Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My apologies

I know that I have been remiss on posting this week. I have barely had the energy to eat dinner each night when I get home. Don't worry though. B&N are still eating. They are my first priority when I walk through the door.

Last weekend was great. Drummer Boy is the kind of guy that I might have otherwise have blown off. Luckily age has taught me to give those kind of guys a chance because they usually turn out to be the best. He ended up getting lost on Friday night but luckily I like Google Maps but even better. I can describe the landmarks you should pass along the way.

Saturday morning was a trip to Saul's. As the food hit the table, I suddenly remembered that I should have brought a camera of some sorts. I ended up having the eggs and smoked salmon. As an afterthought I added a potato latke. Then it was off to stare at the wonders that are Andronico's wine and cheese aisles. Over a bottle of red, we perused my vinyl collection. Apparently some of them may be worth some serious money. (Note to self: Raid boxes at mom's house over the weekend for more priceless vinyl. Now before you chastise me, she told me that I was welcome to take whatever I wanted from those boxes. Ummmm, no. I did not mention to her the potential value of what the boxes contained.) It's been a long time since I've been able to have a conversation who is as excited about music as I am. When I confessed to my five years of formal piano lessons (I continued to play for years later and yes, the lessons were my idea.), he was able to call me out on my deep dark vinyl secret.

"You own some Barry Manilow, don't you?"

I guess I should have contained my excitement over Elton John and Billy Joel. What made him drool though were the LPs in my collection that are "on loan" from my dad. Kind of in the same way my dad borrowed my Sarah Vaughan CD that I replaced a few years ago. Apparently the Coltrane may be important as it was recorded by the same guy who did Ray Charles's stuff -- the same guy who came up with four-track and later eight-track recording. (I have mentioned before that I am a geek, didn't I? How else do you think that I get into the cool parties? A little geek mixed with diehard liberal mixed with a pretty good fashion sense -- deadly combination if you ask me.) Then I broke out an old Stevie Wonder.

"Yes, it's an original and not a re-release."

There was also the fun of, "Why yes, that is Run DMC but can you tell me the album? What?!!! You have never heard of Whodini?" Sorry but I am starting to think that there should be a mandatory class in old school somewhere along the way. I still have not recovered from the eighth graders a couple of years ago who told me that Run DMC was the first rap on radio. I guess I made a mistake in buying that 12 inch in 1979 of "Rapper's Delight." And a few other selections from Sugar Hill Records as well. OK. So you only heard "Rapper's Delight" on "Black" radio as well as the other fine folks from Sugar Hill. Then Blondie did a little song called "Rapture" and suddenly rap was soon to be everywhere. Forget that Gil Scott Heron did a song called "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" at least a decade earlier. Time for me to take a breath and stop my rant.

So that sums up my weekend. Then it was back the reality of the kids. And they have been trying me this week. I had thought of heading out tonight but I was hungry and I knew that B&N were too. Once we were all fed, I just didn't have the energy to move. Take that back. I did. I just didn't have the energy to walk -- and my car was parked in a really good space. Then again, if I had gone out, I would not be writing this post now.

I did not want to go out tonight because I was feeling beat up. Instead, I wanted to celebrate. I have this student who everyone agrees is challenging. The first day she showed up to class, she kicked off her shoes and put her feet up on her desk. Yes, you just read that right. Everyone could see the potential in her but no one has been able to reach her to date. Apparently I have worked some kind of magic. This afternoon I told the math coach that the student had asked me for some index cards yesterday; she wanted to make some multiplication flashcards. The math coach asked if she had made the cards in front of everyone else and was shocked when I said, "Yes." The math coach then went onto explain something that I should have seen. This girl never likes to show her weaknesses.

