Counting Down to Stranger Things Season 3

Stranger Things Season 3 starts next week! It is the highlight of the summer. I know that my Thursday posts are usually random pictures of my desk and motivation to get you through the rest of the week, but I have no random pictures of messy desks this week.

I’m going to be honest with you, summer break always reminds me of why I’m still a teacher. As a high school babysitter senior level math teacher, I have my doubts that I am making any kind of a difference in anyone’s lives. I feel like elementary and middle school teachers are the ones who make the most difference. Honestly, the kids see them all day every ay, and they still like grown-ups at that point. By the time they get to me, they are already tainted. They have already decided they don’t like math. They only take my math class because they still need one more math credit to graduate. I try to teach them things they are going to actually use, like how to fill out a tax return, and how to get set up with a 401k, but who knows if they actually listen.

I say that to point out the fact that I am not really convinced that I am making a huge impact on anyone. It makes teaching fell way less noble, but my consolation prize is that I have summers off. It makes never-ending battle of trying to get them to put their phones away almost worth it. To numb the pain of knowing that summer is just about halfway over (we go back early this year), I am taking solace in the fact that next week, Stranger Things Season 3 will be out.

I have so much still to do to get ready. I need to restock my snacking supplies. I don’t think I have much popcorn. I will need to add that to my grocery list. I bought coffee yesterday, so I am okay with my coffee supply. I even bought myself a cool new mug.

So, sometimes you discover new places that you have been driving past for as long as you can remember but never checked out. Last weekend I was in Galveston (surprise surprise), but I had my mom along. My mom is addicted to kitchen gadgets- like addicted in a way that would make Marie Kondo cringe. She has every kitchen tool known to man, to the point where she has no place to put them all. I hate cooking at her house, because you have to dig through layers and layers of pots and pans to ever find the one you want.

In my own kitchen, I have been taking a more moderate approach to tools. I have the pots and pans I use all of the time, and I don’t buy anymore. I have the tools I use all of the time, and rarely buy anything new. Everything I need, I basically have, and on the rare occasion that I find something mentioned in a recipe that I don’t have, I just improvise with what I do have. It works.

So, there is this store in Galveston called The Kitchen Chick. I have been avoiding it because I don’t need anything. My kitchen is not big enough to store anything new without throwing out something I actually use. But… my mom has been wanting to go there forever. Last Sunday, I finally gave in and took her there. Oh. My. God.

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The Kitchen Chick in Galveston on 24th Street near the Strand

It’s not a giant store. What it is though, is a well-stocked store with high quality kitchen gear. They have cool coastal things, like beach themed kitchen towels, and nautical cookie cutters (I bought one shaped like a sea turtle for when my niece comes over). What they also have is a nice selection of higher quality cookware, bake ware and knives. They have a very nice range of Le Creuset, which if you have ever seen the enamel coated cast iron Dutch ovens, then you are probably familiar with Le Creuset. It’s not cheap at all, but it is high enough quality that it will last a lifetime. I have had lower quality enamel coated cast iron cookware. I have a Dutch oven that I use in the winter for soups, stews, clam chowder and chili. I love it, but it’s cheap. I have to be very careful so that I don’t chip the enamel. I have a smaller enamel coated pot that was even cheaper. The enamel came off of the bottom of the pot and stuck to my burner. I can’t get it off. Le Creuset doesn’t do any of that.

It got me to thinking. I have what I need, but not all of my kitchen gear is high quality. It definitely doesn’t spark joy when I use it, but I use it all the time. So… then I had another thought. If you use something all the time, wouldn’t it be better to buy high quality in the first place so that it is more fun to do the things you need to do anyway?

I came home and looked at my kitchen. My utensil holder next to my stove is just a basic stainless steel container. It works. I’ve had it for years, but it isn’t particularly pretty. It’s filled with the utensils I use, but it also has several that are very specific and don’t get used as often. There was a Le Creuset utensil holder at The Kitchen Chick that I couldn’t stop thinking about. It went perfectly with the dark blue I have on the walls and matches the sea horse spoon rest I keep on the stove.

