Monday, January 31, 2011

The Long March: Day 3

I'm talking about my slog through sadness. According to my earlier entry, I was supposed to get marching on....January 17th. I was waylaid by Fluffy Coping Strategy #2: Hope of Reprieve. [buzzer sound] Departure delayed by 11 days. I kept unpacking and repacking my load: pointless procrastination.

All of you have had to deal with pain, so you know that there is no magic bullet. The journey goes like this:

  1. ARGH!! HURTSHURTSHURTS! All the time.
  2. Hurts most of the time, with occasional moments of, "Ah! What a relief! Those last five minutes were actually not too bad!"
  3. Good much of the time, with occasional excruciating stabs.
  4. Whew! Check out my scar!
HAHAHAHA! Reading that back, it sounds pretty much the same as surgery!

So, today's hike was particularly long and rough. I'm a little out of shape.

Things that didn't help (I love a list!):
  1. Morning routines. Mornings suck, I'm finding;
  2. Running. I had a good long workout today: both weights and running. People say exercise helps; but I think a lot when I run. Maybe I need to fill my iPod with some of Sara's obnoxious, "tween" bubble gum stuff that takes over your brain and stays all day. "BABY YOU'RE A FIIIIIIIREWOOOOORK!!"
  3. Driving. Driving is evil. Too much think-time;
  4. Going to the grocery store;
  5. Texting. I know, that's almost as weird as the grocery store. I texted, but my thumbs just were NOT into it;
  6. Reading to Sara about Buddhism.
Things that did help:
  1. My meeting with Jeff G. at the Utah State Office of Education. He and I are creating an adult educator development and training plan for the state. First, I am happy that the state has accepted my idea: if we want good trainings for teachers, we should send out a call for a trainer on a particular topic (teaching pronunciation, for example). Let potential teacher-trainers send in a resume, cover letter and a two-page outline of how they would cover that material in...let's say... a six-hour workshop. Whoever sends in the most kick-ass proposal wins the contract and actually gets paid a decent amount of money for their time in planning and implementing it. Let's say $500-$700. I'm sick of the way teachers are just expected to volunteer for everything, no matter how intensive the job is. You end up with a frazzled, resentful trainer and often a cobbled-together half-ass training. This'll work! So, Jeff and I were planning how to get it started. This was both gratifying and distracting. Plus, Jeff G. has giant cut-out of Tonto and the Lone Ranger in his office. And he seems to sincerely like, admire and enjoy working with me. This gave me about 90 minutes of help with my load. Thanks, Jeff.
  2. The office. Numbing my brain with roll charts and childcare lists. Puzzling out the difference between the new students Thu Thuy Pham, Thuy Thanh Thi Pham and Thuy Pham. (No more Phams, you guys! Please, don't call in anyone named Pham. And no more Thuys, either.) Putting on my She Who Must Be Obeyed persona and letting the business office know that we really need a surge protector that does NOT squeal continuously. Mel's sarcasm. Ray's good-natured kvetching (no one can make "God dammit, Kate!" sound quite so...uplifting...). Thanks, office! And Ray, I'll get you a new hard-drive as soon as I have some money. It's at the top of my list. Hang in there, Buddy!
  3. Stories. I took the kids over to the Cultural Celebration Center to meet my friends Moira and Corinne and listen to storyteller Bill Harley. I love listening to good stories, and this guy is Grammy-winning fabulous. Not babyish at all, to Nate's relief. He laughed his ass off. There is still a little kid in me somewhere who can push away sadness with loud singing and doing all the hand motions. Dweebie, I know. Thanks, inner dweeb!
  4. Reading aloud. Sara's choice of book made me sad. But, by golly, I am really good at reading aloud. It's meditative. I have to focus enough to push my emotions out of my mind. I can be alone with just the fluid line of the language; the beauty of its intonation. Language: my breastplate. My high tower. Thanks, language!

