Thursday, March 31, 2011

Grow, tomatoes, grow!

Yesterday I woke up to find that my tomato seeds have sprouted. I planted them last Monday (the 21st) and I just saw them sprout yesterday. I'm excited, as that means they're not dead. I'm thinking they may need more warmth and so I'm trying to figure out how to make that happen.
It's Spring!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Run: 2.4mi/25:50
(Finally got out to run. Not as bad as I thought it was going to be.)

My mom bought fabric long ago so that I could make a dog bed for Lucy. Many months have passed since then, anad it's about time I got started on it. I'm wingin' it. I've always tried to do things my own way, especially when it comes to crafts or sewing. I think my grandma has always gotten frustrated with me because of this, but when I picture something in my mind, I want to make it that way, not the way someone tells me to.

I had a ton of leftover batting, so I measured Lucy and then cut an appropriate size of batting.
(Yes, the best place to cut large swatches of fabric/batting is on my classroom rug)

I had already doubled the first piece. I stacked those two pieces on top of another doubled piece to make 4 layers of batting.
I cut it out, then stacked it on top of another doubled piece of batting for a grand total of six layers of batting.
I would have gone for more, actually (this is pretty thin batting), but I didn't have enough left.

I decided to cut out my fabric. The batting had been 37"x25" (who needs conventional lengths and widths?), so I cut my fabric at 38"x26", to make sure I had enough for a seam allowance. I'll also be sewing a double seam for durability. 
Pretty cool fabric, right? It's a really lightweight canvas, it's perfect.
As you can see, Lucy's really excited about her dog bed:
Over the next few days I'll be putting in a zipper and sewing up the seams, which will make this dog bed completed!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I don't know how it will be in the years to come. There are monstrous changes taking place in the world, forces shaping a future whose face we do not know. Some of these forces seem evil to us, perhaps not in themselves but because their tendency is to eliminate other things we hold good. It is true that two men can lift a bigger stone than one man. A group can build automobiles quicker and better than one man, and bread from a huge factory is cheaper and more uniform. When our food and clothing and housing all are born in the complication of mass production, mass method is bound to get into our thinking and to eliminate other thinking. In our time mass or collective production has entered our economics, our politics, and even our religion, so that some nations have substituted the idea collective for the idea God. This in my time is the danger. There is great tension in the world, tension toward a breaking point, and men are unhappy and confused. 

At such a time it seems natural and good to me to ask myself these questions. What do I believe in? What must I fight for and what must I fight against?

John Steinbeck, 1952, East of Eden

(And a happy birthday to my wonderful dad!!)
 Dad and Ali (our Pastor's daughter), watching the Super Bowl this year.

Monday, March 28, 2011


My neck is still sore, which means no running. I popped a bunch of ibuprofen this morning to make it through teaching today, so right now I feel great and wonderful. We'll see what happens when it wears off this afternoon.

I decided I wanted to garden.

I have never grown anything before.

Well, that's not true. One time my friend and I tried to grow some vegetables in college. It didn't really work. So I'll try again. I made a garden bed with help from my visitors last week. I planted some tomatoes in small pots indoors, and this morning I planted lettuce seeds in the bed.
You can see that my availability of soil may not be so great - but what do I know? I planted Butterleaf and Romaine lettuces.

When I first approached the bed this morning, I realized that my greatest enemy may be Lucy, because I found a large round hole where she had apparently gotten comfortable. If there's a fence around this in the future, you'll know why.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


It's been a while, hasn't it? When I get out of my normal routine and am distracted by fun people, blogging seems to go by the wayside. And running does, too. Oops.

This morning I'm trying to nurse a very sore neck. It was bad when I went to sleep last night, but I woke up about 4:45 and couldn't get back to sleep. Finally at about 5:30 I came downstairs to ice it and peruse the internet. When I ran out of things to do on the internet, I realized I should probably write a blog post.

