Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

be somebody

And we have a slideshow!

Kali sent us access to the online proof gallery yesterday. We were blown away. If you're interested, go here, and click on our wedding. The password is my new last name.

Monday, September 07, 2009

dreaming tree

In a continued effort to reduce the amount of paper waste that our home produces (a massive task these days when wedding presents keep arriving on our front door wrapped in more paper than can possible be necessary), we have been trying to use as few paper towels (including Clorox GreenWorks counter wipes) as possible. Today I bought these and think I am in love. They are thinner than the cloth towels I had been using and rinse/dry very quickly.

In other news, we made a delicious black bean & salsa soup to accompany our burritos for dinner tonight. Brian has advanced from kitchen outcast to sous chef with admirable aplomb. Recipes below, but no pictures because we devoured everything too quickly. I also made a vegetarian lasagne and Rigatoni Bolognese to freeze for the week.

Our lives are super exciting, I know.

Black Bean & Salsa Soup
adapted from Leo on the Loose

2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 ½ c. vegetable broth (chicken works if you don't have veggie)
1 c. chunky salsa
1 t. ground cumin
1/8 t. cayenne (we like stuff HOT, you may want to skip this if you don't like spicy foods)
squirt of lemon/lime juice

In a blender (or using an immersion blender), combine beans, broth, salsa, cumin, cayenne, and lemon juice. Blend until fairly smooth. Heat the bean mixture in a medium saucepan over medium heat until thoroughly heated.

Vegetarian Burritos
via Gourmet

1 onion, finely chopped
½ lb. mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 bunch spinach (about 1 pound), coarse stems discarded, washed well and spun dry
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup water
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed well and drained
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 scallions, finely chopped
¾ cup coarsely grated pepper Jack cheese (about 5 ounces)
½ cup canned mild enchilada sauce
2 (10-inch) or 4 (8-inch) flour tortillas

In a heavy skillet cook onion and mushrooms in oil over moderate heat, stirring, until golden. Add spinach and garlic and cook, stirring, until spinach is wilted, about 30 seconds. Stir in water, beans, lemon juice, scallions, pepper Jack, salt, to taste, and cook stirring, until cheese is melted.

In a small saucepan, heat enchilada sauce.

Heat a dry skillet (large enough to hold 1 tortilla) over moderately high heat until hot. In skillet heat tortillas, 1 at a time, turning frequently, 30 seconds, or until softened, and transfer to a work surface. Divide filling between tortillas and roll up burritos.

*Note: We do not like enchilada sauce, so we dressed our burritos with Tapatio instead. I also used the leftover black beans from the burritos and added them to the soup while it was heating on the stovetop. It gave it a nice texture and kept the soup from just being pureed black beans.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

you & me together

Catch a sneak peak of our sa-weet wedding photos here. More to come!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

it's been a while

Not sure if I'm ready to return from my blogging hiatus, but just a quick post to say that I am finishing up a book of awesome Maui photography while my husband seasons our new cast iron skillet so he can make cornbread tomorrow night.

Being married is pretty awesome.

Monday, June 01, 2009

wherever you run

I just watched a student (who arrived late) lint-rolling her tshirt instead of working on her final. Seriously?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I called in sick today and got a sub, effectively giving myself a 5-day weekend. This might seem excessive, but I need to start packing and getting my life in order, and we are leaving to camp in Big Sur tomorrow so.... yes. Don't judge me.

However, I woke up this morning actually sick! Oh, the cruel irony. I am both congested and have a runny nose. Not fair.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I have to say, I'm none to disappointed to be leaving my district when I read emails like this:

"I have attached a copy of the contract for the New Permanent Superintendent for [our district]. It includes the amount of money she can make. Be sure to read all sections regarding compensation. I adds up to more than $192,000 (4 to 5 times that of a teacher salary) the FIRST YEAR with a $10,000. raise for each of two years following this amount. The board can add to this compensation any time they want to. Additional compensation will be given for any out-of-district travel, meals while she is away, and other out-of-pocket expenses with no cap.

