Friday, March 30, 2007

The River of Ice

I didn't know glaciers were made of ice. I guess that sounds kind of uninformed, especially for a librarian, but I just didn't realize. I knew there was ice IN there, but I thought they just looked like a mountain, like rocks and mountain. I knew they changed the landscape, but I thought they did it slowly, underground and imperceptibly. Even though the definition of a glacier is a river of ice, I just had no idea what a glacier was really like. Until we saw one.

The cruise to Alaska was Tom's idea. My idea of heaven is a tropical beach. This is Tom's idea of hell. So, we compromised. And went to Alaska. Actually, I'm just kidding, because he had gone with me to islands in the Caribbean on cruises several times and I finally agreed to go to Alaska with him. I resigned myself to a cold, boring trip.

It was, quite simply, the most spectacular, most fascinating, most enlightening, most beautiful, most incredible trip I have ever been on. We would love to go back.

One of the most incredible of all the incredible days was the day we actually saw a glacier.

We sailed up the fjord which led to Glacier Bay National Park and the world began to seem surreal. The weather began to change. The water began to change. Even the sky seemed to change. As the temperature dropped, we dug out coats and blankets and wrapped warmly in them. We stood at the railing and watched the water begin to change to an unearthly, eerie, alien green.

It was getting colder. We just couldn't believe the glacier was actually having an effect on the weather.

And then we began to see chunks of ice in the water.

And lots more ice. This was July.

And then the water was full of ice. And it was very, very cold. We had only sailed a couple of miles, but the weather had changed drastically.

This is what was causing the weather change. This is what caused the water to turn an intense, unearthly green. This shelf of ice which towered above the cruise ship is a glacier. It's not a mountain with some ice in it. It's an ice mountain. It is shoving it's way violently through the rock to create a new environment. It is pushing so hard that, when it reaches the water of the fjord, huge chunks calve off into the water. We saw this. And were spellbound.

We studied it for a long time. We looked at it through the binoculars. We marveled at the blue and green streaks, caused by trapped oxygen and algae. We listened to the crashes as the ice broke off and fell into the water. We watched it all afternoon and into the night, as we sailed away. It never lost it's allure. We were mesmerized. Hypnotized. We had never seen anything like it.

We will never forget it.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Some People Are A Little...Clueless

I know the title of this post will come as a shock to you, my Internet friends, since you are all so intelligent, sophisticated and astute. And haven't you lost some weight?

It's sad but true. Some people are clueless.

This morning, one of the traffic lights on my way to school had switched from red to flashing yellow, because of the bad weather. This is a traffic light that is always there. People stop and go there every morning. Now, I know that you, my intelligent, sophisticated and astute Internet friends, know that when a traffic light switches because of an emergency, this means the intersection is now a four-way stop and not that you are free to fly right through it. Correct? You do know this, right? Then we are just a few out of approximately a skillion people. Because everyone except me was flying right through it while the drivers in the connecting intersection sat. And sat. And sat. Waiting for the clueless losers to stop and let them through.
See? Clueless.

When I was shopping the other day, I suddenly heard the very (very) loud sound of a cricket chirping. I turned around, as did several other shoppers, to try to determine where the ginormous cricket was located. Then, this woman took her chirping cell phone out of her purse and answered it. Really? A huge, chirping cricket is the sound you choose for your cell phone? How...interesting. Some people might find that sound annoying. A lot of people, in fact. The plus side is that this event helped me come up with a new philosophy. The annoyingness and loudness of your cell phone is directly proportional to how long it takes to find it in your purse. Haven't you noticed this? Especially when you are at a meeting and everyone is looking at you? Glad I don't have a cricket chirping in there. See? Clueless.

Then there was the guy in front of me at Best Buy. He was trying to exchange a DVD. This would have been no problem, but the DVD had been opened. He insisted it was defective. No problem, said the clerk, he could get another identical DVD. He didn't want an identical DVD. He wanted a different title. Couldn't do it, said the clerk. Only the same title. Well, duh. If you could open a DVD, then exchange it for another one, Netflix might as well shut down. Best Buy could provide the same service. Buy one, watch it, exchange it. This guy did not get the concept. He got louder and louder. Angrier and angrier. I really wanted to step in and use my teacher voice, but I didn't. I finally moved to another line. See? Clueless.

I'm so glad you are intelligent, sophisticated and astute. And slim. Just like me. It's everyone else who is clueless. Not us.

I've had a couple of comments as well as emails about the flashing yellow light issue, so I'm adding this to my post. Normally, of course, a flashing yellow light means to cautiously slow down and proceed through an intersection. But when a traffic light which is normally red/green/yellow switches to flashing yellow (usually because of weather), it does change the intersection to a four-way stop. Otherwise, everyone would be driving through the intersection and there would be serious accidents. Or, as the Internet says: Traffic light failure in most jurisdictions must be handled by drivers as...a four-way stop...pending the arrival of a police officer to direct traffic.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Imelda's Got Nothing On Me

I just realized this is my second blog post about shoes. I'm not sure what that says about how shallow I am. But I think it says I'm pretty shallow. Shallow but fabulous, dahling. 'Cause my feet look great!

I'm looking at my pretty pink toes peeking out of my slides right now. The weather has changed overnight and it's warm enough to get out all my slides and wear them. We went from boot weather to slide weather virtually overnight. Luckily, I have a fresh pedicure and bright pink toes.