I went back to Galveston yesterday (again, big surprise). I stopped by Tom’s Thumb– my favorite nursery- to see if they had the small pots of hibiscus yet. Every year, near the end of summer, they get the smaller hibiscus plants and they put them on sale. At my last house, I bought several of the plants in 4 inch pots, and within a year or two, the plants were already tall enough to touch the underside of the roof. I am planning on putting some in front of my house, but they aren’t in yet. I got this plumeria from there last year. It was literally just a stick. Now it is almost up to my shoulder.

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Plumeria from Tom’s Thumb

After leaving Tom’s Thumb, and after stopping by for more coffee, I went back to The Kitchen Chick and bought the utensil holder for my kitchen. Was it expensive? Yes. Was it more than I probably should have spent? Possibly. Do I feel guilty for spending money on a utensil holder? Absolutely not. It is perfect. It makes my utensils pretty enough to be decoration. I bought myself a rainbow bamboo spoon on Sunday, and it is striking in the utensil holder. I have already used the bamboo spoon. It is my new favorite cooking spoon. My kitchen feels more like a kitchen worth cooking in now. Sometimes the little things are the things that you should splurge on. They are the things that make the ordinary fun again.

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I also bought myself a new mug. I think it’s my new favorite. I think I may write a separate post on the mug. I got it at one of the Galveston Historical Foundation gift shops, and I think they deserve a post. Stay tuned for that.

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My new favorite mug

So, now that I have a really cool spoon and an even cooler utensil holder, I better get to cooking!

I will let you know what I decide to make with my new spoon and utensils. Do you have a favorite utensil? Leave it in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gypsy Joynt, Galveston- A New Restaurant Review

One of the best things about Galveston is that no matter how long you’ve been there or how many times you go there, there is always something new to discover. This isn’t new to recent times though. Having plenty of options to choose from has been part of Galveston’s history for just about as long as Galveston has had a history. At one point, way back when there were no such thing as cars or air conditioning, the little island of Galveston had over 500 saloons! I think I remember reading that it had the highest number of saloons per capita than anywhere else in the US. So obviously, eating (and drinking) are deeply engrained in the character and soul of Galveston.

A few weeks ago, while talking to the owners of my favorite coffee place (I believe I may have mentioned it a time or two), they mentioned a restaurant that I hadn’t heard of- the Gypsy Joynt. Apparently, it was voted best restaurant in Galveston in 2017, and I immediately wondered where I had been that I hadn’t heard of it. So, last week, after the last day of school (thank you gods of mercy and summer!), I decided to go down to Galveston and try it. I needed more coffee anyway. Plus, lately, I have been craving the beach. (We mermaids tend to dry out if we stay away from salt water too long).

I started formulating my escape plan at the beginning of the week while the kids were taking their finals. By the way, if you ever thought teachers enjoyed giving tests, think again. Tests are the most boring part of the entire school year. Pretty much the entire day, you stand around, walk around and sit around in complete silence while the kids work. It’s terrible. Don’t even get me started on standardized testing. Pure torture for the teachers. We can’t even read or be on our phones- for fear of cheating or of teachers leaking the test online to someone else. Worst. Part. Of. The. Year.

Anyway, while I whittled away the time in silence, I realized that if I cleaned out my classroom and got as much of the end of the year checklist completed early, I would be able to leave on Friday afternoon as soon as the students were released. I would still have to come back the following week to turn in keys and verify grades, but that couldn’t be done early.

The plan that I made in my head involved leaving as early as I could, jumping straight onto the freeway (in my car of course), and then driving straight to Galveston. My plan involved eating lunch first, then stopping for coffee, and then going to the beach so that I could soak up some of the lovely salt water and all of the trace minerals that come along with it.

