Monday, August 30, 2010

By the light...

This is on the way back from Bodega Bay, maybe Petaluma. Just about a full moon starting to show itself. The pictures make me remember the cool air and the smell of dried grass blowing into the car.

The more I pursue this memory, I remember how we were stuck behind the north bay's slowest drivers for forever. Lots of Prius drivers.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back to Skull

It's nice not to be at the front of the room anymore. It's Thursday and I am going to meet a friend for a drink in a little bit. Are you a teacher? You probably can't do that. I mean, not unless you meet a colleague in the janitor's closet with a flask, a toothbrush and a box of Altoids.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

May Day

The sand was coarse. It felt good on my feet for awhile, but it didn't take too long before my soles felt sensitive and I started saying "ow" with every few steps. Also noteworthy this day was a blueberry marzipan scone, right out of the oven. I nearly melted when it hit my tongue. I imagine I looked the way a baby does the first time they have something like ice cream or pudding - big eyes, slow smile, leaning forward for more.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Golden Gate Park. 1017 acres of wild animals, botanical curiosities, art, 2-wheelers, 4-wheelers and socks-in-sandals foot traffic.

"Dude, man! I'm just drinking beers on a bench in San Francisco!"

The sun was out, but so was the wind. That didn't stop people from wearing shorts and flip flops, from having picnics and leaving their sweaters at home. But not me. I hate being cold. I brought a sweater, a jacket and wore them both. I saw the goose bumps on people's arms, not to mention a few aerobic looking moves by the picnicking hipsters to warm up when they were out of PBR and wine in a box.

It was a nice day. The conservatory visit inspired a trip to Hortica in the Castro. 2 new plants came home. Everything else we've gotten from there has lived. And the man who runs the store is very nice. I want him to be my uncle or a really good neighbor-friend. And even though it's on Castro in between Butt Buddies posters and fancy groceries, it's reasonably priced.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Oscar Dengue Bird Pig Fever

This is the entrance to a market in L.A. There were no photogs, which was a nice break for me. Hardest part of being a teacher? Easily the paparazzi.

Friday, February 19, 2010


You can't tell from this photo - or maybe you can - but this guy was really, really tall. I didn't manage to take a picture that effectively captured his beanstalk stature. Instead, in this one, you can see the crumbs on and around his mouth from the Valentine's Day cookies the people at Sweet Adeline's were giving away. He doesn't seem like a V-Day cookie kind of guy to me, but unlike most of us who said a grateful thanks and then put the cookie in our purses and backpacks, this guy ate his up in a few quick bites after he finished his cinnamon roll.

The way each employee came up to your table personally and gave you the cookie, all wrapped up with a pink ribbon, and smiled and said, "Happy Valentine's Day! I thought you might want..." made you feel like the chosen one, like there was something extra special about you that warranted the cookie being given to you. This man came in with 2 library books, pants that will never be long enough and a leather jacket. He looked kind of lonely to me, so I'm glad he got the cookie. And I'm glad he ate it right away.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


We were on a field trip to the Museum of Modern Art, on the number 8X bus headed downtown. It was one of those loooooooong buses whose two parts are connected by an accordion looking thing. This girl and her friends were in the back, ditching school, wearing her black hoodie and Old Navy hunting cap for her day out and about tagging city buses. We were in the back too. That's what you do when you get on a crowded bus. We were all standing there while these kids took out their fat markers and started tagging the same thing again and again.

"What?! You wanna take my picture? Get my good side!" The guy with the curly hair and badly bucked brown teeth said that while I openly photographed their exploits through the arms of my students and other city folk riding the Express. Most everyone ignored them or held a disgusted look on their faces while reluctantly taking in the criminal act.

They were rude and young and almost pityingly immature. At least she's not pregnant, I thought. I'd hate to be her kid.

At least she didn't look pregnant.

Once they got off, my kids looked like MLK, Mother Teresa and my cat all rolled into one. They tried to figure out what they could draw on top of the tags to make it look nicer, or what stickers they could come prepared with next time.

Nothing but unicorns could save that mess.

We had a really good docent at the museum. And except for the lost (and now returned) wallet, and the hummingbird who died after flying into the glass wall by the rooftop sculpture garden, it was a really nice trip.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Some of us have teeth while others of us have teefs. This woman, an important figure in the world of contemporary art, has the latter. I don't doubt she had the money to fix those things, but when you come into the world like that, live through the childhood teasing, tolerate the quiet, behind-your-back adulthood teasing, I suppose you might build up something of a strange pride around sticking with them for so long. Through thick and thin, out and about.

"Yeah, that's right. I've got teefs. And my picture is in MOMA next to the Matisses. Where you at?"

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Los uncerimonious end

"If you need to sharpen any of the color pencils the sharpener is on my desk. Make sure you use it over the trash bin."

Yes, I say trash bin. But only to my students. It helps to make me even more other to them than I already am. I work with a Scottish guy, so I feel I can blame some kind of weak cultural osmosis to a degree. A very little, tiny, itsy-bitsy degree. So anyway, I said do it over the garbage thing and this one does it on the effing table. Who do you think cleans this stuff up?

"That's the custodians job!"

Did you just say that? Did you think it? For you and for any of my very most special kids, no. That is not the custodian's job. And no, special student X, custodian is not, in fact, an SAT word. It's kind of like janitor, but not exactly the same. Look it up.

"Why you always gotta say that! That's what my mentor always says."

Well God almighty bless that poor fool for sticking by your special side.

Things like that make me wish there was one of those trees you could send a kid out to go and pick a switch from. And that it was 70 years ago. In the South. I just think I could do that in the South. Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel it in my chicken fried soul.

So long, January; hello to the incomplete month of February. Do you say the first "r"? Tell me. I want to know.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Beaking it down, eSPECIALly for you

That's right, yes he does.

Lazylegs (no joke) showed our students that there are "No Excuses! No Limits!" when he came and gave a motivational talk and dance demo to our lazybrain student body this past fall. He brought his friend Kujo with him to break that shit down for you. Lazylegs has itty bitty legs but very muscular arms that help him break dance for you like it's 1983. Kujo is deaf (pronounced deef) and relies on sound waves bouncing back to him and you feeling the music and clapping along to keep him on rhythm.

You could really have fun with that.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Happy Special New Year

I've been away. I always had the wrong computer with me. Since we last met, I moved voices, about 100. I effectively structured arguments. I had a failed SI joint. I tried good coffee in bad places and mediocre coffee in nice places. I lost time while wearing a new sweater, Maker's in an espresso cup is what I heard. My resolve to find a new money maker for next year was further solidified. I started dreaming again, remembering them, really, I guess is what it is. I have one new nemesis.

And now I'm back, hookers.

The theme for this month is special-ness. The first picture speaks for itself. The second features a man speaking for his special kid who ruined graduation.
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