Wednesday, March 27, 2013


     This week I received an envelope from my best friend. She is so good at the art of snail mailing me every so often. She keeps me up to date on what's going on in her life and the lives of her family. And always, she sends me clippings from newspapers, like the LA Times and Wall Street Journal, and cartoons about cats and kids and other funny things.We also talk on the phone quite often, sometimes for hours, but I must admit, if she stopped mailing me these little packets of clippings and such, I would truly miss them. One, I love to get mail as I wrote about in an earlier blog, and two it just shows me how much I mean to her; that she is constantly thinking of me and wants to send me articles she thinks I would like or have a use for the information therein.So it is with no small amount of jubilation that I search my mailbox everyday and on some days I find an envelope from her.
     She sends me many articles on writing, both on a personal level and things of interest for my high school classes. I have put many of these ideas to use over the years. She sends articles about animation and other art forms, events going on at museums,etc...
     But this week, along with articles on writing and such, she also sent me an article about a man who had read thousands of books. He talks about having each of them, still, piled in his work space, and in every room of his house. He talks about switching to an e-reader but in the end he vows to never give up the printed page in hard copy format. Technology is great but not to replace his books. this man says that he reads every where, lectures, lunch with friends, concerts (once a 9 hour concert was read through. He read an entire book!)
     Well, now. My brain screams, "CHALLENGE!" Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to have all the books you ever read surrounding yourself on a daily basis? How great that would feel to have the warmth of all those story lines to reflect upon and re-read if you chose to? Could one do this? It would take a long time to gather all those books from all those years. Could I even remember them all? Hmmmm... just how would one go about this? And then where would I put them all? A great idea if I could get rid of everything in my house, which I'm telling you right now, is not very big to begin with. And the cost. Even at $5 a book (library sale, yard sale price) we're probably talking thousands of dollars. No, really, I mean it. I am now 57 years old and I have been reading since I was 5. (I'm not sure I would want to pay the price for the antique Dick & Jane books of my youth!)
     So, in thinking about this I believe I have come up with a good alternative. A book list. I don't think I am going to organize the list but rather put them on willy-nilly as I come across one. For instance: today I have my students at the library. As they scan the shelves looking for a book for SSR, I find these books that I have read and loved: Pet Semetary by Stephen King, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, The Life of Pi by Yann Martel, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Jonah's Gourd Vine by Zora Neale Hurston, The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Texas by James Michener, Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson , The Awakening by Kate Chopin,  Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain,  The Stand by Stephen King, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
     Not a bad beginning for the list. I will add more as I come to them and read more, so look for the list to grow.
     It is a good feeling to be able to look at the list and remember the books and their stories. But mostly it is a comfort to realize how many hours and years I have spent in the company of literature. I would love to pile the books all up and sit upon them. Decorate my rooms and life with them. But a list will have to do. And I have a feeling that the challenge of the list will keep me busy, in a good way.            

Saturday, March 23, 2013


     Yesterday was our 38th wedding anniversary. 38 years sounds like a really long time. Doesn't seem like we have been together that long. And then you add in the 3 years we went together before we got married. Wow. 41 years!
     We have been through so much in those years. Hard to believe that we raised 2 kids and now they are grown and both married themselves. How many cats have we had? How many jobs? How many clogged toilets and roof leaks? They all blur into a hazy memory. Each experience seemed so important and urgent at the time. Each high school football game and swim meet so real. How did we survive the death of our parents and grandparents and cancer? It is difficult to think while you are having the experience, just how forgettable most of the details will become. They morph into a cloud of other memories and are softened out of urgency and tragedy.
     So, what is still real and up front and personal? What has stayed consistent all these years? Love; of course. But almost more importantly: friendship and laughter. You just can't have a true relationship without those two things. Friendship is so important. One must never say anything hurtful  to a spouse you wouldn't say to a best friend. And the laughter. How many times at the end of the day did we come together and laugh about a stupid social mistake or something the kids had gotten in trouble for? Don't get me wrong; marriage is a serious business. It's all about hard work and giving, on both sides. But sometimes you just have to laugh. Especially if you have children. they take themselves way too seriously. They don't know that in the big scheme of things, breaking a window or not keeping curfew is not a life-or-death situation.
     I knew going into this marriage that this was going to be my only marriage. I said the vows: "Till death do us part." But even if my husband dies before me (he says statistically, the odds are not on his side) I know I will never have another marriage. I will not even want to look for another relationship. I will want this one to be ever most present in my mind until I die. It has been too good. Too much fun. And I will not want to lose it into a hazy memory. It will comfort me, and sustain me and when I end my days it will make me laugh.   

