Friday, June 29, 2007
We get out of the car loaded down with quarters, visit the family bathroom, and I line the kids up in front of the machines.
Zack keeps begging to be picked up, running his hands up my leg and under my skirt.
I fuss at him, mildly in mommy-Spanish, my little language of "take me SERIOUS commands."
A Filipino looking man standing next to me laughs, then leans over to squint at one of the machines.
I watch him a second too long, deciding that he either forgot his glasses or he can't read English.
Zoe asks for a second thing from the vending machine. A bag of Bugles, I think.
I know right away might get them because the girl has been an angel the entire trip, but first I remind her gently and in Spanish that what she has is already enough.
The man interrupts, surprising me with his commanding Spanish, pointing to the same machine.
"Senora, Is there HOT coffee INSIDE of THERE?"
He points at the machine, confused.
"Yes! Yes! It's good!"
The man looked at the machine like he won the lottery and saw aliens at the same time.
He whistled and waved to his car.
"A machine! With hot coffee! Inside!"
Four teenagers fall out of the rented-looking Taurus, self-consciously excited.
I think they love America as much as I do.
Goal? Kick me completely and irrevocably out of my old room.
Hello? I'm not even 40 yet, it is *totally* still fair and cool to keep my stuff at my parent's house.
Anyway, she spots an old brown leather carry-on suitcase on the top shelf of the used-to-be-my-closet, and gets it for me to go through.
I know what it is without looking.
Scrapbooks from college.
Journals I've been published in, newspaper clippings.
I know what it is and I don't need to open it.
I decide to take it straight to the back of the Exploradora, my rented silver bullet bully of a car.
Zoe and Zack follow me in a minor conga line that ended at the new bar-height breakfast area.
What the heck, why not see what's in there?
The kids disappear to the tv area, leaving me to unzip the suitcase which I am now sure I bought for like $10 at Penny's during the 1980s.
What I found in the suitcase was not about me. Not directly, at least.
The suitcase had pieces of me, things that I treasured.
I pull them each out, laying them carefully on the table top like puzzle pieces containing a road map to a world I once lived in.
I found was the program from the 1977 NY Yankees Spring Training. Autographed.
An article on my favorite catcher, Thurman Munson.
A picture of me in my Yankee's batting helmet, wearing two braids, smiling into the sun.
Now I know.
I was a little Cuban girl who loved baseball way back then.
Before Sundays at the Parrot Jungle back.
Before Carter era daytrips to meet visiting relatives staying at the fading cheapness of Art Deco hotels of South Beach.
Before Cuca's time in nursing homes where we could still boldy and publicly tell secrets and stories in Spanish.
Before Mariel and the riots.
Before Miriam and Heriberto, my Santero cousins, were murdered.
My love of baseball, the Yankees and most especially Minnie Minoso, “The Cuban Comet” comes from my mother and her father, my Abuelo.
I think Abuelo has maybe cheated on the Yankees with the Marlins a few times, but that's only because we had great tickets.
Besides that, he has been a steadfast man.
My octogenarian Abuelo flirts with me, teases me, but only in Spanish.
He whispers things in my ear that make me blush and smile and glow.
I don't believe him, though.
I think he loves me third-best, after chocolate and the lottery.
Maybe 4th best, after the Sister of Mercy nuns.
Or 5th, after Bonanza.
Oh! That's right.
He loves me 6th best, right after the Yankees.
I'm fine with that.
She doesn't realize about this, but little pieces of her her days and weeks are being spent in rearranging her space, her home, her parent's role in her daily life.
At home, this past week, I saw the modest home I grew up in -- a 1950s suburby VA repossession, bought by a sealed bid auction in 1978 -- hit adulthood.
Since I saw it in December, this little home has had plastic surgery, including (I suspect, but who knows?) lifting of the lighting fixtures, smoothing of the window treatments, French doors, and a hall tightening.
Which is weird.
The door to my childhood home, the space I retreated to during college and grad school, where I prayed and cried and read probably 1,000 books, is utterly and completely gone.
It's been moved to serve as the opening of a new door, my mom's office.