I know she lives in a tough neighborhood and would never be able to survive there if she did. I should have recognized that. I had plenty of exposure to that growing up -- not in my immediate neighborhood but at my high school and the areas near my neighborhood. I should have recognized the swagger, the talk. So the math coach and the other fifth grade teacher complimented me today on providing this student with a place in which she felt safe enough to drop her guard, to be vulnerable. My reaction to hearing this? I kept on talking because I wanted to cry. I have gotten somewhat better over the years at accepting compliments. They are kind of surprises to me because most of my life I have heard that I am not good enough. (My mother has recently relented and started to tell me how proud she is of me. Too little, too late. I have learned to look for the bad -- specifically in how I am wrong. I assume that is a large part of my love of the party lifestyle. People who love me unconditionally. And why I should have realized who my student is -- me 30 years ago. Just a broken little girl looking for someone to love her, to accept her for who she is. And that's why I felt like crying.) But crying is a sign of weakness, isn't it? And me? I'm not weak so I will never allow others, especially at work, to see my weaknesses. Not that I have any. Because as future Empress of the Universe, I am perfect. And as such, maybe I can teach her that it is OK to let people in sometimes. Even if they might end up hurting you. Because sometimes they don't.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I'm sending this one to my mom

Sorry about that. I just realized that I never posted this weekend's quiz.

You Are 62% Grown Up, 38% Kid

Congratulations, you are definitely quite emotionally mature.
Although you have your moments of moodiness, you're usually stable and level headed.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Like a kid

I spent the last couple of days straightening up. I haven't been inspired to do that in quite some time. That's why I should throw dinner parties on a regular basis. All the fuss? The Drummer Boy. (I know that Tami said it as a joke but that was my first thought also. If I could do the song lyric of the "beat," I would. Help me out someone.)

I finally remembered to give him a call last night. Why? Because he was trying to cut out of work early to hit the road. (I simply adore guys who have to drive a distance to see me. It means that I can be up to all kinds of mischief while they are gone -- not that I would. It's just the thought that I could.) I originally thought that I would be heading home straight from work. And then I remembered the hair appointment. My stylist is just short of a magician. And my hair? It could use some magic because it's in such bad shape. No way I am going to cancel a coveted appointment. So I called hoping to leave a message. Because he was supposed to have a gig last night. Turns out the lead singer had a slight case of laryngitis so the gig was canceled. I mean it was only Sacto. (Yes, that was said in a slightly sarcastic voice. Only slightly so though.)

So the boy answered and we ended up on the phone for about an hour. What can I say? Boys who appreciate Marvin, Zeppelin, Patsy, and Steely Dan with the same verve that I do? A rarity. Even more impressive was how we could discuss the various studio musicians who have played with Steely Dan over the years. And let me tell you, they are some of the best. Last weekend I even told him the story of hanging with Mojo Nixon who insisted on calling me "Debbie" I corrected him eventually but he decided that should be my name and contined to call me that. Actually my life has been filled with men who want to rename me. Makes me think of Erykah Badu. I hope that you will click over. This is one of my favorite songs by her. Well, second to "Tyrone."

As for the kids, if you haven't read the comments on my previous post, they desperately missed me while I was gone at a conference on Tuesday. They absolutely hated the sub and asked that she never show up in the room again. As you know, I am evil. I will have to return to this conference at least three more times this year. I will be requesting the same sub again. Because I can. I don't think the kids have realized that. All I know is that since I was gone on Tuesday, the kids have been trying, for the most part, to be on their best behavior. Everyone else at the school has been a little worried about me. I told the math coach today that I know that I am slowly chipping away at the kids and fully realize that they will not change overnight. It's all about celebrating the small victories. No, I am not as energetic as I was at the beginning of the school year but I also know that I will not burn out before the end of the school year. I've done that before and now know how to take care of myself. You know. Things like hanging out with a Drummer Boy. I didn't have other outlets back then. I'd get beat down and then go home to an empty house with a life filled with Smug-Marrieds who rarely had time for me. Things have changed now though. This time around, I managed to rebuild my social life before showing up onto the scene. And with that, I know that I will wear the kids down before they wear me down.

And the weekend will be not soon enough because I was just analyzing that last sentence for pronouns. Please tell me why kids think that "pronoun" is the same thing as "proper noun?"

On a final thought. Today I am 40 1/4. Remember being a kid and adding on those fractions to your age?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Keeping the lines of communication open

So many things going on. Where to start?

First of all, I must set the record straight. Yes, my coworker met a hot-looking guy last Friday. Things did not end well though. Apparently while I was off flitting around the place being a social butterfly, they got into a discussion about religion. A heated discussion. In which they were almost screaming at each other. For an hour. People, how many times must I tell you? Never discuss politics or religion if you are trying to flirt. It always spells disaster.