And now, confession time. I have...a lot of shoes. First, I typed "too many" and then I thought, really, what IS too many? Who says that? They fit in my closet, don't they? I wear them all, don't I? I LOVE them, don't I? Well, then, I don't have too many. Do I sound a tad defensive? Well, maybe that's because I really do have...a lot.

See? (And that's really just a few of them...)
I have almost every color. And more than one of some colors. Like the green ones. I have two pairs that are a lime green color. OK, once I got my shoes out to take the picture...I have three lime green pairs. But one pair is kind of dressy and the other pair has a platform bottom. And the other pair...well, I just liked them, OK? They are TOTALLY different, OK?
And I don't have a yellow pair. That has actually been bothering me. I NEED a yellow pair. I'm not sure I have an outfit that would go with a yellow pair, but I still NEED a yellow pair. Because I don't have one. You know?

I have actually said this before, but here's my philosophy about shoes. If the shoe fits, buy it in every color.

I love shoes. But there is just something about slides. They are just...summer. Like fresh lemonade with slices of lemon floating in it. Like the smell of the swimming pool when you go for the first swim of the year. Like the sound of hamburgers sizzling and popping on the hot grill on the deck. Like the feel of the hot sun on your face at the farmer's market.

So I admire my toes. I revel in the sight of my bare feet in my slides. It is a happy moment. A blissful moment. A summer moment.
And yet another reason to love my husband. He took a picture of my foot for me without complaining about it or lecturing me on the silliness of it. Just took it. Then retook it because I said it didn't look right. What a man.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Did You Know? Part Deux.

Did you know that when you have to get up to go to work at school at 5:00 a.m. and it's pitch dark, your eyes aren't really focusing too well?

Did you know you can think you are hitting the button for Diet Mountain Dew and it's really the button for Mountain Dew on the coke machine in the teacher's lounge?

Did you know those freakin' bottles cost $1.25 so you are going to drink it no matter what?

Did you know that there are 110 calories listed on the label on one of those bottles?

But the worst thing of all.

Did you know there are actually 2 1/2 servings in each of those bottles? Like anybody is really going to drink 1/2 of one. Please.

So, that is 110 calories PER SERVING. And that's, like, uh, a bunch of calories. (Shut UP. I'm a librarian, not a math teacher. Ask me a book question and I'll blow your drawers off.)

So, finally.

Did you know that's roughly equivalent to almost an entire meal in Weight Watcher points?

Game over, man.

But then, there's this.

Just look how healthy this is. Blueberries, lettuce with a drizzle of low fat dressing and wheat pasta tossed with low fat ham and cheese. My dinner.

I AM a good girl, aren't I?

Just don't ask what I had for dessert.

If It Bleeds, Ve Can Kill It!

I admitted in my last post that I am a geek. I didn't even want to get into a whole other component of my geekdom, which includes the fact that I am also a movie geek. Luckily, the rest of my family are also movie geeks. We love, passionately adore and worship movies. We are such geeks that we have lines we can recognize from movies. Lines that can evoke a memory, make us sad, fire us up, or make us roll on the floor with laughter. Lines that are recited at the drop of a hat to cover pretty much any situation. Lines like these. If you get 10 out of 10, you are also a movie geek. A dubious distinction, to be sure. Comment if you get them all. You may win...well, actually nothing. But my respect. And the label of fellow movie geek.

1. If it bleeds, ve can kill it.

2. That's not a knife. This is a knife.

3. Shoot heeeerrrrr!

4. Guess we're gonna need another FBI guy, huh?

5. Fix bowl. Back in bowl.

6. I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. That's the only way to be sure.

7. Anybody else want to negotiate?

8. If I catch any of you guys in my stuff, I'll kill you.

9. I gotta get me one of these!

10. I'll cup my hands like this and go Caw! Caw!

Now, the last one is actually the object of this post. Oh, you thought the object was movie quotes? Nah, that was just for fun. And to create a segue into the object. Wasn't that suave of me?

Tom and I are seriously, whacked-over-the head, in love with Smallville. Our son (the same one who got us hooked on Buffy and Angel - he is our supplier) recommended it and we are chugging along in Season 2 on DVD.

AAAAAnnnyway. On one of the first episodes, they showed the school football team's name and they are the Crows. (sidenote - is that a TERRIFYING name for a school football team or what? What,they're gonna peck you to death? Oh, yeah. That did happen in a movie. Whatever.)

So, immediately, Tom turns to me and goes "Caw! Caw!". Of course, I crack up because I know just what scene in what movie he means. And now it has gone into the annals of silliness which is just the way life progresses around our house.

Every time we watch the show, we find some occasion to say Caw! to each other. It's amazing the number of inflections you can put on a word. It can be sarcastic, tender, sad, wistful, funny. And now Caw! has moved out into the real world. Perhaps you have noticed the Caw! on some comments. Yeah, that's him.

I took a group of my students to a technology fair on Saturday and took our laptop with me to show the movies they had created. Tom packed it up for me. When I opened the laptop at the fair, there was a yellow post-it note stuck to the keyboard. It said.


I love that man.

Friday, March 23, 2007


I realized something yesterday afternoon. I have been flirting with the idea for quite a while. I have suspected it for some time. But now I know for sure.

