Thursday, January 31, 2008


It feels like the flu.

Aches. Chills. Pains. Head in a vice-grip-clamp. Good stuff.

It's now been enough hours of feeling like this for the malaise to set in.

Don't want to watch movies. Don't want to read. Don't want to sleep. Don't want to eat. Don't want to talk.

Moaning and whining are the only activities which remain appealing.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Let's Meet

The relaxed phase of existence lasted for a full 48 hours last week and then the stress kicked in. Oh well. I resisted for two whole days.

Five minutes ago I started filling in my calendar with projects for August.

Right now I need to coordinate my schedule for the next five days. It's pretty packed and getting busier with every email that shows up in my inbox. Meetings. Observations. More meetings. More observations. Workshops. Another set of meetings.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I need to get out more

Why is tomorrow exciting?

It's the day the Oklahoma State quater is being officially released by the mint. Of course!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Loud Strangers on the Subway

"John R., when he gets drunk he has a tendency to pee."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Return to the Movies

I've started watching movies again. This is a good thing, since I couldn't watch any movies except for romantic comedies for several years. Wouldn't seem like such a big deal except I was a film major in college and movies once were my life.

For the past six or seven years, most movies had become traumatic experiences that I wanted no part of.

They were too real. Bad things happening to fictional characters resonated too much with bad things that happen to real people.

I've had friends that have been stabbed. Others who have been murdered. Acquaintances kidnapped. Suicides.

I've been chased by men with knives on more than one occasion. Been attacked by dogs. Felt paralyzed by fear at two in the morning when camping alone and hearing a group of screaming, drunken men arrive at my campsite. Natural disasters have ravaged the lives of friends and family.

For a number of years, watching these kinds of events unfold in movies has not been escapist entertainment, and I haven't been able to do it.

Now something is different. I don't know what it is that's changed, but I'm not identifying fictional events so closely with real ones anymore. The change has been gradual but now it's picking up speed.

In less than a week I've been to two movies in a theater and I've watched a couple more on DVD.

Tonight I went to see No Country for Old Men. After all the blood I've seen the past week in real life, the movie blood didn't bother me at all. I even watched a needle going into a character's skin and that's the kind of thing I've never been able to keep my eyes open for.

I loved the film. Loved it so much... The Coen Brothers...

And it was funny. I laughed out loud in the theater several times. Despite the killing and the blood. There was a guy in the seat behind me laughing too. Both of us were watching the movie alone.

It was a strangely intimate movie watching experience, two strangers sitting alone, laughing in a sparsely populated theater at the same dry humor. After the film ended, he headed for the door as I gathered my things. He waited, holding the door open for me. The two laughers. I said thank you. We smiled. He walked one way into the night, and I walked another.

It felt good to blow off all responsibilities and spend the evening in a theater watching a movie. I walked home smiling, enjoying the cold, feeling super tranquilo. I think this going to the movies thing is going to become a regular habit again.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Tomorrow grad classes start up again. I have more reading to do... because of course we have several assignments to work on before the semester even begins.

I'm going to be bed though. That's part of the resolution to make 2008 more tranquilo. Adequate amounts of sleep every night will go a long way toward making life feel more relaxed.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Essentials

There are a few things I try to always have in my big messenger bag when I go out for the day.

I have a hand lens in one pocket because you never know when there will be something interesting to magnify.

To help navigate, I've got a small compass.

There are band-aids for boo-boos.

I go through phases of carrying around a tape measure.

Saturday, I was with a child who fiddled with his nose to the point that he got a bad nose bleed. There was blood all over him, the bathroom floor, the sink, the shelf, the mirror...

I found myself thinking, this is twice in one week I'm being exposed to copious amounts of sangre. I'll take this as a sign that I probably need to add a stash of latex gloves to my work bag.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Almost End

The tiredness is starting again. The stored up sleep is wearing off, back to the six hours a night.

Today was my last official day of student teaching. We went ice skating. It was awesome.

Lest anyone think there was no teaching on the last day of student teaching, I did help teach about five kids how to ice skate who had never been on the ice before. They started off as wall-huggers and ended up skating near the orange cones at the center of the rink where the fast people zip by. They were not zipping, but they were on their feet and moving forward.

Tomorrow I'm going into school all day to hang out with the kids and teachers. This evening I baked three King Cakes complete with babies stuffed inside. I'll share cake with the two seventh grade classes and then spend most of the rest of the day back in sixth grade.

