Saturday, March 31, 2007

Twisted outlook

Thursday night I called my aunt in Savannah. (Damn. I need to get a name for her.) She was just arriving home from "getting her social skills on."

At one point in the conversation, as we were discussing my age and my desire to hit Savannah this summer, she asked, "What do you wear these days? A six?"

"Shoot me if I ever have to wear a six." Yep. Said it without hesitation.

"No. You're kidding me ..."

"Yes, I still wear size two or four. Well, only fours in pants."

"Oh, you are a diva."

"Been trying to tell you folks for years that I am. And if I come to Savannah, I will be sporting short skirts. And your sister can ask me, 'Why are you wearing that?' And I will answer, 'Because I can.'"

(Oh, and her sister? Owns a restaurant in Savannah. The place she owned in the 90s was featured in Southern Living. So maybe y'all can understand how I get a bit picky about so-called Southern cooking. It was also in the new restaurant that my aunt met with up with Wanda who was there for a meal.)

"I have a couple of size zeros that I should give you."

"Zeros?? I do have a couple of size ones in the closet but ever since I discovered the joy of wine, I have not even tried to get my fat ass into those things. Because alcohol? The only reason why I have gained any weight."

"You do have small bones."

So yeah, I have friends of all sizes and they are all beautiful in my eyes. But myself? The thought of wearing anything larger than a four terrifies me. Because I've never known anything else. I can look at a size twelve woman and think that she is beautiful. But when I try to imagine myself at that size, I start to hyperventilate.

Now I know that some of y'all have been going through the weight loss process. And at least one of y'all has discussed not being comfortable with her new body size because all she can see is her former self. Well, that's how I feel when I try to imagine myself with more pounds.

At least I now weigh enough that doctors have stopped thinking that I have an eating disorder. Well, that is until I mention my desire to drop about five pounds. Because I'd really like to be able to wear those couple of ones in my closet again. And yeah, I know that's pretty twisted. But they're really cute dresses.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

#1 Stunna

or More Tales from the Playground

This morning on my way to work I called Jade to see if we were going to try to catch Wanda this weekend. The way things look is if I do, it won't be with Jade. No surprise there. I had kind of written her off once she mentioned inviting Mrs. Stick-Up-Her-Ass-'Cause-She's-So-Damn-Bougie. (And if she is from a similar background as Jade's, then she really has no excuse to be that way unless she's of the social climbing variety.) Seems like Jade does not want to cross the Bay. Not like I did not specifically say that the show was in San Francisco. Thank goodness she's my oldest friend. Anyone else? Would have been dropped by now.

We were still in conversation when I arrived at work so I continued talking (Thank you, headset.) while I got things ready in my room for the start of the day. Then there was a loud pounding on the door since I always lock myself in before school starts.

I told Jade, "It must be Kool-Aid," as I went to the door. It was indeed the child otherwise known as Kool-Aid. (Queenie and I started calling him this after I pointed out that he's always "all in the Kool Aid and don't even know the flava.") He always wants to drop his backpack in the room before school starts.

I continued to talking to Jade while he did this. He yelled a "hello" to her. Actually that was his normal speaking voice. I keep trying to work with him on having an "inside voice."

At the time I was writing the daily agenda on the board. He made some commentary. I think my answer was something like, "Puh-leeze." Jade was able to hear the entire exchange and said that my kids sounded awfully mature. (She teaches first and second grades.) I assured her they were.

When I told Kool Aid that he needed to leave because I had things to take care of, he protested. I prompted him to say his usual response to me. "You just hatin' on me 'cause I'm a Black man." Jade laughed quite a bit over this.

He exited the room, asking, "Red, green, and black. Do you know what that stands for?"


"That's right." And then he gave me a salute that would have made John Carlos proud. And of course, I returned the salute.

Kool Aid chose to don his mirrored Ray-Bans for the first recess. Of course, I had to give him a hard time about it all.

"Who do you think you are? If anyone's a stunna around here, it's me."

"You ain't no stunna. You don't have enough game."

"Ha! I've got more game than you can even imagine."

Yep, that's right. I hit my groove again at work and have been enjoying it. I have not been drained upon arriving home at all this week. (Perhaps I will tell you later how I managed to fuck up some kids' world because I had enough energy to call home.) So feel free to call me Empress or Stunna. Or my old name from college days when I was in student government -- Queen Bitch Shrew. It's all the same to me.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Time for me to get back up on my soapbox. So I know some folks got all upset with me some time back over definitions of words but here I am talking about the very same thing. Specifically one term that folks like to throw around -- friends. And yes, I am guilty of it at times.

I tend to work on a loose definition that I received throughout my childhood from my mother. (Yeah, I know. As twisted as she can be, I actually do listen to her sometimes. Because sometimes, she's right.) The hardest part for me has been to find a way to put the definition into words since my mother never actually gave me a definition but chose to educate my example. As in, "That person is not your friend. That person is merely an acquaintance."

It took me many years to recognize the difference between those people who my mother categorized as friends and those who were acquaintances. Obviously you know both. And here's a scary thing. You may spend as much time around acquaintances as you would around friends. Perhaps even more. What I have realized is that friends are the people from whom you will tolerate a lot more -- and they do the same for you. Kind of like when I had to explain to this guy in college that it was OK for me to call Jade "bitch" but if he dared to try it, he was going to end up severely injured. There are things for which I would forgive a friend at the drop of a hat but only to turn a cold shoulder to an acquaintance for doing the same. Jade and I can have full-on screaming matches in which we use all kinds of profanity and drag out all the dirty laundry. An hour later, no one would ever guess what had previously happened. I suppose the tolerance comes from knowing that a true friend has the same tolerance level for my crap and will be there no matter what.

Perhaps it's the Cancer in us. (Yes, my mother is a Cancer as well. And that perhaps explains our often strained relationship.) When it gets down to it, I don't have a lot of friends. Not that acquaintances don't ever stand the chance of becoming friends. It just takes time. Like it did with my friends. Because letting folks into the inner circle is kind of hard for us crabby types.

And what got me thinking of all of this? Well, part of my mother's differentiation was that people with whom you party for the most part are acquaintances. Well, at least if that is your most significant link. Unless you can somehow transcend this level of thinking. I was ready to write off an "acquaintance" a few months ago. But I stuck in there because I really didn't have a choice. And we ended up going through a lot of stuff together. And because of all that other stuff, I finally feel like this person is a friend.

