Thursday, January 31, 2008

LET'SNOTBEL-SEVEN,COMEANDLEARNTODANCE


not all of life's lessons come from wise, old, respectable sources like our parents, other elders, teachers, or religious scriptures. sometimes they come from much humbler, far less conspicuous places . . .

this is a true story about a hamster named coco.

my brother and his wife both have cat and dog allergies. so, when my nephew and niece got to that age in a child's life when it becomes absolutely necessary to have a pet, my brother and his wife bought them a hamster.

coco, may she rest in peace, was a lovely, delightful hamster. she was demure, petite, loyal, slow to anger, quick to laugh, clever with capacious cheeks and long, pearly white teeth. like all nocturnal creatures (and mobsters), she slept during the day and became active at night, running for hours on end on her little wheel under silvery moonlight.

it is this last that leads us to our tale . . . since i often babysat and am a notoriously light sleeper, in the evenings we’d necessarily move coco from the guest bedroom to the adjoining bathroom. coco, being the ever-gracious hostess, slept in the loo with nary an objection.

one morning, i awoke at the unholy hour of 3am for my usual early morning tinkle. with no lights or wits about me, i rolled from the toasty cosiness of my bed to the icily tenebrous bathroom. in complete darkness, i sat down on the toilet, and as my eyes adjusted to the stygian blackness, i strained to see little coco in her cage. but she was nowhere in sight.

i called to her. no response.

i glanced into the bath tub. nothing.

i turned and peered into the shower. still nothing.

i quickly scanned the floor. no coco.

panic began setting in.

where could she have gone?

had i properly shut her door the night before? how had she escaped? the children would never forgive me if i'd lost their coco.

my mind raced.

it went from the plausible: the children . . . was it them? had the children taken her upstairs to sleep with them without telling me?

to the impossible: la llorona? why not? with no children of her own, maybe she felt a hamster--especially one as handsome as coco--was a suitable replacement.

the chupacabras? not much blood in hamsters, to be sure, but perhaps all it wanted was a light midnight snack.

what? who? how?

WHY?

as i reached for some tissue, a sudden dread enveloped me. i'd checked everywhere for coco. that is, everywhere save the toilet on which i was sitting.

but, no . . . absurd! she couldn't have. could she? how could she even get in there?

using my kegels, i stopped midstream. i listened and then came the most horrifying, indeed, the most sickening sound i could have possibly heard at that moment . . .

splish . . . splash . . . splish . . . splash . . .

IT WAS COCO!

and i had just given her a golden shower.

OMG.

i stood up and looked into the toilet. THERE SHE WAS. there was little coco clinging to the side of the bowl for dear life.

oh, the humanity!

without a thought or moment's hesitation, i reached into the bowl and pulled her out. then, i rushed to the sink and turned on some warm water.

she didn't move.

i was terrified. had i killed her? i knew i shouldn't have had so much water before bed! (thank god we didn't have asparagus for dinner . . .)

i finished rinsing her, and placing her gently on one of the soft, fluffy, pink hand towels, i dried her off.

she still didn't move.

fuck!

please move, coco, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaase.

then came the desperate prayers to god: dear god, if you let coco live i promise to go to church, call my mother more often, stop using profanity . . .

and then, she keeled over.

OH MY FUCKING GOD, she's dead!

thanks a lot, pal!

she LITERALLY keeled over.

some people have the kiss of death.

i, I have the piss of death!

OMG.

i moved in very close.

i nudged her.

and i'll be damned if she didn't spring back to life like frankenstein's monster, scratching and snarling . . .

oh, thank you lord jesus!

then, slowly, coco sat up and began fluffing her fur. after about ten minutes, she was once again perfectly coiffed. she'd been to hell and back, but in true coco style, she didn't look one bit worse for the wear.

i tossed a towel over her and put her softly back in to her cage, making sure the lock was firmly shut.

no, i didn't tell my family. i didn't tell anyone.

until now . . .

and there you are, wondering why you've wasted five minutes of your life reading this shit.

well, little coco went on to live several more happy years at the banana household. and me, i learned a great lesson from that tiny creature: no matter how bad your life gets, you always have to keep a sense of perspective about you because i guarantee that even at its worst, your life is not so bad that you're in a toilet getting pissed on. not usually, anyway . . .

