The Hunter/Gather of Surburbia

Are we where we live?

November 16, 2014


Marie Callendar's is one of my favorite frozen stuff to eat. I have never thought of their products as homemade. But a recent commercial touts their homemade gravy! Really? How exactly does that work when it is created in a FACTORY? That doesn't make their pot pies any less yummy, but I am tired of businesses trying to pull the wool over peoples' eyes.
Currently I am formulating what to bring for Thanksgiving dinner. I'm thinking homemade potato chip cookies, maybe creamed onions though I'm the only one who eats them, and something else maybe my favorite veg fresh brussel sprouts. Getting hungry already. Oh and maybe some ginger snaps since I can almost pull them off now. Oh and maybe even my first try at divinity this season. I have may fails in regards to divinity.

October 18, 2014

Two blogs

With the creation of Grammy Tales, I am moving all my nonfood bloggings to my new blog and keeping to my original idea of talking about food to this blog.
I am still relatively unhappy with the fresh pickings here in Northeastern Oregon. I know I am probably not looking hard enough, but then that is sort of the point now isn't it? Hermiston wants to bill itself as "You Can Grow Here." Well you can't really, the lack of easy access to fresh food of any kind, no destination restaurants, destination things to do here only happening in the summer just make a mockery of the statement. Main Street looks and feels like it is dying. When I look at how McMinnville has created its main street, I think it's 9th, into a destination I wonder what the fuck is wrong with Hermiston?
Make Main Street appealing with trees, vegetation, clean and refurbished original facades. But nope they spend 10,000 on painting the water tower and supposedly another 10,000 will go to helping business refurbish their facades, so far, I haven't seen anything. The street still looks like you are going back in time to the 70's.
But back to food or the lack thereof here in Hermiston. Only two places to grocery shop, three actually and none really have great selections of fresh meats or seafood. Sigh... The only produce stand nearby doesn't really have great selections of fresh fruits and veggies. Not sure if it will change, but I am still hoping.

August 24, 2014

First day of 2014 school year starts tomorrow

After spending four days with just teachers, assistants, support staff I am ready for the larger challenge of the students. Teachers always spend a week or so attempting to motivate themselves and be motivated. I sometimes hear from my noneducator friends that this first week must be great with no students. To them I say, "HA!" They have no idea.
When administrators get together to plan this first week, for them it may be just like the first week with students is for us. They have to navigate what they must present to us, along with our trying to reboot for the coming school year. Which is just like the first week of classes with students.
Each inservice week here in Hermiston we have had great motivational speakers. For two years now we have been motivated by Dr. Cruz. Dr. Cruz also spent that evening with our 9th grade parents introducing Hermiston's Parent University. I truly have no idea what goes on there as I teach Night School so I can't drop in. The concept is an excellent one, get the parents to school once a month and help them navigate our wonderful High School. They have two sessions, one in English and one in Spanish. Lisa being Lisa immediately thought what about those who don't speak either language. That's just me being alternative.
This year my co-teacher and I have been tasked with teaching in our direct instruction classes using a proficiency model. Not only are we going to post these proficiencies, but our students could all be working on a different proficiency at the same time. I am still wrapping my mind around this concept. I'm not at all resistant in the sense of implementing this new model, my reluctance comes from not teaching content. I'm a Social Studies and Language Arts teacher, my passion is the Social Studies and to not dig deep into content just doesn't sit well with me. I love the idea of the students choosing a topic and then through that topic researching, writing, and presenting their topics. However, I am supposed to only do the direct instruction part of the period for 15 minutes then turn them loose to work on their individual topics/projects where I mentor/monitor them for the rest of the period.
So my passion is being diminished, in my opinion, to barely an echo of what it could be. That is why, unlike all of the past first weeks of school I have taught, this one is not as exciting as the others. It tops only one and that one was a dark hole I only climbed out of when I left school at the end of the school year.

