Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Then Almitra spoke, saying, "We would ask now of Death."
And he said:
You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honor.
Is the sheered not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink form the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.
--The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
my tio arnoldo died today. it was his and my tia elenita's 47th wedding anniversary. he passed shortly after they went out to brunch.
because they're in costa rica, he must be buried tomorrow, so i won't be going home for the funeral.
i am devastated. we're all devastated.
a brilliant engineer, delightful trickster and storyteller, a fabulous, devoted father and husband and all-around family man, as well as a generous, kind, honest, and humble soul . . . he will be missed.
Monday, April 28, 2008
i'm not used to not being amazing at everything i do, so the fact that my news staff class has sucked two years in a row is REALLY FUCKING KILLING ME.
ok, ok, the first year it sucked, it sucked because i was new and didn't know what the hell i was doing. i mean, we took second place at district, but second place, as we all know, is just first losers.
but this year? there's no excuse. it's all my fault. i totally shit the bed. i didn't plan, thinking i was brilliant enough to wing it.
whoops. newsflash: i'm an idiot.
ok, i'm giving it one more year and if my kids and i aren't kicking ass and taking names by the end of next year, then i'm passing the torch. which is to say, i'm never going to pass the torch . . .
ps: home today because i feel like shit . . . and i was at work all day sunday . . . and i didn't go to bed until 4am working on a project for the vice principal . . .
why, oh, why can i never say no to anyone?
Friday, April 11, 2008
I EARNED FOURS (on a scale of 1-4) ON MY FIRST TWO TPAs (teaching proficiency assessments. each 35 pages long)!
what does this mean? this means i am half of the way to obtaining permanent california teaching credentials (the ones i have now are provisional)!
next stop, finish the phd and get an art credential for news staff so that the kids can get fine art credits for college instead of the elective credits they're getting now.
oh, and get national board certification--just for shits and giggles.
so, now i have my ba in english, ma in bilingual education, a california english teaching credential (and also one in spanish as a foreign language), as well as a bilingual crosscultural language and academic development (bclad) credential . . .
all i need now is to solve world hunger and bring about world peace!
seriously, though, i am really enjoying teaching. in fact, i'm loving it. i am soooooo excited! i've got the best kids in the world. you know, rough and tough, but amazing . . . i love them. they're the best part of my job, which is saying a lot because i am crazy about literature . . .
Monday, April 7, 2008
"The burning blessing when the answer’s no;
the stinging balm of silence when I pray.
I see that it’s to journey that we go.
I see it’s only faith if you don’t know."
Sunday, April 6, 2008
(2008: whittier, ca. ok, so this is the new do; it's all my handiwork. why did i crop the top of my head? well, just imagine velma's bangs above, except totally mangled. the horror! oh, the horror!)
week before last, i went on a little sojourn up the coast. i didn't have any particular destination in mind; just packed a suit case, rented a convertible, and took off . . .
sunglasses on, i put the top down and made my way out of the wretched OC and up the golden state's gorgeous pacific coast highway (PCH). (for the record, i hate orange county. it's so sterile and cookie-cutter. i'm originally from "the valley"--the REAL valley, san fernando--where gritty meets kooky meets crazy. frank zappa sang about it and i . . . i miss it.)
about twenty minutes into my trip, my long dark brown tresses whipping in the wind, i thought to myself, "gee, lana, really ought to put your hair up into a pony tail."
i didn't. doing so would've required that i get out of the impossibly interminable line of cars i was in, thereby losing my place and time and sanity by afterwards having to beat my way back in into an EVEN LONGER line of cars.
three words: fuck that shit.
so, i kept going.
when i got to santa barbara and stopped to refuel, rude stares from passersby prompted me to check my do . . . and yeah, ok, i was channeling amy winehouse's rat's nest beehive a bit, but my hair was still passable. after all, this is CALI-FUCKING-FOR-NAI-AY, people, and some of us are not always perfectly coiffed outside of hollywood circles and prefer to remain true to the state's more bohemian roots, a'ight?
a full tank of gas, some water, and a bag of teriyaki beef jerky later i was back on the road, hair still NOT in a pony tail. yeah, unbelievably, i forgot to put my hair up, AGAIN.
oh well, it was messy already. a pony wasn't going to fix it, i reasoned.
some five hours later, i arrived in napa valley. i was tempted to drive further to eureka, but i was too exhausted.
familiar with the area, i pulled into a small and charming hotel i'd stayed at before. i hadn't thought about my hair since i'd left santa barbara . . . that is, not until the valet and the bell hop and the people in the lobby and the woman running the front desk all gave me the same sorts of indelicate glances i'd received earlier in the day.
couldn't be that bad. could it?
where is a fucking mirror or shiny surface when you really need one, huh?!?!
when i got into my room i finally saw the problem.
fuck amy winehouse's beehive; i was bride of frankenstein.
