Monday, October 26, 2009

VG Comics

As I pack up the last few boxes in my kitchen, I realize a few things. 1) I have a freakish amount of lunch pales and 2) I'm insanely good at having a bazillion (notice the really large fake number for emphasis) things happening all at once. In other words, I'm the queen of overcommiting. I've gotten better. Years back, in the days of high school I was pretty much out of control. Snow boarding club? Yea I should definitley be a part of that, and the VP of it as well! School musical? Why not? FBLA? Sign me up! At least now I keep my commitments limited to things I'm interested in!

Until last week.

One of my very interesting "case-load" kids, you've heard of him before-he's the one that talks of video games and comics that he creates in his head and on paper during class, has a hard time socially. A wise man once said, "Sure, I could be first chair jazz flute in the band, but is that gonna help me climb the social ladder? I think not." Connection here? Possibly. Some are just made to be in that first chair wearing a plumed hat and chin strap while others perhaps fit in better playing Varsity football. Is one better than the other? Well...yes. Kidding. I think you see where this is headed... Moving along, Comic Book Kid loves creating comic books that are loosely based on his favorite video games more than anything. CBK just cannot get enough of this virtual world. It's really fun attempting to explain that spending all evening conquering the last level of Zelda lacks in validity as an alternative to doing ones homework. I personally have learned to pick my battles.

I've tried everything from stealthily flashing cards that say words like "Focus" "Put that away" and "Eyes on the board" to very seriously looking past the black framed glasses of the child, into his eyes and saying "Okay for real, you need to put your comics in your binder!" He has recruited another one of my own, one whom I love dearly (teachers have favorites, it's just the reality of the situation) and now both of them create comic books...during class!

I had a brilliant idea last week. What if CBK heads up a Comic Book club?! They can meet at lunch once a week, socialize a bit and have conversations with other Comic Book/Video Game enthusiasts! This would secretly be a ploy to stop him from working on his comics during class. Duh. I brought up the idea and without any emotion at all (standard) he replied, "Yea, we got a club, it's called VG Comics." I refused to lose my enthusiasm and told him we could make it school wide, instead of the current members which consisted of him and only 2 others. They could even meet in a classroom at lunch once a week...this is big time. Usually we exile the kids from the inner parts of the building during lunch, some things are sacred. I got it all worked out, actually saw an ounce of excitement from the guy, and received many encouraging emails from other teachers that knew of students that'd quickly become admitted to the club. One of those emails also informed me that every "club" on campus needs a "sponsor." Guess who that sponsor is.

Every Friday at lunch you can find me nerding out with the creative minds of "VG Comics." I anticipate many a blog post birthing from this commitment.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Going Postal

As planned, Monday morning I reinstated my "Triple A," and got 'ol Wanda the Honda back to the shop. Although I am absolutely dense when it comes to space, time and therefore directions, I am very much aware of the distance from my house to the mechanic since 7 miles was this morning's limit on "free" roadside assistance. The total distance was 7.67 miles actually. I don't feel great about it being called "free" since I'm pretty sure I had just read the numbers off my Visa to an agent for the grand total of $67. What are ya gonna do?

After checking out some OBcean apartments, I decided one was adorable and the other a dump. I was later dropped off at home by my dear friend who happens to also be a dear mama. My new theory: The only way to house hunt in between jobs one and two on a humid Monday afternoon, to do so with two precious babies in the back seat...mostly because they laugh at your silly jokes and facial expressions.

I still had an hour before job #2 and with the list of tasks to accomplish this week, had no time to waste. Note: I very, very rarely consider a 3pm nap a waste, but today was an exception. So, in an effort to stay on top of my "To-Do" list, I got on top of my bike. Random Tangent: I've heard some corny married people (not that all married people are corny, I'm not cynical anymore remember!) use the term "Honey do" list. This would be the wife saying to her hub, "Honey do...fill in the blank." I'm not about being a bossy spouse (I mean, that's why I have students to boss around right?) but the idea, or fantasy rather of asking my "honey" to do some of the typical crap errands I despise, sounds pretty appealing right about now-especially as I gear up to do these errands on a rusty, almost-flat tire'd beach cruiser.

