Category Archives: That’s Life (not the magazine)

Myers Briggs and Emily Dickinson Part II : ee cummings

Today, suffice it to say in all my “feeler”ness is a part two kind of day. I don’t know if this violates some #everydaymay rule or not, and even though I am also a J, which means I should follow rules, like this sentence that is running on and on, I am embracing a P moment and adding Part II to today’s already emo-drenched blog.

To continue…

Maybe it would actually be better if instead of being feelers who wish they were thinkers, Emily and I could be feelers who cave completely to the feeling, soak in all its joy and pain alternately like an addict soaks up the substance. I mean listen to this guy. He felt so much he stopped using punctuation, his point entirely.

since feeling is first
ee cummings

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry
– the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids’ flutter which says

we are for each other: then
laugh, lean back in my arms
for life’s not a paragraph

And death i think is no paranthesis

Yea. My kisses have never resulted in wisdom, again, would that they could. And if swearing brought flowers, well, in my heart lies a botanical garden. If feeling is first, what comes last? Reason? If I wait long enough…?

Meyers Briggs and Emily Dickinson

I think Emily Dickinson wished desperately that she was a thinker. But, like me, she got handed the feeler personality.

Today, as I have felt for the past several days, I long to be a thinker. One of those people who can separate fact from fiction, hurt from truth, and reality from idealism. Because feeling just hurts too damn much, so much it makes me cuss.

Today, I can’t get my favorite Emily Dickinson poem out of my mind. It keeps coming back, just like those abnoxious feelings she describes and I experience. I’ve blogged this poem before, so maybe I’m self-plagiarizing, but it can’t be helped. The emotion is too overpowering and her crises is exactly the climax of the problem.

Heart! We will forget him!
You and I – tonight!
You may forget the warmth he gave –
I will forget the light.

When you have done, pray tell me
That I may straight begin!
Haste! lest while you’re lagging
I remember him!

As much as I wish to consult my head, not my heart, because I know emotions are untrustworthy, I’m like Emily, my heart is the first thing I speak to. And like Emily, it’s quite unreliable. Notice she tells the heart it “may” forget the warmth, whereas she “will” forget the light. The heart is offered a suggestion, as though Emily realizes it still has the option to refuse. In fact, Emily then discerns it has the spirit of a defiant child who may in fact “lag” and must be reminded to “hurry.” Because, what the heart fails at, surely Emily will too, she will remember him in all her waiting for the heart to forget.

As Hamlet would say, “ay, there’s the rub.” That heart and I, Emily’s heart and her, it can’t be divorced from one’s self. Would that it could! I’d command and I’d request all day if I thought it would listen, if I thought it would make a difference. But, somehow my pushing and my prodding only makes me feel it’s obstinance all the more, and the hurt therein cuts straight to the quick.

Maybe, if Emily and I were thinkers we could say something like this instead:

Brain! Who’s he –
The one I thought I’d remember?
You forgot what was never said
And I released a dying ember.

When you stopped, you commanded me
So my pain therby ended.
Hurry! Move cooly on –
For I’ve been quickly mended.

But then I suppose Emily and I must realize this: if not for feeling, perhaps there would be no poem. ‘Tis the heart that bleeds lyrics and lines…

God Bless My Pasty Soul


Often, when people ask the trivial interview or ice-breaker question of “What one skill do you wish you had that you don’t?” or “What superhero power would you have if you could have any?”, my answer I’ve decided, is quite simple.

Rhythm.

My favorite music is R&B, hip hop, and soul. But the thing is, I have blues, just no rhythm. I can be hip, but I sure can’t hop. And well, I’ve got soul for days, but it’s just trapped inside this pasty white body.

I seriously think when God made me, he accidentally dipped me in the wrong color. Maybe that’s racist, or stereotypical, or even ethnocentric of me, but I’ve got a whole lotta color just dying to burst out of this seriously dance-challenged shell.

Because the thing is, Lord bless me, Lord bless us all, I LOVE to dance. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. I dance in my classroom, I dance in pep rallies, I dance at parties, I dance in the car, I dance in the living room. I’m entranced by this thing called dance. And the cruel irony is, I can’t. Well, let me clarify, there are a few signature moves I can do, but none of them are appropriate and I’m pretty sure I only pull them off because I honestly have hips and some junk in the trunk to work with. If I were narrow and straight, it’d probably look as tragically spastic as all my other so called “moves.”

