Monday, September 28, 2009

The moon, ghost white
Leaks light through cracked clouds
I woke up this morning to clouds, and now I can hear the trees rustling as a slight breeze passes through. Tomorrow, the temperature has been forecast to stay below 70 degrees, but of course a week ago they were saying it was going to rain. Yesterday, the forecasters were predicting rain for the following Tuesday, but now they've changed their minds. I don't know why I even bother looking at the forecast.

My work week kicks into gear in a few hours. Before that, I'm going to have dinner with Willow. I predict that she's going to want frozen peas. Strange kid. Won't eat them if they're cooked.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A couple of weeks ago now, Willow and I were standing in the middle of Los Gatos Creek, dropping leaves into the flowing water and watching them drift away downstream. Sometimes they would get caught on rocks. Sometimes they would hit the rapids and go bobbing off into the distance. It occurred to me at the time that there was a ritualistic aspect to what we were doing. I began imagining things that I would like to let go, and picture the leaves as an embodiment of those intangible sections of psyche. There was a great peacefulness to the process, and a great relief.

Flowing water is somehow magical, but only if you are open to it.

The one thing that I would most like to let go of is the anger I feel towards my ex-wife. There were some lies told to me at the end of our relationship, and despite the fact that I know, and to a certain extent, understand, the reasons for the lies, I am still angry about it. I still feel that it is a profound betrayal of trust, and it has colored every interaction I've had with her since, and in a way invalidated every previous thing she has said to me. Once I find out that somebody is capable of lying to me, especially somebody that I have opened up to - somebody who at the time I felt love for - I feel that everything they say and have said is immediately suspect.

So I watch leaves float away in the cold creek water.

This soccer season, her boyfriend - the one she started dating before telling me that she was filing for divorce - is coming to the games. I finally saw him, and to tell you the truth, had no real feelings about it one way or the other. One of the reasons I'd been avoiding being in the same place as him for so long is that I thought it might bring up some pretty serious negative feelings. I'm happy that it didn't, because I'm really bad at hiding how I feel if strong feelings are involved. Sure, I'm not interested in interacting with him on any level, but it was nice to not want to go drown him in the creek.

Much better to watch the leaves float away.

After the games, during which Willow ended up being almost as pink from the heat and exertion as her team shirt, and Nate ended up not playing much because he didn't feel well, I decided to go on a solo hike up in Almaden Quicksilver Park. I used a different park entrance than usual, and picked a trail that in retrospect was a poor choice. It wound steadily uphill on the sunny side of the hills, heating the water in my water bottle to the extent that it tasted like warm tea. Still, I ended up in the area of the park known as English Camp, in which several ancient buildings are barely standing. It's interesting to become steeped in the history of the area like this - feeling the silence and solitude of forgotten people and the weathered remnants of their works. Last week, I wandered through an 150 year old cemetery in Saratoga, so this was the second time in less than a week that I found myself reflecting on what life used to be like. People lived and died in these hills, tunneling into the hillsides in search of mercury, and leaving their decaying buildings behind. There were even a couple of old cars among the trees downhill from where I was hiking. One looked as if the tree had begun its life as a sapling in the shadow of the car, slowly displacing it as the years passed.

I almost went back up there today, but ended up staying home and making hummus instead, adding more garlic than was reasonable. I'll try not to breathe on you for a week or two.

Monday, September 21, 2009

In the middle of our annual open house at work, I was leading a hike for about 50 kids (mostly elementary school kids who will be coming to camp later this year) and their parents, when a couple of the girls said they wanted to find some snakes. Not one to disappoint, I took a quick detour to a nearby rock pile where I'd been seeing Rattlesnakes over the summer. I found the cutest little cluster of baby Rattlers there, looking like they'd just been born. I think I even managed to convince the most cautious of the parents that it was a good thing. I then stood between the snakes and the kids, and let them approach to where they could peek over the rock and see the snakes. After about 7 or 8 kids got to see them, the snakes crawled off one by one, heading for the cover of one of the rocks. The rest of the people had to be content with the quick, slightly out of focus photo I took, just like those of you reading this will have to be.

Strange thing though - even though I was standing right there, I miscounted the snakes. If you look very carefully at the photo, you can see there are 4, not 3, as I originally thought. It was almost as if they were remembering being inside their mom, so tightly clustered together they were.