HOLY FUCKING FUZZY FRIZZBALL, BATMAN!
hair that at the beginning of my little trek shone softly and silkily half-way down my back was now gnarled up into a tightly matted afro. i ran to my suitcase and dug out my comb, but upon seeing the massive clump on my head, it just laughed.
ok, fine, i'll just hop into the shower and wet it down and drop a bottle of conditioner on it and everything will be back to normal.
as i unfurled my towel, i realized the horror . . . the conditioner hadn't worked.
equanimity, equanimity, equanimity . . .
i got my brush and slowly tried to unravel the wad, but all to no avail. i had become the proud owner of dread locks.
there was nothing to do, except to cut it all off.
i put my hair back into a turban and called housekeeping, who brought me a pair of shears that looked incapable of cutting a fart, much less my thick mane.
but, i had no choice.
snip, snip, snip . . . away it all went.
the tangles were so bad that i couldn't even salvage any of it to donate to locks of love.
when i took a good look at my work, finally, i wanted to cry. my already round face was made even more rotund by the new page-boy haircut.
then, i thought, i know: BANGS! if i add some bangs it won't look so bad . . .
except that i pulled my WET, CURLY hair tightly over my forehead and cut where i thought i wanted the bangs without thinking about the fact that the bangs would SHRINK when they would dry.
so, now, not only did i have the world's shittiest haircut, but was also stuck with bangs that looked more like a mass of pubes.
pangs. that's what i have. pangs. pube-bangs.
i was doing ok with them last week, but i just got out of the shower and . . .
fuck it. it's done with.
no more whinging.
it'll all grow out, right?
MR. T IS STILL ALIVE!!!
wait. what? mr. t is still alive?
i thought that man died right along with "the a-team"?
anyhow, that's cool.
mr. t is still alive! here he is at some hollywood shindig.
i feel better now, knowing that somewhere out there mr. t is pitying me.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
just got out of the bath. mmm . . .
for whatever reason, the words "bundlie wundlie" come to mind.
i feel cozy and soft and warm. and i smell pretty nice too thanks to a sweet lemony bath bomb from lush (they make THE best bath goods. i am a total lush whore, just ask vic who's always with me when i'm at the third street promenade blowing my paycheck in their store).
at any rate, while i was in the tub i was listening to the soweto gospel choir and thinking that i really want to go to africa.
i've always wanted to see victoria falls and bungee jump off of the bridge that straddles the zambezi between zimbabwe and zambia . . . but alas, at least for the foreseeable future, such a trip must remain a dream.
i was talking about this with some people and you know, it's not even the money that's a problem. sure, airfare is steep, but once you arrive it's not all that expensive . . .
the real problem is putting our money into certain places and in effect sanctioning governments and actions that have no place in this world. how could we, in good conscience, support the government of zimbabwe at this time?
it's the same with the olympics, right? i mean, look at them . . . in theory, politics has nothing to do with the games, but who really believes that today? everything we do--every dollar, or euro, or pound, or what-have-you that we spend--makes a statement about our political and social ideologies.
so, i guess that for now, friends, victoria falls is off our list . . .
but if you're ever 'round the way, here in el lay, the bridge to nowhere, just 30 minutes away from my apartment, offers an amazing hike and bungee ride . . .
who's with me?!?!
HEARTBREAK. i knew i spoke too soon about being happy and shit (see post below)!
we lost to memphis by 15 . . .
sniff, sniff, sniff.
from the ucla sports message boards because i couldn't say it better myself: "Some days you're the windshield. Some days you're the bug! We just didn't have the players to match up well with theirs [Memphis]. They ran and we ran after them. I guess defense can get you to the Final Four, but it's offense that gets another banner. Ben Howland is a great coach who got the most out of what he had. Our shooters, with the exception of Russell Westbrook, took the game off. Simply stated, we're good but Memphis is better. It's too bad that Darren Collison had to finish his college career by fouling out. I think he was frustrated by continually getting beaten by a much better (and bigger/taller) player.
When does football season start????"
but at least we got to the final four, which is more than i can say for u$c. and any day that we can beat $c in sports somehow, is a great day.
let's give up the eight clap for a valiant effort:
fight, fight, fight!
this morning i was up at 4am--i am usually up at 4am, though NOT on the weekends--for a car wash fundraiser for our school's publications department (news staff and yearbook).
blu met me at panera. i was late (i'm NEVER late, but i lost my phone. couldn't find it after all). she'd had breakfast before i got there; she was starving apparently. i had an egg and artichoke souffle. mmm . . . and fresh-squeezed oj.
we had about 30 kids there trying to raise some last minute dough for the JEA convention in anaheim later this month. all in all, we brought in about $500; enough to pay for 5 kids (we're taking 12).
it was, as you can imagine, a lot of fucking work. fun work, just A LOT of it. i have grime all up in my nails and between my toes (i wore flip-flops). don't worry, though, gonna take a hot bath . . .
anyhow, there was a guy there, in a brand new mercedes SLK 500. predictably, my kids went ga-ga. they asked the man what one had to do to get a sweet ride like his and he said, "go to school for 20 years."
