Governor Phil Murphy tells us:
"The return to school will pose challenges, but we are confident that New Jersey's school districts can move forward in a way that best serves the needs of their district while also achieving a safe environment for students and staff," Murphy said.
Challenges? Then I guess Alcatraz had its challenges, too.
Here are the main rules and guidelines designed to protect students and staff in the classroom:
Here are the main rules and guidelines designed to protect students and staff on buses:
Here are the main rules and guidelines designed to deal with students and staff who show symptoms:
Does there even have to be protocol for the next three bullets? GO THE “F” home…and don’t send your kid to school. If you can’t even get on a bus healthy, why the hell do you have to explain this to anyone?
Here are the main rules and guidelines designed to protect students and staff during meal times, physical education classes and recess:
Here are the main rules and guidelines designed to protect students and staff by encouraging them to use hand sanitizer:
Here is how districts should deal with contact tracing:
Students and employees may be asked to leave or not come into school if they test positive for COVID-19, or exhibit one or more of these symptoms:
Do the next 16 bullets really need to be addressed?
Regarding bathrooms, schools should:
I’ve been sending kids to school for almost 23 years, and I gotta tell you, I found these almost like a really good SNL skit. Yes, over the top..sarcastic, but really, truly, can you imagine, in real time, real life, trying to implement these procedures? Yes, kids are resilient. They adhere an enjoy structure. But, this is beyond. Beyond hell.
In the end, we need to be allowed the choice to homeschool in conjunction with the school we are attending, not because I think it’s the best choice in a normal world, but because I am not sure if this is really going to work.
Look at this rubric. Look at all the restrictions. School, although not a Chuck E. Cheese field trip, should represent a haven for learning, loving and friendship. These provisions are a hate joke, and will be frustrating for everyone who is in academia.
Kids can be trained to do anything, from killing, to loving, to hating to feeling, etc. They need nurture and protection in their school…and this ain't it. Alternative, please?
Next post: So, how do we fix this new normal?
My last Italian “say it isn’t so” menu seemed to strike such an irritating cord in those who know how to say, cavatelli and not GAH VA DEAL…several more of these Mediterranean culinary slanders came up..
Is this Italian Halloween?
It’s Pronounced: CAPY-KO-LAH
It’s Spelled: Capicolla or Capicola
It’s a fatty, Italian cold cut, similar to fatty, Italian salami.
What kills me is these Italian deli owners can’t pronounce it themselves, and have taught their customers and deli sandwich makers to order the same, ghostly delight: (It always starts with yeah, um…must be required to order):
“I’ll uh take a, GABOO-GOOL special with oil and vinegar.”
I’m sorry…but WTF is this? Is this a chant to ward off the evil GABBO-GOOL?
My good Jesus, I beg you to help me with this ugly, distorted version of your beautiful, aglio e olio.
It’s Pronounced: AH-LI-OH AY OH-LEE-OH
It’s Spelled: AGLIO E OLIO
It’s so simple, just means garlic (aglio) and oil (olio).
I will kind of give you the difficulty with the Italian dipthong, “gl”. Unless you are native or taught young, it does not just roll off your tongue. But, frieking OLIO? Just lazy.
Yes, somebody please shoot me with my bra, because this is painful.
It’s Pronounced: PRO-SHOOT-OH
It’s Spelled: PROSCIUTTO
Italian cured ham. So, prosciutto on its own is a general term for “ham.” However, “prosciutto cotto,” is like American deli ham, so there is a difference. You probably won’t find that here…but you might in the boot. Armed with that porky knowledge, if you ask for Bra-shoot in Italy, they probably won’t give you anything but a weird stare, and a dialect chat with one of their friends and empty bread.
This is not a cute little cookie for your kitty.
It’s Pronounced: BEE-SCOH-TEA
It’s Spelled: BISCOTTI
It’s a G-damn cookie. (Sorry, God). Nothing crazy over the top….Italians are actually very, very simple bakers. My nonna used to make them with real anise and that’s all I knew as biscotti. Americans call anything baked with some resemblance of a cookie, biscotti.