I had a plan. I was on a mission. Friday came, and I swiftly put my plan into motion. I left the school in record time, and made a bee-line for the Gypsy Joynt.

GypsyJoynt

Apparently the word got out about it being voted best restaurant in Galveston because when I got there around 12:45,  it was literally overflowing with people. I probably should have done a little more research about their busy times. I might should have gotten a little snack, gone to the beach and then gone to the Gypsy Joynt after the lunch rush. If I decide to go back, that’s probably what I will do.

Stepping inside, it has a distinct hippy/ island rebel type of a feel- not quite laid back enough to be a surfer hang out, but still cool in a wild, hap-hazard kind of way.

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Gypsy Joynt

The exposed brick walls and high ceilings are distinctly Galveston. It was promising. It’s usually a good sign when a restaurant has been open for several years and still draws such huge crowds on a weekday.

I stood in line for a while and when it was finally my turn, I ordered shrimp tacos and a chocolate chip cookie. I may have been a little unprepared, but I wasn’t a complete rookie. I had already looked at their menu at home to decide what I wanted.

I took my number card, and found an empty spot at the bar by the front window.

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It had to be a sign. After all, 42 is the answer tot he ultimate question in the universe. (shameless Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference). So I sat with my cookie and my number and I waited.

And I waited.

And I waited.

And I waited.

Quite a few people came in after me while I waited. I wasn’t overly concerned at first, because quite a few of the people that had come in before me still had their numbers too. I reasoned that they were super busy and the kitchen was probably swamped. One by one, the people who came in before me started getting their food. Then the people who came in after me started getting theirs. The girl next to me had come in at least ten minutes after me and she got her food. I figured it was probably because she had ordered salad with nothing that had to be cooked. It had already been over twenty minutes at that point. When the people after me started getting their plates, piled high with all types of hamburgers and French fires, I started getting a little suspicious. I waited and watched. One by one, the people who had arrived after me all started getting their food. I ate my chocolate chip cookie little by little while I waited, but I was a little disappointed by it. It wasn’t bad, but mine are better. (Though admittedly, the fact that I was hangry probably clouded my judgment a little on that). Finally, after 35 minutes, I decided I had waited long enough. I went to the window where the food runner was standing and told her that I thought the kitchen might have forgotten my order.

She told me that they were just really busy and that it would be out shortly. I told her I had been waiting over 35 minutes. She muttered something about them making the easy stuff first. The other girl standing there asked what I had ordered. When I told her that I had ordered shrimp tacos, she told me that shrimp tacos took a long time to cook.

Seriously? I know that she was just trying to defend the cooks from the evil customer. And, I’m sure that she has probably never cooked shrimp (she couldn’t have been more than 16), but come on. I looked over at her and told her that shrimp took no time at all to cook and that the hamburgers took way longer than shrimp. I told her that I was wondering if in all of the shuffle with them being so busy, that maybe my order had been overlooked. The first girl said that she would go check.

I took a seat at the table closest to the window so that I could make sure I wasn’t forgotten again. I was seriously hungry and was very much regretting not going to one of my other favorites. I saw the kitchen staff shuffling order slips around and looking generally busy. Within three minutes, my shrimp tacos were out and hot off the grill.

They totally forgot my order.

The shrimp tacos were pretty good. Not good enough to wait 40 minutes for, but good. The hamburgers looked amazing. When I left, I was really grumpy. After spending that long waiting, my window of time was closing for going to the beach. I needed to leave the island by at least 3pm to avoid the Houston rush hour traffic (which starts early on Fridays). If I had had more time, I would have asked to speak with a manager and would have asked them to comp my meal. I think that would have been only fair, but I was already worried that I was going to miss out on going to the beach.

Part of me never wants to go back again, but part of me really wants to try the hamburgers. In general, I liked the overall feel of the restaurant. I liked the local, hippy vibe. Deep down, I really want to believe that they are as good as everyone says they are despite my first encounter.

