...  À la prochaine!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Crack

I got up in this morning with an amazing amount of resolve.  Today will be the day.  I will give up sugar and gluten.  I will feast on oatmeal cooked with cinnamon and raisins, a salad for lunch, lots of good, cold water to wash it all down.  And then I got to school.  I went to the faculty room to check my mailbox and staring me in the face was what amounts to crack in my world of zero will power.  Never mind the kilo (or five) that I have promised myself I will lose before summer and swimsuit time rolls around.  And before I have my annual physical when I will be forced to get on a scale in front of a total stranger.  (Saying you have a few kilos to lose sounds easier to me than pounds... 1kg = 2.2lbs.  Call me crazy.)

Recipe passed on to me by Son #2's favorite teacher's wife.  She has been filling in in our office and this is her last week.  We'll miss you, PS!

Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Crack Bark

Small pretzels or pretzel snaps
2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
Sea salt

Line a large cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with aluminum foil.  Spread pretzels in a single layer to cover foil.  Melt butter in a small saucepan.  Add brown sugar and stir, stir, stir.  Allow to boil a little bit and continue stirring it until it gets darker brown.  You want to cook it almost to the point where you think you might have ruined it... that's when the sticky caramelly magic happens!  Pour over pretzels and bake in 350˚F oven for just 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and spread chocolate chips over hot caramel.  As they melt, spread them over the entire pan with a rubber spatula.  Sprinkle liberally with sea salt and let cool on the counter.  Put in freezer for one hour.  Remove and break into bite-sized pieces.  Yum!

Bon appétit to my fellow addicts!

Moussu T et lei Jovents Part Deux

Ok, so I posted the last blog entry on Facebook... and I got a comment back from the band!  Oui, yes I did!  And I played Bons baisers de Marseille for  my 7th graders while they took a nasty verb quiz.  The band sent me a new clip from Artemis.

Enjoy!  Bon appétit et aïoli!

Moussu T e lei Jovents

This is what I listen to when I want to pretend I am back in the south of France.   I LOVE their accent.  And they are trying to aid in the revival of the Occitan dialect of French.  I just downloaded their latest CD, Artemis, from iTunes, but this concert was posted on my birthday a couple of years ago and I love this CD, especially "Bons baisers de Marseille."  The CD featured here is Putan de cançon.

Enjoy this little voyage to the Marseille area!  Maybe a pastis or glass of rosé and some tapenade and olives are in order?

My dream?  To see them in concert...  un de ces beaux jours.

Bon appétit, les mecs!  Merci, Chef Érick, for introducing me to this music.  Tu me manques!

Monday, April 15, 2013

April 15

April 15 is not one of my favorite days.  I dread figuring up my taxes.  Therefore, I put it off as long as I possibly can.  This year, that meant Saturday, April 13.  I did the Ex-Ex's, Son #1's, and Son #2's back in February.  They've already received and spent their refunds.  Moi?  No refund for moi.  I wrote out a check to the IRS/Department of the Treasury.  I wish that I could say I owed money because I won the lottery or I received a book advance from a publisher.  No such luck.  I just didn't pay enough in 2012.  Go figure. The check is indeed in the mail as of 3:30 pm.
I checked my horoscope(s) this morning, hoping that somehow a message would be sent that today I would find money.  Here's what I got from one--

You've had a tough old time of lately, haven't you? Authority figures do
seem to have been irascible lately and somehow you've copped a lot of the
negative attention. Well that's the price for being shining Leo, you can't
escape notice, positive or negative. Things ease up considerably as Venus
hits her straps and you can forge a few easy going relationships with some
of those authority figures. If there is any romantic attraction toward one
of those people, forget it if it's just the status that attracts.

And here's the other--

The tag lines of the emails filling up my box today are interesting.  Here are a few of them--

  • 15 hours only!  Take 15% off for Tax Day.
  • Taxes are done, time for fun!
  • 1-Hour Psychic Reading
  • Tie Yourself Up in a String
  • Tax Time Means It's Wine Time, Too!
  • Get the VIP Treatment
  • Vitamin World 10% Tax Relief
  • And We're Money!
  • Put these on. Find a beach. Begin Summering.
  • Only 1 day left to claim your 10 dollars
  • Looking for some tax relief?
  • Whoops!  Here's your tax relief.
I think I will go cook something.  Fanny's Mousse au chocolat would be a good place to start.  She is here with me right now...

Bon appétit and God bless the victims in Boston.  
(I heard the news as I finished up this blog post.)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Random Thoughts for a Rainy Thursday

My daddy and me.  He was born April 4, 1936.  He would have been 77 years old today.  Wow.  I do not remember this picture being taken, of course, but it is the way I like to remember him.
I wish he could've lived to see his two handsome grandsons.  Son #2 was only about 2 or 3 years old when Daddy died.

Well, Daddy, revenge is sweet.  Son #2 is a registered Republican.  Now I can cancel out his votes instead of yours.
He loved marching bands.  He and my mom came to Appalachian for a few football games my senior year, but I think it was mostly to see (and hear) the halftime show.  He would've loved a Tennessee game!

He loved biscuits.  He called them "cat heads" for some strange reason.  I need to ask my mom about that.

Daddy also loved meat.  Nothing like a good steak or roast.

Sometimes your relationships with your parents are very complicated.  Ours was.  I know he loved me and he was proud of me, though.
I miss you, Daddy.  Happy birthday.

This was Daddy's favorite cake.

Candy Orange Slice Cake
from allrecipes.com
serves 12

1 c. butter, softened
2 c. white sugar
4 eggs
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 pound dates, pitted and chopped
1 pound orange slices candy, chopped
2 c. chopped pecans
1 1/3 c. shredded coconut
1 c. orange juice
2 c. confectioner's sugar

Preheat oven to 250˚F.  Lightly grease and flour one 10-inch tube pan.
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and granulated sugar until smooth.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Dissolve baking soda in buttermilk and add to the creamed mixture.
Place flour in a large bowl and add dates, orange slices, and nuts.  Stir to coat each piece.  Add flour mixture and coconut to creamed mixture.   This make a very stiff dough, so  it will be necessary to stir with a wooden spoon.
Pour batter into the tube pan.  Bake for 2 1/2 - 3 hours.  As soon as cake comes out of the oven, combine the orange juice and confectioner's sugar and pour over hot cake.  Let stand in pan overnight.

(I think it is safe to say that Daddy did not let the cake get cold before having a slice...)

Bon appétit to daddys and daughters!