Thursday, January 28, 2010

Deep Thoughts

Jamison: "What does it mean when people say they have time to kill?"

Me: "It means they don't have anything to do at the moment and they can just relax."

Jamison: "Then shouldn't they say 'time to chill'?"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Where Have I Heard This Before?

My good friend Martha sent me this picture today. She found it on the floor of her playroom/office. Martha and I went to college together and went through the education program together. When we were doing our student-teaching (that's when you teach school, make no money, AND pay tuition) a kid wrote her a poem using the letters in her name. The H-line read "Hope you have kids."


Monday, January 25, 2010

Cheerleader In My Pocket

There's this lady at church. I don't know her all that well, but I love her. She's probably 15 or so years older than I am. Whenever I run into her, she has nothing but the kindest, sweetest things to say to me.

Yesterday, as I was rushing down the hall to find a book I needed, she appeared from around the corner.

"Hi Kaylma," I said.
"Oh look at your pretty hair. It grows so fast! This length looks so good on you because you're tall and thin. And I know because I'm a hairdresser!"

She has no idea that I'm having a bad hair year or that I think I'm a little pudgy in the middle. Or that my four siblings all tower over me by nearly a foot. She's simply my cheerleader. And who doesn't need one of those?

So go out and be somebody's cheerleader. See nothing but the best in them. Make only one assumption about them: that they are doing their best. Go! Cheer! Win!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I'm No Michelangelo

Writing a story is like creating a sculpture. A sculptor starts with a rough blob of material and sees what isn't there. A writer begins with an idea and a blank screen and sees what isn't there. I have a story. It's done. But I'm not sure it's finished. I keep chiseling away at it, polishing it, hoping to end up with something beautiful. Perhaps even something worthy of submission, or even better... publication.

I also have a little thumb drive that is full of rough blobs of material.

Does anyone have a chisel?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Uncommon Sense... Or Not?

Once again, I must first say that I grew up in Arizona. And yes, the phrase "uncommon sense" appears in the title of my blog.

It has been planned for several months that Thursday and Friday of this week were set aside for this teacher's group I'm in to meet in Provo, UT for a two-day mini-conference. Provo, in good weather, is about a half-hour's drive from where I live. To get there, you have to drive down a steep, winding canyon road . Again, in good weather, it's a lot of fun to drive - especially if you happen to be test-reviewing a BMW 535. The canyon itself is beautiful, with high, tree-lined walls, a flowing river, and even a waterfall or two.

Thursday morning ushered in the second phase of a pretty severe snow storm. As I drove out of town, I kept waiting for a phone call from ANYONE to say that we were going to stay IN town (as all the teachers are from this area) and just simply meet at the district office. But that call never came. So I began my long descent down the canyon. Had I not been wearing gloves, I might have seen the whiteness of my knuckles. But there was plenty of white stuff blowing across my windshield, to look at. It took me twice as long as it normally would have to get to the hotel. And of course, I was the only one who was late. But at least I was alive.

Coming back Friday was another adrenaline-pumping adventure, as I actually slid for several yards before regaining control of my car.

So am I the one with uncommon sense or not? Shouldn't we have just met here? Or have I joined the insanity of Northern Utah that says go ahead and drive the canyon anyway? My dad, who grew up in Park City, remembers only one time that they even closed school - half-way through the day - and they had to call in the National Guard to help get all the kids home. That was in 1968.

This global warming thing... I say bring it on.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Truth About Teachers

Mrs. (insert teacher's name) would much rather drive to work in a blustery blizzard and suffer through the day with a head cold than find a substitute and write up sub plans.

Go ahead. Ask any teacher. They'll all say the same thing.

By the way, my son said, "I wish there was such a thing as substitute students."

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Butterfly Flaps its Wings in China...

I bought a very unripe mango last Friday.

On Wednesday, my daughter got spacers inserted between her teeth in preparation for braces. Since then she has had some discomfort and has been limited to eating yogurt, applesauce, and other soft foods.

Today my husband wanted to go to Park City to run some errands and have a little family time at Cold Stone Creamery. I know it's only about 25 degrees outside, but hey ice cream is serious business here in Utah.

Before we left we decided to eat a little lunch. Three of us ate leftover pizza (there goes the diet, I know) and Jessica, after searching and searching for something that wouldn't hurt her teeth, asked me to cut up the mango. It was finally ripe, so I finished my pizza and set about to slice the mango. Dan, who had already finished, decided to wait out the mango by turning on the t.v. - I was sure he was going to get in a quick round of Wii golf.

But no. An infomercial for the Jack Lalanne power juicer was on. We occasionally watch infomercials purely for the entertainment value, but never for their intended purpose. It only took Jessica 20 minutes to eat 1/3 of a mango, which was enough time to convince Dan that he needed the juicer.

