Sunday, January 26, 2014

I said this on twitter already.

I've heard that if a cat brings you a mouse, it's not that they're giving you a gift but that they perceive you as a weak hunter and have brought you food so you won't die. Probably because then they'd have to find someone else's furniture to scratch up.

The other day, my cat carried over & dropped on my lap an uncooked spaghetti noodle, which presumably fell on the floor last week while I was cooking. I ate it, anyway.

Well, what was I supposed to do? I didn't want to be rude.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Because I was watching this Harry Potter marathon...

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”

The Future of America

Sometimes I think I'm too severe when it comes to the kids I work with.
I hear some of the things I say & can't believe I'm turning into the buzz kill teachers I knew when I was in high school.
"Are you allowed to show THAT much of your mid-drift?"
"You guys, pokemon have absolutely nothing to do with Robert Frost!"
"For the 10th time, put your phone away before I take it up!"
& then I feel shitty. Because this isn't the person I think I am. At all.

And still, there are times when I'm reassured that I could stand to be even more stern with them.
One of these such times was this past Thursday when we handed out a reading about the way the Presidential Election of 2008 changed American Politics. The reading focused on Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama as the faces of new American Politics, but also mentioned other notable figures who had aspired to this feat.
The school I work in is a tier one facility, meaning at least 80% of the student body are living beneath the poverty line, and the students are primarily Latino. Of 120 students I work with, there are among them only 8 who are non-Latino; 7 students who are Black American and one who is a Thai immigrant. So I was excited to hand out this reading to them and talk to them about how politicians are going to be more concerned with their votes and voices in the future.

Getting them to actually read this 2 page article was more painful than using pliers to pull out finger nails.

After they completed the reading, they were supposed to write a summary and a brief explanation of their own feelings on the article. As the class ended, one student turned in her essay to me; a meager 4 lines.
The story was about the first African American woman to be elected President of the United States. Her name was Edith Wharton. I'm glad she's President of the United States. This story was cool.

"Alejandra, did you even read this article at all?!"
"Yeah, Miss, look at my paper!"
"Alejandra, I'm really impressed."
"You are?!?"
"Yes. To turn this in is not only a total lack of concern for your grade in this course, but also tells me you've never read a newspaper or watched the 6 o'clock news in your life."
"Haha news is boring, Miss. & ain't nobody got time for that."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Story of a Friendship

Monday of a three-day weekend, something had been eating away at me.
I gently closed the front door of my mother's house behind me and quietly went to get my things in the hopes of not waking her.
"It's 11:45 in the evening and you still have to drive home. You're crazier than a mashed potato." My mom, who has a knack for inventing such euphemisms, was sitting beside a dim light in her bedroom, reading.
"I know, I'm sorry."
"Come over here. What's the matter?" My mom, who had left her chair and was standing near me, turned on a light to look at my face.
"I don't know," but suddenly the thing that was consuming me announced itself and surprised me. "I guess I'm sad that Darlene is moving."
Now my mom wrapped her arms around me. I rested my head on her shoulder, "I don't want her to go."
"I know, you two have been friends for a long time. That's what happens, baby. You grow up and people move away. It doesn't mean you'll stop being friends, it just means things will be different."
"I guess I took for granted that we'd always both be in Texas..."
It was the summer before the sixth grade and I was 12. I had a subscription to a magazine for teen girls. That summer, one article in the magazine titled, "Become the girl you've always wanted to be," opened my eyes to a reality that I'd never before considered; I (and everyone else) could think of the kind of person I wanted to be and then become that person. So I asked myself--who do I want to be?
Pretty and Cool topped my list, but there was another--one that nags me to this day--Funny. I wanted to be funny. And so I began the sixth grade with only this mantra; funny, cool, pretty. 
I soon realized that pretty and cool weren't really up to me. I was a swarthy, mixed-race girl with a Jewish mom at a white, baptist middle school in Central Texas. But funny, I decided, I could manage. It was here that I met Darlene.
At my middle school, sixth graders were required to take a drug prevention and mental health awareness program. It was an after school special but in real life and in school. Darlene and I had this course together. Immediately, the girl I wanted to become singled Darlene out for being quiet and well-behaved. She became my measuring stick; I would know I was funny when I finally succeeded in making her laugh. Weeks went by where I would sit a couple of rows behind Darlene and make joke after joke in class (much to my teacher's chagrin), all the time watching for Darlene's reaction. All that time she had no idea that I was, basically, obsessed with her. When the day came that I made her laugh, there was no way I could go back to watching her from a distance. I HAD to be her friend and the girl I wanted to become knew this.
Making Darlene laugh was the first time I'd ever really felt self-empowerment. The girl I wanted to become revelled in this victory and was intoxicated with a can-do attitude. Armed with my new-found self esteem, I found a way to strike conversation with Darlene and was fortunate enough to not scare her away, but found that she was a most agreeable friend.
& when I think about it now, I can sum it up pretty clearly. The middle school years were like this:
roller-skating rinks where we would giggle every time we heard a bad word in the dj's hip-hop set list;
late nights singing into my mother's presentation microphone and speaker, pretending we were stars;
sharing various ethnic foods at our respective ethnic homes;
boy talk.
The high school years were all about helping each other pick outfits to get pictures taken at the mall;
walking around together in the sweltering Texas heat in the summers;
borrowing mom's car without permission to make innocent trips to taco bell or the mall;
boy talk;
wedges that laced up around your ankles;
weekends at another friend's home, swimming in an above-ground pool and smelling pomegranate blossoms;
the war on terrorism and how it changed our military hometown;
our first (and last) fights;
scraping together enough money between the two of us to walk to our favorite diner and split a brownie and a couple of sodas.
We went away to different colleges and were nearly swallowed up in all the boy talk but in-between, somewhere, somehow, we found time to visit each other.
After all that, an additional three years, a nursing degree, and a law degree later, we are still best friends. And after all the memories we've made together, the thing I remember most is this:
in my pursuit to become the girl I wanted to become, through all the times I reinvented myself, despite all my bad decisions and terrible boyfriends that I never did learn to stop agonizing over, she stuck by me. No matter the phase I was going through, Darlene never failed to see the person I was inside and always loved me enough to be honest with me, even when I couldn't be honest with myself.