Luckily, the bad taste left in my mouth by Gypsy Joynt was quickly erased. My favorite coffee place was open. They even gave me a cup of coffee on the house. (I didn’t tell them about my bad experience). I was even able to spend a few minutes in the warm Gulf water before heading for home. Plus, the next day, my family got together to celebrate my parents’ 60th anniversary and we all went to my normal favorite place to eat in Galveston.

Their shrimp was amazing- as always!

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And everyone lived happily ever after.

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Imperfect Produce and a Whole Food Revival

I’m sure you have probably seen the advertisements for Imperfect Produce on Instagram and Facebook. I was mildly interested when I first saw them, but I was a little hesitant because, well, there are so many subscription services out there right now, that I just saw it as just another company trying to take my money. The idea is a cool one though. Basically the idea is that there are tons of produce (literally) that don’t get sent to the supermarkets because they are ugly. If you have ever tried growing a garden, you know that a lot of the things you end up growing aren’t necessarily as pretty as the ones you buy in the stores. Sometimes they are smaller, sometimes they are a little dented on one side, or lopsided. Occasionally, you end up with something giant like the onions that I accidentally grew one year. I don’t seem to have a picture. I think it didn’t survive the migration when I switched computers, but it was almost the size of my foot.

Grocery stores only take produce that is cosmetically acceptable, but that means that there are tons and tons of fruits and vegetables that go to waste because they aren’t pretty- like the Island of Misfit Toys but for food. The worst part about this is that “ugly” fruits and vegetables still taste the same and have just as many vitamins and nutrients. So, Imperfect Produce came along and said “wait a second. Why not sell the ugly stuff too to people who understand that not all fruits and vegetables are perfect?”

I thought about it for a little while, then forgot about it. Then one day while I was thinking about the fact that I don’t eat enough vegetables, I remembered it again. There’s no substitute for things that you grow in your own garden. If you have never had a tomato from a garden, then you really should. They don’t taste anything like the ones you find in the store. I didn’t think I liked tomatoes until a college roommate brought some from home one weekend. It was an awakening. Why then, wouldn’t the ugly produce thing not be something like that. You are getting the stuff farmers can’t sell to stores, but that means that they weren’t produced in hot houses, they were most likely grown in the ground- like an actual garden. On top of that, they bring the produce directly to you. You don’t have to stop at the store. The drawback is that they aren’t available everywhere, but I checked their website and my area was available. So, I decided, why not? I mean, if you try it and you don’t like it, you can always just cancel.

As soon as I got home from work, I went to their website. You can choose from several options. I chose the small organic, fruit and vegetable mix. The small is supposed to have 7-9 pounds of produce. There are bigger sizes, but I didn’t want it to go bad before I could eat it all. A week later, I got my first box. This is what they sent:

 

Most of the items weren’t ugly at all. I think the three potatoes I got were included because they are much bigger than normal. Some of the carrots had slight curves, and one of the oranges was slightly flat on one side. But seriously. So what?

At the same time, my tomatoes from last year decided to go out with a bang, and I have tomatoes everywhere at the moment. This abundance of produce made me step up my game a little bit. I put the kale in smoothies, the romaine lettuce is going to be used for tacos this evening, and I have just been eating the apples, pears and oranges. One of the tomatoes met its end in a tasty batch of guacamole. Then I decided I wanted salsa, but I didn’t have anything good in my fridge. So I was like, why don’t I just make some? It’s not like it’s complicated. So over the weekend, I made salsa.