I'm going to miss being at school so much that I'm applying for a substitute teaching license.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Hitting the Slots

The tired sunken look is back on my face. I was back to my old tricks last night, only sleeping four hours and then going to work. But it was the only night this week and tomorrow there is NOTHING that has to be done. The whole day is free to simply do things I actually want to do. Seize the day.

Last night the roommates and I all had a joint party. Which each invited friends and told friends they could invite friends. It was an interesting mix of people and it seemed like people were enjoying themselves.

One of the interesting things is that we have about three times as much alcohol in the house after the party than we had at the start of the party. This has the makings of an interesting word problem. The fridge is packed with beer. We have bottles of liquor to join the bottles of liquor from past parties. There are enough bottles of wine in my room to establish a small wine cellar. We need to have another party.

Tonight I went to do laundry so that tomorrow is completely free. The past couple of months I've gotten really motivated to finish my collection of state quarters... and that makes the trip to the laundry exciting. I put my five into the change machine and the coins clatter into the metal tray like a slot machine pay out. Out of twenty possibilities, there wasn't a single state quarter I didn't already have.

I put in an extra dollar to have one more chance at a lucky strike and got four old style quarters with the eagle on back. No luck. I was tempted to feed in another dollar. Gambling at casinos does not do anything for me, but collecting quarters does seem to have some kind of addictive allure. Nerd alert.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


No one told me that being worked like a rented mule was going to involve singing and and dancing in front of a class of 7th graders while extolling the glories of Wisconsin cheese. I will be doing this tomorrow.

This mule thing is not so bad.

In other news, I got bit today. By one of the kids. It was an accidental biting. A rambunctious student threw himself through the air with his mouth open and happened to catch my thumb with his teeth in the process.

"Hey, you bit me!"

"For real?"

"Look at my thumb."

"Oh, my bad."

I'm actually going to miss all this ridiculousness when my placement ends next week.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Back to Work

Tomorrow I'm back to student teaching. This afternoon I got an email to let me know what I have to look forward to:

"I know it's your last week... that's why I'm gonna work you like a rented mule!"

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Back in Brooklyn

Oooooh, that was two weeks that went by too fast.

I've been up since 3:30 am, although I'm not completely sure I ever fully woke up at all.

On the first plane I fell asleep during the beverage service and missed getting a hot tea. The second flight I managed to stay awake long enough to ask for a cup of tea. I did fall asleep during the time it took the flight attendant to pour the hot water and put the tea bag in the cup. Startled awake by an incredulous, "Miss!" My eyes fluttered open to an outstretched arm pushing a hot beverage toward my face.

Today I learned I can produce some sleep induced drool pretty quickly too.

Friday, January 04, 2008


Packing packing packing. Snow pants might not fit in the small backpack.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Hot stuff

I got snow pants!

My friend Dan has been extolling the virtues of owning a pair of snow pants for the past year. He says his snow pant ownership has completely changed his relationship to cold weather.

Today I went into Wal-Mart to look for red beans. Before making it into the grocery section, I came across a pair of snow pants on the edge of a clothing aisle. Snow pants in New Orleans. Black with hot pink lining.

They impressed a fellow shopper.

"Baby, what kinda pants you got there?"

"Snow pants."

"What pants?"

"Snow pants... For snow."

"Hmmmm. Those pants sure are HOT!"

Guess I'm ready for the cold, thanks to senpai Dan.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Winding Down

Time at home has flown by. Two weeks just isn't enough time, especially since most of the first week was spent trying to recover from months of too little sleep. It would be nice to stay here another week. If only I didn't have to go back to student teaching on Monday... it would be possible to stay longer.

Seven more days of student teaching and then I am one hurdle closer to finishing my degree and getting certified to teach. There is a list of hoops to jump through, and finishing student teaching will be one more down. 13 more hoops to go.

Once the student teaching ends, a museum internship will begin. The process of securing an internship has been going on for a couple of months and as of tomorrow everything will be finalized.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

This morning, Shokufeh and her family came over to our house to see its progress. No longer a construction zone, it's looking more like a home everyday. It was a good way to start the year, hanging out with friends who feel like family.

Since the house was looking the spiffiest it's been in a couple of years, I took photos. If I'm feeling motivated tomorrow I'll attempt setting up an on-line slideshow.

It's almost midnight and I've been watching Gilmore Girls episodes since about three in the afternoon. Two more and I'm going to bed.