‘wings’–josh ritter

January 28, 2008

i’ve been obsessed with ritter for awhile, but this song…there is no better word than haunting.  ‘wings’ from the new album ‘hello starling.’

At night we crossed the border
following a Black robe
to the edge of the reservationton
Cataldo Mission
where the saints and all the martyrs
look down on dying converts
what makes the water holy she says is that that it’s the closest thing to rain

I stole a mule from Anthony
I helped Anne up upon it
and we rode to Coeur d’Alene
through Harrison and Wallace
they were blasting out the tunnels
making way for the light of learning
when Jesus comes a’calling she said he’s coming round the mountain on a train

it’s my home—last night I dreamt that I grew wings
I found a place where they could hear me when I sing

we floated on to Hanford
on a lumber boat up river
past the fisheries and the milltowns like a stretch of future graveyards
she was driven to distraction
said I wonder what will happen
when they find out they’re mistaken
the land is too changed to ever change

we waded through the marketplace
someone’s ship had come in
there was silver and begonias
dynamite and cattle
there were hearts as big as apples
and apples in the shape of Mary’s heart
I said inside this gilded cage a songbird always looks so plain

it’s my home—last night I dreamt that I grew wings
I found a place where they could hear me when I sing.

(musical interlude)

and so they came with cameras
breaking through the morning mist
press and businessmen—tycoons—Episcopal philanthropists
lost in their appraisal of the body of a woman
but all we saw were lowlands
clouds clung to mountains without strings

and at last we saw some people… (x2)

and at last we saw some people
huddled up against
the rain that was descending like railroad spikes and hammers
they were headed for the border
walking and then running
and then they were gone into the fog but Anne said
underneath their jackets she saw wings


baby guilt

January 25, 2008

as we speak, i have a pregnant sister in law, a pregnant best friend, another best friend poised on the eve of adopting a child from another country. i am as in awe of them as i am bewildered by them. this new chapter will be monumentous, remarkable, challenging, educational, spiritual, and beautiful in its own glorious way….a way i am not sure i will ever know.

i love children. they are funny little innocence generators whose presence tames even the most savage adult, whose hearts are so open, whose minds are so untainted, that they love everyone instinctively because it is the right thing to do. they accept the world so effortlessly, so curiously, so truly, that we meager adults spend our lives trying to get back to that perfection. to the place where the bright red balloon of hope dances above us, taking us from one new discovery to the next. where heartbreak heals at the sight of a bunny shaped cloud, or the hug of a loved one.

i love children. but am i going to be a mother? the answer is yes, and no.

i already feel like a mother. i dote on my friends and family, worry over them even if they do not know it. pray for them all throughout the day. send wishes for their good fortune out into the universe. rage at them when they allow selfish people to manipulate them long after the road to that town has been closed. ache for time with them in a way that is only maternal. and my students–i want to nurture their hearts and spirits as much as their minds, i dream of the day they see their own glittering potentials light up their futures…wild like fields of daisies.

and no. no because i don’t see a child in any house i own. i can’t picture carrying a child, adopting a child, raising a child, anything with a child. sometimes my heart aches to have alex’s child because he is the most honest, sincere, and thoughtful man i have ever known, and it pains me to consider a world in which a part of him is not carried on. but i don’t see us having a child, and neither does he. we love our life together, we love each other, and we love this crazy world, but we do not see children in our future, and i feel incredibly guilty about that.

i feel like a bad woman for not wanting children. that somehow i am a failure at this ideal of femininity. that i miss the mark as a wife since i don’t long for onesies and bottles and school plays. this guilt moves into the house next door and nods mockingly as i leave my house each day. it whispers to me during faculty meetings and says i am less than. this guilt wears high heels and click clacks behind me as i shop for groceries, stylishly sulking at me over the red onions, narrowing its eyes over the ground turkey, and pointing at me with its exquisitely manicured nails as i read spaghetti sauce labels. this guilt is an undercover detective in an unmarked car that i can’t seem to lose no matter how erratically i drive.

o’connell mocks cruise

January 24, 2008

you have probably seen this, but if nto, it is a must watch. tom cruise did this PSY-fucking-CHO thing about scientology, and this jerry o’connell’s take on it. who knew the chubby kids from stand by me would end up being such a badass?