Needless to say, the thing is enroute to my house as I type this.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Think Flat

The last few months I've been really lazy about exercising and eating right. So as soon as the new year rolled around, I jumped on the proverbial bandwagon of promising to do better.

So far, so good.

But I gotta tell ya, this flat belly thing is for real. After only two weeks, I feel totally different. In a good way. I look different too (also in a good way). Before, I was feeling bloated and pudgy. Buttoning my jeans was an exercise in breath holding.

The flat belly thing is so simple too. Add a little MUFA to every meal. What's a MUFA? What's a MUFA with you? Ha ha. I couldn't resist. MUFA stands for Mono-Unsaturated Fatty Acid. As it turns out, MUFA-rich foods happen to be some of my favorites! They include avocados, olives, olive oil, hummus, almonds and other nuts, DARK CHOCOLATE (what's not to love?) and natural peanut butter. Think good fats.

I can already see a noticeable difference in my waist size. I buttoned my jeans with ease today. And I feel better.

So here's what I'm eating:

Banana-split oatmeal -- steel cut oats with fresh berries, sliced banans and a TBS of dark chocolate chips. Sometimes I add a little soy milk.

A toasted whole-wheat english muffin, drizzled with olive oil, topped with a tomato slice and a poached egg. Invest in a $3 microwave egg poacher - you'll have a poached egg in 30 seconds.

Almond-crusted chicken - crush up some raw almonds. Dip boneless skinless chicken cutlets in an egg wash, dust with cornstarch and roll in almonds. Fry in a skillet in olive oil. I love this with brown rice and green beans on the side.

You can do things as simple as making sure to toss in a few olives or sesame seeds in your salad (just don't drown it in ranch dressing)!

Snack on multi-grain crackers with hummus or tapenade. Tapenade is basically chopped olives, capers, and olive oil. I've kept pistachios on the countertop this week.

I've also had a lot of salmon this week, which is full of the good fats.

If you're so inclined, give it a try. I've got some pistachios to crack.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bad Hair Year

I can call it that because the year is only two weeks old. I AM having a bad hair year. The problem is I have an over-grown A-line haircut. It's in that horrible in-between stage and I can't make up my mind about what to do with it. It has no style. It has no shape... well, yes, it does, but it ain't pretty. So it spends most of the time pulled back into an uninspired ponytail.

Should I be patient and continue to let it grow? Should I give it an intermediate wait-and-see haircut? What does that even mean? Should I shave it and make a sound wig investment? I've always wanted a beehive.

So I need some help. Suggestions anyone?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wanna Hear (Read) Something Funny?

I was sitting at my desk this morning as the kindergartners made their way into the classroom. One especially cute little boy walked right up to my desk, with eyes wide as quarters, looked at me and said, "Mrs. Stagg, did you see The Biggest Loser last night?!?!?"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Reasons To Roll My Eyes

1. Mark McGwire's self-serving apology
2. Bud Seelig's (the baseball commissioner) praising of the apology
3. Congressional hearings on steroid use in baseball
4. Congressional hearings

Seriously, if they want to use steroids, let 'em rip (pun intended). Let's have all-steroid baseball teams and see how far they can go!

We'll build bigger stadiums. He only hit a 1200-foot homer? Loser.

We'll sell baseball cards featuring arms only. I got Barry Bonds' bicep! That's gonna be worth a lot of money one day!

We'll replace baseball bats with various logs. Check it out! He's swinging a date palm!


Monday, January 11, 2010


A few weeks ago, we went out for breakfast at my #1 all-time, most favorite place to eat in all the world: Ruth's Diner. It's a converted trolley car located up Emmigration Canyon east of Salt Lake City (just beyond the zoo). Besides serving fabulous food (and by fabulous I mean super-scrumptious) the place has atmosphere. In the summer you can dine on the back patio under maple trees strung with tiny white lights. The sound of a river rushing by provides background music. In the winter you snuggle into one of their newly upholstered booths and sip hot chocolate that has a mountain of whipped cream on top.

So it had been a while since I was last there and I noticed something new on the menu: baked eggs. Being adventurous in my culinary tastes, I decided to give them a try - and wow - I have been addicted ever since. I came home and re-created them as best I could. I think I did all right. If you love delicious eggs. And these are delicious. If I do say so myself.

You can bake them in individual ramekins if you have them, but I don't, so I baked them in a shallow 4X8 baking dish.

6 TBS butter (melted)
12 TBS cream or half and half (I think that's about 1/4 cup)
6-8 large eggs
1/2 box grape tomatoes
feta cheese (as much as you like)
freshly torn basil (as much as you like)

Preheat the broiler for 5 minutes and place the top rack 6 inches below the broiler.

Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet. Drizzle (I love that word) with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Stick them under the broiler until they get all blistery and begin to burst.

