Wednesday, September 24, 2008

240 dollars worth of puddin'

We had our first dinner party a few weeks ago. You can stop laughing. B and I are not entertainers, so yes, this was the first attempt.

Maybe it was longer that a few weeks ago, but since the school year started, I can't really say exactly. One big blur of 6th graders now. Anyway, we sent out e-vites and had 8 people over to eat vaguely Southeast-Asian themed food. Basically, our favorite foods that we ate and cooked while we lived in Asia. Our friends created many of the dishes and brought them over for a night of food and Rock Band.

B decided to contribute black rice pudding for dessert and we prepared it a night in advance. Black rice, palm sugar, coconut milk and fresh bananas on top. We doubled the recipe so we could give everyone a taste. Yummy, right?

Well, this pudding took on a frickin' life of its own. We used our big red pot and a wooden spoon and the rice sucked up all of the water and the rice was still hard so we started adding more. And more and more. We were drinking and chatting while I stirred with a wooden spoon, which was actually starting to get difficult as the pudding level rose.

We must have made a wrong turn somewhere, because before I knew it, I was having to use both hands to stir this full hot cauldron's worth of pudding. We filled up two shelves in our refrigerator and still had to throw about 10 cups away. Brad said that we made 240 dollars worth of puddin'.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

flash of self-awareness

You know how once and a while you just stop and realize that some mundane part of your day that you take for granted is actually pretty ridiculous?

I grumble about it and then go through the motions every Sunday night creating my weekly parent/student newsletter. I call it: The Herrera Herald (aka"The Herrerald").

Anyway, I typed the heading and it dawned on me what kind of job lets people write weekly newsletters, much less those called The Herrerald.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

you say it's your birthday?'s my birthday too!

Last year on my birthday I had food poisoning. In Laos. I ended up loosing 14 pounds the hard way and taking an emergency flight to Bangkok.

It can't get worse that that, you say?

Oh, the gods can top that. Yes, indeedy.

This year I will be taking 58 6th graders camping for 5 days. Nov. 5th-9th. They are so excited they could spit and I am trying to enjoy my last few hours before hearing the inevitable "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" in the car, in my sleep, in my head.

Friday, September 07, 2007


Our color-coded groups are self-named, can you guess the color of each group's name tag?

- Hot Chili Peppers
- Tasty Tangerines
- Rockin' Whales
- Tropical Birds
-Giant Hamsters
- Sour Apples

Thursday, July 26, 2007

mah biscuits are burnin'!

There's more than one way to burn the biscuits, as any good housekeeper can tell you. I can think of two ways right off of the top of my head:

1. Ignoring the recommended oven temperature in your cookbook will usually do the trick.

but if not

2. You can always burn the proverbial biscuits by doing your ironing in your underwear. One slip of the hand...

...which is what happened today. Yowch.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

trikes aren't just for kids

Within the past few weeks we've managed to clean out the garage and find bikes to fill it with.

A's bike is a nearly immaculate 1973 Schwinn Collegiate complete with sparkly green grips. All she needs are new brake pads and to true the front wheel.

Mine is a Schwinn Town and Country trike, but I'm not sure of the age. It needs considerably more work and is odd to get used to. Still, it should be a great bike for trips to the farmers' market on Sundays and the independent grocery store nearby.

A's bike

B's trike

banana fanna fo fett

commercialism and piracy

There are strong ties between commercialism and piracy, apparently. It's a bittersweet connection as I see it. I could do without much of the Pirates of the Caribbean (POTC) movie marketing and the changes to the Disneyland ride of the same name. I think I'll listen to the ORIGINAL soundtrack on my iPod next time I sail through those waters.

Still, I can't help but enjoy some of the products of the POTC marketing juggernaut, such as specially stamped M&Ms. Regarding the other two pictures, I've been fascinated for most of my life by pirates, as established in an earlier blog post. In the past few years I've picked up a few of the pirate-themed toys I either (1) wished I had or (2) wish I'd kept. The availability of such toys is partially attributable to the POTC phenomenon, and I suppose I'm thankful for that.

The first POTC movie was enjoyable. The second failed to entertain me as I attempted to drown out the late-night noise of the disco down the street in Phnom Penh, and I dread the third installment. I never expected to tire so of Mr. Depp.

For all you land-lubbers who this post failed to enthrall, walk the plank! And for those of you who take your piracy too seriously, yes, I know that the plank device was scarcely if ever used. Yo ho!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

home economics

Just tallying receipts for the week and realized that we spent over 1/3 of this week's food budget on booze. Whoops! I guess we will survive. Beer is a food, right? I think I read that somewhere- Betty Crocker?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

study session

So, when you are a public school teacher, you have to take classes (about teaching) to renew your credential. 15 units every 5 years. You pay for this yourself and do it on your own time, but the bonus is that every 15 units you get to move over a step on the salary schedule, which more than makes up for the cost of the 15 units.

