Tuesday, November 13, 2012

And it's the 13th already.

New Orleans, LA

Close my eyes... and eight days pass in the blink.

My house is full of holes.  Contractor created holes.  I'm trying to be calm about it.  It's easier to be calm when the weather is nice.  Nice weather coming in holes is alright.  Hold on nice weather.  Hold on.

Monday, November 05, 2012


New Orleans, LA

That extra hour of sleep and the energy that went with it took my mind completely off posting yesterday.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Bon Voyage

New Orleans, LA

This afternoon I sat on the levee watching tugboats push barges up and down the Mississippi.  I ate a strawberry sno-ball while waiting for a giant cruise ship carrying my parents to float past. I think all the dragonflies in attendance would agree that there was no better place to be.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Up and Down and Up Again

New Orleans, LA

This was one of those extreme roller-coaster days when all starts off great, gets unexpectedly awful, improves a bit, goes downhill again, seems better, becomes violently bad, and finally ends with the loveliest of evenings.

If I go to sleep right now, the day can end on the positive side.  Goodnight.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Another November

New Orleans, LA

It's November which means time to try to post once a day for the whole month.  My track record has not been great the last couple of years...

What's going on right now?  Or what's been going on the past several months?  Mostly I've been working.  It is not giving me joy.  There's a great deal of reevaluation going on in my brain.  Where is balance?  It's long lost and I'm not sure how to regain it.  Many things need to change, and soon.  

When not working, I've been doing renovations on the house.  Progress on the house does make me happy.  Someday I will live in it, and maybe that someday will be in 2013.

At the house, the wiring from the 1930's has been replaced. Most of the old pipes have also been replaced.  Next big project is repairing the dozens of holes in the plaster walls from electrical and plumbing improvements. Water was reconnected yesterday and today there may be hot water again for the first time in a month.  The celebration of that milestone may include finally mopping the dust coated floors.

I've been a bad friend to just about everybody for... a long long time now.  For that, I'm very sorry.

Friday, May 11, 2012


I bought a house.

The past six weeks have been a whirlwind and I never said what the big change was, but now I can say that I have a home.

The house is a Craftsman California bungalow. There's a porch complete with porch swing.  The garage is now home to two kayaks and a lawn mower.  The house has little to no furniture inside.  Settling has to wait until the house is rewired and a wall gets knocked down.

There are parrots in the trees and the sound of church bells and the Okra Man in the evenings.  It's a good place.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Big change is about to happen. Good change. I've been talking about it with friends I've seen in person. Yesterday someone asked me, "Why are you saying 'if' and 'maybe' about this? Is there some problem?"

There's no problem. The only issue is that I don't have any certainty about anything. One minute someone is alive, the next minute he is not. One minute your home town is dry, the next minute water is pouring over the levee. Life changes in an instant, for the better or for the worse. Nothing can be taken for granted. Tomorrow cannot be counted on to be the same as today.

And that's okay.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


So, I've missed 10 days since last posting. It doesn't feel like 10 days. It feels like two. Two really, really long days.

Two weeks from tomorrow I'm supposed to go to New Jersey for a few days. Time for more Montessori training. Have I done any assignments that are due two weeks from today? Nope. I think there is a page long list of things I'm supposed to have done.

Instead, I'm going to make some more origami cranes before going to sleep. It's meditative.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

I blew NaBloPoMo already...

I didn't post yesterday so the posting everyday in November is already blown. That's okay though. It takes the pressure off.

There's enough other pressure. Today I received a bag of relaxing tea from my Montessori training program as a gentle reminder that I have a ton of work that is due in two and a half weeks. Haven't done any of it. Also received a letter in the mail from Master Gardeners reminding me that I have until December 31 to complete my 20 hours of service I owe them. I think I've got 15-17 hours to go.

Instead of doing those things, I working on making origami cranes. Next weekend is the school fair and my class's booth is going to try to get 1000 origami cranes made to send to the Tohoku region of Japan. Great idea except only one of my students knows how to make origami cranes. No one else does, including me. I just made my first one from start to finish EVER. I always handed it off to someone else to finish around step 14. That's where the frustration sets in. Today I stuck with it and did the last four steps. Hurray for YouTube how-to videos!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Anybody want a timid pitbull?

There's a shy pitbull that's taken to living near our house. It showed up a couple of weeks ago and sometimes hangs out by the neighbors fence and sometimes sleeps on our grass when the sun is out.

My mother said the SPCA was out yesterday and tried to catch the dog, but it outsmarted them and kept a distance. He likes my dad. He tolerates me. There is no touching.

It would be nice if he found a family to take care of him.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Ice Cream

Tonight I spent three hours at Creole Creamery. Half pumpkin latte with half Cookie Monster was a delicious combination. Hanging out and just living the moment was even better.

Must do this more often.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

A Year Later...

I'm not committed to writing everyday in November this year. I would like to, but no promises. We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Food Memories 2

Today I bought some Darjeeling tea. Normally I'm a Lady Grey drinker, but in honor of Chris, I'm going back to the purple Twinnings box.

Back Home

After most of the week with Grandparents, it's nice to be back home again. Yesterday I made an effort to clean up the piles of teaching debris that had collected in every room in the house.

My bedroom still looks like it's been ransacked, but the rest of the house looks much better.

I've spent a lot of the week trying to just get things done.

There's a freelance project that has only 33 more days until time runs out to finish. But it's ending. That will be one big thing taken off my plate.