[the parody video Tom Cruise WANTS you to see! on FunnyOrDie.com]

1/2 birthday

January 17, 2008

i am 31 and 1/2 years old today. in 6 months i’ll hit the big 32 and will be chronologgically twice the age i feel mentally, and probably 1/2 the age my body is physically. let me explain:

i still get wild crushes on my husband and act on them, wild crushes on strangers and do not act on them, laugh at any and all bodily function talk and/or humor, love my family with a ferocity not unlike a spider monkey, believe 100% in the goodness of people and the miracles that are my friends, and i still fall hopelessly in love at the drop of a hat with people, ideas, and beauty—just like when i was 16

i was born 7/17/76 at 7:07 pm in salina, ks thus, this july, i will chronologically be 32

and i am overweight. there…i said it. i’ve been dancing around this fuschia pachyderm for far too long. i am overweight, and i don’t mean in a ‘she could be pretty if she lost 10 pounds’ kind of a way, but more like a ‘she got really depressed and didn’t know who she was and ate and drank alcohol for four years’ kind of a way. so my bod, smokin though it may seem in my teacher camo and jammie pants, feels 64

but despite these numeric anomalies on today, my half birthday, i feel pretty great about me. it is pretty cool to be mrs. d.-g. teacher of english, purveyor of word food, lover of the infinite goof, attempter of much, master of little…but such remarkable little. i’m never going to be a ballerina, or a horse whisperer, and i may never find out what my real bra size is (much to my–and the girls’–chagrin), but today i taught a lesson about the holocaust, about how calling someone gay or fag is one step towards a hate crime, about how the atrocities of evil people can only be stopped by the attention and action of good people. and i saw the lightbulbs coming on all around the room. i saw the recognition in the faces of my students that they got it, that they knew the world could be good, and that felt great to a 16, 32, and 64 year old woman trying desperately to make a difference

101 things (redux)

January 13, 2008

ok, so i may have been little ambitious in my list making. i now realize how hard it is to say you will do something ‘every day’ or ‘every week.’ below is the revised list that is more doable for an actual human person (!!!= new or revised entry–i only changed 17–not bad) and it shows i’ve made some progress–the **starred stuff has been done already, or is in process.

My List (to be completed by 9.27.2010)

1 Visit The Garden of Eden in Lucas, KS (http://www.garden-of-eden-lucas-kansas.com)
2 Read all the books I bought at the Lawrence Library Sale
3 Read all of the Bukowski Letters
4 ** Watch Band of Brothers
5 Read Pride and Prejudice
6 ** See 15 films at Liberty Hall (1 down)
7 Attend 15 concerts
8 ** Upload all my CDs to itunes (1/2 way there–14 gigs and counting)
9 ** Blog twice a week (so far)
10 Travel outside the US
11 !!! Listen to more hours of music each week than TV I watch
12 !!! Write more letters
13 Learn to cook something gourmet
14 Go to Chicago to visit Jen and Kyle and Jonny K.
15 Work out AT LEAST 3x a week, every week
16 !!! Have dinner with Alex at twice a week
17 ** Take a multivitamin everyday
18 Read 25 Young Adult Novels
19 !!! Write more poetry
20 Go to Vegas with Alex, Ben, and Erin
21 ** Rediscover my natural hair color
22 !!! Get to where I can walk 5 miles on the walking trails in Lawrence
23 Buy a GOOD pedometer
24 Cook on weekends for food all week
25 Watch the sunrise over Clinton Lake
26 Watch the sunset over Coronado Heights
27 Attend a wine tasting
28 Visit the Kemper Museum
29 Visit the Nelson Atkins Museum
30 ** See Ebert’s ‘102 Movies You Must See’ (made the list of the ones I haven’t seen)
31 Go to Rolling HIlls Wildlife Refuge
32 Watch Apocalypse Now
33 Reread all Tom Robbins novels
34 Go hiking with Brandon
35 Take more pictures
36 Take the Boulevard Brewing Co. Tour
37 Staff 3 Lovewell Sessions
38 Learn to write grant proposals
39 Take a class with my mother
40 Participate in a 5k
41 !!! *** Rearrange my classroom
42 Learn to love exercise
43 Eat more fruits and vegetables
44 Volunteer on a political campaign
45 Direct a play
46 Be in a play/musical
47 Get “We All Shine On” tattoo
48 Learn to draw a cool tree
49 ** Buy new eyeglasses
50 Teach a Creative Writing class
51 Use my shit detector more often–Jason, this means you
52 Talk to or hang out with Teryn once a month
53 Spend a long weekend with Lisa, John, and Alex
54 Whiten my teeth
55 Visit Nicodemous, KS (http://www.legendsofamerica.com/OZ-Nicodemus.html)
56 Visit the Lake of the Ozarks
57 Spend a long weekend in Omaha
58 See The Cure in concert
59 See James Taylor in concert
60 See Ani again now that we are both older and wiser
61 Get a real pair of cowboy boots
62 Stop smoking when I drink
63 Swim in the ocean again
64 Drink at least 64 oz of water every day
65 !!! Become more comfortbale with my body
66 Get a dog
67 Buy a house
68 Wear a size 12 dress to Alex’s law school graduation in May ‘08
69 Read “Here Lies: The Collected Stories of Dorothy Parker”
70 See all of David Mamet’s films
71 !!! Beat a video game without cheating
72 Take a long, hot bath once a week
73 !!! Go on more walks with my mom
74 !!! ** Stock my school fridge with healthy snacks each wek
75 !!! Be at least 1 week ahead in my lesson plans
76 ** Visit the Hunger Site 3x a week (www.thehungersite.com)
77 Write a book (at least 150 pages)
78 Save $10/week
79 Go to California
80 Go dancing at least 3x a year
81 See 6 professional plays or musicals
82 Go to a hockey game
83 Go to a KU basketball game with my dad
84 Have dinner at some chichi place on the Plaza (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/chichi)
85 ** Throw out/donate/sell 100 things I don’t need (in my trunk, waiting to be dropped off!)
86 !!! Color more often
87 Create an art piece to hang on the wall
88 Burn incense 3x + a week
89 Attend the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Summer Teacher’s Institute
90 !!! Read more poetry
91 !!! Take a roadtrip with Alex
92 Watch all of Kate Winslet’s films
93 Buy and watch entire season of Flight of the Conchords
94 Watch AFI’s Top 100 films
95 Create my own Top 100 films
96 Make a list of MUST READ books for my friends
97 ** Try a new food every month
98 !!! Limit impulse shopping
99 !!! Write down all purchases in checkbook
100 Get a neoprene case for Stella
101 !!! For each incomplete task after 1001 days, donate $2 to Democratic Party (I I realized I could never live with myself if I gave money to the Republicans, no matter what the reason)