Maybe Day 4 will be easier.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Helen Keller Said WHAT?

"Life is a daring adventure; or nothing at all."

When my dear friend Becca tossed this quote at me yesterday, she was eyeballing a run called "Steeper than Hell" from the chairlift . Leave it to me to madly extrapolate until it covered my whole life. Don't worry: I did not run out and get it tattooed across the small of my back.

I must pause in my navel gazing to tell you that skiing with Becca is fun. She is prone to shaking her ass to the piped-in music in the tunnel, until I am compelled to inch my way forward and jab her butt with my pole. She is also prone to singing show tunes on the slope, while I shout,

"Nothing from Oklahoma! Do you hear me? Not Oklahoma!"


On the lift, she sang "Carrot Juice is Poison" for me. I sang "The Tabbouleh Song" for her. We both sang (well, roared more than sang) "Trogdor the Burninator".

It was not decorous. Still, we are not the only ones who do stuff like this. One dude blasted by me on twin-tips, shouting, "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!"

I am still sad. In fact I am sadder than ever. But I am not OK with sad-sack behavior. So I permitted sadness while actually skiing, and in the ladies' room. Whilst driving back and forth, hucking gear, clipping in, eating lunch and riding the lifts, I sang "Trogdor" and kept my game face on.

After skiing, Simon asked me if I would like to take my goggle-eyed self out for a beer with him. Yes, indeed! We got settled with a couple of Cutthroats and he asked me what I thought of the two of us splitting up. Well, that was a long-ish conversation. Good thing they were large Cutthroats. Simon and I have been married eighteen years. We have a well-oiled, highly functional partnership. We scarcely ever fight. Last incident with raised voices? October, 2009. Years ago, in the turbulence of early marriage I used to stand in the shower after a fight, twisting my ring around my finger, thinking, "FUCK THIS! I can't stand this! That goddamn SOB... I'm leaving!" Etc...etc... No long-time marriBolded person will be shocked by this.

Marriage is hard work, and I have given an enormous amount of love and effort to ours. Simon has, too. Probably more, in fact, because he has to be married to me! But we're changing. I find him inflexible. He finds me rebellious. He's a curmudgeon. I'm a loose cannon. And we paper over it and cruise along until we realize that our marital shoelaces have come completely untied. Oh, whoops.

"Kate, if you had remembered to do those laces in double knots like I asked you to, we wouldn't be in this situation."

"I did them in double knots - eighteen years ago. Sooner or later, Babe, stuff comes undone."

I hate to give the cancer thing too much importance in my life, now that it's almost over. But it has certainly made me a lot less interested in tolerating situations I tolerated before. Go through one big change, start looking at other changes with less fear. Cancer is dangerous: look out! That which does not kill you could change your view of the world. Make you stupid. Make you brave. Make you selfish. Make you clear-eyed. Make you greedy. Make you want a better self for yourself.

So, we sat there, calm as you please, talking it over like it was the grocery list. He was offering up trial separation like he might suggest a movie. That's how I know it's a real issue this time. More discussion to come, I'm sure. And I thought, "Helen Keller was probably just referring to an overseas trip or a new hairdo or something..."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Over the Supper Table

Sara asked us if it was hard to make the pig eat the sausage fillings. As in, "It's gross, the way they make the chicken and mango sausage. I can see the pig being excited to eat the mango, but not the chicken."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

From 7 to 9

So, I'm the director of a program that offers English as a Second Language to immigrants and refugees. Our classes are mostly at night; and although I talk about "class", it's really small groups that meet with volunteer tutors. The other day someone asked me, "Well, if someone else is teaching the students, what are you doing?"

"Oh, y'know. Stuff. Different stuff." (meanwhile thinking, "What DO I do?") "Stuff?" "Yeah...."

I decided that for one night during class from 7 to 9, I would pay attention to what I do, and record it in case anyone asks me this question again. I'll be ready.

First thing on the list: remember to pay attention.

