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Instructional Support Division Team Newsletter: May 15

Staying Connected as a Team Through Covid-19

no. 2

What are You Reading?

  • The Harry Potter series, Audio book version
  • Waiting for My Brilliant Friend
  • The Other Windsor Girl: A Novel of Princess Margaret, Royal Rebel by Georgie Blalock
  • Annotated Alice with notes by Martin Gardner
  • Daisy Gumm Majesty series, by Alice Duncan.
    These are cozy mysteries, about a spiritualist (or medium), set in 1920's southern California. They are available through the HCPL Libby app.
  • Victim 2117Department Q: Book 8 by Jussi Alder-Olsen
  • Finally set up Amazon Kindle unlimited....there's a 2 month free trial going!! I'm on my 5th novel....I never feel like I have time to read!!! I'm reading one called The Home right now....adopted girl looks up biological Mom, remembers crazy disturbing things from her time in a children's home. So far, so good.
  • American Dirt
  • A lot about learning theories. I am taking a level class on instructional design and technology. It's all about learning theories and how they apply to eLearning.

A Little Laugh

Alien Cat Cartoon

Sorry I’m looking for funny too and my husband just isn’t. :)


Room 101

  • The sound of children fighting over something STUPID!!! Every. Single. Day.
  • My phone and TV. ( I once scrolled through an Instagram explore page for 2 straight hours, and binged watched shows too often, that now I try to leave my phone in my room and spend most of my time outside of my room, lol)
  • Loose interpretations of social distancing. My personal space is wider now!
  • Noisy neighbors
  • Noisy lawn care (lawn mowers, weed eaters, etc.)

Next Issue

Next Issue will be out May 29th.

IS Art Exhibit: Still life in the time of COVID

Design a still life composition that reflects you during the past few months. Capture it in a photo and include a blurb explaining your art piece (250 words max). All entries will be exhibited. Email your entry to Mikha.

We want to hear from you

  • Mindful Moment: What positive thing has come out of this quarantine?
  • Share your favorite YouTube comfort videos. 
  • While our summer travel plans have changed, what is your virtual travel destination?
  • Any other news, information, recommendations, ideas, etc.that you wish to share.

To make it easy, you can fill out this form, and/or email MikhaNote: Images will be cropped for consistency on the page

Submissions accepted until May 28 at 4:00 p.m

Senior Light Up the Night

Haiden, Jennifer's youngest son, is graduating! The baseball team honored the seniors with an awesome parade on May 1st. 

Congratulations, Haiden! 

A Note from Sue

Have you been wondering what a reference librarian does all day while working from home? I know that I've been wondering what circulation and spec-3’s are doing. Not the full-timers; they can make their own projects, but those of us who work part-time. There’s nothing worse than sitting around with little or nothing to do!

We, part-time reference librarians, are tasked with answering Chat questions. So are all the rest of the librarians in the system. When a Chat question comes up, all the librarians try to grab it! If you don’t get it by the second ring, it’s gone. I’m getting faster, or maybe the others are getting slower, and manage to catch three or four a day. That’s out of six hours.

The rest of the time, in between occasional requests from Mikha and Hope for compiling statistics and checking links, I have been creating a new APA documentation guide to support students using the new APA Handbook. It’s been fun, finding source examples that pertain to students, learning how to use Adobe InDesign, and working and reworking explanations so they can stand alone. The guide is about ready, and soon you’ll see it on a web page near you!

Now I’m trying to figure out how to distill all that I've learned about APA into a three-minute training video.

A New Family Member

The Schillings (Susan) adopted Roscoe on Mother's Day. He's a lab mix with hound dog ears that was a Rescue dog. A real sweetheart!


Kudos from Allison

To Erika and Inshan for helping the first student with Online Assistance.

Blue Angels

To Cassy, Erika, Inshan, and Katrina for your enthusiasm to work, your flexibility, and your positive attitudes!

To Mikha for putting together our video for the ALA presentation. You are AWESOME!

To Jennifer for working tirelessly on our department budget.

To Charlotte for working with colleagues across the system to make virtual tutoring work.

To Amanda for being patient and willing to make my weekly changes to WC online for Online Assistance.

Hope's Inspiration of the Week

 To see my son's beaming face as he experienced the Blue Angels fly over our neighborhood was a priceless experience. It uplifted my spirits and was exactly what we needed!


Finished Quilts

Lynn has been working on some unfinished projects. She finished two quilts and is working on a third. 




Westward Bound

In 2005, Janis Terry hired me; I worked about 10 days, took an absence because Hurricane Rita arrived, and immediately extended my absence by sleeping in my son’s hospital room for a week. Now, 15 years later, I am “Truckin’, I’m goin’ home, Whoa, whoa, baby, back where I belong, Back home, sit down and patch my bones(Grateful Dead) in the midst of this Covid trauma: Bookend disasters mark the beginning and end of my career here.

