Thursday, June 29, 2006

I'm still sick and he's still hot.

School's out! Yay! Grad school class is done! Yahoo! Next week I turn in my portfolio, and then I'm ALL DONE with my Master's Degree! Hooray!!!

Okay, I think I just used up my exclamation point quota for the month.

The last day of school, several of my students (See photo at above of them actually being kind of cute) flipped out because I didn't give them thier report cards. Of course, I didn't give them their report cards because I didn't have their report cards because they didn't turn in all of their text books. One threw a chair. So any temptation to be sentimental about leaving my seventh graders was quickly assuaged. I will miss my eighth graders, though...especially the ones I taught in seventh grade, too. I hope all goes well for them in high school and in life.

Today was my last day of my Fordham class, and afterwords, Chris, Erin M. and I were talking. Chris asked if we wanted to hang out. I said sure, but Erin said no. I decided I'd rather hang out with Erin, so I told Chris I'd changed my mind. You see, I thought Erin wanted to ditch him, and I decided I'd rather hang out with her than him. But it turned out it wasn't a rouse. She really did have plans, because it was her sister's birthday.

"Why didn't you go with them?" Erin M. asked.
"I don't know."
"You ruined his night. You know that, right?"
"I did not. I don't think he's interested. He is all about Nicole. Besides, he didn't ask for my number when we went for coffee."
"I think he was working his way up to it. I think he was going to ask you tonight."

Then mom called and I told her I was still sick, so she suggested something for me at the health food store. After I went for it, I began to wonder what would have happened with I'd gone out with Chris, Mike and Alexis. So I thought, "Maybe they're at Lincoln Park. If they are, I'll hang out with them. If not, I guess it's not meant to be." But, out off all the bars in NYC, they were there. Chris was surprised and amused that I found them. We laughed quite a bit, especially when we split a cab uptown. There was an awkward moment on the cabride, however, when he and Nicole had a fight on the phone.

I think I'm in the friend zone with Chris because of the way he talks to me about other girls. Anyway, at the end of the cab ride, he said, "You should call me and we'll hang out this weekend." I said, "I can't. I don't have your number." "Well, we can fix that," he replied and we entered it into my phone. And that's exhibit two that I'm in the friend zone: He gave me his number instead of asking for mine. But that's okay. It's so much fun talking to him. I can't remember the last time I laughed so much.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sickness and singing

I just chatted with my mom, fresh from Brooke's birthday (she was cute as a button and loved her garden tools set), Courtney's baptism (Courtney Rose mostly slept) and the Bice Family Reunion, where the family-friendly censored version of this site ( received some good press from Unkie. I hear my recent pickpocketing incident prompted a lot of discussion. Mom says he reads my blog religiously. I'll admit I sometimes don't think about my audience enough. I treat this like a diary instead. I'm trying to correct that and become more entertaining.

Well, to catch you up from the last post, the field day went just fine. I brought bubbles and various bubble wands. The kids acted too cool for them for a while, but before you knew it, they were blowing bubbles and running around waving the wands. And remember that day when I felt like curling up on the floor and crying? Well it turns out I'm sick, and as y'all know, when I get sick I get emotional. So that explains that. The doctor gave me some medicine and I should be fine quite soon.

I have just three days of school left, and I'm so excited for summer vacation! I'm also excited about coming back to Iowa from July 14 to August 14 (from Unkie and Helen's party to the Iowa State Fair). I'm bummed that I'll miss the State Fair sheep show, but I need some time to prepare for the new school year.

I'm so excited about coming home that I'm already mentally packing, and I occassionally break into my Iowa Medley, much to the amusement/annoyance of my friends. "We are from Ioway...Ioway! Heart of all the in every hand. We are from Ioway, Ioway! That's where the tall corn grows.//Oh, there's nothing halfway about the Iowa way to treat you, when we treat you, which we may not do at all. There's an Iowa kind of special chip-on-the-shoulder attitude we've never been without, that we recall. We can be cold as our falling thermometer in December if you ask about our weather in July. And we're so by God stubborn we can stand touchin' noses for a week at a time and never see eye-to-eye. But we'll give you our shirt and a back to go with it if your crops should happen to die. So, what the heck, you're welcome, glad to have you with us, even though we may not ever mention it again. You really ought to give Iowa, Hawkeye Iowa, you ought to give Iowa a try!"

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Yum...and not just the potato pancakes.

I've been kinda insomniacky lately. I did not want to get out of bed this morning, and my students were exhausting. One, an ADHD kid, got twitchy and threw a book, hitting me in the shoulder. (He wasn't aiming at me...but ow.) And it was HOT in my classroom. Ugh. Before grad school, I was so exhausted from the heat and lack of sleep and stress that I wanted to curl up on the floor and cry myself to sleep.