It's her's now, ready to serve a new mistress.
I'm fine with that.
Mom gave me a crystal windchime so I figure we're even.
That's the first thing I thought when I walked through the doors of Dr. Soldani's classroom.
Her class is an amazing experience as she is a get-in-your-face and make-you-think kind of professor.
The first day of class you won't know whether she is doing a stand-up act or teaching because she is so funny.
She will teach you more than any of your other teachers because you'll be relaxed and thinking and really listening.
Dr. Soldani is a very strong believer in teaching facts about history, not always what's in your book. She is very passionate about what she teaches and puts her heart and soul into every one of her lectures.
In fact, she told us several times, "you guys get the best of me," that we get more out her than her family does. I believe that too.
She is always prepared, never uses any notes, and gives her best every day.
Don't come late or leave in the middle of lecture. It's all about respect.
Never close your notebooks before the end of one of her lecters; if you do, she will be upset. She takes it as a slap in the face and she things we are pretty much telling her to shut up.
Every day you will need take upwards of three pages of notes or it isn't really a successful day of lecture.
When Dr. Soldani teaches, you will get so wrapped up in lecture, you might forget to write. Don't forget to write!
The more notes you take in class, and the more you study, the better you will do.
From a Student who earned an A
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Dear AMH student,
Please, don’t think that you are taking this class just to satisfy the degree requirement.
Even if you are not a history major, beware that history is life and try to get an idea of what happened around you before that led to your life situation now. Doing so will allow the news from around the world, which accidentally or by your choice gets through to your brain, make sense to you.
You might not be a history fan at all; however, Dr. Soldani leads a very vivacious class, bringing topics to life and discuses the topics in a lively contextual, so that you won’t get bored and also won’t forget it quickly.
This class is not only lecture based, but also research based. I can’t imagine I could have understood as much as I do now had I not researched the lecture topics.
Researching these topics benefits you, and will most probably help you earn good grade as you’ll catch up with the information you might have missed during the lecture.
Besides, if you gain deeper knowledge through research, you will be better prepared to write more about each topic, or ID, on the test. It is still necessary, however, to listen and take rapid notes based on the highlights of the lecture.
It is advantageous then, not to miss any classes, and not to be late.
For the tests you really should have enough of an idea to be able to discuss each topic. I recommend you write explanations of each topic or ID in advance. In this way, you will be prepared to discuss about the IDs and identify the relations between them. Otherwise, it will take a lot of time to find a reasonable connection among topics.
Even before the test you can also put the IDs together and guess which ones might have a relationship to one another.
I wish you good luck during your course.
Dr. Soldani’s class requires a lot of effort and study time; and if you are reading this then I highly recommend you stay in this class.
Her lectures are incredibly interesting. She teaches with great enthusiasm, and it is obvious how much she loves history. (Especially when it comes to Cuba)
There are a few things that every student taking her class should do.
First of all, never miss a lecture! If you do miss a lecture, make sure to get good notes from someone, and have them explain the notes as well as they can. But, even if you do borrow somebody’s notes, you will not get the full effects of the lecture, so try not to miss or be tardy to any of her classes.
While taking notes, try to write down everything she says, and follow along on the PowerPoint. After every class, I went to the computer lab and typed up my notes in more details, and researched anything I was unsure about.
I highly recommend you to type up your notes; not only to have neat notes, but also to get a review of the lecture as you are typing them.
For Dr. Soldani’s tests, she will give you a list of ID’s to study, which will make up most of the test. There will also be multiple choice questions, which come from online quizzes.
Another thing any student taking her class should do, is copy and paste the ID’s to Microsoft Word and write as much as they can about each ID. This way one can learn and memorize facts about each ID.
The most important part of the tests is on the ID sheet where it asks you to a synthesis. You must know how to connect the ID’s in a way that makes sense. (This is the most difficult part of the test). But, if you study and learn the ID’s and online quizzes, you will do fine.
In, conclusion, if you follow my advice, you are guaranteed an A in her class; and I can say that confidently because I made an A following these same guidelines.
Just make it to her lectures, type good notes, and study the online quizzes and ID’s very well. You don’t even have to read the book if you understood everything in lecture.