  1. Volunteers and students are arriving. My lesson plans are ready for them and packed in a crate. I take the crate out in the hall and lay out the lesson plans for volunteers to pick up when they come in. As always students comment on my clothes (not always favorably). It's tradition.
  2. Check and make sure that my volunteers all arrived and that they all have students.
  3. A couple of Peruvian students return from a long journey to their homeland. They present me with a cute leather coin purse with alpacas on it. It's the kind with the metal bands at the top, that you squeeze from the sides to open. These bands are very powerful, requiring all my hand strength to open. Colleague M. got one, too. We snap them at each other's fingers. "HARMP!"
  4. New volunteer comes in looking for colleague W. "Please sit down, I'll go and find her." Upstairs, downstairs, forming a loop with the two staircases. No W. Upstairs, downstairs. Still no W. Reverse directions. Find W.
  5. Feel overjoyed to see the once familiar face of volunteer J. M. She tutored for about 8 years, but had to quit a few years ago when her mother was ill. She's back! Big hugs.
  6. Vietnamese students looking lost at the office door. One used to be a student and wants to come back. The other needs to fill out an application. Take care of them, speaking s-l-o-w-l-y.
  7. Bus driver / computer lab assistant comes in sick. She drove the students here, but she's dying and needs to leave. Close the computer lab for tonight. Ask floor manager M. to drive the bus when it's time to take students home.
  8. My student H. is back after being sick last week. Bullshit with him.
  9. Find a student in a group who is not, in fact, a student. He would LIKE to be a student, but is still on the waiting list. Laugh and pat him on the cheek, but send him out.
  10. Sit and observe one of my groups. Overhear another group talking about grammar. One student makes the sentence, "The woman looked at her children while she hit her head." The volunteer knows it's wrong, but can't really explain why. I demonstrate the actions of this sentence, using my three-ring binder to smack myself. Hilarity ensues. The students think I am incredibly weird.
  11. Try to continue observation of my group. Get pulled away to explain the difference between tense, aspect and mood.
  12. Try to continue my observation. Student sends word to me that he has to leave: his daughter has locked herself in a room and he has the only key. I'm glad to know, but he isn't my student. Oh, well.
  13. Try to print a February calendar page. I recently got Office 07, and I think it's pretty easy to use, but I got tangled up in Publisher. Waste time dicking with this.
  14. Pass out W-2s to support staff

Whoops, an hour gone.


