Friday, February 29, 2008

Chris Farley Reincarnate

I know, I know, I've already posted something today. But have you seen this? I can't stop laughing.

Random Thoughts for a Friday

After a wretched work-filled week of teaching (same old-same old), ESL Endorsement class (gag), parent teacher conferences (snore), I have today off. I've spent the morning sleeping in and catching up on blogs from the week. Today my motors are on mellow mode but I want to post something. Here is a sampling of the randomness floating through this noggin o' mine:

1. For some odd reason I feel really awful about Leap Year babies. It all stems back to first grade when Mrs. White/Green/Black (okay, I only know it was a 1st & 5th grade teachers were named after a color) made a big stink about how it wasn't ACTUALLY Joe's birthday, but we were celebrating it on the 28th nonetheless. Poor Joe, the kid born on February 29th who only saw his birthday every four years. I, with my birthday just around the corner, was devastated that he didn't REALLY get his birthday. It seemed cheap and merciless. It did then. It still does now.

2. I believe in big earrings. If you are going to wear earrings, they should be noticeable. Not gaudy. Just noticeable. I think we can attribute this to my dark, curly hair, which swallows up the simplest of studs. Perhaps big earrings are the antidote to this little problem. For example:




3. I love fresh basil. I really do. I spent the extra $2.73 for some at my local grocer last time I went and I chopped some up on my frozen Kashi pizza I had for brunch this morning (I'm such a nutritional health nut on these days off of mine, later I'll be breaking into the chocolate, be sure). And do you pronounce basil the British way (Baaaa-Zill) or the American way (Bay-zill)?

4. Why is it that on the days I have not many pressing things to do (like, say, work), I delay showering as long as possible?

5. I recently purchased a pair of these (with corral pink piping, instead of banana) on clearance from Old Navy and I LOVE them. Surprisingly comfortable. Many compliments ensue whenever I wear them. I'm thinking of what I could wear them with today...once I shower, of course.

6. I cannot live without I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spray. Seriously, what did I do before this stuff?

7. I'm looking for a new perfume scent for my upcoming birthday (someone's bound to gift it to me, right?) and I really feel at a loss. Echo by Davidoff has been my signature scent. I'm thinking I need something new. Any suggestions?

8. I really think this girl is great:

You should read her blog and all feel green with the jealousy of knowing that she is MY best friend (and a very loyal best friend at that).

9. And, lest I reveal my completely shallow and trivial nature: Yesterday, I heard a dreary statistic. In the United States today every 1 in 100 adults is in the prison system. We are, of course, paying more tax dollars for the prison system than for higher education now. Does anyone else think we are doing something very, very wrong in this country?

And I guess that is that. I think I give off the appearance of intelligence, but truth is I have simple, uncreative thoughts scooting through my brain ALL DAY LONG...and everybody knows it.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Homage to My Hips

When I walk into a dressing room with promises on hangers dangling from my fingertips, I inevitably walk out disappointed, shamed. Its my blasted hips. My waist and shoulders may fit one size, but my hips stretch into new territory. It makes clothing shopping hurt like a sweet wound in my hollow chest. But then I remember this Lucille Clifton ditty and, promises or no, I feel a little bit better about the world.

Homage to My Hips

these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don't fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don't like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top

~ Lucille Clifton

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Me from A to Z

I was tagged by BlackeyedSue, Alice, and the Car mom...guess I better do this, already!