She is a fantastic teacher, and you may think she is crazy the first day of class, but just stick around for the first few days of lecture and you will see how hooked she can get you on her lectures.
Good Luck and enjoy the class! =]
As of now you are probably thinking to yourself “AmI in the right place?” ,while double checking your class schedule to reassure yourself you are indeed in the right place.
Yes, it is history! But as you have noticed the woman before you is not your typical history teacher. Dr. Soldani is one of the far most interesting teachers I have encountered during my three semesters here on campus. Maybe for you too, because you probably is as clueless as I was of what type of work you are going to be doing for a teacher as cool as her.
Well truth of the matter is, you are in a history class, and so, you will be doing history.
Do not be because what Dr. Soldani lectures on grasps your attention far better than any professor I have heard before.
My purpose for you as of now is to better prepare you of what to expect.
I suggest for the most part is to come to class being that you are only in the class for six weeks. You will have plenty of breaks, trust, but do not take them until given.
Because the day you miss, is usual the most important day.
She teaches you history in a story format. You got to know the beginning to understand the ending.
She uses PowerPoint, so do not get caught up on writing everything on the slides because she will post them on blackboard as needed to. Yet, focus on what she really wants you to write down.
In addition, make sure that you are learning and understanding what she wants you to learn because you are obligated to restate the lectures on your exams.
So all though she gives you the notes, make sure too STUDY the notes. There will be a study guide consisting of ID’s varying between ten to as many as twenty terms during the summer session.
The goal of the ID’s is for you to understand her lectures and what she is hoping to unfold before you in this brief time period. They make up a good 60 to 70% of your tests.
You must be able to connect ID’s and give a synopsis of how they relate in three pairs of three. You never know which ones to study, so when given the study guide, study ALL of them. You won't regret it.
Also you can expect to have online quizzes with unlimited attempts. Yes you will need a book, but the book she uses is very cheap. I would not stop taking a quiz until I have a complete score. Besides, why settle for a lower score that you can resubmit for a perfect score. At least you will have all the answers. The questions on the quizzes will appear again.
Nevertheless, you will have essays periodically. Do not fret because they are only one page essays on a topic given to you a day prior to being turned in, involving little to no research. Do your best on these because this is a grade, and turn something in rather than nothing at all.
The only thing that is left is your money bank. You are in control of making and losing your own money. If you like real money, this will show how much you value it, because you would not want to lose this money over preventable cases.
If a person follows all of these guidelines there is no way they could not at least pull a C as their final grade.
Receiving any thing better depends on what you put into the class.
Take heed to my advice and you can succeed in this class.
You have just entered the best American History class you will ever take.
On the first day of class you will not know if you walked into a classroom or a comedy standup show because Dr.Soldani talks fast & is so hilarious. She talks to her students the way they need to be talked to, like she's your friend.
I have to give you a fair warning though, this is not an easy class to pass. There are several factors to consider for succeeding in her class.
First off, attendance is very important. You must go to class in order to take good notes on her lectures. Not only do you not want to miss her lectures, but you could miss a portfolio assignment given in class. Dr.Soldani really breaks down the history and explains it very well for you to take notes.
Do not waste time copying the slides from blackboard, those are just a reference. You also have to check blackboard everyday before class. She will sometimes post assignments, quizzes, or an announcement that is important you read.
It would definitely benefit you if you found a friend that took really good notes. That way if you miss a class or your missing notes, you can compare notes before a test.
When it comes time for a test, practice writing the ID's, and everything should fall into place. Make sure you know your information before a test, and it really does help to start studying more than one day ahead of time. Even if you ID everything but don’t know how they connect then your response won't make sense.
Don’t ever miss a test or an assignment, because it is likely that you will not be able to make it up.
Overall, just go to class, do your work, and study hard and you will love this class!
Monday, June 25, 2007
So yesterday I went through a blue file full of baptismal certificates from Spain in the 1870s and 1880s.
Inexplicably stuck in this goldmine of history was a printed out email from me to my dad, dated 2.22.96.
