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Protected: Raising Cain

February 25, 2010

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Protected: Hello, I Love You

February 24, 2010

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Life According To Literature

February 22, 2010

Using only books you have read over the past year, answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title. It’s a lot harder than you think!

Describe yourself: An Unquiet Mind (Kay Redfield Jamison)
How do you feel: Lost & Found (Jacqueline Sheehan)
Describe where you currently live: Paradise of the Blind (Duong Thu Huong)
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: To The Lighthouse (Virginia Wolf)
Your favorite form of transportation: Stardust (Neil Gaiman)
Your best friend is: Oxygen (Carol Cassella)
You and your friends are: The Girls (Lori Lansens)
What’s the weather like: A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khalid Hosseini)
Your fear: Whistling in the Dark (Lesley Kagen)
What is the best advice you have to give: The Secrets of the Bulletproof Spirit: How to Bounce Back From Life’s Hardest Hits (Azim Khamisa and Jullian Quinn)
Thought for the day: We Need To Talk About Kevin (Lionel Shriver)
How I would like to die: Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston)
My soul’s present condition: Buffalo Lockjaw (Greg James)

I received another good dose of holiday spirit yesterday when a student presented me with a card.  Inside, she wrote:

I have been so lucky (and happy) to have you to confide in!  Seeing and talking to you always lifts my spirits.  It has been a blessing to have you in my life.  My words could not cover the amount of gratitude I have for all your help!  Thank you so much!  You’re like my school mommy!  You’re an amazing and encouraging woman!  I pray you get all you want and deserve!  Love, B

I cried when I read her words.  There’s a lot of crap going on at work (for one thing, I’m involved in a grievance against an administrator), but kids like B, along with my “merry band of misfits,” remind me of what’s important about my job – the students.

Speaking of students, here’s an update on Manny the Puppet Master.  He’s been busy working on his resumé and applying for jobs.  Please keep your fingers crossed for him.  He deserves a break.

Merry Christmas!

Song of the Day:  It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas;
Soon the bells will start,
And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart.

Smells Like Christmas Spirit

December 20, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, I was in the library office with a few students, one of whom has seen (and caused) more than his fair share of trouble. On display on the shelves in the office are some of the librarian’s souvenirs from her trips, including a marionette from South America.   Manny has had no prior experience with string puppets, so we were all amazed and delighted when he picked it up, laid down a beat, and made the clown dance.

After watching his performance, I decided to get Manny his very own marionette.  I put it in a Christmas gift bag, and gave it to him this past Thursday.  I wish you could have seen his face when he saw me holding that bag out to him.  His expression was one of pure disbelief.  He kept saying, “No.  Really?  No. Really?  That’s a present for me?”   I was finally able to convince Manny that it was indeed for him.  Much to my surprise,  he had tears in his eyes as he accepted the gift.  When he looked inside and saw the marionette, a huge smile spread across his face.  He thanked me over and over, and gave me a big hug.

Manny is a “tough guy,” and I thought he might be embarrassed to walk around the halls with a puppet, so I suggested that he put it in his backpack. He said, “Are you kidding?? I want to show this off!!”

Manny’s priceless reaction to an unexpected gift really touched my heart and gave me a good dose of Christmas spirit.

Song of the Day:  The Spirit of Christmas by Ray Charles

“Sharing so much joy and cheer
What a wonderful feeling.”

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

I just read an entry over at LA’s place, the content of which left me feeling pretty disturbed.  It triggered some deeply unpleasant memories about being sexually harassed.  My worst experience had more to do with words than it did with groping, but a lot of damage was done, nonetheless.

It began about a year after I started working at the high school.  The creep in question was an English teacher.  He knew that I was married, and was married, himself.   This man would sneak up behind me and whisper in my ear.  He always made comments about the way I walked, as well as what I was wearing and how I looked in it.  Things got so bad, I started to wear loose, shapeless clothing, and even went so far as to put on some extra pounds.   That wasn’t my conscious intention, but I have no doubt that the stress, combined with a fervent wish for Mr. Creepy to stop overtly lusting after me, had a lot to do with the weight gain.