being a bitch

January 7, 2008

contrary to the beliefs of many of my students, of many people who have known me in what i can only describe as my less than finest hours, despite what some may consider an accepted fact of like, i do not enjoy being a bitch. i will admit that sitting in the corner of a dark bar, or at a cocktail party where i know very few people, and making snarky comments about passersby is a favorite past time, but those who know me very wel understand all these nasty words are done to get a laugh. if i rag on someone it’s usually more about my ability to turn a phrase to make a friend laugh, than it is to be intentionally evil natured.

because, let’s face it, being a bitch is flat out uncool. lately at school i have had to be one grade-a, pain in the ass, “oh my god she is such a fucking bitch” bitch. i have two classrooms full of lower ability kids–one hour is fantastic and hard working, and one is full of truly heinous children. children who, if i am even remotely nice to them, use it as an opportunity to screw off, curse like sailors, and treat me like four day old dogshit. these are kids who have told me to my face to “get up out of” their faces, to “stop telling [me] what to do,” and to “fuck off.” if i’m not a bitch, they don’t work, which tells such a depressing story about what kind of life they have outside of school. seriously. what massive lack of discipline must exist for them to work BEST under such lockdown conditions? i literally have to tell them to stop talking or i will punish them by forcing them to write longer in their journals. it’s like kryptonite.

and then there’s my 4th hour class. 32 students packed into a room with 25 desk and not a single inch of open floor space. a class filled with all of the students who failed english 1o in the fall and are retaking it this semester. a class that meets from 11:25-12:55 and is interrupted by lunch from 12:05-12:35. a class that has so much working against it, that keeping the masses at bay i have to have my bitch face on in all its splendor. we’re not talking awesome bowie and jagger bitch, we’re talking full on alexis carrington bitch…omarosa bitch…i love new york bitch. i cannot stand the person i am forced to become for most of my professional day in order to make it through.

so, if you have, at some point–or maybe all your life–thought me to be a bitch, know this: i do not now, nor have i ever, relished being one. i know how to do it out of necessity, but, if i had my way, i would be a big cushy hugging machine full of enthusiasm and hopefulness and wide eyes optimism. it’s just that, lately, i’ve been devoting a lot more energy to being a bitch.

“the man for me”

January 5, 2008

maddy wyatt, a fantastic singer/sonwriter i happen to know through fantastic friends, wrote an oe to barack obama entitled “man for me.” it expresses exactly why he is the candidate i support, and it does it in a catchy, awesome song. go to her myspace page to download the track for free: