Wednesday, June 30, 2010

countdown - 9

9 days/9 places to dine

even though there's a decent chance you'll consider me a disgusting gourmande after reading this post, i'm still going to publish this installment of the countdown. after 10 1/2 months abroad, i'm looking forward to some down home cookin' from these favorite venues.

1. Old Town 2. Mount Bakery 3. Boundary Bay 4. Mallards
5. Sol Vallarta in Colfax 5. Boundary Bay 6. Mount Bakery 7. Avellino

top 8 eateries (in no particular order . . .)
1. Avellino . ginger blast . yessssss
2. Bagelry . lox on an everything bagel . yum
3. Boundary Bay . macaroni and cheese with a pint of their blonde brew and some HULA HOOPING . nothing better
4. Old Town . any breakfast, just as long as it comes with the black bean and sweet potato fry combo . bestest breakfast
5. Horseshoe Cafe . blt . scrumsh
6. Woods Coffee . soy chai tea with no water and extra foam . best with the bay view, a warm fire, and a rainy day
7. Mallards . gonna go for a new flavor . ice cream heaven
8. Sol Vallarta . chile relleno . sets the standard
9. Mount Bakery . an apple and brie crepe plus any/all baked goods . sensational

delectable.
-m.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

countdown - 10

10 days/10 hikes
10 days until i'm on my way home/10 trails i'm looking forward to hiking!


snapshots from some of my favorite hikes over the years

hiking wish list . summer 2010

1. Lake Ann (attempted back in the day when i was into night hikes; now i want to actually see it in the daylight)
2. Green Mountain (roads have been washed out for a bit; fingers are crossed that parks and rec have been busy this spring)
3. Lost Lake Overview (ditto)
4. Skyline Divide (ditto)
5. Heliotrope Ridge (ready for the view on a clear day; i hear it's a stunner!)
6. Yellow Aster Butte (best of memories on this hike; i'm excited to do it again)
7. Sauk Mountain (definite winner)
8. Cascade Pass (it's a looong drive to the trailhead, but definitely worth it; i'm planning on taking my mom up this time!)
9. Park Butte Lookout (attempted, but due to less than ideal conditions -- aka a freakin' blizzard--we had to abort the mission)
10. Corky's Trail (one of my very favorite places on this whole big earth)

ready for summer recess,
-m.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

school's out for summer!

sorta.
the official last day of school with students: june 4th.
the actual last day of school with students: may 30 (yes, you're reading that right. the whole 'school calendar' thing doesn't mean much around here.)
the last day of school for teachers: july 8th.

in a way, school has been out for 3 weeks now. it's been nice: classes are no longer in session, the work day is shortened a bit, i'm not taking heaps of books and papers home with me each night, and my stress levels seem to be reaching normal again. (whatever that is?)

even though i'm more than ready to close the door on this school year, i'd say i'm doing so in pretty high spirits.

we've had some pretty good times:

. . . observing how plants grow and change;

1. Shahad's bean was a late bloomer. 2. Shaqra can't believe it--her plant is the tallest!

. . . learning about butterflies and reading Eric Carle books;

Taif shows me her play-doh model of the life cycle of a butterfly while she 'reads' The Hungry Caterpillar.


. . . making life-size self-portraits and singing "Head and Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" about 9 gazillion times;

1. Fatima couldn't stop giggling when asked to stand next to her self-portrait. 2. Tracing one another
3. Al Hanoof and her self-portrait share the same exact smile. 4. Alyazi and Hamda--Best Buds


. . . comparing and contrasting living and non living things;

This little firecracker, Khawla, literally bounces around school. Her enthusiasm is hard to contain. In this picture, she's showing that the fake flower and the goldfish crackers are not living while the lily and Dora and Diego (the fish) are living.

. . . trying new math stations;

1. counting and sorting 2. Moneera and Haya make new shapes
3. Shaikha shows she understands conservation of number 4. Noora works on patterns


. . . sharing responsibility for our classroom;

1. Shamsa, board eraser 2. Hamda, attendance helper 3. Shama, paper passer


. . . and mostly trying not to miss a single moment of watching these little people blossom.


it's been an intensely challenging year. {duh.} however, despite all of the frustrations and setbacks, my students have been the silver lining. i'm proud of all that they've accomplished--especially with the less-than-ideal circumstances at our school. i'm thankful for the ways they've helped me become a better teacher. i'm humbled by their graciousness and their forgiveness when i've been grumpy and when i've made mistakes. i'm so privileged to have been the recipient of their hugs and beautiful smiles.

i'm one -- very lucky -- teacher.
-m.

p.s. i apologize for the blurry faces, but modesty must prevail. i did try to leave their smiles as much as possible. i really wish you could meet them--they're so darn cute!