My career has been varied: Sunday school teacher; insurance secretary; convalescent hospital laundress; grocery store worker; waitress; bartender-in a Montana live rock & roll bar where we kept a broken end of a pool stick under the counter for rowdy customers; a housekeeper in Yosemite- putting my linguistics degree to work and making my parents proud to have paid for 4 years of college; and an assistant in a university periodicals department.

Following my degree in Linguistics, I earned post-degree credentials in Elementary and Special Ed simultaneously with an MA in Teaching English as a Second Language. This opened the door to 15 years of wonderful teaching opportunities and growth: University English composition professor, Kindergarten, Middle, and High School ESL teacher, ESL Teacher Certification Instructor for UC Davis, Pronunciation instructor and curriculum designer for UH, Instructor in Rice University’s Intensive English Program, and multiple professional experiences with international conference presentations and publications. Life has been good academically!

Now, I switch hats from academics to the outdoor life. I have always gardened, starting as an elementary student in 4H vegetable gardening to my current project of creating a pollinator garden. During this “stay at home,” watching the increased number of butterflies fluttering from one plant to the next has brought relief and escape from the pandemic world. The antics of fledgling birds who insist on not leaving the nest and demanding that parents continue to feed them illustrate that humans are not the only ones with these issues. Taking what I have learned in my Kingwood garden, I am looking forward to creating another pollinator backyard in our new home, where Steve and I can continue to spend quality time in awe of Ma Nature.

Steve, whom I began dating in high school in 1974, and I will be “on the road again, Like a band of Gypsies, we go down the highway, We're the best of friends, Insisting that the world keep turnin' our way" (Willie Nelson). We have followed each other since high school from California, to Montana, to Arizona, back to California, to Texas, and now to Eugene, Oregon. Sometime at the end of this summer, we climb into our car with our three cats and make the 3 ½ day drive back west. I have scrubbed my plant pots and bathed them in bleach as I don’t want any stowaway fire ants hitching a ride with us- I will not miss them!!! However, I will nostalgically long for the sounds of the temperature stimulated chorale of cicadas. Moreover, ...what I am trying not to confront is the reality that … I will most seriously miss all of you as my friends and acquaintances who so enriched my life. Work days were never ones I dreaded coming to because I so enjoyed the diversity of conversations and personalities (plus I was so fortunate for the patience bestowed upon me during my cranky rants.) On that note, to round out my musical selections and provide another insight into my persona:


So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye
I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye
Goodbye!        (Sound of Music)


Stay healthy!  Hugs and hugs, Camille

What is part of your new routine?

  • Taking walks, spending time outside, and cooking. A lot of experimental cooking.
  • Sleeping in, staying up WAY TOO LATE... once both kids and husband have gone to sleep, the house is finally QUIET and no one needs me!!!! Ahhhhh.......
  • Making my bed and vacuuming the downstairs every morning. Yes, I was taught to make my bed every day, but no I did not do it. Since our bathroom was renovated and the bedroom painted, it has encouraged me to keep this space cleaner. So every morning now when I get up I make my bed, get ready for the day, vacuum the downstairs, and then turn on my work computer.
  • Trying to get in 250-500 steps each hour.
  • I'm walking the dog twice a day, for about three miles altogether. I'm not sure she really appreciates it! My pet peeve is that too many others are doing the same thing, so it can be hard to practice effective social distancing!
  • I am making my own bread. If I stick to America's Test Kitchen bread recipes, I have more success at baking something edible that looks like real bread. I need to get more flour!
  • More time visiting on the phone
  • Eating breakfast and playing with my cats more often.
  • Learning how to make infographics and websites as part of my class! Each week my assignment is to add to my online portfolio - in website form. I am learning so much about websites and how to make content.
  • Trying out new air fryer recipes - so far our favorites are salmon and chicken and roasted potatoes (with La Madeline mushroom sauce and sea salt baguettes, of course!)

Hope's Bike Rides

As part of my new routine, I ride my bike in the neighborhood in the evenings. 

On the weekends, I have been traveling to parks I have not yet experienced. I highly recommend Jesse H. Jones!

I set up a new space to do yoga at lunchtime.  There are great 30 minute classes on Amazon Prime.

What are you cooking? Share a recipe.

Kaleigh: I'm a terrible cook but my husband is trying to make sourdough bread this week. We'll see how it goes! Last week he made chicken breast filled with a little cheese and spinach, topped with crispy bacon curls, all grilled. It's sweet because I'm trying to lower carbs and calories and this was decadent but still within my calorie and carb allowance! He's so good.

Lynn: I’m trying new recipes from The New York Times that we get free from being on staff! Like this super sheet pan Chicken with Jammy Tomatoes

Katrina: Making this today for my brother's birthday. My mom always made it and NO ONE we've ever met has heard of it!


Bake a boxed confetti cake and chill. 

For the "frosting" mix sour cream, sugar, and vanilla extract. (Don't have measurements)

Spread mixture on top of the cake then spoon out the cherry pie filling on top.

