February 26, 2006

Flash Fiction Friday #26

The challenge this week is this sentence: "Remember? How could I forget? I recall it specifically because the…" To learn all about the giddy gauntlet of a challenge we call Flash Fiction Friday, go here.

Remember? How could I forget? I recall it specifically because you had forgotten my name. Not that I hold you responsible. A name like Guy has a habit of slipping through the cracks. People often place the word “some” before me. As in, “Some Guy over there asked me to go to coffee.” “I met some Guy at a party.” “Him? Oh just some Guy.” And soon enough, the “some” melts into a faceless “all,” an “everyone” and a nobody. The “some” is a mask that blurs my face and smushes my nose like robbery nylons over my head.

I don’t know if you specifically remember me as a person either. Maybe you were being polite when you said, yes, you know we’ve met somewhere before but, you’re sorry, you don’t remember my name. So polite and genuinely so, your mom would be proud. More flies with honey than vinegar. Am I a fly? A buzz you track with a craning neck only to see air, never to pin down the small, black movement you may or may not have seen.

It was a Thursday. I know because Thursday is the day we have the recording studio. I was outside waiting for the female singer, new girl auditioning for our new fusion project. Last time it was Rockabilly meets Punk but now we were going for a more Classic Country with an undertone of Electronica and, of course, a Punk Rock beat. Seems that lately anything can be new again and any song covered afresh if there’s a punk rock beat. The sappier and kampier the original, the cooler the punked out version.

You were waiting outside for a friend, smoking a cigarette. There’s a brewpub next door and parking is difficult as it’s purely on the street. I asked you if you were the singer, remember? I’d never met her. Could’ve been you. Do you sing at all, I asked. In the car, you said, where the upholstery dampens the sharper edges and the windows contain the sound in a nice, glass bubble. I can imagine the notes slipping out into the atmosphere when you open the car door, silent and lost.

We spoke of music. We discussed Alien Ant Farm’s remake of Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson. Annie, are you okay? Are you? No, really, are you? You had never heard of Eddie Spaghetti but laughed at the name of their first album—Sauce. But you knew The Reverend Horton Heat and I introduced you to my dog, Horton, who was shedding lazily beside me.

And then later you were there, I definitely remember, at the Tattered Cover on 16th Street and Wynkoop. In the local authors section. I was in Science Fiction I am not ashamed to say, though many would think I should. It felt so typical. The hip in-the-know chick reading up on local literature with what I’m sure was a Chai Tea Latte versus some Guy in the SciFi with a Mountain Dew. And you said, yes, you know we’ve met somewhere before but, you’re sorry, you don’t remember my name.

But your dog’s name is Horton, you said. My nylon mask burned away in a blush and I will always remember that, Amy. Your name is Amy.

February 25, 2006

A Presidential Weekend - Part Three

We woke up (warm, I insist on saying) in our K omfortable, albeit K ampy, K abin. The weather was still quite K old. Okay, I will stop now. The stove had trouble boiling water for all the wind and I wore my gloves all morning. Geez. I think my blood is thinning out living in this Arizona climate for over a year now. I'm such a wimp.

We headed to Carlsbad Caverns, which I was really excited about. We visited Kartchner Caverns last year and had a fantastic time. That cave, however was a "wet" or still forming/alive cave. Much of Carlsbad is now dry due to it's exposure to air (and, partially, humans). You can imagine how much air gets in through this massive hole which is the orignial entrance to the cave.
It was found by a 16 year old cowboy, who became it's best guide, though the Native Americans had known of its existance but not explored it. The cowboy noticed a large cloud of what he thought was smoke but turned out to be bats. These bats still inhabit parts of the cave during the summer. Apparently, there is a cool show every night at sunset as the bats all fly out en masse. But, well, it wasn't summer for us.

