Friday Confessions.

Here’s a thing: I’m a bitchy teenager and a spendthrift. And an adult.

Exhibit A: There’s a woman who has recently come back to belly dancing class. I thought she was a reasonable person, if not the kind of person I’d be great friends with. But it turns out that, some eight years ago, when E and I were first getting together, she cornered him and asked why he was ‘getting with that dumpy bitch’, meaning me. Now, I don’t really want to be friends with her. Because she was bitchy a whole eight years ago. And I sort of think she’s ugly. Because she said I was. Hello, I thought I’d moved past grade 10, but apparently, I haven’t. I wish I could surmount this, because I do love belly dancing class, and I’d like to feel like I did last night, when she wasn’t there: safe and happy.

Also, I am bound to go into debt going to the UK in April. But I don’t care! Fiscal responsibility, be damned! I am going on an adventure!

Fiscal responsibility is one thing, but I actually bought travel insurance. Travel Insurance! Like an adult! I know it’s smart, but I kind of feel like I’m straying from my seat-of-the-pants traveler roots, even though that is not even the case. It’s smart to be insured. I just never have been before.

So this week I’m confessing to being meaner and both less and more cautious. Waffler that I am.

You wanna say something?

Conflict.

So yesterday one of my students was really rude and unmanageable. He was talking back, he was whining about the work, everything was too hard and I was too mean. He told me several times that he hated my class and wanted to go to another one where he wouldn’t be expected to work as hard.

I tried talking to him about what was going on and asked if he’d like to go to an easier level, if the work was too hard. I didn’t get any concrete answers out of him, just “I hate this class.” Really, there wasn’t a lot I could do for him. I asked him repeatedly to put away his purple Sharpie and get going on some vocabulary, or grammar, or reading skill, or do something productive.

In between helping the other kids in class, I asked him again and again to stop doodling on his folder in purple pen, I asked him to stop mocking the other kids’ mistakes. I asked him to please, please not repeat everything I was saying. Seriously.

And then when I look back over at him, he’s written, ‘El sucks her mother’s balls’ ON THE TABLE. IN PURPLE SHARPIE.

Overlooking the kid’s flimsy grasp of anatomy, and not even bothering to praise his correct pronoun use, I go get the boss.

Boss takes kid out of class.

Boss tells me the kid says he didn’t do it. I point out that I cleaned the table an hour and a half previously, and there was nothing written on the table then. I point out that the kid is the only one with a purple Sharpie in the classroom. I forbear to mention that I can identify this kid’s handwriting, since I have been marking his work for about six months. The kid is lying. It’s clear.

Boss says the kid doesn’t even understand what he’s written. I point out that the kid has been writing (in the same purple Sharpie) all kinds of insults to me and to the place I work, on his folder. He’s got to understand some of it.

Boss shrugs helplessly.

I say I realize we are a business and cannot simply punish kids for their opinions, but does the boss understand what the kid has written? That the kid says I put my mouth on my mother’s genitals? I’m sure that that’s not the kind of behaviour we want associated with our establishment. Boss can only nod in helpless assent.

I point out that the kid says he wants to move classes. I add that I think it would be a good idea, since one of the other students in my class is five years old, and doesn’t need to be learning that kind of language or behaviour. Writing on a folder is one thing, but willfully defacing our property? That’s not acceptable. Boss nods in helpless assent again. He agrees that it would be a good idea to move purple Sharpie kid.

So I’m conflicted. I embarrassed my boss by pointing out the content of the graffiti, which is bad. I’ve probably lost my Honorary Korean status. On the other hand, the kid needs to know that his behaviour is unacceptable. But we can’t punish him. I’m passing the buck, because I can’t do anything else. Which makes me frustrated as hell.

And it turns out, the Sharpie wasn’t permanent, so it’s gone and the rest of my students don’t need to learn faulty anatomy lessons.

Spring Clean.

It’s that time of year. Although I lack discipline in general cleaning, at least once a year I have to clean everything. I pull all the furniture away from the walls and clean behind and underneath it. I pull everything out of storage and try and figure out what to throw out. I sort though piles and papers and discover more than what is on the surface of my life.

This pulling and sifting and sorting always gives me a kind of bittersweet nostalgia. In my everyday life, I forget that while I’m living, what I’ve done is piling up behind me. I’m an engine pulling boxcars full of experiences through my life.

I see the shells from a Scottish beach twenty years ago and I remember a town where I saw my cousin’s eyebrows on a stranger, and then learned that stranger was actually my relative.

I see the grainy photocopied face of a girl I think of every time I see train tracks. I remember how we walked in the woods and felt safe together.

I touch the two brass horses my grandmother gave me. I remember her shelf full of curios, and the smell of her suite at my uncle’s.

I read a letter from a boy I haven’t seen for a decade. I hope he is happy; It was always in doubt.

I see a photograph of a girl who is dead now. I miss her sometimes.

All these memories are inside me, somewhere in the back of my head. It’s a kind of miracle that I do my everyday thing, working and sleeping and cooking and shopping and dishes and laundry, and yet I have done all those things, seen all those sights, known all those people.