November 17, 2013


I am not a foodie, but I do enjoy food. But since moving to Hermiston in 2011 I have discovered a dearth of local restaurants to spend my whopping teacher's salary on. There is no Italian, no truly good steakhouse, no fish place.
I have yet to try The Bistro at Bellinger's, but those I trust have said it is a good place to eat. The restaurant a block from my apartment is also rumored to have good burgers. But that is it. Jonesing for some fast food, you have the standards Taco Bell, McDonald's, etc. No KFC, if you want some good chicken you have to go to the Midway Tavern, so don't bring the kids.
Hale's was promoted to me as the best place for a burger. The burgers are ok, but the environment is dark, dingy and dirty. They also take no pride in the prep of their food. I got avocado quarters on my burger that I had to cut so I could actually take a bite of my burger. Their salads are huge, but they don't slice onions, peppers, or hard boiled eggs into slices you can put in your mouth. I have a big mouth that seems to expand when I am eating good food, but not enough when eating at Hale's.
Unfortunately, the restaurant had a huge fire a few months and I'm not sure they have reopened. I hope if they have they have changed how they prep their food.
To get good fresh produce I have to drive 25 miles and to another state to Yokes Fresh Market. I love fresh veg and fruit, but here in Hermiston my choices are limited to Safeway, Walmart, and Fiesta Foods. Actually, Fiesta has fairly good produce. Safeway can't be relied on to have a good selection or a selection of fresh produce period. Walmart despite its promotion on Masterchef has the worst produce within 25 miles. I have on more than on occasion rolled the dice and bought produce at Walmart and every time I have had at least part of my purchase turn up moldy or old by the next day.
I am a lover of coffee and love grinding my coffee at the store, but both Safeway and Walmart have gotten rid of their grinders. Have I missed something? So now I have to buy ground coffee. What have I missed has there been some change? Sigh.
I discovered Bob's Burgers and Brews in Kennewick and they have great burgers and a great selection of brew. Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and IHop are also in Kennewick, but not in Hermiston or Pendleton. I have also discovered Prodigal Son in Pendleton, great burgers and some wonderful brew.
As I explore further afield I hope to find some other good places to eat. Prodigal Son is on the list to take my family when they visit.

November 16, 2013

Bullying Hoopla

Read a blog yesterday by Stephanie Metz who basically calls any child who is bullied and feels bad enough to do harm to  themselves a pussy. Ok, she doesn't use that particular word, but she is saying nearly that in a rambling nearly incomprehensible post that begins with her son deciding he shouldn't bring an action figure to show and tell because the drill it held looked like a gun. My own children are older than she is and when they were in school they couldn't bring guns for show and tell either. I didn't have a fit about it, I just made sure they didn't bring them to school. What is the big deal?
I'm still not sure how she got from show and tell to bullying. But bullying is of particular interest to me because I teach at an alternative high school and I have had more than one student sent to me because of bullying. Surprised? Oh, did I mention these students were sent to me because they were the victims of bullying? Schools have a difficult time dealing with bullying, especially when the bully is involved in sports.The victim stops coming to school to avoid the bullying and the athlete goes on to play sports.
We are not raising a population of wimps because we, as parents, come to the defense of our children when they need us to. My children never asked me to intervene preferring, I guess, to battle for themselves. Neither got suspended for fighting, but that is a good point brought up, not by Metz, but by someone responding to her post. The problem with not dealing out consequences to both parties in a fight is that if one gets off because of defending himself against a bully, then just about every fight from there on out will involve someone being bullied whether that is the case or not. So both get suspended, usually if the administration digs down, one less of a suspension than the other if bullying is involved. But the problem remains and bullying happens on a daily basis to some extent in every school.
Grit, tenacity, strength of character all must play a part in our children's education at home and in school. But our children must be able to feel comfortable going to someone for help and if they are witnesses to bullying feel safe in giving help.