I am...a geek. Just recently, I told someone to just copy and paste the url so they could work on their web page. And I could have DEFINED url for them. "Wow", I though. "That's a just a little bit...geeky."

But yesterday I knew for sure. I went to Best Buy to pick up a flash drive so I could transfer some movies my students had created from one computer to another. I stood at the display and looked at the flash drives. 1 GB, 2 GB, 3 GB. And I knew that was a Gigabyte. I don't know exactly what that is but I know I want a bunch of it. Then I saw it had a lanyard. Cool. I can hang it around my neck so I won't lose it. And I got a vivid mental picture. Of myself with my 3 Gig flash drive on it's lanyard around my neck, copying and pasting url's.

And I knew.

But that's not even the worst of it.

After Best Buy, I went to the comic book store and bought the new Buffy comic. What? You didn't know that Joss Whedon has a created a comic book series for Season 8 of Buffy? Yes. I did know. Because I read the Joss Whedon blog. Because I am...a geek. A certifiable, techie obsessed, comic book reading geek.

It could be worse, I guess. I could be a nerd.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Wolfos and Orange Juice for Breakfast

From my elementary students, who were writing about eating a healthy diet. Seriously.

So watch what you eat because if you eat to much you could end up overweagt and dead.

I thought it would be good to eat a fat juicy stake and take a healthy diet so I ate a banana.

I chose lasania because it has pasta and you need that.

It is important to eat a healthy diet so you can live longer and don't have to be lazy.

And so you can stay healthy and clean and breath good.

They are all in the food pramid.

Because it helps your body move faster.

They all have vidumms and are good for you.

They are a little bit helthy but still good.

I chose bacon, sausage, ham and eggs because it's what I eat for breakfast.

You will be overwate and can't do fun things.

The reason I chos those is because I don't want my family to get sick from helthy food.

Will some things are helthey and some are not. Diet is you need to stop eating fats and start eating helthey.

Anothr reason is without food you wil die.

I woud have had a smoothy because it is made of fruit and pizza because it is made of bread.

Because each of these foods give off minerals you need.

I chose the oatmel for breakfast because it steakes to your ribs.

Because if you are really overwait you can hardly do anything.

Because you need to do sports instead of just watching tv.

In the morning I eat wolfos and orange juice.

I chose the candy bar and the cookies because you need a little snack to make you happy.

Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie. ~Jim Davis, "Garfield"

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Dealing with the Pain

I have arthritis. It has settled in my hands, one shoulder and one foot. I'm only middle-aged, so I'm sure it's going to get much worse. I take Advil and I have a prescription for an anti-inflammatory drug I take sparingly because I hate to regularly take prescription drugs. I always think they are doing something deadly to my organs they just haven't discovered yet.

So I am in pain sometimes. Last night I was falling asleep. I love going to bed. I love the whole process. The smooth, cool sheets. The dark room. The humming fan. The feel of the sheets against my body. The soft pillow supporting my head. That feeling of drifting and the heavy-eyed sleepiness. (I have now written a blog about napping AND about sleeping. What does this say about my laziness quotient?) I had just reached that point when I had one of those oh, I'm falling off a step experiences you get when you are falling asleep. I jerked my right arm - my arthritic arm - up and pain shot into my shoulder. I was certainly wide awake then. I laid there for a few minutes, then gave up and went to take some Advil. That pain wasn't going away anytime soon.

I don't like being in pain. I hate it. Who doesn't? But...and I often remind myself of's not THAT BAD. My sister-in-law is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Comparing my pain to hers at this point is like comparing a stubbed toe with a shark taking a chunk out of your thigh. I often think of her when my hands are hurting or my shoulder is throbbing and how her pain is so much worse and she is bearing it with such bravery. My beloved niece is suffering agonizing pain every month with endometriosis. I have two friends whose daughters are suffering agonizing migraine headaches. Medicine doesn't work for them. They spend a great deal of time feeling like their heads are going to crack open and their brains will fall out. My daughter suffers with migraines as well. And there are more people who are experiencing excruciating, unrelenting pain. All the time.

So, my shoulder hurts sometimes. My hands ache occasionally.'s not that bad.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


I have no bra on. At this very moment, I have no bra on. And it's not like I'm at home, relaxing on the couch with a good book and in my lounging clothes - no, I'm at work! I feel like a slut! But it's not my fault. My bra broke! The fastener that allows you to tighten or loosen the strap just snapped. I noticed something was scratching me during my last class and I kept tugging at my bra because it felt so loose. Luckily, the kindergarten class thought nothing of it. These are individuals who will reach right into their pants and scratch without a care in the world.

When they left, I kept adjusting but something was DIGGING in to my shoulder, so, suddenly, I found myself with my entire hand and arm up my shirt, pulling at my bra. I came to my senses and realized that I was standing in the middle of the library and anyone could walk in. So, I went to the bathroom, undressed and checked on the situation. It was irredeemable. The fastener had snapped in half and actually pinged to the floor when I pulled up my shirt. The other half was gouging into my shoulder. It had to go.

I took my turtleneck completely off and removed my bra, then slipped the shirt back on. Then I darted across the hall, concerned that someone was going to see me with my underwear in my hand, and stuffed it in my purse.

Luckily, I am wearing a blazer today over my turtleneck. Because my boobs? Are like two fat little puppies wrestling under a sheet. I don't think anyone wants to see that.