I mentioned earlier that I was* an odd duck (*am). When my family first moved to Texas, I couldn't understand why I was teased so much or why the other kids didn't like me. My dad told me something that seemed really grim at the time but is now, something I hold to be very true. He told me that we are lucky, in our lives, to meet special people and have real relationships. "If you have one real friend when you die, you did good. That's all you need is ONE. Some people don't even have that." Most of my friendships, I have questioned at one point or another (&, to any of my friends who may read this and feel insulted--I love you, don't worry. Please don't stop loving me). My friendship with Darlene is not only the longest friendship I've had, but also the only one I've always believed was true. My dad was right, I am supremely lucky to have this friendship and to know I'll always have it.

& so today, Darlene, her dog, her fiance, and all of her stuff, began their journey to the distant and exotic land of Idaho. It's weird to think about how much will change in the two years she is scheduled to live there (weird being a gross understatement, it actually makes me really sad to think of) but I know that no matter what, every time I see her and every time we talk, it'll be like nothing has changed.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A collection of one liners.

Sometimes, I hear things the kids I work with say in passing.
Sometimes, those things are funny.

Me, to a group of students: Hey, how's it going guys? You having any trouble analyzing the poem?
Student A: I don't really get it?
Me: Well, let's talk about it; what's the connotation of "locking it away in her deepest cabinet?" What's the author really trying to say?
*A pause*
Student B: Oooh!
Me: Yeah? What do you think?
Student B: You know what I want? I want one of those mustaches that curls at the ends when I grow up!

As I walked past a student deep in her assigned reading.
Student: *sigh* I like unicorns & butterflies.


Walking past two students talking.
Student A: So, you got a job?
Student B: Yeah. It's some place called woll foods.
Me: I'm sorry, what? You work where?
Student B: Woll foods.
Me: Are you saying whole foods?
Student B: Naw, Miss, it's woll foods.
Me: I'm pretty sure that's wrong. It's pronounced WHOLE.

That's all, folks!

Moon Song

I work with children now.