(yeah, ok, i'm sorry. and no, i can't give you your five minutes back.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

NOWSHE'SMYRUCA,I'MBARELYWAITINGFORMYHEINA


(inside joke.)

it's rare, i think, when you meet a kindred spirit. you know what i am talking about? that rare soul who makes you feel like you're not alone in the world, who appreciates and values similar things, who understands you, sees the best in you and gently advises you about the not-so-great parts and how you might go about making them better?

well, i've been fortunate enough in my thirty years to have met as many of these kindred spirits as to make me feel very blessed indeed. this afternoon, however, i want to single out one of these spirits: my friend jz. (no, not the rapper, but likewise lyrical and poetic and musical.)

when we met several years ago, i gave jz cause to nix our budding friendship from the beginning. but for whatever reason, jz forgave me my transgression and our friendship persisted. in fact, in our own way, it blossomed. we don't speak often--not nearly as often as we should since it's always both delightful and illuminating (from my end, anyway)--but when we do i am reminded of just how lucky i am . . . generally, of course, to be surrounded by such great people, but also in particular, for having jz.

usually, jz and i will shoot the shit by trading ethnic insults back and forth. mostly because none of the stereotypes really apply. (though, i do eat a lot of tortillas and yes, i admit that i gesticulate a lot with my hands. oh, and yeah, i like big earrings, ok?) and also because there's no better way to dismantle such things than by making fun of them, right? sometimes, though, our conversations detour from comic barbs to more serious fare: what we want from life, what are our fears, our hopes, our dreams.

anyway, last week, as you know, something i thought was good and true and real turned out to be little more than a mirage in the desert. and i'll be honest, i felt like shit. amazingly enough, at that precise moment, jz sent me one of his random emails just when i was in dire need of some of that straight-shooting, no-nonsense advice that only a new york jew can deliver . . .

the emails are always the same. title: WTF? on the inside: So?

and thus it went. i emailed him back and we talked. well, i blithered and complained and he, as usual, set me straight . . . told me the truth and helped me to see more clearly.

every time we speak i feel like moses on mount sinai. jz's the burning bush. i go up the mountain a totally meshugena (sp?) shiksa and come down a slightly less meshugena shiksa. and all thanks to jz, who never fails to enlighten me (burning bush, get it? yeah, i'm here all week, folks).

it all sounds very cryptic and bizarre, i suppose, from out there, but suffice it to say that a) i'm grateful and b) yeah, you know, i love the guy (not THAT way. though, yes, he's very handsome).

jz, i raise my 40oz. bud light to you . . . with my really long, really red, acrylic nails . . .

Saturday, January 26, 2008

SPEAKOURSECRETINTOYOURHANDSANDHOLDITINBETWEEN


lithuania wants to change its name to something else in order to "boost" its image.

wasn't it shakespeare who said "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet"? well, i'm afraid the opposite is also true.

call lithuania whatever you want to call it. call it spain, call it italy, call it france, call it england, call it shirley, but it's still going to be lithuania.

trust me on this. i tried changing my name once from "lana esperanza maria conchita de la torre lopez banana" to "tall intelligent witty thin sexy white girl with ample tits", but i was still just me.

ONLYFOOLSFOLLOWGOLD.ONLYWISEMENKNOW. . .


i'm feeling really low.

raw, actually, i'm feeling raw.

or rather, was . . .

a confession (or maybe even, an analysis of myself): i have depression, i think. it's my constant companion.

my brain doesn't function normally. i'm very high strung. or alternately very low. there is a point in between, but i am usually closer to the fringes than the middle.

in my mind and heart there is an insatiable, on-going, constant longing. an acute wanting. i am always wanting, wanting, wanting. i want to be smarter. i want to be thinner. i want be a better daughter, sister, aunt, friend, teacher, person. i want to live abroad. i want to solve my students' problems. the world's.

i am always wanting.

what i really want is to STOP wanting.

i want satiety.

right now, my mind, my heart is insatiable. and i am sick of it. i just want to be happy with what i have.

i want so much that i am perpetually in a state of anxiety.

and then, when i make a mistake, like i did this past week, i dwell on how much i want to fix it, fix myself, fix the situation. and i am back at square one: more wanting.

and i beat myself up. a lot. i am always berating myself for not being better.

with this mistake this past week, i have been killing myself over it.

you know the character silas from dan brown's "the da vinci code"? the weird monk who practiced corporal mortification, using a metal cilice and flogging? well, that's me. except that i practice mental and emotional mortification.

anyhow, as i've said, i've been really struggling with my faith in god for about a year now . . . and i still am, but yesterday . . . last night . . . i was feeling the worst i've felt in a long time. it wasn't pretty and i am grateful that several people who know me called me because i think that things might have gotten even uglier had they not.

i was peering down the proverbial oubliette, when i came across the following:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"I heard a wonderful story recently about a tribe in Africa that does something strange when someone violates a tribal rule. Instead of shaming the person, they put them in the center of the village and the entire tribe gathers around that person in a circle.