Like I said, I had some visitors this last week. Stevie was our intern for four months back in the Summer and Fall. Her brother is... wonderful, and also came to visit :) I guess I could probably let you decide what that's all about.
 We went to Sand Dollar Beach on a super windy day, and searched for those sand dollars. We found one with a barnacle on it (still alive!). I named him Martín and kept him alive for a couple of days before he met an untimely death. I built a garden this week (which is a total experiment because I've never gardened anything before), and I'm going to bury him there. Adios, Martín.
Mom and Stevie at dinner.

 Me, Stevie, and Adam in Old Town San Diego
 Old Town
 The creeper glasses made it out again!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Counting to ten

Yesterday's run: 3.2mi
Today's run: 3.4mi
 You can see that our group got the floor poured for the new classroom. The kids were super excited about all of the work going on outside of their doors. I kept trying to tell them that it was going to be my new house, but none of them believed me, those little rugrats.

 As I was taking the above picture yesterday, I noticed a lot of squirming going on on the trampoline. Upon looking closer I saw that Obed had Isaac in a headlock. If you look closely, you can see a little bundle on the trampoline, just to the left of the tree.
After I yelled at them, Obed let him go and all was happy once again.
While my toddler class was playing this morning,  I sat on the carpet and let my mind drift for a little bit. I was startled back into the real world when I realized that one of my girls was counting animal toys. Counting in English. Without me asking. And perfectly.

What crazy mixed up world was I in?

One... two... three... four... five... six. She counted them as she touched each one. She said them clearly, she counted while really counting objects (not just saying words), and she did it again when I asked her to.

I teared up.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I've been a bad teacher

Run: 3.4mi/34:00

It still feels like I'm moving bricks when I run, but I'm trying to keep at it.

We're building around this place. With the exception of an all-over paint job, and sticking an RV in the back courtyard, there haven't been many changes to this place since I started visiting 9 years ago. Well, okay, they built an addition to the shop. But besides that, it's remained the same. Same buildings, same classrooms, same same same.

Know what's happening this week? We're building a new classroom. And by we I mean the men and a group of Canadian teenagers who arrived last night. Yesterday the guys got started squaring it off, leveling, getting ready to pour foundation.
This is how it stood yesterday - with a little digging done. They had to move the trampoline, because the new classroom will be in part of the playground. I think I'll keep taking pictures to show the progress.

In other news, I'm a bad teacher. I cannot say this was entirely my fault, though, because nobody informed me of my transgressions. On play days I've been painting my girls' fingernails. They like it, they think it's fun, I think it's fun.
This morning a boy Kindergartener told me it's not allowed at their school (at Kindergarten). Well, then. I asked the teacher and she confirmed.

No more salon.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Counting noodles

I ran on Saturday, a very short run that made me frustrated. The time changed on Sunday, and now I find myself in a bit of a time conundrum - I can't go running in the dark. Our uneven streets are actually pretty dangerous to do in the dark (I've tried before), the sun isn't rising until 6:45 or so, and I have a schedule to keep. I think I'm going to try it out tomorrow and see what happens with trying to fit it in before washing breakfast dishes.

The upside? I get to sleep in a lot later.

On Friday I had a wonderful activity planned for my kids: counting noodles. I had them all color a piece of paper however they wanted, and then bring me their paper when finished. I grabbed a random number of noodles and had them count with me how many noodles they had, and then they glued them on their page.

It was fun to see who could count on their own, and who needed help. For those who could count on their own, it was fun to listen to them say their English numbers "wuh, too, ree, ore, aye", etc.

I was trying to do all of this: organize kids, count noodles, balance a whiteboard on my knees, get out the glue, and take pictures, but I only got to take one before my wonderful friend Christina showed up. So, I put the camera down and showed off my kids to her.

All I got was this little mano, counting noodles.

Friday, March 11, 2011


No, not that mole. Chicken mole. Mexican dish. Served at special occasions, especially weddings. Food of my heart.

It's strange that I like mole. When I first tried it out years ago, it didn't agree with my tastebuds. It's part bitter, part spicy, part... ugly. Cande makes mole at our daycare from a jar. Hey - that's what you do when you're feeding 60 (or more) people. She also adds extra sugar and chocolate for the kids' sakes. So I began with super sweet mole that carried a little kick.

But wedding mole? It's homemade. Someone's grinding down those ingredients and cooking them over a stove for a long time. Whoever that someone is, I love them. One thing I like about mole is that everyone's mole tastes different.