The lesson learned is that sometimes it's OK to be persistent and to not give up.

On a final note, this is my new fave video. I think the music should be the background for the Boys Are Stupid game on David & Goliath. And yes, I kick butt at this game. Just wish they'd add on some new levels.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

It must be the soap

Things are going pretty well this week at school. So well that I actually have time to ponder other questions. Like Boris's behavior.

Last week Boris resumed one of his freakish habits. He likes to lick the tub right after I have taken a shower. See? I told you freakish. When he first started this, he would wait for me to exit the shower. Now he bounds in as soon as I open the shower curtain. I had to put up with this behavior for almost a year and then it suddenly stopped. Until last week.

Over the weekend it all clicked though. Last week I changed soaps. The current one is coconut scented. Prior to that I was using lavender and before that vanilla scented. Guess which soaps inspire Boris to hop in the tub? Yep, you've got it. The coconut and the vanilla. *sigh* Seems he is always thinking with his stomach.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Yesterday was a day filled with things I had previously said that I would do. I did not do all of them which is unusual for me. If I say I'm going to be somewhere, then I show up. OK. So sometimes it's fashionably late but I still show.

The first commitment was a workshop. It took all of my energy to drag my butt out of bed at 8 a.m. It seems to me that one should still be asleep at that hour on a Saturday. The workshop was really good though. I left there feeling somewhat energized for work on Monday.

On the drive home, I spoke with my aunt in Savannah. She made me exclaim, "I so hate you." Why? Because on Friday night while she was out, she met Wanda Sykes. And when I was talking to my aunt, she was on her say out to see Wanda's show. Like I said, hate her.

The next thing I had said that I would attend was a party. I came home for a nap. When I woke up, it was 10 p.m. So much for the party. Sorry. If I had been thinking clearly, I should have declined in the first place. I'm usually pretty drained after these workshops and have yet to make it out to anything in the evening after one, now that I think about it.

Oh, and here's an example of one of the things that made me laugh on Friday.

One of the boys was busy spinning the globe. I don't know why but they seem to like this. He stopped the globe with his index finger and turned to me to announce, "You will get married in France."

"France is nice."

Then he started spinning the globe again. "Let's see where your next marriage will be."

"The next one? What happened to the first one? Did he die? Was there a divorce?"


*sigh* It's great to see that the kids have such faith.

And today? Well, I'm starting my day with laundry. Natasha is probably disappointed since she likes to sleep in the laundry basket. Then it's probably off to a samba class this afternoon. My tutoring session has been canceled due to a birthday party. And maybe I'll actually cook something. Yep, that's me. All wild and crazy.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Maybe I will rule the world

I know I have been shying away from the quizzes of late but I couldn't resist this one I found at Fluffycat's.

You are The High Priestess

Science, Wisdom, Knowledge, Education.

The High Priestess is the card of knowledge, instinctual, supernatural, secret knowledge. She holds scrolls of arcane information that she might, or might not reveal to you. The moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see, reveal the secrets you need to know. The High Priestess is also associated with the moon however and can also indicate change or fluctuation, particularly when it comes to your moods.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

And now I'm off to my Saturday workshop. Oh, and yesterday was actually a better day. But more about that later.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Yesterday so sucked

So I had a mild meltdown yesterday. This would be in my meeting yesterday afternoon with my principal. In which she was telling me all the things I was doing wrong and needed to change. I took lots of notes but all I could think was, "I am tired, drained, and overwhelmed."

I also made a decision after that meeting. I'm going to see if I can change my doctor's appointment. Because I know a part of my current mental state is having that hanging over me. And screw the lack of subs. Queenie seems to have no problem in taking a day off. It's time for me to do the same. I tried calling the appointment line last night to reschedule but apparently I can only do so by speaking to the doctor. Guess what I'll be doing today?

And now I'm polishing up my resume because Queenie and I had a little chat yesterday morning. Seems like we may be the only ones who received the layoff letters. You do the math. I'm also toying with making a slight career change at this point. I'll see after I talk to one of my mom's friends. Or if I can line up another position for the fall, then I know it's definitely time to go back to school. I have been wanting to get my math credential for some time. If I go to Berkeley, which is oh so conveniently located, then I would be able to get the credential along with my master's. And once I have the master's? I could teach at the community college level instead. And of course I could always go back to corporate America. Not that I really want to.

So I'm trying to stay positive while I weigh my options. And y'all are a part of the positive. Well, some of y'all. Because right now, some of y'all are just plain irritating.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The downward spiral

Last night I had to stop at TJ's on my way home. Because even though there is all kinds of alcohol in my home, I really wanted wine and there was no wine at home. Actually my original thought had been to stop on my way home for cocktails but then I remembered that I am kind of broke and payday isn't for another week and a half. TJ's was the more economical choice.

And then I got home and greeted the kittens. And almost cried because I couldn't find the corkscrew. But I knew that I didn't want to cry about the misplaced corkscrew. I wanted to cry about other stuff. Because I had been fighting tears since about noon.

Last week I received one of those infamous March 15th letters. This means that there is a possibility that I could be laid off at the end of the year. (I finally told my dad about the letter today as I was driving to TJ's.) Yeah, I had a positive review but it seems that there are three teachers who have been on leave this year. Two plan to return next year. That means two layoffs if folks do not retire as well. The principal told me that I had a 50-50 chance of keeping my job.

Then all the brawling of this week happened. And so yeah, I'm worried about receiving a May 15th letter. (That's the one in which they tell you that you are indeed laid off.) Because it seems that it is purely up to the principal as to who is laid off due to probation and all. Yep, when you are a probationary teacher they can lay you off without cause. Doesn't that give you a warm, secure feeling inside?

Yesterday morning started off with the kid who made the video of the fight entering my room in a snit. I finally found out that he was mad because his father had taken his cellphone away from him. This was before school started so he was just dropping off his backpack in the room. As he was leaving to go outside to play, he yelled, "I hope he burns in hell!" I quickly said that I really didn't believe that he meant that since he loves his father.