Biscotti is also plural. Un biscotto is singular. Stop asking for ten cookies when you only want one.
Excuse me? What is this? It sounds like Mandarin Chinese. Are you ordering Moo-Shoo or cheese?
Oh, you mean Parmigiano? Ahh…yes.
Beautiful, unmistakable Parma, Italy. The capital of all things cheese and prosciutto. Please, please do not desecrate the sanctity and esculent grail of gastronomic delight.
It’s Pronounced: PAHR-MEE-JAN-OH or, for those who might have a prosciutto leg up on pronunciation, try this:
It’s Spelled: Parmigiano
Just so you know, a native of Parma can be referred to as Parmigiano, or Parmense. (PAR-MEN-SAY). And, anything with parmigiano cheese or cooked in the way of Parma, is alla parmigian(a). This is an ending agreement issue which sometimes gets distorted, so do not get me started.
Another fly in my sauce annoyance is, do you know really and truly now how many authentic Italian dishes are parmigiano???
Not many. I have heard waiters snicker at Americans who order : “Shrimp Par mee zan.” Italians will most likely never put cheese on fish unless forced to do so by an unrelenting tourist. I saw a waiter hand a cheese dish to another waiter and say in Itailian about a woman and her pasta. “She wants cheese on her clams. I can’t do this. You do it.”
Americans will par-me-zan everything from meat, to fish, to vegetables to tablecloths and other non edibles. Please, do not embarrass yourself if it’s not on the menu.
Ok, another Italian import that made the menu. But how many are you ordering??
It’s Pronounced: PAH-NE-NE (phonetic)
It’s Spelled: PANINI
Un panino, (pah-nee-no) is one. One baby sandwich. So, unless you are ordering more than one, you are ordering:
Un panino or one panino.
I get it…a menu may say PANINI, which if they are offering more than one type of PANINO is correct. However, you are only ordering one, it’s just one PANINO.
Oh and what a delicacy this has become…it’s really peasant train food sold at the train station or a “bar” as a snack for transportation. They are not overstuffed with slabs of cheese and mushrooms and nitrate meats. They are made to aid in sustaining life until you can get to the next meal.
Oh Lord, please help me educate the know it all American public on Italian coffee. It pains me when I see menu items that mean well in their description but have nothing to do with their true Italian counterparts.
A LATTE: If you walked into an Italian bar, or sat down for breakfast in your hotel, and asked for a very cosmopolitan “Latte,” the waiter would show up with a glass of milk. And, rightfully so. In Italian, latte LAH-TAY. Comes from a cow. Plain and simple. (I was with someone who asked for a latte, and the waiter, knowing I spoke Italian snickered at me, “Ma dove’ il bambino?). Translation: Where’s the baby?
Now, if you asked for un “caffe latte,” you would more than likely get a cup of “Café Americano” with warm milk on the side. PLEASE DO NOT ASK FOR ICE OR A STRAW. Italians do not use ice on the hottest day of the year. They will not put it in their coffee.
PRONOUNCED : OON KA-POO-CHEENO
Americans will probably have some basic luck here, as a cappuccino is just espresso with hot, frothed milk on top. You won’t embarrass yourself or get laughed at if you keep it simple.
Pretty basic at Starbucks, but it’s wrong. So very, very wrong.
In basic Italian, “macchiato” means stained, or “marked.”
Un café macchiato is an espresso with a “spot” or dot of milk.
It is not a triple grande iced, cinnamon, almond milk, caramel monstrosity with milk. What we have done to this very, simple, simple concept. It wasn’t made in a lab. It was formulated by some Italian barber in like 1846 who wanted to cool down his espresso.