This is only days following the board meeting where the district, including the same board that hired her and negotiated her sticker price, was glum-faced about the possible cuts our district face. Their discussion included all of the following:

No sports
No music
No art
No clubs

Class sizes of 40 to 50 for grades 4 through 12

Class sizes of 32 for grades K through 3

A negotiated 173-day calendar down from 182 which would be a 5% to 10% cut in pay for unit members"

No sports, music, clubs, or art? Class size of 50? 50? I can barely fit the 33 desks that are in my classroom as it is. All this so our superindenant can make $200,000? Absurd.

Monday, May 18, 2009

pina coladas

I forgot to blog about my birthday!

It was definitely better than "Point Break - Live!"

Brian took me to Costanoa, where we stayed in a tent cabin, ate lots of organic food, explored Pescadero, visited a lighthouse, and hiked around on the beach a lot.

It was super.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

This morning I actually pulled the, "Because I'm the teacher and I said so," card.

It is SO time for school to be out.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

i am a rockstar

Things I am looking forward to in Campbell:
Third Friday ArtWalks
Recycle Bookstore
Los Gatos Trail
Live music at Orchard Valley
Big Band & BBQ
Sunday AM Farmer's Market
S'mores Donuts at Psycho Donuts
Sundown Cinema on First Fridays
Classes at the Community Center

Things I am going to miss about Davis/Sac:
....yeah, that's about it...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

do not fear

I am overwhelmed with the amount of things going on right now.

This weekend, Brian and I signed the lease for our new apartment in Campbell! We will be living 2.2 miles from my school and 4.5 miles from his and a 5 minute walk from awesome downtown Campbell at Avalon Campbell. It's slightly more money than I was wanting to pay for rent (I am the financial guru), but it is right on the Los Gatos Creek Trail which means lots of nature and running and biking, plus it's so close to our schools and has a great downtown scene and some incredible churches, so I conceded. I get what I want most of the time, so it was time for Brian to have his way. :)

So on top of lease signing and setting up utilities and merging our bank accounts (yikes!) and packing up my room in the house (I move in 4 weeks!), I also need to finish BTSA for my Professional Presentation this Wednesday (gag me), wrap up the teaching year (only 12 school days left holycrap!), deal with end-of-the-soccer-season business, and, OH YEAH, plan my wedding!

I am also having two showers this weekend, which just seems so extravegant that it's embarassing. My students (with the help of some co-workers) are throwing me a shower after school on Friday and then my mom and the b-maids are throwing the "official" shower on Sunday at the Tower Cafe. I am excited but also a little nervous, as I don't know how I feel about all this fuss over just me. I guess I should get used to it, what with a whole wedding coming up (77 days!) but... it still seems strange. This is what happens when you have to share a birthday with your sibling every single year of your life!

I intended to get a lot of work done this evening, but ended up having to call the cops because my neighbor was wasted and fighting with some other wasted guys in his backyard while his kids played in the street, so I ended up babysitting while the police and his wife did damage control. Needless to say, the move could not come at a better time.

Friday, May 01, 2009

when its good its good its so good

I've never had to write a letter of resignation before. Hopefully this one is OK. It kind of made me cry.

May 1, 2009
Dear Princpal,

It is now with mixed feelings that I write this letter. While I am truly excited to be moving into a new phase of my life with my soon-to-be-husband, I am also truly heartbroken to be leaving my colleagues and friends at Our High School. This has been a difficult decision, but in the end Brian and I know that it is in both of our best interests to make the move back to the Bay Area now, when we have both been blessed with job offers in the same district.

I cannot begin to thank you for giving me the opportunity to flex my teaching muscles here at Our School. I am amazed to look back and see how much I have grown in the last two years, and that was not without your encouragement along the way. I always felt welcomed and supported and comfortable taking risks in my classroom and trying new things. Thank you for the genuine care and interest you take in your teachers and you willingness to back them up. I always knew I could go to you if I needed support and as a new teacher that was especially comforting.