I started out on an adventure to Blockbuster with 3 DVD's of Gossip Girl Season 2 in hand (more like in a bag that I struggled to keep slung over my shoulder as I peddled and gripped the handle bars). I soon got one of those "you should check, just in case" feelings. These don't always come to me since I am kind of a hyper-do-it-quickly kinda kid, and the rare times they do, it is often too late. I'm still honing that skill of forward thinking. Before throwing them into the Returns Drop I checked inside the cases and whadoya know one was empty leading me to the clear conclusion that the DVD was still in the DVD player. Damn. If it weren't for the "If you don't return these TODAY we'll kill you!" (I mean, "we'll charge your credit card") message from Blockbuster on my voicemail, I probably wouldn't have cared much. But, it is what it is...back on the cruiser I go. To my house. To retrieve the disc. With the bike waiting for me outside, on a busy street, where I hope that the 30 seconds it takes to turn on the DVD player's power, hit the "open" button and place it in the case, isn't long enough for a hobo or drunk sailor to steal my little "Baby Blue." My mom says only crazy people name their cars and bicycles. Case in point.

After yet another ride to the video store, the next stop was the Post Office. For some reason Point Loma's is always packed with a line of people with mailing needs! The time of day makes no difference. I always come up with some reason for the crowd in my head. Comforts me in some odd way...
"12:00, must be that guy's lunch break."
"2:30, that woman looks like a mom, she's stoppin here on the way to pick the kids up from school."
"Retired people...have all the time in the world."

Today was particularly awful. Coming up with some general excuse for the task taking 30 minutes seemed impossible and my brain was far too tired to create 15 strangers' reasons for their visiting time. Instead I theorized on WHY the city of San Diego would decide to take the stamp machines OUT of the postal annex! My mail need was simple. Two stamps. With the convenient machine, I could be back on Baby Blue within minutes, happy to avoid the line and scary (also freakishly slow moving) asian man who works there. This was not the case however. I was dealing with the lack of a stamp machine. After 10 minutes and two patrons through the line, I had an announcement to the fellow line waiters on the tip of my tongue..."So, anyone wanna give me two of their stamps and make some commission? I'll give you an entire dollar instead of 88 cents?!" If I were one of those people, I'd think that was a great idea and would gladly sell my stamps to the enthusiastic girl. I chickened out, big time. No entrepreneurial stamp exchange, just more waiting. The best part of my observations (which I just cannot help but do in such a diversely populated situation) was the perma -angry woman behind me. She exhaled loudly countless times and had that look on her face where her eyebrows were arched up as high as she could make them in an effort to silently show her intense anger. She made a few comments about the asian worker. I kept any decent person would, waiting to get home and write about him on my blog instead. Have a little class.

Once up to the counter, I asked for my stamps, gave him a dollar and said to keep the change. There just was simply no time for him to count out 12 cents. And he probably would have given me all pennies!

I have a new appreciation for the saying...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Nay I say.

For some odd reason every area of life seems to be hectic at the same time. A friend of mine had the nickname "Hectic" for a season of her life. This was mostly because she often found herself out and about (code for getting drunk downtown), where chaos seemed to find her. In the last month I've had my car in the shop (driving rental PT Cruiser of course), been the "squeaky wheel" at work to obtain a bigger and better position (they heard my squeak!), a move approaching in two weeks to which the area of the city I am not even certain, a sick grandmother, and wedding festivities where I will share my professional bridesmaid skills approaching in the next week. So much. No other word can describe it, but hectic.

My current roommate was gradually taking her goods and is officially moved out, along with our sofa and kitchen table, as of today. After house hunting online all morning, okay after 11am when I woke from my slumber, I found myself sitting in a beach chair, covered with an old comforter, with boxes of my "quality smalls" (QS's can be anything from picture frames to books to nail polish) surrounding me. I sat down to have some lunch and realized how Nucking FUTS my world is right now. If I could just fast forward to November! (although that would mean missing a day where it's actually appropriate to utilize one's costume box...hmmm) Oh and did I mention Wanda, my precious Honda came home to me Thursday and within two days the battery went dead? Only after having had its alarm go off for 45 minutes in the parking lot of a restaurant, that has mostly patio seating.

With all of this madness going on, it would be so easy to become negative and bum out in the living room all day (on the hardwood floors which are covered in dust bunnies). But, to negativity I say NAY! One day at a time. Tomorrow morning I will get up while it's still dark, I am the antithesis of a morning person, and call AAA to renew my membership (another fun unexpected cost) and get them to send over someone to tow my car once again, back to the shop. I have a plan to tell them it must be their fault somehow and it should fall under the warranty they gave me. Then I'll very nicely ask Joe (toe truck driver, duh) to drop me off at work, in the tow truck. On my prep period I'll continue to call on apartments and hope that I can get a ride to the appointments I make to go see them!

As for now, I will return to my purple beach chair and watch Along Came Polly, a romantic comedy which I wisely recorded earlier this afternoon, in anticipation of exhaustion after serving Bombay Sapphires and "Sunday Sundaes." Life is good.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Burrito or Taco?