Yesterday I got a day away from the kids. I went to a seminar on teaching math. Yes, a day away from the kids without using a sick day. It seemed kind of weird to read Neil's post yesterday in which he mentioned statements made about women and scientific and mathematical abilities. I will concede that men are generally naturally better spatial thinkers than women. It doesn't mean that women can't learn though. This past week the kids and I have been reading a story from their anthology. One of the focus questions for the story is whether one needs natural ability to be successful in something. (Have I mentioned how much I love y'all because the universe just seems to fold continually back upon itself? The older I get, the more I think that Jung may have been onto something.) By the end of the story, the majority of the kids thought that this wasn't the case; all one needs is to practice and to work hard.

In the morning of the seminar, we were given a problem. After half an hour of work, many of us did not have an answer. And that was frustrating. It gave us insight into how our kids feel. It also made us stop and think about how we always need an answer. Then I sat down and watched the latest episode of House. This guy was admitted with a mystery illness -- as is always the case on the show. He just wanted the doctors to let him die. The doctors wanted to keep running tests because they were sure they could treat him. They finally got their answer and found that the guy was terminal. So much for answers.

What I got out of the training was that sometimes the journey is more important than the destination. It's not about the kids finding an answer. (All answers all valid.) It's all about the process. And verbalizing the process. And hearing how other people's minds work. A couple of folks in my group said that they remembered a mathematical function that included an exclamation point. I quickly exclaimed, "Factorials!" and then said that this would not apply to this situation as we were dealing with a series instead of a permutation or a combination. It was like I was speaking in tongues. Then there was much discussion on our own math instruction. I happen to love math but then I love all things logical. Many folks took different approaches. When I heard theirs, I realized that if I had started off at the same point at which they did, I would have reached an answer. So next time I might be willing to take another approach.

We did one of these kind of exercises with my kids on Monday. One student did not get the right answer but after listening to her explanation, I quickly realized that she had been on the right track. Luckily they have been going through these kind of exercises for years so they are not reluctant to share their thought processes with everyone else. That's a huge thing. Having an environment in which you feel comfortable in going out on a limb.

And me? Sometimes I like to throw stuff out there because I want to hear what others have to say. Yeah, I'm an instigator. (Excuse me while I sing Prodigy's "Firestarter" to myself for a bit.) I don't exist in a bubble. I also know that I am always changing because of my interactions with others. Sorry, but this is the kind of thing that really excites me.

And to end this philosophical rant, I'd just like to say that I had previously thought that the universe had sent me the Chef as an answer to the whole dating thing. I'm starting to think otherwise. Perhaps it was to show me that I was open to the idea. I would like to think that I always was but after looking back over the last few months and recognizing the bitchiness I was doling out, I know this was not the truth. So I have a date on Friday -- with the Drummer. Because he called last night. Just like he said he would. And I was pleasantly surprised.

Oh, and the Oakland Arts Clash event that I previously mentioned (You know. The one at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, formerly the Alice Arts Center.) is being held on Friday, October 6. Not that Saturday as I previously stated. Besides being a benefit for youth arts programs, the event will also feature a two buck Chuck and PBR bar. How can you go wrong with that?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Rock and roll lifestyle

I've been accused of having just that many a time. Some days I think to myself how I'd like to be someone different. Other times -- usually while I'm in the moment -- I'm perfectly happy with the label. I think the thoughts against it happen on the days that I don't feel like keeping up appearances. Or I just start thinking that there should be more to life.