While you're waiting for the tomatoes, pour the melted butter and cream into the baking dish. Carefully crack the eggs into the dish. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and add the feta cheese and basil. When the tomatoes are done, add them to the dish. Place the whole thing under the broiler for 6-7 minutes. Depending on whether you like your eggs firm or runny, you may have to adjust the cooking time. Mine were a little too runny on the bottom so I baked them for about 3 more minutes at 350.

Get ready for a party in your mouth and enjoy!

By the way, I'm on a whole feta, basil, and tomato thing lately. Try 'em all chopped up with some leftover salmon on toasted whole-wheat bread. DE-LISH!

Friday, January 8, 2010


Yet another random thought:

For as long as I can remember, whenever I purchase/download/pirate a new CD, it's pretty much a given that my favorite song on the CD will be either track #7 or track #9. My second favorite will be the other one. Do you think the music industry does this to me on purpose?

By the way, after a month of Christmas music, I'm currently listening to John Mayer's new album, Battle Studies. All I can say is it's good bath music.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I really wish I had something witty to write about at the moment.

But here is what I'm thinking about instead. The theme of have-to vs. want-to has been on my mind. I have lots of both. But it seems like the have-to's always win out. I have to get the laundry done. I have to read this stupid book for work. I have to make these phone calls. The problem with have-to's is that there's usually an or-else that follows. I have to get the laundry done or else I'll be wearing last week's socks to work tomorrow.

I want to write. I want to read (good books). I want to sew my quilt. The problem with want-to's is that they're awfully self-centered, though highly productive. But I'm also starting to think there's an unseen or-else that follow the want-to's. I want to write or else my brain may very well explode.

Well, maybe not. BUT - I'm thinking I need to re-label the have-to's and the want-to's. I have to read a good book. I want to wear clean socks tomorrow.

Hmmm... maybe I'm on to something here.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Why I Love Kindergarten

Christmas break is officially over and today was the big return to school. This is my second year teaching kindergarten and I am really enjoying it. Before my kids were born I taught 4th and 5th grades and I couldn't understand how anyone could handle the chaos known as kindergarten.

Kindergarten is an interesting place to be. Do you remember the toy that had a clear dome full of hard little plastic balls and a long push handle? When you pushed it across the floor, all the little balls would pop every which way and make a noise that would send your mother into fits of rage. Well kindergarten is something like that toy, only you're trapped inside with all of the little popping balls. Eventually you learn to escape and become the person pushing the handle (most days).

Every morning I discuss the calendar with my class. We sing about the days and months, we count how many days we've been in school, and I call on a helper to add the date to our calendar on the wall. The numbers are printed on little sunburst-shaped die-cuts. One side is yellow and the other side is orange. Our first day of school was on September 11th, so I had placed the first 12 days on the calendar yellow side out. On the first day of school I placed the date orange side out to indicate that it was a special day. I did the same for holidays and students' birthdays. After that, as the children came up to place the die-cuts, they started turning them orange-side out if we had P.E., art, or library that day. Then a new pattern emerged. As the child would come up to the calendar, several of the other kids would whisper, "Special! Special!" So the child would again stick the number orange side out. Everyone else would then give a Tiger Woods fist pump and triumphantly cheer "Yesssss!" Finally, we are to the point where every day is an orange day.

Every day is special. And that's why I love kindergarten.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010!

Well, it's a new year. My accomplishments so far have consisted of sleeping in and cooking a fabulous breakfast of baked eggs with roasted tomatoes, feta, and basil. Now I'm back under the covers for a comfy-cozy writing session. I'd say I'm off to a good start.

I'm going to back up a whole week and tell you what my husband gave me for Christmas (besides a Wii Fit that has been monopolized by my kids). I actually came up with the idea a couple of months ago, and knowing that he HATES to shop, I thought this was a rather ingenious idea. I told him that I wanted 52 guaranteed date nights in 2010. He looked at me with complete skepticism. I reminded him that when we got married, we were given the advice to continue to date throughout our marriage. Not that we haven't. We have a pretty good social life. But the duty of social planning has often fallen on my shoulders. I come up with the plan. I find the babysitter or arrange for a kid swap. He shows up.

Lately, we've fallen into the Redbox trap.
Dan: "Do you want to rent a movie?"
Me: "Sure."
Dan "What do you want to get?"
Me: "I don't know."

So we end up getting something for the kids and fall asleep on the couch while they watch it.

But 52 guaranteed date nights... ahhh. My stipulation was that he doesn't get to call me on his way home from work on Friday and ask, "What do you want to do tonight?" Once a week, he has to plan, implement, and execute something for the two of us to do together. Without kids. Doesn't that sound heavenly?

After a little bit of thought and deliberation, he agreed.

I can't wait.

On Christmas morning I found a list in my stocking of 52 date-night suggestions. Here are a few of the highlights:

#13 draw each other
#14 tae kwon do match
#22 bottle fruit with Grandma
#33 eat soup and talk about nothing
#37 research cures for snoring

Should I be worried?