What a strange experience to go without a bra all day at school, being professional and all that. It's like I have a secret. I could flash the UPS man if I wanted to. I don't want to.

I'm just saying. I could.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I'd Rather Be In Mexico

It's Monday morning. With the time change, it's pitch black when I go to school. I did not want to get up this morning. I did not want to come to school. I want to be in Mexico.

A few years ago, we went to Cancun in February. We had never travelled to someplace warm when it was cold in Kentucky. The last time I travelled into summer was when I went to Florida for spring break in college. We drove over the state line into the luscious smelling orange groves and into summer. This time, we flew from winter into summer. Strange. But lovely.

The second day we were there, we took a ferry over to the gorgeous tropical island of Isla Mujeres. Tom still swears that I only wanted to go there because I liked saying the name so much. It does fall trippingly from the tongue, doesn't it? (That's from Hamlet. Heh.) Isla Mujeres (oh, yeah) is famous for it's turquoise clear waters and wonderful snorkeling. But, first we wanted to have lunch. We found a little, rustic, wooden restaurant right on the main street. When we walked in, we realized the entire back of the restaurant was, actually, non-existent. The back wall of the restaurant was...the beach. At this point, we had not travelled in the tropics enough to know that many restaurants and hotels are completely open-air. The airport in Punta Cana has no walls! It's a concept that's hard to grasp when you live someplace that has seasons.

We sat down at a table...right by the beach. We could have literally reached our toes out and touched the sand. The breeze was cool and salty in our faces. The sand was shimmeringly, sparklingly gold in the sun. The clear water glinted in shades of turquoise to jade green to cobalt blue. We ordered a local fish specialty we had heard about and Tom had a Corona with lime for the first time. We ate. We drank. We smiled at each other lazily. We soaked in the atmosphere.

I wish I was there RIGHT NOW.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Was My Face Red

Please don't be surprised if you hear I have disembowled my husband with a grapefruit spoon. This happened the other day.

Me: (Sitting on the toilet in the downstairs half bath which HE uses most of the time) What the...there's no toilet paper. THERE'S NO TOILET PAPER!

Him: Oh, yeah. Heh. I meant to put some more in there.

Me: Well, get me me some for God's sake. (mumble, mumble, unprintable obscenities)

Him: Uh, yeah. Just a sec. Let me get to a point where I can pause this game. (!)

Me: (Drip drying.) Please HURRY!

Him: Oh, yeah. Heh. OK.

Me: More unprintable obscenities.

But then, last night, there was this.

"So." He said. "Since you don't have anything planned for Saturday, maybe we could have a day together."

Saturdays are normally cleaning days, laundry days, mani/pedi days, lunch out days, baby-sitting days and pretty much anything else I can cram in there days. But this Saturday was, actually, pretty free.

"Oh, yeah?" I replied sarcastically. "You mean, I can do laundry, clean the bathrooms, make lunch - while you sit and play on the computer?"

"Well, actually," he replied quietly. "I was thinking we could go out for lunch and then see a movie together."

Imagine my chagrin.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hittin' That Sweet Spot

Aaaaaahhhh...a massage. As I have aged and my earning threshold has progressed, personal gratification (which sounds obscene, but is SO not) has become more a part of my regular routine. Manicures, pedicures and massages, which I once considered only something extremely wealthy people could indulge in, have become a monthly occurrence. Mainly because they are not nearly as expensive as I thought they would be. OK, that's a lie. Mainly because I like them.

My first massage was entered into with great trepidation, thanks to a gift certificate I won at school. I made the appointment and showed up at the massage center and was immediately thrilled with the decor, the lovely candles and music and the soothing, almost soporific atmosphere. And then the massage began. I was prepared for the most fantastic experience of my life. It was one of the most...painful.

In hindsight, I don't know why she didn't notice me cringing, moaning and trying to crawl away from her off the table. Maybe she thought that meant I was enjoying it. Luckily, as I limped into the waiting room like a whipped dog, just looking for the closest exit, the manager asked me with an expectant smile, how was my massage? I gave her a rueful smile and said I thought it was just not for me. I didn't realize a professional massage hurt so much. The smile slid from her face and horror took it's place. No, no, no, no, it should not hurt. You should ENJOY it, it should RELAX you, it should be FABULOUS. She insisted on booking me a free massage and explained that I should tell the massage therapist that I wanted light pressure, very light pressure. Thank heavens I ran into her. I would have never had another massage and would have missed out on some wonderful, relaxing experiences.

I'm not exactly sure what the proper etiquette is about making sounds when you get a massage. Did you see that episode of "Friends" when Phoebe is massaging Monica and she is moaning with ecstasy, so much so that it becomes almost sexual? And Phoebe just can't do it any longer? Well, I do stay on the moral high ground - I don't make any sounds at all. But, sometimes? When the massage therapist is really good and they do something like gently pinch up that layer of skin all up and down your back? I feel like one of those Southern preachers in a white suit at a tent revival and I'm mentally going "Oh, Yay-es, Lord, Yay-es, I have seen the light!"

But here's the thing. Don't you just hate it when you fall asleep during a massage? This had never happened to me before until just recently. I was getting a great massage, she started working on my upper right leg and then I kind of jumped and realized she was working on my left foot. Whoa, she must be going back and forth. Surely...surely I didn't fall asleep and miss the entire massage on one leg? I waited for her to go back, but then she covered up my legs with a sheet and headed for my neck. I had slept through part of my massage. I was SO ANNOYED. I want to relax, but c'mon. I don't want to miss it!