Monday, June 21, 2010

India: Bookends

week.end
book.end

before:

slightly giddy, definitely anxious, adrenalized, bright eyed, willing to see and do and experience as much as possible, very much in denial that we were actually going to india!

after:

ummm . . . i think you get the picture.

-m.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Weekend Warriors

Sooooo....
Jill and I decided to take another last minute weekend trip. This time we're headed to . . .


. . . . INDIA!

All I can say is that desperate times call for desperate measures. Thank goodness Jill is as crazy as I am. (wink, wink) So far, things have come together better than I imagined: we found cheap tickets, our visas were processed in 2 days (!!), and we were able to patch together a pretty exciting itinerary.

Flying out after work tonight, arriving back in Abu Dhabi an hour before we're supposed to report to work on Sunday. Let's hope we make it!

Be back soon!
-m.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summer Plans


Summer's almost here! Hard to believe, but 3 weeks from today I'm going to be on an airplane somewhere sailing across an empty sea. Not quite sure what my plans are when I get home, but I hope they include seeing you.

xo,
-m.

P.S. Any suggestions?

Monday, June 14, 2010

View From Here//FOR RENT


inspired by {this moment} by soulemama
an image//from the week//no words


-m.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer Quest!

So there's this cool lady named Nichole. She has a beautiful blog. Earlier this spring, she did a lot of work to uncover the best biscuit recipe on the planet. Here are her results: Bliss.

Then there's this other talented woman who just happens to be the co-author of another very creative blog. Instead of biscuits, MAV had a passion for pancakes. In fact, she spent a whole year looking for the perfect recipe. She came up with this: PureYum.

After a lovely dinner in Dubai, I decided to take on a little quest of my own. Something along the lines of . . . .

(I wish I could remember the name of the cafe where I enjoyed this little appetizer. Their recipe was inspiring!)

Now I'm trying not to be too ambitious, but by the end of August I'd simply like to possess the premier bruschetta recipe known to man.

I'm not exactly sure how to begin, but I will probably start by looking here. Fortunately, I'll be able to buy fresh ingredients here. Or, better yet, I'll be able to pluck them straight from the garden here.

It's gonna be good,
-m.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Urban Assault 1.0

Ever felt like taking a shower in your own sweat?
If so, then Urban Assault is for you!!

Okay, so maybe if I'm serious about getting new recruits I'd better come up with a different advertising slogan. Whatever it takes, I would genuinely like to convince you to be on my team for the next Urban Assault!

Look at all the fun we're having!

1. Is it fair to call for a taxi?! Checkpoint No. 5 (The camera was fogging up because of the humidity.)
2. Out on the jetty; Checkpoint No. 2
3. My job was "Water Girl" which meant that every 5 minutes I'd yell at you to drink more fluids!; Checkpoint No. 5
4. Our other Abu Dhabi buddies/competitors; Checkpoint No. 1


Urban Assault is a fun little race in Dubai. The object is to use your own two feet and a gps to guide you to 6 designated checkpoints in downtown Dubai. First team to get to all of the points and make it back to the starting point is the winner. (Think geocache-- adrenaline version. If that doesn't help you get a sense of it, then picture a big treasure hunt for adults where everyone runs around.)

Go, team, go!
1. Jumeraih Beach 2. Mosque at Iftar

We had our first race yesterday.
Here are our stats:
1 team
4 people
1 gps
5 out of 6 check points (Our excuse is that we were tired . . . )
19k (The last check point was at least another 8 more k. Ugh.)
97 degrees
53% humidity
2 hours, 43 minutes


Khalas! We made it back to the car!
Drew, Clint, Molly, Jenn

Although we came in almost last place, we put in a good effort. Not bad for our first go at it. Maybe next time we'll actually train. It may be too much to ask, but I wouldn't mind running in lower temps, as well.

Looking forward to Urban Assault 2.0! Hope you will try it with me!
-m.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mover's Breakfast


Hungry for pancakes

When my charming friend, Shera, decided to move apartments this weekend, Jill and I offered our assistance. Although Shera may have been dubious at first, I think we proved that there's no crate too heavy, no crazy ikea lamp too awkward, and no curtain too dusty for these girls. We were on it.
After we took care of most of the transporting and shuffling, we were hungry. Lucky for us, Shera whipped up a big batch of pancakes. It was quite an honor to be a guest at her first meal in the new place.

Happy Housewarming!
-m.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Egypt: Through Jill's Lens

Jill is one of my favorite photographers.
Lucky for me, she also happens to be one of my favorite travel buddies.

Here is a small sampling of photos she took on our trip to Egypt.


To see more pictures and to read her Egypt posts, please hop on over here!
-m.