- to passive-aggressive people i say …
- on best friends forever …
- on asking the right questions (part deux), and being bossy …
- on places of quiet contemplation and pissing contests …
- on why i think undecided voters at this point are probably lame …
- on before and after (though not completely done) …
- on lazy blogging …
- on dancing with who … ? (Updated!)
- on being a pioneer of childhood obesity …
- on advice for dads from miss bp …
My 87-year old mom took a fall backward and got a bad bump on the back of her head. She suffered a pretty serious subdural hematoma, but thankfully she has stabilized and seems to be back on the (long) road to recovery. She had been out painting the town red with her best friend, my “Auntie” Bern (in Hawaii, your parents’ friends are all “Auntie” and “Uncle”). They were returning home from a friend’s birthday party when my mom took her tumble in her driveway.
In the hospital, I heard details of their friendship that were new to me that need to be written down. Mom and Auntie Bern became acquaintances in the seventh grade at Stephenson Intermediate School (one of Honolulu’s old time schools) where they were in Stephenson’s first graduating class!!! They remained acquaintances through high school and through their first two years at the University of Hawaii. As sophomores, they independently decided to pursue occupational therapy degrees and together decided to attend OT school at Milwaukee Downer Women’s College.
In their day there was no such thing as a “college tour” so the two if them crossed the Pacific to San Francisco on a convoy ship at the end of WWII. They shared a cabin, but on the crossing only women and children had cabins and any men making the crossing slept up on the deck in makeshift bunk beds enclosed by canvas tenting. Because they had better accommodations and fare than the guys, mom and Auntie would order extra food and slide it under the canvas wall to the guys. Their waiters, apparently, wondered constantly how in the world those two Chinese girls were able to pack all that food away!!!
WWII ended while they were mid-crossing so when they arrived in San Francisco, it was in shambles from the celebration. They hopped a train for the three day train trip to Chicago. Upon arrival in Chicago, they ran into another acquaintance from Hawaii who was heading to Milwaukee Downer for OT school. This acquaintance, my “Auntie” Mabel, turned out to be their third roommate at Downer.
As travel was costly, there were no trips home for Thanksgivings or Winter or Spring breaks. In fact there were no trips home until they all graduated two years later so it was there that what would become their lifelong bond would more fully take shape.
My earliest memories of Auntie Bern, Auntie Mabel, along with Auntie Nitta were if them all working as OTs together at Leahi Hospital. I remember, as a young kid, going to the beach for “OT picnics” on Friday evenings. My “cousins” and I would swim until sunset then we’d eat dinner around a hibachi grill.
75 years later, they’re still together. Caring for each other. Looking out for each other. My Auntie Bern has been at my mom’s bedside everyday since mom’s fall. They’re closer than sisters and it makes me cry to see them together.
More than anything, I’m grateful that mom has had such wonderful friends. My Auntie recently told me, “We’ve been best friends for over 75 years.”
They’ve given me a new understanding of the phrase best friends forever.
We should all be so lucky to have just one BFF like my Auntie Bern in our lives…
Our frosh are working on term papers. Frosh have a thesis statement from either the classical period or the middle ages and they need to prove the thesis with primary sources.
Here’s the thing, when you ask a Middle schooler (even one wandering the stacks aimlessly with a dazed gaze), “Are you doing okay on the project?”
The response is, without fail, “Uh … Yeah, I’m fine.”
Believe me, Frosh, the vast majority of whom have no previous experience what-so-ever with primary sources REALLY are NOT FINE finding primary sources on their own.
When you ask, however, “So … How can I help you on your primary sources project?” 90 percent of the time, they will start an exchange with you that allows you to do some good reference work with them.
That’s probably why middle school librarians are bossy. We foist our services on you whether you want them or not (And you are going to like it …)!!!
To my mind this sentiment begs the question, “Wha?!?!?!?”