Then the principal informed me that it was time to end all of this negative behavior. She had the kids write essays about (1)what they liked about the class, (2) what they didn't like, (3) what changes they would make, and (4) who regularly causes problems. I caught glimpses of what they wrote. From what I saw, they do like being in my class. It's just the behavior of some in the class they don't like. If I went to my gloom-and-doom mentor (or my aunt) with this information, they would assure me that I definitely do not have a job for next year. Probably why I haven't spoken to either of them about it.

Add onto this my own health stresses over the last couple of months. Oh, and don't forget the family members. Last week my stepmother spent most of the week hospitalized due to blood clots near her lungs. But she's home now. She just won't eat. And my dad is completely stressed. Even though he won't admit it.

And right now? Well, I can't stop hearing the chorus from Sting's "I'm So Happy." It's like an endless loop in my head. Because I know that I am only a couple of steps away from completely losing it. And I mean in an institutionalized kind of way. But I keep hoping that if I keep reminding myself about the happy things in my life and spend my days laughing while crying at home that I might just be able to pull myself out this all. And actually I'm maybe a few more steps away than I thought. Because I can still laugh.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


It looks like this is going to be the week of fights. It seems that my "want to bitch slap someone" energy from last week left me and entered the kids' bodies.

Monday two boys got in a fight during a soccer game at recess. One was left with a big red knot on the side of his head. They both served an in-school suspension yesterday. After school, two of my girls got into a fight on school grounds. One kid, one of the boys from the previous fight, captured the fight on video on his cellphone. The principal was not present yesterday afternoon and we wanted to save the video so that she could see it. I deleted the file from his phone after transferring it to my phone so that he could not send it to someone else. Which he had already tried to do by the time I went to delete the file. Fortunately the other kid's phone did not have messaging or video capability. (I checked.) And I was smart enough to not only erase the original video but the two messages sent from the phone containing the video. I can only guess what is going to happen to the instigator of the fight today.

*sigh* Spring break cannot come soon enough.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Not so exciting

I guess it's kind of sad when the highlight of my day is changing the seating arrangement in the classroom. But there you have it. This was the most exciting part of Monday. Then again, it seemed to have some greatly desired results.

Before changing the seating, I laid out the ground rules. That school is about work and not sitting next to your best friend. Therefore, I would not tolerate any whining about the new seating. "But I don't want to sit next to this person? Why can't I sit next to my friend?" (Imagine the whiny voice.) The answer to the last question is easy. "Because the two of you just play and don't get any work done." They are also now earning group points for appropriate behavior with the chance of receiving rewards. The final thing I did was to write the names of the groups on cards and to hang them over the appropriate desks. Of course, they didn't like my signs -- not fancy enough -- and now want to create their own signs.

Here's to hoping that today is peaceful -- finally.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Best-laid plans

No, I did not go out on St. Patty's Day. I toyed with the idea, but then decided that I'd be doing a public service if I stayed in. I was feeling a bit worn down and hormonal. Now imagine if I had added alcohol and a bunch of drunken idiots to the mix. It would not have been pretty -- for them. Because they would have irritated the hell out of me and then I would have had to get brutally honest. I may have even been tempted to revert to the old days of, "Hey! You just stomped on my foot and didn't even attempt an apology. I have no choice but to check you with my bony elbow -- hard." Or maybe a good bitch-slap. I haven't bitch-slapped anyone in a long time. Not that I haven't been tempted. And then things would have gotten to the point during which I would have had to have the offending person permanently banned from the bar. I've done it for less. That's right. Irritate me in my fave bar and you will find yourself persona non grata the next time you try to enter the place. Because that's the kind of mood I was in on Saturday. Especially after some of the crap I have heard over the last week. Just some really fucking irritating people out there. So I stayed in with lumpia, limeade, and free HBO. (And maybe this whole bitch-slapping thing is a result of repeatedly watching Wanda Sykes on Saturday.) And for once Boris realized that I was possibly homicidal and actually behaved.

Sunday I wasn't quite so homicidal. More of an assault kind of mood. Which is just fine for riding BART into SF. Because the freaks always want to sit near me. But then I'm not really a morning person so I drove instead. Why the trip to SF? To have brunch with Buzzgirl, Neil, and Sophia. That's right. I got to meet Sophia. Eat your hearts out.

After touring around the City a bit, it was time for me to head across the Bay because I had my tutoring thing to do. And by this point in the month, I can always use a little extra cash. The rest of the evening? Hanging out. Because I had work to do and really didn't feel like doing it.

And today? Procrastinating some more. Because I really don't feel like going to work today. I'd love to just stay in bed. Thank goodness spring break isn't that far away.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Everyone's Irish today

It's been some time since I've posted a quiz but the holiday ones always get me.

You Are A Fig Tree

You are very independent and strong minded.
A hard worker when you want to be, you play hard too.
You are honest and loyal. You hate contradiction or arguments.
You love life, and you live for your friends, children, and animals.
A great sense of humor, artistic talent, and intelligence are all gifts you possess.

And how will I be spending my day? Probably at home. Because I'm not in the mood for Amateur Night. In the Bay area there are three of these a year. Amateur Nights I mean. And I think I gave up my amateur standing years ago.

But folks -- Queenie -- have been twisting my arm and now that there is no longer cat hair on my floor, I think I deserve a cocktail -- or two.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ready to be nice

So a couple of days ago I wrote a post for today. But by last night I was feeling much nicer and decided to write a completely different one.

Maybe the change in mood was due to the lack of sleep. I have slept a mere four hours a night each night this week. Yesterday I was starting to feel it. Yes, I can function on four hours, sometimes even less, but there is a limit to my ability to function after a certain number of consecutive days. I have a feeling that three is the limit.

So now that I'm actually feeling nice, as opposed to pretending to be nice, I decided to be nice to myself. I went into the kitchen and actually cooked last night.

Stuffed shrimp with mustard sauce. Sauteed kale, tomato, onion, and black eyed peas.

It was rather tasty. And I have leftovers for tonight. Yum. Since I was also feeling spring-like (I know it doesn't officially begin until next week.), I made myself a mojito to wash it all down. Tasty. I think it also helped me to get a decent night's sleep.

We'll see how long this mood lasts.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Every two weeks on Tuesdays after school, I go to have my hair done. And may I say it is fantabulous. I think this is the longest my hair has been since I was 18. I'm going to keep letting it grow to see just how long, within reason, it will get.

