Sunday, August 31, 2008

THEYGOTAHOTSPOTBREWING.HANDCUFFSANDKISSESFORTHEPEOPLEWHOLIVETHERE.


i have sciatica.

woo hoo (i think if i say "woo hoo" afterwards, it'll lessen the pain)!!!

it's a good thing i made yesterday's post before i went to the doctor, otherwise right now i'd be on a total pity-party/bitch-fest kick.

seriously, folks, this thing really sucks, but as mr. de campo, sir, would say, "embrace the suck."

so, i'm gonna hug and squeeze and love the shit out of my sciatica.

i'm not even going to get into the details of the dull yet excruciating pain that's radiating from my left butt cheek throughout my left lower back and on down to left my foot. no, sir!

instead, i'm going to cut this post short and head over to my classroom to do more work and embrace the suck. then, later tonight, i'll alternate between embracing the suck and yoga, which is what my doctor recommended . . . and vicodin (which i love).

i even went out and bought this awesome giant rubber ball and a bunch of dvds on how to use it, as well as some other vids on pilates and yoga. and now that i'm thinking about it, the new ceramics teacher at my school is a (fantastic) yoga instructor, so maybe she'll give me some pointers . . . and if that doesn't work, hydrocodoneland here i come!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

LOVEMELIKEAMAN


going back into my classroom this past week, i got really excited about the coming school year.

(though, my custodian thinks i ought to spend less time at school. "miss, what time you leave last night?" "about 10pm." "what time you get here?" "about 6am." "what time you leave today?" "about the same." "miss!" "i know, i know . . ." "miss, you go now and take break. classroom is not leaving." ha! if he only knew that i merely give the APPEARANCE of dedication . . .)

in fact, i got excited not just about the new school year, but about my whole life . . . yeah, all of it, warts and fucking all.

i'm very, very pumped about the future!

i mean, i know i talk a lot of shit, but the fact is that i have a great life and much for which to be thankful. (plus, it's hard not to see things brightly given the wonderful, luminous balls of energy that come bounding in my doors every morning for nine months out of the year.)

this morning, i'm posting this brief list of blessings here so that later in the year when i start thinking i haven't got a star above my head, i can take a look at it, suck it up, and smile:

1. for my faith in god, even when i doubt, even though i live the most imperfect life of anyone i know. just feels good to believe, even when i question and fuck things up at every turn.

2. for my family, who simultaneously encourage and enrage, make me happy and sad, and who love me no matter how crazy or disappointing i get. especially for my mom (and i've said this before), who by example, has taught me to laugh and to find beauty and hope in everyone and everything.

and also because they let me love THEM . . . it's great to have others to love and who gratefully accept one's love.

3. for my friends (old: pbj, vic, jz and new: blu, gigi, tijuana; and so many others who i won't worry about not naming because no-one knows i have this blog) who like my family, give me unconditional care and love, and always see the best in me, even when i don't see it in myself.

oh, and they put up with ridiculous amounts of shit that NOBODY else would ever even DREAM of putting up with . . . word.

4. for this wonderful, imperfect body and mind, which, albeit slowly, i seek to refine every day.

5. for work, because it's a huge gift to be able to use #4 (and i have, possibly, the best job in the universe. in fact, it's so great that it's not really a "job". truth is, i feel slightly guilty whenever i get a paycheck . . . yes, i love it THAT much!)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

BREAKMEOFFAPIECEOFYOURLOVE


note to self: YOU ARE LACTOSE INTOLERANT. gratuitous cheese parties are NOT a good idea.

oh god, i think i'm going to die . . .

i'm too young to die!

Friday, August 22, 2008

EVERYONELOVESJESUSONJUDGMENTDAY


i wanted to give the new fondue pots a whirl with some friends this weekend, so i went to my favorite grocery store in the universe: bristol farms.

now, i don't normally shop at bristol farms because A) i feel like i have to dress up to go there and B) it's fucking expensive. but this trip was necessary as they have THE MOST AMAZING cheese section ever.

