Escape Goats

Quotes from Goats by Dan Monteiro, St. Martin’s Press, 2018

Yes, I have a whole book of pictures and quotes by goats. The picture above is captioned Live like someone left the barn door open. Sound advice in normal times, n’est-ce pas?

The title for this one: You can’t graze the pasture if you don’t leave the barn.

These goats have helped me get through the days, weeks, and months of this god-awful pandemic. The book was a gift from my 2018-19 advisory group. They nicknamed themselves The GOATS. Greatest Of All Time. That was perfect. They were awesome. And I love goats. I have all of their signatures in the front of the book. It is particularly valuable now because one of those darling GOATS passed away this summer and I think about her and her smile every single day. She was such a gift.

I unabashedly love my students and teaching. Even after 40 years in the classroom, I get excited when August rolls around and I start planning for the new school year. It will be very different this year, no doubt about it. But underneath my mask, I will be smiling. As of this moment in time, my school is planning on a hybrid return to school with half of our middle school students on campus at a time. Each “cohort” will be on campus for two days every week, with one “flex” day. My lessons will be online, but I will have my students on campus face-to-face/mask-to-mask. Am I a little anxious? Sure. However, I have full trust in our head of school and the other admins who are making the big decisions. They are doing it from a very well-informed place. A large part of our student population comes from parents who work at the universities and hospitals in the Triangle. We have experts on call from these institutions and we are in touch with them daily. I will probably be better protected at school than I am at the grocery store. Seriously. I will learn to teach wearing a mask. I am a professional nag so I will have no qualms about watching the kiddos and making sure they are masked, have sanitized hands, and stay 6 feet apart. We will learn to do this and do it until we don’t have to anymore. And that day will come. Eventually. Dr. Anthony Fauci says so.

I was cleaning out some stuff in my classroom a little while back and came across a poem that one of my former students sent to me. She was in 7th grade when she sent this. She wrote:

While celebrating national poetry month, I saw this poem and thought of you. I know you love to travel, and you have made me want to travel to France even more. I can’t wait for the trip next year! I hope you enjoy the poem.

I do not know who wrote this poem. The mademoiselle who sent this to me had figured me out, though. We did travel to France together and it was so much fun. When will I be able to travel with my students again? Summer of 2021? Spring of 2022? Je ne sais pas encore… et c’est tellement triste. But I will worry about that another day.

2017 in the Camargue at Salins d’Aigues Mortes, France


The railroad track is miles away,

And the day is loud with voices speaking,

Yet there isn’t a train goes by all day

But I hear its whistle shrieking.

All night there isn’t a train goes by,

Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,

But I see its cinders red on the sky,

And hear its engine steaming.

My heart is warm with the friends I make,

And better friends I’ll not be knowing;

Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,

No matter where it’s going.

A summer recipe! I posted this on my “old blog” in 2012, after the summer BFF girlfriend trip to Paris and Provence. Such great memories. I am so ready to do that trip again!

Roasted Ratatouille Vegetables and Pesto Chicken

Choose quantities based on how many people you are feeding.  I didn’t use tomatoes, but used a tomato sauce made to slather on bruschetta.  Harris Teeter sells a roasted vegetable tapenade that would be good, too.

Eggplant, sliced and cut into bite-sized pieces
Zucchini, sliced and cut into bite-sized pieces
Red bell pepper (same)
Green bell pepper (same)
Yellow squash (same)
Olive oil
Boneless chicken tenderloins or breasts
Pesto, homemade or from the store
Bruschetta sauce or roasted vegetable tapenade spread

Preheat oven to 425˚F.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Spray with cooking spray, if you wish, to keep vegetables from sticking.
Chop vegetables and place in a ziploc bag with enough olive oil to thinly coat them.  Maybe 2 tablespoons, depending on how many vegetables you are using.  Sprinkle in a little coarse sea salt, if you wish, and herbes de Provence.  Make sure the bag is completely sealed and shake to mix it all up.
Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on the baking sheet.
Place in the oven and set the timer for about 15 minutes.
While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the chicken.  I used breast tenderloins (because that’s what the Ex-Ex bought at the store and they worked well because they cooked quickly).  If using boneless, skinless breasts, pound them flat or perhaps cut them into smaller pieces so they will cook faster.
At the end of the 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven.  Reduce oven temperature to 400˚F.
Add the bruschetta sauce or vegetable tapenade.  Place the chicken on top of the vegetables. Generously brush the chicken with pesto. (Pesto is one of my favorite things in the whole world, so I do not skimp on this!)
Return to oven and cook for 15-20 more minutes or until the chicken juices run clear when pierced with a fork.

One more piece of Goat Wisdom for today:

Look where you’re going, not where you’ve been.

Bon appétit à tous et à toutes! May we all get back to traveling again soon. The Ex-Ex and I have quarantined and stayed busy, but I miss road trips and adventures, even short ones. I hope to get back to many places in 2021, including France, but I am willing to be patient and take no chances until this $@#* virus is under control.

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