B&N Disappoints

J.P.’s post made me think of my evening yesterday. I had originally set out to find a pair of sensible shoes, the kind that will look good when I have to dress up and my loafers won’t do. Since it was Sunday, everything closed early.

I parked my car on one end of the shopping center and decided to walk my way down in hopes of finding a store that stayed open past 6 P.M. One of the stores that I passed was Barnes and Noble. Now, B&N has never been my favorite bookstore, but I end up there a lot because it’s the only one near by.

I decided to go in because I’d read in the Houston Press that the Ask A Mexican book was now in paperback and I also was considering buy Junot Diaz’s Pulitzer Prize Winning The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

I was really disappointed—yet again—by B&N. I had to go dig through the stacks to find a copy of each. I would have thought that they’d at least have the Diaz book on one of their shelves near the front. I mean, he did win the Pulitzer.

Needless to say, I left with nothing. I really didn’t feel like investing my time in money at this place. Junot Diaz’s Pulitzer Prize Winning The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

I was really disappointed—yet again—by B&N. I had to go dig through the stacks to find a copy of each. I would have thought that they’d at least have the Diaz book on one of their shelves near the front. I mean, he did win the Pulitzer.


Teacher's Lounge

Since taking the position in 7th grade, I don’t use the teacher’s lounge very much. Most of the time, I eat in my classroom so that I can keep working. Yes, that caused me the freak out earlier this year, but lately, I’ve been way better about how late I stay and the workload I take home.

When I was doing cohort training the summer before my first year and in my university classes, we were always told not to hang out in the teacher’s lounge. It was described as a breeding ground of negativity—at times, it really is.

Today, after extended day, some of the kids missed the bus. It was partly my fault because I made them stay so the kids with perfect attendance got an extra prize. It was also the fault of the bus driver because after one kid got on, she took off like a bat out of hell. Because I hate to leave kids waiting alone, I hung out until their parents came to get them.

We were in the entrance of the school sitting on the sofas, and one kid said, “Ms. can I look in here? I’ve always been curious.”

“Sure,” I said as I opened the door for him.

He walked in and immediately sat down at one of the three tables and propped his feet up on the table. “What are you doing? We eat on those. Get your feet off!”

Two of the other kids waiting wandered in and took a seat at the other two tables. “Wow! It’s cool in here!”

“You should see when there are no kids, a disco ball pops down out of the ceiling,” I said.

“I’m sure,” he replied. Then he looked around and said, “You guys have a vending machine!”

“How much is the stuff?” asked the first kid.

“Fifty cents! That’s cheap!”

“Whoa, what’s in there?” asked kid number one as he wandered in to the kitchen area. “A coke machine!” He walked out and asked, “Can I buy one?”

I nodded my head yes. It was so funny to see them so amazed by a simple room. I don’t really know if I should have let them in there; however, I don’t see the harm. I remember as kid always wanting to be the kid Mrs. Rutherford chose to fill her cup with ice, so I could see the inside of the teacher’s lounge.


Shifting Focus, Old Friends, La Doctora

Shifting Focus

This Saturday is the last Saturday I have to work. I am so excited! It’s been fun though. Usually, before the TAKS test, we have what we call “extended day.” This is when kids stay later or come in on Saturdays to work on skills they need to pass TAKS. Usually, it’s by invite for the kids who struggle in class. Teachers try to do fun lessons; there are snacks, prizes, and some gym time. This year however, we had the crazy idea to do this for the kids taking the EOC (End of Course Exam given to Pre AP students a week after TAKS). We’ve had a really good time reading one of Robert Karimi’s poems. Saturday, they will create a blog with a literary analysis on Karimi’s poem and an MLK Speech. Should be cool. I’ll also be glad to have my Saturday mornings back next week.

I’ve shifted my focus back to students and in turn, it’s made me so much happier. I fake the good mood when I’m tired or lazy, and it rubs off on the kids, they behave, and make me want to be there. Kids are asking me if I will move up to 8th grade so they can have me one more year. There is a position open, and it would be interesting (what effects would this have on their learning?) and cool (to be with one group of kids for three years, very Freedom Writer-ish). However, I think for my sanity I will need to remain in 7th grade, for now.

Today, a student I don’t know (although this happens a lot, kids say hi, come into my room for tutoring, etc. and I don’t even know who they are) came to ask me for some advice about voicing her opinion. She was upset that students are being asked to remove Peta2 stickers from their binders. She had written a letter. It needs some work, but she makes some very good points. I gave her some suggestions and told her to go for it. I think it’s really cool and the peeps I’ve shared the story with think its cool, too.

Old Friends

If any of you have read any of the stories I wrote for Windows, you will know about Gabriel.

Gabriel was my best friend growing up. A few years after high school, we lost touch. About two weeks ago, when I checked my phone after school, I had three missed calls and a voice mail from my mom.

In the voice mail, my mom starts off stating some numbers, she says them again and then says, “Ese es el numero del Gabriel.” Too bad I’m old and it was the end of the day because I almost started jumping up in down, actually, not too bad because I could have further ruined the foundation of our old building. ;)

Since then, we’ve talked, e-mailed, and texted. It’s been the coolest thing in the world. I can’t even explain how happy it has made me to be in touch with him again.

La Doctora

I got a text earlier today from my sis letting me know that our sister-friend got her Ph.D. I suppose she defended her dissertation today. How awesome is that?

Felicidades Caro!


Marjane Satrapi

I was so anxious for last Saturday. Not only was I not working, I was also having a outing that entailed an author reading. I’d been looking forward to Marjane Satrapi’s reading for so long. Every time the Houston Inprint sent another e-mail advertising her reading, I’d get excited all over again.

That evening, my sis, her student, and I made our way to the Hobby Center. As they stood in line to buy books, I wandered around looking for the ticket counter only to find that I’d been right in front of it the whole time. When I got to the front of the line, I asked for two tickets. The woman replied, “We’re sold out.”

“You’re sold out?”

“Yes, but at 7:30 we will release all seats, do you want me to give you a number?”

I looked around a little disillusioned. How was it that I wasn’t going to get to see the author of one of my new favorite books? Finally, I said, “Yes, please.”

She gave me back half of an index card with #18 and Satrapi scribbled onto it. My claustrophobia kicked in so I had to make my way away from the crowds. I thought about going outside to see if there were any scalpers, but figured that it was highly unlikely. So I hung around inside and mingled with my sis’s student as my sis mingled with some of the people she knew in hopes of scoring some tickets. No such luck though.

At 7:30, we herded over to the ticket table again. It was only a matter of minutes before our number was called and we were able to get some tickets.

It was so worth it.

Satrapi is so awesome. She didn’t read from the book, but instead talked about why she chose cartoons to tell her story and how the book and movie came about. I haven’t seen the movie yet. I’m going to wait until it’s on video because I’d prefer to see it in its original language.

After the reading, there was the mandatory book signing. The line was incredibly long, but she moved us along pretty quickly. For the first time in a long time, I was so nervous and excited. She was so pleasant. I’ve ordered Embroideries off Amazon (of course B&N didn’t have it, why would they right?).

If you haven’t checked out her works, you definitely should.