Then it happened again at another massage. She was working on my back and then, all of a sudden, she lifted one of my arms. What happened to the rest of my back massage? Dang.

And I guess the students at the massage school (yeah, talk about a great price - check out your local massage school!) must talk to each other because here's a conversation I just had with my massage therapist.

She: Just lie down on your back and we'll start that way.
Me: On my back? We usually start face-down.
She: Well, I see in your file that you really like your feet massaged, so I thought we would start this way, then you can turn over and go to sleep.
Me: ????

Did she just say that? Is it in my file that I fall asleep? Or was she just talking, like, in general, that I could relax and sleep. When I leave, are they whispering and laughing about the lady who falls asleep during her massage? This is a little...embarrassing. I feel like a little old lady whose head is nodding and bobbling while she is riding on the bus.

Am I alone? Help me here. Please tell me you fall asleep during your massage?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Ninth Circle

A little girl died this weekend. She was going to school in another town, but she had been attending our school for several years previously. The compassionate, good-hearted people at my school had seen an ugly situation brewing and taken steps to have her removed from her home and placed in foster care. But the system didn't work for her. They put her back with her family. And, so they could escape the people who were trying to help her, they moved to another town, another school.

She was a quiet, shy, sweet little girl with blond hair and glasses. I never saw the bruises. I never knew. There will be an autopsy and an investigation. But they are pretty sure her dad killed her.

There was another child killed recently. A little, two-year old was left in the snow by a dad who was supposed to take care of her. My heart broke in two when I read that there were tiny footprints in the snow which showed she had walked around before she died. That was bad.

But, in a way, this is worse because I knew this child. She had been in my library. She had listened to the stories I read. I KNEW her.

In Dante's Inferno, there were nine circles of hell, each circle getting progressively worse until the ninth circle was reached. This is where those people who hurt children should be bound and hurt, again and again and again.

She was only ten years old.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Wreck of the Hesperus

I just read a blog post from Joy Unexpected about her bad experience with a teacher. It really made me ponder and brought up two bad memories. There could possibly be many more, but who knows? Since I can't remember crap, these are the ones that have stayed lodged in my brain, taking up precious room I could better use for remembering where I left my glasses.

When I was in 6th grade, my teacher, Ms. Olbis (yeah, I'm using her real name - find it on the Internet and just TRY to explain your point of view, you old hag) had a parent conference with my mother. Rationally and calmly, she told her that I would NEVER go to college. She could always tell the students who were not going to go to college. My mother was horrified and has told this story a hundred times. Hey, you old bag of pus, guess what? I went to college, I have my Master's degree, I'm a librarian/teacher who was voted Teacher of the Year and I have my NATIONAL BOARD CERTIFICATION!! I would like to find her, tell her this, and then kick her in the ass.

But the worst teacher story happened when I was a freshman in high school. It's so bad, I have totally blocked out the teacher's name. In elementary school, we had to memorize and recite poetry. Anyone else have to do this? How come they don't make kids do this now? Oh, yeah, they don't have time because they are too busy playing video games. Anyone for flashlight tag? Anyone nowadays know how to play that? And remember how we had to come home when the streetlights came one?

Yeah, well, I could still recite "The Wreck of the Hesperus" for you to this very day. I am totally serious. I recited it in college for a talent show. Didn't win, though. Anyhoo. When I got to high school and found out we had to memorize and recite a poem, I was in high cotton. I was a skinny little wall flower, but I could memorize and recite!! I memorized the poem "Daffodils" and was good to go. It is a symptom of my trauma that I have no idea how this poem goes to this very day. I stood up and began to recite my poem, so full of pride and happiness.

The teacher said sharply "Stop rocking!" I didn't even realize I was rocking. Apparently, to aid the memory process, I was swaying back and forth as I recited. I began again. Even louder, she shrieked "Stop rocking!". I stopped, flustered, nervous and upset. I swallowed and began again. She stepped closer to me and again screamed "Stop rocking!" And then she added, "Or just SIT DOWN!". Tears filled my eyes as I stumbled to my desk. I buried my head in my arms on my desk and didn't look up until the class was over. She had to know I was crying under there. She had to know I was traumatized and upset. She had to know how happy and proud I had been.

I think she did it on purpose. I think she was mean and evil and cruel. What difference did it make that I was rocking? None. It was horrible. Hateful. Traumatic and upsetting for a shy young girl. This happened more than 40 years ago. The memory of my shamed humiliation is as clear as if it happened yesterday.

I wish I could remember her name. I'd like to kick her ass too.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Hey, Mimi, LOOK!

When my grandson, Wesley, was born, my friend Vicki gave me a little pillow that says "When a Child is Born, So is a Grandmother". Luckily, that job comes with a Tonka truck full of patience, because I needed it this weekend. Wesley came to stay for the night. Now, he IS only 15 months old, so he can't exactly talk yet (although Tom and I swear he said Tatooine the last time we had him - we think he's going to be a big Star Wars fan.) so keep in mind that everything in italics is only in my mind. Or maybe his too. One never knows.

