Friday, October 29, 2010

I Thought Wrong!

Before I started my crossing guard duties I thought to myself, "a piece of cake!" This morning was my first morning where curse words were wanting to rear their ugly heads. It was not pretty, folks! The morning started off the same as it did yesterday. The sun came up. Yeah! I remembered my gloves. Yeah! It was Friday. Yeah! 

But if all Fridays go like this, I'm ready for summer break! School starts at 7:45 and it was getting very close to the last bell. There was one last little girl that came walking up. The rules are that the crossing guard needs to stop traffic and give the go ahead for the kids to cross. I had cars blocking the crosswalk, which they're not supposed to do. So, I couldn't necessarily let this girl go across because I've seen cars back up in the cross walk and personally, I don't need any casualties on my watch. Thank you very much. 

The little girl asked if she could cross, but I told her just to wait until the cars moved out of the cross walk. I would then stop traffic so she could cross. Then one guy in his car stops in the middle of the intersection and starts flagging for the girl to cross. There were other moms there with me who had already dropped off their kids. We saw what he was doing and all of us chimed in for her not to go. The driver stayed in the middle of the intersection and started saying some very colorful words. It didn't impress me much because one of my very unholy talents is that I could probably cuss him under the table. 

This is why you don't stop in the middle of a crossing guard intersection. You never know if the car behind you is a bigger jerk than the one in front. In this case there was a bigger jerk behind the first one. The second jerk pulled out and went around. Sure enough, had that girl gone ahead and crossed she would have been flattened. 

I'm sorry if she slept late. I'm sorry that she had to wait a little while to cross.I'm sorry that she had to stand in the cold maybe a little while longer than she might have wanted to.  I'm not sorry that she's still able to walk among us. I'm not sorry that she's still able to breathe in air and be with her friends. I was truly petrified for a moment. I was thankful that I had other moms there with me to witness the whole thing. 

Mornings will truly be a little more stressful than the afternoons because of people going to work. And I was thinking my biggest worry was going to be the weather?!?!?!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tales of a Crossing Guard

Recently the job of crossing guard became available at my children's school. I've heard it once said that being a crossing guard is like getting paid to take your children to and from school. Yes, you saw that right. I'm getting bank for this! Of course we get all of the school holidays and breaks and it's not even two hours out of the day. SWEET! 

Yes, there is a down side. The bad weather days. I have a rockin new rain coat, courtesy of the city in which I live and baseball caps are my friends. My ears will stay warm thanks to the cute little ear mitts that I recently purchased. Another down side would be the offensively bright yellow/green reflective vest that clashes with my hair color and skin tone. That color should be illegal. 

I had my training session yesterday afternoon. It was alright.  I listened and observed my trainer. I was petrified. I kept thinking of the worst scenario that could happen. Like a kid darting back out into traffic. Or, an driver that thinks he/she doesn't have to obey the traffic laws. There's really only a small ten minute window that's a little crazy. For the other 20 minutes it's really boring. My trainer kept making it clear that a police detective lives in the house across the street from the school and he's called several times about kids being in his yard. Dude, why did you buy a house right across the street from a school? I'm supposed to get the kids safely across the street. If they happen to accidentally step into his yard, it's really not my problem. 

We headed out for my first morning of crossing guard duty while it was still dark outside. It was so quiet. As if everyone was still asleep.  I've never made it a point to get up early enough to see the sun come up, but that was a nice surprise this morning. Slowly it came over the houses and trees and the dark was no more. It was glorious. 

Most of the morning it went off without a hitch. It's really a very quiet neighborhood. Not a lot of traffic. The kids were nice. The moms were nice, until I met one. She had walked her kid to school and she was walking back home and said, "Good job, for the most part". Excuse me? I said it was my first day, and that I thought I was doing relatively well. I'm not sure if she thought I should have rolled out a red carpet just for her. But dream on lady. 

