Sunday, January 22, 2012

Can he still be the King even if he is in Heaven?

Can he?
Well... King is actually his last name, like Smith, or my last name Keels. He's not actually a King.
Oh. And what was his wife's name? CorettaAnd his kids? (I'll have to look that one up,) and his dad? Martin Luther King Sr.

The questions continued.

My co-teachers and I were blown away by the discussions in circle regarding Martin Luther King Day.

The whole time line of the civil rights movement, and when Dr. King lived exactly didn't seem to register, the importance of it did. That's the crucial part anyway, right? They understood that things used to be very different, very unfair, and sometimes dangerous if you broke the laws.

For the full day children I played a clip of the I have a Dream speech. They were speechless.
For the first time that morning!
They are a chatty, chatty bunch.
I'm not sure if they really understood exactly what Dr. King was saying, and I did have to explain that it wasn't a movie clip, it was real, just from a long time ago, before we had color TV.
They did understand that it was important. And that his dream was that we would all work and go to school together and things would be fair between African Americans and Caucasians.
And permit me to get a little political here. We spend lots of time belly aching about how much more work needs to be done for equal employment, marriage equality, heath insurance etc. Of course.
But really from the perspective of a child? Things are okay. In their eyes Dr. King's dream is here, and they are apart of it.
I digress....
We had covered with them the fact that if it had not been for Dr. King and others like him, I would not have been able to be there teacher because I was African American, and that we also would not have been able to use the same drinking fountain or bathroom. AND we would not have Barack Obama as president. It would have been against the law!
And that in the south like where Ms. Simmons was from the laws were even worse.
They were very upset by the unfairness of it. Being fair is really REALLY important when you are 3, or 4, or 5 or 35 for that matter.
The greatest excitement and ability to understand Dr. Kings message was through the songs we learned.
(sung to Twinkle)
Freedom Freedom Let it Ring
Let it Ring said Dr. King
Let us live in Harmony,
Peace and love for you, and me
Freedom Freedom Let it Ring
Let it Ring said Dr. King.
What better way to teach his message than through song.
Right? Right.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pass the profiteroles please.

This weekend I embarked on my quest to find something to do.
I know.
I have lots and lots to DO. Needs to be done, places to go people to meet yadayadayada.
I have at least two and a half jobs, and that doesn't even count the mom job. But over the last year our lives have changed so drastically, so completely, and wonderfully with the addition of Ella. I have realized that I have been so engrossed in being a mom, and a teacher, and cleaning the house and... You get my drift. I've realized that all of the sudden I have a sort of void that needs to be filled, where did Carmen go?  I'm not unhappy, quite the contrary,  I'm quite happy. Tired. Overwhelmed sometimes. But happy. I just need something to do. I think most moms can relate. We get so bogged down with the everyday that we forget that we liked to do things independently of our children and partners. I used to not care back in the days when I kicked up my heals an sung and danced for a living.  Being able to do all those things for your job was plenty. But now. Things are different.

Some Moms push it aside, drink more, and get Botox. Some moms start businesses on Facebook. Some moms scrapbook. That's not for me. Too much stuff and i don't have wrinkles to Botox even if i had the money! I wish I could find a book club, and let's be honest most book clubs are wine clubs (yum wine,) and who doesn't like a nice glass at the end of a long day?! But with a book club you have to be on a group time frame. Trying to plan to be through a book by a arbitrary Friday night and then fall asleep on the train and miss my stop cause I'm so fried from the week. Nope. No can do right now.
So what what am I going to do?
I decided to take cooking classes. No. I'm not enrolling in the French Culinary Institute. And no. I have No desire to be in the restaurant business. And no, I'm not looking to cook my way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking and get a book deal. I just thought I'd take a class maybe once a month on a Saturday or Sunday morning and learn some different stuff, with a group of strangers.
So today was my day! French Pastry!
It was wonderful.
The teacher was funny, encouraging, and cooks for one of my favorite Food Network personalities. Her assistant makes thousands of crack pies at Momofuko Milk Bar.
And who wouldn't want to spend a morning piping profiteroles, rolling palmiers, and poaching pears.
I now know ( I had an idea) of how much work goes into puff pastry, and why even the fancy smancy cooks sometimes just buy it.
Here's the thing. I could have figured out most of these things in my own kitchen.
But it was worth the money to be able to ride the train without my baby necklace. Be in a classroom with adults (not four year olds) and just plain doing something that I wanted to do.
Now Michael, Ella, and our friends can reap the benefits of my class.
Sunday night dinner: Tuscan White Bean Soup, with spinach and cheese profiteroles anyone?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy New Year

I don't do New Years resolutions.
This year however being our first year of parenthood made me think, maybe I should do a little resolving. Certainly not to loose weight. The breast feeding has thankfully taken care of that. So. I resolve to write.
I want to write notes to Ella, to write down recipes that I come up with or tweak, or to write about crazy things that happen to me, my family, or at work. I want to write to remember. Because, since having Ella there is less time to remember things, and I find that there is so much more that I want to make sure I don't forget. Now since there is less time for remembering, I hope I find time to write. And maybe someone will want to read what I write. Probably just my mom, but that's okay.

For example: I teach preschool. The first week back at school the children were sharing fun adventures they had had over break. One little girl said. Well. I had a lot of sleepovers, and Lady Gaga fell on the floor. I thought Lady Gaga had fallen in a concert she had watched on TV or something. No. The little girl said, Lady Gaga is a chicken. We named our chickens, I asked, A live chicken? No, she said the cooking kind. Ah, I said. So then what happened. Well, we had three, Lady Gaga fell on the floor, Ostrich was in the cooker and Dillan was on ice. Ah, the magic of four year olds. I can't imagine what Ella will come up with when she's four.

For us, it was just exciting that Ella turned one. We couldn't believe a year had gone by so fast, and we are continually amazed at how everything has changed, all for the better. Except for the lack of sleep,but really sleep is overrated when you are greeted with a toothless grin at five in the morning, on a Saturday.

As Ella's birthday got closer we were peppered with questions. Are you going to have a party? Do you know you could rent out such and such space for only 500 dollars? Are you going to give her a "smash cake?" Huh? A smash what? Hold the phone. She's one, right? Like she's not going to remember this birthday? We will, but do we want it to be a reminder that we over spent and now wont be able to afford birthday's three, four, and five? Ones that she might actually remember and have friends to invite? Humm. So we started with the basics. On the actually day, Cake, Champagne, and a few of our friends. One couple who actually have a baby. Her "friend."AND an early celebration, for the Grandparents. That solved the 500 dollar birthday venue question, and the are you going to have a party question. Yes. But you're not invited, sorry. All these questions answered, but then the biggest and maybe even weirdest in my opinion was this notion of a "smash cake." Well. We didn't have one of those. She did enjoy her cake though, and it eventually made it all over her face, and a little up her nose. The party was a smashing success, it lasted an hour, and by nine-thirty Michael and I had a beer, watched our DVR'd How I Met Your Mother and fell asleep.