The basic of all Italian coffees, and we can’t get that right, either. It’s not express anything. As a matter of fact, before we ever had an “espresso” machine, I remember my mother making my father coffee with grinds and water in that tiny silver cast iron pot that became a weapon in every Italian household. It took forever to boil…and on Christmas Eve you prayed only four people wanted a cup.
I’ll give you the pronunciation somewhat, but the origin is wrong. It does not mean express or quick coffee. The genesis of “espresso” actually comes from “esprimere” (es-preem-err-ay) which means to press or press out. The old Neopolitan silver coffee pots explain it the best. (Or a…gulp..French press.)
Around 1900, Luigi Bezzera created a machine which did combine steam and coffee, making it “faster.”
But, the java roots came from a very basic Italian barista who decided to press coffee and water, and called it “espresso” or pressed coffee. GENIUS.
When I sleep at night, or try to after I take my night time pack of personalized vitamins, I think of what to write next. Lately, the English desecration of Italian cuisine just seems to be free flowing. This is part two, will there be a part three? Only my melatonin knows…buona notte.
My mom was a culinary master. Yes, she made a lot of stuff that was off the traditional Italian charts, but her roots were her roots, and she always went back to homeland basics.
As I teach my girls to cook, and every girl should cook…as they get older, wiser and more interested, I get a lot of questions. Some are about traditional eats which aid in the basics. Valentina asked me about my mother’s garlic bread, or traditional grilled bruschetta.
This prompted me to have a pronunciation fit in my brain about how BADLY basic Italian cuisine is pronounced. Italian is extremely phonetic, so really, what is the f()&^NG problem? If you don’t live in Naples, stop pronouncing these culinary delicacies like a Neopolitan longshoreman who works the docks, and is entitled to his dialect…they know how to communicate with each other with melodic profanity. And, in San Giuseppe Vesuviano where my father is from, it’s gorgeous and acceptable. But, traditional Italian is the most melodic.
Here’s the list that hurts my ears:
BRU-SHET -UH…..NO NO NO.
It’s pronounced BRU- SKET- AH:
The Italian “ch” is a “K” sound for us. Take that knowledge with you when you go…anywhere.
GA-NOOL…God help us!
It’s pronounced CA-NO-LEE
What the hell is so hard about that? There is absolutely no pronunciation relationship between GANOOL and CANNOLI.
GAH-VA-DEAL…Holy shit! Not every Italian CA turns into a GA. This is murder of this of this mouth watering, doughy little roll of pasta.
It’s pronounced: KA-VAH-TELL-EE
Another phonetic wonder.
REE-GAWT…I am going to vomit. The most amazing creation from cow’s milk ever, and this is what you do??
It’s pronounced: REE-COAT-AH
Where does one get REGAWT from RICOTTA? No G…no W…not a lot of things.
MON-EE-GAWT…another abomination using the famous Italian “GAWT” suffix. I bet you would never guess…
It’s prounonced: MAH-NEE-COAT-TEE
If it helps with a visual, una manica (mah-nee-kah) in Italian is a sleeve.
Sleeve pasta…there you go
BROCCOLI ROB…This is not the vegetable guy with a stand at the market on Arthur Ave.
It’s pronounced: BROC-OH-LEE DEE- ROP-AY
SPELLED: BROCCOLI DI RAPE
I might give you this one…a little, because broccoli is not hard to pronounce. But, the ROB part? Just not getting it.
MUZZ-AH-RELL…Italians live on vowels…wtf is this? My cheese, my cheese, my beautiful cheese. You can say burrata, but what the hell is this???
It’s pronounced: MOH-TSA-RELL-AH
I am crying as I think of the horrors of this disgrace, and I cannot even find a way out of it or an ounce of forgiveness.
PASTA-AY-FAZOO-L….I’ll give this to you if you spend your summers at the shore…the Italian shore…like Gaiola beach or the Sorrento peninsula. But, that’s doubtful.