So I'm driving home, with a stop at Berkeley Bowl (Perhaps you will see the results of that stop tomorrow.), and decided to do my usual thing while driving -- call relatives. I hadn't spoken to my dad's cousin (I guess I could have said "my first cousin once removed" but then how many people would have known what that means?) and it's a good thing that I did. She asked how my stepmother was doing. I started talking about last week's test results. She cut me off and told me that my stepmother was in the hospital. Huh? I had tried to call my stepmother earlier in the day and had not received an answer. (This was per my dad's request before he left town for a business trip to SoCal.) So yeah. My stepmother is back in the hospital.

My dad called by the time I was home. He was shocked to learn that I already knew that my stepmother was in the hospital. If anything, I've got to say that our family networking system is fantastic. He was able to give me more details. It seems that over the last few days, my stepmother has been in a lot of pain. (You know. I am thinking that I may have to find a nickname for the woman that is shorter than the word "stepmother" because I'm getting tired of typing it over and over again. I guess that I could go with SM but that just doesn't seem to do it for me. Although it could also be an abbreviation for my name in the early days of the marriage -- stepmonster.) Back to the story. Today she asked her brother to drive her to the doctor. They discovered that she has some blood clots near her lungs. So now she's in the hospital for three to four days while they pump her up with anticoagulants.

I had talked to my mother before hearing all this news tonight. (This was to return her phone call from earlier that she made right after school started. She is confused about the time change since Mexico will not be changing time until April.) So I called her back to give her the update. She feels for all the stuff that my stepmother is having to go through.

Oh, and when I was talking to my mother the first time last night, I did mention to her the whole getting-rid-of-the-dog conversation.

I asked, "Isn't there a statement that you made that you thought was kind of strange? Something about having no patience?"

"Oh. You mean when I said, 'I am not meant be a parent'?"

"Yes. You meant to add, 'At this time.' Right? Because I was talking about your statement to someone else and said that this must be the case. This person told me that I was just trying to clean up your statement for you."

"No, that's what I meant. I didn't have much patience when you were growing up. I probably should have never been a parent."

So I guess I was right when I said that I had figured that one out a long time ago. We laughed over this for some time. Even if she was joking tonight, it's still kind of disturbing. And it's a good thing that I knew how to go out to find substitute mothers. At 40 years old, it still hurts to know that in some way your mother really didn't want you around. But like I said, I figured this out a long time ago. Probably around the time that she told me that she was disappointed to find out that I was a girl and told my dad to return all the blue stuff that she had bought. I've heard this story for too many years to count. Still hurts though. And there's probably not enough therapy in the world to get rid of the feeling.

And thankfully the experiment is progressing quite nicely. Only a little over a month to go before I release my findings. All I will say is that right now the experiment results are looking very positive.

And as a final note, I'd like add this to my mother.

I know that you now say that you are so proud of me. But I'm sorry for fucking up your life so monumentally. I know what a little shit I was. I am sorry for looking so much like that man with whom you knew you could not live. I am sorry for being 40 and having your friends still consider me to be pretty/beautiful. (By the way, I know what it feels like to be afraid of being replaced by a younger model.) I am sorry for the people we know thinking that I am a nice person. And so I will continue to do penance as your personal assistant. In a Naomi Campbell kind of way. Or pretty close to it. But now I don't live in your house so it's a little bit harder for your to throw things at me, to wave your fist in my face. Because I realized that I am not the things that you have led me to believe that I am through your actions. Even though your words say something completely different. Scratch that about the words. Your favorite name for me when you were pissed off at me back when I was in my teens was "manipulative bitch." I like to think that I have finally grown into that one.

So I am trapped between the two women my father married. Both probably would be happier if I didn't exist. One thinks of me as an encumbrance. The other thinks that I am a spoiled brat, deflecting the attention from her. Hmmm. Perhaps she thinks of me as an encumbrance as well.

So after years of accepting the way things are I am once more feeling a little sad and insecure. Especially given all that has been going down in my life as of late. And believe me when I say that there is more than what I have posted here. Thankfully I have enough self-esteem these days to believe that I am/can be the Empress of the Universe. Or maybe that was the Empress of Fashion.

Damnit! Where's Tito when you need him?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Trying to be nice

I had this one post written for today but now I don't feel like posting it. That happens sometimes. I just save them because one day I might change my mind.

Then I thought about writing something completely different. I was all set to start. And then I felt a little bad. Because my mother always told me that I should try to be nice. And what I wanted to write? Wasn't particularly nice.

That's a huge problem that I have. People often irk me. OK. Sometimes they just piss me off. And I want to say something about it but I can't just seem to find the words. Or sometimes I can find the words but not the appropriate opportunity to say them. So I end up walking around, seething.

So until I'm ready to explode, which will probably be soon, I'm just going to go around trying to be nice.

And in the meantime, I'm having fun googling folks. No, not any of you.

Monday, March 12, 2007


It's Monday morning and so time for a recap of the weekend's events.

Friday evening I headed out. Things were kind of dead though. Such a shame. The evening had started with such promise. I had had to stop at the gas station for cigs. On the way out, I decided to give the guys a show. Because I was wearing jeans and flats, this meant the stomp-walk. Walked well enough across the parking lot that one of the guys pulling out of the station was inspired to yell out for me to stop. Now normally I'm not a hollaback girl but he had an accent and I had to find out from where. Turns out it was Senegal. But after that it was all downhill. I went home after three drinks. Only paid for two though. Thank you, fave bartender.

Saturday I awoke quite hungry. It was then that I realized that I had never done the monthly grocery shopping as was evidenced by the lack of choices in the fridge. I made a sketchy shopping list and headed off to the grocery store. This was after cleaning the various science projects out of the fridge and washing up the various things they had been stored in. Yep, Saturday's theme was domesticity. So now the fridge is filled with all kinds of wonderful things once more. And I guess this week that I will eat more than one meal -- lunch -- per day. That tends to happen when there isn't anything in the fridge.

I thought about heading out Saturday night but then I remembered how dull Friday night was. I just couldn't find the energy to get all dressed up. So I went to sleep early so that I could watch movies all through the night. Because given a choice, I really am a nocturnal creature. And the fun of staying awake until the wee hours of the morning (something like 6 a.m. if I am not mistaken), is that apparently the cats are not nocturnal creatures. While I sat up watching movie after movie, they slept. I will have to keep this in mind over the summer.

