Some Days are Stones

January 31st, 2006

Today wasn’t great. My afternoon lesson bombed. They were bored to death and hated the reading. Our grad class was cancelled—professor sick. A nice thing in some ways, but I’ve been missing my pals, and I wanted to see their smiling faces.

Right now it’s 7:30 p.m., and I’m in bed, because I’m looking forward to this day just being over. Mia climbed up and got under the covers, and then about ten minutes later, Linus hopped up next to me. Mia began growling and hissing from her invisible hiding place under the covers, and she has not stopped. It is as if the linens are unhappy with us. Isn’t it, Linus? (He totally doesn’t care.)

Teaching High School …

January 24th, 2006

… is kind of like BEING in high school. I’m so over being one of the youngest-looking teachers there. People, I’m 30. I realize that’s young, but it’s not 16-young. You do not need to slink up beside me in the faculty copy room as I am sorting the papers I’m in the middle of cutting and lock the paper cutter for safety! As I turned to resume cutting, she said, “Oh, I just didn’t want anyone to get hurt.” Anyone who? It’s just me near the cutter, and I’m using it to cut things, not to attempt suicide on the school’s liability. She was just being nice, I don’t fault her for that. I think she might have thought I was a student. Maybe I’m paranoid. The way some of them talk to me, though, it’s like they think I’m a little intern. Some of the other teachers take every single opportunity to give me advice in teachy voices. It’s not that I don’t appreciate advice. I just don’t like getting the feeling everyone is thinking, “Isn’t it cute to have a kid around who wants to learn to be a teacher when she grows up?”

At least my students give me some respect. OK, “some” is a bit of an overstatement, but there IS a tiny amount of it there, and it’s early in the semester. They have mine, so if we can make that mutual, we’ll be in business. (Have I mentioned how SMART these teens are? They are totally our future playwrights, senators, and designer-drug chemists.)


January 22nd, 2006

It’s a gorgeous day here. The kind of day it is every day in Heaven. And I am eating cookie dough and procrastinating doing work. I think maybe this IS Heaven.

Steve just went to Sav-On for us, for cat champoo and Tide. It was the second trip to Sav-On between the two of us so far today. Last night I dreamt I had a new sister, who was an adult, but who had just moved in, and I was explaining to her that Sav-On is really close, and you can get anything you need there.

Sav-On, even though I hate your new ad campaign, I still love YOU. And I always will.

California, Land of Wonder!

January 18th, 2006

My six-year-old niece agreed to talk to me on the phone last night. This used to be typical, before she became a mini-teenager, but now she is always “busy” or “doesn’t want to” or is, as my sister puts it, “too cool” to talk to me. What. Ever. Anyway, I asked her if it was snowing there in Pennsylvania, and she explained that there was snow on the ground but that it was melting. I told her that where I live, it doesn’t snow and in fact rarely rains, and she said, “So what, then, the sun comes out like every day?” Yes, I confirmed. Like every day. No snow on Christmas even, which she said would be weird, because “It’s not supposed to be sunny at Christmas.” I told her she should visit me when she gets a little older and see for herself the sunny Utopia where I live. I added that Disneyland is nearby, and I got a “very cool” for that.

My conversation with her three-year-old sister, Dani, was less deep. Since their little family adopted a kitten for Christmas, Dani mostly reports on where the kitten has peed most recently. Often, the first thing she says into the phone is, “Shadow peed on my bed!” Sometimes she repeats it, gaining volume with every iteration.

Maybe I should have them put Shadow on the phone.

Mac Porn

January 17th, 2006

I learned a new term today. I will quote Steve, who defined this for me: “Every time a new Mac comes out, someone in Japan immediately takes one apart and displays it on the Internet. They call it ‘Mac Porn.’” Check it out.