I've recently been making efforts to get more involved in my church. For real, it's hard to even go to church for me, let alone go AND be involved in some other capacity like a mid-week gathering! However, for the past two weeks I have been attending a "Community Group" with like-aged people. It turns out there are actually some pretty nice human beings that are a part of this community. Not to mention, my "Ace Hardware" theory... if you want to buy tools, you go to Ace Hardware. In other words, go places where you'll find what you're looking for ie. you want a Christian man...go where there are a whole bunch of them (said the skeptic) otherwise you might just continue finding real tools! So am I going there with a bad motive you ask? No. I am going there with good motives, hoping for the possibility of some great perks ;)

I'll try to wrap up my thoughts in a few short sentences, or maybe a semi-long paragraph?

I have mentioned before that I used to teach at a private christian school that was close-minded and hyper judgmental? I am grateful for the experience as it made me realize how much I love kindergarteners (occasional crying, snotty noses and all) and because of the few women I did connect with. Now with the run-on sentence of positivity out of the way...I found that all of the nitty gritty things that bothered me over the course of a year and a half working at said school all came down to one frustrating social phenomenon...the Christian culture. After the 5 year-old pupils graduated my class that June, I just could not get any further from that chapter of life. In fact two weeks following, I had to go to 5 other countries as a means of cleansing myself. My European detox allowed me to really dive deep into what I feel my faith should be about and how what had actually led me to that current spiritual place (swanky clubs and all) was frustration with certain "cultures" of Christianity, not at all God Himself.

I returned home having left behind a few pounds (affording one meal a day does a body good) and all efforts to be a part of Christian culture. Instead, I brought home a new focus, seeing the heart of my God. Without listing many, many examples of my previous frustrations (and making every reader loathe a faith that can be so good) I will just say this: Christian culture (meaning the people) has gotten it all wrong. We should not strive to fit the culture's box, generally as a means to make ourselves feel good anyway, but should shift our endeavor to thinking less and less about what others are doing and more and more about how GOOD our God is.

With that brief explanation out of the way (so much more where that came from)...Last night at "Community Group" I regretfully followed one of the discussion groups heading outside. There was a very nice view and I adored the patio furniture (off topic!) anyway, the conversation could not have been any drier and cliche, you know I hate that. More unfortunate than this was that the topics for the night had the potential to blow our minds! Usually, meaning last week, the only other time I've attended, I sit in the group where two pals lead. Due to lack of space on the upstairs couch and a wandering eye (Wondering what the deck looked like outside) I ended up in Dullville. For the sake of disclaiming: I do not always need to be entertained. I do like being entertained but not so much that I resort to leaving church time upset if that doesn't come to fruition. Disclaimer finished.

Every person that answered a question (I stopped after about 3, my quota was hit at that point) answered in a way that either 1. was from the perspective of "the bigger person" or 2. was seriously mentioned so that the opposite sex around the fire pit might swoon. I'll give you an example...The icebreaker (always a church hit) was the question," When were you last outside your comfort zone?" I thought it might be inappropriate to reply, "now" and since I had to go second, terrible choice of seating, I simply said I couldn't think of anything. Little do they know not much is outside of this comfort zone! Could the bachelorette party I attended last weekend that was BYOWig count? That would be lying and I try not to lie at church. I wasn't uncomfortable at all, who doesn't love wearing a wig?! So, being the "shy" girl that skipped the question, I listened to all of the other responses. Most couldn't think of an "outside the comfort zone" recent story either so they resorted to the "funnest" recent thing they'd done, Funnest isn't a word by the way. If I knew I had that as a default question I coulda come up with something really good! Oh well. One of the males said that holding his new baby niece was the funnest thing he'd ever done...


That's the most fun thing you've EVER done? I'm sorry, but I seriously doubt that...and I am a big fan of the babies! Then I realized why on earth this dude would say that. Christian culture! Everyone wants to get married. When "prayer requests" come around most include "Being ready for the next Chapter of life," "Having to be patient for God's timing..." Guess what, that's all code for "I WISH I HAD A HUSBAND/WIFE ALREADY AND I DON'T!" Oh Christian culture. Isn't there anything else we could pray for?