The entrance tour was a little over a mile down the manmade switchbacks, all very steeply downhill grade. The Boyfriend and I rented those little audioguides for $3 each. You know, where you plug in the number ont he sign and it tells you what you are looking at. Informative, yes, but really really cheesy. Oh, they tried to make jokes. But I don't think any of them succeeded. We remained in coats the whole journey as well, though we took off our biking pants for this one, thank god. I swear, I hate how they make me feel 30 pounds heavier and every step rubs the fabric together with a little whhhibb, whhhibb, whhhibb. The caves are about 56 degrees year-round. After the entrance trail, we followed the Big Room trail 1.3 miles around the, hmm, Big Room. It was very very big. Several football fields long and up to (about, relying on my memory here) 250 feet tall. I don't like football but isn't that analogy still so handy, so easy to picture in your head?
Here is a shot of one of many alcoves in the cave. The cavarns are surprisingly well lit. They highlight many of the great features but leave enough darkness to keep the cave-like ambiance. The ornamentation, as the rangers call all of the neat features of the cave, are some of the best int he world. Well, I rely on their experience for that but the beauty was remarkable. All of those features caused by the evaporation of drops of water, which left the tiny speck of calcite the water carried behind. Over and over until a speck made a bump made a hill made a column.

Here are the famous stalagtites and stalagmites. According to the (cheesy) guide, one can always remember the difference by thinking stalagmites stand mighty and tall while the stalagtites cling tightly to the cieling. Yes yes. I think I've got it, by jove. Then, where a mite and a tite meet you have a column.
My favorite are the curtains, pictured here. Instead of in finger or column shapes like the mites and tite, these are formed when the water drips along a surface, instead of straight up and down. They look just like their name and are often so thin that you can still see light shining through them, translucent.

At the end of the cave, there is an elevator to bring you back up. We modern Americans would never be able to hike our way out. Hundreds of visitors would die a year, I bet, red-faced and clutching their chests. The park even warned everyone via multiple signs that the hike down could be "strenuous" and to "take care." There was also a snack bar, to make us fatter after our downhill hike. We emerged to a slightly sunnier day and took a magnificent drive back to Las Cruses. The road dipped down into Texas through the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Check out what The Boyfriend had to say because I think I have posted enough pictures this entry as is. But it's hard not to. He takes such fabulous pictures.

Needless to say, we got home the fourth day. It's always disappointing to go back into Phoenix through the same old scenery, the smoggy city highway. But we had an amazing time. No other moto trips planned in the near future. I think we will be saving all our energy and cash for our big trip at the end of March. Yay! We're headed to Budapest!

February 21, 2006

A Presidential Weekend - Part Two

The next day, Saturday, we headed off to White Sands National Monument, leaving at about 10:00. We did get up earlier than that but our motorcycle gear takes quite a while to get on, the bike a bit of time to pack up, etc. At the monument, I watched the educational film with a whole crew of senior citizens while The Boyfriend wandered the nearby audio-visual delights. He is much too cool for educational videos, especially when dressed in his bad-in-black bike gear. He thinks it makes him such a rebel and therefore so attractive. Which, hey, is true. He was hit on earlier in the morning by the barista serving his Chai Tea. One of those drive-thru coffee shacks but we walked up. Obviously, we were travelling on the bike.

We then took the scenic drive up through the dunes and to the trailhead of one of the few hiking routes you can take in the park. The other two are both less than a mile long and littered with placards about the environmental factors allowing this beautiful oddity and labels for all the local flora and fauna. One of these trails is actually a platform through the dunes to allow wheelchair access. Another reason that the trails are so few? Navigation. These pure white sands offer few landmarks and footprints wisp away within a few minutes. Without a compass, someone could get very lost, becoming that ultimate image of the tattered man crawling across the dessert, his tongue dry as the sand, thinking "water water water" and seeing palm trees and dancing girls above each next dune. We had to sign in at the trailhead and sign out on our way back so The Man would always know what we were up to. Walking our trail, we found it wasn't quite that bad. I mean, the mountains are always clearly visable to use as a landmark. But the park system has also labelled the route well with reflective posts every 50 feet or so. In places you can see how the dunes are rising around these markers, however, or how they've been forced to shift the trail with the changing of the sands.