For the next hour or two, everyone in the village shouts out all of the good things the offender has done; all of their character qualities; all of the things that are true and admirable about that person. By the end of this, the violator is usually in tears, which is when the village embraces the person and throws a party.

If this isn't a flesh-and-blood version of Jesus' story of the Prodigal Son, I don't know what is. What a wonderful thing: to be reminded of who, and whose we are, after falling on our face. And what a different world this would be if that happened more often.

I'm not trying to suggest that some sort of syrupy utopia is possible, or that some people don't pose a legitimate threat to society and need to be dealt with accordingly, but what a counter-intuitive (and biblical) way of dealing with sin; to not shame someone, but to remind them that they are made in the image of a Creator, and that they are infinitely valued, and infinitely lovable."

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

so these people, my friends, reminded me of why i shouldn't give up, of why i shouldn't surrender to the demons in my head. and i am grateful.

today is a new day.

and i am grateful for it.

i am grateful for my friends.

for this imperfect, humble, crazy life.

for love, even when it hurts.

for the chance to wake up early this morning and see things a tiny bit clearer.

"if you want to help yourself," said a close friend last night, "help others."

i am here, people. still here. and i'm going to help.

i am going to do my best, whatever that may be, and i am going to be satisfied.

Friday, January 25, 2008

YOU'REUNBELIEVABLE


(2007: philadelphia, pa. prj called this pic "artsy". truly, now, this really IS the last of the philly photos.)

i don't like personality tests because i think they're just another way to "box" people. having said that, though, i took one tonight and it turns out i'm an ENFP, which stands for "Extrovert, Intuitive, Feeler, Perceiver."

umm, it's pretty frightening how true, indeed, how accurate the description below fits me . . .

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ENFPs:

Strengths: ENFPs have an unusually broad range of skills and talents. They are good at most things which interest them. Project-oriented, they may go through several different careers during their lifetime. To onlookers, the ENFP may seem directionless and without purpose, but ENFPs are actually quite consistent, in that they have a strong sense of values which they live with throughout their lives. Everything that they do must be in line with their values. An ENFP needs to feel that they are living their lives as their true self, walking in step with what they believe is right.

They see meaning in everything, and are on a continuous quest to adapt their lives and values to achieve inner peace.

They're constantly aware and somewhat fearful of losing touch with themselves. Since emotional excitement is usually an important part of the ENFP's life, and because they are focused on keeping "centered", the ENFP is usually an intense individual, with highly evolved values.

Most ENFPs have great people skills. They are genuinely warm and interested in people, and place great importance on their inter-personal relationships.

ENFPs almost always have a strong need to be liked. Sometimes, especially at a younger age, an ENFP will tend to be "gushy" and insincere, and generally "overdo" in an effort to win acceptance. However, once an ENFP has learned to balance their need to be true to themselves with their need for acceptance, they excel at bringing out the best in others, and are typically well-liked. They have an exceptional ability to intuitively understand a person after a very short period of time, and use their intuition and flexibility to relate to others on their own level.

Weaknesses: Because ENFPs live in the world of exciting possibilities, the details of everyday life are seen as trivial drudgery.

They place no importance on detailed, maintenance-type tasks, and will frequently remain oblivous to these types of concerns. When they do have to perform these tasks, they do not enjoy themselves. This is a challenging area of life for most ENFPs, and can be frustrating for ENFP's family members.

An ENFP who has "gone wrong" may be quite manipulative - and very good it. The gift of gab which they are blessed with makes it naturally easy for them to get what they want. Most ENFPs will not abuse their abilities, because that would not jive with their value systems.

ENFPs sometimes make serious errors in judgment. They have an amazing ability to intuitively perceive the truth about a person or situation, but when they apply judgment to their perception, they may jump to the wrong conclusions.