Friday night only one teacher was able to make it out with me. We had loads of fun though. Eventually Grasshopper showed up. I didn't see much of her though. I was in full social butterfly mode by then. I ran into this one woman I met weeks ago. Don't ask me her name. I really don't remember. I was busy having a smoke at the time with the lead singer of the band even if their keyboard player was not present becasue he is currently playing with his other band -- one that I am sure that y'all have heard of. (I learned that real musicians play because they love music but that they rarely make money from music. Actually, I suspected this but the guys were able to confirm this for me.) She wanted to know if the band was any good. We told her that they most certainly would be. She then asked if the music would be ass shaking good. The lead singer suggested a couple of songs and she had a puzzled look. We then explained to her that he is in the band. The lead singer then told his wife that she should probably get out and shake her stuff as well. I ran into this hot guy who still works at that bad place. Apparently while he was walking in, he bumped into Grasshopper. She said that her thought was, "Please feel free to run into me anytime." I just kept reminding myself that he spent that year we worked together seeming to suck up to the powers that be. No matter how hot I think he is I just can't stand that. OK. I'll admit it. I did hug him though. Because he's hot. Once the music started, things became a blur. I do know that I was in slightly past closing time. A couple of the guys from the band gave me a ride home. And the drummer stuck around. I know. I'm supposed to avoid musicians. I don't recall ever dating a drummer before though. Usually it's guitarists or bass players. There was that sax player with whom I was obsessed in college too. But no drummers. He doesn't live in the immediate area but now he's planning trips back. Poor thing thought that I was younger than he is. And he's 28. Kind of the upper limit of my span. Kate, my college roomie, says that he's still too young. She keeps trying to remind of her ten-year rule. I just laugh in her face when she mentions it.

Chef guy was supposed to call on Sunday. He never did. I thoght that I would have to figure out how to juggle the two guys. I've never really done that before. I tend to be a one guy at at time kind of chick. They were both cool in their own ways so I couldn't figure out which one to keep. Now it's a no-brainer.

Oh, and on the 30th the band is doing a benefit show in SF. And BWB has assured me that it is a totally cool organization. Somehow I just knew that she would know the organization. Cause she's hip to the nonprofit scene like that. The next weekend there will be a benefit for what was the formerly known as the Alice Arts Center. Alice Arts was known for introducing kids ot the arts. I'll probably be at that benefit as well. i know that the arts are very important to kids. I could probably write a whole post on that -- as well as why I think the current season of Survivor is detrimental to education. And let me remind folks that the show comes on at 8 p.m. I guess if I was a part of the dominant "race" in our society, I would think the whole thing was kind of neat -- kind of like how Jim Crow laws were neat. I would like to argue that we were more advanced as a society from those times but I often doubt that we have made much progress. Especially when folks proclaim how cool the new season of "Survivor" is. I like to think that those folks are delusional. (Bring on the attacks. I can take it as well as dish it out. Just don't cry after I smack you down with my response.)

Now I'm off to the challenge of the kids. And letting them know that my classroom is not about "racial" division. We are all one people and we are here to get along. I will also need to let them know that I won't be at work on Tuesday because I'll be gone at a training. They'd better treat the sub OK. I'd better not hear some crap about how the sub had it out for them because s/he was racist. That's their favorite excuse, you see. The current season of "Survivor" just feeds into this thinking. All I know is that if I hear that anyone has given the sub a hard time, heads will roll. And I don't care about "race" -- as I have told and shown my students on numerous occasions over this last three weeks.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

I am super!

I actually took this quiz some time ago but Tami beat me to posting it. Yes, that's right. I periodically sit down and take a number of quizzes in a row and then save them up for Saturday posts. Now you know my secret.
You Are Batman

Billionaire playboy by day. Saving the world by night.
And you're not even a true superhero. Just someone with a lot of expensive toys!

OK. I have issues with that last part. Batman not a true superhero? Grrrr. Oops. Did I just let my inner geek show?

And now I'm going back to sleep. Because last night was a long night. And I might need to go out again tonight.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The horror!

Thursday started off as a hellacious day. Then I was lulled into a false sense of security.

Wednesday a couple of kids had a complete meltdown in my room. Basically they were as fed up with their classmates as I was. One student became so frustrated while waiting for her classmates to quiet down so that she could tell them how horribly they were acting, she ended up in tears. Another student then told the rest of the class, "Some of us are here to learn. If you're not interested in learning, then why bother showing up?" I told you my students were bright. I then explained to the class that it is a good thing that I have a strong ego. Otherwise I would go home each day in tears. I also told them that every day when people ask me about my day, I am honest. The sad thing is that no matter how badly the students act, I still like them. Yes, I told them this. I started to see some improvement then but we still had a lot of ground to cover.

Today's class opened with a team building activity. It was a good day at school. Well, if you disregard the three students who ended up in tears throughout the day. The first was because I sent her off to "Siberia." She just doesn't play well with others. It just didn't seem fair to allow her to sit with others when she was making their lives a living hell. I gave her some tissue and basically told her to suck it up.