It’s pronounced: PASTA EH FAJ-OH-LEE
SPELLED: PASTA E FAGIOLI
Such a simple, traditional Italian peasant dish thrust upon the Italo-American menus and pizza joints of today. I can’t even order it because when my order is confirmed by the waiter or alternate order taker, I just cry.
AH-LEEJ…Are you wondering about this one?? It’s a freaking anchovy!!!
It’s pronounced : AH-LEE-CHAY or AH-CHEW-GAH
SPELLED: ALICE OR ACCIUGA
In Italian, the letter “C” can play a few different roles…kind of like Roberto Benigni. But, in both instances the “C” makes an English “CH” sound as in “chew your alice…”
If you can speak and spell the English language, though for some that is quite a leap, the harmonious beats of the Italian language and their phonetic shouldn’t be a challenge. Well, again, don’t make me go there.
“Homeschooling…to be or not to be. That is the question. Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the slings of remote plans technically botched zoom meetings or to take arms against a sea of snotted masks, hand sanitizers, partitioned desks, disgusting lunchrooms and overheated preschoolers. And, by opposing traditional learning during a pandemic, end it? The idea of whether it is better to live and make eggs during lit class or die by mask suffocation…”
You see, William Shakespeare was not only brilliant, he was a soothsayer with incredible introspection into the future, almost 417 years ago. He saw this coming…well, maybe that’s a lie, but we can always pretend.
Never say never, right? I poo-pooed homeschooling always. I left that up to weirdo parents who cared more about lessening the back and forth driving burden, creating their own schedule and alas created more of an Addams family kind of atmosphere in their homes, raising a child with no friends, or social skills, clipping off rose heads from their stems. I learned a little more about this odd phenomenon after my girls ventured into the acting field. Many kids were homeschooled for auditions, shows, etc…ok, if my kid got a part on Broadway…I might consider it. However, COVID again, the great equalizer left us with no choice, from pre-school thru college.
I was very, very patient in the beginning. At first we were told one week in March. Then, two weeks. Then, through Easter. By the time we hit Easter, we all knew the hidden secret was…we aint going back, sister. Parents? TAG…YOU’RE IT!
I joined the bandwagon at the onset, praising the teachers for rearranging curriculum for what would be fashionably labeled as “the new normal.” And,they certainly deserved it after being hoisted into a cyber classroom from brick and mortar amidst the pitter patter of little feet donned in identical polyester. But, by the time Easter break was over, I was like, yeah…um…what about the rest of us? The heroes were no longer just the teachers who rolled out of bed and sat in their living rooms sucking on ice pops and drinking coffee in their den, still getting paid. It was the untrained parents, the working from home moms and dads, and the kids who too, became the unsung swashbucklers of pre college education. My kids are very self sufficient, but imagine working with a child who needs a lot of help and direction.
Even as a stay at home mom, I felt the pinch of trying to keep the house shrouded in normalcy, cooking, getting up to make sure the cyber home schoolers were in class…using up printer ink and paper faster than Lucy Riccardo and Ethel Mertz on a candy conveyor belt. I reigned victorious with the exception of Albert, who fell back to sleep on many occasions. But, the attention span of a young child, constantly working with glitchy zoom sessions and unnecessary YouTube crap took its toll. Interest wore thin. The kids had to keep themselves together, and so did the parents. Where was our parade? Our recognition? Recognition for the students who knew no better than their friends and their classroom. Nothing. Nada. And, for those of us in private school, no tuition break…paying as if I dropped my children off at 8 and picked them up at 2:15. No thank you. Nothing.
There was some cool gossip… teachers…shut off your mics. I heard one teacher say to her husband, “these kids are so needy.” Uh yeah…they are in seventh grade. This is not a university. Getting insight into how teachers must teach on a day to day was very interesting. Some students were favored, some younger ones flirted with boys, and some just did not care. I had a myriad of grades…from first through 11th. Interesting to say the least. Sometimes I felt my kids were cheated and taken advantage of because of the change.
