Archives for posts with tag: learning


The night before last, hubby and I were looking through the cooking sites that he has on his Flipboard App. We watched several short YouTube clips demonstrating how to make delicious meals that looked simple enough. One in particular caught his eye, so I asked him to send me the link. I didn’t say whether I was going to make it soon or keep it for later. And I have to admit, that I was feeling a bit guilty about the fact that two cans of cream of soup of our choice were part of the recipe. Was this healthy? Were we being bad? I wasn’t sure if I could go through with it.

Later yesterday morning, I had to make a pit stop at Target. I walked by the tea isle and saw canned soups calling out to me. I saw the ones that deem they are the healthier choice. I looked at the sodium content. Not too bad. I grabbed a cream of mushroom and cream of chicken and tossed them into the basket. The decision had been made.

I knew that I would still need to pick up the remaining ingredients when the work day was done. I’ve always loved eating pasta dishes with Ricotta cheese, but I’ve never actually prepared any with it, so I had to figure out which section to find it in. I thought it would be near the deli cheeses, but no, of course not. It was with the cottage cheese and such.

It also dawned on me after the meal was cooked that this was the first lasagna that I’ve ever prepared. I had always been nervous to even think of taking on lasagna myself, thinking that it seemed too complicated.

It also became apparent to me that being back in the kitchen wholeheartedly is good medicine for me. It teaches me that I don’t need to be afraid any longer, that I can do this. And one of the beauties is that it doesn’t matter how simple it may seem, if it’s new to me and I have these feelings of insecurity–what matters is I work through it, that I go through the process–and I love process!

Cooking has always been a part of my life and has been a stop-and-go adventure. And lately, I feel that with each meal that I prepare, with each new cooking adventure, I become that much more confident in other areas of my life.

Chicken Florentine Lasagna – with yoyomax12

When I read with S, the first grade student that I read with, we finished a story about an egg that a boy found and watched hatch. “What does hatching mean?” he asked.

I turned back to when the duckling first began to crack out of his egg and said, “well, see here, it means the duckling is breaking out of his egg. He’s ready to come out into the world.”

“Where’s the mama duck?”

“This little story only gives us a part of the story. The mama must have gone away and left the one egg there to hatch.”

“How do you know the mama duck left the egg. Could it have been the dad that left it? How can you tell if animals are mamas or papas?

“Well…” I started to smile, looking at S’s animated face, full of energy, curiosity, and wonder, standing at this point, but still at my eye level while I was seated.

“Maybe you should ask your parents.”

“We have two dogs. I asked about them.”

“What did they say?”

“They said that they chose.”

“Ah, so that’s what they said. So they didn’t exactly answer…”

I was trying to keep it together, but I reverted back to what happens in uncomfortable situations, where I know how I can tell the difference between a boy dog and a girl dog, but I can’t say it to this first grader, so I start laughing, but I can tell he’s not taking it personally or badly. And luckily he didn’t think it too strange that I burst out laughing.

When I had gotten the nervous laughter out of my system, he said, “No, really, how do you know?”

“You know what? This is a very good question, S. And I’m going to try to find a book that helps explain and shows us how we know.”

“That would be cool! Yeah, if you can bring a book next time, but you don’t have to. But if you find one…”


Our reading time came to a close and I walked S back to class. On the way to work, driving down the road, past some apartments, I saw a female turkey with her feathers spread out in a full fan. She stood still, trying to get the attention of two male turkeys that were at the edge of the grass. Who knows how long she would be waiting.

When I got back to the office, I wrote a quick email to the public librarian asking for any books that may discuss the differences in female and male animals, differences that relate to their plumage or other such characteristics, something appropriate for a first grader. I appreciated their frantic search; they weren’t able to find exactly what I was looking for, but did point me in the right direction.

In the meantime, I did a quick google search for a few animals that I know have visible differences: mallards ducks, lions, deer,–and sometimes, with certain animals, you really can’t tell. So that’s all I have for now and we can ask the school librarian, but I didn’t have time last week.

For now, hopefully, he’ll be satisfied with what I’ve got when I see him next, which is not much. At least I can provide him with some pictures of ducks, deer, and lion, that show one way we know.

I would never have imagined myself in a million years taking an early childhood education (ECE) class. Two classes ago we walked through the different day care rooms at night on the community college campus to get an idea of how the environments were set up. The infant room brought an instant calm to my being. There were soft toys, books, organization, neutral colors, and pictures up high to look at. As we walked through the different rooms, notebook in hand, I felt that I could see myself in a setting like this one day. I especially liked the pre-school room. There was so much to explore, inside and outside.

I have to admit that I’ve always been more of an animal person. Children brought up fears in me–with infants, there is a fear of how fragile they are. With the older children, there is the fear of how honest some of them may be, and how well brought up they are to know what’s nice to say and not so nice.

On the flip side, that’s what’s so great about children: They are totally honest.

