Monday, January 23, 2012

School Day

I wonder if my students might be as excited as I am to get back to school. Is it possible they too got just a bit bored with the limited options at home, when we were snowed and slushed and rained in?

I finally got back on my bike yesterday, for the ride to church. Most places, the bike lanes were free of snow, but it was kind of thrilling to my macha self-image to bike past snow piles!

This morning, the sun is out, but probably not for long. Probably I'll be rained on as I bike home, as I was yesterday.

But that's okay. I love to ride, and I love to tutor my kindergartners.

As I packed my bag for school -- leftover pasta with roasted leeks and mushrooms for lunch, NYT book review for lunch reading, bike pump, rain pants... -- I was having a conversation in my mind with my unruly boys. "Is there anything you'd like to know how to do?" I ask them in my mind. "Read about a soccer star? Learn to play better? Someday find a job on Craigslist? You're going to need these words we're learning!"

In my mind's eye, I see them giggling wildly, as they do, and pulling up their shirts to flash their nipples, as they do, and saying, "Chi-chi's! I want to read about chi-chi's!" (At least, to me it sounds like "chi-chi's.")

Nevertheless, I do think something is getting through. Last time we met, they each got a sticker. Unprecedented.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ski Day, Sled Day, Single Day

I woke up briefly at 2:30 yesterday morning, and not a drop of snow had fallen. Another false alarm?

No. By morning, we had the predicted 4+ inches. I made breakfast and started calling friends, to find somebody who wanted to snow-walk with me.

Not to whine, but as usual, I didn't find anybody. I went out walking anyway. On the way home, after passing three cyclists (!), three buses, and countless people on skis and sleds in ninety minutes, I said hello to a woman waiting for a #5 in my neighborhood. She looked like someone I'd like, my age, trim, a bus rider. She said she was headed downtown where she needed to get some publicity shots done for her gallery opening Friday night.

All sounds promising. But I realized I had no words to say, Hey, want to try me out as a friend? It would have been easier, oddly, if she'd been a man, to say, Hey, are you by any chance single? (Not that I've ever actually done that either.)

I realize I need a plan. I read recently on Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project blog about Rachel Bertsche, a woman in her thirties, who had as much trouble as I do locating a new BFF (which I thought meant Best Female Friend, but my friend Ruth said it means Best Friends Forever). And Ruth is one of those, a BFF, whom I've know since I was 30. And there's Amy in Port Townsend. I do have friends. But on a snow day, especially, you want a BFF in the neighborhood. I wanted somebody who'd wake up and think, "I've gotta call Mary. She'll want to snow walk too."

This Rachel wrote a book about it, MWF Seeking BFF. Obviously, I need the book. From what I remember reading about it, though, she actually set up weekly "dates" with women who might turn out to be BFFs.

I can do that! I have a little list of women I have met, women I like, but it's hard to know much about them from the moments we grab between dances or during coffee hour at church or waiting at bus stops after SAL.

I'd like to organize my own BFF search, and I think I'll start by resolving to organize a weekly "date" with one of these women, for a walk, or Scrabble, or soup, or something. And just see if a BFF emerges.

It doesn't snow often in Seattle, but next time, I'd like to be ready.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

No-Snow Day

I'm ready to get back to my students, but school will not begin today until two hours late, due to -- what? It's snow-free and even relatively dry in Fremont. I was planning to ride my bike, and I'm layered up: three layers on top and my fleece tights with bike tights on the bottom.

But I checked with a friend on Capitol Hill, through which I ride, and it's slush central over there, he says. "Don't even try it on your bike."

I checked the snow routes for buses; my usual one isn't going up the hill at all. (Hills are the problem in Seattle; we're not wienies, we just have hills so steep I'm nervous about riding down half of them, even when it's warm and dry.)

So I've got a new plan, which may involve a mile-long walk. Must re-think wardrobe....keeping in mind dire predictions for lots of snow later in the day.

Going to be an exciting Tuesday!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Clean the Fridge, Find Lunch

I hate to admit it, but chaos had been growing at my place. For one thing, I work. Which I love, but it reduces my time for dealing with the demands of daily life.

Fortunately, my Dinner for Eight group was scheduled for an early supper at my place last night. Social obligations like this are sure-fire starters for my cleaning instinct.

