Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Palidrome I...

So fun on so many Levels.
If you can't see the video I've embedded, it's here.

"Go hang a salami, I'm a Lasagna hog..."


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday Already?

I've been in a fog...

No, that's a lie. I think I've been rather down and really missing things like family and close friends and small children who will hug you.

It's not really nostalgia, cuz that would mean I miss being the little kid hugging people and those are memories I'd rather not have, thanks. I am here to tell you that I hated that whole "hugging adults I don't know" thing with every ounce of my being. Absolutely HATED being touched by adults that I barely knew or was vaguely related to, especially if they were super drunk cuz they'd been hangin' with my dad and you had to kiss their beer-smelling cheeks and ugh, go away smelly man, stop touching me smelly ho-bag-dressed woman (think that "aunt" George Lopez is always describing)...yeah, I have some pretty vivid pictures in my head.

I don't hug kids if I've been drinking. Hell, I don't get near them if my Spidey-Sense (TM) tells me, "this kid does not like you, do not interact with them; wave from afar!" I'm kinda super-aware of these things in the same way I'm super unaware of most subtle happenings
that other adults are "getting" (i.e. flirting, imminent fist-fight about to happen, head-on collision approaching, etc.).

Where was I? Right. People. Around me. Missing them.

I'm part of a small group of friends who don't find it too crazy when I hug them hello or good-bye. We never speak of it, it kinda just happens and they go with the flow. I might see them three times in one week, but if I hug them, they don't mention it or roll their eyes (or at least wait until I leave the room before they talk about the weirdo I have become in my old age.) I think it's a given that this is stemming from the distance we all are from our families and/or the lack of enough people-you-trust contact.

I don't come from a "huggy" family. If my niece, nephew or younger brother ever read this, they will not believe me. Really, my mom? When I was a kid? Not much hugging. I don't know if it was me or her. If I needed to cuddle with someone, it was my teddy bear (well, actually a huge pink mal-formed basset-hound thing from my god-mother) or maybe my dad, when I was really little. All bets were off after I turned about 9 or ten-ish.

Affection is an odd thing. Carol Lay put it best in her "licked rat" comic strip, "Licker is Quicker." I wonder sometimes, a lot recently, actually, if I'd have developed a greater sense/had any ambition if I felt the "licked rat" support. Cuz, really? I don't. Have much ambition that is. I'm not out to save the world. I don't care if my name falls to obscurity when I die. I hope to leave a very tiny footprint in my wake. Most of my family can't even remember who I am or what I look like. I have no need to change this. No need to see my name in lights.

I feel really happy and proud when my friends make it! But no sense of wishing I were them.

Sorry, this is the head-space I've been n recently. This is what happens when I have too much "all by myself" time at work. I am really good at multitasking. Adding to my every growing list of superpowers: able to reconcile credit cards statements and dwell on the emptiness that I feel in my life.

But at any rate, I'm still here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's The View, Right?

Two dogs (one crazy, one really old), 2 kids (one age 3, one age 3 months(!)), 2 tired parents, 2 single people totally unprepared for the chaos that is CAMPING WITH KIDS.

We got the absolute last campsite available in all of Oregon (or so it seemed) in the most open and non-shaded spot possible. But at least we got something. Our view.

You know how nature tends to make you like breathe deeper and give you all this energy and stuff? Yeah, me neither, but apparently the kids were super-charged and stayed up way past my bedtime. I seriously went to bed BEFORE the three-year-old.

But not to sounds of nature or screaming babies (there there were some--screaming babies, but not ours); instead I fell asleep to the dulcet tones of Michael Jackson. As Nancy commented, "Who goes camping to blast their stereo?" It could have been super annoying, but as it was the Thriller album, or something similar, it was just vaguely nostalgic and mildly disturbing.

Would I do it again?

Yep. As stressful as these things can get, I thought it was on the mild side. All plans were out of my hands and not quite knowing what we were supposed to be doing ended up being fine (I am a super control-freak at times and at first I thought all this "not knowing the plan" would drive me bananas...guess not. I kept playing the Beastie Boyz in my head to keep me settled, you know, "Let it flow, let yourself go, slow and low, that is the temp-o?" Yeah, that one. (Did I get that in your head? Sorry. I'd link to it so you can get it out of your system, but I have no sound to make sure I've given you the right song.) It's like the advice I keep giving all these people planning weddings recently? Don't stress, the guests will never know "what could have been." Yeah, I need to take that attitude more often myself.
We were car-camping. And with the 3-month old as an attendee, I knew I wouldn't exactly have to pack my hiking boots. In fact, I wore my birks the entire time. Once the temps went down, hello happy yellow socks I haven't worn since winter!