(wow, i just realized, but i love to use hyperbole more than anyone else on the planet!)

anyhow, i had finished picking up my gruyere and emmental, and was about to select a nice sharp white vermont cheddar, when the cheesemonger asked me if i needed some help . . .

i didn't really need any help (no wisecracks, ok?), but i wanted to make her feel useful, so i asked her what she thought about mixing the vermont cheddar with an irish dubliner . . .

tossing her head back and cackling, the cunt says, "the cheese's nationality doesn't matter. you can mix an american cheese with an irish one, no problem. you want to focus on flavors, and DUMBLINGER with cheddar should be fine."

well, no shit the cheeses' "nationalities" don't matter! i was asking whether or not the cheddar's sharp tang would mix well with the DUBLINER'S nuttiness, snobby bitch . . .

"dumblinger."

i tell you, it's a wonder i haven't already killed someone.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

ASAILBOATINTHEMOONLIGHTANDYOU. . .


because i'm never going to get married, i make fake wedding registries, complete with fake grooms (george clooney, brad pitt, james mcavoy, and elvis presley, even though he's dead, are perennial favorites) and fake wedding dates (i alternate between winter and summer. i can't ever decide).

and not just any old fake registries, i make them at all the best places . . . you know, just for shits and giggles.

well, last week, i got a letter from one of the companies at the top of my list: williams-sonoma . . .

"Dear Lana Banana:

Thank you for registering with Williams-Sonoma, and making us a part of your home.

As a special gift, we invite you to receive a 10% discount on the purchase of any items remaining on your registry--as well as any items you choose to add. This offer applies to unlimited in-store and telephone purchases you make for six months after your event date, as well as any one-time online purchases for a year after your event.

Please use the enclosed Completion Discount Card to receive your discount at any Williams-Sonoma store.

Blah, blah, blah . . .

Congratulations, and we look forward to serving you again soon!

Sincerely,

Williams-Sonoma
Wedding & Gift Registry"

so, for years i've put off buying all-clad's 3QT fondue pot with ceramic insert . . . but today, i marched into williams-sonoma with my 10% discount card and bought not one but TWO pots (i have a big family and lots of friends who like cheese)!!!

gruyere heaven here i come!

and when the sales girl asked me how my july 20, 2008, wedding went, i told her that the groom stood me up at the altar and that that's why i had no ring and then i sort of fake cried . . .

ah, good times.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

IWON'TGOHOMEWITHOUTYOU


(note: random google photo.)

last year i had freshmen "guided study" . . . two periods of kids (mostly, but not exclusively, boys) whose home lives are seriously dysfunctional. in ed-speak, they're collectively referred to as "at-risk" teenagers. that is, at risk for failing out of school or dropping out. i'm talking serious abuse, neglect, gangs, drugs, teenage pregnancies, and so on.

i feared the worst, but surprisingly we had a great year together. partly because i don't mince words (read: disciplinarian), partly because i don't have a lot of rules (just two: 1. respect yourself, your environment, others, and me . . . and 2. work hard), partly because i'm crazy about literature, and partly because i just fucking love working with teens.

everything was great until, two weeks before the year ended, i caught one of my guided study boys writing in one of my literature books.

walking over to him, i say quietly, "what's that?"

(playing stupid) "what's what?"

"that," i repeat.

and then i point to the block letter words that read: ms. banana is a big bitch.

(calmly, still whispering) "did you write that?"

(loudly and incredulously) "nooooooooo!"

"ah. i see. ok. finish your assignment."

(different student) "what's the matter, ms. b?"

"someone wrote in my literature book."

(collective gasp)

(still totally cool) "yeah, i don't appreciate that, as you can imagine."

(another student) "what'd they write?"

"'ms. banana is a big bitch.'"

(all: oooooooooh . . .)

"who wrote it?" a student asks.