I recently discovered independent courses offered through University of San Diego. I am (foolishly?) trying to take 13 units this month. Don't laugh, I have all but finished 6 of them and still have energy a-plenty left over for all sorts of other stuff.

The independent part is the toughie for me. No master of self-discipline, I have taken many a study break to find myself doing things that seem crucial in the moment but really who am I kidding?

Yesterday's study break: Self-haircut.

I needed some fringe right then, apparently. Bangs or death!

I thought I did a pretty good job- here's a close up of the family nose more than the bangs. Taking pictures of your own face isn't always accurate.

So, more than anything else, this is a cry for help. I will be attempting to chain myself to the computer for the next couple weeks. If you feel like contributing to truancy- give me a call!

Monday, July 09, 2007

5 a day

We just got schooled by a 4 (and a half!) year-old. According to Miss L, the "5 good food groups" are:

1. bacon
2. donuts
3. milk (+ chocolate milk)
4. pizza
5. gum

I personally really enjoy the gum group, but can't say that I ever eat from the bacon group. Tell me the truth, is my diet unbalanced?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

a shift

Just got offered the position that I was holding out for. I will be teaching in Davis next year. It looks like I am no longer "unemployed", I am now "on summer vacation". Whee!

Thursday, June 21, 2007


The job search continues... One thing I can say about it as a learning process is that it is giving me plenty of opportunities to "define my boundaries." *Insert new age flourish here*

I think I am going to turn down the first offer. Which seems like a risky thing to do. I was feeling so desperate before this week that I never thought I'd write that, but when it's not right, it's not right. My time and life and are worth more.
At least to me!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

so I married a pirate

B has always been a pirate.
We are talking several Halloweens in succession.

This business started up again at Disneyland last month.
B wore pirate headgear at the park.

I wasn't sure I could get in the spirit.
It turns out I could.

I decided to take my pirate on a date this morning.
To the Northern California Pirate Festival, where else?

We pillaged a falafel tent and enjoyed sitting on the grass.

Watched the seadogs saunter by in their finery and then headed home.

If we start going to Startrek conventions, please do an intervention.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

domestic goddess

She thought she was answering the call of the wild, but really it was only the plumber.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

fruits of our labor...or somebody's

This is just to say CONGRATULATIONS to our lovely friends in Japan who just had their baby. In Japan!

We suspect this lucky guy was conceived after drinks and dinner during one of our last visits to their house, so we feel partially responsible. Well, maybe not responsible, but quite proud all the same!

Little EJS doesn't know how good he's got it yet, but he has truly lucked out with his tiny existential roll of the dice. Two of the nicest people ever, people that both B and I feel should be parents. We wish there were more Miss Yakis and Cs out there and now there are!

Monday, April 16, 2007

honey I'm home

The last week was productive. B now has a job that starts at the end of the month and we rented a tiny old house in a part of Sacramento that I have always wanted to live in. Cute older homes with tons of character, mature trees, and good parks/restaurants/shops within walking distance.

After 9 months of living out of bags, I am really excited! We move in to the place in less than two weeks! I have never lived in a house before- I can't quite wrap my head around the idea yet. Here's the visual:

Sunday, March 18, 2007

trees of mystery

I know when people think of California, they usually think of Hollywood and the beach. Those of us from Northern California know that we have it made, too. It is gorgeous up here and I have the pictures to prove it!

For me, a lot of it has to do with the trees. As you travel north along the coast, there are giant redwoods waiting to greet you.

And for those of you
who can't imagine, they are REALLY big.

There are beaches up here, too, by the way.

The rivers that cut through the rock and forest are almost unnaturally blue.

And there's Mount Shasta ready to greet when you finally cut inland through the forest .

Anyway, the last two weeks have reminded both us us how special this part of the world is. It may be a bit out of your way, but definitely worth a visit!

thans but no thans

We bunked down at the Travelodge in Eureka for one night this week.

A real vintage charmer! 50 bucks a night will get you the following nifty features...

"rustic" radiator

Acne-scarred toilet seat

The best plastic flowers Eureka has to offer

Classic paisley comforter

Let's see that pattern up close!

Are we interested in a long-term stay? Thans but no thans.

another roadside attraction

The vagabond lifestyle continues. In the past two weeks, B and A have traveled over 2,000 miles in their car.

Being car-gypsies can take its toll, so in an effort to make more of an anthropological study of their time on the road, B and A decided to stop and ponder the bits of Americana that they passed along California's highways and byways.

Does anyone really stop at these things except us?

Clearly, Cliff was here before us.

Mighty redwoods demand some car-tree-human interplay.

An even mightier Paul Bunyan confers with his bull, Babe, about how to best transform all these stinking trees into millions of toothpicks and disposable chopsticks.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

finding a home

We're in the process of finding someplace to settle down and have set out in our recently-purchased used car to preview or review the locales under consideration.

Northern California is green, green, green at the moment and we'd like to share the scenery with you including random shots of my favorite backyard and a photo with my parents while off on a wine-tasting tangent.