I was a 26 year old (miserable) grad student, prepping for my PhD comprehensive exams.
As I read that email I realized I don't know that person who wrote the boring complaining letter.
I don't remember the sadness, the loneliness, the frustration. I didn't write, I didn't paint, and god only knows, I didn't laugh very much.
Subject: Studying to be a PhD
Thursday, 2.22.96 9:49pm
Mind-numbing exhaustion is the phrase of the week.
I'm going over book reviews today.
Tomorrow I'll go to the library and get more.Then I'll read them all, re-read them, re-read the books, and go over sections of the more advanced texts.
This is so hard, I guess, because I never thought I would ever be worth money. I can't picture getting paid enough to support myself.
Because of that, I might mentally be dragging my feet.
Still, I'm forging ahead. I am probably sufficiently prepared, but there is no room to err on this.
And that's it.
No joy, no story, no fun.
Nope, I don't even know her, and I wonder if she could even imagine me....
Dear New Student,
If you were expecting another boring history class…then are you in for a surprise!
Dr. Soldani is anything but boring! She is very charismatic and hilarious.
Her teaching style is different from most Professors in that she relates the information to you as if she was a friend of yours.
There is no way you’re falling asleep in her class and if you do…well I don’t know what really happens but I’m sure it will be funny for the rest of the class.
The biggest advice I can give you is COME TO CLASS EVERYDAY AND TAKE GOOD NOTES! It is vital that you come to class daily.
Be prepared to write! Dr. Soldani teaches through stories, which link the past events together. At first you may think what does this have to do with foreign policy but by the end of the lecture you will understand how it all fits together. She does have slides on the overhead but they are not as important as the stories are. Plus she will post similar copies of the slides on Blackboard.
Pay ATTENTION!! It is easy to get caught up in the story so remember that you should be taking notes.
Why stress good notes? Well her exams are based on not only being able to explain what the terms mean but also how they relate to one another. See the exam is made up of three sets of three ID’s, nine in total. If you have good notes then not only would explaining what the ID’s mean be helpful but it will allow you to see how they interrelate to one another. It’s a tricky way of letting her know that you understand what is going on. (Yeah, she’s that good!)
I think it is also important to understand this is a history class in which you are relearning past events with PAST being the operative word here. Not everything that happened in the past makes since to people now but at the time it was a different world. Don’t over-analyze the information and facts that you will receive in this course. Just remember the stories because they are the keys to retaining the information needed to succeed in this course.
Check Blackboard and/or your TCC email daily. She will post online quizzes and announcements three or four times a week. Don’t sweat the online quizzes, you have unlimited attempts on them. However, to get the passwords for them you must attend class. These are important because some of them will be on the exams. There are also overnight essays that she will give out (at the end of class) that are due the next time class meets.
Take good notes, complete the online essays, and turn in your assignments!
The final way to earn a good grade in her class is to participate during class. Whenever you share your thoughts, ideas or answers a question correctly you may receive classroom money, which counts towards 10% of you grade. With this money you will better understand the fundamentals of the course and why foreign policy dictates Americans actions.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
A silver huge Ford Explorer, so tall that I had to be very careful getting in and out in my skirt for fear of flashing valets, my children and (ew!) my dad.
Besides that small issue of wardrobe accomodation, I kinda love it.
I have only owned short and low cars, ones with decent mileage and -- more often than not -- no air conditioning.
And that's fine.
Cars are not that important to me.
Except this one, because it's teaching me so much.
I feel like a 6'6 linebacker.
The other cars -- toddlers -- don't make eye contact.
They don't inch in front of me or cut me off.
I get to go first and they follow. Happily.
I could get used to this.
I'm high up in the Explorer, making eye contact with the other powerful people, smiling and nodding and shaking our heads patiently at the teeny little cars on their wobbly little tires. We could roll over them. We choose not to.
I could get used to this.
The kids have lots of room to spread out in this SUV. No knees in my back, no kicking and shouting about who has encroached on whose territory. The six hour drive from Tallahasee (yes, six hours, it wasn't that I went so fast.... it's that all the other cars just got out of my way!) was the happiest easiest road trip ever.