"i don't know. they wrote it in block print."

and then i walk up to the board and write: "ms. banana is a big bitch."

i'm not about to let a kid show me up in my own classroom . . . no, sir.

(nonchalantly) "guys, what's the problem with the sentence on the board?"

(kids raise their hands)

"yes? tell me."

"that is has the word 'bitch' in it?" a student volunteers.

"yeah, ok. but besides the profanity, there's another problem there that's even more grievous. who can spot it?"

(silence)

i point to the word "big" . . .

"what's the problem with THAT, guys?"

(more silence)

"it's boring!" i say.

(perplexed looks all around)

"guys, we've read over a million words this year. thousands and thousands of them new, shiny, vibrant, vivid, exciting words . . . and yet there is someone here who continues cleaving to lame, boring words like 'big'? it's nothing short of a travesty.

now, i bet you i can come up with at least 20 words right off the top of my head better than the word "big", which would improve this sad, little sentence by leaps and bounds.

shall i show you?

yes?"

(all, except the boy who tagged my book: laughing, clapping, hooting, hollering)

"let's see: prodigious, humongous, herculean, stupendous, colossal, behemoth, mammoth, monumental, mountainous, gigantic, gargantuan, titanic, tremendous . . .

what does that bring us to?"

(students) "thirteen!"

"right. but it just occurred to me . . . maybe the person meant big as in 'fat' . . . which would require a whole other set of words. let's try those . . .

gelantinous, stout, rotund, corpulent, adipose, fubsy, and porcine."

(thunderous applause)

"i believe that's 20. now, don't all of those words sound so much better than 'big'?"

(all, minus you-know-who) "yeah!"

"let's try a couple.

'ms. b is a colossal bitch.'

nice.

'ms. b is a prodigious bitch.'

very nice.

'ms. b is a behemoth bitch.'

ooh, i like that one A LOT. who can tell me why?"

(students raise their hands)

"yes," i say choosing a student, "why?"

"it has good alliteration?"

"are you sure? say it like you know, like you mean it, like you're certain!"

"it has good alliteration!"

"bingo. perfect. yes, it contains alliteration."

bell rings . . .

score: ms. b 1, misguided youth 0.

just two more weeks before school starts! i'm REALLY looking forward to it.

no, seriously.

Friday, August 15, 2008

FOOLSRUSHINWHEREANGELSFEARTOTREAD


(1950s(?): costa rica (?). my mom, claudia, or rather "cabita" as she is lovingly known to everyone . . . the songbird.)

i never really got along with my mom when i was growing up.

it wasn't until i was in my 20s--about two years after she moved back to costa rica and i was a sophomore at ucla--that she and i really began connecting.

(one of life's little ironies, huh? we had to be thousands of miles apart to finally get close . . . but that's how it was.)

and in the last decade, i've come to know, understand, and appreciate my mom in ways in ways i never dreamed i could or would.

i suppose it just took me a long time to piece together the image i now have of my mother; in my mind's eye, she is an incredible mosaic of subtly powerful moments.

when my dad died in '88, it was as though my world crumbled. i was 10 and i didn't believe in death . . . my own or anyone else's. like disney's and grimm's stories, death was likewise fantastical, unreal. but even as my brothers and i spiraled down into our grief, my mom was so poised--something i recognized even at that young age. she cried and mourned, to be sure, but with three teenage boys and a little girl to look after . . . she was so collected and composed. there was no undignified sobbing, no throwing herself onto the coffin . . .

without her saying so explicitly, we all somehow understood that life would carry on and that everything would ultimately be alright.

in fact, my mom was so calm that in my naivete, i mistook her bravery for heartlessness.

then, when she turned 65 (15 years after my father's passing), a good-looking, well-spoken, charismatic professor from the states moved into the beach house next to hers in punta leona. she'd make comments about how attractive and witty this individual was . . . so, my brothers and i sat down with her and gave her the "go-ahead" . . . but a very serious look swept over her soft, golden face, and her eyes welled-up with tears. she said, "i hope someday the four of you find the same kind of love i once had. there will never be another man for me."