Sunday morning I thought of making some chicken hash but then decided that perhaps I would have it for dinner instead. I love having breakfast for dinner. So I cooked up a pound of bacon because I was seeing salads in my future. And everything is better with bacon. You know what's better than bacon? More bacon.

And then I remembered a responsibility that I had shirked last weekend -- tutoring. I pick up extra party money by tutoring the daughter of a family friend once a week. We had agreed to change the day from Wednesday afternoon to Sunday. Except last week I completely forgot. I think it was also in the haze of having to complete report cards and getting the kids ready for the assembly. Part of me wanted to beg off this weekend. Then I remembered that I had some shopping to do near them so I might as well go and pick up the extra shopping cash. And then I called to confirm and found out that my wish had been granted. I didn't have to go so I headed to the kitchen.

Now I love food but I don't often post food because my typical meal? Pretty mundane. I often don't have the energy to do anything that I feel is postworthy on a regular basis. Witness below.

A Cobb salad

Many nights I have a salad like the one pictured for dinner. The chicken I used in this was from a rotisserie chicken. Saturday I had another salad for lunch, without the bacon and with honey mustard dressing instead of the blue cheese.

I also turned the chicken breast into a curry chicken salad. That will be part of my lunch today. When I was grocery shopping on Saturday, I decided to be lazy and bought yellow curry seasoning. When I added it to the chicken salad, that also contains golden raisin, pecans, and a little bit of celery, I noticed that the flavors were off. So I added more cumin and turmeric. I also noticed a lack of cardamom in the ingredients label so of course I added some of that as well. (There was that moment when I looked in the cabinet and couldn't find the jar and freaked out. Because I always have cardamom on hand. Then I remembered the bulk bag I had from the Indian market. After I finished mixing, I spotted the jar. Right in front of me on the counter. D'oh!) Oh, and there was the dash of cinnamon. I'm pretty pleased with the result. Guess I can stop paying $7 for a pint of the stuff. Besides the stuff that I used to buy was heavy on the mayo -- the way that my mom would like it. She always complains that I don't use enough when I make tuna or chicken salad. I don't know but I just don't like it to be runny. Kind of reminiscent of my mom's cooked vegetables.

And yeah, I thought about heading out for a bit early Sunday evening. But my heart just wasn't in it. I think if I had fun on Friday, the rest of the weekend could have been different. (And I was able to tune into Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle at my favorite moment. "Lap dance.") I also blame the napping cats. Seeing napping cats does little to inspire one for movement. Because as I am typing this, I can see Boris stretched out in a position that I can only think cannot be comfortable. But it also seems to say, "Go to sleep. You know you want to sleep."

And I was kind of happy at the end of TAR on Sunday night.

So I'm off for another day of trying to convince a bunch of fifth graders that throwing up the sign for your block is not cool. Somedays I feel like I am fighting a losing battle. The folks on the block? They offer the real American dream -- instant gratification and "love" and "support." What I offer? It takes more work and time. No, I take that back. Selling product is hard work. It's just more profitable than selling other stuff. And then there's the excitement of sideshows and, sadly enough, someone getting shot. And maybe that's why I like to "escape" on weekends because if I had to think about this 24/7, I don't know if I could handle it. But maybe they'll realize that my love and support is for real and make the right choice.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Happy thoughts

1. It's Friday.

2. My stepmother received her test results the other day. One of her brain tumors is now non-existent. The other four have shrunk 30-40%. The doctors say that her only symptoms at this point should be a result of chemo. She has two more chemo treatments to go. They will do another MRI in six weeks.

3. I finished all of my report cards this week.

4. My kids totally rocked at the assembly today. I was stressed over this throughout the week because the little buggers were treating it like a joke. But this morning they came into the room and surprised me with the fact that they had memorized everything. Our presentation was short -- a recitation of Langston Hughes's "I, Too." I thought that this was a fitting selection since all of my students are people of color. They loved it and totally got into it.

5. Today my room parent came in for the first time this year. I see a lot less stress in my life because she rocks. She can help the kids with assigned work, make photocopies, do filing, and correct work. She is a lifesaver. And because of her, I was actually home by 4:00 today. Most Fridays I am still at work at that time. Don't believe the hype. Teachers do not stop working at 3.

6. I feel so on the ball right now that I can go out and play this weekend. And not feel guilty about it.

7. I spoke to my mother this morning on my way to work. (Don't worry. I use a headset when in the car. Unlike the biotch this afternoon who was busy chatting away on her cellphone -- held in her hand -- who cut me off at an intersection. I was in the left lane, she in the right. She made a left in front of me. But this is about happy thoughts.) My mom will be emailing photos of the MSD soon. The conversation started with her saying, "I have realized that I was not meant to be a mother." Well, duh. I figured that out around age 15 or so. The MSD, a puppy, is working her last nerves as my mother has almost no patience. Perhaps that's how I learned patience. Why is this a happy thought? Because I think I may have convinced my mother to not give up on Loquita. When I called her (returning her call from last night while I was drinking beer), she was ready to return Loquita to her previous owner.

8. My dad emailed me the list that I requested. One of African American vintners in California. Because I knew he had the list saved somewhere. By the way, BWB, Brown is not a member of the organization.

9. In another two weeks or so, BWB will be a Berkeley resident. Can't wait to hang out with her.

10. The love y'all showed when I posted my sketchy post earlier this week. Sometimes I need to vent. But I also like to have some privacy at the same time.

Anyway, hope y'all have a fab weekend. I'm definitely hoping that I will. Of course, either way around, you will probably hear about it on Monday.

Thursday, March 8, 2007


I have students whom I tell, "You're all up in the kool-aid and don't even know the flavor."

As the school year progresses, they become more comfortable with me. Now I get questions about my marital status. They say that this is because I always have a ring on my left ring finger. (I have worn a ring on this finger since age 11. Every ring that I own that fits that finger has been a gift from my mother. My argument has always been that I'll get the rings re-sized when I receive an adequate replacement. Minimum of one carat for the main stone, emerald cut, set in platinum -- not that I've thought about it. Perhaps I have some more issues to deal with in therapy. It does come in handy when out and about though.) Somehow my answer of "single" is not adequate. No, some of them have gotten it into their heads that I am divorced and am hiding some really good story from them.