We hiked 4.6 miles in the White Sands and it was breathtaking. We walked all the way out to the dry lake bed, a prehistoric lake which created the environmental anomoly that made the dunes possible. Amazing sight. The fine ridges of the dunes, repeating ripples along the surface in miniature of the dune itself. The expansiveness of the sands and it's similarity in appearance to snow. That image was strengthened, of course, by the fact that it was, well, cold. In fact, The Boyfriend and I hiked in our full motorcycle gear--over pants, inner and outer jackets. Even though my moto pants are stiff and bulky due to the protective padding. We must have been a sight for the few other hikers out that day, appearing over the next ridge as from out of a sci-fi movie. Speaking of which, it is truly amazing to me how many visitors the Monument had and how many actually chose to go into the sands. Some families rented sleds and attempted to slide down a few hills near the road. Others came in about a half a mile. Many didn't even leave the car, it seemed. Sad, I think. To be there, within a stone's throw and yet not throw it, just keep it in your hand to turn over in boredom as you listen to the AM radio or watch the minivan's cool new DVD player in the back seat.

After White Sands (we left about 3:30), we headed towards the Carlsbad KOA. The road rose a good degree in elevation, wound through some mountain passes, and froze my ass near off. We do have electric vests on the bike, which are fantabulously great but, due to a fuse problem that The Boyfriend wants to fix, only one of us can use the jacket at a time or it overloads, allowing neither of us access to life-giving warmth. There were times, when it was his turn, that I was watching the odometer. Saying, I have to give him 30 miles this time. He's breaking the wind for us both. Only 27 more miles. Only 24 more miles...

I am glad that I was able to convince my die-hard companion to shack up at one fo the KOA Kabins--a cute little one room jobbie with (dumm dum dum dummm) heating! We spent a lovely and warm night there for only $15 more than the campsite. Great KOA in Carlsbad, rated best in the nation several times. They have biscuit and gravy breakfasts and bring complimentary firewood right to your site. Very swank.

A Presidential Weekend - Part One

The Boyfriend is a very ambitious fellow. He believes we can, and should, do anything and everything possible, to drive harder, to go further, to wring the towel of life dry and then smack each other playfully with what remains. And I love that, I do. I love being out on the road with him, our sidecases packed with everything we need to ride, hike, camp, cook, and take amazing pictures. But The Boyfriend can also be an overly ambitious fellow.

Let us begin our story on Friday. I think I began our trip with a cranky state of mind due to my last two days at work. Another teacher was out due to minor surgery and no one had been scheduled to replace her. I had been illegally over ratio (teacher to child ratio) and was feeling stressed, unappreciated, and like biting that new kid Johnny back, dammit. (I think he sits at home sharpening his teeth while watching WWF and eating sugar-coated sugar.) The situation made me feel unprofessional for being associated with an organization that would let such an occurance happen--they were well aware that we were going to be facing this situation almost a month ago and did nothing. Sigh. More to the point, it was very difficult for me to get off of work early on Friday but I managed to be out the door at 3:00 pm and The Boyfriend and I were on the road by 4:00.

It was also cold that day. The sun didn't even peek out while I was outside, which is for at least an hour a day during recess. Granted, cold in Arizona is usually what the rest of the world considers balmy. Being a Colorado girl, I appreciate that sentiment. But, I also know how much colder even balmy can be when when riding on a motorcyle at 80 m.p.h. I also know what happens when The Boyfriend (who is also the driver) gets sick while on the road and the cold definitely doesn't help that. Needless to say, I was nervous about the whole trip and had my crank on. And by the time we stopped for dinner at 7:00 in Safford, AZ, I was looking into all the lit windows we passed. Hey look, they're in there watching TV and I bet there's a nice afghan blankie across their feet. Look, they're warm and fat and happy. I was then informed that we wouldn't be rolling in to our final destination for the evening until approximately 11:00 p.m.

Eleven?! Eleven?! I think I was told about 9 or 9:30! So we ate pizza and my throat began to swell up in fear. Plus, oh gee, I almost forgot to tell y'all one very imporant part--we were planning on camping, that night and the whole trip. Setting up camp at 11:00, in the dark, in the cold. From that point on, I was looking at every cheap motel we passed and thinking about how that fifty bucks could be so worth it. Sure, I knew how many hours I would have to work to buy that bed, that bed sheltered by four walls, elevated off the cold ground. That was not planning on dropping below freezing that night like the rest of the outside world. And they would have hot water! My chin was chattering when we stopped for gas, after 10:00, outside of Farmington. And I was soooo tired after the week I had at work. So, you know what I did?