  1. Unlock the cash cupboard and put money in petty cash.
  2. An advanced student needs to take the Test of Adult Basic Education. Unlock the test cupboard and find the right test booklet. Go make a copy of it. ARG! Yes, matey, I AM a pirate! Hey! We're poor! Don't call the cops.
  3. The Vietnamese students are back. The husband of the applicant is bummed that there's a waiting list. He tried to persuade me that his wife needs to be a t the top of the waiting list. I listen, knowing his cause is lost. Nod and smile.
  4. Confer with the floor manager. Tell him that we want to fit 2 more children in the child care. I think we have the capacity. Could he please double check? Tell him that on Thursday, a language development specialist who works for Chipotle Mexican Grill will be visiting SLC from Denver and wants to tour the program. Make plans for this.
  5. Rustle up a few helpers and go pull my truck up to the door. The entire back of my pickup it PACKED with donated clothes, shoes, fabric, blankets, etc.... There's so much, we are worried about storage. Floor manager rearranges until everything fits.
  6. While I was unloading the donations, somebody nabbed my parking place. Find a new parking place.
  7. Take the Test of Adult Basic Education to the student who needs to take it. Get him settled with the test paper and leave him to it.
  8. We have a student who lives outside the range of our little bus, so I have figured out a carpool system for her. She's a sweet little grandmotherly lady, but she is forgetful. Go find her and ask her if she remembers whom she is riding with tonight. No, she forgets. Jesse, I remind her. Who's he? I take her to the room where Jesse is teaching and show him to her. Oh, yeah.
  9. Go to the classroom where student A. G. is studying. She has been considering my request that she prepare and give a speech at our fundraising luncheon in March. Only for 400 people or so... how 'bout it? She's been thinking it over. I perch on the table next to her and give her my "begging puppy" act. She laughs and says, "Yes." Whew! I tell her to start writing down some ideas and I'll start working with her next class.
  10. Find child attempting to scale the toy cupboard to reach a top-shelf toy. Remove child from precarious ascent. Reach toy.
  11. Realize that I need to give an oral Basic English Skills Test, and that I left my laptop at home. Ask colleague W. if I can use her laptop. Get it set up in the lunchroom, which is quiet this time of night.
  12. Go to get the student I need to test. Get distracted by an enormous stranger wandering the hallway. Give him my polite but wary version of, "How can I help you?" He's looking for someone. I find that person.
  13. Go to get the student I need to test. Get called to a group to explain "dear". Is "my dear" the same "dear" as in "Dear Sir"? What about "dear" vs. "deer"? And when we say, "Oh, dear", why do we use "dear" there? Uh...hmmmm...
  14. Finally get the student I need to test. Administer the test, being careful not to cross my legs. My boots have these nasty sharp buckles and this pair of stockings is still intact.
  15. Have a little one-on-one time with the student I have just tested. Everything all right with her tutors? Fellow students? Lessons? Home life? etc...
  16. Realize that I have been too busy to mark my groups' attendance. Luckily, I know who was here. Quickly mark attendance before I forget.

9:00. Done, but not really done.

  1. Volunteer tutor David L. comes to find me. Great lesson! Students did really well tonight. Tells me about how the lesson went. Asks about an award nomination I wrote last month. Still too soon to know whether we won. Tells me about a grant proposal he is writing.
  2. I can hear the clatter of card tables being broken down. Since Floor Manager had to leave and drive the bus, the teachers are stacking chairs, folding tables, tidying up. I go to join them.
  3. I carry a box of donated books into the little room where I keep our lending library. I have a volunteer coming in the morning to sort and level these and a whole bunch of others that I have collected this month and stored under the table in here. Look under the table and see that there are NO BOOKS. NONE. Every single book is gone. The teachers in the childhood programs must have taken them for their classrooms! Agh! Feel frustrated. Mental note: call the volunteer and tell her not to come! Dammit. Will I be able to get them back? I will have to put out an All Points Bulletin.
  4. The results of the test I just gave are on a flash drive. I print the file off.
  5. Head to the printer, but get waylaid by colleague W., who needs help finding a student file.
  6. Head to the printer but get waylaid be colleague R., who needs me to sign her time card.
  7. Head to the printer and actually make it.

And that's it!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Letter to C.

[My friend C. is currently out of reach via e-mail or phone, but likes me to amuse him with details from my day. If it coincidentally amuses any of the rest of my readers, BONUS!]

Dear C.,

Sara is still playing pranks on me using disembodied Cabbage Patch heads. They keep appearing in places meant to startle and annoy. She got me good last night. I turned on the shower and when I pulled the curtain shut, this doll head flew out of the curtain and into the tub. Point for Sara. Of course, the doll head was still soaking wet (also drippy and very cold) when I threw it into bed with her at 7 AM. Point for me.

I was distracted at work, but not too much. However, I need to remember that if my pen won't write, the thing to do is not to wriggle my mouse. Doesn't help.

Looks like I really am going to San Luis Obispo in June. Just gotta fill out a bunch of forms, get a check-up (oh, for Pete's sake!), etc... and I will get to partake in the joy of driving a bunch of 12-year-old girls to California. 5 days! Should be great if I can strap a few of the girls on the roof.

