Last night I prepared pork tenderloin with a rub of salt, pepper, garlic salt, cayenne, tarragon, rosemary, paprika, and a few turns of “Pirates Bite,” which adds some extra heat. I served the tenderloin with a side of lentils and pasta. I followed a recipe for lentils and pasta with chard years ago and had only prepared it once, but have craved it ever since. I got rid of the cookbook where I found the recipe. After an Internet search, I found another recipe as a guide.

The recipe link is below. What I did different: I did not use a slow cooker. This time I used Spinach. I bet this would be great with kale and mushrooms. I decided to use large macaroni noodles instead of linguine, and I didn’t feel that I needed the Parmesan cheese—as much as I love cheese—the cream cheese was enough and pulled the dish together into a creamy delight. I cooked the lentils in low sodium chicken stock and the pasta in water. I will definitely be preparing this again, adding and subtracting along the way.

You can find the description for “Pirates Bite” at The Spice and Tea Exchang

Here is the recipe I used as a guide at


I’ve been doing a lot of thinking the past week about how I think I’d like to work with children as a classroom assistant. I say think because I’ve never really worked with children for any length of time. Only a few times, one-on-one.  I think I’d be comfortable in the kindergarten through third or fourth grade environment. I know that I don’t have the means to pursue the education or certification needed to be a teacher. I need one to get the other. And adding onto my existing loan debt would not be a good option.

Last time, at least ten years ago, when I thought about going this direction, I called a local Montessori and shadowed for a day in the toddler section to see if it was for me. Though the toddlers were adorable, I didn’t want to change diapers and when I shadowed the older toddlers, I noticed I wasn’t as outgoing or at ease as the other teachers. When we walked through the class for the older children, I felt that this would be the right environment.

So, I thought long and hard, even though it’s only been a week and through the years this thought has cropped up. I have been shy around children in the past the few times that I have been in a situation with many children. I do better with one or a small group, and on a few occasions, the shy ones are drawn to me, probably because they sensed another shy and quiet human.

I thought that a great way to satisfy what I’m being pulled toward is to start searching the volunteer pages to see if there was an opportunity to work in a classroom as an assistant. I found a few that required credentials and/or a minimum of 12 ECE units, which I do not have. I kept looking and changed my search details, and I may have found just what I was looking for. It’s a literacy program for grades K-3 where tutors work one-on-one or in small groups in the classroom, which would be perfect. I love the energy of children when I am around them and have always and still love children’s books; and I feel that I am a teacher at heart; definitely a child at heart, as well as a nurturer of the sprit.

I have many fond memories of my teacher’s from childhood, especially Kindergarten, all the way through third grade, actually. Well, no, wait…second grade wasn’t so great. The instructor didn’t seem very nice. And though it’s a distant memory, I can remember my mother’s presence in one of my classrooms. I believe she was a teacher’s assistant and it must have been first grade. I remember seeing her help other students. It’s a memory that comes in and out of focus. In my childhood I didn’t think much of it, yet now looking back has created yet another piece of the puzzle toward understanding my mother—toward learning who she was and also the things she had me do and how it helped foster who I became, whether intentionally or not. I do remember how she was helpful with the other students.

I feel a certain synchronicity in that my search aligned with an upcoming training session for the tutoring opportunity. It will still take time between waiting for the training date late next month, and then for placement, which could take more time. I am very much looking forward to this new experience, and now I must wait.