I cried. I cried like a little girl in my class named Mariah. In gulps, in wet gasps of air with nonsensical half-sentences blurting their way out. I think I freaked The Boyfriend out quite severely. I'm not usually to sort to burst into tears. Needless to say, we did end up getting a motel room--relatively inexpensive--and got to bed at 11:15. Imagine if we had pushed on that extra 60 miles and then set up camp. I slept under two blankets all night and wished they were thicker.

Well, so The Boyfriend can be overly ambitious. It was all for a very very good reason, though. It gave us time to explore our main destinations without too much rush. So often on these trips, we drive through and must go on before experiencing all we would like to in order to churn those miles back home or to the next campsite. This hard night allowed us the two beautiful days that followed. I must say I was also quite ashamed of myself. For letting The Boyfriend down, for falling short of his high expectations for me. For being a strong, tough girl and crying because of a little cold and a bad day.

February 17, 2006

A Long Holiday Weekend...

So the Boyfriend and I are off this weekend on the motorcycle--camping, hiking, cave exploring and the like--over to New Mexico. See you on Monday night! Wish you were here!

White Sands National Monument, NM

February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day...

No really, I mean that. I know this can be a wrenching holiday for some, a commercial-driven farce to make everyone feel lonely if they don't have someone to have dinner reservations with (four months in advance) or bad if that someone didn't buy them diamonds this year ("Every kiss begins with Kay..."). But I think everyone needs to be brought back to how I am structuring my day--at school, of course. I don't think any of us have too many bad memories from V-day parties at preschool. After all, you can't read or write, so all the card stuff is left up to the grown ups. Your allowance, and lack of driver's license, means you are not obligated to buy anything. Your fine motor skills are still a work in progress so, when you make that all-important gift, only a few splashes of paint, a handprint and some stickers causes ooohs, ahhhs, and tears in everyone's eyes. Then, they stuff you full of pink and red colored candy. Hooray for V-Day!

This year, we are trying to promote more healthy snack offerings from the parents. After all, a lot of fruits are red too, you know. Pink lemonade instead of soda. Yougurt dip and pretzels. But I, hee hee, get to be the beloved devil and bring cookies that they kids will get to smear with their own icing however they please. Be prepared for it to get in their hair. And the parents will be receiving a little piece of their child's art with the following poem inscription:

Roses are red, Violets are blue

My whole heart loves only you

Roses will bloom, Violets will grow

And so will I, as you know

So remember me while I am small

Smell the flowers, one and all

Because it’s only this year that I’ll be two

Roses are red, Violets are blue

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Merry Cupid Day to all, and to all a sugary, chocolatey, gooey, sweet and lovely night! And if not, well, tomorrow it will be over for another 364 days.

February 12, 2006

Flash Fiction Friday #25

My hand. Oh, God, my hand...

Alright, so I can't come up with anything this time so I'm just going to go with what this week's sentence reminds me of. Not my work, ripping off someone else's. Good for me.

"They look like such good hands. Strong hands." A mythical creature of strength, made of the oldest stuff of the Earth, unable to stop the Nothing--a force that tears the world and lives apart with nothing but the power of unbelief. Hmm. I've felt that.

February 11, 2006

I'm Screwed...

So this is what I found in my tire on Friday morning as I left for work. Don't really know where I picked the thing up. I'm not in the habit of picking up such strangers so casually. But this nasty little machine screw made me an hour late to work. Which basically just erased the hour of overtime I worked the day before. So now I shant get that extra half, as in "time and a half." Nope, I just get lousy old time, even though I worked a ten hour day, because of this lousy big machine screw.

What is it about changing a tire and being a woman? I know how to change a tire. My sweet and caring ("Always be aware of your surroundings," he says) step-dad taught me how. Yet, even I, the feminist, felt so comfortable only watching while The Boyfriend handled it. Makes me glad to have such unconditional help and also ashamed that I take advantage of it. Well, next time a strange screw comes my way, I shall take it on with no qualms, without The Boyfriend. Man, that sounds a little different than I meant it. Hmm.

