A to Z Challenge: E is for Elementary

E is for Elementary. Here in our part of the US, public grade schools or primary schools, are called elementary schools and serve kindergarten through 6th grade, as a rule. Some of the private or charter schools are called academies or day schools or even country day schools. It took me a while to find a good E for this challenge. Everything I thought was an elm tree turned out to be a poplar or something else. Then I remembered our local elementary school!

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Here in our little town of Pocono Pines, Pennsylvania we have an elementary school, Tobyhanna Elementary Center. From their website, we learn what a comprehensive educational center it is for a town of less than 1,500 residents. Opened in 1981, this rural public school draws students from our township and two others.

Tobyhanna Elementary Center, commonly referred to as TEC, is one of the elementary schools located within the Pocono Mountain School District. TEC serves students in the townships of Tobyhanna, Tunkhannock and a portion of Coolbaugh. Tobyhanna Elementary Center consists of close to 700 students and more than 70 professional employees and support staff.
TEC opened in 1981 and now houses 30 classrooms, a cafeteria/multipurpose room, a gymnasium, and a library. Students and faculty also use two computer labs and classroom computers.
The student body consists of children in grades kindergarten through six. In addition to education in the core curriculum areas, students attend library, music, art, physical education, and health (grades 5 & 6). Students enjoy many extracurricular activities in addition to their school day, such as band and chorus. Students have the option to participate in intramural activities (STEM Club, Odyssey of the Mind, Green Team, SGA).

I’m impressed! And I am grateful that our town offers our children and those from nearby towns the S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) exposure so crucial to our collective future in an evolving world.

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Inspired by my WordPress friend Ruth, I decided to take the A to Z Challenge around my little town of Pocono Pines, Pennsylvania. In the 2010 Census, the population was 1,409 persons. We have one gas station, an art gallery/gift store with wonderful artisan wares, a magisterial court office, an ice cream stand, a pizza place, a family restaurant, one bank, several real estate offices, a US post office, a produce stand, an elementary school, a public library, several residential developments, and a number of other businesses. We are located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania, about 35 miles from New Jersey and two hours from New York City. We have two lakes and are 1,805 feet above sea level.

Potato and Beet Salad with Navy Beans

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Photo courtesy of and recipe adapted from Naturally Ella

Hungry?

This isn’t a recipe blog, but sometimes I just have to share something great! Since I’m a vegetarian eating mostly vegan, plus my recent hospital stay and admonition to eat more high fiber foods, and my husband enjoying loaded summer salads for dinner, this recipe was promising. The recipe I used is here.

I made a lot of changes due to what was available. I couldn’t find white or yellow beets. Red ones were discouraged for how they’d look in this recipe. So I swapped in a can of artichoke bottoms in water, cut up and roasted with the potatoes. My dill, bought two weeks ago, went bad so I used dried dill. I didn’t feel like spending the money for shallots when I still had half a bag of small boiling onions, so I used some of those instead. They were great! I didn’t have champagne vinegar and probably wouldn’t buy it, so I swapped in some light red wine vinegar. I would have used my Bragg’s apple cider vinegar but it’s getting low and the mother is pretty thick. Time to buy a new bottle!

This was so good it was all we had for dinner, served with a crusty, seeded whole grain bread and some organic extra virgin olive oil for dipping. The only thing I’d do differently next time would be to add roasted pine nuts.

Bon Appetít!

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Who Am I?

This poem really touched me deeply. As a therapist who works with adults traumatized as children, this is a paean to the promise of recovery in adulthood. The poem itself is exquisitely written as well.

Image & Word

Who Am I?

Identity in crisis, I feel lost

Confusion reigns as childhood truths change form

Disintegrate as barriers are crossed

And old horizons, stretched, create new norms

Beliefs I’ve held for years emerge as lies

Distorted falsehoods firmly posed as fact

Still trouble me and need to be revised

To help me hold my mental health intact

But somehow I feel stronger in my soul

Perhaps I’m not as lost as first believed

More wounded needing healing to be whole

Than broken needing fixed – I feel relieved

No longer guilt-fed child who cannot cope

This careworn woman filled with future hope…

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Your Weekly Diversion, Week 19

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Wow, Week 19 already. Seems like more, doesn’t it? An eternity. Yeah well, you can live and die in a moment, so…

This week in my little life has been crazy. It started a bit tentatively with a few days of transient abdominal pain that got progressively worse, then a trip to the doctor who sent me to the ER. It was a recurrence of diverticulitis, the first I’ve had in over 20 years. Think labor pains or the worst doubling-over belly ache you ever had. Intense. But I’m home now and slowly getting back to normal, although still not there yet.