What would have made it better? From a parent’s perspective, rather than shoving curriculum down the throats of kids just to get it done, stupid non sensical freeze dance Zoom meetings, and youtube art lessons, take the time to meet with educators who do home school and know how it’s done. There is ingenuity to it, a curriculum made just for this kind of learning. Easter break would have been the time to consult and at the very least implement some kind of real home school strategy. My daughters’ high school got it, and toned down the work, adding a few days off where they could.
It could have been way more successful and fruitful if it were manipulated the correct way, because do you know what?? I loved having my kids home! I loved not having to drive them at all hours of the day, afternoon and night. I loved not fighting over the bathroom and toothpaste, knotty hair and bad breath. It was refreshing…not leaving an assignment at home…ordering lunch that you can only order weeks in advance. No looking for clean socks and screaming about who has to sit in the third row for a four minute ride to school. And, here’s the kicker…not one of them said, “Gee…I miss school.” One day, my nine year old, Camilla, turned to me and said, “I like being home with you, mommy.” That was my parade. My salary. My trophy and my gratitude.
If it has to be, I am ready to tackle it again…but with more information and better learning tools. A parent is a child’s teacher, always…and I will gladly do it again, with better structure. Because, seriously, sending a kid back with partitions and masks is ridiculous, unless you want to get phone calls from the school nurse that your kid passed out or vomited in the cafeteria. That is not a way to learn. Children need to have a second haven in school, not a war zone. This is their childhood, and it’s fragile. And yes, they should know tough, they should know flexible, and adapt to change. But, I would rather have that change take place in my home, in their home, with parents who love them because they love them, not because it’s a paying job.
So, I stand corrected on the merits of homeschooling…homeschooling being the operative word. Because, in the end, nobody has my children’s best interests at heart, loves them or knows them like I do. I kind of get it now…
I think most of us learned some important lessons from COVID. I learned a lot about people. But most importantly, myself. It was a God sent personal catharsis…a very deep cleansing of the soul and a mind de-clutterer.
I realized I did not need half the things I thought I did. And the things I thought I could not do, I did. The smaller the gift, the greater the meaning.
I realized I had a lot in me I didn’t know…like I don’t need a cleaning lady. I cleaned my bathrooms, did my laundry, cleaned my floors like a big girl. It’s not like Service Pro came in and wizzed around in yellow suits armed with spray guns and military oxygen masks, but I got the job done. I started to realize that nobody cares. Is it basic clean? Did I stick my hand in the bowl and scrub the suction hole? I did. Did I scrub around the rim? I did. And, all with disposable dollar store brushes and Spanish toilet bowl cleaner.
I channeled a hybrid of Carolyn Ingalls and June Cleaver and did it all. I started comparing the top toilet brushes and plungers online, and I gotta tell you, it makes a difference.
I cooked and baked like Julia Child and Sylvia Weinstok rented a beach house together. I am a huuuuuge stresser, but I learned that stress can be productive. I bought three new brownie pans instead of three new sweaters, and I learned how to combat culinary erreur(s.) I also learned that I should have gone to school and I could have been a chef on Food Network. Saving that for the next pandemic. I cooked for those who could not cook for themselves and their families, set the table for thebenevolentcaterer.com, and I was full on the joy that accompanies altruism.
I learned that wearing new clothes every day was really not important. Imagine that! As a matter of fact, I really warmed up to COVID fashion, which is wearing loose shit…no bra and a t-shirt every day. My most comfy sweats had holes in the thighs and vajayjay zone. I understand why the rednecks do what they do, and hibernate with each other.
It’s so much less stressful and comfortable. My skin and my boobs have been coverless for four months. I put on a real bra the other day…with wires, and I thought I had to go to the ER it was so uncomfortable. I will never make fun of women who don’t wear bras ever again. I get it, now. It’s kind of liberating…free flowing. Now I understand hippie life. It was ok. All, good, dude. Let’s pick dandelions and speak to John Lennon.