February 10, 2006

Give us This Day our Daily Bread...

I suppose every day is a meal. However you want to phrase it--for the senses, for the soul, for the wallet/retirement account. Everyday is heavy and warm with experience and emotion, like a loaf of bread fresh from the oven of, well, someone who has time to make their own bread. Wish that were me! The drops of humidity, butter greasy with milk fats, dried and powdered golden wheat, and the ripe-smelling yeast all kneaded and risen together in a basic but beautiful chemistry. Such is a day. Filling while living it and when completed, and you're feet kicked up on the couch, it becomes, "How was your day?" "Well, had bread for lunch." One meal blending into another. I often wish we could remember all the little moments, good or bad, that crystalize during our mundane routines that often get swept under the rug. Or, lose significance when explained to others in a "guess you had to be there" sort of way. That's how I feel when the week sweeps me by. Both amazed at all the tiny wonders and horrors of my every moment and by the forgettable obscurity of it, the futility of actions whose repercussions will be small, diminishing into tiny ripples that will all but disappear.

Now bless me father for I have sinned

But it's the same old story again and again and again

Ah well, such is the bread of an everyday life

From morning til noon to this shadowless night

-Flogging Molly, Rebels of the Sacred Heart

February 05, 2006

Correspondence from the Dead...

Julie was nice enough to pick me up a few more postcards for my collection while she and her mom were out antiquing. Man, I love these things. It's truly like receiving correspondence from the dead. I get to see their unique humor, handwriting, the journeys they took and who they left behind. A one cent postage stamp and the post office's seal of date, time, location. This one, for instance, is quite curious.
A nice, shady country road, right? Perhaps leading to a country estate, a cabin, a lake where you can jump in from the pier, maybe row a boat across. Nope. This is a picture of Cemetery Drive in Swedesboro, New Jersey. (Hiya at home. Wish you were here. Having a great time at the graveyard.) Here's the reverse.
Sent to Princeton, Kentucky on September 19th, 1907. Apparently in Princeton, Miss Elizabeth Raintiff (?) is well known enough not to need an address, street number, etc. Pretty common for those days I have found. Imagine if the world were still that small and familiar. The message has been written upside down, which makes it difficult for you to see. As far as I can decipher, the text reads:

Hello, Dearie: How are you. By now we are here in Swedesboro N.J. visiting my Uncle and are having a dandy time. I suppose you started to school today. My how I will miss dear old P.C. this year. I received the postcard you sent me. Thanks so much. It certainly looked natural. Will write you in a few days. Love to all.

Very dandy. Curious about the reciever's post card looking "natural." Is this for a small child (it does mention school, of course) that is just learning to write? And why in the heck is this written on a cemetery picture? My only guess is that perhaps the cemetery was the only point of interest in the town.

Now here's another one. No writing on the reverse and it was never sent. So, it's impossible to date it. The message, however, is timeless.

Man, I love these things.

Flash Fiction Friday #24

To learn what this Flash Fiction Friday stuff is about or why I am writing this strange little snippet of a story, go here. (P.S. I think I really like this one!)

His name was Randolph and that’s exactly what I called him, awkward mouthful though it was. His name was only shortened to Randy with his boyfriends, in an inside joke, ass pinching, wink wink fashion. As in, I’d like you to meet my new boyfriend, Randy, wink wink, pinch pinch. Only Randolph and I knew how many new love-of-his-lives had shared the joke but the humor never seemed to diminish for him.

I’d met him at a Midnight Movie and I’m pretty sure it was Rocky Horror. The Mayan theater showed so many, though, all cult classics that I can’t be sure. Priscilla Queen of the Desert, To Wong Foo, Mystery Science Theater 3000. Wonderfully fun films, must sees. But I would have gone to the theater for the theater itself, no matter the movie. The restored proscenium arch with its South American style faces and totems (hence the Mayan name), the overly plush red curtains beside. The concession stand sold lattes and excellent herbal teas and chocolate covered almonds or bon bons instead of Whoppers and Jujubes.