YEP, my hip and butt HURT. I is an old woman and as tufty as the ground was, there was still not enough give for my awesome child-bearing hips, you know? I am very thankful for the inventor of the modern-day mattress.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I Should Be Sleeping...

As I am leaving at the hairy butt crack of dawn (attractive, I know, and yes, I do kiss my mommy with this mouth) to go camping in the AM (hence the tent in the living room a few days ago, you know, practice).

My X used to say that the best tent was one you could set up in the dark WAY AFTER you'd gotten yourself too messed up to think straight. This is not a difficult thing for this tea-totaler to accomplish. However A) I grew up, B) I'm a stickler for setting up camp before dark, and C) am a big ol' anal retentive child and would never leave my sleeping arrangements to last-minute-in-the dark, damn where are the tent-stakes- and what the hell did I just step-in-chance.

Right, where was I?

That's right. Being distracted.

You too. Go here, watch the three acts, you'll love it! It's only supposed to be up for a limited time, Sunday maybe?

I need some chamomile tea or something.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Plant-Watch 2008

And so it came to pass that though she succeeded in keeping her avocado tree/plants out of harms way (read as: Andy's flailing arms), the African Violets flowering (despite flying remote controls), and even bringing that damned prayer plant back from the dead (water, Andy, plants like it), she was no match for Andy and his tent...

I can not be everywhere at once. There is nothing more depressing than fighting against technology to get your journal entries posted and thinking an email from Andy could be a respite from the hell on earth you are enduring... then reading:
I just broke the plant in the living room. The one in the big pot

I don't even remember doing it.. it's just broken at the base
. I must of hit it with my tent.
I ask for so little... If I can't have a kitten, plants will do!
Here is the plant in question. Mighty healthy-lookin' eh? Well, from this angle. It's all about full-disclosure here folks. I dug around with my fingers and yep, he pretty much severed half the roots in whatever wild-and-crazy tent maneuver was occurring in the living room while I was at work.

More tired that I can possibly describe, I sat there as Andy came up with the brilliant plan of anchoring the plant in place to see if it could survive with only half it's life-giving tentacles. I was game. I mean really, we already had the twine. It was either that or put the pot outside on the deck and la la la, what plant? (Yes, like the others that have not made it...I never claimed to have a green thumb :).)

So all those years on a boat actually came in handy as I used bowlines and two-turns and two-half-hitches to set up the plant:I want to call it Slant-y (Slant-E?). Do you think that's bad? It used to be Lounge-y. Seriously, it was growing at a 45 degree angle leaning back worse than a homey in his low. ride. er with the leaves actually looking kinda straight-yet-totally off center-y. You'll have to use your imagination as there is no before shot. I had no reason to think I'd ever need one, you see.

But plant pictures I will now have in abundance as we are documenting Slant-E's next few days to see if he is coming undone, as it were.

Fight the good fight, big guy! Cuz your pot is awful heavy and moving you outside will really suck. (I am brutally honest to plants, it would seem.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Talk About the Summer Slow-Down

Or is it simply lethargy wrapping it's much too warm arms around me?

This will be short, as I currently am not in a mood to deal with yet another computer. Though I know my mini is nothing like my work computer, and using blogger is nothing like fighting against a "feature"-filled accounting application, I am just too tired and overheated (victim of expired sun block, yeah sun in Seattle! Alert the media!) to deal.

We upgraded the program last month just after closing. This is our first try at it with the new program. I sum up my experience with one semi-word:

AAAaaauuummmmm...(Picture me, eyes closed, hands on the arm rests, wrists turned up, thumbs and middle finger touching, head leaning back....DEEP breath...don't smash the computer.

And we all laughed (LAUGHED!) when our boss' boss made a snarky comment only hours before about some company who still used excel as their primary accounting software. I'll bet you anything that they were not ready toLink tear their hair out as the printer icons "poof" disappeared from the screen (again)...or from the profile altogether!

This sums up what my life has been like since my last post.

I will now go bury my head in that Mexico & Peru Mythology book I bought what seems like eons ago. So it turns out it was FIRST published in like 1909, or 1911...I am far too lazy to go look, aren't I horrid? Anyhow, the author mixes in his version of the history with the mythology...and I have some strong opinions about what kind of fellow this European dude was like in person...but I have to remind myself he wrote the book like 100 years ago!