Thursday, March 14, 2013


     There are a couple of things I have been pondering lately. The first item regards men's ties. Most men who wear ties on a regular basis have been wearing them for a while. Why can't they get the knots straight when they tie their ties? I don't notice it so much on the regular guy types one passes on the street because they don't hold still long enough to really notice things like that. I'm mainly interested in the news broadcasters and other men on T.V. This is really beginning to bother me. I know many of the national news guys have make up and wardrobe people. Isn't it their job to make sure their boss goes on screen nice and neat and tidy? What would it take? Two seconds to race up and say, "Wait! Let me fix the tie!" Someone should take on this issue. Someone should be held responsible for this travesty of television viewing. And who decided that newscasters would be ok wearing striped ties? This just emphasises the crooked knot even more! A nice plain or small print tie would be nicer and then, if they don't get the knot just right, it is not so evident. My husband cringes when he sees a knot askew because he know's what's coming...a disgusted sigh and look of derision from me in my chair and usually... nope, he can't stop it...a short tirade on the inefficiencies of the support people in the studio. Come on...Is it too much to ask to straighten a tie? People, PLEASE!
     The second thing that is of concern, bowing again to the news programs, is the repeated stupid pitures they show in relationship to their news story. The other night we were watching the news (my husband swears he's going to forbid me to watch anymore because I just get angry...) and they were reporting a murder in Santa Maria, a stabbing, I think. Anyway, they put up a picture of a convience store. No cops, no patrol cars, no yellow tape, broad daylight (remember I said it was at night.) Now, was that the store where it happened? Was it a store even IN Santa Maria? What was the point? And last month when all the news stations were reporting the countdown to the "sequester" in Washington (a stupid name by the way...doesn't anybody check Sequester does not mean "to be stubborn" :/ ) every newscast I saw, that talked about the issue, showed paper money being printed? What was THAT supposed to mean? Were the stubborn politicians out printing money instead of making important decisions? Where they supposed to be voting on a new color for the money? What? I just don't understand what they are thinking. It would be nice if the pictures went WITH the news story. What a concept.
     My head hurts.
     That's all I'm going to ponder about today. I have essays to grade and that will require all my brain power. Guess I won't watch the news husband will be happy.

Monday, March 11, 2013

One Hour

     This last weekend was one of the two weekends I dread every year. The weekend of the time change. The one for ending day light savings time, in the fall, isn't so bad because we get to add an hour into our day. Well, not really, but we set the clock back one hour, like novice time travelers, and revel in the extra hour of sleep (at least that's what I usually use my hour for.) It is a time to renew, feel rested, finally catch up a little from all the sleep we lose during the year (yeah, right). We love the head game we play.
     But this time change, going into daylight savings time, is murder. Don't get me wrong...adding an hour in the fall upsets my bio-rhythms (wow! how long has it been since you've heard THAT word?) I have trouble sleeping and organizing my day and even with that extra hour of sleep, I still feel behind for the effort. The spring jump is harder though. Neither of the time changes interrupt my waking up hour. It's always dark when I get up at 5:30, but it is all downhill from there, especially in the spring. I know why we do this: to save energy. I know when we started this: during WWII in an effort to have more productive days. But I'm just wondering if it isn't messing with our natural human systems. I don't know anyone who isn't affected by the time change, and I definitely know it messes with mine. Because it stays light so much later I am always wondering why it is so late and I haven't done something: make dinner, get to meetings on time etc... It upsets my natural clock. For instance: Saturday, I not only lost an hour of sleep, my body woke up an hour earlier in the middle of the night and I couldn't get back to sleep. I usually have to get up once in the night and I have always had a hard time returning to sleep once my body is upright, but now until my systems adjusts, I will be just as tired as I was before and now just that much more guilty about wasting another hour of sunlight! This is a no-win situation, any way you look at it!
     I can't wait for next week. My system will have resettled. Things may seem back to a normal state. I will adapt and begin to be better at appointments and dinner. And I will enjoy the longer periods of sunshine, especially when I have time off this summer. I'll get in the groove and then before we know it, it will be October, and in my continual head game, I'm already looking forward to getting that hour of sleep back...

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Million Dollars

     Sitting here this morning, at my desk, in my class room, and listening to Bare Naked Ladies sing "If I Had a Million Dollars." It's a great song, kind of a catchy tune with some cute verses. A nice thing to listen to in the morning to get one going. Especially on a day like today. It has been a very long week at school. We have been working on our WASC accreditation for almost a year now and they had their visiting committee come this week for 3 days. Popping into class rooms unannounced, having question and answer meetings for the different groups that put the WASC report together. We were supposed to be on our toes. Dress nice, pull out our best lessons, decorate our rooms, be sure to post the standards etc...They probably don't mean to (or maybe they do) but they cause a lot of stress on campus.
     I had my surprise visit first thing Monday morning. We had just finished one of my more interactive lessons, where the kids get really involved, and were settling down to finish reading a story out of our textbooks. Here comes the guy in a suit, walking up my ramp. Drat. He missed the good stuff. He popped in, we went on reading. when my students read out loud I have to be very "present" in the moment because they have low vocabulary skills, and I need to tell them the words they don't know. Because of this, I didn't even get to say hello to the gentleman. We made eye contact, he looked around my room, listened to the kids "popcorn" read (passing the duty from student to student every paragraph or so) for about 7 minutes and then he waved goodbye. Not a highly entertaining visit but it was what it was...reading in an English class.
     So, now they are gone. They had a reading of their report and recommendation yesterday after school. I didn't stay. We always hope for a 6 year accreditation. Last time our test scores were low and we had some issues with Administration which caused us to only get a 3 year accreditation. So, when I am done with this blog I'll go on over to the school e-mail and check to see if they announced good news or so-so news. It would be nice to be able to take a breather for a year or so before we start on the process all over again.
     If I had a million dollars. Hmmmm... that would be nice. Maybe I wouldn't have to put up with the WASC visits. Or maybe I would. Wouldn't it be nice to go to a job every day that you didn't HAVE to go to? If I had a million dollars...