I seem to be already failing at my self-imposed posting goal, but I suppose that was inevitable. The amazing thing was that I made it two weeks. How am I doing it? I’m not rereading my stuff or thinking about it overnight. Can you tell? I was afraid so.

Today, Friday, the kids are home from school. It’s a Teacher Work Day, which means no students. This has to do with budget cuts, in an inexplicable way that I don’t even bother to try to understand, since I prefer my own theories. I had a very amusing exchange on Facebook with one of Elliot’s French teachers from last year. (Actually he was the math teacher; French teachers don’t do comedy. They are, to a woman, grim-faced and thin-lipped.) He said, in effect, wasn’t the work of the teachers non-existent without the students? I said grading, admin stuff, etc, but he wasn’t convinced.

I celebrated Teacher’s Work Day by visiting a chocolate shop in downtown Portland with a friend. I had a “shot” of drinking chocolate, made with 72% cocoa and cayenne pepper and ginger. It was incredible. I don’t usually like hot sweet drinks, but this wasn’t too sweet, and was more like drinking dark chocolate than anything else.

Ilsa is celebrating by cleaning her room. This wasn’t exactly her idea. One might say it was imposed from above by people who long above all to see her floor–people who are obsessed with being able to see the floor, although it is in no way an exciting or interesting floor. Needless to say, few things are more horrible than having to clean your room on a 3 day weekend. Especially because we’re visiting an Iraqi family at noon tomorrow which means she can’t sleep in. The injustice in her life is staggering.

We had an exhausting weekend which I won’t bore you with except to mention the part where I made great Moroccan food at last! This is exciting because I have been attempting to make it ever since we got back, and each time our guests have looked on in amazement as Donn and I and the kids say, “It’s just not right; it’s close but not really good enough.” So, I’m wondering, do you discuss dishes as a family, looking for ways to improve? We don’t always, but we do when I’m trying to recreate something we’ve had somewhere else.

The good news is that I can now make really good chicken-olive-lemon tagine and zaalouk, the cooked eggplant salad. Yaay for me. Come for dinner.

We heard on Sunday afternoon that Donn’s sister, in her mid-40s, had had a stroke. Then we heard they weren’t sure if it was a stroke. She’s diabetic and has been having seizures, and apparently had a stroke in the middle of one. No, it was an insulin overdose. No, it was a bad reaction to two different kinds of medication. No it was…no one knew. No one knows yet. I spent hours trying to call her room, always getting a busy signal or, once, her doctor. Finally today I was able to talk to her myself (Donn had managed to get through before) and we had a nice long chat. She is doing better. We are cautiously optimistic for a full recovery.

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