Since my group of fellows graduated, I've been taking classes with a different group of fellows, and I kind of thought they hated me. See, the first day, I used the words "nebulous," "connotation" and "denotation"....all in one sentence. Yeah, it was ridiculous. So the next class, I was like, "Keep a lid on it, E.J." But did I? No. Quite clearly, no.

But Thursday, after class, another student came up and said, "Oh brilliant one, can you help me with something?" And I helped her. Since then, people have been coming up to me and chatting. Talking with them one-on-one after class gives me a chance to make them laugh and let them see my fun side.

Now there's one guy in my class who is SO CUTE. (He reminds me of someone...Ed Burns. An Ed Burns/Ryan Gosling cross.) I've liked him since day one. After class, he and another girl and I were bantering and laughing. She assured me that their Fellows group didn't think I was pretentious, just smart. I felt better. Then cute boy asked if we wanted to keep hanging out. The girl, whose name is Erin, said she had a lot of work to do. Then he turned to me and said, "Are you still coming or are you scared?" "Me? Do I look scared?" I rose an eyebrow and he laughed. He said he wanted to go for coffee: "I've never actually 'gone for coffee.'" "Me, either," I replied. We agreed we wanted to go for diner coffee, not Starbucks coffee, so we had to wander for a while. While we wandered, we discussed favorite poets and authors.

We finally found a diner that looked promising. We had to order food to get a table, so we got some delicious potato pancakes. We dished on the exes and told worst-day-of-my-life stories. His ex was worse, but my worst-day story was worse. Then he paid for a cab for us to the Upper East Side. We rode up town with the windows down, chatting. He told me his favorite city is Chicago. When I asked why, he admitted it was because of the aquarium. Hee! He is so hot, but I don't think anything will come of it. I just wasn't getting the vibe from him, but it was nice being out and laughing with a sexy guy.

Tomorrow, my entire school is going to a park for a field day. Pray for me.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day!

Every day at work, I see what happens to children who don't have fathers in their daily lives. The children know they are missing something, and go looking for that love and male support in all the wrong places. I always knew I was lucky to have such a great dad, but now that I see what happens to a person without a good dad (or communities without enough good dads) I appreciate mine even more.

Dad, you gave me life, love and support. You spun me around and tossed me in the air, and I felt like I could fly. You hauled me around the farm for years, taking care of me all day while mom was at work. When we were walking around the farm, you held my hand. You gave me tons of hugs, even though you didn't come from a huggy family. They were great hugs, bear hugs, where you almost couldn't breathe for a second.

You didn't get too mad when I pulled stunts like locking the doors of the truck and crawling out a window opening so small you couldn't get your arm in. That time when I was four and I started bidding at an auction, you actually bought the sheep for me.

You're not a big talker, but you let me yammer away for years. Once, I was singing in the yard and came in, asking to listen to the professional recording of the song. You told me it was prettier my way. You kept the postcard I sent you while on vacation when I was eight. You would drive your car to the end of the driveway to pick me up after school if the weather was bad. Then you'd wrap me up in blankets in front of the kerosene heater and give me a cup of cocoa.

You made me feel pretty and smart. You believed I could do anything, and made me believe it, too. Except for the sports. You were wrong about the sports. I am not now, have never been, and will never be any good at softball. But I love you for believing otherwise.

You were protective of me, and always told me to stand up for myself. Sometimes we would fight, and I'd start crying. You wouldn't want to apologize, but you wouldn't want to fight anymore, either, so instead you'd make me laugh. I'd get mad at you for using that tactic, but end up giggling anyway.

You have such a good sense of humor. Some people might not see it because you're the strong, silent type, but you're the first to laugh when something's funny. You're also great at seeing the funny side of the hard moments in life. And if someone can get you talking, you tell a great story. It's all in the timing, "or whathaveya."

When I was graduating from high school, I was trying to decide what I wanted to be. We were discussing it in the truck one day. I wondered whether I should choose something safe or something adventurous. Though (being a very practical man) you did encourage me to take some business classes, your main advice was, "You're special. Whatever you choose will work out fine, but don't sell yourself short." My jaw dropped at such a declaration. That statement has helped me to be brave at times when I might otherwise have played it safe.

When I became an adult, it was hard for us at first. You didn't know how to treat a grown daughter, and I didn't know how to behave as one. But when I told you what I needed, you did your best to do it. You've become a great listener, and so supportive. I love you so much.

Like mom, you made it so I never even understood the saying "You can't go home again." I'm afraid I must finish my letter to you the same way I finished hers: the words "Thank you" are so inadequate, but they're all I've got. Thank you, Dad.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Partying and petty larceny.

It's been an eventful week. Wednesday, Madrid and I rushed to finish our grades because they were due the next day (as described in the previous post). We were stressed afterwards and decided to unwind by going to Red Bamboo for dinner, followed by a gathering called Pub Night. We joined up with my lovely fashion benfactor, Jenny Levy. She was a little crabby from the weather and our train-delay-lateness, but I think we cheered her up.

