Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I recently took my little punks to the Good Samaritan Hospital a few blocks away from our downtown L.A. campus. I wanted to get them involved in the community, so one day I asked them what they thought we might be able to do to help. "Help?" they asked. "Yes, help. You know, like a service project?" Students: "Why would we want to do that?" I'll stop there. You can guess how the rest of the conversation went. They're in middle school!

However, after sufficiently brainwashing them, I got a lot of great ideas like, buy houses for the homeless, find a cure for cancer, get rid of the gangs in L.A., etc, etc. Great ideas kids, but maybe not this year. It's only my first year of teaching. Finally, a shy, quiet, precious little dear (I've only got one or two of that type) said, "maybe we could visit the sick?" Now you're talking. Something we could actually do in one day's work.

So a couple days later, with homemade "get-well-soon cards" in hand, we visited the rehab unit on the 6th floor (I only mention that because some of my students enjoyed the elevator ride most of all). We were met by friendly staff and many very grateful elderly patients. My naughty, naughty students transformed before my eyes as they talked to the patients with concern and gentleness. Look at those faces! Even the class tough guy who was not interested in "service" was a changed boy. He said, "Ms. Beus (the new name didn't stick w/ the kids), I can't give this card away." "Why not?" I asked. "Because I did a really sloppy job." Come again. Did I hear that right?! It's amazing what service can do for us. I'm sure proud of these kids!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Taco Soup - 4 nights straight & counting...

Remind me not to make such a big a pot next time. I'm going to be eating this stuff for days... I can usually count on my husband's favorite organ to take care of the left overs, but he's been at meetings or out of town all week and so I'm on my own this time. It reminds me of when I lived with Grandma Shirley. It was just the two of us, but bless her heart, she can't resist a bargain... even when it means eating ham in every way it was ever meant to be prepared until we can't take any more... sliced ham, fried ham, julienned ham, shredded ham, ham and eggs, ham sandwiches, ham & pea soup, ham quiche, ham bisquits... Okay, I may be exaggerating, but a ten pound ham can last quite a while!

Anyways, I shouldn't be complaining because this stuff sure is good! In fact, I think I'll share my favorite version of the recipe.

Taco Soup
1 lb. ground beef
3 14 oz cans diced tomatoes (try Hunt's fire roasted w/garlic - you'll be so glad you did)
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 small can diced green chiles (if you're a wimp like me) or jalepenos (if your name is Brian and you like things that are HOT!)
1 can corn
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 cup water (or until right consistency)

serve with:
sour cream (the BEST part)
cheese (the second BEST part)
tortilla chips

P.S. I love you Grandma!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

New Couch!

For the last 4 months we've been sitting on this pathetic little couch that Brian bought used a long, long time ago. It doesn't look THAT bad, but don't let the picture fool you. What you can't see are the sweat stains from Brian's old room-mates (disgusting!), the bacteria growing just beneath the surface (who knows who owned it previously?!) or the spaghetti sauce stain from a few nights ago (I'm the guilty party this time). Here's Brian, looking just as pathetic as the couch.

The desperate nature of the situation called for desperate measures. Call me crazy, but this week I let my husband pick out and buy a couch with out having seen it myself! We've both been so busy that we don't have a lot of spare time to go furniture shopping together. On his lunch break, Brian found a sofa and loveseat that he liked for a good price so I told him to go for it. Well, here's what he came home with...

He looks happy hu?

I think he should be a cheerleader on Saturday Night Live.