Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First Day Of School

1. A student had an epileptic seizure within the first three minutes of school.
2. A student burst into tears uncontrollably after seeing a seizure for the first time.
3. Eighteen students looked at me thinking: Can we trust you?
4. A student told me in a scared, quiet voice, My daddy died last year.
5. My principal told us she is going to change our mascot from Cougars to Cyber Cougars (we are a technology school...whatever that means). I googled Cyber Cougars and I got escort dating services, playboy clubs, porn...


5. My husband sent me this text message at lunch: Te amo harto, harto, hartisisisimo 

I know I sound corny and mushy, but I'm gonna be okay.


Monday, August 29, 2011


There's a place where I don't listen to punk rock or say the F word. I don't blog there. I don't text there. I get excited about fractions and solid figures at that place. I don't worry if I look dumb for singing about a baby beluga or apples and bananas.  I even smile when a little face recognizes a long vowel. Yeap, I like that place.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

For my homegirl in Calahorra 'cause she understands a girl's dark forest

and because she understands a sick motherfucker film when she sees one too.

She's a badass!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Teacher returns or as my English limited students say: ai' viene la teacher!!

(I made some corrections to this post many hours later)

1. I'm returning to school today----just to set up my classroom.  I didn't do shit much. I wasted most of the time talking to other teachers about CST scores and about our 10 week vacation.

2. Tomorrow I'll be at a teacher training. I'm still planning to attend. On a positive note, I'll see old friends and we'll talk about, yes, CST scores!  Ahem, at those trainings, I avoid sitting next to teachers that constantly brag about their progeny's successes.

3. On Friday I'll return to school----just to set up my classroom. A promise to self: avoid teacher friends and any discussion about  CST scores! 

4. Next Monday:  the school year starts, officially. Lots and lots of meetings on that day about, yes, our CST scores and about how we are going to improve them next year.

5. On Tuesday: more and more meetings about CST Scores . The principal would probably do some scolding for not meeting the API and AYP on the CST Scores. She'll remind us that fourth grade teachers are the best! (At this point in my career, the only thing worth giving a fuck is student learning and NOT about fourth grade teachers).

6. On Wednesday, gulp, students officially start school. The first day of school is bitter sweet. I'm happy to see fresh new second graders in my classroom, but I can't help missing my previous students.


 The CST scores are up on the internet.  I promise Homeland Security won't be after you if you see our scores. I am a public employee, therefore, my CST scores are available to the public (motherfucker!).  If you know the name of the county where I live and the name of the  school district where I work, plus! the name of my school (hint hint it starts with Mck) you'll see my grade level scores (second grade).  You won't see my personal scores, but you'll see my scores combined with the other second grade teachers' scores. No names are made public! (Thank you, Goddess of Standardized Assessements!)

Good luck finding me.

Oh, and my students did very well on the CST. I'm so proud of them! For your information, I had a bunch of bright students, but with major behavior issues, fuck me! I was ready to quit back in May.  Also, I should mention that my students are limited in English and the CST is in, yes, English! Further, most of my students live under the poverty line and you how that is, poverty and education. I can cry you a river.  

(I haven't seen Waiting For Superman, but I was told about the scene at the beginning of this video clip. I don't support Charter Schools, but I DO support effective schools and effective teachers).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

His Bicycle Helmet

They had been waiting for the bus too long.
Too long to piss her off and too long for him to tap to his virtue,
We should ride our bikes, he told her.
It's too far, she said.
But what she meant to say was that she didn't have hope.

A five mile ride to the West would allow them to catch a train or a plane
To Shanghai.
To Paris.
To Buenos Aires.
They still had a million places to go.

They rushed West.
But he got lost on the way.
She looked for him.
Here, was the bed where he was born.
There, was the peluqueria where he got his first haircut.
Follow this road to his school pencil box.

Have you seen this man? became her mantra.
How could he vanish?
How could he leave her behind with the darkness of the familiar?
Her childhood home.
Her elementary school.
The rusty seesaw at the park.

She opened her messenger bag to touch his white bicycle helmet.
He had left it behind.

