Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The English Teacher and the Frog

Story of my academic life. "Cathy is a joy to have in class, but she needs to wrtie more". "Cathy is very bright, but she needs to write more". "You need more". More? More what? More words that take up space and really don't do much besides take up paper? WHY? Why write more? I've already given you the answer. Why write more? What the hell else would you like me to say? This was usually a bone of contention in my English class. "Compare and contrast...) blah, blah, blah. The poem is about a Turtle and a Frog. The End. Write more. Um... It's about a green turtle and green frog? No, it's about the eternal struggle of mankind to prosper. Oh? really? I didn't see those words in that poem, I saw a turtle and frog. No, I am not dense. Yes, I understand metaphor. However, I believe in being precise with language whenever possible. Words have depth and power. One should choose said words carefully and with deliberation. Words contain magic. "Abbracadabra!" Words carry hope. "Dear God..." Words can be weapons. "I don't care." Words and thier complexity are what allow us to convey the strange beauty of our thougths and hopes and dreams. I struggle with finding the right words sometimes. I will become lazy and use words that are close or I can claim have the same meaning. But that is a disservice to the word and a denial of my true thought. Perhaps maybe that is why I never wrote very much. I was afraid to show how I really felt, what I really wanted or what I deeply needed. Once upon a time, in a land not so very far away, live a small frog, and she was green...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come...

Death. It happens every day and eventually will effect every single one of us. Recently someone special to me died. We weren't close and I hadn't see him in over a year, but I am still saddened by his loss. He was a professor of mine and a director- there is some kind of permanent bond forged between an actor and their director; a forever kind of bond. A fellow college friend of mine went with me to visit his widow, our friend, and we picked a day where she happened to not be home! However, another college alumna was there and the three of us sat together eating dinner and reminiscing. It was a nice release for us all and I think very serendipitous. As I reflected on the evening, something occurred to me. This was the first time that I sat with people of my own generation and discussed what it was like to lose a parent. It was the first time I have been with people that know what I have been through- people my own age. I think that is an important point. While my Mother had lost her parents, she was needing to cope with the loss of her spouse and I didn't want to burden her with my grief. There is only so much sympathy one can accept from those that have not lost a parent. This is not a slam- just a fact. While people can sympathize with your loss, it is remarkable how it feels to have true empathy. I imagine this is true for other types of loss as well, miscarriage, child loss, divorce etc. I guess that explains why there are so many support groups out there. Please don't think I am in any way belittling all of the support and affection I was and am given in regards to my father's passing. I am simply reflecting on the how it can be comforting to be with people that truly DO know what you've been through and how it feels. What really comes into focus for me is that I need to be mindful of the type of advice and comfort I give to others- perhaps I may not be saying what is most comforting or needed. Death comes to us all... touches us all... I pray that I can bring true comfort to those in need when and how they need it.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

My Golden Home

I am a Native Californian. I was born and raised in Riverside. I've lived in Riverside, Pomona, South Pasadena, Glendale and Fontana. Except for my first 4 semesters of college, I have lived in this state my entire life. However, I have visited or driven through 36 out of 50 states, plus been to England, Japan and visited several of the Caribbean Islands not to mention living in Missouri for those college years. This is not to say I am, in anyway, a worldly traveler or expert on the world, but it does show that I have seen a wide range of places and seen how different people live in different parts of our country and world. All that being said, I really wish people would stop talking trash about my home state. The vitriolic crap said about California drivers, California "problems", or how bad things happen "Only in California", is frankly a bunch of bullshit. Did I miss the news report showing that the other 49 states were crime free, debt free and the economy was only bad in California? No? You mean the ENTIRE country is hurting economically? Hmmmmm... interesting. No, California is in no way perfect. Yes, California can be a very difficult place to live, I don't deny any of this, but it's not as awful as some people say- and the ones that really get me, are the "Californians" that leave the state and then talk trash about "Californians". If you hate my state, leave. That's ok and no skin off my nose. If somewhere else makes you happy, go. But chances are, if you are unhappy now, you'll be unhappy then- happiness comes from within. I've seen drivers elsewhere and honestly, they're just as bad. Why we all think driving is something EVERYONE should do and be good at, is beyond me, but that's another rant. People talk about "Californian" as a whole, but I dare you to call a Southern Californian "Northern Californian" and there could be trouble. NEVER call a Central Californian anything other than Central Californian,ever. Most people put California in to one big lump, but the truth of the matter is California is the 3rd largest state in the union, has over 37 MILLION people living here and is 163,965 square miles of varied topography. There is more to California than San Francisco and Los Angeles. Where I live I can ski and surf all in one day (if I knew how). We have mountains, deserts, beaches, forests, valleys, rivers, lakes and it takes approx 1,028 miles and 19 hours to drive from the southern most part to the northern most. There are so many beautiful and amazing things to see and do here. There are also some of the most amazing people I've ever met here, too. Guess what? It's not so bad, but I also know, having driven cross country, both directions, up and across, our country is GORGEOUS. Each state has its wonders and each is unique; as are the people and cultures and traditions. But I also know the there are assholes EVERYWHERE too, and that is a foible of humanity not geography. We all have stereotypes and they exist for a reason, just don't forget they are stereotypes not rules. Come visit, come see my state (the southern part anyway, come stay with me and we'll have a good time, I promise. We have Hollywood, Vineyards, Disneyland (The Original), baseball, football (up north), basketball, college sports, snow sports, ocean sports, casinos, National Forests, In-n-Out, Del Taco, Breweries and so much more. I only ask that, when I'm headed your way one day, you return the favor and show me your home state and what makes it special. The Golden State may not shine like it once did, but I think with some elbow grease and time we can shine again, but it won't unless people who love it are willing to work for it and proclaim their love for her.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Testing...1..2..3..Is anybody out there?