It's like I'm getting two history lessons, one about the ancient peoples of Mexico and S. America and one about early 20 C archaeologists/anthropologists. It's very entertaining!

Okay, running away.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Santa Claus & OLG's Miss E

It is amazing what a flood of memories a single statement can bring up.

And what lies they tell you with regards to how you, as a teacher, will or will not affect the teens you are teaching...

Okay, in order of the title.

So I scoured through my journals to try to figure out who had said what, when, with regards to my "one and twenty" post. I really was curious enough to pull out dusty tomes best left untouched (most of the time, really).

It was in the battered and beaten notebook I kept during my sailing days where I found the entry. Reminiscing, (as I did much of--I mean there wasn't much else to do during your midnight watch), while in transit between Bajia Candelaria and Mazatlan after talking endlessly with Santa Claus--really, maybe I mentioned him before? I'll look-- that I found my reference.

It was Mr. Claus that brought up the search for Home; the need to connect with others--especially those who already know you. Those with whom you don't have to start from scratch.

So what if you were a poopie-head when you were a kid, if they were your friends then, and loved you as friends will, they will see past that horrid kid to the person you are today--and remind you of your poopie-headed adventures and you will laugh and laugh, cuz really, what else can you do? That was you, after all.

For Santa, it was very important to have folks around him that knew you better than anyone else, cuz, well, by the time you got to be his age, most of your family is gone. He was the baby of the group. He lived through wars (and wartime shortages) and served in the marines (Semper FIE!--please don't shoot me ;)), and had accumulated many careers, miles, kids, and an ex wife or two under his belt. And now he was trying to make it in Mexico, cuz even when you're Santa Claus, your Social Security check is still only a pittance, + the VA bennies.

Aaah, it feels good to be able to place that in correct context.


Okay...Miss. E...OMG, OLG's, Miss E.

I have to keep reminding myself that she was only 29. It really does bring things more into perspective. I mean, I still blame her for a whole heck of a lot, but that's cuz I have those "letting go" issues, right?

Miss E. was as awesome as she was traumatizing. She was our 6th and 7th grade teacher, right? Or was it 5th and 6th? See how bad it was? I'd rather not remember:
Sr. J
Ms. H
Sr. J/Ms. M/Ms. G, and other random subs, crazy year
Ms. G, but the nice one! HA!
Ms. R who was new and had this thing about our nails being the right length and us being super neat...
Ms. E
Ms. E
Mrs. T

That seems right.

So when I read Suzanna's comment:
"but I do remember that one of the OLG teachers said that the only lifelong friends we'll make are the ones you make in college. How disappointing to hear for 7th/8th graders with their friends in tow."
I sat at my desk stunned as it all came back. Her voice, the nonchalant way she said it, were we in her car? It was almost summer. Were we helping with something? Maybe the graduation? I think I've inherited Homer Simpson's brain, remembering things the way I want to have had them happened, with green hair, and a jack-in-the-box ;). Whatever the case, I was floored.

What did she mean by that! How could she say that! Did she realize how much she was belittling the friendships we had currently? And she thought I was tactless? (Yeah, I've been this way all my life.)

But she was only 29, and using that 20/20 hindsight? Sheltered. She may have grown up in "LA" but she was an El Sereno kid. She went to school a few miles from the house where she grew up. She lived NEXT DOOR to her dad. I think she was uber bitter and disappointed, and really missed her mom (she'd just died, I think). I honestly thought she was WAY older than the 27 we'd guessed during the "how old am I" guessing game in 6th grade.

I mean, really, I am tactless, I fully admit it, I can't help it! I will bust out with the gods' honest truth -- if you are my peer. If you are a 12-year-old, however? Who might even sorta look up to me? I will not dash your hopes. I will be positive and patient (though I stop short at lying) and she is the reason why.

I never "called anyone out" in the middle of class to embarrass them; even if I was having a bad day; even if I hated them with every core of my being; even if I thought they need it. As surly and adult-like as teens will act, they are still kids and these things will stick, I should know.

And if I ever meet up with an ex-student who has told me they just got accepted into Stanford's teacher education program? I won't tell them that they just made the worst decision in the world! That they shouldn't teach! And not because of their personality or what I remember about who they were back in my classroom. I'd never go on and on about how teaching is the most under-appreciated job in the universe; that no matter what they think they can do with the system they will fail. Not when you see the gleam in their eyes and the energy they have to expend! Cuz all that told me was that she was bitter and really should get out of the teaching world...and not be the principal of our old elementary school. (Oh yes, she was.)