(a dream i had two days ago about V and i)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Vinyl Angels Watching Over Me

I went to see my doctor on Friday. Since my doctor's office is located in Ventura, I didn't want to waste the opportunity to visit one of my favorite thrift stores in that city, The Coalition Thrift Store. This store raises money to support survivors of domestic and sexual assault.  It provides them with food and shelter. The store has scary looking posters of battered women throughout the store, but this depressing sight, and I say it with great shame,  didn't diminish my archaeological  curiosity to find artifacts that once belonged to a Jeff or a Debbie in suburbia.  That day, the angels of vinyl were watching over me because I found lots of great records.

I bought this Yes album because it stretches my attention span. It teaches me to sit and wait for bees to make honey. The songs have a faded fabric with little holes. These open spaces invite your index finger to go in and search for the warmth of words. With patience, you'll hear wind chime kisses and 4 pm guitars. I promise.

I bought this Van Morrison record because it brings back a memory I have of my mother and I at a laundromat. We are in Modesto, California.  She is folding shirts and I'm  bouncing a ball on the floor. Then, a shirtless long haired man walks in to wash his clothes. I stared at him long and hard,  making my mother feel uncomfortable. I stared at him because his body radiates a light I have never seen before, a light I want to follow and kiss and touch and leave my mother behind for the first time. 

I like this early Neil Young record.  He sings like a man with no self esteem. This is a man you want to take home and feed  homemade bread and raspberry jam. But, women be warned, his songs make you bleed and your wounds will dream a million hanker chiefs.

I also bought a Buffalo Springfield album. I couldn't say no to Neil Young's Mr. Soul. How could I say no to a clown who is sick and does a trick of disaster?

The other album I couldn't say no was to a Simon and Garfunkel record. I didn't discover Simon  and Garfunkel's music until the late 1980's. My younger sisters and I used to drive to Santa Barbara in the afternoons. We had little money for that expensive place, but we didn't care. A fog would  sometimes accumulate on the 101 freeway. I remember how our hearts sang America not giving a damn about the lack  of visibility on the road. We sang  I'm 18 and aching and I don't know why . My sisters and I are in our 40's now and we still don't know what Mrs. Wagner's pies taste like.


To a friend in Miño, Spain (yeah, you, Mr. B!) : You convinced me to allow comments again. Thank you.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summer of Failure

1. I'm a lover, not a baker. I failed as a baker last night as i made another attempt to bake zucchini bread . V liked my bread, but, you know,  he's sweet and very kind to my performance in the kitchen. I gave some bread to the seagulls this morning and they didn't like it. My heart broke into smithereens.

2. This was going to be my summer of sewing, but instead it's turning out to be my summer of viewing. I am addicted to the TV shows, The Wire and Mad Men. Don't get excited, I didn't buy a TV, I rent the DVDs from Netflix and I watch them on my laptop. Oh, dear lordy, I had forgotten the pleasure of sitting on my big, round ass for hours while watching  TV shows!

3. I'm supposed to train on my bicycle each morning. I'm supposed to ride my bike 8 to 10 miles a day so I could make the pilgrimage to San Francisco next summer with V. But, yeap, instead I spend mornings listening to my 99 cent vinyl records. I'm finally learning to appreciate real' early  Joni Mitchell and James Taylor. I love, love Joni's I had a king.

Here is a visual of my road to perdition:

                                        ( I dig those groovy album covers.)

4. When I'm not watching TV shows or listening to James or Joni, I listen to NPR. I also watch cooking videos on youtube, I read blogs, I read short stories, hell,  I dance around in my living room to this song (another record from  my 99 cent vinyl collection). It is fun to pretend to be a beatnik from the early 1960's that pretends to be Zelda Fitzgerald in the 1920's. When V gets home from work, he likes to be my F. Scott.

Wait, I'm not done.....

Since this is the summer of failure, when I'm not being a lazy ass at home, I go to, yes, my favorite places in the world, thrift stores. This summer I'm determined to find the tackiest,  cheesiest and shittiest records of my childhood. So far, I've had two successes. I found, ta-da! Seasons In The Sun and I think I Love You.  Remember that good feeling you got as a child when you sang songs you didn't know were shitty? Do you also remember singing Goodbye Papa, please pray for me in the shower?

Here's The Partridge Family singing I Think I Love You. This is my little homage to David Cassidy, my first childhood crush.

Of course, my summer would not be such failure if I manage to find the Holy Grail of shitty music: The Night Chicago Died.


V tells me I'll  get additional accolades if I manage to find the Spanish version.