squatting on the pavement scraping tar off of his rims, i commented, "i've gone to school for 20 years and i drive a honda accord. so, maybe you should say, 'go to school for 20 years and major in medicine, law, computer science, or business.'" he laughed and added, "yeah. i'm a doctor."
but then, one of my students said, "but you love what you do, ms. b, you're not just in it for the money."
i looked up and smiled at my kid.
now, i don't know . . . i don't think that doctor is in his profession just for the money, but i'll tell you what, i'm definitely not in mine for THAT reason. trust me.
still, teaching was not my first choice. in fact, it wasn't even a blip on my radar (that is, until a friend mentioned to me that i might make a good teacher). i wanted to be a lawyer and i pursued that avenue until i found out it wasn't who i wanted to be. suffice it to say that i had enough bad (very bad) experiences interning to know that i could never make a "good" lawyer because in order to do so i'd have to be, at least in part, a bad person.
at any rate, what i mean to say with all of this is this: i didn't really seek this life that i'm living, but i'm delighted that it found me . . .
so, on wednesday of this past week my students and i WON our school's 2nd annual link crew lip sync competition!!!
we'd won the semi-finals before going on spring break and then came back and took the whole thing!
last year, my link crew ALSO won . . . so you know what this means: i'm going to be a total PILL come next year! oh yeah, no-one, NO-ONE will be able to stomach me.
i'm thinking t-shirts that say "you ain't got a chance!" or maybe "3-peat, baby!" . . . hoo-lawdy . . .
Friday, April 4, 2008
after my last post, someone asked me why i hate bush.
the fact is that i don't hate bush, i LOATHE him (i find that, actually, "hate" is too weak a word. i hate oprah. i hate brussel sprouts. but at least they don't ruin people's lives (much). . .).
here are a few reasons (this list is by no means exhaustive):
reasons 1-937 (+/- 10): he's a liar. yes, all politicians are. hell, so am i sometimes! but he's a REALLY BIG liar.
one lie, ok. two lies, ok. a hundred lies, even, ok. BUT NINE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-SEVEN LIES?!?! and those were exclusively for the war in iraq; that's not even counting all of the lies required for other international and domestic affairs . . .
reason 938: he's a moron. i could be more eloquent, but why waste all that energy firing off my synapses when it it easily boils down to this: we've got an ass who maxed out at "Cs" in college at the helm of the world's largest super power . . . and i resent it. a lot.
reason 939: iraq. some have called it a "necessary" war. i wouldn't necessarily say so . . . but now that we're in it i agree that we have to fight smart and do whatever we can to make sure iraq doesn't succumb to sectarian violence, which would leave it wide open to terrorist organizations (more so than it already is).
if we pull out now, as certain people suggest, iraq will become one giant training ground for al qaeda, hamas, you name it . . .
people thought 9/11 was bad, ha! pull out of iraq now and let's talk in 6 months to see what those people have to say THEN!
and even more basic than that, it's just plain wrong to take the seagull approach now. we owe the iraqi people more than that . . .
reason 940: the economy. i have to move to zimbabwe now if i want to be able to live in the style to which i have become accustomed (see post from march 26th). you know, with the way bush has shit all over the us dollar, zimbabwe is probably the only place left in the world where i can afford such little luxuries as . . . i dunno . . . FOOD!
reason 941: he's made the whole world loathe US! as if people didn't have enough fucking reasons to want to kill us before WITHOUT this idiot galavanting around the globe running roughshod over other people's cultures, beliefs, and values!
reason 942: he said that god spoke to him. listen, if god does exist, you think he's gonna call YOU?!?! fuck no!
wait. shit. this reason is the same as #938. fuck . . .
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
truly, i detest bush as much as the next guy (gal). no, really. when bush was re-elected, i cried . . . for a week. i'm serious. you can ask any of my friends. and when he finally leaves office, i'm going to throw a party. a very, very BIG party . . .
but when i read today that a children's puppet show on palestinian, hamas-owned television ran a sketch in which a child puppet stabbed a bush puppet to death, i was more than a little disturbed.
and you know, yeah, a lot of things in this world disturb me . . . most more, much more than this last.
it's not like i'm unfamiliar with the whole effigy concept, either. i get it. i do. old news. i understand. it's just that, for the most part, adults are capable of processing such visuals and information, whereas children are not.
kids are going to see that violence and think that THAT is what they are supposed to do when they disagree, vehemently even, with something or someone. they're not going to understand that it's an outlet, a form of protest, albeit a bad form of protest, rather than a call to violent action.
i know that violence is precisely hamas' aim; getting kids to wage war as soon as they're able to hold a gun . . . hell, sooner, perhaps . . . is their goal . . .
god, i don't know. i was gonna make a point here somewhere, but every time i talk about the middle east, i get overwhelmed and tongue-tied . . .
as a teacher, working with kids everyday . . . young, impressionable minds who would be guided by our example, our kindness, our tolerance, our generosity, our equanimity, our patience, our mercy . . . i cringe at stuff like this. as a moral human being, frankly, i cringe . . .
when will people ever learn that violence ONLY begets more violence?