Friday, February 03, 2012
My birthday is in August, and as a child, we were often travelling to coastal regions so that my father, who was in college, could work on research for his MS and then PhD. He's a coastal geologist, who specialized in sea level change and erosion/accretion and all that stuff - so we had wonderful summers on beaches, but it also meant that my birthday wasn't celebrated by having a big party with all of my friends.
I grew up in a family with 5 children - my sister had special emotional needs, my brothers were a handful - and I was the quiet kid, the good kid, the one everyone counted on for help or support. Didn't cause problems, didn't complain, just did what needed to be done.
So my mother - who was sort of the good kid when she was growing up - decided that my birthday in August would be my family party - and some years my birthday party was chicken pot pies in our trailer or rented cabin. But she also decided my friend birthday party would be on my half birthday, in February. So for a few years (about ages 8 to 12-ish) I had my half birthday party, complete with friends, balloons, presents, cake, ice cream, the whole bit. I have absolutely no idea what those friends (or their parents!) thought, but my mom was kind of known as being unconventional, and this was probably accepted as just another one of Norma's ideas.
I thought it was wonderful. I STILL think it was wonderful. I had two days a year when I was the star, when my sister's and brothers' needs didn't overwhelm me, when I had everyone's attention (even if it was only for an hour or so). I had the party with my friends, and didn't miss out on that, the way so many summer birthday kids do.
And I knew that my mom knew that I was the overlooked kid, and that I was special to her.
So at times like this, I really do miss my mom.
Thursday, February 02, 2012
Remember him? He's the very cute kitty that a few of us fed last year at school, and finally caught and took him to the vet for neutering - then he was adopted by one of our counselors and his wife.
I ran into the wife at the post office - the cat (they call him Ronnie) is big and cute and loving.
And he brought home two stray kittens!!!!!!!
One looks just like him, so he's named RJ (for Ronnie Junior) - although obviously he isn't his own son. The other, a girl, is marble-colored - so her name is Mabel.
Seriously, the lady told me these two stray kittens were hanging out with Ronnie when she and her husband got home one day, and they've been tamed enough to come inside and sleep - though they aren't willing to be touched yet.
I can totally see Little Mr. Orange Kitty happening upon these two kittens while he was out roaming - "Hey, I know how it feels, I used to be homeless too. Why don't you come home with me, these nice people like cats and they'll feed you too!"
Just such a funny little vignette! And yay for LMOK for rescuing his own little kitties!!!!!
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
I have to laugh (and the small things are what gets me through the day) - I put on a watermelon red top today, white shorts, and pink Birks - because I'm working on the mural, and just can't get back into a clean dress after 3 hours in my cement-covered overalls. And I'm wearing pink this week, because my student Aliya always wore a pink hoodie - so my pink this week is in remembrance of her.
But the white shorts are baggy linen shorts, and the long red top just was the wrong length - there wasn't any balance.
So I pulled the shorts off, and grabbed a brown knit cargo skit and pulled that on - voila, it went with the ensemble.
The skirt is short. At least 2" above the knee. With my square shades, and a navy blue cotton jacket (asymmetric zip and stand up collar) - well, I arrived at school knowing I looked HOT.
I walked to my classroom, past the girls lined up for breakfast. Who eyed me up and down, looking pointedly at my legs and the length of the skirt. The message in their eyes saying, "Who is SHE walking in all dressed up in a short skirt??!!??"
I had to laugh, it was funny. Because yes, it was a short skirt - shorter than the students are allowed to wear. And yes, because I KNEW I looked good. I have good legs, always have had them. Strong. Long. Shapely. And I wear short skirts to distract attention from my moderate bust and lack of a waist. Because seriously, if you have killer legs and they show, well, that's what people will look at and they'll ignore the rest for a while.
So yes, I'm strutting those legs around the school. Because I seriously DO know how to use them, LOL!!!!
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
The teachers are still shell-shocked - some students have not been to my class, they are with other teachers who are working with them. Some students can't stop crying. Some are wooden-faced.
And some are repeating every gory detail and/or every rumor that they hear.
While I understand that some people process tragedy this way, I don't. I'm way too imaginative, I can picture every single thing they say. And I don't want to. I don't want to remember my student suffering her last moments on this earth. I want to remember her as the happy and smiling and inquisitive student I had for two years.
So even though one student's brother was on the scene, and I'm sure he has all the details, and I'm sure he will need counseling and support to cope with what he went through - I don't want to hear it.
Twice today, I've told students that Aliya was my student, and I really can't hear all about the sad details. And could they please step out of earshot to talk about this.
They've been very respectful of that. I appreciate their understanding. And I'm giving them space to process tragedy in their own way.
I also appreciate the fact that I teach art, and I can take those students who want to discuss the details, and send them with trays of tile to the auditorium - so they can work on the project but talk along the way.
Because right now - and maybe forever - I want to remember this child smiling.
Monday, January 23, 2012
We all need them. The school is somber and quiet - relatives of the girls killed in yesterday's accident, friends, all of us who knew them - we're all red-eyed and just sad.
So today's quotation:
No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
- John Donne
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