I learned that working out six days a week and staying in your work out clothes is ok. It’s even ok not to shower. I swore I was not going to gain the COVID 15…and look liked an overwraught, bugged out fat mother of eight. I braved the restrictions, and trainer Greg showed up like a champ for our basement workouts. In the last few weeks I started running six times a week, and I feel awesome.
I started a vitamin regimen because I had time to actually order Kelly Ripa’s personalized vitamins online. My night time pack includes melatonin for sweet dreams. I was so excited! They even have my name on it in case I forget who I am…each little package says…”Morning,Linda” or “Evening,Linda.” They speak to me like no one in my house does.
I also ordered all that stupid Instagram and Facebook crap that looks like it really works…some of it still hasn’t arrived, but I am hopeful my peel off booties that pull your skin and your callouses off at the same time will reveal before summer’s end.
My love for animals was unwrapped even further and with fervent emotion when my oldest daughter, Brynn started to foster puppies. It made my spirits leap like a six year old kid just to sit and play and kiss those little noses and feel the palpitation of that mini heart in your hands. I would go to sleep at night just dying to wake up the next morning to see them go puppy nuts when I came in. I learned that every one of God’s creatures was created with love and needs love. The bond of animal to man is both innate and inexplicable.
I learned that some people absorbed jack shit from this quarantine and just worried about themselves and cried every day over BS minutia instead of adjusting. Cry babies who could not teach their kids how to cope over missing milestones. I get it. It’s hard. Life is hard. We are all sensitive and missing out right now…but it’s not just you. It’s all of us. Businesses, schools, everything and everyone was affected. My father said, when there is no turning back, find an alternative…don’t focus on what is done. Stop acting like Shop Rite opened just so you could get your raisin swirl bread and Dr. Pepper. Accommodate and cooperate.
I learned to never knock it till you try it…homesechooling. As much as the concept lacks any kind or normalcy for childhood development especially the social aspects…I would happily do it again if needed. That said, we would need waaaaaaaay better guidance to succeed, but having my children home with no where to go but home, was miraculous. I loved watching Eva make scrambled eggs with pods in her ears during math class…and Gianmarco sleeping till whenever teen titans told him it was time to get up…and listening to high school history lessons and stalking a teacher’s living room or the best is a mic the teacher thought wasn’t live…
I empathized with those who lost loved ones they could never hold in their last hours, and who would gladly give up four months at the gym never dine out again or get their nails done to have just that one moment, sixty seconds in time to say goodbye. When I saw on social media what people were bitching about and their “rights” being violated, I wanted to post…”try a ventilator…or chemo.”
I learned that this ugliness, dubbed COVID was a unifying evil. A pandemic that was not just a health issue, but second to death, it became the great equalizer. Not one person in this world was immune…we all followed the same protocol, epoxied ourselves to the same press conferences. Not one of us was allowed a special privilege not bestowed on someone else, and we became akin to those who shared completely different cultures and continents. We were humbled and rendered helpless by a virus. Just a virus. Not one individual could communicate with another without it’s mention. Children spoke of it’s wondrous ability to kick school’s butt for half a year. Everyone was quarantined. No one was safe. It was every single one of us. Nowhere in my lifetime or in history has an entire world, not just a city, or a nation been on the same plane regardless of race, creed, ethnicity, economic stature, age, or physical ability. Even the great divide of the 21st century, politics, didn’t stand a chance against the evil that was COVID.
Although my personal growth during this quarantine was mine alone to recognize, we all need to diagnosticate that this was not an accident let loose from a lab in Wuhan. It was born in an attempt to unify the world and hopefully debase us into realizing we are truly dust in the wind..fragile and humanly equal. Some got this, others did not.
And, those that did not are the same, non-introspective slobs they were prior. Some things will never change, but if you had the ability to co mingle with the incognito gifts we received from this challenge, become more introspective, loving, less self centered and praise your healthy, basic life, you have the gift of COVID…embrace it and never forget it.