A- Attached or Single? Single
B- Best Friend? Alice
C- Cake or Pie? Pie
D- Day of Choice? Friday
E- Essential Item? Glasses or contacts (see previous post)
F- Favorite Color? Green
G- Gummy Bears or Worms? Bears...I like biting their heads off.
H- Hometown? The one I grew up in (privacy, sorry)
I- Favorite Indulgence? Cheesecake
J- January or July? July if I am by a swimming pool or in air conditioning. January if I don't have to clean my car off in the morning. Or shovel.
K- Kids? Not yet.
L- Life isn't complete without? Good people. Good books. Good food. And a good night's sleep.
M- Marriage date? I'd take a first date at this point! :)
N- Number of brothers and sisters? Two half-brothers, seven half-sisters.
O- Oranges or Apples? Both when they are good. Neither if they are too tart, too dry, too ripe.
P- Phobias and Fears? Going through the grief of losing a loved one. Failing at something that matters a great deal to me.
Q- Quote? "A word, after a word, after a word is power." ~ Margaret Atwood
R- Reason to smile? Too many to list. I live a blessed life.
S- Season of choice? Autumn or Spring...these seasons understand moderation!
T- Tag three people? If you want to play, please do.
U - Unknown fact about you? I once did a dance solo--leotard and all--in front of the entire school. Mind you, I was not a dancer in high school but my gym/dance class teacher asked me to perform the dance I'd choreographed and I thought "What the hey! When will I have a chance to do this again?" Then they played the wrong music. Luckily it was Enya so I did the same dance and added a few moves toward the end as the song was a few measures longer. Improvisation, kids, improvisation! (That, or perhaps I looked a bit like Napoleon D).
V- Vegetable? Most of them are yummy to me...other than brussels sprouts.
W- Worst Habit? Procrastination. I could procrastinate anything, even procrastination itself.
Y- Your favorite food? Tortilla Chips and Salsa--I'm thinking it deserves its own segment of the food pyramid.
Z- Zoo animal? The zoo sort of depresses me, frankly. All those animals in captivity seems sort of...pitiful. I hate to see an animal sleeping next to a heeping pile of their own dung. I do appreciate the bird house, however. It always seems that someone in my party has their shoulder pooped on when we go.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Out of Focus

I am blind. Without my glasses or contacts, things more than four inches away get blurry. Those who know me best get a kick out of the fact that when I go sans prescriptive eyewear, my hearing sort of goes out of focus as well (I think it has something to do with how much I rely on body language and facial expression).

While at the eye doctor yesterday for my yearly visit, as I chose between "1 or 2, 3 or read the smallest row you can see," I was thinking about near sightedness and life. There was a time in my life I had my future mapped out years in advance. In high school it was one of those illustrious letters your young women leaders make you write to yourself ("go on a mission, then finish college, marry at 25"--the same list we've all made). In college, I could tell you a fairly specific list of which classes I'd be taking three years from that moment. I knew exactly what life looked like through December 2005: Graduation. That general estimate of what was around the bend was comforting to me. It made me feel safe, like the daily to do lists I wrote each day. The future felt under control, therefore I felt in control. As time passed, I had these baby step accomplishments--things I could check off and then tangibly see that I was closer to my destination.

Cue January 2006. In a matter of two weeks, my neatly wrapped up plans loosened, unraveled a bit, then disintegrated completely. And since then I can only see four inches ahead of me without things getting blurry. My goals are more of these hazy ideas of what I think I might like to do, but my heart won't break if I don't accomplish each on my list. (After all, one can live a full and happy life even if one never makes it to India). Problem is, I'm still trying to adjust to this lifestyle where goals are much blurrier things. It is a one-day-at-a-time kind of lifestyle and, frankly, I struggle with it.

Anyway, I suppose this is all a bit of a rambling blog post without a conclusion. I wish I were more okay with the whole out of focus business, but I'm not. I simply cannot feed you some line about "the beauty in the surprise of it all" and how "we all receive moments of clarity, yadda, yadda, yadda." Clarity-schmarity! I feel lost. AND I hate surprises! There, I said it. Surprises leave you with a bad hair day in your least favorite fat shirt on the one day you want to look your best. Truth is, I wish I had a clearer vision of where this Rookie Boat was sailing. I wish there were more chances to put on a nice pair of prescriptive life glasses that make things clear, my own little Liahona, if you will. I want to know that I'm moving in a forward direction. I want to see in clarity my path before me rather than this out of focus nonsense life often feels like.

So, there you have it. Tell me if you are feeling me, people! Oh, and talk loudly, I can't hear well without my glasses on.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Under Pressure

Some days I just want a break from responsibility. No to do list. No students needing letters of recommendation or missing work. No meetings I'm running late to. No dishes waiting in the sink or gyms that mock me because, yet again, I didn't make time that day. Just a break from the pressure. I won't bore you all with my to do list in the coming weeks, but know that it sucks.

