Monday, April 28, 2008

Kids discussing the important issues:

Nate (to Sophie): Babies come out of your vagina - your front private.

Sophie: No, they come out of your butt.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spring is here, but the cold and wind still persist, making jacket-wearing mandatory in the evenings. We've all been spending a lot of time out front, and we're definitely getting a lot of use out of the basketball hoop, although I've seen the kids try to make baskets with a lot of non-regulation balls, such as soccer balls and superballs, and various other even less appropriate things. The neighborhood is now home to a large number of kids, and they often congregate in our driveway. There's a little Korean boy, who is 5 or 6 years old (he says 6), who is always out by himself, completely unsupervised, and who often wanders over when we're outside. The girls were talking with him about the local grocery store, and he replied, "I can't go to (the store) cuz last time I go there by myself the police came. Someone call the police." I don't blame them either. He's way to young to be just wandering around by himself. Unfortunately, I don't know any Korean, so I can't communicate with his grandmother, who he either lives with, or stays with. Jeez.

While all was suburban bliss out on the driveway last week, an unseen menace was festering in the hair of a camper up at work. That's right: head lice. After nice reggae/jazz interval, courtesy of old friends I've Never Been to Brisbane, I got to camp Thursday night to find that nearly 30 kids had been sent home with lice, and that a couple of cabin leaders had some as well. It all started with one girl, who I'm told appeared to have such a large population of lice that she must have been harboring them for weeks, if not months. Of course, nearly everybody in her cabin ended up with small passengers in their hair, as did some kids in her field class. Everybody else was nervously checking their hair and experiencing phantom itching. Overnight, a couple of the classroom teachers discovered that their itching wasn't so phantom. They were not amused. It had been such a great week up until that point too.

This weekend, after carefully washing the clothes I'd worn to camp and inspecting my hair more than I normally do, I declared myself lice-free and took the kids to their first punk show - Extreme Noise Terror! I still ached as recently as Sunday. I've got to learn that I'm to old to go in the pit at punk shows. 40 is definitely not the new 20.

Sunday, I did a reptile party for an ex-coworker's grandson. What a fun way to earn money! I offered the family a deep discount, given that my old co-worker is so cool (I'm currently occasionally student teaching in her fifth grade classroom, and she's up at camp this week as well), but they opted to pay full price. The kids at the party had a great time. One girl kept repeatedly thanking me for being there. I enjoy that kind of feedback.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Nate Frees A Frog

Nate Frees A Frog, originally uploaded by Corbie.

"I say, if your knees aren't green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life."

- Bill Watterson in Calvin and Hobbes

I noticed that it's a little harder to make your knees green these days. They've put up fences blocking access to the creeks. This made difficult the freeing of the Chorus frog that Nate caught a month or so ago. It also made us into lawbreakers as we ignored the "no trespassing" signs. The frog needed an escort to the cover offered by the creekside plants. Nate hopped the fence, and I handed the frog over to him. Now I don't have to buy extra crickets when I go to the store.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I've always been a packrat, hoarding bits of paper and detritus, mostly because I have this ongoing notion that I might need to reference something in the future. Yesterday, I spend some time in the garage fighting this tendency by sorting, and then parting with, some of my long hoarded stash of old receipts, college correspondence (do I really still need reminders to attend meetings that happened nearly 20 years ago?), and other oddball items. I even found my graduation program from junior high! whoop-de-do. It felt liberating to dump the majority of my findings into the recycle bin. I was a bit annoyed at how San Jose State uses social security numbers as student I.D. numbers, which meant that I had to shred lots of paper before consigning it to the bin.

I also found the novel version of "The Last Unicorn," the movie version of which has entranced Willow for around half a year now. I might try reading it to her, even though it is aimed at a much older audience. I also found more cassettes I want to convert to digital files. It's nice to be able to put on music that's been sitting in the garage for years, and experience it like no time has passed since I last heard it. I guess that's the nature of nostalgia. I guess my memory of the music from my youth is so vivid because I didn't have such an overwhelming amount of music back then. Songs had a chance to settle and resonate inside me. It's nice to find that they're still there, resonating away.

In amongst the papers I found an unused fragment of an autobiographical piece, no doubt from the time when the OAC was turning out autobiographical vignettes. It took me back to an old routine, one that I'm sure would have faded beyond memory otherwise. Not that I suppose I really need to remember delivering newspapers. Here it is anyway:

As usual, Jerome and Julian are there before me. Jerome is playing minesweeper on one of the office's two computers, and Julian is complaining, a prelude to his other pet subjects: prostitutes, TV, and farts.
Patricio arrives next, not because he has to be there that early, but because he drives down from Modesto every night and is never quite sure how long it's going to take him to commute.
Not long after, the first papers arrive, in neat bundles of fifty. Jerome and I are supposed to break open the bundles and sort them by route so they can be delivered. Tonight however, they are without route numbers, making the job next to impossible.
Kim, who is supposedly in charge, shows up with his usual look of resignation and tells us to do our best. I make my usual negative comments about the company responsible for printing and bundling the papers, followed by several impractical but satisfying solutions to their organizational problems. Kim counters with suggestions about what he could do with my paycheck. I get to work.
These papers, with all the problems they bring, aren't even the ones I've signed on to deliver. They're just these tiny little pieces of colorful financial toilet paper that I suspect very few people actually read. I have made this determination after months of littering sidewalks with them, watching them pile up into little drifts. Now I just throw a large portion of my papers into the recycling pile.

I'm not sure where I was going with that. I abandoned it mid-stream for some reason or other. Scattered throughout my belongings are many such unfinished writings, some of them mere grains of ideas, and some of them even (bad) poetry. I keep them though, because sometimes I go back and discover that I actually like something I'd previously not been bothered to finish. Of course, sometimes the opposite is true.

Sometimes I produce garbage.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Jen has been gone since early Wednesday morning. You can read about her trip on her blog and Flickr page. It's funny, really, the way I can just sit down and read about her trip, as well as see photos, not only from her, but from other people attending the same convention. It's like being there... except not.

At home, I've been enjoying the extra sleep, since I've had to take off work in order to wrangle our own kids. It's funny how it's actually more difficult to get four kids up and out of the house in the morning than it is to wake up 150 - 200 kids up at camp. Of course, at camp, I just blast music over the loudspeakers and make helpful announcements on the mic between songs. The cabin leaders do the rest. Not that I'm complaining. It's been awhile since I've gotten to do the morning routine at home for more than a day at a time. It has been generally pretty easy. The boys have even been getting up before me. The girls, of course, still have to be dressed while in that hazy realm between sleep and wakefulness.

I've been staying up late too, working my way through the stack of movies purchased at the local closing (now closed and gone) video rental place. The quality of my purchases ranges from marginal to excellent, but even the marginal ones have some merit, in that they're not children's movies I've seen hundreds of times. I think that watching the movies is equally important to getting enough (or almost enough) sleep in terms of the way it's benefiting my psyche. I feel recharged.

Next week is spring break for the kids. For some reason, my week off work comes at the end of the month, so apparently not all schools have next week off.

I got an actual letter in the mail yesterday too, from a guy I met on myspace, ironically enough. We discovered a shared appreciation for early 2oth century/late 19th century weird fiction, and a shared nostalgia for simpler times (read: pre-computer), which is why I say it is somewhat ironic that we met online. He sent a couple of pieces of original art too, which are very nice indeed. There's always such a difference between seeing images online and actually holding them in your hands.

I also got a wedding invitation, and a cd. Lots of people I know are getting married later this year.

Currently listening to the new cd: Benjamin Escoriza "Alevanta!"