When they ask if I have a boyfriend, I simply reply, "Yes." Not really in the mood to get into the ensuing discussion if I told them the truth. Believe me. I know what will happen if I tell them otherwise. They'll be busy trying to find a boyfriend for me. I told them last week that I would have to miss the last day of school due to Kate's wedding. (This was in reply to, "Why are you always here? Why don't we ever have a sub?") Now there is speculation about my continuing single status as well as discussions about children. Various girls have volunteered to be flower girls. The real fun is getting them back on task. Because I know that they're curious and all but I also recognize task avoidance when I see it.

It's a shame they are not older. The cool thing about teaching middle school was I could get into their Kool-aid and play matchmaker.

And speaking of work, I guess I'd better start acting like I have to head there today. Is it Friday yet?

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

I cannot escape her

I don't know about y'all but my mother can read me like a book. I called her on Monday evening. She was excited because she has finally gotten a dog. She is calling her Loca. I interjected and said that her name should be Loquita. Because she's only three months old after all. When my mom emails me photos, I'll be sure to post them.

So my mom had to cut the conversation short because of Loquita and asked that I call her back. I did. And we talked for an hour and a half. Then my mother became concerned. Because we had been talking for over an hour. She asked, "What are you worried about?" I spent at least ten minutes denying that I was worried about anything. Then I finally came clean. On Friday my doctor called saying that I needed to schedule a follow-up appointment. I pointed out to her that I already have an appointment scheduled for next week due to other issues. She said that this needs to be a separate appointment. (I know I haven't mentioned it but I've been spending lots of time at the doctor's office over the past month. For me. Not for my relatives, for once. And it's made me kind of stressed out at times.) Monday I received the call about said appointment. My mom tried to reassure me that everything would be OK. But healthwise I have a crappy family history. At least in this area. Because I refuse to take time off from work, this follow-up appointment will not be until April.

So if I seem a little wilder than usual, I hope that y'all will understand. Because until that appointment, I totally plan to live in the moment.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Throwing rocks

So I spent a great deal of Sunday afternoon/evening dealing with my computer. I had absolutely no internet connection. Around 6, I finally decided to call Comcast after restarting my modem too many times to count. The first person I received was some guy who tried to tell me there was a wiring problem. I didn't really believe that. He then told me that techs were only available between 8 and 5. Not happy with that answer. He then said that he would send an email requesting that a tech come between 4 and 5 tomorrow. I received the ticket number. Then, because he was just repeating the same old BS, I hung up. I immediately called back. This time I got a female tech. We determined that the problem was probably my modem. Makes since as the thing is 9-10 years old. I quickly rushed out to Circuit City to buy a new one. After another 30 minutes or so on the phone, I once more had internet connectivity.

What I want to know is why the men are such idiots? Whenever I call my internet provider, the guy I get on the phone is a total bonehead. Then I call back and get a woman and we totally solve the problem. Knowing this, I should have hung up when the bonehead answered. For this reason alone, I should have run from Sports Guy. He works in IT and was always talking to me about tech stuff like I was a complete idiot. Mind you, before I went into teaching I worked for a non-profit. My primary function there was as the network administrator. And I did some updates to the webpage. Obviously I am somewhat tech savvy. Enough so that when I worked at The Death Star, the guys in IT did a no-no. They got tired of me calling to ask them to install software on this one shared computer in the department. They decided that because I was together enough in their opinion, they would give me administrator privileges on that one computer. Such a corporate no-no but they knew I wouldn't abuse the privilege.

I ended up interested in hardware in a roundabout kind of way. I was the only girl on the block growing up who had a motorized erector set as well as the Radio Shack 150-in-one electronic kit. (This was thanks to being the only child of an engineer.) From the latter, I learned how to read a schematic.

I needed to upgrade the RAM on my first computer because I wanted to do a software upgrade but there were so many types available that I didn't know what I needed. So I opened up the machine, read the schematic, and located the chips so that I could take them into the store. The silly salesperson told me that for $50 they could install the new RAM. I looked at him and said, "I removed the old chips. I think I am quite capable of installing the new chips."

After that, I regularly picked the brains of the IT guys at work when we were on break. Then I went to work for my dad. He was letting a friend, who was also retired from a utility, store computer components in the warehouse. I purchased a number of components from him for a new computer. He left me alone in a room for half an hour with the schematic. Then he came back to test it to make sure that I had made the connections correctly. I had. (He and another of my dad's friends also taught me how to run network cabling. Probably because I was one of the few people in the office who was not afraid of walking along the metal braces of the ceiling tiles in the loft area.) After that I did all of my own hardware upgrades as well as rebuilding when necessary. Until my current computer. When I priced out hardware and software, I decided that for once it was less expensive to buy what I wanted instead of building.

Emotion is my downfall. When my computer stops working, I go into a panic and stop thinking clearly. By the time I was talking to the second tech, I realized that the problem may not be the wiring but the modem instead. Turns out it was.

And now for the stream of consciousness part of this post. Because of course thinking of the idiot tech guys made me think of dating and other stuff.

I think part of the reason why I have tried to not post photos of myself on the blog is a matter of three things. (1) Repercussions from the real world. (2) The whole race thing. If I never said anything, folks would just assume I was just another white chick on the web. (3) The fact that experience has taught me that because people think that I'm attractive, or so I've been told, that I'm also dumb as bricks. I had a boyfriend when I was in law school who tried to explain to me that I would not be receiving my full pay for the summer because they have to take taxes out of the money. What the fuck?! I should have dumped his ass when he said that instead of putting up with the non-stop insults for months. And those times that he made me bleed and then thought that I was a bitch for demanding an apology. But I was in a bad place back then and had very little self-esteem when I met him. I guess he thought that he had met a woman like mom. A woman who made a lot of trips to the emergency room before she finally decided that she had had enough.

But back to the dumb thing? Women like Judy Holliday and Gracie Allen were always idols of mine. Highly intelligent women who knew how to act dumb when it was to their benefit. Because it takes a lot of skill to act dumb when you really aren't.

There are some days when I just want to smack the hell out of a man. Now I just think about it. Back then I started fighting back. And sometimes I drew blood. And I knew it wasn't right to be in a relationship with someone who made you feel that it was OK to draw blood. In anger, that is. I didn't date for two years after that asshole. There were two wonderful guys who I couldn't really appreciate after that. One is still a friend. And there were a lot more assholes. So I took another two year break from dating.