A painful blog confession: since failing the bar (and resuming my bar exam studies) I've been tutoring sophomores in English at a local high school.
I took this job thinking it would be an after-school gig, leaving me ample time to study, but then found out it was full time and the thing is...I like having money so I kept it. Plus, the way my superiors pitched it to me was too delicious to resist; the school is a tier one school (meaning, at least 80 percent of the student body are living below the poverty line) and the students I work with are underperforming on their state standardized exams (which, having myself failed the bar [in case you somehow forgot since reading the introductory line of this post], I currently relate to).
How exciting! I imagined I was the Michelle Pfeiffer to their dangerous minds. I was going to walk up in that bitch and be all like, "Yo' education is important; it's a means of socio-economical mobility, it's a privilege, the ability to communicate effectively is the most important skill you can cultivate!" & I have said those things, repeatedly, to the students I work with, but their response has unyieldingly been one collective, resounding "fuck off."
After the first several rejections, I was still like, "I'm Michelle fucking Pfeiffer, goddamnit, I got this! I'm going to inspire some young minds and shape them into responsible young adults and voters!" But nah, that didn't happen.
I did notice, however, that coming back from Christmas break, where all of my girl students were bare-lipped before, at least half of them wear lipstick everyday now, & I'm so the Michael Jordan of wearing lipstick, so there's that.
Anyway, now I mostly just yell at them for doing ass-hole stuff in class.
For example, I always see them snap-chatting selfies to each other in class. Yes, two students, in the same class room, sitting at a max 7 feet from each other, sending each other selfies.
& I was like, "Hey, you don't have to send her a picture of how bored you look in class. She's IN THIS CLASS! If you would both look up from your phones for a second, you could look directly into each other's bored faces."
& one kid was like, "But it's different, Miss.*"
(It should be noted that to them, I am always Miss. I worried, when I first got this job, that the students would look me up on the internet and find all the humiliating things I've written on the internet, but my fears were put to rest when I realized that learning my name is more mental storage space than they are willing to spare.)
This kid takes a picture of the student sitting across from him & on snapchat, draws a large penis ejaculating onto the student's face. Then he sent it to several other students. "See, Miss? It's better than looking at each other! Way better!"

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014

Goodbye 2013

In honor of the passing of 2013, I decided to tweet 13 embarrassing facts about myself. Like so many photos posted of you with a dick drawn on your forehead after you passed out at a party, that you didn't see until the next morning, the damage is already done & there is no sense in hiding them now, having been several days since their original publishing.*

*They will mostly be the same format as they were on twitter, so if you are a follower of mine (1. Gob bless you),  please feel free to disregard. Later in the night, I came up with funnier things so some of my embarrassing admissions will be switched out.

13. When my cat yawns, I move my face closer to his mouth so I can smell his breath. I don't know, I just like it.

12. I once justified eating an entire bag of hershey's kisses with almonds in ONE sitting by using the foil wrapping in my 7th grade English project about Mount Olympus.

11. I have, AT LEAST, 3 Big Time Rush songs in my itunes library right now. Right now. I paid for them. I am 26.

10. The students I tutor once told me that they would pay attention when I'm teaching if I were pretty.

9. My mom tricked me into talking to her about my (embarrassing) sexual history once by pretending to help me fill out an application for health insurance.

8. I pick at my hair. Non-stop. I pull out loose strands of hair and roll them into balls. I actually get a kick out of how much hair I can collect and how big of a ball I can roll. These hair balls are everywhere, they don't all manage to make it into the trash & even when they do, sometimes the cat will find them and drag them out.

7.   The first time Crane & I hooked up, I queefed afterwards. It seemed loud to me and we were making direct eye contact. He never mentioned it...he was a gentleman like that.

6. I own several pairs of other people's underpants. This is because nearly every-other time I go away for a weekend, I forget to pack them & end up borrowing from a friend or relative. Once you borrow a pair of underwear, they are basically yours.

5.  Nervous laughter is so ingrained in who I am, I do it even when I text. lol :(
>& seriously, on this one, while I was part of this legal clinic at law school, we'd have mock days on Friday where we had to prepare and deliver part of a legal argument. I always laughed. Consequentially, I always got bad grades on mock day.

4. At 26, I'm still afraid of the dark. Though I only saw Paranormal Activity (the original) once, & mocked it the whole way through, my fear of the dark has caused me to cautiously tuck the covers over and then under my feet each night so that I don't get dragged out bed by the foot like that girl in the movie.

3. I wore a ridiculously low cut dress on New Year's Eve & tried to solve my possibility-of-nip-slippage problem by
    (a.) covering my nipples with lime green painter's tape; &
    (b.) placing silicon bra inserts (commonly referred to as chicken cutlets) over my breasts.
In case you were wondering why I'm still single.

2. I had dinner with Solo before heading out and before we parted ways for the night, he commented that my breasts looked weird, prompting me to remove one of the chicken cutlets and slap him with it.
Again, in case you were wondering why I'm still single.

1. Recently, my cat has been climbing into the tub while I'm taking the bath. He crawls onto the driest part of my body and just chills. I have not tried to stop him.

&, in case you were wondering: this New Year's Eve was the best one I've ever, ever had. I promised myself that I wouldn't make judgements about the rest of the year just based on this one evening, but I can't help it. I'm really looking forward to the rest of 2014.