I could sooo get used to this.
Except for the mileage.
Less than 20 mgp?
You're kidding me.
$90 to fill a tank?
I don't think so.
I could get used to that - but I choose not to.
So, my Exploradora, you and I have until next Thursday together.
One nice week.
You will probably charm me into three tanks of gas, and leave me grateful for the experience.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
She and her friend came to my new office at TCC to help me (oh my g*d you're going to laugh aren't you? quit it! this is serious!) ground my intentions for the new office. Yes. Intentions. I'm big on that.
I have been taught and shown over the last few years to be deeply honest with myself and the universe about what really feeds my soul, what I love, what I want to be, do, see, feel.
All that good stuff.
So yesterday they came in sparkly cute shoes, with mirrors and crystals and windchimes not to get the office ready for me, but to help me get the office ready for the next step.
And I have homework. When I go to South Florida this weekend I need to shop.
I hate shopping, too.
I wish I could just conjure or paint or make things instead of hunting for them in crammed aisles, banging carts, appeasing children.
But I'll do it.
In cute shoes and a swingy dress with my super-cute new haircut.
I will do it!
Here's my shopping list:
- 1 Oval Mirror, bigger than 12"
- 1 bird of paradise silk flower with a long stem
- 1 hanging plant
- 1 basket of flowers (my choice)
- 1 candle (cinnamon? vanilla? I choose --)
- 1 perpetual motion artwork piece
- 1 fish art (I think I'll paint that)
- Art that signifies water
- 2 crystals for strategic placement
- Small wind chimes
- 1 potted plant for a money tree
- A plate hanger
- 1 sound machine (oh, she didn't tell me to get it, I just need it!)
I know which corners and walls signify which areas of life (support, creativity, wisdom, relationships, helpful people etc) and which colors go where.
Watch out people.
I am READY!
I will list 11 of these.
You will choose 9 & group them into sets of three.
Define and identify each term/event, then synthesize the three, identifying any patterns that emerge.
There will be 15 multiple choice from the 5 quizzes you have taken.
The Marshall Plan
The Powell Doctrine
Bay of Pigs
The Truman Doctrine
Cuban Missile Crisis
The Long Telegram
The Bush Doctrine
History Will Absolve Me
The Iron Curtain
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
Iran Hostage Crisis
Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield
Operation Peter Pan
* 10:30 class only: Suez Crisis
* 12:00 class only: Special Forces
Monday, June 18, 2007
Today we needed to cover Iran from 1945-1981, and Vietnam 1955-1975. Yes, that's a lot, but we only have 2 lectures left, and the final is Thursday.
But I can't make it.
My 3 year old son is really sick with a sore throat that is keeping him from talking, drinking and eating.
Yesterday I thought I could sneak out and teach,the poor kid won't even let me put him down so that I can type this for you.
Here's the bottom line: Zack needs mommy more than you need to hear about the Tet Offense, Operation Ajax and the Iran Hostage Crisis today.
There will be no lecture, I cannot come to campus, I need to get this kid to the doctor~
You have PLENTY of history learning to do - five quizzes and three papers.
I will re-code the quizzes so that they stay open until 6/20 @ 11:55pm.
The deadline for the papers will now be Wednesday (which means I have 240 papers to grade for Thursday!).
Your exam is STILL Thursday, and I will make adjustments to the study guide to remove anything we didn't cover.
See you Tuesday ~
Sunday, June 17, 2007
and then go out
for a late lunch
On a Sunday
In the South
Have the decency
to dress and act
and at least pretend
You're coming straight
Saturday, June 16, 2007
What a great word.
Third person, plural, anonymous yet specific.
In this case, it refers to "people I am going to write about if they get out of line."
Friday, June 15, 2007
They are the sons and daughters
of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you
but are not from you,
And though they are with you
yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love
but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies
but not their souls.
For their souls dwell
in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit,
not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward
nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows
are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark
upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you
with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the Archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
So far I've made a big stack of books to give away, but I've done nothing with the boxes of materials from my years as a warrior fighting bias, bigotry and discrimination.
I promise to deal with that.
Or at least put it in my garage.