We went to the Sound of Music Sing-along once. Randolph dressed as Maria the Nun and I as Maria in the dowdy dress with guitar case. The case was filled with spiked soda and cherries to snack on. I’m am sixteen going on seventeen, we belted out, and hoped that this time Fritz would not blow the whistle on them, breaking Liesl’s heart.

Julie Andrews, James Dean, Judy Garland. He would always have to stop for these names. Paging through old movie posters at junk shops. Picking up the newly-made-to-look old collectibles such as lunch boxes and cigarette tins with their famous profiles. We frequented a little vintage store called Flossy McGrew’s that sold rhinestone cat eye glasses and Laverne and Shirley sweaters and I remember asking him what it was about Judy Garland.

“Is it the way she looks? Beauty or is it her voice? I love the voice.”

He fingered through a milk carton full of old records, humming. “It’s really hard to put your finger on fabulousness.” I always thought you could tell just how feminine a gay man was by how many a’s were in the word fabulous. “It’s definitely not about perfection. Judy’s decline is part of the glory of her. Tragic figure and all. Some of it is nostalgia for the time period, I know. Most of it is just wanting to be Judy, that it would be a thrill to walk in those shoes, sit in front of that camera and sing I’ll wear the finest bonnet in the Easter Parade…” He did have a decent voice.

“But what about Liza? I never understood that one at all.”

“Being fabulous can be hereditary.”

“I wonder what your mother is like then.”

Randolph exhaled sharply through his nose as a scoff to that.

Wizard of Oz was one of Randolph’s all time favorite movies. I say ‘one of’ because his passions were violent but changeable.

Night falls over the Land of OZ. There are ten thousand stories in the Emerald City, this is one,” he would say, and then regale me and whoever else was drawn to his charisma with Oz trivia. Like the urban legend about a crew member hanging himself and his swinging silhouette being visible during the Enchanted Forest scene. “Which is really the shadow of a big bird that was right there in the scene a moment earlier, flying away. I’ll show you sometime.” Or how Garland spread rumors about the Munchkins having drunken orgies and the original Tin Man’s almost fatal reaction to the aluminum powder make-up. Randolph had also experimented heavily with the Pink Oz a.k.a. The Dark Side of the Rainbow theory about using Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon as a soundtrack for the film. Naturally, this coincided with the time of his life where he was experimenting heavily with marijuana.

I can’t remember how many times we watched that movie. It seemed to be his pacifier or baby blanket, a safety object and a self-soothing tool, reserved for the most emotional times of Randolph’s life. Randolph’s, not mine, because Randolph was ultimately the bigger character. The scene-stealer if you will. The inheritor of the fabulous.

Once at his apartment, we watched it so late that the sun was about to come up. We had been out at a rave. I know, because I remember his candy pink fingernail polish matching my candy pink, pageboy wig. We were eating Fat Jack’s subs to sober up and watching Wizard of Oz to commemorate the big break up with a boyfriend who was “the be all and end all, I swear.”

“You know what it is about this movie?” he asked, his eyes glazed but clear of red.


“It’s that life can be so crazy with tornados, disorienting and shocking color shifts, and there’s evil in the world, symbolized by the witches. No one is perfect and everybody is lacking something, looking for answers and quick, easy fixes. And in the end, it’s all inside of them all along. It’s that easy to be happy and it’s all within your own power. Wouldn’t that be nice?”

“Who says it’s not really that way?”

“Come on, babe.” He scoffed out through his nose.

“Well, if we’re taking the movie literally, though, you wake up from all that, wind up back on the farm, back in boring old black and white, and the only excitement or adventure in your life was just a fantasy and a dream that no one will ever believe. Dorothy probably wound up marrying, pumping out kids and churning butter with big, red, calloused hands.”

Randolph looked hard at me. “Well, we are not taking it literally.”

I think that was the moment, the turning of my tide wherein I was one of his favorite friends. I say ‘one of’ because his passions were violent but changeable. That gay man/female friend dynamic had shifted away from the edifying yet safe flirting, the mutual ego stroking, flattery and bolstering. We were friends for a long time after that but the warmth of his gaze, that spotlight of charismatic attention had shifted. It was as if I woke up the next morning, trying to explain that, yes, I did have pink hair (pink hair!) and, yes, you were there. You were there.

February 04, 2006

Meine Schwester...