The next tears came from one of my Latino students. He wanted to work with his buddy instead of his table group. I told him that we had had this conversation way too many times and got him some tissue. I then pointed out that his group, and many of his classmates, did not like working with him because he either wanted to play around or to insult his classmates. One of the girls in his group stepped up and offered to help him. When I checked back ten minutes later, he was working and smiling.

The final tears came from a student who thought that she couldn't do the math work. She was a little off but not that much. Before I got to her desk, she had answered some of the questions but had chosen to erase her answers. The answers she had erased were right. I gave her some tissue and a little ego stroking. If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a pro at handing out the tissue. Of course, in the past I taught middle school so there was a lot less tissue going around. Well, at least not in my presence.

Before lunch, I complemented the class on their ability to stay on task. With the way they had been acting a few days ago, I would never have been able to fully deal with the meltdowns. If things had not turned around today, I may have had a meltdown.

Tonight was "Back to School Night." Per usual, I was nervous. One of my friends, a fourth grade teacher, asked if I was nervous beforehand. I said, "Of course. I have just learned over the years to not show my nervousness." You never know which parents/guardians will show up. Fortunately, the aunt of the kid in "Siberia" showed up. All day long the kid had been telling me that she was going to tell her aunt about what I had done to her. I told her to go right ahead. After I met the aunt, I learned that the girl had not said anything to her aunt. I now have added the aunt's number to my directory on my cellphone. I love meeting parents/guardians who are on the same page with me.

Now the true horror begins though. I got home and discovered that I am out of toilet paper! I usually stockpile the stuff. How did this happen? I know what I will be doing over this weekend. Not tomorrow though. Because tomorrow is "Teachers gone wild" night. Yep, that's right. I'm heading out with the ladies tomorrow night. (There is this one male teacher. He teaches kindergarten. We should ask him to go out with us because we've all agreed he's kind of hot. Oh. But that might be sexual harrassment. Oops.) So if you're in the Bay and you read this blog regularly, you'll know where to find us.

Monday, September 11, 2006

What I did over the weekend

Ideally this post title should have had the word "who" in it instead of "what" but alas, it was not that kind of weekend.

After going through hair hell on Friday, I finally managed to get my butt up around 6 p.m. on Saturday. I woke up before then a few times but B&N kept convincing me that it was time for another nap. This gave me just enough time to clean myself up so that I could head out. I met up with Grasshopper only to discover a bar full of ugly men. *sigh* But our fave bartenders were there -- and they're hot enough to make up for most of the ugliness that was around us. Bottom line is that I am still a frustrated girl.

When I finally awoke on Sunday, I called my dad to see when I needed to show up in Sack of Tomatoes. (Sunday was my stepmother's birthday. Also I needed to make my payment on the money I received from B of D. B of D requires personal appearances in lieu of monetary payments.) I hit traffic so I was 30 minutes late. I went with my dad, stepmother and stepbrother to a new restaurant in Elk Grove. The restaurant probably will not last long. The food was OK. The service was great. The manager is a brainless twit. We had finished our meals and had received the check when two of my dad and stepmother's friends showed up. They just wanted appetizers and so joined our table. The manager took it upon herself to take back our check to make a correction. It seems that now we were a party of six and so she had to add the gratuity. Never mind that my dad had had the check for a long enough period of time before the arrival of the friends that he could have paid it. She did the same to their check as well. My dad questioned her on this. She said, "But now you have six people sitting at the table." The gratuity was for 15%; my dad had planned on leaving at least 20%. He told the manager this. She said that she would "do us a favor this time and remove the gratuity." My dad said he would pay it but that she should let the server know that by her actions, she cheated the server out of extra money. The whole ride back to the house my stepmother ranted about the whole thing. My stepbrother, the photojournalist who used to occasionally dine with a food critic at his newspaper, and I said the whole problem was that they added the gratuity after they had given us the check. We also said that if this was their management style, they probably would not be in business six months from now.