My biggest challenge (and distraction) is the pieces of paper I keep finding with random notes to myself, and first draft pieces of poetry.
In a faculty advisor's manual, I found a 3x5 yellow sticky note with two words written diagonally across the top left corner of the note, clearly in my handwriting.
What does that MEAN? Is it a password?
Something I wrote during a meeting to crack a colleague up?
Goodbye note. (and thank you)
Now get this.
Definitely a first draft.
I want to go to Seville
and listen to
tell me dreams
of the dreamers
who passed before me
Um, that's nice Melissa.
And grade some exams, too, OK?
The only presents we had for you yesterday were laughter, support and hummus.
But we know what you need. What you want.
Remember how you, with hazel eyes all teary, asked us, "What do YOU do for support?"
Well, you know what I do.
I have invisible friends who I take on long walks with me.
They are each unconditionally supportive and kind. And funny. And quirky.
Like Colin Powell. He has bad knees, but he can still walk pretty fast. He likes to hear my stories and he always points out things I might trip over.
When I invite Napoleon, he always has to walk in front. Whatever.
Eva Longoria makes me run faster and high-fives me at the end of our sweaty run.
Of course not everyone has an imagination like mine.
Our resident blonde -- the one who claimed to have ROCK STAR sex before work that day -- admits to having two boyfriends who were her support during her rotten marriage.
So you threw your hands up and asked, "Where do you GET a boyfriend?"
Well, we couldn't answer you then, but now we're ready.
We are getting you a BOYFRIEND for your birthday.
A strong and courageous one with decisive and accurate hands, a quick laugh and a twinkle of happiness in his eyes.
Firemen don't show up at the fire and blame the people.
They don't interrogate the poor burn victims or curse the house.
They do their job, a job they usually love, and they do their very best.
Firemen know how to play nicely with each other, cook, clean, patiently wait for emergencies that may or may not happen.
These are valuable things in an adult relationship.
And he'll be in uniform.
A public servant.
And you're a taxpayer.
Which means he already works for you.
So you can ask him to do all sorts of fireman stuff.
On ladders. Poles. Trucks.
Did we mention he has a uniform?
Don't forget to say THANK YOU!
Look, I should've brought my real writing journal yesterday to take notes during our lunch, because the scribbly phrases I jotted down in pink pen on a rumply napkin are a bit vague and confusing.
We know that you are tired.
That you are going in 5 directions, putting out fires, writing something brilliant, and taking care of the world.
And that you have a really toxic person in your life who has poisoned you so deeply that he no longer needs to administer high doses of criticism, doubt, control.
His voice is burned into your brain so thoroughly and completely that when he is not around, the echo of his disapproval still follows you, tirelessly tearing your spirit apart.
I had someone like that in my life.
As soon as we were alone, as soon as the car door closed, guests left, he dropped by my office whatever, *IT* would begin.
With a smile.
Rapid-fire machine gun blasts of shooting invisible bullets, aimed right at my soul.
Controlling criticism reviewing the specific ways in which I had actually or almost embarassed him.
I can't believe you (said that, told that story, sat on that chair, pet that cat, whatever). I didn't want to tell you, but I saw the looks on their faces. They think you're stupid (or crazy or silly or fat or loud or whatever)
How can you always manage to embarass yourself?
Why can't you just be quiet?
You are not funny.
Why do you need to be so loud?
Those pants don't fit you.
Did you gain weight?
You used to be sooo sexy.
And now you look so sad.
I only tell you this because I care...
Does this sound familiar to you, my Texas-Toe-Ring sad but hopeful friend?
Then let me fast forward to almost two years ago.
I'm in my kitchen, unpacking groceries.
Zack, who must have been distracted at Publix, is admiring the surprised that are emerging from the bags.
Oh! Thank you for the oranges!
Thank you for the yogurt!
Thank you for the jelly!
Thank you for the cantelope!
On and on he went.
And I got it.
The gratitude thing.
I'd tried it before, many times, but I'd never felt it.
Gratitude is transformational.
It is the highest and most powerful form of love which cancels out every other negative emotion.