I sat and watched one of my senior students perform flawlessly at her senior dance recital tonight: ballet, jazz, hip-hop, you name it, she’s got it. And… she’s white. Very white. White and preppy and girly like me. But, girl’s got moves. When I watch dancers like her, I sort of sit both baffled and confident. The effortless grace they display leaves one thinking, well, sure it can’t be that hard, I bet I can do that. But then, just as quickly as I think that, I suddenly am struck with wonder at their ability to move their bodies in such complicated and yet exquisite ways. It’s simply befuddling, but mesmerizing.

To this day, I continue to search for just the person who can somehow magically impart this gift that the other 98% of the world possesses. Many have gotten close, have helped me make great leaps and steps in the right direction, but ultimately I’m still just a two-left feet, hot mess on the dance floor.

So, if you happen to see my drop it like it’s hot one day, don’t judge. It’s the only move this white girl’s got.

Why I Hate Mondays… and technology

Monday, Monday, dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah.

I wish I could sing that tune with the same romantic wistfulness as the Beatles. But no, my Monday, were it musically anthologized, would sound more like Tupac rapping about injustices mixed with a little discombobulated technobeat, finished with a flair of good old fashioned emo whining angst.

I had a sub Friday. This never bodes well for a Monday. But particular not today’s Monday.

Oh, by the way, warning: this is a rant blog. So, if you don’t want to read my Monday rant, stop reading now. I thought I’d at least give you that as a consideration (considerate being something I wish had come to mind to some other folks, but I’ll save that for later).

So, I should’ve known the day would be rocky when at 6:50am the line for the Starbucks drive-thru was already 7 cars long. 6:50!!!!!! This is an ungodly hour, folks, why are so many of us awake?!

Anyways, I, in my stupidity last week, chose to use an abundance of technology in my classroom on the Monday following a sub. Fail on my part. I scrambled to walk in and go through my sub notes, only to find out that the teacher who covered my 5th period chose to a.) come to my class 20 minutes late, b.) look only on my podium for my lesson plans (HEllO, they’re on my desk, duh!) and c.) not give my kids the test they needed to take or collect their very important homework. Wow. Colleauge fail. Thanks for having my back, dude. This is why being sick is risky business, folks.

Anyways, amidst my frustration in that moment, my lovely TA Bri thankfully came to class early and helped me set up the laptop cart I procured for my sophomores to use today in setting up their works cited page (yes, we are doing a research project in the last month of school, I’m that awesome of a teacher!)

My RUSD laptop, that I finally got for the specific purpose of being able to get wireless internet in my internet-troubled classroom, failed me. A quarter of the laptops that showed up in my room also failed me. First period and I spent at least half of class trying to get those darn things to work. When I finally got around to showing them how to use the online bibliography tool, they were gone. Mentally gone. It doesn’t take long for sophomores, trust me. And of course, somewhere in all this, the special ed teacher informs me I need to make an appearance at an IEP meeting for just a few minutes. She’ll watch my class for me.

Any other interruptions? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller??

Second period was a little better, although still, they can’t listen for the life of them. I know I’m a talker, but really, I’m showing you how to do this thing for you, not me. I’ve done a freakin’ six page works cited page and a 30 plus page lit review which is basically an annotated bibliography on crack, so look 16 year olds, shut your pie holes and listsen to the master try and educate you, will ya???!

Third period? Yea, more of the same.

Fourth period. Yes, as you can see, my day is run by periods. 54 minute blocks of time. I could measure my life out in them in the same way Prufrock measures his life out in coffee spoons. Oh, but do I dare? And do I dare?

Ok, sorry, random moment of literary stream of consciousness. Back to the rant, I mean ranch…

Fourth period. Even though currently my kids’ newspaper budget cannot even cover the final printing costs of the last issue of the paper, none of them managed to procure an advertisement this week, despite my hemming and hollering on the issue last week. None of them. Welp, we’ll see how this goes.

Fifth period. Nuff said. Fifth period. I spent most of my prep period, following my charmin fifth period students, just trying to assemble the laptop cart so that things like cords and battery chargers weren’t splayed this way and that. After all, I would, I think? like to be able to use this technology again? I don’t know, maybe I should self-saboteuge.

PHEWW. The last twenty minutes have been productive at least. Managed to make some copies, do some print ups, and write tomorrow’s to-do list.

And tomorrow can’t be half as bad as today. After all, it’s Tuesday. One day closer to Friday.

Don’t Make Me Go All Crazy White Girl on Yo’ Butt!

~Inhales deeply~

Ok, before I crash from my adrenaline rush I’ve been on for the last hour, let me preface this post with a shout out thank you to all the peeps in my life who have in any way been responsible for my physical fitness. Tonight, it came in handy. Almost got to use some legit boxing moves in a street fight.

What?! Yes, this crazy white girl almost went all crazy kungfu on some foo’s a$$ tonight!

