Monthly Archives: March 2009

On hopefully not embarrassing myself…

A few years ago, when I was working at Borders, I had the chance to meet Anne Lamott, who is one of my very favorite authors of all time. When she came to speak at my store, I was delighted. My manager knew from the fact that I CRIED when I heard she was coming that it would literally make a dream come true if I could meet her.

When my big moment came, I froze. I handed her my copy of her book, and she was so kind to me.

“What do you do here at Borders?” she asked me.

“Cashier…” I eeked.

She continued making small talk, I’m sure the whole time thinking it was so sweet that Borders hires people who are socially awkward and obviously can’t speak. I was so dumbstruck by the whole thing. Literally, starstruck. I love this woman. I wanted to tell her everything: how her writing made me feel understood, how much I loved Bird By Bird, how much she’d changed my life.

Instead, I repeated one phrase over and over like a damn parrot: “I love your writing!—-I love your writing!”

At the end, she hugged me—a good hug—and said my hair smelled nice. She explained that she’d just gotten over a cold and that it was nice to smell something good.

“I just took a shower!” I told her. Uh, awesome!

Tomorrow, I will meet another sort of Idol of mine. The much-revered Dooce is doing a reading in Mountain View, which is close enough for me to attend, and I’m going to go with some friends.

I am so excited, but so nervous. I don’t know if we’ll stay and meet her, but oh my god…what if? I hope I can come up with something more exciting than “I love your blog.”

Like maybe straightening her out on the pronunciation of “CRAYON.”



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GiST: grumpy, end of break edition

I’m trying to be positive, but I don’t wanna go to work tomorrow. Not even a little.

Still, trying to see the good:

1) A clean house
2) Meals planned for tomorrow
3) Payday is just a day away
4) My lessons are planned for the week
5) I can totally handle 45 more working days
6) Andrew’s dancing, mocking of 90’s music and other laughter-inducing antics
7) Reconnecting with old friends…

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They Say It’s Your Birthday…and I Don’t Care

I received an email from a very sweet friend recently, inviting me to a wine dinner for the winery her husband works for. I love her and wine so it seemed like a fun thing to do. Until I checked the date: April 21st.

My birthday.

I had to write her back and decline politely because I’m not sure if I’ll be enjoying a family dinner or time with Andrew or exactly what (most likely NOTHING). And as much as it pained me to do so, I had to explain that it was because it fell on my birthday and I needed to check in with my family, etc. before committing to a wine dinner.

Have I mentioned I hate birthday people? Not people that have a birthday, because hi, that’s all of us, but people who are ANNOYING about their date of birth and the celebration of it. As you can see, I am not above telling people when my birthday is. That sort of super-secret “oh, I’ll NEVER TELL YOU” behavior is ultra-irritating, too. Listen, it’s a birthday: everyone has one, and geez, I just want to get you a card or post a comment on your Facebook wall. I’m not going to humiliate you with a large gift that I’ll expect to be reciprocated or anything crazy. Have you seen how little teachers are paid?

Please don’t get me wrong: I enjoy birthday dinners, birthday celebrations, and helping those I care about celebrate. I am not above celebrating my own birthday with a small gathering of friends and family and enjoying a good time; although, I never know where to look or how to behave during the singing of “Happy Birthday”, but that’s a different post entirely (Smile at the people? Wave and clap? Faux-conduct an orchestra? All feel terrible to me!).

Still, nothing is more annoying than those people who expect that you drop everything for a day that occurs once a year. We’ve all met the type, either as friends or co-workers. You always know a birthday person because a few months prior, they start inserting birthday references into conversation: “Four months ‘til my birthday!” or “Ohmigod, I really need to start planning my birthday weekend—it’s only 3 months away!” and updating their Facebook status with, “Geraldine is 6 weeks from being 25!” They either a) take the day off work, loudly announcing that they’ll be gone that day because IT’S MY BIRTHDAY and I just don’t feel like coming to work on MY BIRTHDAY or b) they make sure everyone in the office knows due to their comments like, “Yeah, I’d totally do those meeting notes, but you know, it’s MY BIRTHDAY THAT DAY and I just don’t feel like it” and of course, coming into the office the day of with a balloon to remind everyone that TODAY’S THE DAY, forcing you to offer a customary email or cupcake, or my least favorite: the card that everyone signs as a surprise that’s always totally obvious. About 6 weeks prior comes the customary “save the date email” which reads something like:

Hey guys! As you all know, it’s almost my BIRTHDAY and I just wanted to let you know that you should save that weekend for my bangin’ party! I was thinking that on Friday night, we could grab drinks at Ink and then on Saturday night, we’ll be having an 80’s theme night at the Press Club so you can all buy me yummy drinks! And then Sunday, we’ll be doing brunch at Bistro 33. So, don’t forget! I’m gonna be 26, BITCHES! Holla! You all better be there!

(Side note: my most birthday friend is a gratuitous “holla” user, which is why I feel compelled to use it so much in this post. I realize I sound like a total idiot, and no, I don’t ever use it seriously in real life.)

Then comes the BIG PARTY where you’re expected to chip in for dinner, for drinks, for a present, for more drinks and spend the entire night with all of your attention focused squarely on the birthday person…dancing, drinking, eating, and singing. It’s exhausting.