my mom is nothing, if not all heart.

in the late 60s, when she and my dad lived in new york, someone on her street called child protective services to our house. people did not especially care for latinos back then . . . when the woman from social services arrived she was perplexed as to why anyone had called, for inside the humble facade of our brownstone, the woman found a spartan, but warm, inviting, and tidy space inhabited by three precocious, rambunctious, happy, and healthy boys.

at the time, my mom and dad alternated working night and day custodial shifts, respectively, at the empire state building. life was a far cry from the "american dream" . . . and so the woman offered my mother a $200 check. naturally, my mom refused. we were poor, but proud. and coming to america was not about living off of uncle sam, but rather making a new life from the sweat of one's own brow . . . anyhow, the social worker wouldn't hear of it and left the money.

taking the cash (which was a significant sum at the time), my mom paid off bills and stocked our cupboards with the typical staples for a spanish home: rice, beans, chicken.

it took my parents the better part of a year to put the $200 together again, but when they finally did, my mom went down to the welfare office, found the woman who had visited us and returned the money.

i have countless numbers of these stories . . .

about how my mom donates her time and what little money she has--always anonymously--to orphanages and convalescent homes. even now, at age 70 . . .

"never let your right hand know what your left is doing, mija."

about how she inculcated in my brothers and me the same spirit of volunteerism, sense of honesty, duty, right and wrong, dignity, humility, pride, optimism, fearlessness, belief in family and the human spirit . . . always by example.

my mother has never asked my siblings or me, or anyone else, to do something she wouldn't be willing to do herself.

feminine, funny, clever, athletic, strong, adventurous, kind, generous with all that she has and all that she is . . . first to help, first to give, first to love, first to laugh, first to believe, my mom is my rock and my idol.

you can keep your rosie the riveter, your day o'connor, your dido, your kennedy onassis, your cinderella, your she-ra, your venus, your angelou, your cleopatra, your joan of arc, your aphrodite . . . i'll take my mom any day.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

TONIGHT'STHENIGHT,IT'SGONNABEALRIGHT. . .


athletes like to fuck.

but OLYMPIC athletes like to fuck A LOT.

i know, I KNOW . . . i just shattered your world with that bit of revelation, right?

yeah, me neither.

see, i read an article today that the chinese ordered 100K condoms for 10,500 athletes.

(crickets chirp)

AND???

right???

seriously, i don't get what the big deal is. i mean, i'm having a hard time believing that a story got written about this . . .

that comes down to roughly 9.5 condoms per person. (for the record: hope i'm never on the receiving end of that half condom . . . i'm just saying . . .)

big fucking whoop. TEN CONDOMS PER PERSON?

how long are the olympics? anywhere from 10 to 20 days or something like that?

people, that's ONLY enough condoms for MAYBE a once-daily shag!!!

HARDLY "olympic".

well, UNLESS . . .

nah, i won't say it. as it is, my mouth has kept me from finding a suitable life partner for the past 30 years. buuuuut, i know you know what i was about to say, you dirty bastards.

anyhow, the way i understand it, SOME PEOPLE out there think that 10 condoms per person for a 10-20 day period is a lot. "they", i am guessing, are married, old, and republican.

whatever . . .

here are my favorite snippets from the article on fox sports (you can thank me later for saving you from having to read the entire thing):

-"Sex may not be an Olympic sport, but that won't stop athletes of all disciplines from going for the gold."

-"Love is in the air throughout the Olympic Village, from archers who have more than one bull's eye in their sights to equestrian riders who have been known to go sans saddle."

-"According to AskMen.com, "Scientific studies have found that having sex actually increases testosterone levels." In other words, sex can be like a power bar."