You will be gratified to know that you are not the only one who is shocked at how little I sleep. One of our students, Maria M. confronted me this evening while I was rootling for a test form in a cupboard. (Actually three different students needed something during that rootle. I kept coming back to it and thinking, "Now, why am I here?"). Maria lives across the street. The all-seeing eye... "TEACHER! What time you leave the school Tuesday!? You last person leave?" "Uh, well, yeah..." "Is very late! I see in my window! I watching make sure you safe!" "Thanks, Maria. I know you are there. It makes me feel safe." "Tonight, you go HOME! Go BED!"

Otherwise, it was a pretty ordinary work day.

Queen Jodi the school cook tried to feed me her chipped beef-zucchini sandwich. I like getting fed, but the chipped beef-zucchini sandwich defeats me.

The third graders were in charge of taking the flag down at the end of the day. They paused after folding it into its lengthwise strip to jump rope with it. Only would have amused me more if Orrin Hatch had been here.

My students came to find me during class to discuss some childbirth vocabulary. "Teacher, is it 'due-date'? Or 'do-date'?" True, they both make sense.

And why is it that, if all the teachers are professional people who have worked with Southeast Asians for many years, we still have so much "ssnnnnrrrrkk" going on when a student says her name is "Ho"?

Juan, the custodian has just come in to vacuum. In the interest of seven hour of sleep, I should get moving.

Hope you had a good day: that you remembered to click your clicker; that you had plenty of cheap whisky in your tea; and that you got the snow cleaned out of your car. I never asked you why you had your sun roof open in the first place...

Take care!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

THAT Came Out Wrong

Sara thinks it's funny that, while working with clay the other day, one of her friends said, "What am I making? I'm making POT."

Ooooooohhhh. That is so funny when you're eleven.

This reminded me of the funniest thing Sara has said in years. We were floating down a river on a raft last summer and she jumped off to find herself in a deep dark patch of aquatic plant life. She scrabbled at the side of the raft and shouted, "I can't climb back in, cuz I'm on weed!" Go tell it on the mountain, Sweetie.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sadness has a Path

I don't feel sad very often, but sometimes I do. I won't bother writing about the reason. Let's just say I had a very nice vision of happiness and sweetness transforming my life; but that vision is clouded by difficulty. A Kudzu problem: as soon as I get one obstacle cleared, another pops up. I know what to do when this happens: time to slog down Sadness' path. Thanks, Sadness, for cutting this clearly defined trail for me to hike along. Pardon me if I'm not jumping for joy. CAN'T! I'm sad. Duh. I hate this fucking hike. It's long and boring. Imagine 30 miles in a damp Alaskan wilderness with nothing to look at but Devil's Club. All day. [Cue Song of the Volga Boatmen]

When I'm sad, I try to get my nose to the grindstone and press down (and you thought the cartilage was showing a bit on Michael Jackson...). I make myself a long list of things I need to do, and then I start ticking my way though it, praying that chores will anesthetize me. It doesn't always work, but it's my best resource. Anybody got a better one? If I'm lucky, I will find both achievement and oblivion.

I will try to put off the inevitable with other, fluffier coping strategies, though. Watch me try:

1. Wallowing. Uh...not helpful to futz around going, "I'm sad. Wooooooooe is me." OK, enough of that, after about five minutes.

2. Hoping for reprieve. Maybe all the things that have made me sad will be mistakes of some sort! I'll get a memo saying it was all in error, and that this sadness was really meant for someone else. La-la-la! Too fanciful even for a fanci-fuck like me!

3. Self-talk. Mine goes like this: "Well, who cares! Big deal! Is this important in the grand scheme of the world? Will this matter in 20 years? Does it increase the cases of malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa?" Know what? You can tell yourself shit like that until you're blue in the face, and it doesn't help. Your sadness is your own, and isn't diminished by comparisons.

4. Writing. Wouldn't it be great if this were really a panacea? For some people it is: look how it helped Hemingway! Hmm... Bad example. It helps me, but only a little.

