Aug 31, 2006

Returning happy, eager faces



In happier news, against all odds, two of my students this year are the girls
about whom I wrote here..

What are the chances that I'd get to teach them again, as seniors now...these two, count 'em two girls, both with mothers who are murderesses? I'm very excited.

I love my girls sometimes...honest to God.

Aug 30, 2006

Work

Chronically late, my former school finally called me back to work.

Of course, I was relieved, but I can't say I was happy.
I have rent and debts to pay, debts from months and months of not having a pay-check.
I was very relieved, but I was not looking forward to it.

The school was chaotic before Katrina, it can only be moreso now, right? Little did I know.

Our campus in NO East was pretty much destroyed, so we're renting the campus of another school, one which was not flooded.
When I first went there (to the new campus), a few days before the school reopened, I was horrified. The principal herself told me that when she first entered the place, her first instinct was "to shut the door and run."

I had thought, naively, "well, it hasn't been flooded, it looks nice from the street, it'll be ok, right?"
I was wrong.
No, the school wasn't flooded, but it was used as an evacuation shelter. When I first saw it, it was still littered with debris, windows broken by the hundred or so people who were living (dying?) there.
The smell of urine still hung heavy in the air.

It's been nearly a month now, and the Navy, various college students, a prison work force and we, the staff have been working literally nonstop to clean it up.
It's finally getting cleaned.

The prisoners are on campus in their orange jumpsuits full time now still....practically eating lunch with the students in the cafeteria. Thank God for them too.

Now, when I signed up, I knew it would be challenging, but, well, this is a bit much for even me.
Imagine having to teach 40 girls (some 6 feet to 6'4") crammed into a small room, without A/C, in New Orleans in August, practically unable to move about the room for all the students, standing from 7 am until 3:30, with one hour for a break.

To spice things up(in no particular order) there are:

1.No men's bathroom (so you'd better make it good before you get there)
2.No airconditioning (in about half the campus, still)
3.No books ( well, ok, we just got 11 books from another school...11 books for 70 students this week)
4.Not enough desks
5.No computers
6.No telephone (except one in the office)
7.No rosters (see number 5...so exactly what I'm to do with my grades now, who knows)
8.no intercom (at least in my room and the adjacent rooms)
9.no water fountains (that work)
10.no refrigerator (except in the President's room)
11.no copy machine

Of course, you're expected to keep order in this chaos....oh, and by the way, teach.

Now, not to brag, but somehow I have been managing to do it...but it's not been easy, and frankly, it's taking a toll.

Aug 20, 2006

the fear of cute guys and kittens

The other day, prompted into delusion by a horoscope, (something that happens more often than I care to admit) I re-posted a personal ad (without a picture). Honestly, I didn't expect much.
My prior posting of this particular ad (which is markedly *not* sexual in nature, btw), has only ended up garnering the occasional solicitation of sex by married, unattractive men....and more often nothing.
I'd prefer the nothing.
Anyway, the point is, I didn't expect much.

Imagine my surprise however, when what seems like a sane person responded.

He was amazed to find a sane, decent ad himself he said. And he actually seemed to have read my ad. We even share some interests. It's all too amazing.

So of course, I got excited, despite myself. He writes well. He's 32, a decorator,(for God's sake!) from SF, been in New Orleans only since February.

So for the past few days I've been fretting. I mean, I've been through this probably a hundred or more times (I wish I were exagerrating, but sadly I'm not).

I picture it as a sort of Olympic challenge....one with hurdles. The first hurdle is getting noticed in the ad, of course. 2. Building rapport in email 3. The exchange of pictures 4. The meeting 5. The second date 6. well....who knows?
Every hurdle is a chance for being tripped up. Something always seems to go wrong somewhere. Now, it's totally against every best instinct I have to be posting this. I typically keep my infatuations to myself, to risk the inevitable embarassment later on, but maybe it's time for a new tactic, right?

Anyway, tonight I tentatively, nervously fired off my photo. I figured he might bolt and I'd never hear from him again, but it had to be done and like ripping off a bandaid, it's best done quickly, I've always maintained.

Imagine my surprise when but a few minutes ago he fired off an email back....with a picture of himself attached. Oh goodness...he's cute ...and to make things worse he has a kitten named "Billie Joe McAllister" The cuteness is going to kill me.
Kitten picture was attached, with some witty repartee...the sort that always gets me.

So, now who knows what happens....we're on the track to the well worn number 4 hurdle...at some point. You'd think practice would make this less nerve wracking, but it doesn't.
Wish me luck.

Aug 17, 2006

Idle thoughts on Project Runway


I'm not a big fan of "reality" tv, but I do have a weakness for Project Runway. I don't really like the stereotypical reality tv drama as much as seeing the creative process. I especially like hearing the critiques afterwards. I wish they'd show more of that.