I’m a human being, in the middle of a life.

Friday Confessions

Where did the week go? The sun came out and I hauled dirt into the garden and wandered to work and everything was so idyllic.

And then there was Wednesday. In retrospect, I think the lunar eclipse got to me as well. i actually snapped at a kid. Me. I rule my room with humour and cajoling and a knowledge based on when a kid needs a little push, a little hint, or a little compassion. But for the first time in about two years, I was actually pushed to the point where I had to threaten to make a kid go into the Mothers’ Room and explain his behaviour! I am ashamed of myself. Lunar vagarities shouldn’t make me that weak.

Also, in a blatant act of literary subversion, I gave the first book in the Artemis Fowl series to an eleven-year-old and a thirty-nine-year old. I can’t tell which one is enjoying it more.

Anyone else go psycho this week?

Okay, So.

There were a lot of things going around in my head today and I was totally going to compose this excellent, thought-provoking post about the lunar eclipse and how that used to be one of my nicknames, back in the days before the Internet, when you used to type phone numbers and get to talk to other estranged kids in your area, or else, maybe you’d get lucky and Bo0p would have telnetted to Florida so you could talk to people on Crystal Fountains BBS in Gainesville or wherever, but the connection would always time out so you never really said anything other than ‘hi’ and ‘re’, and I was also going to address how the eclipse was making the kids crazy until I felt more like Will Smith in ‘I Am Legend’ and the kids are the rabies-frenzied zombie creatures, who are normally mild-mannered and reasonable but all of a sudden were hyper-aggro and grabby and shouty, (even though the rabies zombies were never mild-mannered, at least not in the movie) and then I was going to fit in something about how the eclipse made Melissa and me super-creative and funny in writing today because there was probably something in the astrological lineup.

But then I got in front of the computer and I decided to look at pictures of kittens instead. So.

Photo Op.


Gate
Originally uploaded by Liz du Canada


One of the things I am enjoying very much with my photo-a-day project is how I’m changing the way I see the world around me. Never fear, I am not turning into an artiste. Not a good one, at any rate.



But the more I look, the more I see, until everything is a chance to take a picture, to see what it looks like captured and caught out of time on my camera. Sometimes the strangest things are great subjects, like an odd shoe on the ground, or a fencepost. Or this gate.

Friday Confessions.

Well. Other than learning my father can make angel food cake (from a box, but still) and beautiful Simone coming into this world, I got sick. We’re talking fever, chills, cough, sneeze, worry about hydration kind of sick. So I took my first weekday off in about forever. That’s not a confession. I needed it. I ate healthy soup and slept and slept.

Because if my being ill, we didn’t do a damn thing for Valentine’s Day. Which I don’t really care about. That must make me some kind of Valentines Scrooge. But E is actually much more romantic than I am, and there was no real romance to be had with fever-sweaty me. Even a cuddle made me clammy with sweat. Gross.

I had such a fun weekend planned. The confession here is that I am massively immaturely resentful that I don’t think I’ll get to do a damn thing this weekend. I mean, the adult in me knows that when you’ve got to be less than thirty feet from a bathroom, you shouldn’t go out. Ditto fever chills, etc. But there are soooo many weekends where I don’t have big plans. Why now, God, whyyyy? (whine, snivel)

Anyone else feel like they were five years old this week?

Welcome, Simone!

“She is perhaps the most beautiful thing I have ever seen,” said Morgan.
“Of course she is. You’re going to love her more than anything else in your whole life,” I answered.

Morgan and Tara had a baby girl today. And I am her godmother. I can’t wait to meet her!

Gung Hey Fat Choy!


Lion Dance Blur
Originally uploaded by Liz du Canada


I braved the rain to go to the New Year’s Parade in Chinatown today. It was worth it.



I tried repeatedly to get pictures of the guys underneath the lions’ heads. Every time they raised their arms, I could see the ripple of muscles and the grimaces of concentration as they channeled their energy into the dance. Whoever thinks dancing isn’t manly hasn’t seen a Lion Dancer really working.



I have a memory of sitting on my father’s shoulders, watching the dragon go past. He told me how hard they were working underneath the costume, and pointed out when the lead guy switched off with the next dancer in line. The head was too heavy to carry with much energy for long.



Click on the blue ‘Liz du Canada’ to see the rest of the pictures from today.

Friday Confessions.

It’s been a long week over here. Gen’s birthday seems like a month ago, instead of only Monday. I’ve been tired and cranky. That’s the gist of today’s confessions.

I’ve been sleeping in. A lot. Since I get home from work around 9:30 at night, I don’t do very much. So that leaves the before-I-go-to-work time for actual other-than-work stuff. Like, oh, say, writing. Or editing the odd novel I may have hanging around. Or shopping for healthy food. So. None of that got done.

Along with the tired, I have a big crank on. I’m shorter-tempered than I should be with the kids. They’re tired. They need cajoling, not ordering. But I’m ordering them around like the Mad Director of Extra Work. And then I feel guilty. Not pleasant or productive.

Anybody else got a beef?

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