ENFPs who have not learned to follow through may have a difficult time remaining happy in marital relationships. Always seeing the possibilities of what could be, they may become bored with what actually is. The strong sense of values will keep many ENFPs dedicated to their relationships.

However, ENFPs like a little excitement in their lives, and are best matched with individuals who are comfortable with change and new experiences.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

what are YOU?

wanna find out?

http://www.typefocus.com

it's free and takes only a couple of minutes.

SOYUNPERDEDOR.I'MALOSER,BABY.SO,WHYDON'TYOUKILLME?


i'm a fucking asshole.

yeah, you know, i am.

but, there is one redeeming quality about me even though i'm an asshole. it's that i can say that i'm an asshole. more than that, when i've been an asshole, i say so and i apologize.

i fucked up this week. big time.

i hurt the feelings of someone who means the world to me, is the world to me, and i don't know if we can recover.

i feel sick. i feel sick that i hurt them and insulted them. beyond that, i feel sick that i didn't BELIEVE IN THEM. and if i have learned anything thus far in life, it's that you should always believe in the people you love. no matter what.

here's this amazing person who loves me, makes me ache with laughter, makes me deliriously happy, encourages me, and gives wholly and selflessly of themselves to me and what do i do at the first test of my own love for them? i cast them away. i judge them. i don't believe in them.

i'm peter. no, worse . . . i am judas.

god, i am a total, fucking, comprehensive, and unmitigated asshole.

i feel stupid and small in my own insecurities, my own doubts, my own frailties, my own humanity.

i feel embarrassed. i feel ashamed. and i am sorry.

i've apologized. i've apologized about a million ways from sunday. and i'd keep apologizing, but i don't know if it's enough.

is my sorry enough? will they ever forgive me? will we ever be whole again?

i'm such an idiot. i fear i've lost this person forever and the thought of that makes me want to die.

if it's you reading this: i love you. i was a fool. i am a fool. please forgive me. i won't ever hurt you again. i promise you that i'll always believe in you and never, ever doubt you again.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

WE'LLBOTHFORGETTHEBREEZE. . .MOSTOFTHETIME


(2007: philadelphia, pa. autumn on the east coast is superb.)

for a very brief moment, it was the most beautiful thing i'd ever experienced in my life . . .

and yeah, the leaf was nice too, i guess.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

INYOUREYES,ISEETHEDOORWAYTOATHOUSANDCHURCHES


(2008: la habra, ca. yes, i had my camera in the car. yes, it was a red light. yes, i'm nuts. the sticker on the back windshield reads "actual size". adorable, huh? it's a 1957 nash metropolitan from the american motors corporation.)

i was so meant to take this photo (did you check out the license plate?!).

only in california, people, ONLY in california . . .

Monday, January 21, 2008

ALLTHEPIECES,PIECES,PIECESOFME


(2008: whitter, ca.)


(2008: whitter, ca.)


(2008: whitter, ca.)


(2008: whitter, ca.)


(2008: whitter, ca.)

LIKECLEOPATRA,JOANOFARC,ORAPHRODITE


(2008: los angeles, ca. vic and hem at chez victoria for the housewarming.)


(2008: los angeles, ca. vic talking . . . yada, yada, yada. gee, you don't say?)


(2008: los angeles, ca. clearly vic's laughing at MY jokes. see, i'm very witty and funny, did you know?)


(2008: los angeles, ca. wait. what? i'm NOT funny OR witty, i just have something stuck in my teeth? don't just laugh, you ass! is it gone? *suck, suck, suck, swish* how 'bout now?)


(2008: los angeles, ca. vic is quite the literati . . . let's see what's on her shelf now: villete by charlotte bronte; alice's adventures in wonderland and through the looking-glass by lewis carroll; nip the buds, shoot the kids by kenzaburo oe; love in the time of cholera by gabriel garcia marquez. wait, "shoot the kids"? glad I'M the high school teacher. else, i hope that book's not what i think it's about . . .)


(2008: los angeles, ca. ribbit, ribbit. umm, am i the only one slightly turned on by these frogs? did i just say that outloud?)