Mimi, look, I can open the front door!
Look, Mimi, look, I can close the front door!
Hey, hey, hey, Mimi, I can open the front door!
And, you might have missed it - look, I can close the front door!

Hey, Mimi, you know those two stools you had loosely arranged in front of the doorway so I couldn't get to the hall and living room? You know how those worked last week when I was so much smaller? Not so much now. Look, I can crawl right under this one! Look, Mimi, my head fits right under here! Look how fast I can walk, Mimi! Wow, this paper tears really easily, doesn't it??

Mimi, chase me! Mimi, catch me and tickle my belly! Kiss my neck and blurble it and make me shriek! Mimi, nibble my leg and make me laugh. Mimi, chase me! Mimi? Mimi, why are you lying on the floor? Get up and play with me!

No, I don't want that pacifier! No, no, no, no, no! I know what that means! That means I'm supposed to take a nap. No, no, no, no, no, no. Wow, Mimi, that really hit the wall hard didn't it? Man, I can can really thrown, can't I, Mimi? Don't I look sweet when I am sleeping, Mimi?

Yes, I want those yogurt covered raisins. Yum, yum, yum. I want some in each hand. I wonder how many I can fit in my mouth at one time? I wonder if I can fit both hands in there too? Hey, Mimi, look, I can!

Look, Mimi, I can put this toy in the tub! And this one! And this one! Look how high I can splash the water, Mimi! Splash, splash, splash! Aw, do I have to get out now, Mimi? Do I have to get dressed? I like to run around naked, Mimi!

Good morning, Mimi! I am so glad to see you. See this smile? See how sweet I am? Yeah, it's still dark outside, but let's play! And I'm hungry! Can I have some pancakes???

Look, Mimi, look at this toy! Look, Mimi, I can get this one out too! Look, Mimi, I can get out more toys! Look, Mimi, I can get EVERY SINGLE TOY out of my toy basket! Wow, Mimi, look how many toys I have! Look, they are all over the living room! Hey, Mimi, can you get the Tupperware bowls out for me? And the big plastic spoon? 'Cause I have nothing to play with, Mimi.

Look, Mimi, it's Mommy and Daddy! Mimi, why are you so sleepy? Are you going to take a nap now? You can borrow my pacifier, if you want.

I love you too, Mimi. I'll see you soon.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Please Forward to Heaven

To: Tom and Wilma R.
Address: Heaven
From: Your daughter-in-law

Hello, you two. I'm glad you are finally together. Wilma, I know you missed your husband very much for those few years you had left on Earth after he moved on. We were glad you stayed, though. Your son needed you after his dad died. You got to see a lot of the events in our lives. Graduations, holidays, a wedding. I'm just so sorry you missed seeing your great-grandson born. You just missed it by a few months. I hope you were both watching from up there. 'Cause he is pretty wonderful.

We appreciate the fact that we never once, in all the years the kids were growing up, paid a babysitter. You all were their baby-sitters. You adored both of them and treated them like little royal children come by for a visit.

We couldn't have bought our first house if it weren't for you two helping us with the downpayment. And I wouldn't be a teacher now if you hadn't paid our mortgage for us while I had to take time off work to student teach. You paid our day care bills for years when we couldn't stretch our finances any further. You bought our children shoes and clothes.

We had some wonderful meals at your house. Wilma, I have managed to duplicate your peanut butter fudge and caramel frosting but we will never again have gravy like you made it. Tom, how come your grilled out steaks tasted so much better than ours? Wilma bought me the most beautiful peignoir set I have ever owned. Tom changed the oil in my car.

I have your china displayed in your china cabinet and your silver and we use it on every holiday. We are taking good care of your house. We get together there for meals served on your dining room table. Liz has your mother's china cabinet and her china and treasures it. I have your mother's silver saved for Mark. We appreciate and love these family heirlooms.

I hope you are happy. I think you are. I can't imagine Heaven any other way. We miss you. I wish you could hold Wesley and smell his head and his neck. He smells so indescribably good.

We will see you again someday. And, by the way, if you see my dad? Give him a hug for me.

Thursday, March 8, 2007


I just read aloud part of a Beverly Cleary book to a class in the library and, in the first chapter, Henry Huggins makes a call home on a pay phone for a nickel. I stopped to discuss this, thinking it would be interesting for them to know how old this book was, that you could make a phone call for a nickel. Then, I realized. Most of them don't even know what a pay phone is. They use cell phones. When I told them cell phones hadn't even been invented when this book was written, they were amazed.

I remember pay phones, don't you? I still see them every now and then, but they are going the way of the dodo. Everyone has a cell phone. I remember in the mall they used to have a round kiosk that had a bunch of pay phones on it. If you had to call home, you used a pay phone. Soon, kids won't even have any idea what a pay phone was. We'll be hobbling around with our canes, telling stories about making calls on pay phones while they surreptitiously roll their eyes at us.

I can literally feel the winds of change moving my dyed hair. I remember our first cell phone. Have you seen A Night at the Roxbury? Yeah, our first cell phone was kinda like that. It was light gray and as heavy as a baby hippo. But we thought we had really arrived in the 20th century!

And what about VCR's? Our first one was huge, unwieldy and cost about $800. We had to PAY A MONTHLY MEMBERSHIP fee to rent movies at the video store. And, of course, they didn't have any good movies. At least we didn't buy a Beta machine. I bet there are still some of those sitting in attics and garages, covered with a layer of dust, right next to the Atari game machines. Now, our movies are on a disk as thin as a dime that arrives in our mailbox in a red envelope from Netflix.