Anyway, last night's episode was an interesting one, but not the best. The contestants were made to create a gown from recycled garbage. On the whole the outfits were all pretty disappointing. The gowns made from the hotel room items on the first episode, I think, were better. It was a similar challenge, but with better results.

Like anyone who watches these sorts of shows I have those whom I like and those whom I don't. The producers know this. In fact I think they manufacture it. There are those whom everyone can easily dislike, like Angela and her stupid "fleurechons" and bizarre stories told with a complete poker face about the head mistress at a day care center in Paris called "Jubilee Jumbles" and her dog Pattycake. (WTF?)

Or Jeffery, who is a tattoo-necked asshole, pretty much. Not much more to say there. He's easy enough to dislike. That seems to be his role.

But some of the "villains" I like....like Laura. I'm not terribly impressed with her designs, as they always seem to look like something she would wear herself. They're always sort of late 80's glamour, not a bad thing per se, but a bit predictible. She does like to stir the shit, so to speak. She doesn't hold her tongue, again, not a bad thing per se, but a bit predictible. Just the same, I like her little grin when she does it. She may stir it up, but she doesn't seem that invested in it.
I like her. I read in the paper the other day that she grew up in Metairie of all places, so maybe that's coloring my affection for her. You've got to love a hometown girl who can swim with the sharks in Manhattan.

Or maybe you don't.

I also like (liked?) Bradley. He was something of a sad sack, but then I'm a sucker for that. He was like Linus in the Peanuts almost. I almost expected him to make a dress out of a security blanket.
I'm not a fan or his designs either, (they're pretty bad) but he was just so good naturedly winsome, but also more aware than one might think. How could one not like him. Of course I seem alone in this. What I especially like (d?) about him however was his sly smile. He wasn't taking this all that seriously either.
In the last challenge poor Bradley got Cher as his "fashion icon." He had to modernize her look. Could *anyone* really manage this I ask you?
That was his demise. I'm sure Cher has been the downfall of many an innocent man. I'm just a little sad to see him go.

Televisionwithoutpity.com (which has wonderful synopses of each episode) writes that:

"Bradley doesn't know shit about Cher. Katie, who is twelve, tries to tell
Bradley about Cher. This is no good. You'd think Bradley would at least have seen Silkwood. I've always thought that someone should base a collection on Silkwood. I'm not kidding. Meryl Streep is smoking hot in that movie -- mullet, rock t-shirt, leather jacket. And, you could have some Cher butch-chic looks working the runway. Nina Garcia would flip for that shit. "

I just *love* that quote....and so much more. He (Jeff from Televisionwithoutpity)
sums up something I have always thought too!

Read the rest of his synopsis here

My favorite designer so far, however, has to be Michael. I think he's going to win.

Now of course the fact that the clearly insane Vincent is still on makes me think.
I wonder sometimes if he's not really an actor....a plant. I mean really, can he really be for real? He seems straight out of central casting.
But then I think of some of the crazies I know in person, and I realize that he could very much be for real...yep, very real.
If you pay close attention to the credits you will notice something to the effect that the judges work in conjunction with the producers in eliminating the contestants each week. In other words, if you are crazy or bitchy you can pretty much guarantee that you will be on till the end, for "drama."
This is "reality" tv, after all, right?

Aug 15, 2006

Getting the keys...


When I first met my new landlord, I began to wonder...
but I ignored my intuition.
Anyway, he seems like a nice enough man, early 60's, nice-looking well- dressed....didn't seem to get my jokes, but he seemed to like me.

When I went to sign the lease, I went over to his house, sat for a while and chatted genially about the hurricane, New Orleans---the typical topics of conversation nowadays. I asked him how many apartments he had.

He thought for a while and said,
"Hmmm, well, between me, my ex-wife and my sons, I guess about a hundred"
"Wow" I said.

Not long after I signed the lease, I called him saying that I wanted to get the keys early if possible, so I could do some cleaning up.
He said "Sure, but could you come tonight, before 6. We're having some people over for dinner."
"Sure, thanks," I said.

So I raced over, in my old, rattiest clothes, dressed to clean and mop. I just wanted to pick up the keys and run.

I got there, rang the doorbell, and a boy about 19 or so answered the door. He looked puzzled. So did I, I guess.
"Ummm...." I started. I wanted to ask "Is your father home?" but something wisely held me back.
I asked instead "Is Edward here?"
He (the landlord) had sort of insisted on me using his first name, which I found odd.
I mean I was raised in the South after all. One uses the proper titles for one's elders.

The boy turned his head and called into the house
"Edward, someone's here to see you!"

Then the bell went off again...this time like a gong.

