Friday, September 26, 2008

Oh such neglect!

Oh dear blog, I haven't written anything here in way too long! So catching up...

As I mentioned in my last post, I've started working. It's going really well, I like it, but...some of the students (all middle and upper level management in a multinational pharmaceutical company) are overworked and stressed out. Well, speaking English all day and being surrounded by stressed out people sometimes makes me feel like I'm back in NY!

I am struck by how healthy the cafeteria menu is...a choice of two first courses (pasta or risotto), meat, fish and/or frittata, vegetables, salads, fruit, yogurt and to drink: wine or water. No soda or sweets in sight. Employees pay a nominal amount for up to five items and it's really really good (cooked on site). Quite a perk in my opinion. I wish I could bring my family in for lunch everyday:).

Dante started fourth grade on 9/15. Right away the homework started, usually around 2 hours a night (up from 1.5 last year!). He seems to be handling it well with help from his tutor (the mother of the tutor he's had for the past couple of years--his usually tutor is on a semester abroad in Holland...the mother is actually an elementary school teacher in a local school). He does get out at 1 pm every day, so theoretically there is time to do it all. But afterschool activities haven't started yet...

Next Monday starts his "long Mondays", the one day a week when he stays at school until 4:30. Oh, how he used to cry in first grade on the way to school on Mondays! Now there are no more tears and it's OK...and the silver lining is usually there is no or very little homework.

Next week starts music lessons too. While he really wants to learn the guitar, it was explained that for the first year everyone will learn to read and play music on the piano where it's easier. Next year guitar. The lessons will be on Tuesdays from 5-6 p.m. and he will be in a group of four, all from the fourth grade in his school. We'll see how it goes with homework, which he'll have to do afterwards since his tutor doesn't arrive home on Wednesdays until 5 p.m. and I arrive home even later.

Also starting soon will be karate, Tuesday and Friday evenings, from 6:30-7:30. I'll see if he can only do it on Fridays as otherwise Tuesdays will be too busy. Maybe we'll do swimming instead, which has many different time slots. He HAS to do something, as physical education at school is ONLY once a week.

He's still wearing a dark blue grembuile (smock) with a white collar (but no bow anymore, thank goodness) and has a book and notebook for each subject. Something new this year--he's using a carry-on suitcase, with wheels, for his school bag. It was really too much to carry back and forth everyday on his back, although perhaps it could have counted as weight-lifting exercise!

On the home front we have way too many pets! The two dogs which we've had for a few years now (puppies of my in-law's dog Lea) have grown big. They are outdoor dogs with time to exercise everyday outside their pen. Well, the male, which NO ONE wanted to neuter (too cruel they yelled!) is escaping on a regular basis. We can't figure out how...

I have to be sure to keep the kitten away from him as I don't trust him with small, darting animals, so she's stuck inside more than I'd like, with a kitty litter box.

The turtles are truly low maintenance, just change the water and feed them...not bad.

But our guppies have gotten sick. The other fish in the tank (platties and mollies) seem fine, although one mollly did die while we were away so the theory is that perhaps they introduced a virus to the tank and the guppies, which are more beautiful but more delicate than years ago, caught it. Two have died in the last two weeks and the two remaining ones don't look so good...

Other news...

We had a great potato harvest his year and so I asked my friend to use about 10 pounds worth and make us some gnocci for the freezer. She made them yesterday. Yum!

And that's all that's new over here....(oh, my Folletto vacuum (a German brand I believe) that I've been waiting for FOREVER (well, two months) did arrive last week finally. Yea! I got busy and vacuumed my furniture and rugs, which were looooooooong overdue!

Have a good weekend everyone!!


Anonymous said...

Hi Diane, good to see your post and to know all is well. I too know how hard it is keeping up blogging.

Why is Dante's Monday's at school a long day? Is there a particular reason?

I used to have a 55 gallon fish tank, there always seemed to be something going on with it or the fish, didn't care for cleaning that monster out either.

How wonderful to have all that wonderful gnocci in your freezer - enjoy.

Good to hear you enjoy your job. Maybe you should incorporate some stress relieving activities into your teaching. Unfortunately we Americans have done a good job cornering the market on stress.

Soulknitting said...

Hi Diane....I'm back from Taos and the San Luis Valley. I went to the Taos Wool Festival!! It was nice to see that you left me a comment so I thought I'd run by your blog. HOW exciting to be living in Italy after years in NYC!!! I bet you love it. And all the fresh veggies and fruits that you have been writing about. Figs, I LOVE figs. Tell me if you make something yummy with them. And let me know if you need help with the Clapotis. Kim AKA Soul Knitting

Diane said...

Thanks both for your comments. The neglect continues! There always seems to be something more urgent to do...

The fish tank seems to have settled down in terms of mortalities, but it's still a mystery as to why and I've gotten three widely different PH readings depending on where I have it done. I need a degree in chemistry!

Last night we put one platy into a breeding tank as we think she's giving birth any second now. We saw one baby last night and while attempting to rescure him/her it was gobbled up by one of the other platies! An evening snack, like popcorn I guess. At least my son didn't cry this time.

I made very delicious fig jam this year, about three good sized jars and fig ice cream from The Perfect Scoop recipe book. Mine didn't come out light purple as I had green figs, but good nonetheless! They're so sweet, like honey, but over until next year, alas!

Now I'm roasting peppers like crazy on the barbeque grill!