Somewhere in my early thirties I was in a Safeway and I’ve always had tendencies toward shyness and insecurity. On this one day I had stopped off at Safeway on my way home from work. I used to bike to work then. I had my bike helmet on my head. It was a hot day and my face was hot and sweaty. I walked by an older child sitting in the shopping cart. she must have been five years old or so. As I walked by she pointed at me and said, “she’s ugly.” I just kept walking. Her dad was near by and I think he walked over to her and who knows what he mumbled to her.

All I know is that I felt about one inch tall. Even though I didn’t know this child, those simple words fed into an insecurity that I felt. From a rational perspective, I could talk myself around it or better yet ignore the comment. But emotionally, it planted a small seed–and not that I had considered working with children then–I think I told myself I never would.

I can tell that a shift has occurred in me, and at this stage in my life, my relationship toward children has changed–is changing in positive ways.

I’ve said it before, and I don’t mind repeating that I believe we all learn and grow at our own pace. In looking back at my childhood, there are many instances where I’ve had to battle with self-esteem issues. It feels good that as I continue going through life, the layers continue shedding, being replaced by new ones–stronger ones.

We’re never too old to learn and grow.


Right this moment, if I could change something about myself, it would be to do more and worry, doubt, and over think less. It seems that with certain choices, I don’t allow myself to go freely, instead I begin putting up mental road blocks, questioning my decision that in the moment I decided, felt right–or maybe I don’t reach the finality of decision because I don’t allow myself to get there mentally.

I told myself after I finished my short story writing class this fall: no more community college courses for fun or interest. Five months is too long, I said. Plus, I understand that community colleges are going to be stricter about people like me without a clear direction. I also noticed that since I’ve taken courses at the B.A. level, sometimes certain community college courses don’t feel meaty enough. I tell myself: just read about it. You don’t need to take the class, do you? Why do you keep enrolling and not only that–why do you keep questioning your decision.

I enrolled in a course. I was enrolled for several weeks, but hadn’t paid, just in case I changed my mind. The class begins in mid-January. I’ve thought about it for days, asking: are you sure this is what you want? I think so. If I take money out of the equation. The answer is yes, absolutely. I feel guilty because the credit card that I’m trying to pay off, keeps jumping up. I rationalize, saying, well, if you get a small tax refund, put that towards the balance of your credit card.

Right now I have mixed feeling of nervousness and excitement.

Recently I finished a book called Kindergarten: A Teacher, Her Students, and a Year of Learning by Julie Diamond. I loved the book. This was the closest that I’ve come to revisiting Kindergarten and the book really made me want to be a part of this setting in some way.

And a month ago when I stepped onto the elementary school steps, walking past a classroom, I peeked in, and as I passed, I saw small children, crayons at their desk, pictures they had drawn on the windows, and I realized by the size of the children that this must have been a kindergarten class. As I walked on toward the classroom where I would meet Mrs. L to learn more about tutoring, the recess bell rang, and all the children poured out to the black top to play and let out their bundled up energy. I loved the feeling of being there. I felt transported to a time of play and learning and I felt as though I was meant to be there.

When I used to ride my bike to work, I would pass an elementary school and I always thought to myself, I would really like to work there. I would like to work at a local elementary school. But this wasn’t possible. For one, schools have severe budget cuts. And two, I don’t have the proper credentials, nor the means to complete certain steps I never finished.

As nice as it would be to get paid to be a teacher’s assistant in a Kindergarten or first grade class, I don’t know that this is possible. Let me take that back. Of course it’s possible. I just don’t know if a) it’s something I truly want to do because I’ve never done it before and b) I don’t know if it will open up.

With that being said, I am going to reframe the negative and concentrate on the positive–concentrate on the possible.

The other motivating factor is that I enjoy playing with my significant other’s God son who is three. When we go over to visit, he says to me, “let’s go play” and we go play and I enjoy entering his world. Even though we don’t see him too often, I enjoy hearing about his new discoveries from his mother, and also of watching him and engaging in his play and pretend world.

And so if ever I’m in a position where an assistant teaching position may manifest in the future, from doing a little research, I know I will at least need to have a certain amount of Early Childhood Education (ECE) units. The funny thing is I’ve always had a fascination with education and as a child I adored the educational programs: Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, The Polkadot Door, Reading Rainbow. I wasn’t that interested in Sesame Street for some reason. But I’ve never pursued this avenue.

Soon I will be taking a baby step and I will take my first ECE course: Principles and Practices of Early Childhood Education. This will at least give me an opportunity to be in a structured classroom setting to explore whether this is a path that I would like to pursue and hopefully answer any questions and doubts that I may have. At the very least, I will have an opportunity to enter this period of life and possibly remember more of my own early experiences. It seems such a wonderful period filled with growth, learning, and wonder, yet so much of it goes forgotten. Maybe I’ll also learn to accept this truth: that sometimes all of that magic comes and goes, but is always there if we remember.