No one calls his father by his first name....maybe his "daddy," but not his father.

Edward came to the door. He invited me in. I sat down uncomfortably. He went off to get the keys while I waited. I could see the table set for 8 in the next room.
I just wanted the keys and to get going.
He returned and we made idle chit chat about the apartment.

Suddenly, from the front door burst a young man, clearly a Tulane student (the house is practically *on* campus) or grad student, weighted under bags of groceries. He was tall and thin and good looking, all of 25 or so.
Edward lit up and announced proudly, "This is Liam, my partner." Then he introdoced me.
I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what to feel really.
(By the way "Liam" didn't seem to like me much for some reason....but maybe I was just imagining that)
I took the keys, smiled and left.

On the way home however, I did a lot of thinking. A part of me was pleased. I mean they (however many of them there are) seem nice enough after all. And it somewhat gave me ....oh, almost a sort of much needed "hope," their relationship. Besides seeing gay relationships up close always pleases me, like an ornithologist must feel when sighting a rare ivory billed woodpecker or something

But a big part of me was envious. It's petty of me, I know....but still. I mean really.
Don't get me wrong, I don't want a handsome 25 year old bringing in groceries for a dinner party or anything (ok, well....so, maybe the bringing in the groceries part would be nice).
But why is it that 25 year olds are only interested in wealthy older men; why are the wealthy older men are only interested in 25 year olds; and everyone my own age only interested in 20 year olds? Argh.

I know the answers of course, I just don't like them.

Aug 13, 2006

Your love...de-serrrrrrrrrrrves an encore....



Here's a classic video I didn't know existed. I'm not sure if it ruins or benefits my memory of this song...a classic from 1984 by the disco legend Ms. Cheryl Lynn

Cheryl Lynn deserves an Encore

Aug 7, 2006

A brief night away

Last night was my first night spent at my new apartment.
I can't say I slept well. I had to get up at 7 and I didn't get to sleep until 3.
But thankfully the ugly 70's AC units worked....and I couldn't hear too much of the crazed neighbor I have. (but let's not digress)

Today, just before noon, I call my mother, just to check up on her. I was not expecting this.

"I think I broke my foot." She tells me.
"What???" When? Are you ok?"
"Yeah, but I think I need to go to the doctor," she tells me.
"Why didn't you call me last night?"
"It was too late"

So, I rush back to her house....and get her to the doctors. (a long ordeal...but let's not digress again.
In fact I only just now got back from the wheelchair place now....in horrible blinding rain and traffic)

Sure enough, she has fractured her foot....again. (It's the second time. She has osteoporosis)
So she's back the wheelchair.
While we're waiting, I get more of the details of last night.

She was outside last night, bringing something to the garbage can and fell on the stepping stones.
(What's ironic is that I fell and nearly fractured my own foot about 3 weeks ago.
It's like she and I are living in a continuous loop of that stupid commercial..."I've fallen, and I can't get up!")

She couldn't crawl back in because of the pain.
Thankfully, she saw a couple walking by and called to them for help.
"They must have thought I was some drunk on the street," she tells me.
They helped her back in.
Aaaaaaaanyway, I'll be back sleeping here for the indefinite future....at least until she can get herself back on her feet. Doctors again tomorrow.

And the guilt....well, let's not even go there.
ahem

Aug 1, 2006

Your Decorating Challenge, Should You Choose to Accept It:

This is the challenge that I face currently:

Nothing can be bigger or wider than 24 inches….(the width of the stairwell)

No holes may be put in walls (as per lease)

No walls may be painted (as per lease)

Everything must be portable. (as per Katrina)

Curtains must be at least 99 inches long (84 inches are the typical, unless custom) and no more than 10 dollars a panel. (See if you can do *that*, I dare you)

Entrance to horrible kitchen must be covered somehow

Two ghastly 70’s window units must be dealt with (I’m stumped on this one, I have to admit)

Ugly “ye olde colonial” “chandelier” must be dealt with somehow

Bathroom is literally 5 feet by 5 feet (you can sit on the toilet and wash your hands at the same time, I'm not kidding)....and on a 15 degree incline (the building is leaning.)

All items must be purchased in the few stores remaining post-Katrina.
(in which 3 salesmen told me that any furniture I bought "would take a minimum of
a month or longer to arrive")

You must purchase :
1. a bed,
2. box spring and mattress,
3. bedding, comforter, sheets,
4. Towels,
5. lamps,
6. a dining table,
7. a rug,
8. a sofa,
9. a coffee table,
10. a television,
11. pots, pans, cutlery,
12. dress 7 windows,
13. assorted other things.

All four rooms must be furnished for under 1000 dollars (which you don’t have)

Oh, and it must look good.