(2008: los angeles, ca. above: crepes suzette (i sliced all of those oranges myself, thank you very much). you would not believe the incredible spread that vicky put on. few people are as gracious or generous. she HANDMADE EVERYTHING FROM SCRATCH. two kinds of crepes (handmade!), THREE different kinds of tarts (from scratch!), parmesan tomatoes (i helped grate the cheese), couscous, apple salad (yep, that was me julienning), asian mandarin salad, and lots of goodies in between, including brie, french bread, pate, olive tapenade . . . company, food, and wine were all tremendous. little else in life is more satisfying to the soul than good friends and good food. thank you, vicky!)


(2008: los angeles, ca. (cutie-patutie. he's three and fabulous. i wanted to put him in my purse and take him home.) "what's in this, you say? chocolate and hazelnuts?")


(2008: los angeles, ca. THIS is how to PROPERLY enjoy a crepe.)


(2008: los angeles, ca. don't ignore me! (latoya, then vicky, then hem.) hey, hem, what are you looking at?)


(2008: los angeles, ca. oh, HIM! is he rolling that ball or is that ball rolling him?)


(2008: los angeles, ca. "i'm sorry, we're you saying something to me?")


(2008: los angeles, ca. clearly no-one enjoyed the food. but seriously . . . yum, yum!)


(2008: los angeles, ca. at around 9pm, with the tike gone, it was time to kick off our shoes. this is MY shoe. nice, huh? i wear a size 13. i'm a sasquatch. a sasquatch in really hot, sexy, expensive stilletos. cinderella ain't got nuthin' on me, baby! but i digress . . .)


(2008: los angeles, ca. with the shoes off, it was time to open up the rest of the wine . . .)


(2008: los angeles, ca. don't act so surprised, hem, you knew this was coming all along! really now.)


(2008: los angeles, ca. the next few hours, i regret, i am unable to post photos. so in lieu of those censored images, here's an orange gerbera daisy from the table's centerpiece.)


(2008: los angeles, ca. lemme see . . . nope. sorry, still censored. here's a blue daisy . . .)


(2008: los angeles, ca. and we're back. boy, am i glad i don't have to be the one to clean up that mess! thanks again, baby, for everything. congrats on your new place!)

CAMINANDOPORLACALLEYOTEVI


(2008: whittier, ca. daisy outside of my school.)

could this be the prettiest daisy you've ever seen?

MR.JONESANDMETELLEACHOTHERFAIRYTALES


(2008: whittier, ca. fire hydrant.)

how appropriate.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

IT'SSOSHAMEFULOFME,ILIKEYOU


letters.

a beautiful pen.

paper, watermarked . . .

carefully crafted words, now phrases, now paragraphs.

exquisite penmanship.

a seal.

intimate.

a long time ago, people wrote letters.

now people write emails.

i . . . i love letters.

Friday, January 18, 2008

WE'REGOINGDOWN,DOWNINANEARLIERROUND,BUTSUGARWE'REGOINGDOWNSWINGING


OMG, so i read in an article today that a "pathologically aggressive" german teen was sent to REMOTE SIBERIA (redundant, "remote siberia", isn't it?) to reform.

WOW.

calling it "an intensive educational experience abroad" (anyone up for a spot of gulag?), german youth services lit up a decidedly fierce debate about how to handle adolescent crime.

but really, i don't know what's worse? honestly, who am i to judge? so in germany they're shipping their troubled teens to siberia, while here in america we're give them ipods and spring break trips to hawaii and cozumel. (i'm neither kidding nor exaggerating.) both extremes are bad.

kids need discipline, yes. but kids also need love. they need discipline and love in EQUAL parts. too much of one is just as bad as too much of the other. there's got to be a point somewhere in between siberia and the ipod where both kids and adults can see eye-to-eye. what a child needs is his/her parents, family, love, safety, boundaries, friends, discipline. stark isolation isn't the answer, i don't think.

what we're seeing in germany is frustration, but you don't get frustrated with a kid and ship them off to siberia . . .

america has tinkered with a similar concept for decades. it started in the 50s and is still around today. called "kid bootcamp", it is basically the same thing as germany's siberia experiment. kids are deprived of their family, surroundings, comforts and psychologically stressed in order to "break them down" and then, ostensibly, to rebuild them. just like in military bootcamp . . . but if what the military churns out is any indication of what we get back from such programs, then i think this is NOT the way to go.

and no, i don't claim to know the exact path to follow, either. not like god (if he/she exists) left a cookie trail, but i am willing to bet that a) siberia ain't it and b) it probably all comes back down to proper parenting. yeah, you'll have one or two nuts that, regardless of great parenting, will grow up to be utter bastards, but for the most part kids will turn out well if they are brought up with love and discipline.

anyhow, there are my two cents.