And yeah, I know that I'm still picking some real winners out there. But I'm not taking anymore breaks. Because sometimes technology can be my friend. Want to avoid a guy? Caller ID. Want to dump a guy? Text message. Need some entertainment? Craig's list ads.

But even more important was my feeling of disconnection with all of y'all. Yes, I have internet access on my cellphone but it's a pain compared to using my computer. And now that I'm no longer at the cush job at the university, they actually block stuff on the computers at work. So now I'm feeling a little more balanced. The only question now is what is the next step in my quest for global domination.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Look, ma. I can read.

I found this over at Cyndi's. It seemed to be a fitting way to start my work week.

Here's what you do:

Look at the list of books below.
* (Bold) the ones you’ve read
* Italicize the ones you want to read
* Leave unchanged the ones that you aren’t interested in.
* If you are reading this, tag, you’re it!

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austin)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)

14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling) (known as Sorcerer's Stone in the US)

17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)

21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)

24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)

29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)

36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)

39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)

44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible Not all of it, of course, but some sizeable chunks.
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)

52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)

63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)

69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery) One of my students has read this in Spanish and assures me that it is quite wonderful. Everytime he sees it listed in the Scholastic flyer, he tells me how I should read it. Maybe this summer.
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)

84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)

94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)

98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Very bad

I discovered yesterday that I was going to have to call Retail Boy. Seems he left his watch. Boris pointed this out to me as he thought the watch was a new toy.

This brought on a whole new slew of problems. Did I still have Retail Boy's phone number? Because last summer when I got the new phone, I also had to get a new SIM card. I had figured that it was a good time to do some housecleaning so I didn't transfer all of the numbers. Then true panic set in. What is his name anyway? No matter how hard I tried to think, I just couldn't remember it. I knew if I saw it, I'd remember though. So I started scrolling through my phone's directory. Fortunately he is near the beginning of the alphabet. Otherwise it could have been quite a few panic-filled minutes.

It wasn't all panic-filled though. There was also the realization that some things had not changed. Retail Boy still worships the ground upon which I walk. I will never like him as much as he likes me. Part of me feels kind of bad for this but is it really a bad thing? I mean, doesn't this make him easier to manipulate?

I awoke from my nap yesterday feeling as if something was missing. I had done the requisite caffeine but was still a bit off-kilter. Then I remembered the crucial grease course had been skipped. And there wasn't anything sufficiently greasy enough available in the kitchen. This would mean going out but I just didn't have the energy.

So I called Retail Boy. Told him he was missing a watch. He mentioned something about getting some dinner before heading over. Oh no. I gave him specific instructions. I really didn't care what he decided to do about his dinner but on his way over I needed him to stop at McD's because I needed large fries and a Coke. Oh, and throw in a burger as well. (I used to love McD's as a kid but now I only seem to crave it after a cocktail-fueled evening.) And of course since he worships me, he was happy to oblige. In the back of my mind, I thought of it as payback for that time he showed up demanding food. I figure a few more of these errands and we'll be even.

Still didn't watch the movie so I guess that means I'll see him again. Instead we watched the ANTM marathon on MTV. There is something appealing about a guy who will scream at the TV with you, "You are such a bitch. I hope they eliminate you soon." OK. I didn't yell that last line because I had seen the shows before and remembered who was eliminated on each episode.

So now I'm trying to think of other things to make him do. Because I'm evil like that. I welcome any suggestions...

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Bad girl

Yes, I went out last night. Yes, it was crazy. Because it started like old times. As I was getting ready to head out, I decided to call Grasshopper. She got to the bar before I did and my drink was waiting for me.

A couple of guys walked in. We agreed that one was possibly doable but the other just made us think, "Oh hell no!" The people went down from there. A group walked in and Grasshopper asked, "Is there an ugly convention tonight?" or something along those lines. I said, "Oh dear god. The whole group fell out of the ugly tree, as my mama would say, and hit every branch on the way down." Because Grasshopper and I are nice people like that.

Then there was the point when I looked over her shoulder and said, "No fucking way. Discretely look over your shoulder. No, the other one." Yep, behind Grasshopper was -- wait for it -- Retail Boy!! Neither of us had seen him since that time last summer when I had to put my foot down about the no whining rule. Grasshopper's take? Something about his fucked up hair. "It looks like Andy Gibb but not as cute."

Grasshopper's man eventually showed up and I mentioned a pending Ebay sale. They said they are coming to get the stuff out of my closet this weekend. After talking to a variety of people over the evening, I finally started talking to Retail Boy.

The good news is that he has stopped whining. He is also a lot more considerate. Oh, and I told him that his hair looks completely fucked up whereas mine is totally hot.

So apparently he has The Departed on DVD. I'm supposed to call him if I want him to bring it over tonight. I might need some alcohol as well. Because I like to do stupid things.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Who the hell am I anyway?

I was just doing some research online about folks I grew up around. I know that I was fortunate to be middle class. I came across an an interview with a woman I knew as a child. Her father was one of my dad's best friends. He was also the first person who made me feel short when I was 5'8" at age 12. He is also one of the people to whom I alluded in a recent post. That one in which I said my dad and his friends said that I was better at assimilating than they were. Actually when I wrote that line, I was thinking of what he told me shortly before his death while driving to Sacramento for a fish fry at my dad's house. He said, "You and and my daughter will achieve much more than we ever will because you know how to speak how white people want you to. But you can still talk to us as well. We can't go back and forth between the two worlds as easily as you do." OK. I put quotation marks around the statements but these weren't his exact words. Perhaps this is why the owner of of my former home away from home in North Beach calls me the Valley girl from Richmond. And at the same time, I had classmates, because I went to public school, who were not as privileged as I was. A lot like my mother's family. Because no matter how much privilege I may achieve, I still have relatives who will never be able to equal me in social status as determined by the mainstream. And this is what keeps me grounded. Because these folks? Many of them are my favorite relatives. Because they lack pretension.

Recently I have had my students ask about my family background -- because they, like the people I encountered in Virginia, considered me to be on the fairer end of the spectrum. (And this is what I meant when I said that Black folks have to deal with their own demons that are a result of slavery/apartheid. You know. That self-hate.) I told my students that if you go back into my family tree, you will find folks who were not African.