Let me back up for a second. I was sitting at Starbucks quite enjoying a teacher planning session with my ASB co-advisor for this upcoming school year. We were so wrapped up in our conversation and thoughts for the next year, that I left my laptop under the seat of my Starbucks chair. Without a care in the world, I drove down the road to my parent’s house and enjoyed a yummy dinner of baked chicken and low-fat muffin. I then proceeded to show my parents some awesome floor exercises and my dad and I compared ab muscles (his are pretty darn rock hard now, by the way!) Anyways, little did I know that I’d be putting my athleticism into some real practice in just a few short moments. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I had not carried my computer out of the store with me earlier. At first I naively thought to myself, “Hmmm… I’m sure some kind soul reported it to the barista and it’s waiting behind the counter for me.” Then reality popped in and I was like, “Right, Becka, because in the lovely pleasant-ville town of Riverside, people are just honest all the time.” Who am I kidding, this isn’t utopia!

It was at this point that I proceeded to quickly say “Das va dana” to my parents and hi-tailed it in my little red Corolla back down the road to Starskies. As I was JUST pulling into the driveway of the parking center, I noticed a tall dark figure retreating into the woodsy part of the sidewalk and off into the menacing blackness. He was carrying a bag that looked suspiciously like my beloved saggy booty bag (named by a friend for it’s less than adequate sizing for the 12″ macbook it houses). It was at this point that I sprang into action. I felt like I’d been injected with adrenaline in some weird episode of Alias, quickly looked behind me to ensure no one would rear-end me, placed the car in park, left the keys in the ignition and ran down the sidewalk like a bat out of hell. As I ran, I shouted at the ambling figure “HEY!!!!!!” and quickly approached him demanding, “Let me see that bag!” Taken quite by surprise and feigning innocence, the perpetrator turned around and asked “Oh, did you leave this?” No sir, I thought I’d run after you, a stranger, at 8:30pm for my health in the hood of Riverside. “Yes!”I responded as I grabbed my bag and took off at Olympic speed back towards my waiting car, bag flying behind me in the wind.

Safely inside my Corolla, I hugged the bag to me and said out loud, “Thank you, God. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” If I had arrived at the driveway even seconds later the man would’ve been off in the bushes and out of sight and I would’ve been left without 5 years of pictures, 3 years of teacher documents, and 2 years of grad school work all stowed on my little macbook (yes, I have backed everything up recently!) I also could’ve had my car stolen in the 1 minute madness of all this, or been punched out by the would-be thief. Homeboy didn’t even take a swing at me though. I literally stole my own bag back from him right out of his hands. And believe you me, I was ready for this to go down. I was even contemplating the 1-2-3 punch I was about to throw if he showed any signs of resistance!

But, God took care of me, and my little laptop, and my waiting vehicle, abandoned to the night while the computer was re-commandeered.

All is well that ends well, I suppose.

Phew. I think my adrenaline rush is about to crash. Time for a wind-down bath and a glass of wine. This superhero is retiring her cape for the night.

Genesis 1:12 (Different versions may vary)

” I have given you all the seed bearing plants and herbs to use.” Genesis 1:12 (Different versions may vary).

Yes, I just read those words at the bottom of a poem written about marijuana from one of my sophomores.

Ugh. Where to start?
Be irritated with the kid for actually writing about pot in a poetry assignment?
Laud the child for being clever enough to craft a poem actually very beautiful and cryptically pointed?
Feel disturbed for his clearly hermeneutically crappy interpretation of Scripture…
Or pleased he even opened his Bible at all?? Granted, not sure what Bible this was… Bob Marley’s maybe?

One thing’s for sure: I’ve yet to hear the argument that the Bible justifies the medicinal use of marijuana, much less the hedonistic pursuit of marijuana. That’s a new one, folks.

Post Secrets in D202

One day I’ll compose a novel compiling all the things I see and hear in my classroom. For today, I’ll settle with mimicking the book Post Secrets in blog format.

My newspaper students are currently going to do a spread in the last issue of the paper that displays some of the best “Post Secrets” at King High School. So today in D202, students wrote their best guarded secrets, or in the case of some students who refuse to be serious, their funniest piece of self-trivia, and placed them in a manila envelope.

As I read over them, some make me want to cry, some make me want to cuddle students and tell them they’re beautiful and precious, and still others just make me shake my head with a grin on my face and thank my lucky stars they’re not the kid I come home to everyday (not that I go home to any kids, mind you!).

Confessions that Broke My Heart:
I believe in science, not God.
I cry every night because I feel like I don’t deserve to be here and life just feels too hard and horrible.
My aunt killed herself years ago . Sometimes I feel like doing the same!!!
I don’t think I’m attractive.