Thank you for believing in me enough to allow me to teach in the freshmen academy after only one year in the classroom. It was a completely transformative experience and not only changed the way I interacted with my students on a day-to-day basis, but also how I viewed the parent-teacher communication piece as well. This was a far more challenging year than last year, but doubly rewarding. I am truly sorry that I am leaving a hole in the freshmen academy team, but am also confident that you will find a solid, student-centered teacher to take on the terribly important task of training our ninth graders to be successful in high school. They need and deserve the very best you can find.

Thank you again for every opportunity, every encouragement, every kind word in passing. I am a better teacher for having taught for you and with colleagues who I now consider friends. Good luck next year, and for many years to come. You are doing excellent work.

Megan Rose Garcia

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

So I have this kid in my 5th period class. And he's annoying. He has annoyed me since about Day 2 and has slowly spread his annoyingness around the classroom so that now everyone is annoyed with him. This sometimes results in funny conversations between students. Today my kids are reviewing for their Odyssey test by going through the poem and identifying epic similes and then explaining the things that are being compared. I'm just sitting at my desk grading because this is stuff that they totally know by now and occasionally answering questions. Then I heard this:

Annoying Student: Annie, could you just give me a tiny hint about number 1?
Vince: Dude, it's on page 652.
Annoying Student: I know but-
Annie: AND we took notes on it. We aren't helping you.

Poor little Annoying Student...

Friday, April 10, 2009

smile on my friends

After a pretty long stretch since my last vacation day, I took today off (it was a minimum day anyway), so I could make it down to Campbell in time for my 1:30 interview at Del Mar High School. I was a little nervous, since my last interview with Fremont Unified was pretty lackluster. I think I did well, but it was a standard form interview and I didn't get any feedback. 

Immediately when I walked into the office, I felt comfortable. I was interviewing with the principal, vice principal, and the two English department co-chair, who looked about 3 years older than me. It was a casual interview and I got the opportunity to talk about curriculum design and freshmen academies and my experience working with a diverse student population. After about an hour and fifteen minutes of talking, they told me that they had one more interview that day and that they would get back to me pretty soon because they wanted to "act on this quickly."

An hour later, I got a phone call and the principal told me he was forwarding my name to the district and I would be hearing from them soon to sign a contract if I was interested! He also offered to talk to the principal at Prospect (where Brian has an interview in a week), to let them know that we are a package deal.

So now the focus turns from just trying to get a freaking interview to finding a place to live! Exciting times!

Monday, April 06, 2009

come closer

I have been a bad blogger.

But I've also been so busy I can barely think straight. So I think I should be absolved.

Spring break is a mere 4.5 days away and I am so ready. Last year around spring break I was thinking, "You know, I really like these kids. I can totally stay here another year." This year? So not the case. I am exhausted and overwhelmed and annoyed and cannot stand the thought of another second in this classroom or at this school after June 3.

That being said, I need a new job.

I've had a lot of good interviews, and another one this Friday, so let's all keep our fingers crossed.

Yesterday Brian and I capered about Sacramento with our wedding photographer, Kali Kraum, for three blissful hours of cuddling, kissing, and giggling. We had an incredible time and I am looking forward to some sweet pictures, which I will post as soon as I receive.

In other news, I am leaving for Boston to visit Bethany on the 11th for some spring break galivanting. And then Brian has a surprise planned for my birthday weekend, which he claims will rival last year's "Point Break, Live!" specatcle in awesomeness (I can't believe I didn't blog about "Point Break, Live!" last year. Bad blogger, indeed!). I'm a little worried since now that we are engaged he knows I can't break up with him if he plans something ridiculous. :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

just a litlte magic

In addition to being Pi Day, yesterday was of course also St. Patrick's Day. In honor of both, I braved my first Key Lime Pie (I am a much better cook than baker, so desserts always make me nervous. There is so much.... measuring, and I am too easily distracted).