Then, Sunday, I was a little bored. I had been cleaning- trying to continue the Marie Kondo project that I started a while back, and I felt like making something else from scratch. I had never tried making coleslaw before, but I had some shrimp in the freezer, and decided that coleslaw would be the perfect side. Plus, the purple cabbage that came in the box was just too pretty to let go to waste. So, I pulled out my Boat Galley Cookbook (one of my go-to’s for anything that I need to make from scratch). Sure enough, they didn’t let me down on the coleslaw. I decided to look up recipes for carrots too, and I found one for carrot and raisin salad.  I whipped up a batch of that in minutes,  substituting dried cranberries for raisins. Then I tackled the coleslaw. It was much easier and quicker than I thought it would be. I was really happy with the result. The shrimp and coleslaw were amazing, and then the carrot and raisin salad made for a very light but satisfying dessert.


At this point, you may be asking, “What is the point of all of this?”

The point is that ordering the Imperfect Produce box has made me eat more vegetables and has inspired me to try new things with fruits and vegetables to avoid having them go bad. It is completely worth it just for that. I am really happy with the service and can’t wait to see what’s in my next box. If it is available in your area, I highly recommend it. Also, I find myself spending less at the grocery store because I have food at home that I need to use. So, it may actually save me money in the long run.

Pizza and a Root Canal

So, last Thursday, I was eating a piece of leftover pizza for lunch. Don’t judge. Sometimes you just need a good pizza. Yeah, it’s that close to the end of the school year. Anyway, none of that matters to this story. I was eating a very soft piece of left over pizza that had been microwaved a few seconds. So imagine my surprise when all of a sudden I felt something super jagged in my mouth. At first I thought it was a hardened piece of olive? Was that even possible? Who knows, but I went to the bathroom immediately to check it in the mirror.

There was a gaping hole in one of my teeth!

And by gaping, I mean a large crater looking dark little cave in part of one of my bottom molars. I was shocked. (I could have sworn I heard the slight jingle of an old school cash register). I went straight back to my classroom and Googled dentists in my area. And yes, it has been so long since I visited a dentist that I didn’t have one in my area already.

I had gotten a filing in that tooth way back in like 2002 (or somewhere around then). Apparently, the filling had developed a little crack and stuff had been getting in. I had noticed a little bit of soreness when I would eat something cold and soft- like yogurt or a banana. I think what was happening was that the soft foods were getting in under the filling and rotting the tooth from the inside. Happy, happy, joy, joy. The dentist was closing early that day and would be closed the next day- either because it was Friday or because we were expecting really bad weather. I’m not sure which. The earliest appointment I could get was the following Monday.

So, after school was out, I left early and went to the store to get some of that wax stuff that you use when you have braces to keep them from cutting up the inside of your mouth. I know the stuff well. I used it a lot as a teenager. I didn’t want to leave the hole open for two reasons. First, the jagged edges were scraping up the side of my tongue. Second, I didn’t want any food to get into the hole, because I didn’t want it to get completely infected and nasty. Plus, I don’t even want to think about how painful it would be to get little pieces of food stuck in the tooth against the exposed pulp and nerves.

My parents had recommended the dentist a few blocks from my house because they had used him before, so that’s where I went. When I got there, he told me that I would need a root canal, but that he didn’t do root canals anymore. My theory is that he is getting older and either doesn’t want to have to buy the updated equipment you need for that, or maybe he is getting close to retirement and doesn’t want to have to deal with that anymore. He referred me to another dentist not to far away, and prescribed me some antibiotics because it was already infected.

I called the other dentist as soon as I got home and set up an appointment for Wednesday.

You know it’s close to the end of the year when the thought process goes, “should I spend 85 minutes in third period or have a root canal?” The root canal won out. (Wednesdays are block days at our school. So we have a normal 1st period and the 85 minutes in 3rd, 5th and 7th.

Today, I took a half day off and left just after 3rd period. I’m not completely sure why so many people dread the dentist. It really isn’t that bad. Of course, it totally helped to know that I was missing class.