Truly passionate, in storms and waves
Ardently allegiant to those she holds dear
Maternal to be, and sometimes in clothes
Affectionate and gushing when full of beer
Reliable keeper of of trust and elephants
And just as blog-worthy as anyone here

An Affair to Remember...

I don't know why so many of my work stories revolve around nap time. Things do happen at other times of the day, I swear. But I suppose nap time is vital. Yes, I know. It's twelve kids laying in a darkened room to sleep for 2.5 hours, which doesn't sound very vital. If you've ever dealt with a child who has not gotten enough sleep, however, you'll capitalize that V very quick. I'm on-my-guard for any stirrings, quick to nip any outbursts in the bud as one wakes the whole room. Plus, the down time is vital for us teachers, too. We get time to do our paperwork and clean up. Time to sit down for a while and relax ourselves enough to be patient for the second half of the day. (And time for me to read, tee hee. What would I do without it?) And I can get very grumpy too when deprived of my nap time relaxation.

I think I sunk to a new low yesterday, though. Francisco would not stay on his mat. "Lay down," I would say, and he sat there and smiled, his eyes meeting mine like a cat's, searching for signs of dominance. "A-quest-a-tah," I said in my bad Spanish (which I can misprounce adequately but cannot spell). And he smiled. He pushed himself up on his hands and feet and pressed his head to the mat in a proto-headstand. Another child, seeing this, followed suit and I pictured the inevitable domino effect and me turning red in the face while losing all credibility and authority with the kids. I knew I had to do something to keep all of the kids down, to fend off a yoga class full of kids in down dog pose, for another 30 minutes or life would be hell. So I thought I'd make out with Spiderman.

Um hmm. Francisco brings a Spidey action figure to school as a comfort toy every day and I have gotten him very accustomed (yay for me!) to putting it in his cubby and leaving it alone. Causes too many fights when introduced into the wild. So I went and got Spidey and showed Francisco.

"I guess he can be my Spiderman now, huh?"
"Nooooo." He said, reaching a pudgy hand toward me across the room.
"Okay, then lay down."

Which he promptly did. I sat down with the doll in my lap. He had to test the theory a couple of times, as all kids do with all rules, and I would whip out Spiderman and hold him to my cheek, give him a hug and a peck on the cheek (after all, Spidey and I aren't on too intimate of terms).

"I love my Spiderman," I said. "I'm going to take him home and love him forever and ever."
"Then lay down."

Then after nap, I told Francisco what a good job he did staying on his mat and very obviously put Spidey back in the cubby from whence he came. It's outright bribery and I'm not denying that. I'm evil. I am well aware. But one or two times of this happening and Francisco will lay down without me having to cross the room to aid him. Without me having to ask twice. Without having the domination stare down. And Spidey always has been one of the cutest superheros... toned but not overly built, neither too wholesome or too dark...

February 02, 2006

I Think This is a Way of Saying that I'm a Tool...

February 01, 2006

Brother-in-Law and Order

James is my brother-in-law (Hi, James!) and James is English. I also just found out that James wishes to be a police detective back home in Colorado. Good for him, if that path is following his secret dreams of childhood or even if he merely has been watching too much cop TV, good for him. He's very slender and pale, so I think that standard, slouchy detective suit with the very thin black tie will suit him rather well. I know I would crack under interrogation. "Yes, yes, I admit it. I did say you were slender and pale on my blog. I'm sorry, sir. Sob Sob. I meant no disrespect." On Monday, he had his big day of interviews and testing. How did it go?

"Excellent," he said. "They had three guys giving the interview. One was pretty nice to you, one was hostile, and one just sat and stared you down."

"Good cop, bad cop and indifferent cop? What kind of questions did they ask?"

"I can only talk about part of it. But that part I can talk about is the normal stuff. Why would you make a good addition to our force. What do you think you have to offer. How would you feel about killing someone."

"Oh yes, I've been asked that at so many interviews. Very normal."

Good Luck, James!! And if these kind of things are going to be the "normal" stories you tell around the Thanksgiving table then, hey, life shall be that much more interesting.

P.S. If you tell me you read this, James, you know I'm going to talk about you more. Hee hee.