-"Sexual intercourse, according to scientific research, can expend up to 50 calories — if done with appropriate levels of vigor and enthusiasm. Michael Phelps, who is on a 10,000-calorie-a-day diet, would have to practice a lot more than the breaststroke to burn off that many calories away from the pool."

bada bing!

MYLIFEISBRILLIANT,MYLOVEISPURE


apparently, the chinese DID NOT GET THE MEMO:

"Chinese defend Olympic ceremony lip-synch
Parents of both girls said each felt privileged just to have taken part

BEIJING-Chinese officials defended their decision to pass off the voice of a 7-year-old songbird as that of another girl at the Olympic opening ceremony, calling it a simple casting choice. Critics said it was a step too far in China’s obsession with the perfect Olympic Games.

Beijing organizers of the games faced tough criticism Wednesday after a whistleblower revealed that the 9-year-old who performed a song during the spectacular opening ceremony was lip-synching to another girl’s vocal track.

Yang Peiyi, a 7-year-old with bright eyes and a smile made crooked by the stubs of her first grown-up teeth, was heard by an audience estimated in the billions during Friday night’s ceremony, singing “Ode to the Motherland.”

But they never saw her face."

(AP story continues here . . .)

as one writer said, "what can be cuter than buck teeth?"

i mean, it's true. gnarly teeth are beautiful. just ask the english, who brush with sugarpaste. they LOVE fucked-up teeth!

GROWINGUPLEADSTOGROWINGOLDANDTHENTODYING


i love setting goals.

in fact, i set them all the time. usually, i like to keep a big, fat stack of them around in case of an emergency or if someone needs to borrow a couple.

some of my goals i'm actually working on, like:
-"continue furthering my education" (phd; clear teaching credential; national certification; BCLAD; JEA)
-"get back into my high school cheerleading outfit" (45 min. each of cardio and weights 5 day/week; eating 1200 calories a day; seriously limiting carbs)
-"stop biting my nails" (manicures; mittens . . . no, no mittens, but the manicures HAVE been very helpful and now my nails look amazing)

some of my goals i'm working on, but not as hard as i should. for example:

-"get back into my high school cheerleading outfit" (45 min. each of cardio and weights 5 day/week; eating 1200 calories a day; seriously limiting carbs)
-"get and stay super organized" (maintain my calendar; do work in advance)
-"call people back" (i'm fucking notorious. and in my defense, it's not that i don't care. really, it's a psychological issue i won't get into. ok, basically it's that i like to hermit myself)

some of my goals receive a shocking lack of attention altogether:
-"get back into my high school cheerleading outfit" (45 min. each of cardio and weights 5 day/week; eating 1200 calories a day; seriously limiting carbs)
-"save more money" (self-explanatory. though, friends, i have ZERO credit debt! but don't even ask me about my student loans . . . sweet jesus, grad school's been expensive)
-"read more classics" (really hard to do when people keep putting out such great bullshit books, like that damned david sedaris! yeah, thanks a lot vic . . . and stupid jk rowling, who sucked up like half my life with that bloody harry potter. uh huh, i'll admit it, i'm a children's books whore)

and then there are the pipe-dream goals:
-"join the peace corps . . . for life"
-"learn to speak russian"
-"marry george clooney"

well, no doubt that i'm not alone in this . . . and watching the olympics, of course, i came up with ANOTHER goal.

this goal, i know, EVERYONE will say belongs in the last category.

BUT, i don't know? maybe not. i mean, MOST LIKELY it will end-up in the last category, but i'm really excited about it and when i get REALLY excited about something i typically get results . . . and even if (in all likelihood) i don't reach this goal, in the process, i think, only great things can come of it . . .

so, without further ado, here's my newest goal:

(trumpets blowing)

-"become an olympic weight lifter in the roughly 140-165 lb. range"

ok, go ahead, laugh.

no, by all means, do it. chuckle away.

done yet?

no?

that's ok, get it all out.

back now?

good.

