Friday, January 22, 2010

Working as a night host at a science camp is sort of like working as a security guard. Most of the time, it's a pretty uneventful job. I sometimes joke about feeling guilty for getting paid, because I have hours and hours to do pretty much what I want to do - read, write, stargaze, look for frogs, and generally just relax. Every once in awhile a kid will come into the camp office at night, usually brought there either by homesickness or actual sickness. Sometimes, though, I'll get a visitor who doesn't fit into either of these categories.

Take, for instance, the boy who came in last week. He pointed down at his socks, and asked, "What is this?". I looked down at his strangely patterned socks and replied, "uh, it's a sock." He kept pointing and asking the question, so I turned on a brighter light. What I had taken for a pattern was diarrhea, and it soon became obvious that his whole lower body was also covered in it. I reevaluated my earlier supposition, and told him, "it's poo." To this, he responded, "am I taking a shower now?". The answer, of course, was, "yes!".

I found two frogs while leading him over to the shower room. Nature works in mysterious ways.

Last night, a boy visited me a little before 2am. He looked sad and cold, so I asked him what was wrong. He replied in a shaky little voice, "I lost my sleeping bag". Long story short, it had fallen off his bunk and he couldn't find it in the dark. I think this is the first time a kid has actually lost a sleeping bag while supposedly sleeping in it. It does indeed boggle the mind. He was very grateful when I found it for him though.

Another job well done. Ha.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

This has been a week of very satisfying thunderstorms, and similarly satisfying snuggling inside while listening to the rain on the roof and watching old Hitchcock films (or film, I should say, because we only watched Sabotage). Today, the rain has relented for the time being, and right now it is gray and chilly outside.

Earlier, a bit of wind caused the neighbor's wind chimes to sing and I found myself thinking, I should get some wind chimes like that. Then it occurred to me how stupid the thought was. The neighbor's wind chimes are a mere 6 or 7 feet away from my patio, and sound travels. I can listen to her wind chimes for free.

Consumer culture is insidious. It is important to maintain constant vigilance against senseless purchasing of unneeded items.

Currently listening to: Black Tape For A Blue Girl "As One Aflame Laid Bare By Desire"

Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy Martin Luther King Day! I'm sure that because of this holiday, at least a few lives will be saved by the mere fact that a lot of people don't have to drive to work. I base this on the fact that it has been raining all morning, and knowledge of how to safely drive in the rain is an elusive thing. The radio is already full of reports of collisions and other rain-related incidents. If it were a bucket, the traffic reports would be spilling over onto the floor and entangling my feet as I walk across the kitchen.

As I hovered on the border between sleep and wakefulness this morning, I judged by the light coming through the window that it must be around 7am. When I fully opened my eyes, the glowing red numbers on the clock told me that it was well after 10. The rain sounds like pebbles bouncing off the roof, and the radio is spitting public advisories about intense thunderstorms. I think it's the first time I've heard the Emergency Broadcast System in something other than test mode. In fact, it fooled the radio announcer too, who said it was a test, and then hurriedly backtracked after it was over. Ha! It's supposed to rain all week too, which makes me happy. Beyond the fact that rain is needed, I love this kind of weather. I love watching the trees dance and the sky boil over with black and grey. I love how the wind paper-maches the ground with a colorful hodgepodge of leaves and branches, and how the rain softens the edges of the world.

I just wish that people would slow down a bit. No need to hurry.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Under cloudy skies, Jeanine and I walked for over nine miles yesterday (she estimates 9.3 miles) along the San Tomas Aquino Creek, through a couple of suburban parks, and down neighborhood streets. The squirrels and crows were out in force, often seen dining on acorns together. At one house we passed, there was a cookie sheet full of bird seed (or something similar) set out for the local wildlife. At the end of the walk, which included picking up Jeanine's daughter at school, my feet hurt. I think I need some new shoes. A warm bath took all of the soreness away though.

This got me to thinking about the concept of a walkshed again - mapping out walking-distance destinations in the neighborhood. I'm in easy walking reach of just about everything I need in my neighborhood - park, library, post office, grocery store, convenience stores, restaurants, etc. On the other end of the spectrum are people who get in their giant SUVs to drive half a block. Why?

I'm looking forward to the rain that is supposed to start later today. The forecast calls for it to last for most of the week. Yes! Our watershed needs it.

Currently listening to: Kirile Loo "Lullabies For Husbands"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Last night was ushered in by howling wind and a spattering of rain. I had planned to spend the night at home reading, but a phone call from a coworker sent me out into the night. It seems that, for the first time ever, one of our four-day camp programs started on a Monday instead of a Tuesday. That means I get Thursday night off work this week, not Monday. It sure would have been nice to know that in advance. That's what I get for never going to the meetings. Lest I sound like a slacker, I'm not required to go to the meetings - it's just that I often find myself out of the loop because of this.

I got to work and settled in for the night. I read. I listened to the wind blow things across camp. Not much different from being home, really.

Speaking of work, I threw my hat into the substitute teacher ring today. I'm not sure how often I can expect to be called, but my name is on the list, for one district at least. We'll see how it goes. I'm continuing to trim the fat from my morbidly obese music collection as well, selling a few items on ebay. I'm occasionally shocked at what people are willing to pay for certain items. I'm still trying to recover financially from the holiday season though, so I'm glad some people can't see the bottoms of their wallets.

Spendthrift playtime is over for the time being. Time to be thrifty and watch what I spend.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

It seems like I looked behind me while I was walking through the week, and before I could face forward again, I tripped over Friday and fell into the weekend. The week was that fast. It might have had something to do with the fact that I didn't really start my work week until Tuesday night. Only working three night shifts (during which I sleep about half the time) tends to make the week disappear in a blink.

The week was interesting because I worked at our other site, nestled in the hills above Cupertino. The job is the same, but a lot of the little details aren't, so I actually had to think about what I was doing a few times. Ha. The only real difference though, was the fact that I slept on a floor mat in the dining hall instead of a bunk in the camp office, and I had to go around and knock on cabin doors to wake kids up rather than using my I-tunes and large speakers to get the job done.

Like I said though, it seemed to be over before it started. The next two weeks are the same, with no camp on Monday. They're at our main site though, so it's back to the familiar routine.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

The new year is a few days old now. So far, I like it. I meet this year happy yet impoverished. I'm down to counting pennies already this month, but I've got a few more cds up on Ebay, and plan to get on some substitute lists in some of the local school districts so I can start doing a little daytime work. Of course, due to the night job, I won't be able to work before around 9am, so that limits me somewhat. No matter, I've had a number of teachers already tell me they like taking afternoons off sometimes. Ha ha.

The last couple of days, I've spent some quality time with Jeanine. We've been on a couple of walks, stumbled across yet another dvd rental place going out of business ($3 dvds!), ambled through a bookstore, and generally had a nice time together. Today, I'm home listening to music and doing little tasks around the apartment. I don't go back to work until Tuesday night, and it's at our second site, where I've never worked the night shift. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've been there since Alex was at camp in the fifth grade. He's in the seventh grade now. The way I look at it though, it's good to start the new year with a change in routine. Keeps me on my toes.

Currently listening to: Arvo Part/Philip Glass/Vladimir Martynov "Silencio"