Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Take a good long hard look at that face. What does it say to you? Does it say, "I am calm and happy and sane and I have plenty of time to work a flattening iron?" If it says that to you, then you have to go back to Kindergarten and relearn the part with the posters where they talked about feelings. Because that is NOT what that face says.

Now, it MIGHT say to you, "Ew. I am seeing a naked person who I didn't really want to see naked." It's a misleading face. As much as it MIGHT look like that is what is happening with Sophie Johnson at this instant in time, unfortunately, it is not.

Look, I'll just tell you. That face says, "Really? You REALLY think I can teach second graders? Are you truly going to trust me with that?"

In the past two weeks, I've figured out the following: I am a trouble-maker. It's not my fault. I genuinely want to be a good, mature, professionally dressed, trustworthy teacher. My brain and my mouth BETRAY ME. Today I asked the sweet, wonderful curriculum director at our school -- who has been teaching for like thirty years and who is quite possibly my favorite educator I have ever met -- whether she wanted me to make her a cookie shaped like a penis. I WAS JUST EXCITED! She said I could participate in this amazing program which teaches teachers how to implement art into their lesson plans, and I freaked out because of how cool it sounded, and all I could think to offer as compensation was the penis cookie thing. This poor woman had no idea what to say. But you see how this was a potentially damaging choice? I'm going to lose my job by accident for sure.

And also: what am I supposed to do with all those blank walls in that classroom that I am supposedly supposed to be half in charge of? I, too, defaulted to asking Carrie (probably my second favorite educator, and co-teacher). But Carrie can't do it all. I should make a joke here about Carrie "carrying" the entire load. I would do that if I weren't so PANICKED right now about being IN CHARGE OF YOUNG LIVES.

We get the students on Monday. I called all their parents last night. You can't tell just by looking how much those two statements weigh, so let me tell you: They weigh A LOT.

I can't talk about teaching right now. I love LHA, legitimately. I would go to bat for this school. I really love what I'm doing. This is the kind of job that I might never walk away from because it makes so much sense to me.

And while I could go on and on about that, and bore you until you turned into a potato, I'll keep it brief and get the most urgent updates out there. Let's do a top ten. The top ten most important things that have taken place since we last spoke:

10. There are mice at our tiny, very clean house. I am always so torn about this. I know that you are supposed to be mad about mice. I mean, I get that. But they're so cute! I don't mind sharing my food with them. And while I understand that mice potentially cause diseases, they also potentially ask for cookies. And that's just adorable.

9. It's my mom's birthday on Sunday! This is the second year where I won't be there for my mom's birthday, and it feels very strange. Holidays and birthdays are just something that families always share. The most noticeable thing about living across the country is that I have to suddenly send birthday presents and Mother's Day presents, and I have to make phone calls, instead of just climbing in bed with her and kissing her a ton. My mom is one of my all time favorite people, so her birth should be super-celebrated. You can send her an e-mail if you want. Her e-mail address is She's a great mom and a great teacher and she smells really good all the time and she just rode on one million roller coasters with my sister and my dad at Knott's Berry Farm because she (and I guess the rest of my fam) is a badass. Personally, I can't do roller coasters. They freak me the fuck out.

8. The first Crafternoons of the year was at our house. My goal was to make a shrinkable-plastic blue whale necklace like I saw at the art store in Portland. This proved to be reeeallly hard because the whale kept curling up in the oven, and it wouldn't lay flat again. Finally I settled for this imperfect version. I had to go with it because I ran out of Shrinky Dinks. I also made a similar one with a bicycle, and some Crest toothpaste earrings. We ordered pizza from Naked Pizza which has VEGAN CHEESE if you ask for it, and GLUTEN FREE CRUST if you ask for it, and you HAVE TO REMEMBER that this is NEW ORLEANS, so that's a pretty big fucking deal. I think I ate half of the vegan cheese pizza all by myself. Please don't think that's gross. It's only a little bit gross.