Confessions that Made Me Chuckle:
For the past year, I’ve secretly used my dad’s facial shaver to cut my dog’s hair. He still does not know.
I think I have a mean cat walk.
I have a crush on my teacher… Ms. Lohman.

Confessions that Made Me Thankful They’re Not My Kid:
When it smells in class, it is because I farted, but I would never tell anyone, I just go along with it.
I sometimes count my steps when walking on the sidewalks and before I get to a crack, my number of steps has to be seven.
I have chronic diarrhea every day.

Confessions that Made Me Smile:
I can’t go to sleep at night before telling my Mom I love her.
I love my girl with all my heart and I don’t care who knows that!

Confessions That I resonate With:
Secretly, I like black guys.
Sometimes, I feel as though the one person for me isn’t out there.
I poop and text at the same time.

March Madness Means Much Less Blogging

March Madness. The term itself is generally used in reference to the sport of basketball, which suffice it to say, the fact that I know that alone should be impressive as sports and I do not generally share the same lexicon.

But, in the case of my blogging, and completely unrelated to sports, I think this entry itself stands as a testament to the “madness” that has been March. So, in the effort to save time, and arguably space, I have condensed all of March into a feverish timeline of events that hopefully will capture the highlights of this past month.

March 1st – Just another usual Monday night meeting with my ISP East Africa team. This isn’t just a March thing, but it bears introduction in this blog because March meant meeting fieldworkers (online that is), making fundraising plans, and mingling with previous visitors to our destination to hear their wisdom and expertise. Please pray for our team – we leave June 17th and arrive back in country July 7th. Also, if you have any cash lying around your house that you would like to donate charitably, we still need to raise A LOT of funding! 😉

March 4th – March for my job. Literally. This was the “picketing” that us King people rolled out the black and pink ensembles for as our kids protested against budget cuts with us outside the school’s entrance.

March 9th – Pick up pink slip #3. Yeah, there’s no picture to accompany this unfortunate date, a.) because it’s not really pink, and b.) hold out for the scrapbook I’m creating – it’ll be better anyways.

March 10th – Mark’s 22nd birthday. The kid brother is getting so old! He leaves for seminary in Boston at the end of August. I’m going to miss him. A BUNCH. But, Boston is a cool (literally) place to visit at least 🙂

March 18th – The beginning of my Dracula presentation with classmates for my film course. This project, true to vampiric nature, about sucked the life out of me.

March 19th – Beware the Ides of March! This year, King sophomores celebrated 4 days later than the original March 15th marking of Caesar’s notorious shanking. Togas anyone?

March 23rd – Dad’s birthday. His last year in his 50’s. I jokingly told him that maybe sixty would be the sexiest year yet! My Dad has gotten super skinny – go him!!! I wish I had a more recent picture than this one – it’s a few months old now!

March 27th – The Wild Animal Park with the “Sandals Lunch Crew” notably missing my roommate Alicia and our friend/Sarah’s boyfriend Brother Kyle! We celebrated Sam Gonzalez’ birthday and Sirleaf Flomo’s (his was the day before, March 26th).

March 28th – Attended my first meeting with Sandal’s youth group Frontside. It looks like this is where I’ll be beginning Sandals Service and I’m stoked!!!! (sorry, I switched from “m” alliteration to “s” alliteration there, I thought it fitting!)

March 30th – Let Me Get that, Let Me Get That… Boom Boom Pow! The long-awaited Black Eyed Peas Concert arrived and my classroom countdown moved from 40 days to 6…5…4…3… hours. Much fun had by all – even if we were up in the nosebleeds of Staples! This is also where the (soon to be) infamous pink and black cheetah jacket made its debut!

March 31st – Met with Mark’s girlfriend Kelly and had a lovely sushi dinner.

April 2nd – I know this is technically cheating because it’s not March, but since Gatsby loves to live in the past, I figured I could make this a celebration of that. First period hosted the second annual Gatsby Gala complete with flapper costumes, hors’devoures, a rolled out green carpet, and lots of green clothing! I love teaching The Great Gatsby!

Phew. I’m exhausted just remembering the last month. But also super thankful for it. As Emily Dickinson penned, “Much madness is divinest sense.” I would have to agree.

The death of pink

I don’t think I can like pink anymore. I hate California for ruining one of my favorite colors. But then, I hate California for a lot of things right now. But hate, and a pink slip, and the loss of good teachers to kids is like a triple threat, so I shall find a way to replace my hate with hope, and if not hope, at least patience. Just not pink.