There were a few drivers who thought they didn't have to stop as I was walking into the middle of the intersection. I'm thinking if you don't want to get stopped by a crossing guard, find another way in and out of the neighborhood. There are plenty of them. After the first one, I let some words fly. I was pretty sure they couldn't hear me, but they could see my mouth moving and the expression on my face was not a nice one. Don't worry, there were no children around to hear my words. 

Here's to good weather, cold weather, rain and sun. Here's to making bank just for taking my kids to and from school. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Oh Nuts!

My second venture going through the Southern Living Ultimate Christmas Cookbook is Hazel's Fresh Coconut Cake. I chose this because my mother in law makes coconut balls every year at Christmas. My husband loves those coconut balls. This would be my coconut contribution for my sweet husband. After all, in the sub title of the recipe it says, "Fresh coconut cake is the essence of Christmas". 

Well, I cheated a little. I didn't buy a coconut and try to break it open. I bought shredded coconut in a bag and bought some coconut milk from Central Market. If you every need coconut milk it isn't in the produce section or the dairy section. It's in the "Asian" section. 

I have to admit, when I'm baking in my kitchen I experience a little piece of heaven. I'm in my zone. It's something I enjoy. It's also something I'm associating with Christmas. I love baking for those around me and sharing a little piece of me. 

I got all of my ingredients together and started mixing. This cake is from scratch! I was at a little of a disadvantage because one of the three pans I needed was from a different brand. So, one of them turned out a little different than the other two. 

While my cakes cooled I started on the "Boiled Icing" that this cake calls for. I had never made it before, but it turned out to be pretty easy. I boiled a half a cup of water with a cup and a half of sugar. It was like liquid glass. I got distracted and it turned crispy in no time. But, it was easy enough to start over and I watched it like a hawk the second time. I added egg whites and some cream of tartar* and a few marshmallows to the hot sugar water mix. 

Once the icing was ready, I brushed coconut milk over each layer and then started icing. I think it would have been easier if I had used my icing bag. Next time. I need to take a refresher course at my favorite cake supply store soon. I'm a little rusty on my stacking and icing technique. Here's a picture of the book version:

The book version has kumquats and crab apples on top for garnish. I don't like either and I couldn't think of a worthy substitute. Here's how mine turned out:

It's not as pretty as the book version, but my hubby and friends said it was very good. I didn't have it because coconut is not my favorite thing on earth. This was for others. 

A cup of love
A pinch of grace
A tablespoon of tenderness
Mixed with friendship, trust and respect. Bake at 350. Serve with a great cup of Dr. Pepper flavored coffee.

*Cream of tartar is not a cream. I found that out the hard way. It took me 20 minutes of staring down all of the spices before I found it. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Happy Hour

One of the fun things I like to do when the kids are in school is go have lunch with the hubby! Recently, the hubby and I did just that. We went to our favorite Mongolian grill restaurant. We love this place. It took my hubby 10 years to finally get me to go. After my first visit I was hooked and regretted that it took him 10 years to convince me to try it. 

After lunch was over I still had a little play time before it was time to get the kids. This day was also a Friday so everything was right with the world and the weekend was coming! When I have a little money in my pocket, some free time and I just want to play,  I head to my second favorite cosmetic store and see what new lip gloss I can find. 

I was perusing an aisle when I was approached by one of the makeup artists. She.Was.Gorgeous. She commented on the makeup kit I was looking at and said to me, "Would you like a little mini makeover?". I jumped at the chance. I had time on my hands. Let the fun begin. She asked me what I had planned for the afternoon. I told her I was killing time til it was time to get the girls. This is what she heard, "I'm just shopping til it's time to pick up the friends for a night out". She then said, "Where are you going for happy hour?"

Gorgeous Girl is single and no kids. She also happens to be a wee bit younger than me. I laughed a little and then explained that "getting the girls" for me meant picking up my kids from school. We both had a good laugh about it and all was good. 

When Gorgeous Girl was done, I loved the makeup job. She rocked it. I bought that little kit I had my eye on. I hope I run into her again! 

To sum it up:
It was Friday. 
I had lunch with my hubby. 
I got a mini makeover that didn't suck. 
WOOHOO!!! Life is good!