Today, our construction foreman, Colores, was officially married in a tiny, quick civil ceremony over in some office. But his family had a party, and we were all invited. Colores is a really great kid and we all love him - he is happy, kind, generous, funny, and thoughtful. We also like his wife and their son, Jose Adolfo.  He's part of our family here. So, yes, of course, we will come to your house and eat chicken mole and drink Coca-Cola, thankyouverymuch.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Run: 4mi/40:00mins

So getting back into it is not fun at all. My run was fine (although I cut it shorter than I planned), but after getting ready, breakfast, daycare dishes, I was just exhausted. That is strange.

I haven't been involved in the blogging community that long. Okay, actually I wouldn't really call myself involved in the blogging community, but I do have a list of blogs I read daily, and I like finding out what other people are doing. These are mostly running blogs, but there are some other ones sprinkled in. I've noticed a trend in these blogs by other young women that is driving me a little crazy. I'm not usually one to rant and rave in public, so I'll try to keep this minimal.

Six years ago I stayed in Mexico for an extended period for the first time. I was here ten weeks, and I worked in the daycare every day, alongside the teachers. One girl I worked with had medium brown hair, light brown eyes, and beautiful caramel skin. One day we were talking and she told me that she wished she had skin like mine.

I looked at her in disbelief because I was raised in a culture that worshipped her color of skin. I proceeded to tell her that many white women go to tanning beds or buy products to make their skin look like hers. She was shocked and in disbelief. She wanted my pale skin, while I had spent my youth pining for her color because I didn't enjoy wearing shorts when I was younger.  I knew I'd get comments on how pale I was, or I was self-conscious about what other people were thinking.

That was a turning point for me. Our perceptions of skin color - what's acceptable, cool, in - are based on our culture. While many white Americans want darker skin via a tan, many in other cultures see lighter skin as better. And guess what? We're all wrong. There's nothing wrong with how we're naturally made.
Three different colors. But we're so happy!

I see so many young women write on their blogs about how how "white" their skin is, how pale their face looks, how they are sorry if they blind you by their winter legs. Where does this come from? I've had my own share of comments directed at my own legs. My legs see the sun about 10 times a year - I can't go around wearing shorts in my town. Therefore, my legs never get any color (and even when I try, it simply rarely takes).

I've decided to stop fighting it. That girl I worked with six years ago finally got me start believing that it was okay for me to have my skin color. I still tend to worry about it, but I've begun to give myself permission to be myself.
 All different, yet so completely cool, right?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Next Girl

Run: 3.4mi/34:00 

That is what I get for taking ten days off from running. Side stitches, low miles, and a sore hip. I went to Portland for a short visit to see someone, and didn't run the entire week. While traveling back home on Sunday I felt pretty sick, and couldn't get a run in on Monday (although I woke up, tried, and then gave up). Yesterday was women's day (holla!) and we had no daycare. I took the opportunity to sleep in.

It's March all of a sudden, and the weather is warmer around here. So much so that I wore flip flops yesterday for the first time in about 4 months.

On Saturday, in San Diego, my mom and I went to Costco and I spied something that I had to try. Out of all the gear that's made it's way into the running community, right behind barefoot running (or minimalist shoes) is the popular topic of running skirts for women. I'm not too much of a skirt person in non-running life, so it's never really appealed to me that much. But I saw this skirt at Costco for $9.99 and I thought it was a good enough price to try it out.
(Unfortunately I can't even find a picture of this product on the internet).
It is super comfortable and fits nicely, and a nice length. I tried it out a little on my failed run on Monday, and I think it's a little iffy for running in Mexico, but I really do love the fabric and the fit. IF you want to go check it out at Costco (or the Colorado Clothing website), beware that it seems to run big. I was hemming and hawing between a Medium and a Large (and you know you can't try things on in Costco), but I bought a Medium and it fits perfectly. I never buy Mediums in running clothes, so that's a good indicator that this runs big.

Also while in San Diego I picked up the new Black Keys record Brothers, mostly because of their hit song Next Girl. Enjoy.