And just to round out the whole Tactless clan? Because of her status at that school? My little brother got to experience her too. That last conversation I had with her? Even worse than the "don't be a teacher" one, was her utter disbelief that the child in Kindergarten wasn't MINE. That I was lying about being his sister and not his mother.

Lady, I may be "blessed" with the overly big tummy and child-bearing hips of my dad's side of la familia, but really and truly, I think I'd know if I'd carried and delivered a baby while trying to finish high school. Just sayin'.


Where was I? I was nowhere...that was me really needing to rant and try to get it all out in the quietest way possible. Cuz really, who am I going to tell this all to? Andy? Poor thing hears enough about how awful my day was to have to deal with my childhood trauma. Have I mentioned how much I love the blogiverse? So very much cheaper than therapy :).

Monday, July 07, 2008

OLK Temp folders...

So remember back when I wondered where in cyberspace I might have saved a post about (ha ha ha) memories? I found it, though I don't remember saving it there... And now it seems out of sync with the way my posts have been going, but then I must stop and realize that my life is out of sync most of the time and to just deal.

Where was it? You are asking in case you might find yourself in a similar situation? Right, as the title suggests, in the realm of the OLK Temp folder. No, I don't know where yours might live, but mine? It was found via the "recent documents," which I must learn to clear some day.

So I'll spend the rest of today finishing it up and post it in a bit, cuz as with most things I "write" while at work, it was done 2 minutes at a time throughout the day and if you think I'm bad about tenses (see below) I'm even worse about flow.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Karma Circle...

So I just read Uberstrickenfau's post on Karma and I got lost in a memory. I thought I'd share.

The only time I have ever flown first class was when I was in high school. I was visiting family in Mexico and the only flight that would put me back in the 'States before school started up again had only one open seat, in first class.

I was floored. My flying anxiety must have shown much more aggressively when I was younger (or had my evil doctor written a note?), cuz they let me board way first. Like 15 minutes before everyone else so I could get used to my seat, take my sedative (a benadryl derivative), and conk out. I was in the very first row, you know where back in the day you could park a sedan between the bulkhead and the first seat of first class? (This is important to my tale.)

So get this, as the rest of the people start boarding, I am already falling asleep, happy not to be aware that I'd be in a flying machine for the next four hours when some guy comes up and is standing in front of me and I wake up as he is talking to me. It might have been me on the benadryl, but I didn't think he was saying things in a nice way. Groggily I try to figure out what he is asking when another male voice asks this person to take his seat.

By this time I am fully awake and the drug had found a hole to hide in as the adrenaline and "fight or flight" instincts kick in. The steward/flight attendant then squats down in front of me and says, "The man I just sent to his seat wants to know if you would be willing to switch seats with him so he can sit with his wife." He looks to my right and there is a bone-chillingly scary woman (about my age, now) sitting next to me giving me the look of death!

"Well?!?" she says.

At this point this guy became my hero.

To her: "I remind you that the woman sitting next to your husband said she would switch seats."

"But that's in coach!" (I can not make this stuff up. It was the late 80s, we were flying from Guadalajara to LA, it might have been a famous rich person, I have NO IDEA, I was drugged, 'member?)

To me: "You paid for your seat, you are already settled in, this is completely voluntary on your part. If you would rather not move and want to just go back to sleep, you can."

Ah the gift of words. I said, "I'd rather not move." Steward-guy smiles at me as lady shoots up out of her seat and storms down to coach.

Both the man and the woman come back to get her things. As a parting shot the guy says, "You know, Karma is a bitch."

And being fully awake now, and fully pissed off as the realization hits me that I have no more drugs and the adrenaline is seeping away and this will be a horrible flight, I shoot back, "So how does it feel, coming back at you?"

Cuz my "punishment" was to spend the next four hours sitting next to a lovely granma-esque lady who had never flown first class and we talked and played with the warm hand towels, and she and the steward-guy pretty much kept me from remembering that I really really can't stand flying.

I'm sorry, Olga, that my most memorable karma moment doesn't end in the same vein as yours, but whenever people speak about the universe "course correcting"/balancing/giving what it takes, this tale reminds me that it's not always for the bad.

7/7/08 ETA : Remind me not to post anything before coffee, 'kay? Cuz the tenses for my story? ALL OVER THE PLACE! And I used ta' be an English teacher! HA!