So imagine less than 2 years ago I was sitting in my office.
The phone rings and it was a familiar voice.
He expected me to recogize him without introduction. I did.
After about 5 minutes of small talk, I asked how he found me.
He'd googled me.
And read some of my stuff in a magazine, and some stuff online.
"Melissa.... I can see why people don't like your writing, I mean, I don't know why people read it......"
I said thank you.
Thank you for calling, thank you for everything.
And hung up.
And, above all, free at last.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Predawn hours are sacred intimate and peaceful.
The challenge, though, is that by 10am, my exercise buzz has abated, and ready for lunch.
Thankfully, one of my anonymous friends is having a birthday....
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
This has gone too far! I've put myself out there too many times, and it's starting to really not work.
You know, all the changes. On facebook.
Like it wasn't hard enough for me, your designated translator to other professors and generally people over 25, to explain POKING.
Or WRITING ON WALLS
Like I didn't look silly enough pleading to them to not judge facebook because it was such a fantastic utility to see students the way they want to be seen, in their context, with their friends.
Now facebook has enabled users to send cyber pinches, slaps, hugs and (did I read this right?) throw sheep at their cyberbuddies.
I draw the line at sheep, people.
Monday, June 11, 2007
We also didn't plan on taking a few weeks off our regular lunch dates.
So today when I was driving home from an *exhausting* day of writing, I called her to to check in.
She was out and about, having her milf-mobile washed.
I don't blame her for paying someone to wash and vacuum that big black SUV-Truck-WHATEVER with the darkest legal tinting, tv screens in the backseat, and leather everywhere.
Her truck could EAT my Hyundai as an appetizer, have room for 50 gallons of premium unleaded, and pull a suburb full of matching homes behind it.
It's really that big.
She was hungry, I was hungry.
I swung to the car wash to rescue her from the parking lot and take her to lunch at Momo's.
Well, mostly, she dished.
I have no dishes.
Except that last week Chuck announced that he thinks I have a boyfriend. Or a girlfriend. How else would I put 40 miles a day on the car if work is only 15 miles away?
I didn't answer him.
Never swing at pitches like that.
You'll foul out every time.
There are no right answers.
Just furrow your brow, tilt your head, repeat it back.
"I must have a boyfriend. Or a girlfriend. How else would I put 40 miles a day on the car if work is only 15 miles away? I guess I run errands. And take the kids to school. Oh, and you drive the car too. Should I tell my husband?"
My lunch date really enjoyed hearing that story.
Actually, I'm not sure it was a date.
She asked the waitress for 2 checks.
I pulled out my $20, and she fumbled in her wallet for a few seconds.
Just as I was going to take her check and pay it, she announced AH-HA! and counted her lunch bill off a wad of folded cash.
A thick roll of small bills.
My eyebrows raised. I had to ask, because she was fresh from a vacation in a certainly wild place.
"No. Milf money!"
We laughed, finished our drinks and promised to have lunch again really soon.
Then I took her back to her car, adding a round-trip total of 1.5 miles to the odometer.
Just in case you're keeping track of these things.
He has a thick wad of rolled up notes in his hand that he's carrying like a diploma.
How are you today?
I don't stop, but slow down enough to make eye contact.
Glad that *I* don't have an exam today. I'm done with that stuff forever!
He scowls. And laughs. I've got nothing to say to that.
15 more minutes until their exam.
I shall enjoy the peace today... ..and, while my students are trying their best to write brilliant things, I promise to write my own stuff, as quietly and stoically as I can.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Friday, June 8, 2007
Thursday, June 7, 2007
I look up, she's standing in the door of my office, holding herself together.
I motion for her to come in, then grab a black felt tip pen and my journal with the other hand, and carefully write exactly what she said."I've done something very bad and unforgivable."
"OK." I nod, pen poised for the fantastic story I know is about to spill. "Keep going, I'm going to use this. I just KNOW it'll be great."
She plops in my chair, leans over the desk.
Not angry, not sad.
"You'd be a terrible therapist...."
I'm a writer.
Much more money and freedom.
And the whole confidentiality thing is only optional.