INTHEVALLEYOFTHETHUNDERINGHEARTS


(i love hippos. they are my favorite wild beast. yes, i know, I KNOW: they kill the most people in africa every year. I KNOW! don't ask me, OK? i just love them.)

did you know that hippos lick crocodiles?

no, this isn't the beginning of a very dirty joke. apparently, it's true. they've been observed licking crocodiles near the base of their tails to get mineral salts. umm, thank god for morton's.

did you also know that they can run upwards of 20 mph (30 km/h) on land, faster than humans (really fast humans)? yeah . . .

if there is a god, he/she has a marvellous sense of humor.

TIE,TIE,TIEMEUPAGAIN


to eat or not to eat cloned meat? THAT is the question. well, one of them, anyways . . .

now, i've been trying to wean myself off of meat . . . beef, chicken, pork . . . but yes, i still imbibe. so, you know, i feel free to chime in on this cloning business. and as far as my food is concerned, call me old-fashioned, but i'll take my carne au naturel, thank you.

this whole fda "cloned meat is a-ok" stuff is a bit scary . . . and also (pardon my french) bullshit. i don't care what their research says. i say, no m'am! and i don't mean "scary" because i don't think that the meat won't be safe.

i think it's scary and total bullshit that the report fails to address whether or not food cloning is morally sound. i don't believe it is. and yes, i get that the fda is not going to go open that pandora's box, but still . . .

i mean, i'm not one of those ultra-conservatives, believe me. i want to see stem cell research. i want to find a cure for parkinson's and alzheimer's, and paraplegia, and quadriplegia, i DO (especially since i'll probably end up with parkinson's or alzheimer's myself).

i just worry that we're determining the worth of bioengineering projects--like cloning animals for food--solely on the project outcome's "usefulness". but frankly, just because we can, doesn't mean we should.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

WATCHITSPINAROUNDINTOABEAUTIFULOBLIVION


is there a god?

i don't know.

i've had a crisis of faith this year. i don't think i believe in god anymore.

i want to believe that there is a god (and that jesus is him). but i don't know if i can anymore. i don't know if i do anymore. i don't know if i want to anymore.

maybe we're it, you know? maybe the only reason for being good and kind and honest is the sheer sake of being good and kind and honest.

i've posted these gerbera daisies because i love daisies (they're my favorite flowers. and of all the varieties, i love these best. i can't explain it. they're gorgeous and yet humble, if that makes sense), but also because they really make me want to believe in a higher power.

ANDWEDANCEDLIKEAWAVEONTHEOCEAN


(2007: los angeles, ca. hem and victoria.)

making the fray bearable: tweedle dee and tweedle dum. seriously, though, victoria, my wyf (ah, chaucer!), is genuinely great people. she and i met at ucla during the first year of my second round. and hem . . . he was our shakespeare ta. our AWESOME shakespeare ta.

vicky, she's certifiably witty, irreverent, kind, generous, patient, forgiving, and just fucky enough to keep things interesting. besides, she's the only person who'll have an entire conversation with me completely in middle english (she's still at ucla trying to get a phd in some totally insane little niche of the literary world).

at any rate, she just got her first apartment. it's very, very posh--just like her.

congratulations on the new pad, baby! happy housewarming (this coming saturday). el-o vino here we come-o!

HERCONFIDENCEISTRAGIC,BUTHERINTUITIONMAGIC


(the founder of kyokushinkai ("the society of the ultimate truth"): sosai masutatsu oyama. he fought 52 bulls with his bare hands. no joke.)



(just because he's amazing, here's photo of my sensei.)

"fight quest" on the discovery channel is doing an episode on kyokushin karate RIGHT NOW!!! bring it on! OSU!

STOLENFLOWERSARESWEETESTINTHEMORNING


aren't these (shasta daisies?) gorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgeous?