Everyone in the office of the new dentist was really nice. I didn’t have to wait long at all. The office was quiet and very clean (definitely a desirable quality). Their equipment was very state of the art and well maintained. Once in the room, the assistant, who was very nice and extremely professional without being cold and distant, got to work taking x-rays and checking things out. The dentist came in, asked me a few questions, checked out my tooth and got right to work. If you are in the Kingwood, Texas area and need a root canal, I totally recommend Kingwood Dental Specialists– specifically Dr. Howell.

By far, the worst part of any dental procedure in my opinion is the shot (s) they give you deaden the area. I am always worried that it will hurt, but he deadened surface a little first before injecting the actual anesthetic. There was the tiniest pinch, but that was it. After that, they let me sit for a little while to let everything kick in. Before long, I was drooling with the best of them. (Okay maybe that is an exaggeration).

The procedure took a while because they had to hollow out the canals of the tooth and take out the roots. I was a little worried that the drugs would wear off in the middle of it because that really doesn’t sound fun, but they didn’t. The whole thing from x-rays to signing over my first born child took a little under two hours, and I didn’t feel a thing.

I have to say, I have heard horror stories about root canals being super painful, but I didn’t find that to be the case at all. Admittedly, the feeling hasn’t been back in my mouth for very long, so maybe it will start hurting later. But, the root canal itself was actually not bad. It was a little awkward having to sit still for over an hour with my mouth wide open, with tools, and a silicon funnel looking bib thing isolating the tooth but covering the rest of my mouth. The cool part was that he had more up to date equipment. So, they would take an x-ray, and it would immediately show up on the large computer monitor on the counter nearby. I didn’t have to wait for the film to develop. It would have taken a lot longer if I had had to wait for the films every time they took an x-ray.

Now I am sitting on the couch, no longer drooling when I drink water, debating whether or not to take an ibuprofen just in case. It doesn’t really hurt yet, but I don’t want it to start. He recommended putting ice packs on the side of my face in 15 minute intervals for two hours, which I did. I may do that again in a little while. It helped the minor discomfort I had while the feeling was coming back.

I have to go back to the regular dentist in a couple of weeks to get a crown put on it, but it already feels better than it did when there was a gaping hole.

So that was the excitement around here this past week. I don’t have any pictures. I mean, I have one from when it first popped out and I was trying to get a better look at it, but it’s not a very pretty picture. So, I will spare you that image.

I will try to post a more uplifting Thursday motivation post tomorrow. I guess this could be a Hump Day Motivational post because hey, whatever is going on, it could be worse. You could be having a root canal. 🙂

 

 

Thursday? What Thursday?

I’m not even going to try to make an excuse for not writing a post on Thursday. Anyway, it’s Sunday. So… I’m just going to write a post now.

There are only a few more weeks of decent weather left until it gets so hot in Texas that you almost burst into flames every time you go outside. I’ve been trying to take advantage of it while it lasts by taking the puppies to the beach. I try taking them for walks around my neighborhood, but sometimes, it gets boring walking in the same area all the time. I know they must get bored with it too. It’s a whole lot more fun to walk somewhere new. It’s way more fun if that new place is the beach.

So, this morning, we got up early so that we could be at the beach before it got warm. The weather was absolutely perfect- upper 70’s, water warm enough not to feel like ice, but cool enough to still be refreshing in the afternoon. If you have ever been to the beach on the Gulf of Mexico during the middle of the summer, then you know that the water in the summer feels like bathwater- not quite refreshing in the middle of the afternoon. The puppies know where we are going as soon as we go over the Causeway (the main bridge connecting the island to the mainland), and started getting excited. They were all wiggles when we pulled into our parking spot and could hardly stand still long enough to get there leashes on before jumping out of the SUV.

We walked in the water, smelled pretty much everything on the beach, discovered floating seed pods in the surf that had to be checked out. We even rolled in the sand. The two older ones are still a little nervous about the water coming toward them, but are okay with it once they are standing in it.

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This is the closest I got to getting a picture of all three of them at once.