(PS - it wasn't THAT bad. In fact, it's exactly what YOU would have done. Believe me.)
Then you tell me what you know, and maybe, together, we can get a fuller picture.
Let's go back to 1492, to the unleashing of modern European colonialism, jingoistic nationalism, the binding of statescraft with religion, and the inexorable expansion of capital into overseas markets. Foreign investments and foreign market stability have played huge roles in shaping the modern world. Where money goes, military follows.
But we can go back further. The emergence of the nation of Spain was a result of ethnic and religious wars with the occupying Moors. Yes, true. No way to discount the role of religion in the emergence of the modern world of conflict and divisions.
I can find many starting points in history from which to anchor my story and weave it to the present.
The rise of commercial for-profit media, the dislocation of families across continents - pushed by war, pulled back by transportation and communication.
I can explain many paths to the present.
But I'm not going to because I am not entirely sure WHERE we are.
My perspective on this war, and on the world in general is incomplete, narrow, transitory and unbalanced because the stories I read have passed through the eyes, minds and hands of many storytellers, politicians and editors before I have access to them.
I don't really know where we are, so I can't exactly tell you how we got here.
Not until this all becomes history.
Ask me again, then.
You've noticed this if you've sat in one of them.
The first class has an official ratio of 12:1 female to male.
The second class is 8:1.
I do not know what caused this overwhelming tide of women to sign up for my class (could it be my dresses? the way I whack the map with a long stick? can't be my hair, not after what Alix said yesterday!) but it affects me.
Really, it does.
Because I like to teach war using sports analogies, and I don't think alot of the women follow me when I elaborate on how nation X engaged nation Y by drawing them offsides.
They don't understand how Containment was like basketball defense, being in someone's face, kinda sorta hoping for a foul.
Maybe most of the women do understand sports. Which is fantastic.
I think everyone in the US should study sports, history of war, modern art and philosophy.
Then we'd play nicely together.
Chuck shrugged, standing over the sink, concentrating on pouring himself a tall glass of Sunkist from the 2 liter bottle I bought instead of the cans this time because the 12-packs were $4.69.
"Walter Payton did ballet. He died young."
Good enough reason.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Did you notice? The one with the artsy silver hearts, by Brighton.
My mom gave it to me, and I wear it on my right hand to remind me of happy things.
Sometimes I slide the hearts over, one by one, counting a blessing for every heart. I once used it as a rosary.
Do you have other Brighton stuff? I only just discovered Brighton.
It's gorgeous stuff, but I would never ever pay like $300 for purse.
Even those purses.
I will admire them and find knockoffs for $50. Maybe buy makeup with another $50, and still come out ahead.
So I didn't mention this during class because I couldn't think of a way to tie it to how the Yalta Conference lays the foundation for the Cold War.
Anyway, nice bracelet.
Dear Colin Powell, Napoleon, George Marshall and Teddy Roosevelt,
I have some news you might not like.
But you're tough men.
You can handle this.
There is someone else.
I know, I know.
I'm as amazed as you are.
I really thought that my soul was already completely full, and that it would be impossible for someone new to arrive and capture my heart, my imagination, my vote.
But here I am, dazzled.
By a Republican.
He's hot and kind and thoughtful in a Southern preacher-meets Eisenhower kind of way.
I landed my D-Day lecture on June 6. Today we have the Evacuation at Dunkirk, Operation Barbarossa, Pearl Harbor, Bataan Death March, Casablanca Conference, Yalta Conference, and D-Day.
Given the scope of the Foreign Policy class and the pace of summer school, it was a highly skilled and difficult manuever to land a historical event on it's own anniversary.
Don't I get points for this or something?
Tomorrow's lecture: Hiroshima and the origins of the Cold War.
(Former students will remember this lecture as the all-images "Never Again" show....)
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
I do it anyway.
from a night of dreams
that left me thirsty
and ask myself
the hard question
"Am I ready?"
I sit still outside alone
in a dew covered plastic chair
in the predawn
wishing the obese
clouds would stop
defending the stars.
I ask myself
over and over
"Am I ready?"
until my heart and mind
the only acceptable answer.