Archive for June, 2009

Oh, man.

After several eventful days in Southern California & Las Vegas, a la Dorothy, I can exclaim, “There’s no place like home!”

More details might be forthcoming when I am not dazed after 8 hours in the car with 2 boys – 1 completely hungover & 1 “making the best of it.”

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Dark Cars & Serious Conversation

I ran to the store tonight to get our fixin’s for BBQ (have to get the meat marinading!) & ended up sitting in the driveway talking for an hour – about love, life, relationships & what makes things work. It’s times like these that a) I’m glad our friends visit from so far away & b) I wish they lived here all the time. I am trying to move them all to a place that’s more convenient for me (i.e. California). Unfortunately, we’re still limited to visits at this point in time.

Regardless, I got to hug someone I rarely see (maybe 3ish times / year) & it makes everything better.

Times When It’s Worth It, Pt. 3

I got an email from a former student today. She’ll be entering seventh grade next year, which means it’s been three years since she exited my door. Here is an excerpt:

I love you, and i miss you. We have to hang out! You still hold the title of best teacher in the world!

I had an exiting fifth grade student (was in my class two years ago) walk up to me today & hug me & tell me that her memories from my class were still the brightest in her heart.

I ran into a parent whose son I had in my first year of teaching (now in high school, amazingly!). She quoted from something I had written in one of his books & told me they still looked at them, especially his memory book, when he was getting ready for a new year of school (to remind him of how fresh & excited he was about education when he was eight).

I’ve gotten very little sleep recently & still have a ton of stuff more to do. I’ve broken my back & wallet & am at my wit’s end & full of useless sayings, but when I get kids who are two, three, six years out of my class coming back & telling me that what I do makes a difference to them & that the memories I help create are the ones that they treasure the most, well. Yeah, I’m going in early to work on stuff tomorrow. It’s worth it.

Magic

Magic is watching 100ish kids be enthralled by tricks & sleight of hand in the library basement.

Barbecuin’ Fools

We have taken to BBQing a LOT recently. I don’t think a week has gone by in May or June without us firing up our grill. We try to take advantage of the whole surface and frequently BBQ a bunch of meat for our upcoming lunches or also do corn or whatever else. I need to be more proactive about baking (roasting? barbecuing?) potatoes on the grill too, since I detest baking potatoes (unreasonable fear). Here are some of the BBQ recipes we’ve been liking recently (although these err more on the “side dishes” than “BBQ” end of the spectrum).

homemade BBQ sauce (we add an extra 1/2 c of brown sugar) * baked beans (we use red pepper flakes instead of chilies) * cold black bean salad (I am not a big fan of peppers, so we’re more “lots of red onion” and whatever is around thrown in) * no-knead bread

My Mom

My mom scares the heck out of me. She lives alone in a house that’s too big for her on a lot that’s too big for her & she doesn’t really like / allow anyone else in or around there. She has aged at least a decade (or more)  in the last 5 years (especially after my grandma, her mother, died) & she cannot even walk by herself because she’s a) fallen & not gotten physical therapy, and b) is afraid of falling, so she shuffles & refuses to lift her leg to step up on a curb without assistance). She’s 66. This is unreasonable.

One of the reasons we’re looking for a new house is so that we can build a “granny flat” on it where she can live. We can make sure she walks around + isn’t lying in pain on the ground like she was today when she fell. I truly do not know what to do with someone who’s so young & acts / walks like she’s 25 years older.

I’m just so worried about her & I know she isn’t happy & her back is wrenched & I’m taking tomorrow off to help her out & this is bad all around & I want her to live forever. Ugh.

Small Note

I firmly believe that I age myself based on the first person whose entire life I remember. In my case, it’s my niece. I was 13 when she was born, and I completely remember the day it was announced that my sister was pregnant, how she looked when she was full term, my niece coming home from the hospital & her entire life after that. It has been humbling watching her grow up because I tracked my adolescence and young-adulthood by things I’ve done with her. We have a peculiar & enduring friendship & I genuinely like her a lot.

Amazingly, she turns 17 today. 17 years ago today was the first Saturday after I exited junior high school & I declined the offer of going to the hospital (early in the morning! like 9am!), but she’s been around ever since. She’s gorgeous, tall (5’9″ and a bit – and the doctor just told her she’s still growing – insert maniacal laugh there), bright, flighty, sassy, creative & very, very dear. So, happy birthday to her!

P.S. She is currently trying not to scratch off all her extremities while battling a ferocious case of chicken pox, so this birthday may be more memorable than most for her – albeit for completely the wrong reasons!