I already had some Nellie and Joe's Key West Lime Juice from October when I made Key Lime Cupcakes for Brian's birthday, and since I don't have much occasion to use key lime juice in my normal every day cooking, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to use the rest of it.

After some searching online, I decided to use Emeril's Key Lime Pie recipe, but with a few adjustments (quite brave, as I usually refuse to alter a recipe the first time through, especially a dessert).

First, I was not even remotely interested in making my own graham cracker crust, especially when you can get them ready-made, so I bought one and saved myself the trouble. Second, the sour cream icing made me very uncomfortable, even though all the reviews raved about it. I made it as the recipe called for, then added another tablespoon of powdered sugar and the juice of half a lime.

Here is my pie ready to go in the oven - so pretty!

And here is the pie after setting in the fridge for 2 hours, iced and garnished:

Success! Brian has eaten nearly half of it by now. The topping is yummy, but adding the lime juice might not have been the best idea for pie-preservation, as it made it more runny and prone to separate in the fridge. Other than that, totally delish, super tart, and way easy. I'll tackle something more difficult next time.

Tonight I am making Baked Halibut in Foil Packets. Brian and I are day-dreaming almost constantly about how much more wonderful cooking together will be when we have our own kitchen that is organized properly for cooking. I am so annoyed with this stupid kitchen in the house I am living in...

Friday, March 13, 2009

the lines of my eart

Tomorrow is Pi Day! I intend to make a pie.

Or maybe several small pies...

I have a student who LOVES pie, but she was absent today so I was unable to
be giddy about Pi Day with her. Sadness abounds.

Image from VROG in Bristol

Sunday, March 01, 2009

one of us is leaving soon

Coaching soccer means I'm home even less than I was before, so obviously my nesting instinct has set in. I keep fantasizing about having my own place with Brian and being able to set up my kitchen however I want it. Two images that have had me drooling all weekend:

How much am I in love with an orange kitchen with a reading corner??

I don't even have words for how perfect this space is. It's just perfect. Perfect, perfect, perfect.

Time to cook dinner! Pork au Poivre and a green bean salad. Yum!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mosaic Meme

Something fun from Kassey while I should be cleaning my room.

Answer the questions below in Flickr search, and then pick a picture from the FIRST page of photo results. Use Mosaic Maker to plug in the pictures and make your own journal mosaic.

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
10.What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you

Friday, February 13, 2009

where were you

The week has gotten marginally better as we wrapped up Part 1 of the Odyssey in Advanded 9 today and began Romeo & Juliet in Benchmark. Things that pleased me immensely in both classes:

Advanced 9 - As we read the section in which Scylla eats six of Odysseus' men and Homer then compares the way she plucks them from the ship to fly fishing, Cody (a favorite from last year) walked into my room to give me roses for Valentine's Day. Without missing a beat or even waiting for me to ask about it, as I am hugging Cody, another student says, "Wait, that's an epic simile!" This is exciting because even though these kids are smart, they are kind of lazy and have been expecting me to spoon-feed all the literary elements to them so far. I am glad to see they are starting to take some initiative and get involved in the story.

Benchmark - We read the prologue together and then I asked them to determine the ryhyme scheme. After they figured it out (ABAB CDCD EFEF GG), I asked them if that particular rhyme scheme looked familiar. And in every single class? "A sonnet! Oh! Does that mean it's written in iabic... imbanic.... iambic pentameter, too?!"

Good times. I'm still glad it's the weekend, though.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