The Lazy Box

January 16th, 2006

Ever since I got My Christmas Gift to Myself, the quality of life at No. 6 has improved some. Between Linus, aka cat-who-literally-lays-down-beside-the-water-bowl-to-allow-for-hours-long-drinking-spells-which-lead-to-pee-cakes-the-entire-area-of-the-litter-box, and Mia, aka cat-who-will-deign-to-use-the-litter-box-if-and-only-if-it-is-respectably-clean, something had to be done. It was just impossible to keep up. I don’t necessarily blame Mia for her choosiness, since her nuggets are lethally stinky (did the cat poop, or are we being invaded with nerve gas?). Nor do I blame Linus. He loves water, and who can blame him? So clear, so cold, so lickably pouring down the dome of the cat fountain. But I was spending more time scooping than doing anything else. It was kind of like that movie “Groundhog Day” except with the same five-minute frame looping repeatedly—me squatting by the litter box, scoop in hand, sifting out pee-cakes and nuggets while outside children sing and play and the sun shines on the fortunate non-pet-owners of Santa Monica. Now I simply kick a little button on my way in and out of the garage, and the circular box begins to rotate, and the mechanical scooping arm does all the work. Ah, the lazy joy. And Mia is enjoying it, too. She no longer buries her waste. Instead, she deposits the goods and scampers off without a second thought. And why shouldn’t she? Waste is now the domain of the [robotic] help.


January 15th, 2006

Rain in the Southland confuses me. There’s the cozy-come-inside aspect, the nostalgia-for-the-East-coast aspect, and the just-plain-wtf,-Cali? aspect. Today as we drove in Steve’s car, he turned on the vents for a sec, and it smelled just like a subway tunnel in DC or NYC (or, I guess, SF). This was on the way to a restaurant he’s been insisting we’ve eaten at before, although I knew I had never been there. Once inside, I confirmed that, yep, this was noplace I had ever been. But it is somewhere I’ll go again. Cheesy spinach ravioli mmm. This week is wearing me down. It’s been a while since I had to get up every single day and go to work, and that’s part of it. Takes a little adjusting. But mostly it’s the grading-end-of-the-semester-stuff, planning-for-new-semester-stuff on top of orienting to a new job (in happy news, I’m making amazing progress in learning 100+ names). The teacher for whom I’m subbing had a baby girl on Thursday. She named her Ella Josephine. Her students are so excited you’d think this kid is something they birthed themselves as a student body. Adorable, these teens. And so smart and mature, too. They truly are “young adults.” And they have super creative brains. They are not the kind of students who respect someone just because she is the “teacher.” When I sense moments of respect, I cherish them. I’m loving working with them.

First Days

January 10th, 2006

Today was my first day teaching at the high school sans the regular teacher (she is on maternity leave for several months starting NOW). Of course, my attempts to seem all put-together were again thwarted, just like on my last first day. This time? Students were giving speeches, and in the middle of one girl’s speech, my cell phone rang. DOH! How could I forget to turn it off during student speeches! How how how! I have her speech here to grade. Fortunately, she was an excellent speaker and totally recovered, so no worries as to how I affected her grade or anything. But my reputation! As a doofus! Lives ON!

I just wrote in the margins of her speech, “Not only did you speak VERY well, but you passed my ‘pop quiz’ with flying colors!” (Think she’ll buy it?)

Emu Flu

January 9th, 2006

It’s 3:15 a.m. I’m so tired and unwell, but I can’t sleep, and for a weird reason: The antibiotic my doc prescribed, Biaxin, is one I’m supposed to take with food. And I have been. But at night. So for the past three nights I’ve been awakened by the taste of poisonous Biaxin fumes rising up my esophagus. Yes, imagine a taste SO BAD it WAKES YOU UP. And won’t let you sleep. You try everything: mouthwash, eating, sleeping sitting up. Nothing works. Add this to the frustration of the antibiotic not making a dent on the sickness. I really don’t think I’ve ever been quite this sick, this long. I’m so over being under the weather.