See … There are opposing world views in the school library world about libraries and quiet policies. ”Old school” or “quiet” libraries are stereotyped as stuffy places where students don’t want to go and librarians are mean old women (don’t mean to be sexist, but that is, indeed, the stereotype) with their hair up in buns guarding dusty old books that nobody wants to use. ”New school” or “unquiet” libraries are stereotyped as being bright, sunny, airy spaces that are lively, welcoming, “information commons” spaces where bright-eyed young middle schoolers arrange their chairs neatly in clusters and eagerly gather around digital devices. In excited, but low “inside voices” these middle school beings contemplate and debate the balance of renewable and fossil fuel production sources needed to minimize America’s carbon footprint, while allowing the U.S. economy to grow out of recession and prevent us from heaving ourselves over a fiscal cliff so that their librarians who have served them nobly can someday retire modestly with enough in their 403b plans to live comfortably and have decent medical care.
Wow … I’m breathless … Anyway …
I do, indeed, work in a library with a staff of librarians that has whole-heartedly embraced the “unquiet” library model and most of the time … Well … I really
love like it. There really is nothing creepier or sadder than a beautifully designed school library that has no students in it. There are, however, times during the school year, when … Well … There are times when I just want to go old school and make everybody shut-up. ”Silence is golden, children! Silence is GOLDEN!!!” It seems to me, that one of the times every year when I suddenly feel the need to go “old school” is this stretch that runs from just before Halloween until first quarter grades come out in about two weeks.
I think that this stretch of time is after our week of all-school retreats when our seventh graders suddenly feel very comfortable on campus and feel “ownership” of the campus now. Emotionally, they feel like they are now eighth graders, but our eighth graders … Well … Our eighth graders are still eighth graders. For those of you who are not middle school teachers or librarians (the uninitiated), let me just tell you, that … Well … Two eighth grades on a campus is not really a good thing …
I’ve composed a set of open letters to the sevvies and 8th graders that I welcome into my library with open arms (albeit with a few conditions outlined below).
Dear, I’m sure usually, delightful [insert appropriate grade, but most often 7th or 8th] grader,
I welcome you to the library, but you are being extremely loud–Like, even loud for a playground, loud. Please settle down and get to work using your indoor voice or you can choose to go to the student lounge near your deans’ offices or the dining commons. We don’t force you to be locked in here like when I was in middle school and that’s a wonderful thing!
Dear, I’m sure usually, delightful [insert appropriate grade, but most often 7th or 8th] grader,
Well … Child … What’s with the ‘tude and the rolled eye-balls? Because, you know, you are now the umteenth child I’m having this conversation with. I have walked over and calmly asked you to quiet down and work productively or to please head outside and … Here I am for a third time in a single period.
Here’s the thing, Mr. Ambookgeek had only one single nerve left and you are now standing on it and jumping up and down.
So … Child … You best reign it in because, though I am not exactly an Alpha Male, I can still piss a whole lot higher than you … And I am fully capable of dishing the ‘tude. Believe me, you won’t like it. I work out at the 24-Hour Fitness in West Hollywood so I have an advanced degree in ‘tude. So …
Stop rolling your eyeballs. Speak with an inside voice. Pick up your crap. Don’t bounce balls in the library. Push your chair in when you leave.
If you can meet these terms, we’re so very happy to have you. If not, GET OUT!
Thanks for your cooperation and support on this matter,
I’m hoping that with just a little clear communication we can all live happily together in our unquiet (but let’s never forget that it’s not a frigging playground) library.
So … Tonight’s Presidential “Debate” is a town-hall style affair. From what I read, there will be about 80 “undecided” voters in the audience and these “undecideds” will have an opportunity to ask questions of each of the candidates. Here’s the thing, though, and maybe it’s just me, but I really don’t have much confidence in a voter that is undecided at this point in this particular election cycle. More than in any Presidential election since I started voting, the policy positions of the candidates stand in very clear relief. How frigging much more information do people need?
I very strongly suspect that folk who are undecided at this point are emotional voters. “I want to feel like I’d enjoy having a beer with the guy I’m going to vote for …” and that kind of bullshit. What the fuck?!?!? I couldn’t care less about liking the guy or not. Do the policies he is likely to push forth make my life and the lives of Americans better. That’s what matters. That information is out there. So stop being a dumbass and make up your frigging feeble minds already, people.