I spent two days getting through the paperwork. As a writer, I have pages everywhere, filled with my thinking. Plus the paper that arrives, for me to deal with or file, from my employers, my financial guy, my mortgagee, my attorney, my tax preparer -- good grief!

Once I got through it, my house looked so good. Plus, I made a bright yellow paper folder and scrawled "calendar" across it in red, to hold my 12 monthly calendar pages I printed up on the Web. In the pockets, I put stuff I need to attend to. Underneath, a red folder holds my recent written pages. Together, they look neat and colorful stacked on the desk in my living room.

But there was more to be done. Today I tackled the fridge, taking everything out, washing the shelves and drawers, putting it all back. Usually I find stuff to discard, but today, hardly anything. A pint of half and half from before Thanksgiving, when friends came to visit.

Those visiting friends had brought gorgonozola, and I found a tiny piece of it, all wrapped up in plastic. Another friend, I don't remember when, had brought me "fig bread," a flat loaf made of mashed up figs; its remains had slipped to the back of the fridge. I scraped the extra mold off the cube of cheese, sliced the fig bread really thin, and ate it for lunch.

A tangible reward for doing my cleaning.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Very Wonderful Day

I hate seeing that my latest post is called "Very Difficult Day," especially since my latest day was very wonderful -- but too full to leave much time for writing.

A lovely day was Thursday, when I had to take the bus to school instead of my bike, since I was going directly to a friend's for a Bainbridge overnight afterwards. I sat on the bus near a young man who mentioned the cold weather. I asked if he was from here, which he isn't, and learned he was on his way to an interview for a job as a chef.

Being the woman I am, I sort of pre-interviewed him, asking him things about his approach to the kitchen -- and he's a calm and organized guy, unlike the celebrity chefs I have read about -- and what they are looking for in their new hire, and what specialties he might bring to it.

I asked him which was his stop, and just before he got off, I leaned over and whispered, "It's probably just because you're nervous, but if you get a chance, you might want to grab a breath mint."

Because who better to tell him than I? He thanked me, and I wished him luck. I hope he gets the job.

Then my next bus was so late, I ended up running four blocks to school, late nevertheless, racing to Ms Smith's classroom to get two of my students, taking off my coat and hat and gloves while saying, "Learner position, please!"

And we still had a wonderful day. All six of my student groups were at their best, including the two impossible ones. In one, where the two boys often hate each other and do all they can to annoy -- echoing every word the other says, bickering, etc -- on Thursday, when I said, "What does 'and' mean?, they said, with their arms around each other, "'And' means together!"

A very wonderful day. And I didn't even get to the Bainbridge part!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Very Difficult Day

"Very difficult day," my friend posted on Facebook. Nothing more.

Of course I'm sorry it was a difficult day for her, but oddly, it's one of the first things in a week to make me feel better. Because I had a very difficult week, and I couldn't seem to get over it.

Three days in a row, things happened that seemed unfair. It felt like I kept getting punched for nothing I did.

First, there was a guy who, as I saw it, came on kind of strong to me during the holidays, giving me the impression he was both available and interested. Then at a dance on Wednesday, he was with somebody else -- and that's okay, I realized by then that nothing was going to be happening between us -- but didn't say one word to me. That's cold.

Next day, I accidentally left my REI water bottle at the school where I tutor. As far as I know, I'm their only adult cyclist, but next day when I went looking, first thing, for my water bottle, they told me they'd thrown it away. I sort of thought they liked me.

And then, I met up with a guy to discuss a JD Salinger short story, but it turned out he wanted to keep being mad at me because I don't want more than a friendship.

Believe me, I have tried to mine these incidents for life lessons. Yes, I got too excited too fast about that first guy, but it didn't take long to get real. (When a man waits until the day before New Year's Eve to ask what you're doing, you can be certain he's not interested.)

The water bottle? Some people probably have no genuine concept of a bike water bottle.

The angry friend? Fine, I get that he's mad, and feelings are feelings.

But I couldn't seem to get over feeling beat up. I said to myself, Just duck and let the unpleasantness float right on over your head and away. I said, "There's nothing you can do about the behavior of others." I said, "Pray it away."

Maybe all that is finally helping. Or maybe it's reading my friend's post, and getting confirmation for my sneaking suspicion that there's just some weird planetary alignment thing going on, and everybody's a little crazy.

And that makes me feel better?

Oddly, yes.


All material copyright © 2009 by Mary Davies