end of the year comedy

Seth, learning how to manage and express his emotions, is shaking his back like a wet dog, crying out in a whiny voice, ''Ooooouuucccchhh!  My sunburn!!  Teacher, my sunburn huuurrrts!''  Mr. Garcia and I look at each other.

''Why don't you go run your hands under some cold water?''  I say, ever the expert on pseudo-cures for six-year-olds.

''Yeah Seth, try that,'' Mr. Garcia adds.  ''You'll need to keep them there.''

''Can you feel that?  Does that help?''  Seth has been making mewing sounds, and now nods sadly.  Sunburn solved!

In my phonics group, I scrawl down these awfully ridiculous example sentences:
''Grafton's fondness for lavishly frosted snacks evidently impacts his trimness.''
''Astonishingly, when what my dad called 'that shifty bunch of vagabonds' disbanded, they left the encampment spotless and well-stocked.''
before asking my first-language-Spanish kiddos, ''Do you know what these sentences mean?''
''No,'' they tell me flatly.  Well, frankly, probably the first-language-English students wouldn't either.

Sweet Virginia writes me great spelling word sentences: 
''My life is incretabol becuse I am a soring egol.'' 
''I have seen spraut and a sow cold poppycat.''

That's, ''My life is incredible because I am a Soaring Eagle [a Blue Ridge honor],'' and ''I have seen Sprout and a show called Poppy Cat'' [both, apparently, PBS shows].  

And on a small quiz, when asked who is the president of the United States, my high group responded with, 
Araceli: mr oboma
Seth: presdnit obama 
and Sirgio: michael odama
Yep, gonna miss these kids like crazy.


I've paid admission to the places I have loved by pawning off pieces of my heart 
til I'm smeared across a globe with little hope of recovering half my parts. 
I've spent entire years behind a wheel wondering why it is I drive so hard. 
til I'm no closer to an answer, ten years later, than the day I tried to start.

I've left // When I thought leaving made things right. 
I've quit // When quitting meant I didn't start a fight. 
I've spent // Half my wrist erasing what I write 
half my days ashamed of half my nights 
half my life escaping from my life 

Sometimes I'm certain I'm a train filled with strangers 
And we're all searching for a home we've never seen 
So I'll keep whistling my song low and pretty 
And we'll keep stumbling through the night 
like tunnels searching for the light. 


SELF-PORTRAIT (by David Whyte)

It doesn't interest me if there is one God
or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel
If you know despair or can see it in others.
I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need 
to change you.  If you can look back
with firm eyes
saying this is where I stand.  I want to know
if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living
falling toward
the center of your longing.  I want to know
if you are willing 
to live, day by day, with the consequence of love
and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.

I have heard, in that fierce embrace, even
the gods speak of God.


resurrection days

first poppies of the year, stark orange against the lilac
violet, white, and lavender, crowding all the streets you run
some bloom already fallen, other trees only beginning to bear any trace of green

spring's shed, a million leaves of norway maple (the ones that look like helicopters)
dancing in the windlight, tiny fragments tossed into your squinting eyes
other springs recalled

of daily sojourns in golden gate park, riding the #9 bus down potrero from market
the jesusita fire and east mountain sunsets (with or without you) of santa barbara
in london, borough market, the tate modern,
the british museum & its stolen rosetta stone
just blocks from your own life
monmouth coffee and fragment jasmine in a city of car exhaust and trash
the wetlands and birdsong on cedar street in the house with hardwood floors
oh, how many miles these feet have walked!

and finally, baleadas and thunderstorms, corina's desayunos deliciosos
(buen provecho),
giovanni driving us into the city para la ocifina de inmigración
singing worship songs with Nuevo in the morning,
teaching those 27 precious & adored ones the anthems of another tribe
oh the turmoil and suffering, the beauty and passion of that other land!

yes, spring hurts
as K. expressed on the miles of another tread
and yet these are Resurrection Days
and One continues to call us out of death and into life
to move from orphanhood and into daughterhood, sonship, in every stream and river

so leave that foul grave, that empty tomb
put to death your own bitter heart, hopelessness, and vanity
be made new
filled with the breath of the air of the country of heaven
which, as we know,
is colonizing earth.


Agatha still thinks fondly of her legless doll, Anna.*

*A sentence from one of my phonics group's curriculum.  
Here's one more good one: ''The wickedness of the repellently lipless frogmen who had hatched in the rank dankness of the vast dismal bogs on this godless planet left us despondent.''
I should start counting the references I see to ''dismal bogs'' in those books. Numberless, really.

Now for a few more great quotes from two of mis favoritos, Seth and Sirgio.
Seth: ''I'm a little sick right now, so you might not want to touch me.''
Seth again: ''Man, that's an old life.''  -Comment regarding Amos McGee's propensity to wake up early, quickly trade his pajamas for a freshly pressed uniform, measure three spoonfuls of sugar into his oatmeal, and put on the kettle for tea in the story A Sick Day for Amos McGee

Sirgio (el gansta pequeño): ''Is it hot in here, or is it just me?'' (Mr. Garcia and I made eye contact at this, trying not to laugh, but Sirgio maintained a straight face, so perhaps he actually was feeling warm).
Sirgio again: ''What's on your eyes?'' (regarding my turquoise eyeliner) 
me: ''Oh, just my eyeliner.  I thought I'd try something different.''
Sirgio: ''Why?''
Me, explaining to Sirgio that his birthday on June 21 is not just the first day of summer, but has a name.  ''It's called Summer Solstice.  It's very special because it's the longest day of the year.''
Sirgio, in his gravelly little voice: ''Oh yeah!  My birthday's the coolest day of the year!''  

Now a writing sample, Seth again, summarizing A Sick Day for Amos McGee: ''Amos Mcgiy wuc uq rliy.  he gits sick.  thay hav a sliqovr.''
(that's, ''Amos McGee woke up early.  He gets sick.  They have a sleepover.'')


dos semanas mas

Conversation today between first graders over my feet: 

Seth: ''Uh, teacher, what is that white thing on your toe?''
Me: ''It's called a callous.  I have them because I've been running a lot lately.''
Avarie (in whiny voice): ''Cool, I never had one of those.  I wish I had one of those.''
Leo: ''Dude?  I don't think you want one of those.''
So my feet are a little bit up at the moment, but en'sh'Allah I will be ready May 19th.  :) And I will take all the prayers you have!  


table bounty

Kia and I made spinach soup Tuesday, with fresh leaves from the garden where I'm housesitting.  They already have arugula, spinach, and lettuce!  Lots and lots of good salads lately, with this awesome cilantro lime vinaigrette.  Last night I made Hungarian Mushroom Soup.  Both soups thanks to the Moosewood Cookbook, which I finally bought in Denver last week.  I'm penciling in the details for each recipe I try--changes I made, how it turned out, what it was served with, and who was there.  So fun!