Always know how many snakes you're actually dealing with.

Definitely another snake geek moment.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I found a Wolf Spider last night, and as usual, started taking pictures of it. After a moment, I noticed that there was a rolled up Pillbug underneath one of its legs, making the spider look like it was on its way to soccer practice or something. It reminded me of the Far Side cartoon where all of the attendees show up for a lecture with ducks under their arms, except, of course, the one guy who forgets his. I imagine a room full of Wolf Spiders, all with Pillbugs, except for one hapless arachnid who shows up sans crustacean.

It's funny the way my mind works sometimes.

On another subject entirely, Willow became alarmed while we were talking about eyes. I was explaining how pupils work, about how they expand to let in more light, when she nervously asked, "what happens if my pupils get too big and my eyes explode?"

I sometimes wish that the world was still that mysterious for me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The first night of the 2009/2010 science camp year is behind me now. The air was crisp enough to warrant an extra layer. The usual suspects were out in force - homesick kids and patrolling Raccoons. The Raccoon family was pretty cute, with the harried-looking mother urging her troupe of black-masked puffballs towards the apparent good eatin' to be found in the camp trash cans. I could have done without the anxious kid who woke me from my nap at 3:30 in the morning, but that kind of thing is, after all, what I'm paid to be available for. Sometimes I feel like a psychiatrist though. Maybe I should ask for a raise.

It's funny being back. I feel refreshed after my break from work, but I still remember the end of the last school year when I wasn't expecting to be back doing this for another year. Not that I mind. It's a great job. Still, I'm going to redouble my efforts to find classroom work. Actually, I feel like redoubling my efforts in every way right now. That's what Autumn does to me. I hope the feeling lasts.

Currently listening to Nurse With Wound "The Memory Surface"

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The clouds crept over the horizon at some point while my attention was elsewhere. I awakened to discover that local people on Facebook were talking about thunder and lightning. I wish I'd been awake at 4am or whenever it was that it actually graced the sky.

It's all right though. When Willow and I were at the park a short time earlier, fat drops of rain started plopping down out of the dark gray sky, and soon we were doing some pretty serious frolicking, getting wetter and wetter by the moment as the other park goers rushed for their cars. Only the weather-hardened dog park crowd stuck around - even the ones whose dogs didn't like the rain.

Now, as the sky darkens, we're back inside watching BBC dinosaur documentaries. Life is good.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A year ago today I was moving into my current apartment. Nearly all of my possessions were in boxes, except of course for those things that I just lazily threw on top of the pile.

Today, I'm sitting here with Willow. She's just had her first soccer game of the season. Many of my possessions are in bags out on the patio. No, I'm not moving or anything like that. I've had to quarantine a number of items in order to make sure the head lice that one of the kids brought home from school don't make a comeback.

The day after tomorrow, I start the new school year as night host up at camp. The lumbering, bureaucratic beast that is the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing has finally managed to officially issue me my credential. I guess that means they found the fingerprints that they claimed not to have. For this school year, I plan to use my credential to get some work as a substitute teacher (while still keeping an eye open for something more long-term). Maybe I'll stumble across a permanent position this way.

Either way, I'll be doing something I like doing.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

The coin-op laundry machines are working overtime today as I re-wash all the bedding in an attempt to eradicate every last trace of the head lice that one of the kids brought home from school. Homework, yes. Lice, no. I love insects, but I have to say that love doesn't extend to the ones that try to move into the forest of hair at the top of the mountain of me. These particular insects can take a damn hike into nowhere land, and I'm here to issue the maps.

Actually, lice are pretty cute. It's a shame about their eating habits though.

At least the Eucalyptus-based homeopathic anti-louse spray smells nice.

Willow is with me for the next 8 days, which is nice. After Labor Day, it's our in-service week at work. I'm looking forward to it, and in some ways I'm glad I'm still working nights. This won't stop me from continuing to try to land a job in a classroom, but I like my current plan to do some subbing first. I also have to figure out why the California Teaching Credential people don't have my fingerprints. They were sent nearly two years ago, and just now I'm finding out that they've either never received them or have managed to lose them. This bolsters my opinion that bureaucracy is a dirty word. I really don't want to pay to have them redone and re-sent. I'm too busy spending my money on head louse remedies. I like the idea of releasing trained spiders into hair to eat the lice, but I have the feeling that wouldn't go over well with the general public.