My Mexican Notebook
Oct 23rd, 2009 by alexfaye

Today in my big classroom cabinet, I found the notebook that I kept in the summer of 2002, when Maddy and I went to Puebla, Mexico to study Spanish.  It’s a pleasure to see my old notes: vocabulary, diary entries, exercises, idioms and tongue twisters, all in Spanish.  Here’s a couple of tongue twisters, or trabalenguas:

Tres triste tigres tragaban trigo en un trigal.  En un trigal tragaban trigo tres triste tigres.

Erre con erre cigarro/erre con erre barrile/rapidas corren y rueden/las rapidas reudas del ferrocarril.

I left the notebook out on a table, and began my teaching day.  During 5th period, my student Jonathan Fajardo handed me my notebook, open to a poem I wrote, and said, “I like this.  You ought to publish it.”  I had completely forgotten it:

I would like to be in a circus,

a circus of middle age.

If I could, I’d wear a long red wig

purple stockings, and my heart

on my sleeve,

like now, but more obvious.

I would blow kisses to babies

frighten the young

and tenderly embrace the old.

If I could, I would dance on a wire

to express my hopes and fears,

gaze down at upturned faces

and throw candy

into their midst.

I would sing a song

to erase regret

and teach it to everyone.

I would throw the balls high into the air

to remind the young

that in the midst of constant change

and on the verge of chaos

fun is always possible.

Needs work, but I like the sentiment.  The language has a ways to go yet.

Two reasons I am leaving my classroom now — one: there is a rat in my classroom, and our attempt to trap it in a humane trap last night did not work, so the exterminators are coming.  And two: I have a leak in my sprinkler system and when I left for work today, the earth was soaking wet and water was bubbling up as if from an underground spring.  Charming, but not a good idea during a drought.  Expensive, and wasteful.

The working title
Oct 23rd, 2009 by alexfaye

“The Sensuous Pleasures of a Celibate Woman”  Poems and essays.

Oct 23rd, 2009 by alexfaye

Just gave the blog a facelift — had to upload the Ahmisa files one by one, which was a drag, but now that it’s finished, I think I am in love.  It’s so bright, but it loads quickly and the sidebar is nice and fat…all my tags and badges fit nicely, and the rounded corners are sexy.  The developer reports that the word “Ahmisa” can be taken to mean”nonviolence,” so that’s bonus.

Oct 5th, 2009 by alexfaye

I think I’m beginning to hate this fence layout.

But since I’m here, let me post this link to one of those LOLCheeseburgercats.

I’m allergic to cats, but sometimes these photos inspire me.

I got fat
Oct 4th, 2009 by alexfaye

When I start to live in my head too much, and neglect my body because of the Dance of a Hundred Things to Do, my body slides down the hill FAST.  This is a surefire sign of aging:  take a walk, and every joint hurts:  toes, hips, shoulders, ankles.  Clothes feel tight.  Negotiating small spaces is awkward.  Simple everyday yoga poses are a challenge.

I think, somewhere Alex, there’s a woman your age training for a marathon, a triathalon; she’s swimming laps, she’s riding her bike.    Somewhere there’s a woman my age who is a competitive body builder.  She’s got her body fat percentage down low.  And although those women might not have — as Annie Lamott suggested once — rich inner lives, I’ll bet they are pretty grounded.  When you care for the body, the spirit and the mind calm down.

Anyway, I can’t write a blog post right now that is simply a repeat of the most boring litany in the world:  “I’m going to get myself back in shape.”  Ho hum.

I was talking in class about the urgent getting in the way of the important.  That’s a Steven Covey idea:  the urgent needs to be done now, but does nothing to advance the goals I have set for myself.  Writing, sitting zazen, stretching and strength training,  playing golf, gardening, taking long rambling walks…these activities have to supercede the Dance of a Hundred Things.  And yes, I know the trick of putting those things on the Dance Card, and marking them “A” for top priority.  So I will do that, but I always laugh a little in my head when I look down in my Franklin planner and see on the list, “Sit Zazen.”  It seems like a funny little zen joke.

Anyway, now it’s back to work.  First, I have to run out and buy cream for my coffee.  Very important.  And cook the chicken, and iron the blouse, and wash the dirty clothes, and make the Powerpoint, and send the email, and check my homework, and get myself ready for a busy day tomorrow.  Calling the city inspectors to come out and look at the sheeting on my roof so we can purchase roofing material, and get a roof on the house before the rain falls.  If it ever does.  We are in a drought, but still.  Why tempt fate?

Took out a loan so Maddy can finish her senior year.  We didn’t want to, but we had to.  I wonder where we will be next year, as she tries to enter the job market.  Chemists are eminently employable, but Maddy has something specific in mind (brewing), so we’ll see how it goes.  She has lived a charmed life thus far, and there’s no reason I can think of that this good luck and wind-at-her-back needs to change.

Here she is — cute as can be.  The truth about parenting is that it is the same as running a long race.  You look out at the tree in the distance and say, “I just want to get to that tree, and I’ll be OK.”  Then at the tree, you set a new goal, “I’ll just run to where that red truck is parked up ahead, and then I’ll let myself rest.”  So, I thought getting her through high school was the biggest challenge:  the challenge of the driver’s license, the parties, all of the trouble that can waylay a young person.  Then, the goal was just to get her settled at a good college.  But now, as she approaches graduation, I worry about her work life.  “Worry” is the wrong word — Maddy has proven herself to be a smart and resourceful person.  But I do want her to land somewhere where she will be able to use her skills & her education; where she will be appreciated and valued, and where her work will be interesting and engaging.  That she will be surrounded by people who “get” her.  What a luxurious thing to think about, though.  So many mothers must carry much deeper concerns for their children, and here I am hoping people “get” my daughter and that her work will be interesting.  I understand that I am blessed.  Nobody can love a child as completely as a mom, but of course, children don’t really get that; they are not supposed to, or they could never move out on their own.  I know I didn’t understand how hard my mother prayed for me.  Loving my daughter taught me to reconsider my own mother anew.  cutemaddy

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