I KNOW it sounds UBER crazy. i know.

and no, i don't just want to do it so that i can say, "i have the world's best snatch."

here's the thing: in my best physical shape, which was around 150 lbs. (a decade ago) and more slim than bodybuilderish, i could squat 425 lbs. . . . so, can you imagine what i might be able to do at 165 lbs. of muscle?

i mean, i'm a big girl, this could work. i have some serious bone structure. large feet (FEMININE, but large), large hands (paws, actually, but also FEMININE), large bones. and while not naturally super athletic (though freakishly flexible), i am naturally muscular.

ok and yes, at 5'8", i'm much taller than most olympic weight lifters in the weight range i want, but it might REALLY work.

at any rate, even if i never make it to the big show in london in 2012, i'd at least get into amazing shape, right?

oh, alright, you can laugh . . . again.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

SOYUNPERDEDOR. . .I'MALOSER,BABY,SOWHYDON'TYOUKILLME?


according to the today show, "ugly is the new beautiful."



well, shiiiiiiiiiiit . . . if "average", "real", "earthy", "normal", and "ugly" really ARE the new beautiful, then i must be raging fucking HOT!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

SALLYINTHEROSES,WHATSHEKNOWSISSUCHEMOTIONALLOVE


one word: PINKBERRY.

and no, you pigs, it's not what you think.

pinkberry, friends, is THE most delicious frozen yogurty-type thing IN THE UNIVERSE (and i would know because i've been all over the universe . . . in my head).

seriously, i thought golden spoon was good, but pinkberry PWNS golden spoon.

now, it's more calories than golden spoon, but fuck it! pinkberry is 1,000 times better than golden spoon and may even rival my all-time favorite, baskin-robbins.

(or not, but it's close. i mean, ROCKY ROAD is THE best ice cream that EVER was.)

on monday i had: original with coconut, pineapple, and banana. it was orgasm in a bowl.

on tuesday i had: original with strawberries, banana, and captain crunch cereal. this combo, IF it's possible, was even better than the last. it was multiple orgasms in a bowl.

tonight is wednesday and i don't know what i'm going to have, yet, but i'm almost worried that i won't be able to walk after today's bowl of pinkberry . . .

but seriously, now it's time for the pinkberry song (or rather, the pinkberry remix, yo, courtesy lady tigra!). sing it with me, people:

"sorry ice cream, i'm dreaming of a different dessert
pinkberry shaved ice and frozen yogurt
it doesn't feel like i'm cheating when i'm eating it
'cuz it's healthy; i feel better already

tart and sweet, fresh and airy
blue and black, straw and raspberry
succulent mango, tangy kiwi, or pineapple
(mmm)
topping of swirly and fluffy
exquisite dream
sorry ice cream

i'm on my way to pinkberry (pinkberry, pinkberry, yum)
sorry ice cream, i'm on my way to

P-I-N-K-B-E-R-R-Y
pinkberry
P-I-N-K-B-E-R-R-Y
pinkberry
P-I-N-K-B-E-R-R-Y
pinkberry
P-I-N-K-B-E-R-R-Y
pinkberry

i wonder should get it plain or green tea?
doesn't matter to me
don't care how long i have to wait
i like it in the rain (i like it in the rain)
or in the wintertime

like a burst of sunshine
good for my body
good for my mouth
good for my mind
good with the family
good with a friend
with a lover or alone

it's an obsession
pure and delightful
simple and heavenly
(mmm)
and guilt free
yummy (yummy)!
pinkberry

(x2):

pinkberry in me
pinkberry
pinkberry in me
pinkberry
pinkberry in me
pinkberry
pinkberry in me
pinkberry

(P-I-N-K-B-E-R-R-Y
pinkberry
P-I-N-K-B-E-R-R-Y
pinkberry)
P-I-N-K-B-E-R-R-Y
pinkberry
P-I-N-K-B-E-R-R-Y
pinkberry

(laughter)"