Well, it's been over a year since my last post. I didn't post AT ALL in 2012 and only 4 times in 2011. I haven't been as verbose since Facebook became the "IT" way to keep up with the daily antics of our fellow humans. I mean face it, it's a hell of a lot easier to type in a quick status than it is for me to write on a blog. Besides, I'm not a "blogger". I don't have a following and I don't have weekly or even daily posts filled with my pithy observations on life around me. I don't get paid to write, hell, I don't even LIKE to write. Yet, here I am, writing (typing) once again and oddly, once I got started, it was a tad easier than I recalled. So now that I've written a paragraph saying that I was gonna write again, perhaps I should come up with something clever to tell you. um... gee... um... well... huh... not as easy as I thought. ok... still thinking... Well, how about this? I am now "teaching" students that were born AFTER I graduated from HIGH SCHOOL. Now, for those of you that are Teachers in the elementary and middle school age range, I realize this is not new to you. HOWEVER, I teach at the collegiate level and dammit, they look like adults and if they look like adults, then they aren't that much younger than me, right? RIGHT??? Shit... not right. I KNOW I am not THAT old. Hell, I still feel 16 half the time and afraid Mom's gonna ground me, but seriously, this is the first time I realized that I'm old enough to be their MOTHER. Oh hell, no. This means there is well and truly a generational gap now and I'm no longer "hip". Ok, ok, so I was never really "hip", but you get my drift. These kids will not get my pop culture references and I sure a hell won't know theirs. WTF is "One Direction" and who is "Ke$ha"? Wow, I'm so square! Wait, is that even used anymore? Has it ever truly been used since 1955?!?! Ok, so now WTF am I supposed to do to relate to these kids? I'm already teaching them some antiquated "skill" that has no place in a digital world, save as some novelty. I think the real difficulty for me, is that somehow now, I see myself as some kind of mentoring figure for these kids and I still don't know my ass from my elbow. I still haven't figured out how the hell to be a put together successful adult. How on earth am I supposed to be a "good example"? BAD IDEA!!! Danger Will Robinson, Danger!! (Like they even know what I'm talking about?) Well, I guess there really isn't much I can do about it. The students stay the same relative ages and I keep steadily getting older. The only alternative is to stop getting older, but that should only happen metaphorically. At least for another 30-40 years, anyway. I've still got some good years left in me and who knows, but the time I figure my shit out, I may be "retro" and have a return to "hipdom"... or at least not simply be "the crazy lady in the costume shop!"

Monday, August 08, 2011

Not-so-happy Reunion...

I've been stewing over something for a good while and have now decided to hash it out.

Recently, I've had a couple exchanges with people that I knew in high school that have left a bitter taste in my mouth. With the advent of social networking/stalking, it has become en vogue to "befriend" all of your long lost classmates. Often times, this is a positive and even life changing experience. However, what several people fail to remember is that high school was literally a lifetime ago. I've lived twice as long as I had then. I've learned more, grown more and in general am no longer that awkward, uncomfortable in my skin, acne faced and angsty teenager. Why then, do they insist on "commenting" on my page as if I am still that person and actually being quite rude about it.
Yes, I was loud and used it as a way to cover my confusion or fear. Yes, I was a smartass, it was all I knew to do to keep from crying. Some of that may still be true, but I am not the same person I was. At least I don't think I am.
What concerns me too is that my "legacy" seems to be one that has left a bitter taste in the mouth's of others. I'm afraid I'm not remembered well. Was I really all that much of a bitch? Did I treat others with the derision I feel now? Is this a case of revenge of the slighted 20 years later?
I was never one of the popular kids. I wasn't a cheerleader or jock. I wasn't class president or even a particularly brilliant student. I was just me. Apparently who I was wasn't so great.
I know I 'm not who I was, and that I am still trying to figure out who I will be, but who I am is a person, with insecurities, hopes, dreams, fears and feelings. I know I am a good person. I am a kind person. I know who I am, kind of.
I am sad that people still judge me by what they thought they knew of me... I guess all I can do is try not to judge them as I remember them but embrace them as I see them.
I hope I can do this because I'm not done growing and changing. Who knows what or who I'll be if I live another lifetime... probably old and cranky, but with one hell of a sense of humor. (I hope)