5. DAYDREAMING. Oh, this one is a doozy. My drug of choice since early childhood. I can still remember every detail of the hay field, the birch tree and the open sky outside the classroom windows of Mackford Prairie Elementary. Why get down to productive stuff when I can stare at the sky for hours on end? I'm a solver; so I will comb through my problems over and over, looking for a PLAN! The knowledge that what I want may not be attainable doesn't keep me from combing though it one more time. And JUST one. More. Time. Variations on the theme: make tea and stare at the sky with a teacup; decide to make a productive to-do list. Stare at the sky with a pen in my hand. Yeah, THAT makes it OK...

6. Sleep. Awesome. The ultimate pain-killer. Bummer that you wake up to find Sadness waiting here. Tapping its toe. With the bonus of having your contacts glued to your eyes, possibility of later insomnia and just overall stiffness.

Yeah, yeah. I need to get moving and get my hike started. I will feel happy again one of these days. Maybe there will be a solution to my problems - if so, I'll be overjoyed! Please Sadness; is there a chance I will get to thumb my nose at you and tell you to get lost? More likely, one day will thread to another and eventually I'll realize that Sadness has been outpaced. I am a pretty fast walker.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Thank You Notes

Every month, one of my little chores is to check the volunteer roster and determine who has an anniversary (for lack of a better word). These crazy folks have stuck with the program WAY beyond the requested three months and have been tutoring English as a Second Language for a year. Or years. Or even many years.

Without a cadre of dedicated volunteers our school could not function, so I write thank-you notes to the tutors who are marking off the years like this. January is a huge month for note-writing, leading me to the theory that tutors who start volunteering because of some New Years resolution have more tenacity. A whole bunch of our power hitters started tutoring in January. I will have writer's cramp. I will sit in meetings listening while writing thank-you notes for a couple of weeks. It gets a little monotonous:

Dear ____,

I just want to drop a line to thank you for your dedication to our...blah, blah, blah... We are glad that you are having a positive experience and hope that, blah, blah, blah...

With many thanks and best wishes,


Often, these polite little notes are not really expressing everything that I want to say. In my secret mind, I imagine how they would be: the REAL thank-you notes:

Patrick A. (2 Years): Thanks for coming all the way down from Bountiful, Patrick! And thanks for getting your father involved as well. You two make a great team. Thanks especially for being a lifeguard at the pool in Farmington. You're a major hottie, and it embarrasses Becca that you always seem to be working when she's there swimming laps. "He's seen me in my goggles!!!"

Richard C. (3 years): Thanks for your great attendance, even when you're really busy refereeing soccer all summer. We also appreciate the food drive you did for us at your job last year. And for being so amusingly absent-minded and gormless. Remember that time when you forgot and didn't show up? Becca called you to find out what had happened. You thought long and hard and asked, "Wait. Was I...not there?" Nope, not that time.

Shelby H. (3 years): Thanks for having that little dinner party at your house last summer so your students could see your home and meet your family. They each brought something to eat and had a ball. You rolled out the red carpet for them and those ladies are still talking about it.

David L. (8 years): Thanks for still enjoying it, even after being assigned to me for all these years. Thanks for offering me bites of that nasty vegan shit you always eat before class. Thanks for coming to my house to hang out; and for going to the movies with me sometimes; and for trying to get me to meditate; and for dancing with me at all dance-worthy occasions. We both suck at partner dancing and step on each other toes. Our students smirk...but when I ask you to dance with me, you always say yes.

Dean M. (6 years): Thanks for the pointers on how to prune my peach tree. And thanks for returning after you quit and said you "needed a break". You never complained, but I sensed that you didn't get on well with the teacher who was supervising you. After she quit, I sent you a letter and casually mentioned her departure. You called me up the following week and told me you had had "enough of a break". Welcome back.