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

OYECOMOVAMIRITMOBUENOPA'GOZAR



WOW, A GREAT, BIG, HUGE THANKS
to cassy at reach for more--aspira a mas, who gave me the arte y pico award! loosely translated from spanish, arte y pico means art and spice, but the spirit of which really translates to something like "wow. the best art. over the top!" . . . at any rate, the award is passed on to blogs that others can learn from, that inspire, that make people smile or think, and/or that are doing something special.

here's what cassy had to say: "LanaBanana, at American Fool - for her bad-ass attitude which I love, and because she is probably someone I would love to hang out with in real life. I appreciate how she says what she wants to say, sin pelo en la lengua!"

i am very, very grateful. but more than the award, what i'm most thankful to cassy for is her on-going encouragement and inspiration (seriously, people, you have to check out her blog. her poetry is moving without being pretentious. heartfelt and thought-provoking, you'd be a fool not to go read her writing).

many, many, MANY thanks, amiga . . .

if you would like to give this award, here are the rules:

1) you have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and contribution to the blogger community, no matter what language.

2) each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.

3) each award-winning blog has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.

4) award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of the arte y pico blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.

5) to show these rules.

again, cassy, muchisimas gracias . . .

Saturday, August 2, 2008

GIRL'SGOTLIGHTNINGUNDERNEATHHERSKIRT


(2008: the west siiiiiiide, ca. hem and vic celebrating vic's b-day last month!)

HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

umm, so first i try to celebrate your birth early and now late.

ah, fuck me.

CAMINITOQUEELTIEMPOHABORRADO. . .


(a representative image of my father and mother dancing tango in our kitchen when i was a little girl . . . it's one of the most endearing images of my dad etched in my mind.)

juan antonio.

that is my dad's name.

he was born july 23, 1934 and died october 4, 1988.

he was 54.

he was just 54.

we buried his body three days later on october 7th.

. . .

actually, "died" isn't the right word.

my dad was killed by a drunk driver.

. . .

i miss him.

i miss him as though he died yesterday.

in october of 1988, i was 10 going on 11.

now i'm 30 going on 31 and the memories of my father and the pain of his death remain vivid and raw.

. . .

this year he would have been 74.

. . .

there hasn't been a moment in the last 20 years during which i haven't thought about him or wished he were physically present.

i want so much to write down all of the wonderful memories and stories i have about him, but it just hurts . . . i mean really, really hurts . . . to talk about him.

i admire frank for being able to speak so candidly and lucidly about marcie. i fear i may never be able to do that about my dad . . .

for the time being, he remains in my mind and heart.

. . .

i love you, dad.

i miss you so much, papi.

happy be-lated birthday.

con muchisimo amor,

tu hija

YOUHAVEMEINSIDETHETRAPYOUDON'TKNOWYOUSET


my car was broken into last month.

video

did i tell you?

no, of course not. i haven't written shit in weeks.

what a fucking slacker i am.

sorry.

well, anyhow, it was.

some tools broke in, stole my damn $400 coach purse--a birthday present from my brother joe--and made a mess of my car. let's see, i am now also sans laptop, driver's license (had to get a new one, which was fine since i looked like vomit in the other one), credit cards (which they took the liberty of running up . . . nice, because frankly, i just had waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much money and i'm relieved they lightened that heavy burden), and a front passenger window (no, that's not true, i replaced it the day it happened to the tune of almost $300).

(and yes, incidentally, I KNOW NOW NOT TO LEAVE THINGS IN MY CAR. one to grow on.)

fuckin' ay. i mean, it's just two years old and already it's been crashed (a moving truck slammed into me on the driver's side after only two months) and broken into . . . jeeezuz!

who'd want to break into my car anyway? fine, it's a relatively new car, but it's a honda accord sedan . . . a family car, if you will . . . 4-doors . . . not in any way flashy . . .

on the sunny side (is there one?), i usually leave to go to school at some ungodly hour and it just so happened i slept in that morning or else i might have caught those assholes in the act and would have had to go all fucking ninja on their asses and probably been shanked by one of them.

bastards.