I just realized that I probably have not spoken of my stepbrother and his ordeals. A few weeks ago, he was leaving work and passed out. He was rushed to the local hospital where they discovered that his kidneys had failed. He just got out of the hospital a week and a half ago. Because he is not completely well, he needs someone to drive him to his dialysis treatments. His apartment is a studio so there is no room for someone to stay with him. His mom and my dad decided that he should stay with them until he is well enough to take care of himself. Thankfully my stepmother just retired back in May so she has loads of free time.

Oh, and while in Sacto on Sunday, I found out that my cousin in Nashville's husband is now in the hospital. Something about congestive heart failure. Ummm. He's in his 40s. I am so tired of illness in my family. Just when I think that I am out of tears, I discover that I was mistaken.

On my drive home, I decided that I needed some entertainment. I called up the Chef. He hasn't had a day off in so long that he can't remember when his last day off was. He has promised to call me next Sunday. He thinks that the following weekend, he can finally take a day off and we can go out. If he wasn't so cute and cool, I would have written him off long ago.

And today? The morning of September 11, 2001, I was hopping into a rental car in Hampton, Virginia to drive up to DC. I had a flight out of Reagan National that afternoon. I had been attending the second funeral of a close family member in a three week time period. I ended up staying in Hampton and flying out of Norfolk. Nothing like staying in an area with loads of military installations while the country is under attack. And I will never get the image of the second tower collapsing live on TV out of my head. During that same time, my father had had a heart attack and it was the one year anniversary of my grandmother's death. Oh yeah. And I was interviewing for a new job because I was about to be laid off. By November of that year I was in therapy because I was so depressed. The therapists told methat I was supposed to be depressed. December I flew to London for a week because I had sworn that the next time I got on a plane, it would be for a happy occasion. January I decided that I hated my new job and that I would go back to school to get my teaching credential. Actually I decided in December that I needed to find a new job; January was when I knew what the new job would be. 2001 was a painful year but I also know that I would not be who I am today if I had not gone through that pain. The next time I need to make a major life change, I hope it's a little easier. And no one should have to die.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Another hitch in my plans for global domination

You Are 40% Sociopath

From time to time, you may be a bit troubled and a bit too charming for your own good.
It's likely that you're not a sociopath... just quite smart and a bit out of the mainstream!

I guess I still have some morals left. Such a pity.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Manmade can be better sometimes

I just returned home from a grueling ordeal. No, not school although the kids were trying my last nerve today. Last week was, "Oh, we are so glad that other teacher is gone." This week it became, "Our teacher last year didn't do things that way." I calmly stated that there was a new sheriff in town. When I told this to Grasshopper on Wednesday night while swilling down cocktails and swapping war stories (Did I ever mention that Grasshopper is a preschool teacher? Yep, we teachers know how to party.), she said that it reminded her of Blazing Saddles. Today the kids tried me so hard that a few times I had to bite my tongue to stop the expletives from escaping my mouth. You should have heard the gasps when I said, "I swear to God..."

Enough about the kids already. It's the weekend and I'm trying not to think about them even though I brought a ton of work home with me tonight per usual. School got out and it was all about me. This would be thanks to B of D (Bank of Dad). Yeah, that's right. I hit dad up for some money. I don't get my first real paycheck from the district until the end of the month and suddenly realized that I was low on food/partying funds. My mom likes to give me crap about this, saying that I'm too old to be calling daddy for funds. First of all, if they had hooked me up with a trust fund, all of this would be moot. Secondly, she divorced him over 30 years ago. Stop hating because you can't ride the gravy train anymore. Of course, the funds come with a price. I'll be driving to Sacto on Sunday to celebrate my stepmother's birthday. I guess I can't use the excuse of not having funds to fill my gas tank anymore.

OK. So that was about me but not in the way that I meant. Once I received the funds, I realized that I was in desperate need of a hair appointment. I mean I had roots. One cannot pass one's self off as being 20 something if one has white roots. I think there's some of that other color somewhere but the first thing you see is the white. Last weekend while at the coworker's family's picnic, one of her relatives said that she would have thought that I was younger if it hadn't been for my roots. I hate honest people. The debate became whether to re-braid with the OPH (other people's hair). I decided it was time to see my real hair.