rise up

I have been trying really hard to practice gratitide this month. Every day I do my best to think of one thing I am thankful for and post it as my Facebook status (silly maybe, but it reminds me to do it). Today though, I am not feeling grateful. Instead, today I am tired of overweight, apathetic students listening to crappy music on thier iPods as they saunter through the hallways, too cool to make it to class on time. I am tired of skinny jeans and weird-printed hoodies and black lace-up Vans. I am tired of "But I don't like reading," and "At least a 60% is passing," and "I lost my textbook because I put it in Bianca's locker and now it's gone" I am tired of sending kids to the nurse because "they don't feel good," when really they didn't study for the test and I'm tired of tracking them down during lunch and study hall to make up the test when I know they are just going to get a 17/50 anyway. I am tired of giving up my prep period to grade essays in the Learning Center and I am especially tired of "friendly reminders" from the tutors during 5th period that I have 15 essays to finish grading. I know how many essays I have to finish. Why do you think I haven't come in to grade them? It's because I'm not interested. It's because I'm tired. It's because I don't get paid enough to deal with obnoxious, ignorant, rude, and uninterested students every day. I am tired of having a class that is 95% weirdos and only 5% normal kids. Where are the regular kids? Where are the students with parents who make them sit down at the kitchen table when they get home from school and do their homework? Where are the parents who give out consequences for bad behavior and poor grades and reward their kids for doing well and raise their kids to be productive, positive members of society?!

I feel better now.

Monday, February 09, 2009

touch the sky

Thank you President Lincoln, for giving me the day off!

Yesterday Brian and I went to The Melting Pot for dinner to celebrate our one year anniversary! Crazy. We cannot believe that a year ago we were awkwardly sitting in the Tower Cafe and now we are getting married!

Today I slept in and then went for a painful run, reminding myself that when it comes time to do the alterations for my dress in June, we can either let it out or take it in, and I want it to be taken in. I have lost some weight already, so I need to start lifting weights again so I can tone back up.

The rest of today has been... strange. I read on a blog this morning that a girl I went to college with has moved down to LA with her husband of two years and while he works as an engineer, she started a wedding planning business and is selling jewelry on the internet. I found myself both disgusted and jealous at the same time. On one hand, I would never want to stay home all day while my hubby made the big bucks. I would get bored and would wear sweatpants all the time and would probably gain weight from all the lattes I would drink. However, I would also love the opportunity to sleep in and drink coffee and go to the gym when it is not overrun with people and pursue fun things that I enjoy like cooking and decorating and the like. Why do I have to be so driven? Why do Brian and I have to have jobs that require us both to work? Why can't I just be a lazy, crafting bum? Gah!

Consequently, I spent the day puttering around the kitchen and not getting my grading done. Now I feel overwhelmed with the amount of real work I have to get done before I go into my classroom tomorrow. And I never changed out of my sweats after my run (see?).

However, I did perfect my granola bar recipe (I can't remember where I found the original one, but I think mine is better - and better for you). They are awesome! Here's the recipe:
Grab and Go Breakfast Bars
1 cup Quaker Oats
1 cup Shredded Wheat 'n Bran
1/2 cup almond slivers
1 1/2 cups dried fruit (I used a combo of apples, apricots, prunes)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or coat an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Place the oats, shredded wheat, almonds, dried fruit, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped
  3. In a large bow, whisk together the eggs, honey, and vanilla. Add the oatmeal mixture and chocolate chips and stir to combine.
  4. Transfer to the baking pan and flatten down gently with the back of a spoon or spatula to spread evenly.
  5. Bake about 18 minutes until the edges turn golden brown and the bars are done. Let bars cool completely in pan before slicing and serving.
It is supposed to yield 16, but mine only yielded (yielt?) 12. I can't imagine cutting them much smaller than I did, or they wouldn't really be very satisfying in the morning. I should have taken pictures, but didn't. Oops.

They are about a million times better than the Fiber-1 bars I have been buying at the grocery store, and way cheaper, in the long run. I think next time I will use dried pineapple, guava, and mango and omit the chocolate for a tropical treat to psyche me up for Hawaii this summer (and motivate myself to work out some more so I look irresistible in my bikini).

Then I tried to figure out my espresso machine, which has been sitting abandoned since I opened the box at Christmas. I succeeded at steaming milk and making a super weak pot of espresso. I decided to try again for a stronger brew, but must have screwed the filter on incorrectly, because the pressure from the water caused the whole basket to explode and I got gross coffee grounds everywhere. It was disgusting. I added my steamed milk to a cup of Earl Grey tea and gave up for the day. Maybe barista is not the non-teaching job for me after all...