BUT IT GETS BETTER.

two days later, i get pulled over by the lapd, who want to know why my car registration is lapsed. i tell them that my car was broken into and that the pieces of shit who did it rather took a liking to my registration tag (in addition to everything else) and kindly removed it from my license plate.

then they ask me for my driver's license. i don't have it, OBVIOUSLY (to me, but not to them) . . . so i give them my number.

they go back to their little cop car, run my plate and dl number and then come back to me . . .

"miss, your registration checks out ok, but your license is expired," they say.

"oh (fuck)," i reply.

"we have two options here. we can either let you go and send you straight to the nearest dmv to renew your license or we can issue you a $500 ticket for driving on an expired license, impound your car, and take you to county jail. what do you think?" they say.

hmm, let me think this over for a minute, officers.

would i like cake?

or would i like death?

let's see, tough choice: cake or DEATH?

well, shit, I'LL TAKE CAKE!!!

fucking twats.


(i love eddie izzard. i especially love him in drag . . .)

the cops let me go, but not without telling me how gracious they were being by doing so.

gracious, eh?

yeah . . . they were gracious to me.

they were ALSO very gracious to the scuzzbuckets who stole my stuff.

let me explain: you see, when the other cops came to my apartment building the morning i found my car broken into, i had already spoken to my bank who told me when and where the thieves had spent my money. so, when the cops arrived, i said, hey i know where these guys went and at what time and why don't y'all go check out the closed circuit video and see if maybe you can actually catch them.

after a long pause and a hearty chuckle from the cops, i got, "miss, we have more pressing matters to attend to."

oh yeah, sorry, i know that krispy kremes don't taste as good cold as they do hot . . . (zing! yeah, i'm a bitch. sue me.)

or i suppose you could just throw people like me into jail because we're easy to catch and come willingly.

I'MMORETHANABIRD.I'MMORETHANAPLANE.I'MMORETHANSOMEPRETTYFACEBESIDEATRAIN.


"you have 10 minutes to write about a time when you overcame a significant obstacle," the instructor says.

"what do you want to write about?" i whisper into his ear.

the answer seems obvious to me . . .

"i don't know," the student replies. his voice carries loudly across the quiet room; he has a tough time modulating.

from his motorized wheelchair, his body spasms and contorts of its own accord, hands flailing, feet twitching, as he stares out of the window.

i give him a few more seconds. "think of anything yet?" i ask.

"no, i can't think of anything," he says.

. . .

the following day we go back to class.

another prompt.

"today, i want you to take the first 10 minutes of class and tell me about the kind of super hero you would be. if you could change anything about yourself, be anything, do anything . . . fly, have superhuman strength, anything . . . what would it be? tell me. write it down."

i turn to my student. his eyes are wide and bright as the sun.

"what do you think?" i say.

he laughs and smiles and says, "i'd have a wheelchair with rocket boosters!"

"that's freaking awesome!" i enthuse . . .

HE'S freaking awesome.

. . .

my student has cerebral palsy.

. . .

this is my life. i am a teacher. but . . . it's my students who teach ME how to live.

Friday, August 1, 2008

WELCOMETOTHEJUNGLE


"turn right on van ness. i'll meet you out there," he said.

"sure," she replied.

he did not see the nervous look that suddenly swept over her face.

as she rounded the corner, she saw him walking up the street.

he was just as he'd said, but better.

(writer's note: i'm at journalism camp right now, trying to steal a few moments away from 10 screeching, needy, rambunctious monkeys . . . trying a new style of story telling. who knows if it'll work . . . i'm writing again, at any rate. feeling inspired. not that THAT is any promise that what will come out will be any good . . . but at least i'm posting again.

and hey, to the two people who actually check out this blog, thanks for the encouraging words and for coming back. i'll be back myself here as soon as possible . . .)