Computers. Right after we saw Wargames, starring a geeky Matthew Broderick, we went out and bought our first Apple IIe. It had green letters on a black screen and graphics and sound were something that had not even been imagined. The Internet? What was that? Something the government and colleges were using. If only we had seen the future and invested in Yahoo. Or Ebay. Or some online porn. Just kidding.

Don't mock me. I am so serious. Give me a thumbs up if you had a Pong game. Oh, yeah, the first video machine. You hooked it to your tv and could bounce a ball back and forth. That was pretty much it. Wow. We were actually impressed.

We had to hold our first video camera with both hands. It was roughly the size of a baby stegosaurus. If it fell on your foot, that foot would have to be amputated. The still camera we used to take pictures of both our infants was also big (all the old technology was HUGE. Now everything is the size of a chiclet.) and , incredible as it sounds, we had to TAKE OUT the roll of film and take it to the drugstore to be developed.

Let's go even further back. We didn't have cable tv. We didn't have a remote for our tv. We had to GET UP AND CHANGE THE CHANNEL. Our tv was actually a big piece of wooden furniture with a small screen embedded in it.

I remember one time when we had a party and Tom made a mix tape to play on our Reel to Reel machine. We didn't want to have to keep putting albums on the record player.

But, we have adapted. We have tiny cell phones. We have DVD players and even DVR. We both are seriously computer literate. We even have jobs where we use computers constantly. Game machines? You name it, we got it. Our digital video camera and still digital camera fit in the palm of our hand. And we can record and listen to music on our I-Pods. We love technology. We think it's fun, convenient, and brings us closer together in many ways. We think it's fine that we are in the now instead of the back then.
But you know what's really important?
The family that we can share all this stuff with. What good is email if you have nobody to send it to? I would trade every techie device in the world for time with each and every one of them. In a New York minute.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The Match Game

I always wear matching underwear. Bra, panties - they ALWAYS match. Not just white with white or black with black, but the same pattern, same design, matching. What can I say? I like them to match. I think it's a knee-jerk reaction to being so poor in the past. Back in the day, I worried about keeping my children clothed and fed and whether my underwear was freshly washed and hole-free. I did not worry about whether it matched. Now that I can afford nice underwear, I buy it. I have an underwear addiction to go along with my pajama addiction. If I could live in lingerie, I would seriously consider it. But only around the house. I don't wear my sleepwear to Wal-Mart, like some people.

But, getting to the point. Why is it so hard to find matching underwear? I'm not talking to you slim, 20-somethings who wear those panties so tiny I have to put my reading glasses on to even see. There's always plenty of those in the store, in darling prints and colors with the matching tiny bras. I'm talking to those other middle-aged women who wear high-cut briefs in the larger sizes. Even if (when) I lose those extra pounds, my hips are still gonna be wide. After bearing two children who pushed them apart with their little chubby hands in their rush to get out in the world, those hips ain't going back. Hence, the need for the larger panties. And they have to be roomy in the butt. Don't you hate those panties (and bathing suits) that are cut up high in the back and you have to keep pulling at them in a vain effort to cover that pasty white cellulite?

There is no lack of bras for us in the stores. Rack after rack of bras. And a minuscule number of those racks have the matching panties behind the bras. An even smaller number of those panties are high cut briefs. And then you get to the minuscule number (usually one - and that woman who gets there before me? And buys that pair? May they shrink up until she can't draw a deep breath.) in the larger sizes. AND. They don't always have matching panties for every color.

I just bought a beautiful, well-fitting set of a black bra and panties. They had the same bra in about four other colors. But the panties? Not so much. In fact, not. I checked with the salesgirl to be sure and yeah, they just don't always send panties to match all the bras. Here's my question.


We women who buy that nice, large size lingerie in classy department stores that you can't ever get on sale - hey, we are the ones with the money! We are the ones with grown children who have time to shop and try on clothes! We are the ones who are travelling and need nice, new lingerie to model for our husbands in our cabin on the ship. OK, that's a lie. Our husbands (and guys in general) really don't care about nice, matching underwear. They don't actually care about underwear. If we would do away with underwear completely, that would be fine with them. In fact, they would prefer it. The underwear is for us. And, if we are going shopping or on a trip with our friends, to show off for them.

So, how about making more high-cut briefs to match those bras? In every, single color? And can you make even more panties in the larger sizes to match those bras? So if that woman gets to the store before me, I can still buy a pair?

That woman really pisses me off. And her butt looks really big in those jeans.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Omeletes Were FABULOUS

When we went on our first cruise, lo these many years ago, everything was so new and exciting. Our room had a window! We had a bed! We had a bathroom! We could order room service and NOT HAVE TO PAY FOR IT. (Of course, in reality, we had paid about $5,000 for it, but that's not the point.) And, when we went to breakfast that first morning, they had an OMELET BAR. Oh, my God. We could order a fresh, homemade omelet of our very own. We could choose whatever fresh ingredients we wanted and they would make an omelet for us. For each of us. Our very own. We had omelets every day.