The situation reached the boiling point and finally ended with me in tears, shouting at him to “Stop! Stop watching me so closely!  Stop looking at me like that!  Stop making those remarks! Just stop!”

After my outburst, I ran into the library office and sobbed my heart out.  The librarian I worked with at the time knew what was going on, and she was very supportive.  She did her best to comfort me, and suggested that I turn him in, but I was afraid to do that.  This was happening during the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings, and I couldn’t bear the thought of being put through what Ms. Hill was going through.  I was already feeling much too vulnerable as it was.

Fortunately, Mr. Creepy did stop bothering me after my public outburst, but I didn’t feel comfortable and relaxed at work again until he retired.  Good riddance to bad rubbish.

I had an ugly reminder of those days a couple of weeks ago when another co-worker (someone I barely know), in response to my totally innocent remark about rubbing a magic lamp, replied that he had something else I could rub.  This was not the first inappropriate comment he made to me, but it was the last straw.  I felt sick to my stomach, and once again retreated to the sanctuary of the library office.  To complete the feeling of Déjà vu, it was once again a librarian who was a witness to my tears, and who tried to console me.

I am neither a delicate flower nor a prude.  Among friends, I am perfectly comfortable with dirty jokes and conversations about sex. But this kind of thing is something else entirely.

Psychologists and social workers report that severe/chronic sexual harassment can have the same psychological effects as rape or sexual assault.

Sexual harassment hurts.

Song of the Day: Keep Your Hands to Yourself by The Georgia Satellites

Over a year ago, someone left a comment here in reference to a book that was in the process of being created, with the theme “feelings.” The authors performed web searches using the keyword “feel.”  That search brought them to this entry, in which I stated: I just want to feel like a normal, healthy person.

The person who left the comment asked if I would allow them to publish the photo of me knitting on the beach (also from the above-mentioned entry).  I responded with a “yes,” and soon received an email advising me that there were thousands of applicants, and I would hear back if I made the final cut. I honestly didn’t think anything would come of it.

Several months later, I received notification that my photo had been selected to be included in the book, We Feel Fine: An Almanac of Human Emotion.   Even though I signed a release form, I still found it hard to believe that this was actually going to happen.

Another email arrived today, informing me that the book is due to be released on December 1st, and I will be receiving a complimentary copy. I also received an invitation to attend the launch party on December 5th, in New York City.

How cool is that?

Song of the Day:  Fame by David Bowie

Enough is Enough

October 18, 2009

A lot has happened since I last posted here.  Right before I went back to work in early September, my grandmother was admitted to the hospital.  She was there for quite some time, and it was touch and go for a while.  She ended up getting a pacemaker.  As you can imagine, that was a very stressful time.

Last month, I participated in our annual  “Dress Up As A Literary Character Day”  at work.  I went as Jacob Marley from A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens.  What a trip that was.

On Tuesday, the husband of a much loved co-worker died unexpectedly.  I went to the shiva house after work on Friday, and was dismayed to see how frail and fragile my co-worker looks.  She and her husband were married for 41 years, and they were incredibly devoted to each other.  My heart aches for her, as it does for my darling LA, her fiancée, and his family as they deal with the very recent loss of Mick’s grandmother.   Please keep them all in your thoughts and prayers.

A little over a week ago, my father had a total knee replacement.  At present, he is in a rehabilitation facility for physical therapy, which means that my 98 year-old grandmother is alone.  Michele, Mike and I have been running around like those proverbial chickens with their heads cut off.  I am beyond exhausted, and in extraordinary pain.  I don’t know how I’m going to walk to work every morning this week (Daniel is visiting his family in Canada)… The walk home isn’t too bad, but I am especially stiff and achy in the morning.  This is going to be very difficult for me.

Yesterday, Leigh had to go to a walk-in clinic because she thought she had a UTI. Turns out that she has an unusually high amount of protein in her urine, which the doctor said can be indicative of kidney disease.   He wants her to follow up with a urologist.

To top things off, Tuesday will mark the third anniversary of my brother’s death.

As I said on Facebook, my “downer” quota has been filled for the month.  No more, please.

Song of the Day:  Downer by Nirvana