7. Speaking of making shit, living with Leah is the best thing that has ever happened to my diet. I mean, I've lived with vegans before, but never a vegan who likes to cook and bake the way Leah does. She's amazing. In the last three days I've eaten homemade vegan jambalaya, zucchini bread, and asparagus soup. I'm jealous of me too.

6. You HAVE to visit the NOMA. You HAVE to. Hannah took me to see the exhibit on the Art of Caring -- it's an exhibit of beautiful photography that has to do with: Family, Love, Caretaking, Health, Disaster, and Remembrance. It's incredible. It's like taking a journey. I don't know what's up with me and art lately, but it's been making me cry in a really good way. Art never used to quite do that for me, but now it does, and that freaking exhibit, man.... I cried like five or eight times. Openly. Children gawked.

5. Sam Alden is coming to visit! I know that's in the future... but it's a recent revelation! And an EXCITING one! We can go see the Art of Caring. Also, I don't know if I'm allowed to say this over the Internet, but he finished a really amazing art project he has been working on for seven months. How's that for ambiguous? I just want to let him tell you, that's all. This is like the gossip section of Sophie's Blog. It's basically Us Weekly up in here.

4. We furnished the house. This was such an expensive process, especially since Leah and I are both the kinds of people who are like, "Yes, that's good enough, let's buy that;" and not the, "Let's wait on that," or "Let's talk them down" kinds of people. We went to Target and bought a whole box of pots and pans for $100 that are light pink. Light pink. Also a waffle maker. But you know, it is this irrationality that makes us live together so well, and that makes our newly furnished house the belle of the Gayoso Street ball. ((Here is a short tour of our house. Notes on this: I say that this house is located at 917 Louisiana Ave. That's not true. I was confused. Also, the house is now furnished. Clearly, it was NOT furnished when this video was recorded. Now it is. So you can visit and you'll like it and think it is pretty inside.))***

3. My cat lost his collar. If you find it, please call. I'm pissed because I JUST BOUGHT IT FOR HIM and it had a BOW on it.

2. I got a new bike. It's a really cool 10-speed bike that you have to lean forward really far to ride on. You know that type of bike. A ROAD bike. It also has a men's frame, which I think is a ridiculous type of frame, because it forces you to kind of straddle the bike in a weird way when you want to get off, and I've had to buy bike shorts so that I don't flash my vadge every time I have to get off the bike. I named this bike Charley. Then I crashed this bike. It was a big, bad, nasty crash, and I whined about it a ton. I got reeeeally sick bruises and everyone at work was very concerned. I took Charley to get fixed (yes, this IS the bike equivalent of neutered), and I had the man give Charley a new seat, and that changed my life. Kind of utterly.

1. Radical Educators is a group that Hannah and Derrick started, and they probably wouldn't want me to blog about it because it has this kind of secretive air to it right now, but I am just so excited to be a part of it. We sit upstairs at the Fair Grinds on Sundays and discuss amazing new tactics to teaching, and support each other, and it sounds lame, but it's like THE BEST THING THAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME IN MY TEACHING CAREER, seriously.

So that's the top ten, folks. And I have been blogging for a hundred hours, and my alarm is about to tell me that it's time to read my book. And tomorrow it will be time to go back to work. And one day it will be time for me to buy a house. Inevitably I will someday get a dog. And a hug from a friend.

*** Blogspot would NOT upload this video in less than one hour. WTF. So you don't get to see the video. I'm sorry. It's only two minutes long, so I think that's pretty fucked up.


Shelby said...

Do you know that you do not actually need Shrinky Dinks? You need number 6 plastic, as often found in clear plastic food containers. You can cut it down to the flat parts and use those the same way as name-brand Shrinky Dinks, or you can even use the squiggly parts if you're into that!

My mom has been stockpiling number 6 plastic for me at home. Gotta shrink those dinks!

Sam said...

Those are the most unpretentious themes for an art show of which I've heard tell. I would really like to see it.
And I'm sure you are amazing at teaching children, and also I think that whale came out really well. Shrinkdinks, like everything these days, reminds me of fractals.

P.S. I can't believe you gave away the giant secret that I am done with a ninth of an unpublished comic book. My voice mail was FLOODED this morning.