Now removing braids can take just as long as it takes to put them in. (Mine took six to eight hours going in.) Therefore, I started the unbraiding process when I got home from work on Thursday night. Two buck Chuck rode shotgun. I would like to give thanks to Chuck because I think that Chuck is the reason that I did not end up with "tennis elbow" during this process like I usually do. I left in enough braids that I could pull my hair back into a ponytail and most folks would not know what I had done. Except for my eagle-eyed kids. They realized instantly what I had done and then proceeded to give me their recommendations of what I should do with my hair. Past experience has taught me that students are often shocked when I remove my braids. It seems that my own hair is much longer than what they had imagined.

After work, it was off to the shop. I figured it was going to be a three-hour ordeal once I removed the remaining braids. My appointment was for 6:30 but I went there straight from work to start working on the remaining braids. They were all removed arond 6:45. Then there was the surprise. It seems that my ends were in horrendous shape and my hair was really dry. By the time my stylist finished re-coloring and straightening (That would be pressing comb. I gave up chemical relaxers years ago. Thus my love of braiding.), it was 11. That's right. 11 at night. On a Friday. As the process dragged on, she was kind enough to run to the corner store. I gave her money and she purchased some Chardonnay for us. I must say that my own hair looks mighty cute. It's a shame I am too tired to go out now after the 30 minute drive home. There's always tomorrow though. And I love the color. It's a bit lighter than what I usually go for. In fact it's so much lighter that when I return to the shop in two weeks, my stylist is going to lighten up my eyebrows. I always thought that they were too dark for my face anyway.

Now I have to go and admire my hair -- the stuff that grows from my head, not some stuff that I bought -- and try to stop myself from thinking homicidal thoughts about the neighbors. Because in removing braids last night, I only had four hours of sleep. And the neighbors have decided to throw a party tonight. I have thought about throwing a Halloween party and Grasshopper says that I should be a good neighbor and invite them all. Screw the neighbors. Then again if it hadn't been for the hell of removing the braids, I probably wouldn't care that they were throwing a somewhat loud party because I would be out somewhere partying myself. I don't think I'll be going back to braids anytime soon.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Death and food

So it seems that I was tagged by Cookie Crumb last week but just got around to reading the post. Here goes.

5 Things to Eat Before You Die

1. Fish tacos from a roadside truck in Baja California.
I've tried them in restaurants up here but they're never quite the same. Once place served chunks of fish in their tacos. Ewwww. It should be a complete fillet. And then there's the need for shredded cabbage and whatever that white sauce is. Oh, and avocado too. Not guacamole but slices of avocado.

2. Pulled barbeque sandwich from Pierce's in Williamsburg.
The place is off of I-64 and reached popularity due to the recommendations of truckers. They cook the meat in a cathedral oven out back. Most barbeque places go heavy on the vinegar for their chopped barbeque. The other big difference is that you get the occasional crispy piece in the mix. Whenever I'm back visiting my grandmother, I drive the 30 minutes just to have a sandwich. Yes, I want cole slaw on it. And where's the bottle of Texas Pete?

3. Blue crabs boiled up with Chesapeake Bay seasoning.
No need for anything fancy here. Just a lot of newspapers (to dump the crabs onto) and lots of napkins. The thought of this reminds me of summertime in Maryland and Virginia. Marcia can tell you the best places in Baltimore to dine upon this great stuff. This is another item I often had at my grandmother's house.

4. Ice cream from Bombay Ice Creamery or gelato from Naia.
I love all the unusual flavors. And apparently Naia is having a flavor contest.

5. Japanese Fruit Cake.
My other grandmother used to make this for the holidays for one of my uncles. After her death, I asked family members if they remembered it. They did not. The next day as they were going through her papers, they found the recipe for it that she had clipped from a newspaper eons ago. I like to think that she guided them to that clipping. A year later the uncle for whom she used to make it also died. I have since found a number of variations on the internet. This one is probably the closest to what my grandmother made. I also now occasionally make it for my family during the holidays.

Now I guess I have to tag some folks. I think I'll go with Gloria, Daniel, Tami and Knitting Pagan. Somehow I think that all of you probably have some pretty strong opinions about food.

Monday, September 4, 2006

Synchronicity or something close to it

I have survived the first week of school and the school year looks promising. Sure there are a couple of kids with some attitude but I think I'm starting to win them over. Once that happens, we can start to have fun -- projects, field trips.