Here’s what I’ve curated for you this week:

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Photo by Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

First, an inspiring piece about the mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu. I know that his dad, known as “Moon” Landrieu, who was also a mayor of this most unique American city, would be very proud of him. I know I am, and I’m a distant niece of Robert E. Lee. Thank you, Mitch!

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Uruguayan amethyst, courtesy Gem Adventurer

 

Love sparkly, colorful jewels?          Me, too. Especially purple ones. Some of you may be surprised to know that some stones are more suited to you than others. Take this quiz to learn which is your best gemstone. (I was thrilled to learn that mine is amethyst.)

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Spinners from learningexpress.com

How do you like those new fidget spinners? What? Haven’t heard of them? Then hustle over to Mashable to learn more. By the way, there are more different kinds than I knew.

I was delighted to read that Outkast’s “Hey Ya” is the choice of many Australians for their new national anthem.

Namasté

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A to Z Challenge: D is for Dandelions

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D is for Dandelions.

Up here on the Pocono Plateau of Monroe County where our town of Pocono Pines is situated, the dandelion crop is very abundant this year. The fields fill with gorgeous yellow flowers, and then up pop the fluffy heads and it looks as if it’s snowing as the seeds take flight on the breeze. After that we have fields of stems looking rather shaggy and forlorn. Then the mowers come and cut them all down only for the process to start all over again. Everything in its time, the cycles of life continue, day to day, month to month, season to season, and year to year.

I took these photos over the past weekend. Not wanting to miss blogging, I wrote this post from the hospital where I am unexpectedly confined for 3 to 5 days for tests and observation after a bout of painful diverticulitis. No fun, but my friends are wonderful and so is my sweet husband who braved a 60-mile round trip to bring me clothes, iPhone charger, companionship and love. ❤️ The life cycle continues with me as well. 🙏

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I decided to take the A to Z Photo Challenge around my little town of Pocono Pines, Pennsylvania. We’ve had a home here for over 10 years, and taking this challenge is offering me the opportunity to get to know it even better than I have. I hope you will enjoy this photo journey as much as I do!

3 Vegan Pasta & “Meat” Dishes

Okay, the Rich Bitch has done it again. Making me feel like making (okay, eating) vegan sausages and cheesy sauce before I’ve even had breakfast! These recipes are always worth making. And even if you aren’t vegan, and I must admit I do eat dairy and eggs nowadays, these plant-based recipes are better for our health, for the planet and for the animals themselves.

Rich Bitch Cooking

Vegan Seitan Sausage Mac Cheese, Lentil Meatballs in Cream Sauce, Mushroom Meat Sauce - 3 Vegan Pasta & "Meat" Dishes - Rich Bitch Cooking Blog

I’ve made vegan cream sauces before. I’ve made a few during the 9 Vegan Pasta Recipe post. I’ve also made fat free Vegan Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce. But those have NOTHING on this these posted here. I’ve posted this cheese sauce many times but each time they’re either low fat or fat free. Truly the best vegan smokey cheese sauce is listed below. And it has a bunch of fat. Fat is the secret ingredient.

These recipes are so rich and amazing. No joke.

Vegan Mushroom Meat Sauce - 3 Vegan Pasta & "Meat" Dishes - Rich Bitch Cooking Blog

Vegan Mushroom Meat Sauce
This is so good. You could totally leave out the pasta and enjoy the “meat sauce” on it’s own. Feel free to use whatever Italian spices you like. This recipes was inspired by Cocoon Cooks.

This makes 2 servings

Vegan Mushroom Meat Sauce - 3 Vegan Pasta & "Meat" Dishes - Rich Bitch Cooking Blog

1 very small onion, 1 garlic clove, 8 oz mushrooms, 1 TB oil, salt, spices (1/2 ts sage, 1/2 marjoram), canned fire…

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The Wisdom of John Lennon

After mind boggling untruths, illogical contortions and unanswered questions in the news these days, I savored this post by Christopher Chase of Creative Systems Thinking who gives us the wisdom of John Lennon.

Creative by Nature

“The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.”

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“Love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep on watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”

“We live in a world where we have to hide to make love, while violence is practiced in broad daylight.”

“Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.”

“You don’t need anybody to tell you who you are or what you are. You are…

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