I just don’t get it. Sure, when I was little and there were lots of presents and cake and a big birthday party and cupcakes for my class, I was excited. But somewhere after 21, with all of its Monkey Punch infused glory, the birthday hype has sort of died down. Yes, I’ve celebrated the past few years, but it certainly was not a weekend-long affair that I expected all of my 50 closest friends to come and share with me. Maybe a dinner out or a night at the bar, but that was the extent of it. And on the day? I go to work. I do my job. If someone remembers, I’m happy, and if not, I’m OK too. I expect my parents, Andrew and maybe my super close friends to remember. Not my co-workers, acquaintances and every Facebook friend I have.

The other thing that really chaps my hide about birthday people is this idea that it’s the BIGGEST deal in the world. A few years ago, I’d made plans to go watch a guy I really liked and a close friend play a show at a bar, failing to remember that it was another friend’s birthday. I made a quick appearance at the aforementioned birthday fete at a nightclub, and then went to the show so I could you know, bat my eyelashes and say really witty things while chugging alcohol. The next day, I received a scathing email from my very angry friend saying that he thought I “sucked” for not “making his birthday the number one priority for my night.”

Maybe it’s me, and I’m just a rotten, terrible person, but when I read that, I was all, “WHAT?” and tried to compose something equally scathing about how lame I think he is for still behaving like a four-year-old about birthdays, but I’m not that brave. I issued an apology and he got over it, and for this years birthday extravaganza, I just gave him a firm NO that I couldn’t attend. I DID, however, throw a birthday cake at him on Superpoke AND write on his wall, just so everyone would know that it was indeed his birthday and maybe leave him a comment.

Because everyone should know when it’s your birthday.



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What I Did On My Spring Break…

Um, let’s actually start with what I did NOT do:

—wear makeup
—wear clothes that were not made of velour, cotton or other sweatpants-ish material, save for the times I left the house to see friends
—watch anything that made me smarter
—talk to anyone under the age of 21

All in all, my break was pretty fabulous. For those of you who are new to me, I teach 8th grade, and we just finished the Dreaded Third Quarter. I don’t know what it is about that period between January and March, but OH MY GOD, every single year, I hate it. It’s wet and rainy and Christmas is over and I’m no longer all newly motivated to be the Best! Teacher! Ever! because the kids are making me freaking nuts.

So, I did exactly what I wanted to do this break. I watched a crap ton of awful television. I napped. I stayed up past my usual bedtime of 10:30 and slept in later than 6:00. I cooked elaborate meals that were healthy and didn’t involve a microwave. I saw friends and family and got to be a little snuggle bunny with Andrew. Spring break wasn’t all fun and games, though—I made a significant dent in the massive portfolio hanging over my head in order to finish my credential. I worked out. I relaxed, and surprise, surprise: the rest of my life runs soooo much more smoothly when I’m not working.

Truly, this two weeks were two of the better of my life lately. I feel relaxed.

Oh, and those of you who are super jealous? I just want to remind you that now, I only have 45 working days ’til I’m off for 2 months! Sure, those 45 days will be filled with 103 8th graders who are eager to get to high school, standardized testing and spring fever, as well as my own classes and other life stuff, but oh well.

I can totally hang for 9 weeks.

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School Days Timeline: Kindergarten

In order to start kindergarten, I have to take a screening test. As we walk into my brand new school, I read the signs, pronouncing “OFFICE” as “OFF-ICE.” I hold my parents hands and we enter a small room. A nice lady has me read, count and put together a puzzle. As I put together a puzzle of barnyard animals, I feel an odd hard thing on my tongue. I taste blood. I reach in my mouth and pull out a small tooth! It is the first tooth I’ve lost. When I get home, my mom gives me a small, pink pillow for me to put my tooth in. It has a pocket and a small embroidered tooth on it. I can hardly wait to go to sleep that night and get my money from the tooth fairy!

Kindergarten is one big blur. I remember my teacher, Mrs. Kuchenwriter, who was old but still fun. She played her harpsichord for us every day. We painted and played games and dressed up in silly clothes. I got to read books and eat lunch in the big cafeteria. I love school, mostly because it’s easy and fun and I don’t have to take naps any more. At the end of the year, my parents tell me that my teacher is leaving the school to join the Peace Corps. My parents explain to me that she’ll be traveling around the world helping others. I imagine my old teacher with a backpack, wandering the world.

At the end of the year, all of the kindergarten students practice a big hula dance. “We are gooooing, to the Hookeee Laoooo…” sticks in my head for weeks on end, and I learn to shake my tiny hips. We perform in a big show for all of our parents, and just like that, I’m a first grader.

I have no idea how much my life at school will change.

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Grace In Small Things: Slacker Edition

It’s been 3 days since I’ve done Grace in Small Things, and the good news is that it’s because I’ve been INVOLVED in good things, not just blogging about them…

1) A yummy breakfast with my dad and brother.

2) Getting a lot accomplished on my portfolio.

3) Cutting off ALL of my hair…still a little nervous about this one, but adjusting.

4) Coffee with an old friend and plans to do it again soon.

5) A really fun sushi dinner with friends I work with—always good to hang out away from the classroom and office.

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2:30 seconds of happiness…

My old roommate was really obsessed with YouTube videos and she showed me this one. I think it’s extraordinarily beautiful, maybe because I love San Francisco and the idea is so happy.


By the way, the song is “Heartbeats” by Jose Gonzalez. I downloaded it immediately and the rest of his album is excellent, also.

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