November 18, 2012


I believe I have said this before, but I am a terrible blogger. I also suck at journaling regularly so I guess the two sort of go together. Nearly three months into school and I am losing my edge. I have probably one of the top four or five assistants of all time working with me this year and that makes things somewhat easier. What doesn't make things easier is not knowing what going on from day to day. Yes I have control of the night, but the afternoon is totally out of my control. Partly due to me and a huge part due to my co-teacher who thinks he is the "big boss" to quote him. He recently emailed me and told me I was taking over for him while he went on a fundraising run with the Kiwanas. He told me that I now have my chance to be the "big boss." Still not sure how to take that other than he thinks he is the boss and I am his peon. He certainly thinks of me in that way, again because of my inability to articulate myself.
Just when I thought we were moving out from under administrative scrutiny, we are back under the magnifying glass. This time because he didn't follow procedure, his excuse of course was that he only found out about the fundraising opportunity over the weekend and the Kiwanas meet on Tuesday and Monday was a holiday. Then we find out we can use our budget for what he was fundraising for. I am so very confused. But now I have to be forceful because it is likely he will try and consume my budget along with his for his choices without consultation from me. I dug myself into this, now I have to dig myself out.

August 12, 2012

Two posts in one day!

This morning I woke up and as usual spent some time just laying in bed and thinking about stuff. The first thing that popped in my head was when my parents fostered a girl in the hopes of adopting her. Unfortunately for me and for Wendy, my mother wasn't very good at mothering two daughters. Also I sucked as big sister. I could say I was thrust into the role, but I that doesn't quite work for me. I just sucked at it. I had been an only child for 12 or so years, not too sure of the exact timeline, I was still at St Vincents so I know it had to be before Junior High, which was 7th to 9th grade in my time.
I just totally sucked, I didn't know how to sister her and as a family we weren't in any kind of counseling. My parents, ok my mother, wouldn't have gone to counseling. I know my dad didn't want to give up on working to be a family of four, but he always gave in to my mom no matter what.
The day the person came to get Wendy was a very hard time for me. My mother and father were not there for me, I didn't want Wendy to go once I realized what was happening. But I though she was sent away because of me, now I think it was because my mother just sucked at dividing her attention. If there were behavior issues with Wendy I wasn't aware of them and it was my parents' job to get her the help she needed. But for my mother to admit she was at fault or doing something wrong or letting me do something wrong, would have meant that hell was freezing over and zombies were walking the Earth.
Since that day, each time I had to give up a pet I have felt extreme anger at my parents. To this day I didn't realize that maybe it was that day so very long ago when my Companion was taken away from me. I know that I always felt her removal was my fault and my parents never said any different. Perhaps that was also the day that began the rift with my mother. If it had been just me and my father we would have muddled through and I would have a sister. But because of my mother I am an only child. My mother spent her life trying to arrange the right friends, activities, and even husband. None of that worked once I hit high school. She wanted me in cooking 4-H, I did that, and I did Horse 4-H and then joined FFA and raised sheep for a time.
I would have to say that the most support I ever got, that was given freely without reservation was when I moved home pending my divorce. Ok, sort of freely, because they hated my husband/exhusband. But they loved my children and helped me get my teaching degree. I know my mother was not at all happy with my choice of profession, but by this time she understood that I really didn't care about her opinion. I no longer craved or sought it out. She was my mother, she raised me, and I loved her.
Did I stay single because I didn't want the hassle of dealing with a man and my parents? Maybe, initially it was because I wanted to make I didn't make the same mistake. My kids were little and I wasn't willing to have a train of men in and out of their lives. I am also pathologically shy, so that holds a very close second. Would our lives had been different if I had gone husband shopping? Maybe, but we muddled through. I do wish I would have found a man who could show my son how to work on cars and other manly things. Actually, an old boyfriend did show up, but because of his brain injury from a motorcycle accident he remembered the old me and not the new and to this day he continues too. Yes, a symptom of the brain injury, but also one of his unwillingness to listen to the words I say in response to his inappropriate sexual questions, the latest high, or low depending on how you look at it, was to ask me if I ever had sexual thoughts about my male students! Really? Was he just stupid or crass or both? My instant response was of course, no. My second response was why would you ask that? He really didn't have a response and just changed the subject. Yes, brain injury, I get it, but I guess my response to the people who may say, "Oh Lisa, you have to give him leeway," is bullshit I don't! If you know you have short term memory issues, then you journal every moment you want to be sure you remember. Just a thought.
The good thing about being an only child is that now so far away from home, I may ache for my family, but I can deal with the solitude.