Refrigerate and serve cold.



Cassy: My house is crazy about banana bread right now, so we wanted to experiment and make pineapple banana bread.

For the banana bread, I just followed a regular recipe I found on Pinterest and started to experiment with different fillings. lol  So far we have tried walnuts, chocolates. trail-mix and pineapple slices.  I just added it as an extra ingredient, to change things up:) 

  • Add pineapple slices on the bottom and top of the banana bread mix. It turned out surprisingly good!


Allison: Yum!



Jennifer: I have also been making homemade dog food to mix in with their kibble.  They love it so much more than the dry junk!

  • 1 pk of chicken thighs (about 8 boneless thighs)....cooked in an Instapot
  • 1 pk of frozen peas and carrots
  • 3 cups of cooked brown rice

Mix together and portion to your dog's healthy consumption amount.

I vacuum seal and freeze.  Take out the night before lay out to thaw.  Mix with measured kibble.  I have started to feed Bentley and Olive 2 times a day.


For me, this last almost a week.

Mikha: I've been making this tea for some time now. It is comforting and warming for a delightful afternoon beverage. This recipe is Adriene Mischler, Yoga with Adriene YouTube star.

You’ll need:

  • A large pot
  • A strainer
  • Another pot or container for your tea.

Adriene’s recipe for two quarts:
15 whole cloves

  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 3 sticks of cinnamon
  • 20 whole cardamom pods (split pods first)
  • 8 ginger slices (no need to peel)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black tea, or one small bag
  • 2 quarts water
  • Love
  • Milk of your choice
  • Honey to taste


Michelle: Shrimp scampi sauce! I have learned this recipe in quarantine and it's so good and so easy. It tastes like restaurant quality and takes 30 minutes max.



-1 pound fresh/frozen shrimp

-4 tbsp. olive oil

-4 cloves garlic

-1 teaspoon salt

-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

-4 tbsp. butter

-1/3 cup of white wine or chicken stock

-2 tbsp. lemon juice

-1 tbsp. parsley


  1. Thaw frozen shrimp in cool water. Peel and devein shrimp (if not already peeled and deveined.) Rinse drain shrimp and transfer to a small bowl.
  2. In a large skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and shrimp to the skillet. Cook for 1.5 minutes (or when shrimp become opaque) flip shrimp and cook for 1 more minute. Then transfer shrimp garlic and oil into a separate small bowl. Make sure to get all of the garlic bits off of the pan.
    Note: Be careful not to cook shrimp for too long, to ensure the garlic does not burn.
  3. Melt 4 tbsp. of butter in a skillet over medium heat and add the remaining garlic. Cook for 30 seconds, then add white wine and lemon juice. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. 5 Add shrimp oil and garlic back to the skillet. Add salt, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Then cook for 1 minute. Serve.

I like to cook 16 oz. of linguine while making the sauce, then serve the shrimp scampi as a pasta.





From Amanda


  • 3 cups Basmati rice (or any long-grain rice of your choice)
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Chili powder (or paprika)
  • ¼ teaspoon Dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon Cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ¼ cup Olive oil (or melted butter)
  • 1 (16 oz) jar Tomato salsa
  • 2 cups Chicken broth (or water)
  • 2 (15 oz) cans 
  • Kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or any canned beans of your choice)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Pour rice into a casserole dish and season with salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, and oregano. Pour in olive oil and stir until rice is thoroughly coated with oil. Add salsa, chicken broth, and kidney beans. Stir until evenly combined. Cover very tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Bake in the preheated oven until rice is tender, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove foil, taste, and adjust seasoning as needed. If the rice is not cooked, re-cover and continue to bake until tender. Fluff with a fork.

Amanda: Easy Korean beef with Instant Pot coconut rice. Also baked rice and beans. I think these are probably the two simplest recipes made with mostly basic ingredients and they're delicious!



  • 1 lb Ground beef
  • ½ cup Soy sauce
  • ½ cup Brown sugar (or sugar substitute)
  • 2 tablespoons Sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon Red chili flakes (or to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon Ground ginger (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic powder (or to taste)
  • Sesame seeds for garnish


Combine soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, chili flakes, ground ginger and garlic powder in a bowl and stir together until well combined. Set aside.

Brown the ground beef until fully cooked. Once cooked, pour the sauce over the beef and stir together. Simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish with sesame seeds


Amanda: Easy Korean beef with Instant Pot coconut rice. Also baked rice and beans. I think these are probably the two simplest recipes made with mostly basic ingredients and they're delicious!



  • 1 ½ cup Jasmine rice
  • 1 can Coconut milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ½ cup Water


Rinse rice in cool water until the water runs clear. Add rice and all other ingredients into the Instant Pot. Stir. Lock the lid in place, making sure that the sealing knob is on sealing. Pressure cook on high for 3 minutes. When the timer beeps, let it naturally release for 7 minutes. After 7 minutes, do a quick release. Fluff with a fork.


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