The closest of these folks would be my mother's paternal grandfather. He was Native American and White. I have always joked about my father being from below the gnat line (that would be southern Georgia) always searched for a woman fairer than he. Me? I ended up somewhere between my parents complexion-wise. And although I basically look like my father, my features have been more Eurotized (Yep. I'm trying to make up my own words now. Hell. If Bush can, then so can I.)in some ways due to my mother's side. Because my mother? She explained to me while I was in high school that she wears lipstick because she has a very small upper lip. In the 70s I hated the fact that I had full lips. Then in the 80s, I was doing a fashion show and the makeup artist told me that one of my best features was my lips. That's when I started venturing out and wearing non-neutral colors because suddenly I was not ashamed about who I was.) And why the joke? Because my stepmother is from Louisiana, pure Creole. I remember going through my dad's mother's photo albums after her death and being asked who the White woman standing next to my dad was. Ummmm. That would be my stepmother. And she's not White. Now these same folks have decided that I am truly Redbone, like my mother's family. Sometimes I question my quest for finding genealogical information on the family. I mean, if I could prove my great grandfather's heritage, that would make me 1/16 Native American. (I started researching this information long before the insurgence of Indian casinos.) And somehow although the Native Americans have not had the best of fates in this country, some days being that is better than being African American. Because that is what this country has taught me. How to hate all that I should be celebrating in myself. And then I think that I grew up pretty damned privileged so how does the other half of my people feel? Well, if my cousins are any evidence, they are damn pissed. And I really don't blame them.

Now I'm remembering how about a year ago I ended a ten-year friendship. It seems that we could not see eye-to-eye about food. And yeah, she'll tell you that she is a person of color but technically she is Caucasian as most Mediterranean people are. I will not argue that she is not strongly ethnic though.

Oh. And this whole race thing? Totally manmade. Or at least that's what one of my professors in my teaching credential program told us. He's a cultural anthropologist. He said, that as far as anthropologists are concerned, there is only one race -- human. But somehow we feel the need to split ourselves into groups by some random definitions.

That's what I was trying to get to before. What is African American has always been defined by the dominant (White) society. My anger came from White liberals then trying to tell me from what equality should look like. To me this just sounds like more like noblesse oblige. And that would be like "more of the same" to me, at least. The only reason why I can think that the dominant group would do this is to maintain the status quo. If the liberals and progressives really wanted to make some headway, then they would let groups self-define. And not within the narrow constraints that we currently see.

Hmmm. Just made me think. Perhaps I should have not received such a good evaluation. Because before I entered the field of education, I questioned things but never to this extent. Or maybe it's just an age thing. But the one thing upon which I agree with my students is Gnarls Barkley.

My heroes had the heart to lose their lives out on a limb,
And all I remember is thinkin' I wanna be like them. hmhmhm

Ever since I was little, ever since I was little it looked like fun,
And it's no coincidence I've come, mmm
And I can die when I'm done.

But maybe I'm crazy?
Maybe you're crazy?
Maybe we're crazy?

Every time I hear these lyrics, I think about how much my parents and folks before them sacrificed so that I could assimilate so well. And then I want to cry. Because I feel their pain and anxiety. Letting their only daughter loose in a world that, as far as they know, would never be willing to truly accept her.

Eh. Enough of this stuff. Happy Friday. I plan to have some cocktails tonight. At the usual place. Because yesterday after school, I spent time hanging out with some veteran teachers. It seems that everyone agrees that one of the key factors in surviving teaching upper grades is alcohol. Because we love the kids but sometimes they can drive you nuts. And you've just got to kick your heels up and let go of all the craziness.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Royal and all that other crap

Recently I used the term "BAP." But I know y'all are wondering how does one achieve princesshood (or whatever the hell the word is) in a democracy such as ours. Quite easy. I was raised by Southerners.

Girls are rare in my daddy's family. Therefore, the few of us are quite treasured. When my cousin was born, she held the honor of being the first girl born into the family in 19 years. Two years later I was born. And I was the baby of the family for a number of years. She has never forgiven me for that. It took another 18 years after me before another girl was born into the family. Add onto this my grandfather's belief that a girl should not work unless it is for a family business until she has found a suitable husband and well... Yep. All the makings for self-proclaimed royalty. Speaking of which, I must ask my daddy if I can borrow that photo of me handing out Christmas gifts to the rest of the family while wearing a tiara. This was during those years during which I deluded myself into thinking that I should be a lawyer. Now if my grandfather had still been living, I would have taken the opportunity to obtain my M.R.S. (Oh and by the way, I like to tell my parents occasionally, "You know, grandpa is rolling in his grave because his baby girl has to work."

Now my mother's family didn't have the same kind of resources that my daddy's family did. But they believed in the dream that they could achieve. My mother is the one who taught me that one can have class no matter how much one has in one's wallet. My mother also always told me that Virginians are the snobs of Southerners. (Do you know that there are some south of the Mason-Dixon who have mistakenly told me that Virginia is not a southern state? I can understand the confusion. Because nowadays anything north of Richmond is nothing more than a D.C. suburb. Before you start slamming me, I got this from her family.) During my first year living in Virginia, I came across a cross-stitch pattern -- The Virginian Creed.
To be a Virginian either by Birth, Marriage, Adoption, or even on one's Mother's side,
is an Introduction to any State in the Union,
a Passport to any Foreign Country,
and a Benediction from Above.

Well, if this doesn't add to one's feeling of being royal, I don't know what else would. Oh, and at my mother's house, this is one of the first things you see upon entering. Because of course I had to stitch it up for her as it seemed to say everything that she had tried to tell me when I was growing up. It also solved the mystery of why no one in Virginia seemed to question the presence of the girl from California.

"Why did you move here?"

"Well, I wanted to see somewhere different. And my mother is from here. In fact, she's the only one who actually left the state."

And a cool non sequitur --

At the beginning of the day yesterday, one of my students asked me to hang onto her IPod for her -- because electronics are not allowed at school unless a member of the staff is keeping them safe. After school I gave it back to her. By then I had a few students in my room from various grades. My student and one of the current sixth graders, whom I originally met last summer, were listening to a song. They insisted that I had to check out this cool new tune. What was it? "Alone Without U" by Robin Thicke. Imagine their shock when I told them that I love the entire CD.

Then it was, "You know he's White?"


"And his father's name is Alan?"


Obviously someone has internet access at home.