Friday, April 24, 2009

If it's shiny, watch your hiney

Despite being desperately uninvited by my daughter, I have just returned, wiser and thoroughly wiped out, from chaperoning her class overnight trip. Nothing like spending 36 hours with a bunch of fourth and fifth graders to show me just how much I don't know. Some things I learned were in fact about the mission, the native tribes, the rancho period, and the science of archaeology.

But the really important stuff?
It's what you get by being a fly on the wall:

The leader explained that the Spanish made the native people give up their religion, change their name, and work exclusively for the mission.
10 year old: "Oh, so they were slaves, then?"
Leader: "No, not really. They received medicine, education, and food. They were taken care of."
10 year old: "But they didn't have a choice, right? That's not slavery?"
Leader: Silence.

10 minutes is definitely not enough time to construct a house for 20 out of sticks.

How to tell poison oak:
Leaves of three, let it be
If it's hairy, it's a berry
If it's shiny, watch your hiney

The first millionaire in California was the guy who sold everybody else the shovels and tin pans in 1849.

The code word for rattlesnake is "chicken". There was a "chicken" in the camp.

If there is one child who gets spooked in the middle of the night, it will be your daughter.

Toilet paper was invented after the automobile.

There's nothing more interesting or memorable to a group of pre-teen girls than two bugs mating in the bathroom.

Tortillas you make yourself taste really good, especially after you grind corn with a rock.

They would taste even better with guacamole. So that's the first thing I made when we got home.


by Sharon Graves
Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • 2-3 ripe avocados
  • plenty of kosher salt
  • about 1/3 of a white onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp. of cilantro leaves, chopped
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
Mash the avocado with a potato masher. The consistency will come out exactly right.

Sprinkle on the salt, and mash some more. Gently stir in the chopped stuff with a spoon. Add the lemon juice.

Taste a few times, adjust the seasonings, and if you have any left after all that tasting, serve with chips and salsa.

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