I will, however, take an agenda
that looks a little like this:

Friday, February 8, 2008

First Memory

May Swenson once said that poetry is...
based in a craving to get through the curtains
of things as they appear, to things as they are,
and then into the larger, wilder space of things
as they are becoming.

I started this poetry posting a while ago, but never followed through with it. I'm reinstating "Walt Whitman Was Here" because poetry is a sort of fuel for me. It calms me and reminds me that there are so many things in life worth living for, if only we notice them. I am a poetry geek. I love it. And I have found that you can tell a lot about a person by the way they react to a poem. So welcome back Walt Whitman, we're glad you stopped by.

When I first read Louise Glück, I was in my first ever poetry composition class in college. I had to do a "special focus" on a modern poet and live with her/his body of poetry for the semester. I knew very little about Louise Glück, or any modern poet, for that matter. But I chose Glück because A. she'd won a Pulitzer, and B. I wanted to know how to pronounce her last name (it is "Glick," by the way). She was a welcoming host into the world of modern poetry. I owe her a great deal.

"First Memory" is short and succinct and is filled with a truth I learn again and again.

First Memory
Long ago, I was wounded. I lived
to revenge myself
against my father, not
for what he was--
for what I was: from the beginning of time,
in childhood, I thought
that pain meant
I was not loved.
It meant I loved.

~ Louise Glück

Monday, February 4, 2008

Confessions of My Disorganization

Let me tell you a truth: today was the first day I spent time filing/organizing my classroom this school year. Oh sure, I make neat little (evergrowing into leaning towers) piles, I make sure the books on the shelves look orderly, I have a place for graded and un-graded student assignments. But my counter and desk space is taken over by all the other stuff--extra copies, original copies, unit plans, overheads, weird stuff I get from weird places (meetings, trainings, other teachers).

I've been quite good at ignoring this stuff for the past, oh, 5-6 months. I am talented at saying "I'll deal with it later" or "If I haven't missed whatever is at the bottom of that pile yet, it can wait until next school year!" But then I learned that in my near future there will be guests. Tomorrow morning we are administering state testing and my room has, unbeknownst to me, volunteered itself. I will have two other teachers in my room for the next three days. And next week the counselors will be stopping by for registration (because, curriculum-be-darned, the English teachers are always the first-stop-shop for all things interruptive--because everybody has English ALL FOUR YEARS--its a blessing and a curse). And just like unexpected company when the laundry is in varying stages of (un)folded around the living room, I had a bit of a panic. So I spent prep period prepping for company so that said teachers won't think me to be the disorganized slob that I really am.

AND then there is my house. On top of my computer armoire there is an accumulating scattering of paid bills that belongs in my handy-dandy file box. Its been a few months since I've "gotten around to it." Oh, and nothing in my life is alphabetized. Not my books, not my files, not my music (except on iTunes--and that is only because they do it for me). And don't get me started on the contents of my car trunk. Did you know I have a pink bathrobe in there from last April when I moved? It is true. I have had a fuzzy pink bathrobe in my trunk for nearly a year for no particular reason other than it seems as good a place as any. Not to mention the 30 pound box of circa 2005 literary magazines from my alma mater--which I intended to use at some point in my teaching career.

Now this is why I share this story:

There are people in this world like Blackeyed Sue. And then, there are people in this world like me. And people like me will never be like people such as Blackeyed Sue. Oh, I've tried. There was a time that my closet was color-coordinated (Ha! who was that girl?). There were days when my bank account was balanced every month to the penny, but I've just realized I'm $40.83 off, to my good, yes, but off, nonetheless and I don't have the time to fix it or figure it out. Yes, I once tried to fight my nature. I tried to be one of the organized people. But the facts must be faced: I am one of the disorganized and being organized just isn't in our genetic makeup.

So, I have a proposition: will someone like Sue come into my life and organize for me based on the sheer challenge of it all? Because I don't have the time nor have I the energy. I need an organization-for-dummies system created for me and my harried life. Any takers? Please?