They were FABULOUS. And then we went on our next cruise. And our next. And our next. And we had breakfast at the downtown Hyatt in Louisville and they had an omelet bar. I learned how to make omelets at home. They became...not so fabulous. They are still really good. We love omelets. But not so fabulous. They will never be as fabulous as they were on that first cruise. The novelty. The taste. The entire experience. It's kind of sad.

We have become jaded with omelets. I worry about this. I can see why movie stars and other famous people travel the world, vie for the ultimate, exhilarating experience, buy the next best thing or have ten-second relationships. They are jaded. I don't want to be jaded. I want everything to be as exciting as it was the first time. I realize that's just not realistic.

But it makes me sad.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Did You Know?

Did you know that you can eat a really healthy breakfast of raisin granola and low fat milk and get to school where they have a spread of delicious snacks in the teacher's lounge and you can eat again as if you had never had breakfast? As if you are actually hungry?

Did you know that you can decide that since you have had, technically, two breakfasts, you can skip lunch but at about 11:30 you realize you are, indeed, hungry and you go to the lounge and, guess what? There are leftover snacks and you can fill your plate again? And even congratulate yourself because there are still brownies left!

Did you know that you can actually find yourself justifying eating all that sugary, salty, fatty goodness by realizing you are hungry again and that it must have just burned off really fast because you are in such good shape due to the fact that you walked on the treadmill exactly one half hour this week?

Did you know that you can then go out to dinner with your husband and order a complete meal, eat the bread on the table, your salad and all your dinner, including french fries and actually contemplate ordering dessert before you get yourself under control and realize you will have to jerk a knot in your own tail this weekend and get back on the diet?

I think I heard about someone who did this. I'm just saying.

Friday, March 2, 2007

This is Why

I just made myself cry reading a book aloud to some of my students. It was "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane", by Kate Dicamillo, and if you haven't read it, YOU SHOULD.

I like many components of my job as a library media specialist in an elementary school.

I love the whole technology component, much of which didn't even exist when I started working as a librarian back in the stone age. Even checking out books using a computer was just a glimmer in some future-thinking librarian's eye back then. Web pages? (What's an Internet?) Projectors hooked to a computer that sat on your desk? Blogs? Wikis? Spam? Even email was actually called Electronic Mail at first and we were all intimidated by the very idea of sending mail on the computer.

I love working with kids. I love that ah-ha moment that occurs with them every now and then, that spark which ignites a love of reading, that connection when you match them with just the right book.

I love books. All kind of books. Kid's books. Grown-up books. books of every genre. I love to look at them, to smell them, to feel them, to read them. And when I get a new book order? And I can open all the boxes and spread them out and pick ANY ONE I WANT to read? That's better than Christmas and my birthday combined.

I love working with truly dedicated teachers who care about what they are doing and know it is the most important job in the world. And show it every single day.

But the best part. The very best part. Is reading a really good book to the kids.

I love to make them laugh out loud with delight. I love to make them put their hand over their mouth in suspense. I love to make them so involved in the story that they sit mesmerized, spellbound, in the thrall of the tale. And I like to make them sad. That may sound cruel. But I like to make them think, make them talk, make them appreciate what they have, make them put themselves into someone else's life for an instant.

I don't often cry when I read to them. But it was a small group. We were totally into Edward's adventures. It was the end of the book and he was in the doll shop when someone came in to choose him. I could tell a couple of the students guessed what was going to happen because they leaned forward, obviously excited. I shook my head at them not to tell the others. When I finished the last sentence, my eyes filled with tears. The kids sat silently thinking. One of the girls leaned forward spontaneously and put her hand on my knee in kindred sympathy and shared joy.

This is why I am a librarian. This moment.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Godzilla Destroys Tokyo. Film at 11.

Godzilla visits our house every now and then. He is in the shape of a very small boy with spunsilk blonde hair and big blue eyes. He masquerades as our sweet, cuddlesome grandson whose chuckle can twist up our heart, but, yeah, he's really Godzilla. You know how in those old movies, Godzilla came striding through Tokyo, knocking over buildings and causing untold, rampant destruction? Yeah, that's Wesley. He can ransack a kitchen in two minutes. Strew toys everywhere in the living room in five. Trying to keep up with him is like trying to stuff a rabid squirrel in a tube sock. It's possible, but I don't recommend it.

But not only he is a mini-tornado, he is devious. DEVIOUS. He loves to play with the magnets I have on my refrigerator and dishwasher. He sticks and unsticks them (sticks and unsticks, sticks and unsticks - hey, he's 15 months old - this is high entertainment), holds them, chews on them, drops them into tupperware bowls. These are big magnets - I'm not about to let our precious boy choke on something. I have one magnet I really like. I had jokingly said I needed a sign for my dishwasher that said Clean/Dirty one time and my daughter found me a magnet that says that on the top and bottom - you just switch it around. Wesley LOVES that magnet. After he left the last time, as I was cleaning up the kitchen, I realized that magnet was missing. Hmph. The boy must have shoved it under the stove or refrigerator. Oh, well. I'll worry about that later. Right now, I need a nap.

The next time he came over, he went directly to a favorite cupboard in the kitchen. He opened it, looked over at me with a mischevious grin, and TOOK OUT THE MAGNET FROM WHERE HE HAD HIDDEN IT. He knew exactly where it was. He had put it there. He remembered. I'm calling MENSA today.

At least it wasn't the tv remote.
Ha ha ha ha ha Haaa. The living room is next!