Alexis is in town. It's a casual visit; she's here with her new boyfriend, who is named Sam (hereafter referred to as "SamJam"). He is a very "cool" person. The kind of cool that you write about in "Nylon" magazine (or maybe "Nylon: Guys" magazine)... he plays music and sings in a growly loud voice; he makes paintings on heavy white paper with ink and watercolors; he has very shiny hair. Yesterday we went to the swamp and it was 95 degrees. It was too hot to be walking. I get this overwhelming feeling of guilt when I suggest activities which do not thrill the entire group. But the sky was VERY blue, and we ultimately saw three alligators, which is not an all-time high, but is not the shabbiest possibility, either.
Anyway, having Alexis here adds a nice symmetry to the year. Because it was about a year ago that we piled six suitcases, eight large boxes, a record player, a typewriter, a tube of college-dorm-era wall posters, a doomed cooler of camping foods, an REI tent, two lacrosse sticks, and two sleeping bags into DARYL -- the stick-shift green Volvo wagon who would, at her fateful end, flip upside down over the hill in Nebraska on that very trip. After spending a solid week assembling data which told me that Avery grew 5 years in reading in one year, and that my five Life Skills students had more than 50 percent average growth in objective mastery for their class; and that Derren had over 90% IEP mastery in a year and can now finally move into the 11th grade with all the appropriate Carnegie units in place, I wish there was a bar graph or Microsoft Excel Document I could use to measure the amount that Alexis and I have grown in the past year.
She and SamJam will help me clean out my classroom today. The bulk of this work has been done, and a neat little box of binders and graphic organizers and flash cards and fake money is sitting in the trunk of my car waiting for whatever job I end up getting next year. But there are still trash bags to move out and shelves to push around and a big old floor to sweep... it's just not done yet. It may never get done.
My goal for today is to get a Snow Ball. I feel like I've been sitting around for ages waiting for an excuse to get a Snow Ball, and the truth is that the main excuse to get a Snow Ball is being alive and having a functional tongue. Plus, there's a lot to celebrate. Today we're going to get one of those, and then we're going to go to City Park and eat on the lawn and explore the NOMA. SamJam is all about the art museum. Thank goodness, because he HATES Mario Party -- a huge blight on his otherwise clean record.
On Friday I went to a party with James where there were a lot of second year Corps Members. They all looked entirely excited, exhausted, and terrified. I think it was a goodbye party. James said that he said lots of casual goodbyes there, but to try to really know what "goodbye" meant in that moment was much too overwhelming. I think that was what it was like to leave Whitman. Life has so far been a series of events culminating in endings which feel like standing on the edge of a cliff, and the whole world lies there, ready. I guess Teach for America is just another one.
Lately I have been verrrrrryyyy reflective. That's pretty masturbatory, as far as blog entries go. I am supposed to focus on concrete facts and scientific evidence about what's going on in New Orleans. Well.
There was a potluck at Nady's house last week. Alex used to talk about walking into adults' houses and wanting that for himself, and I didn't ever really understand it. Then I walked into Nady's house and suddenly that particular longing became clear. The house was small and tidy, with minimal clutter, considering all the kitschy featurettes it included. There were little craft birds hiding all over the place, and a wooden table Nady tiled herself, and a big couch with a pretty old sheet on it (because they have dogs), and a compact music studio with a keyboard and a mixing board and amplifiers and all the other equipment you would need for that sort of thing. And in the back she and her boyfriend planted herbs and vegetables and marigolds; he resurrected the fallen fence and she watered the new green plants. I wanted it BAD. James bought me an orchid and I know I'm going to accidentally kill it -- just like I killed the star flowers and the herb garden from my big fall plans.
I know there is a mouse in my bookshelf. I thought the mice were in the kitchen, because they ate through a loaf of my bread and then they pooped in my frying pan. Well, maybe they WERE in the kitchen, but then they moved to where they felt it was safer -- the bookshelf in my room where I keep my bird seed and cat food. Here are two pieces of evidence which lend themselves to the idea that there are mice in my bookshelf: 1. My cat sits and stares at the bookshelf for like hours on end and can't be distracted by anything, not even fake mice, not even eggnog. 2. I just saw a mouse. It was adorable. It was just standing there on my books. I thought, "I want to catch that mouse." But I should have known that Satchmo is infinitely more agile and quick than I could ever hope to be and he has been trying to catch these mice for the last six days. So there was no way I was going to catch this guy. He bolted into some crevice in the wall and now he is gone. Leah gave me some humane mouse traps and I put one on the shelf where I saw that mouse, and I suppose it's just a matter of time before I catch him and put him outside. I look forward to this event with all my heart.
Furthermore, there are all manners of wildlife outside my window where I put the bird feeder. I had a colony of sparrows yesterday (you think I am exaggerating, but there were at least two dozen of them, and they all wore hats which said "Sparrow Colony"); there were twin male cardinals (read: RED) two days ago; and today I have morning doves which are cooing in this low, calming whistling way that makes me kind of want to date them (?) (.).
I am in a bit of a musical rut right now. Are there new albums out there I'm not paying attention to?
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