The next day I had work, followed by grad school, followed by a reunion with VAL! Yes, my best friend Vali was visiting from Seattle. We met up at Coffee House Bar where we had delicous food and chatted for hours. It was amazing to have her back.

Friday, I got a new cell phone (the old one died). Then I threw on a new Jenny's Closet dress and met up with Laura, Melea, Reesa and Pete at Off the Wagon. It was all too fratty for me, but we quickly moved on to a comedy club. Most of the acts were rough and kind of awkward, and Melea was drunkenly heckling everyone. Cringe, cringe, cringe.

We decided to go to Solas, and that was more fun. Ryan and Dom and Sam joined us. I was enjoying talking to Sam, who is a documentary filmmaker and editor. The place was packed. You had to jostle people to get to and from the bathroom (which is when I think they carefully unzipped my purse, reached in and took it. Took what? You'll see.) While coming back, I saw my friends dancing and joined in. When the song ended, two big, blonde football-playerish guys came over, flirting and saying, "Oh, man! We were coming to dance with you. How's it going, Erin?"

I was instantly creeped out. "How do you know my name?"

"I was in your math class."

"No, you weren't."

"Yes, I was. Where are you from?"


"Exactly! We were Hawkeyes together."

"Nice try."

"Just kidding. We were Cyclones together. You know Troy Davis?"

"I know of him."

"We blocked for him."

"What did you say your name was?"

"He's Mike. I'm Kevin. And she's Jessica," referring to a passing girl who looked freaked out that he knew her name. Then he grabbed a random guy walking by. "Who are you?" The guy they grabbed looked confused.

"I'm Aaron."

"Oh, so is she!" He let Aaron go, and Aaron--looking relieved--took off.

"Well, Kevin," I said, "you obviously know your school mascotts. Aren't there better things you could do with your brain cells?" Then I turned back to my friends.

"How's it going?" Sam asked.

"Those guys are tools."

"How did they know your name?"

"I don't know. Maybe they have a deal with the bouncer where he gives them the information he sees on girls'...IDs!"

All of a sudden, an alarm went off in my head: Name, ID. ID, wallet! I opened my purse, and sure enough my wallet was gone. They had stolen my wallet and gotten my name off the ID. I had been careful, but if a thief really wants your stuff, they're going to get it. By the time I got to the bouncer, "Mike" and "Kevin" were as gone as my wallet. Just in case, I checked the floor, the bathroom and with the bartender. From asking around, I found out that at least three girls (including a friend of Aaron's) had gotten their wallets and/or ipods stolen that night. I think I was the only one whose head the guys messed with, however. What, were they trying to get my wallet and my number? "Kevin" wanted to screw me over, then actually screw me? So weird.

Don't worry, I cancelled my credit cards and filed a police report. By that time it was 5 a.m. At 10 a.m. I had brunch with Val, then sent her back to her hubby in Seattle. That cheered me up. (The brunch part, not the sending her back part.)

I could let this theft dim my faith in people or in New York. The thing is, all I have to do to get my faith back is think of all the kind people who helped me out: the bouncers, the bartenders, the cops, the phone operators for the credit card companies, and most of all my friends. They helped me search the bar, under cars and in trash cans nearby (where thieves often dump ID and wallets after taking out the cash), and gave me a little emergency money and hugs. What are two weird guys' treachery in the face of all that kindness? Not much.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Floods, fun, and student breakthroughs.

So when the story left of, my feet were soaked, and my hair had been chopped off by a crazed prima donna stylist. I left the salon and stomped, fuming, to the Subway. There were tons of us crammed into the station, and there were all these wierd annoucements every minute or two. None of them seemed entirely truthful however. ("There's a slight delay on the 6 line. And all 4s and 5s are running on the 6 line. And everything running on the 6 line is a little delayed by water on the tracks. But a train's coming any minute." Sure. I believe you.)

So I decided to go catch a bus. I stood there for twenty minutes. No bus. I walked uptown for twenty blocks. No bus. Then I did catch a bus, but it took us 40 minutes to travel 20 blocks. I walk faster than that! All in all, it took me 1 hour and 45 minutes to get home. (It usually just takes 30 minutes). And my feet had been wet for three hours.

Trains all over the city were shut down by the flooding. Carolina called and offered to drive Laura and I to a restaurant for dinner. I was crabby but agreed in the hopes it would cheer me up. We went to the Blue Angel Thai Lounge, and it was great. We had a little too much fun playing with the salt and pepper shakers, which were shaped like little people. The waiter even brought us and extra set! Then we went to Soundz Lounge for frozen apple martinis. So cheap and so delicious!