At the end of the discussion, we all waited outside so that the inside groups still remaining wouldn't be bothered. I began to debrief with a friend next to me. We recently met but connected immediately, upon realizing we're both super cool and should be friends. We went on and on to each other about how most of us don't think enough, ponder God's love and character as a way to better love people, but instead go along with what every other Christian is doing and run from deeper connections (all very radical ideas indeed). A young man lying on a lounge chair near us popped his head up and asked our names with a smirk. Curious about the smirk of course, I asked if he heard our entire conversation. He replied, "Yea. You guys think too much." I was reminded of a man I met in Prague who said girls think everything means something. To which I replied, "What does that mean?" Lounge chair guy said that everything has already been thought of and "written" (biblical phrase taken out of context is a must) and that there's nothing to think about. Super cool friend and I had so many things to say but could really only come up with confused looks and raised eyebrows. After about 10 excruciating minutes of conversation, his argument was that all Christians are nice, that's what being a Christian is and that the only decisions you have to make are like "Am I going to eat a burrito or a taco?" Mind you, quotes indicate that this is word for word! After a few times of bringing up tacos I told him he LOVED tacos, lightening the unintentional awkwardness.

We made a run for it as soon as possible and eventually were upstairs (where the group I should have joined was held) and awaited the much needed restroom. I had a Diet Coke right before, bad move. In a strong effort to avoid another convo about not thinking I did my best to look busy talking to others...problem being that I don't KNOW many others and therefore this effort was a no-go! Mr. Lounge Chair came up with a smooth statement that would of course win me over. "I know how you can be nice, you can come buy me a taco." Of course this did NOT win me over. Everyone, (everyone who isn't exhausted by 9pm/Christian conversations involving the word "awesome" over and over again) goes to Taco Tuesday after the group ends. So apparently my clear disagreement with a life void of thinking was not enough to prove we are incompatible. We should go to Taco Tuesday and what...disagree (and prove an unfortunate old theory of mine) somore? I think not. Harsh? Maybe. The reality of the situation? Most definitely.

So I ask you....Burrito or Taco?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wonder Woman is that you?

As Halloween comes near I am reminded of Old Hallows' Eves past. Last year (hold for cliche) I was a pirate. Judge me if you must. It was a group effort and since I was still broke from Euro trip '08 it was one of the only costume ideas I could afford. Gotta love second hand stores that carry pleather, jagged edged skirts and $2 eye patches (new, not used. Hygeine doesn't always come first but as a means of avoiding pink eye, should). I believe Halloween ensembles always create a dilemma for young gals. "Let's see, 2 tanks of gas in my car or sleezy costume from one of those stores that is an empty warehouse year 'round until the month of October?" Decisions decisions!

The year before last, apparently funds were of plenty as I did in fact purchase one of those sleazy warehouse costumes. The worst of it being that I have an entire Rubbermaid of costumes. So, I dressed up as a cheerleader. Insert cringe here. What the spirit of rebellion against a crazy principal and the church ladies she works with will make a level headed gal do!

I went out with a group of ladies (who enjoyed a similarly reckless fall of 2007) to an uppity downtown club. The thought of it now makes me desperately want a nap. Toward the evening's close, with a 7am staff devotional awaiting this cheerleader, someone knew someone who knew the owner of the fine establishment. Before I knew it we were approaching the pent house sweet of the swanky hotel/club. My initial thought consisted of 4 words, "OUT OF MY LEAGUE!" Okay and one other thought, "We're definitely not at the Naz anymore!" Seriously, what was I doing there? It was almost comical. The very open, open bar was manned by pretty much not dressed women. Nothing creeps me more out than a VRB (Vodka Red Bull, party girl slang) being served to me by someone without a blouse on! And I don't even like vodka...or Red Bull.

Two of us made a mad dash to the bathroom, me and a pirate friend (never goes out of style), mostly to dish about the insane environment we were currently in. The penthouse sweet lacked a 1/2 bathroom in the living room. How does an architect include stripper poles, but forget the simplicity of a powder room for guests? So, it was necessary to venture through one of the bedrooms to get to the facilities. On our way, the pirate and I found ourselves at a standstill in the middle of a creepy bedroom. Personally I was much more confused than she, the girl ventures from Las Vegas, she's seen it all. I on the other hand...well, have not. After a second and a half we realized the owner of Swankville and a woman dressed as Wonder Woman were doing a line of COKE off of the expensive armoire. Not coke like what my mom refers to as "soda pop" and not the kind of line I made my Kindergarteners stand in earlier that afternoon. Like real, hard core, cocaine. Depressed, I whisper, "Wonder woman, is that you?" No wonder she runs so fast.

I lost more than my naivety that Halloween, I lost a hero! I can never look at the homemade red, white and blue cape living in my costume box the same (Yes I own a Wonder Woman costume). What a shame, I had only just made it months before out of an old jazz ditty from a 911 tribute dance performance and some sequins.

I'm shaking my head in disappointment right now. And you should be as well.