Monday, November 30, 2009

My Little Puddle Jumper

The first day back at school after Thanksgiving Break is always rough. Teachers expect this. Yet we're never quite prepared for the fury that is the sugared up, it-can't-be-schooltime-yet child.

Let's just say that today was a little crazy. The kids hadn't had a full day of school for a week and a half. They are understandably antsy.

However, my little puddle jumper took this to new extremes. Waiting in the bus line, he decided that every puddle was a monster to be relentlessly stomped. Dozens of little children were soaked in his quest, and I still have muddy footprints on the legs of my jeans from when he bounded up in joy.

By the time that I cajoled him inside to read a book while waiting for the bus, he was wet and beginning to understand just why jumping in puddles isn't a good pre-bus past time ("I'm soaking wet! I don't want to wear my shoes!") Sigh.

The easiest thing to do would have been to pull him out of the puddles and away from the temptation of splashing others. But teachers aren't suppposed to physically restrain or pull on children. Even though he was kicking water onto other children, we couldn't just pull him away. Crazy, but true. We could only threaten to talk to his mother, get the principal, or offer alternatives to his behavior.

I hope the rest of the children never find out about this.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

After three buses, one offer for crack cocaine, and a plane ride, I am finally back home. I spent the last three days sleeping off bronchitis and an ear infection, and then visiting the school I interned at on an Indian reservation. All in all, a good few days.

I don't know if I'm just lucky, or what. Somehow, standing in an underground bus station amidst the crowds of the merry and not so merry travelers, I look like I need some drugs. As a twenty-five year old guy asks, "Do you want some cocaine?" all I can do is stare astounded at the transportation security officers less than a block away. After hurriedly reassuring him that I don't, in fact, do drugs, he shuffles off to the next person.

Maybe all trips on public transportation are like this. Maybe everyone is offered drugs while on the way to the airport, and accosted by a man begging for spare change and cussed out when the request is refused. Perhaps everyone ends up sitting next to a very cheerful lady who just happens to be off her meds and is laughing up a storm at nothing and no one.

Somehow, I don't think so.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I Need a Vacation

How pitiful is it that I'm already planning every possible long weekend and day off that I can scrounge up? I'm looking ahead to three day weekends and marking down travel days as "After school on Friday to before school on Tuesday." Teachers don't arrive home from their vacations an hour before school begins---it's just not right!

I think the upcoming Thanksgiving break is getting to me. I'm ready to check out and head back to Minnesota. I'm tired of the alphabet song and open and closed syllables. I'm stealing five minutes here and five minutes there to gaze longingly at discounted cruises. Even Alaska with its Arctic gales is sounding pretty appealing.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


I love Canada. Whenever I need a break from the ordinary, I take a little trip north and wander around Chinatown.

Everything is different up here, from te road signs to the metric system. It's exhilirating to be barreling down the road at top speed, trying to figure out just what exactly 120 km/hour translates to. Add to it miniscule road signs and highways that suddenly turn into city streets, and you have an adventure on your hands.

Plus, nothing adds a little excitement to your day like trying to make it through Customs unscathed. Since I have a horrible poker face, crazy things just happen to happen to me. Need I remind you of the time when my mom was taken away to be questioned because I looked nervous (and apparently like a kidnapping victim)?

Gentle, staid Canada never remains so for long when I join the mix, and that's why I love it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It Can Be Really Hard to Be Gay

It can be really hard to be gay, and not always for the reasons that you might suspect. Sure, you have to deal with your mother's fear that you won't be with her in Heaven some day, and your dad's fear that you'll be the victim of discrimination or a hate crime. However, sometimes it's the day to day difficulties that wear on you the most.

It's all of the flirtation and suggestive comments aimed your way by unsuspecting strangers. It just goes completely against the grain for me. It grates on me, and is intensely uncomfortable. To help my family understand, I liken it to a gay person hitting on them, and the intense reaction they would feel. Suddenly they seem to get it.

I wonder what would happen if I told these unknowing strangers the truth---that I can't be interested in them because I'm gay. I would never be so naive to do so, but I hate having to bury who I am all the time. It's like a strangling of the soul.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Young Adult Literature Challenge

The Young Adult Literature Challenge is coming along nicely. During October, I read The Drowned Maiden's Hair: A Melodrama, the Scott Westfield Uglies, Pretties, Specials trilogy, and The Midwife's Apprentice. I highly recommend The Drowned Maiden's Hair; it's not nearly as gruesome as it sounds. It is the tale of an orphan who is adopted by an eccentric trio of elderly women, who wish her to play the part of a drowned child during a seance. It's a very intriguing read.

Scott Westfield's trilogy is quite good, with a suitable number of plot twists to keep it interesting. It is about a totalitarian society where everyone has surgery at the age of sixteen to make them "pretty." However, this surgery also causes brain lesions that make them easily controlled. Dissidents are taken care of by the "Specials."

The Midwife's Apprentice was also a good read. Brat, an street girl in early England, becomes the midwife's apprentice in exchange for food and shelter. She must overcome harsh treatment and low self esteem to make a name for herself.

I'm really enjoying this challenge. I finally have an excuse to read all of the young adult literature that I missed out on growing up. There are so many great books.

What have you read lately that you've enjoyed?