The next day I went bargain shopping for summer clothes. I went to New York & Co., The Gap and H&M. For $150 I got a pair of pants, a skirt, a dress and 8 shirts! I rule. Unfortunately, my mood was a bit spoiled by the wrap-around mirrors, which showed me just how messed up my hair was. But the next day the guy fixed it, so...whatever.

Then Wednesday, my school randomly decided the grades would be due THE NEXT DAY! And my students haven't had finals yet or turned in their portfolios. It was like a neon sign proclaiming "This is not a real school!" Grr.

On the other hand, today I had a heart-to heart with a student, David, who's done no work for me this year (well, none since September). I've tried talking to him several times (and many other strategies), but Friday he decided to open up. David told me he'd given up on passing. I replied that the Assistant Principal had asked for his work to see if he was eligible to go to 8th grade and I'd had nothing to show her. I told him he didn't want to be in the same situation, and that doing work might not help him pass at this point, but it could help him get ready to pass next time. It could also show he's trying to change, which will affect his class placement.

HE STARTED WORKING! His spelling and vocabulary are better than I thought. I was so happy. I had thought I was banging my head on a stone wall with him, but it turns out the 3,000th time is a charm.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Cute clothes. The hair? Not so much.

Life's been strange since I posted last. Memorial day I went to my friend Jenny Levy's house. I played with her kitties and we watched ALIAS while I went through her closet and tried on pretty designer dresses. You see, she's lost weight and can't wear them anymore. My favorite is a little Betsy Johnson dress that I can't stop wearing. Then on Thursday there was an early dismissal (yay!).

On Friday it was raining cats and dogs, and by the time I got to the train station, my feet were soaked. I decided to make the best of it and get a hair cut. You see, usually when I go for a haircut, my hair is on its best behavior. This makes it harder for the stylist for avoid cowlicks, etc. I get to the salon on 14th St, and get this Eurotrash stylist. I have met many, many sweet, non-trashy Europeans in my day, but he was not one of them. He was straight up Eurotrash, like "Eesn't my hair cute, how the spikes stand straight up een the air? Ahnd don't you love my designer t-shirt? Well you should, because eet cost more thahn your rent."

I should have run away, but I didn't. I told him I wanted a trim with layers. He asked how short he could take the sortest layers. I showed him. He then cut most of the hair to that length with random parts shorter and random parts about the length it was when I walked in. He didn't have time to blowdry it, so I went home (a saga I will describe later).

While shopping the next day, I discovered that my hair looked horrible. The layers were clumsyand choppy with random parts much longer than the rest, and it came to a point in the back. AARRG! So Sunday I called the salon, and the guy who answered the phone told me to come on down. When I got there, the nice guy who'd answered the phone asked me who had given me the cut. I pointed out Mr. Eurotrash. Then he asked me the problem with the cut. I showed him the randomness and pointiness. He looked puzzled by his coworker's actions.

Then Mr. Eurotrash came over.

"Thees ees not my fault."

"I didn't say it was anyone's fault," I replied, "I just want it fixed."

"Eet ees your hair's fault. Eet dried all curly and..." Up 'til that point I was polite but then I got mad.

"First of all, I told you it was curly. That's why I said, 'Keep the layers to encourage the curl.' Second of all, I asked you to dry it so we could make sure it looked right and you said you didn't have time. Third of all, isn't it your job to make any hair look good? Besides, I've dried it and straightened it, and these random parts are still four inches longer! You can't blame that on curling."

"You weel haf to wait half an hour. Then I weel help you."

"What? I've already been here half an hour!"

"Ah, but you deedn't make an appointment, did you?" he asked, smuggly.

"Your boss told me to come right over!"

"I'll take care of it!" the boss exclaimed, probably upset that the other customers were witnessing Mr. Eurotrash's prima dona act. He expertly snipped away to even out the layers. Unfortunately, the result was even shorter hair. I guess the children with cancer will have to wait a little longer for my next donation to Locks of Love.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Overheard in New York

This really tickled my funnybone...though I don't know why. I just felt compelled to share. It's indicitive of the kind of thing one hears here on a regular basis.

That Really Gets My Goat

Woman: No, I'm telling you, I'm right! He couldn't eat the Trix because he was an adult rabbit, and Trix were only supposed to be for kids.
Man: Well, I always thought it was just because he was a rabbit and not a person.
[A period of silence -- the woman looks down at her food.]
Man: What's wrong?
Woman: I'm just really getting tired of you always being wrong. --Michael's Restaurant, Broadway & 34th St, Astoria via Overheard in New York, Jun 1, 2006


I Think She's Watching You

Kid #1, looking at the Mona Lisa on Da Vinci Code poster: Hey, look! It's her again!
Kid #2: Who is this lady? She's everywhere! --Downtown 1 train via Overheard in New York, Jun 3, 2006