Max S. (10 years): You don't know it yet, but in a couple of weeks I'll be surprising you with a gi-normous carrot cake to celebrate your 10th year at Guadalupe. I owe you so much, Max. It's not just that you'll tutor the very hardest students and love every minute of it for a decade. But I know that you make fat contributions every year. (Yeah, yeah: "anonymous". I know, though.) When your son overdosed, I thought maybe that was it; but you came back, and eventually, so did your smile.

Bill S. (5 years): Thanks for being my super-flirtatious boyfriend and giving me lewd and lascivious looks.

Gail B. (14 years): Hah, Gail, I saved you for last, because you hate being thanked! Here, I can thank you lavishly, and YOU WILL NEVER KNOW. Take that! You have worked directly with me all these years, and have been prickly in the extreme the whole time. But I know your dirty little secret: you love us. Sooo... thanks for hauling yourself down here in every weather, even though it takes you over an hour each way on public transit. Thanks for sticking with it as your MS has become progressively worse. Thanks for letting me warm your hands with mine even though I know you don't like to be touched. You and I the only ones who have been around long enough to remember that, when you started here, you were healthy. Thanks for bringing your mother down to tutor when she visits from New Jersey. Thanks for bringing your sister when she visits from Seattle. Thanks for the large annual donation that I know you can't afford. And for the garden cuttings. And for an occasional cup of coffee, which we enjoy while you criticize me. And for scaring the hell out of your students when they are lazy. All those burly drywall hangers and landscapers and construction workers quake in their steel-toed boots at the scolding they will get if they are not in their chairs on time.

Remember the time you scared the hell out of me? Yeah, it's our (ahem) favorite story. I'll write it down.

Gail was late for class, and she is NEVER late. The phone rang and this hysterical lady was jabbering at me: "Do you know a woman named Gail? You need to get to the hospital RIGHT NOW! She was hit by a car! Her wheel chair is destroyed! Her legs are crushed! Oh, my God!!"

"What? WHAT?!? GAIL!!! WHAT HOSPITAL!?" I was in a panic. Then I could hear Gail in the background, sounding disgusted. "NO, NO, NO! Give me your damn phone. Kate! I'm going to have to miss tonight! I got hit by a car while I was changing buses. Just thought I'd better let you know. You'll need to..... find...... a.....substitute." Then she passed out. [Cue wailing sirens and imperative voices.] Yes, there was drama. I called all over the place and hung by the phone until late - finally one of her friends called at about 11:00. Sure enough: she had been hit by a car in a crosswalk while switching buses on her way to school. Motorized chair destroyed. Both legs broken, the worse break being the only leg she could still bear weigh on.

I was filled with dread on my way to the hospital the next morning. Gail is my rock. True, an... extremely...abrasive rock. But still, an excellent person to have in my life, just in case I thought I might actually whine about something. Pity the fool who whines in front of Gail. I didn't want to see Gail broken, and I didn't want her to see me seeing her, uh, broken. If you see what I mean.

Yeah. Well. The violins can stop playing right now. I walked into the room. She gazed up from the bed and held two fingers in the air. "Two weeks. I think I'm gonna need to miss a couple of weeks. Don't you give those guys to another tutor. You tell them I'll be back in two weeks." And she was. As mean as ever.

I love you, Gail. You have no idea how important you are to me, 'cause there is no way in HELL I could ever tell you without being told to get lost. Fine. Whatever. See you Thursday.

According to Utah Statute

This e-mail arrived at work today.

"I remind you that the state holiday falling on the third Monday of February is referred to in statute as Washington and Lincoln Day (63G-1-301). I encourage the use of this name in school calendars and other communication"

Larry Shumway, Ed.D.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction

So, in Utah, we don't have Presidents' Day, which might involve celebrating the contributions of presidents that out legislators don't like. I can see them in my mind's eye, carefully pondering the REALLY BIG issues: should we have an official state firearm? If we have Presidents' Day, could that be interpreted by some to include Barack Obama? Oh, and if we have a Constitutional Convention, should we get it catered? Red punch?