I'm trying to get ready for the onslaught of school for the next weeks until winter break. I'm trying to not shut away my grief from Chris' death, but to let it wash over me when it needs to.

I'm trying to set things up to find the balance I'm so hopeless at maintaining.

And I'm totally ok with not having posted every day in November. It feels kind of good to not care that I couldn't do it. Freeing.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Food Memories

I'm in McDonald's in rural Pennsylvania, using the free wifi to get some work done. I'm here to visit my grandparents.

I'm feeling a lot more at peace now than I have all week. Friends and family have been very comforting. Yesterday we passed by a Trader Joe's in Pittsburgh and stopped in to get groceries. I bought a box of Boursin to eat in memory of Chris. When we spent Christmas in Cambodia a number of years ago, we found a little store that was stocked with Boursin. He was so excited, but I'd never tasted it before.

It rocked my world. Baguettes and Boursin were all we ate for days.

The next food memorial event will be an attempt to make a traditional Swiss fondue.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Favorite Photo

Querido Jean- Christophe,

I hope you have found peace and an eternity of great books.

Love always, Jennifer

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Letting Go

Took the day off today to have a good cry.

Monday, November 15, 2010


You cannot erase yourselves,
you people who try.

You think you can quietly quit this earth,
but sound from those who cry in your absence
fills the emptiness you leave behind.

You cannot erase yourselves,
from our memories, from our lives.

Our lives don't stop, can't stop,
though sometimes the grief is too much.

You are not erased.

We remember you.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 13

Oh, it's Saturday? What happened to Friday and Thursday?

According to this blog, they didn't happen. National Blog Posting Month - post everyday, what?

Today's goal is to get a break tag inspection sticker for my car. I was supposed to get one last month but but that never happened. Every time I see a police car I start to sweat. I don't want to pay the fine.

What happened yesterday? I made a child sob. Progress reports went home. Someone hadn't done any assignments. There was sadness.

Thursday, I don't remember. Short term memory retention seems to top out at about 36 hours. By tomorrow, I won't remember Friday anymore.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I'm Oprah

Today was a day of gossip and rumor-mongering amongst the children. I knew something was up when I overheard this on the playground, "You might as well tell Ms. Jennifer. She's going to find out anyway."

The truth started to come out in class. Rumors. Gossip-mongering. Arranged marriages amongst the 4th graders. That kind of thing.

We spent time talking it out. When things turned contentious amongst a few of the interested parties, I suggested we arrange to meet with a social worker for some conflict resolution. They refused. "Nooooooo! Ms. Jennifer, you're our Oprah!"

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


I've been up since 1:30 am. Got up that early to do a load of work before working all day. Now it's time for the nightly news and I'm going to bed. And I'm not grading or preparing a single thing. Rebellion!

Monday, November 08, 2010


I didn't like today. Can it be over now?

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Karaoke Surprise

Yesterday I went out to dinner with a bunch of people who have lived in Japan at one point or another. Some people are like me and haven't been in Japan in 5 or more years. Other just got back three or four months ago.

I ate food that seemed vegetarian (grilled tofu, seaweed salad, sweet potato fries). It wasn't. One of those three things contained fish. Accidental fish product consumption is something that happened to me pretty much every time I went out to eat in Japan. Wouldn't be so bad except that my body seems to be unable to tolerate the smallest amount of fish.

Last night I discovered that the restaurant has Japanese-style karaoke boxes. Now it's not necessary to go all the way to New York to belt out Queen's "Bicycle Race." That bit of information is 100% worth the fish poisoning.

Friday, November 05, 2010

It's Always Something

Today I got a call from the bank. They had some questions for me about some purchases made during the day.

It seems someone in Stuart, Florida, went shopping with my credit card number this afternoon. This lovely human being ought some groceries and must have filled a Hummer's tank with gas at a Chevron Station.

The bank says not to worry, I'll be refunded all the money.

So now that that's all worked out, I can go back to worrying about being assaulted with pie tomorrow.

Zonked Out

I fell asleep in a chair last night, I think before the last few seconds of The Office played out on TV. I woke up enough to go to bed and it was all unconsciousness after that.

No post yesterday. It's much less disappointing to miss a post at the beginning of November than to be diligent everyday and then mess up in the last week. The pressure's off now.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Diaper Dave

Today in class I shared the election results with my students. They wanted to know who won the Louisiana Senate race. I told them.

Their reaction:

"What?! No! He's a bad man!"

And the adult in the room had to bite her tongue.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Fundraising 101

Today, in a moment of weakness, I signed up to be a part of a school fundraiser. Soon students are going to be able to throw whipped-cream pies at my face. For an hour.

If I fake being really angry at specific children for the next several days and give everyone recess detention, will that maximize the fundraising potential of my participation in the pie-throwing booth?

Monday, November 01, 2010


It's 8:34 pm and already four minutes past my bedtime.

I started teaching in August and I tend to work until it's time to go to sleep (at 8:30). And then I get up at three in the morning to do more work until it's time to leave for school. Every day feels like it needs about 20 more hours in it.

Six minutes past bedtime...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's That Time Again

Tomorrow begins November. So do you know what that means?

The silence ends. One month of posting everyday, or at least trying.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Where the hell have I been?!?

I had no idea it had been over five months since the last post. Let's just call this "the lost year," and leave it at that.

Right now I'm practicing calmness. It's something I don't let myself experience often enough. Calm. Peace. Normally I'm running around trying to squeeze too many experiences into too short a time.

This summer is going to be about calm. One job. Full nights of sleep. Reading books. Gardening. Eating good food with friends.

That's enough.