Friday night I headed out with five teachers from my school and a teacher from another school who is friends with one of my co-workers. One of the fourth grade teachers went to the same undergrad that I did as it turns out -- at the same time. We then discovered that we lived within blocks of each other in the Mission back in the mid-90s and frequented the same places in San Francisco back then. We know that our paths have probably crossed numerous times in the past. Then everyone else started discussing their undergrads. As it turns out, the other new fifth grade teacher went to the same undergrad as her mentor teacher. When her mentor teacher was presenting her master's thesis at a seminar, the other teacher was present. I think it was about 9 before we parted ways. By that time we had come up with a long list of things to do on future nights. After reaching home, I fed the cats and headed to the usual place. No Grasshopper. That's OK though because I ended up meeting this really cool woman who recently broke up with her boyfriend. We talked about how it is possible to survive really tough times and come out better. Before she left, we exchanged phone numbers.

Saturday I headed out with the other fifth grade teacher to her annual family picnic. There are a number of teachers in her family so you can guess what the majority of the conversations were. Near the end of the evening, my friend mentioned to her relatives that I used to hang out in North Beach a lot. We quickly discovered that her relatives went to school with a lot of the bar owners, bartenders, and patrons with whom I used to hang out. Actually I wasn't really that surprised because there are a finite number of Catholic high schools in San Francisco. As I said to one of my co-worker's aunts, San Francisco is not really that big a city.

Today I am scoring some reading pre-assessments and marveling over how the universe has finally decided to bring us all together at this point in time. By the time we all parted ways on Friday night, we just knew that there would be something special about this school year.

Saturday, September 2, 2006

California Dreaming

Originally I was going to post this quiz because I was going to be in SoCal for the weekend, hanging out with Kate, my college roomie. Awww. What the heck! Have a great weekend. I know I'm going to try to. What am I saying? I'm already off to a good start.

Orange County

You're rich, pretty, and living a charmed life. (Or you seriously wish you were.)
From Disneyland to Laguna Beach, you're all about living the California dream life.
Just make sure to marry rich - so you don't have to work for it!

Friday, September 1, 2006

Free at last

Well, not quite but soon. When 3:09 hits today, I will be ready to run for the door. But I won't. Because I should meet with the other teacher for my grade level. And because happy hour at Kitty's does not start until 4. I have managed to convince at least two of the other teachers with whom I work that we should all head there after work. I hope to recruit more before the day is over. Because teachers? We party harder than almost anyone else. The only other folks that I have found who can hang with us are police officers and firefighters. Perhaps this is why Arnold has it out for all of us... Oops. I just got political, didn't I? Sorry.

So I have almost made it through the first week of school. Yesterday was the most memorable. About ten minutes into class, a kid raised his hand. When I asked him what he wanted, he told me he was about to be ill. I told him to run. He almost made it. About four feet short of the door, his stomach emptied onto the floor. It took the custodian about 30 minutes to show up to clean up the mess. What did I do during this time? I kept on teaching, of course. Once I had to leap over the puke. And believe me it was a true leap because I was wearing sandals.

I thought that would be the end of it all but near the end of the day I had another incident in my classroom -- ten minutes before school was out. I ended up sending a student to the office. I am tempted to go into details but I even though I write anonymously, I am afraid to go into details.

The good thing is that I was able to get enough done yesterday that I was able to sleep in this morning. No photocopying for me this morning.

So what are my plans for this long weekend? Originally I had planned to head south to hang out with Kate, my college roommate. Her fortieth is next week. Instead I will be sleeping in and getting organized. I have learned the hard way how crucial it is to get organized as early as possible in the school year. I may even find myself at work tomorrow since the school will be open then. So if you are one of those folks who thinks that teachers have a cush job, think again. Between the time I spend at school and the time I spend working on stuff at home, I usually work about ten to twelve hours a day on average. Funny thing is I only get paid for six hours. You do the math.

I am going to try to live up to my true nature this weekend as well. I'll be starting Friday night at Kitty's and will probably end up at the pub. As far as I know, Grasshopper will be available for her co-hosting duties. Awww. Crap. I just checked the music schedule. Like I even know the band. And since I'm surfing the crimson wave, I am sure that I will be bitchier than ever. *sigh*

Here's to hoping that I have a calm and peaceful weekend.