Now I'm considering doing some laundry and making dinner (Butternut Squash and Cumin Couscous - our favorite vegetarian meal) before our soccer game tonight. And maybe doing some lesson planning. Why am I so unmotivated today?

EDIT: I can't believe I forgot to mention that I wrote the entire wedding ceremony script on Saturday! It is so multi-cultural and hippie-ish and beautiful, I just want to read it all the time. I can't wait for July!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

holy moly

Several exciting things this fine Wednesday afternoon:

1. We booked our honeymoon! Leaving CA on Tuesday, July 28 we will fly to Maui, drive the Road to Hana, and stay at the beautiful Hana's Heaven until Thursday. Then, we will check into my family's condo on Ka'anapali and stay for another beautiful week full of snorkeling and sun and all around fabulous good times. I am so excited already!

2. Spring Break. Cruise to Mexico. Enough said.

3. Last night I purchased software for my computer for the first time ever. I am so unbelievably obsessed with MacGourmet, it's kind of ridiculous. Brian watched in amazement as I clipped (hundreds of!) recipes that I have saved in my Delicious into the most ingenious software that is, essentially, iTunes for foodies. I am in heaven. The best $25 I have ever spent, hands down.

4. I should be expecting my photography contract to arrive in the mail any day now! Two months until engagement photos - hooray!

5. I have been running with my soccer team and I feel like I will look hotter in my dress already.

6. Brian updated our wedding website (which I cannot access on the school server- lame). "His story" is pretty adorable.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

this rut that i fell into

A first-year teacher from Iberia, Missouri just emailed me to ask for my point-of-view worksheets which she found the instructions on my student-teaching webpage through Google. Also, I just realized that the abstract for my thesis has been published on the School of Education Inquiry Projects page. I'm like a famous teacher person or something.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Some cute things from my students yesterday.

Adri left this note on my board while I was heating up my lunch:

And Sonja made this in MS Paint during 5th period while the rest of the class watched Goonies (it was Career Fair Day, so no actual teaching got done):
Alright, so the grammar and spelling leave something to be desired. Perhaps more time should be spent teaching and less time introducing my culturally deprived students to works of cinematic genius from the 80s? Oh well. All together now: "Aawww."

Monday, January 05, 2009


This year I want to simplify my life and I am trying to do so by being more organized. Consequently, I spent much of today's work day in my classroom cleaning, and filing, and organizing, and throwing away crap I don't need. I have also cleaned my bathroom, put away all my laundry immediately after washing it, loaded the dishwasher, and decided that I do not have to grade every single assignment my students turn in.

I feel better already.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

this could be

New wedding-related posts up at Weddinged! Mom and I have accomplished a lot in these last two weeks. I'm so excited for July!

My time in the Bay Area is up and I have to drive back to Sacramento tomorrow morning. Unpacking, lesson planning, and finals grading will take up Sunday afternoon and all day Monday, and then I see students again (including my brand-new 1st period with 32 new students!) on Tuesday. I am trying to psyche myself up to be back in the classroom after the debacle that was the last two weeks of last semester. At first, I was telling myself, "Only 18 more weeks, and then you can get a new job in a new school with new students and new co-workers," but I realized that that's not the best attitude to take. I do, after all, have to teach this job at this school with these students and these co-workers for another 18 weeks and I don't want to be miserable and counting down the whole time. I need to remind myself why I enjoy teaching and remember that second semester is so much easier and way more fun. Poetry, Odyssey, and Romeo & Juliet, plus a unit on Brave New World for the Advanced kids. Honestly, second semester is my dream job. Plus, I'll be coaching and it's always nice to see students in a context outside of the classroom.

Brian is stressed out about his Master's (but wasn't I at this time last year too?), so I'll be in charge of cooking comfort food dinners and orchestrating coffee house weekends coming up. Plus, you know, planning my wedding.