Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Florida Edukashun

This is the sad state of education in Florida.

As many of you know, I work for a company that provides tutoring services for No Child Left Behind. Title 1 schools (those whose students fail to do well on standardized tests two years in a row) are required, now, to provide free tutoring services to children who perform poorly and are from low income families. Okay. So I work for a company who provides these tutoring services. Right. Here is why I bore you with that: my boss often sends out questions asked by various county coordinators to give all of us the benefit of the answer. Below, I present to you one such question. Judge for yourselves the qualifications of this tutoring coordinator:

"Do I assign group sessions if their are little amounts of tutors and we a tutor to take on more kids? Or can a tutor ask to start off with group sessions, how will I ensure their is enough kids for all tutors? (I believe the answer to this is, I pick tutors off tutorwell as needed for a child, not everyone is choosen...let me know if this is correct)"

I am almost speechless. This human being is going to be teaching. It's so sad, it's a little bit funny. I wish I had made this up.

Be rich or homeschool.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I really like this picture.

So yesterday I had to drop off some supplies for a tutoring fair that I'll be tabling tonight. The last time I had been to this place, I got very lost and had to turn around multiple times (please imagine with me a car turning around the same bends over and over, trying to turn on a teeny side street that creeps up on you so fast that you can't ever seem to make the turn), so yesterday I called the office of the place and asked, please, for directions. The receptionist gives me directions, then ends with, "Okay. Bye.... be safe." And I was reminded again of the joys of living near the ghetto in sunny Pensacola, Florida.

Once I get there, I grab a pallet of Aquafina, on top of which are a couple packages of juice boxes. Hanging from my arms are my purse and four or so bags of cookies and crackers. I stagger through the dirt parking lot to the double doors, which I barely manage to open, nearly losing the juice boxes in the attempt. Cool air hits my hot face and I hesitate, looking for a sign or any sort of direction. I find none, so I wander up the hall, pausing every now and then to readjust my grip on the Aquafinas. I see a human being with a badge around her neck! I thank God. I ask a question. She asks many questions, which seem to make the stuff heavier. She figures out where I'm trying to go (at least one of us knows) and turns me around towards the double doors I came in. Turning left right before them, we face a long hallway. She points to my destination at the very end of it. I scramble for a grip on the water, juice and cookies and begin to stagger (again). When I almost run into a couple of women with a large cart, one offers the cart as an Aquafina carrier. I gratefully accept. The subsequent trips up and (after more refined directions) back down the hallway seem much shorter and finally, after interrupting a training session, I deposit my goodies and run away.

Victory, even celebrated in a dirt parking lot, is indeed sweet.

Monday, August 4, 2008

New Favorite Recipe, first edition

Lesson One: Pad Thai

*Please note the delightful cloth napkins. They were my favorite recent purchases until last night when I found a delicious-smelling body wash. But I still love them.

On the menu for the evening was traditional (well it started that way) Pad Thai, Grilled Chicken with a Thai Rub and salad with a limey peanuty dressing.

The chicken was amazing. Jon invented the rub, which was such a resounding success that we might patent it. The salad dressing, which was inspired from a Real Simple recipe was truly yummy. It's mostly lime juice, with a little garlic, some red pepper flakes, a little soy sauce and peanut oil. Then you have to put cilantro and mint in the salad greens and roasted peanuts on top of the ensemble, and it's instant deliciousness. The Pad Thai was not as successful as the other two recipes. Although we cooked it in the "traditional"way, we ended up having to add cilantro and lime (which it called for on the side) in greater quantities. And Jon added hot garlic chili sauce. Those made it taste better. This only means that we're going to have to try a few Pad Thai recipes before we get it right. The good news is that we have the tamarind concentrate. The bad news is that, in it's concentrated form, it is impossible to spread gooky tamarind among the sticky rice noodles. That may have been our problem in the first place. Any Thai people with ideas or recipes, please bring them forth.

In other cooking news, and in another blatant Mari-copying move, I am reading "French Women Don't Get Fat", which I am really enjoying. And I finished all the fresh blueberries I picked. Aren't they pretty?