JUSTYOUANDMEONTHISISLANDOFHOPE


(2008: whittier, ca. 5am, in my class . . . woo hoo! no, btw, i'm not hiding food in my cheeks. they really ARE that big.)

i read an article on msn yesterday about teacher absenteeism . . . long story short: for every day that a teacher is out, a student is set back nearly twice as many, and sometimes three times as many days because when the teacher does get back she has to reestablish order, reteach, etc. what they were really driving at though, i think, had more to do with long-term substitution (i.e. when students do not have a credentialed teacher for extended periods of time). i get it: watching movies day in and day out is fun, but not great for expanding one's vocabulary. agreed.

but here's the thing. if we're going to have a discussion about teacher absenteeism, let us also discuss student absenteeism. i may or may not take my allotted ten sick days a year. and i concur that if i do, my students will likely suffer some sort of setback. and i'm sorry. however, it's been my experience that my students are absent FAR MORE than any teacher i know. i've had students out for as many as twenty to FORTY (and in some instances, MORE) days a year!

i hate to go into "when i was that age" stories, but seriously, my mother MADE ME go to school with ebola, the bubonic plague, avian flu, you name it. i could've been dying and dying or not, i had to go to school. end of story.

at my catholic high school, we were allowed to miss ten days and ten days ONLY. if we missed eleven days, we were forced to repeat the entire grade regardless of grades. to my mind, that's brilliant. seriously now, too, this wasn't during the dark ages either. i'm thirty (OUCH!) and so i'm talking about 1992-1996!

i mean, my dad died when i was ten and i only got to miss four days of school. and yes, my parents were still married . . .

anyhow, i don't know if people realize that the responsibility of a child's education rests as much with the parents as with the teachers, but i'm here to say that it does.

Monday, January 14, 2008

COLDLOVINGPROSE,WESTOLEEACHOTHER'SCLOTHES


i bought krispy kremes tonight and i've decided that they are dusted with cocaine. i'm convinced. no, really, they have to be because i can't just have one.

damn you krispy kremes! DAMN YOU!

wonder if i can snort them . . .

SHOWMEAGARDENTHAT'SBURSTINGINTOLIFE


(2007: philadelphia, pa. i meant to focus in on the big, blurry daisy (black-eyed susan?) in the middle, but things just didn't turn out how i'd planned. story of my life, eh? still beautiful, though, right?)

video
(2007: philadelphia, pa. blu and i at the famous "rocky" steps. we're obnoxious idiots when we go out . . .)


don't you think daisies are the friendliest flowers? unpretentious? beautiful? sweet? happy?

i do.

enjoy! they're on the house.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

ANOTHERONEBITESTHEDUST


nothing good ever comes of being a ucla fan. trust me. if i learned anything at all during my time there it's that all you're bound to get in return, IF ANYTHING, from giving ucla sports your love, loyalty, and well, cash is heart break.

i mean, i can't even look at a football anymore without crying.

i'm a day late with this, but it's been a bit of a looney weekend. anyhow, i take my good news whenever and however i can get it. so, without further ado . . . yesterday our basketball team gave bruin nation something to smile about again: "No. 5 UCLA Upends No. 4 WSU to Extend Win Streak".

even from the most jaded bruin fan, THAT deserves an eight-clap:

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

u

c

lllllllllllllllllllllllll

aaaaaaay

u

c

l

a

fight, fight, fight!

BEM,BEM,BEMMARIATEQUIERO.BEM,BEM,BEM


(2007: philadelphia, pa. more philly shots. you're gonna get sick of these. took this one in elfreth's alley. cute, huh?)

so, i ask, "what is nuts?" no, not, what ARE nuts, but what IS nuts? where's the line between sane and not? what's kooky for some is sheer madness for others. but how do you know?

my friend, victoria, told me on friday night that i was crazy. and that i ought to "regulate". "a little crazy (i.e. me) is good," she offered, "but too much will make your colon bleed."

hmm . . .

i'll just let that nugget stew in the cosmic beyond.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

HERHAIRISALWAYSAMESS.YOUCATCHHERSTEALINGANDSHEWON'TCONFESS



(2007: whittier, ca. top image: teodorico quiros' oil painting "el porton rojo". bottom image: my version of "the red gate", but in watercolors.)

i don't know how flattered teodorico quiros would be to see his fellow countrywoman's version of his painting, but here it is. i did it as a project for one of my education classes at loyola a few weeks back, you know, for shits and giggles. now, though, i think i might keep trying to paint.

i'm thinking about ripping off van gogh's "starry night" next. i know, lame, but i've always loved that painting.

still have a bunch of stuff to do today, but i think i might hit the palette tonight.