After we were finished with our beach walk, we went to my new favorite coffee shop because I was out of good coffee. (Life is too short to drink bad coffee. Seriously). While we were driving, we passed the cemetery on Broadway. Every year during wildflower season, the entire cemetery is blanketed in color. I thought we had missed wildflower season, but apparently not. People literally come from all around to photograph the cemetery when the flowers are in bloom. There was even a guy standing out with an easel, painting the flowers. It reminded me of the street artists in Paris- one of my favorite parts about Paris, by the way. I was going to just go straight home, but I couldn’t resist stopping for a few pictures.

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I don’t want to end this post with pictures of death, even if life is blossoming up from it. I found a good quote to start the week off right. Also, here is  random picture of my desk from this past week.

“In the waves of change, we find our direction.”

— Unknown

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My rubber ducky has a new friend.

Thursday Came Late… Again

Okay, it’s the end of the school year. In my defense, we didn’t have school Monday, so Friday was the fourth day of the week. So, one might say that this week, Friday was in fact the new Thursday.

Really, I just got lazy. I meant to post something on Monday because it was Earth Day. Then I got busy taking the puppies to the beach and forgot about writing a post. According to my facebook feed, I took the puppies to the beach on Earth Day last year too. So I guess it is my new accidental tradition. I think it is a tradition worth continuing.

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But enough about Earth Day. What about the Thursday motivation (that is now Friday motivation)? Even though I really think that Friday is its own motivation, I will enlighten you anyway…

“Give me coffee to change the things I can and the beach to accept the things I can’t.”

–Unknown

All of a sudden, this post has taken on a distinct beach theme, and I am okay with that. I am a firm believer in the fact that the ocean heals pretty much anything. Just dreaming of the islands keeps me sane.

As the month of April comes to a close, my students (most of them seniors) are getting ready to end one part of their journey and begin their lives. Today, they got their caps and gowns. As a high school teacher, you normally only get to know your students for a year, maybe two. Some of the kids that are in my class this year were also in my Algebra 2 class last year or the year before, but that’s rare. When you see them getting their caps and gowns and the picture frames for their diplomas, it really makes you proud. They have no idea how much teachers invest in them. They see what we teach them. They see the hours we spend after school helping them when they have questions. What they don’t see is the countless hours over the summer and on the weekends that we spend trying to make things more interesting and relevant. They don’t see the trips we make to Costco and Office Depot to make sure we have pencils for them when they don’t have anything to write with. They don’t see how proud we are to see them go from awkward sophomores to grown(ish) seniors ready to take on the world.

It’s an odd feeling. They have no idea how much it fills our hearts with joy when we watch them in their last performances of their high school careers. We weren’t there when they were growing up. We weren’t there when the were learning to ride their bikes. We didn’t stay up with them when they were sick. We aren’t their parents or even their relatives, but they feel like our kids. So, usually we celebrate quietly. I would be lying if I said I didn’t get a little misty-eyed escorting them into the stadium for graduation last year. This year’s graduation will be even more special. I started teaching the same year they started high school as freshmen. I have had almost half of them in my math classes. I’ve been there to see them sing in their choir concerts, play at their football games and perform their dance shows. I have been there when they screwed up and got themselves suspended and when they worked extra hard to turn things around so they could graduate.

This year is a little different. They really do feel like my kids, but like always, I will celebrate a little on the inside, my heart bursting with pride for kids I’ve only known a few years. It’s definitely a thankless job, but we don’t really do this for recognition. I know that my kids made it through high school and are ready to take on the world, and that’s good enough for me.

Random pictures from this week:

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Onions and peppers from my garden, pineapple from Costco

Friday is the New Thursday

I am a little late on my Thursday post this week. So I decided that Friday must be the new Thursday. Although really, since we didn’t have to work this Friday, Thursday was actually the new Friday, but whatever.

Luckily though, my procrastination on my post goes well with this week’s quote.

“Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”

– Mark Twain

I think Mark Twain may be one of my heroes now.

This late in the school year, that’s pretty much how I feel all of the time. Usually, the end of the rough anyway, but this year, I am teaching mostly seniors. So in addition to the normal being fed up with school thing, most of my kids also have senioritis. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have senioritis at this point too.

desk3Today, we had the day off of work for Good Friday. The weather was perfect, so I decided it would be a good time to go to Galveston. I have been out of the good Galveston Coffee Roasters coffee for a couple of weeks now. I know this sounds a little over the top, but their coffee is so good, it really is worth going to Galveston for. My favorite so far has been the Seashore Blend. They had a new blend today when I went in called the Surfer blend. So I got a half a pound of that to try too. I will let you know how it is, although I am sure that it is going to be equally amazing as the Seashore blend.
Galveston may not have clear turquoise water, but it makes up for it with charm, history, cool architecture and food. Today, I visited one of my favorite restaurants on the island. Nates’s West End. Nate’s is a completely unassuming little local place on the West End (hence the clever name). If you didn’t know it was there, you might miss it, which would be a shame because you would be missing out. I’ve been going there for a while now, and they are just as good today as they were when I started going there.

nates

(Picture taken from their Facebook page because I forgot to take a picture)

I’m pretty sure this was once a house, but I am just guessing. It looks like it is attached to the grocery store next to it, which by the way is the coolest little grocery store ever. It’s the only regular grocery store on the West End, and is really small, but it is very complete and have pretty much everything you need for a weekend in a beach house. If you didn’t know any better, you would probably turn your nose up Nate’s because of its appearance and location. Once inside though, it quickly becomes apparent why it’s usually hard to find a parking spot. The smells alone are enough to draw you in. The servers are the same ones that were there when I started going there- turn over is extremely low, which has to say something about them. They are super friendly and usually go out of their way to make sure you feel welcome. One time while I was there, one of the servers came in and was talking to the other server about this amazing coffee creamer that she had found next door. She told us about it since we had just ordered coffee and even offered us some of hers. She was right, and we ended up buying some too. Another time when we were there, the tire on our SUV went flat while we were inside. One of the cooks came out because it was the end of his shift and saw us struggling with the tire. He changed it for us! Seriously, the staff here make you feel like family.

Then there is the food! My all time favorite is their pecan crusted snapper with green beans and dirty rice. It is amazing, but I have to say that the stuffed shrimp I had today gave it a serious run for its money. I didn’t think to take a picture until it was too late. I’ll have to go back soon. You know, for blogging purposes. If you aren’t too stuffed for dessert when you finish your meal, I highly recommend their key lime pie. And don’t even get me started on their tartar sauce. Usually I am kind of lukewarm on the subject of tartar sauce. It’s okay. I like dipping my shrimp in it  sometimes, but normally prefer the cocktail sauce. Not so at Nate’s. Their tartar sauce is hands-down the best tartar sauce I have ever had. It’s so good that when I had finished my meal, I found myself dipping crackers in it because it is just that yummy. You could seriously eat it with a spoon. It’s almost addictive.

If you are in Galveston and are wondering where to eat, you should definitely check out Nate’s. It is worth the drive to the West End. Plus, the West End has better beaches anyway. Most tourists park along the Seawall and go to the beach there, but if you really want to enjoy the beach, it is better to drive down to the State Park, about five minutes away from Nate’s, and go to the beach there. They have restrooms that are clean, rinse off showers so that you don’t have to drive home salty and a cute little gift shop. The parking is free with the price of admission and besides just beaches, they have birding and hiking trails on the bay side too. There is even a cool birding tower that you can climb for better views. Also, in case you didn’t know. You don’t need a fishing license to fish at the State Park.

Okay, my battery is low and I am too lazy to get up and plug in my computer (see the first part of this post). So I am going to leave you with a picture from the webcams of the Elissa heading out for a sail last week.

elissa