In the last election cycle, I distinctly remember watching an interview with a voter who said about Sarah Palin, “I think Sarah is just like me, so I think she’d do a good job running the country.” What the fuck, right? I mean, really, I would rank myself among the bottom-half in intelligence among the people that I teach with, but for sure I’m smarter than Sarah Palin and I want myself NOWHERE NEAR the Presidency!!! I want people WAY smarter there!!! That is the kind of dumbass emotional voter bullshit that I’m talking about.
Luckily, Romney, Ryan, Obama, and Biden all strike me as WAY smarter than, fucking, Sarah Palin so while I might be disappointed in the direction the Nation might move in should the Romney/Ryan ticket win, but at least I don’t have to be terrified of the likes of fucking Sarah Palin.
Anyway, so again, if you’re undecided, you’re probably lame and I really don’t care much about what you are going to ask so… I’m going out to dinner tonight.
I’m just saying …
Significant Other and I have been in New York for just over two weeks now. This visit has been really different in that this the first time since we bought the place four years ago, that we have it to ourselves. S/O was born in Brooklyn and grew up on Long Island so it has always been a dream to own a place in New York. To help with the cash flow, we’ve always had tenants. It sounds a little weird, I know, but we kept the master bedroom for ourselves and rented the rest of the three-bedroom unit at a reduced rent. Our tenants actually liked the arrangement. We generally came for a week during Spring break, three weeks in the summer, and an occasional long weekend here and there. Other than that, they had the run of the place for a good price. Because rents are so high in New York, New Yorkers (young ones at least) are very used to having roommates so it was never much of an issue. Due to a change in circumstances, last year we decided to forego having renters and see how the cash flow went. Because we no longer have renters other than the master bedroom, there was NOTHING in the condo. In the last two weeks we’ve purchased a sofa, two accent chairs, a coffee table, two side tables, a dining room set, dishes, pots and pans, glassware, towels, and a cabinet bed and linens for the guest room.
Dang! Even when you are bargain hunting, all of that adds up fast!
Eventually, I’d like to find an area rug, some throw pillows, either a table or floor lamp, and some art for our very bare walls. I think we might be done outfitting the place for the time being.
I need to win the Lotto so I can finish outfitting the place!
Summer is here. I have time on my hands so there is no excuse as to why I haven’t been posting other than being lazy. It just seems so much easier to Tweet stuff and be done with it, right?
Anyway, I’m going to try and be better about posting. Significant Other and I are ensconced at our place in Brooklyn. We have the place to ourselves for the first time in the four years that we’ve owned it. It’s a three bedroom place. We’ve always kept the master for ourselves and sublet the rest of the place. It was an arrangement that worked out wonderfully until the end of last summer. We spent June in NYC, then went on to Hawaii. While here, we shared the unit with our tenant and all seemed well. When we were in Hawaii, however, we got a call that there was a hostage situation in our condo and the NYPD Swat team had closed off the street and was entering our unit. As it turned out, thankfully, there was no hostage situation. Unfortunately, they ripped a huge hole in the metal front door, went down the fire escape from above and broke through the windows to storm the place. When they entered the space they found our tenant ODed on cocaine. He had gotten high and called to tell the police that he was being held hostage. Sigh …
Anyway, thankfully, he’s since cleaned himself up and moved on and we’ve decided we’d like to take a break from renters for a bit so we’re in the process of furnishing the place comfortably–but also for as cheaply as possible within reason. The thing is that furnishing a place all at once sure does add up quickly!
We got here last Saturday and so far we’ve shelled out for a sofa, a coffee table, a cabinet bed, mini-blinds, dishes, glassware, two accent chairs, and many sundry items like Windex, and ice trays. It’s exciting, but it sure is also sticker-shock inducing.
The sofa and coffee table arrive tomorrow. The accent chairs got ordered today so they’ll be here in 5-10 business days. The cabinet bed (like a Murphy bed, but not attached to the wall) has to be manufactured so it’ll be ready to be delivered and installed sometime next week. All that’s really left for biggish purchases is that I need to find a funky shag rug or something for the living room.
It won’t be high end, but it’ll be comfortable enough for a place that we really only use a few weeks a year.
It’s exciting to get it all in place fairly quickly so that we can enjoy it with friends and family over the course of the next few years!