I’m not sure where I read about a new book about lying. Perhaps it was in the Oprah magazine that I browsed through at Barnes and Noble earlier. Anyway, it pointed out some stats like white lies aren’t really all that good and a large percentage, like 80%, of people tell lies. As I cut through the parking lot to the easiest exit, it got me thinking about all the things I have lied about in particular the things that I’ve lied to myself about.

I lie to myself a lot. Mostly to “fake it ‘till I make it.” On those days where everything goes wrong and I’m convinced my day is going to be horrible because the steamer ran out of water or my alarm clock didn’t go off, I often rationalize that those things will not dictate my day and plaster a smile across my face at the first sign of students and colleagues.

That’s not a lie you may say, but to me, it is. See, this is how I got myself to like reading. I have always read, ever since I was a little kid. My oldest sister used to buy me books from some mail service. I remember I had this huge book with all these funky looking drawings. The book was designed to teach me my colors, numbers, the alphabet, etc. I’m sure you know the kind. I loved looking at it and wanted so bad to know what it said. I had other titles, too and Gabi always brought home books for me from the library. Despite us being immigrants and poor, our house was not a poor print home. My mom always tried to instill in us a love of reading.

My mom always recalls me sitting in my rocking chair next to my record player looking at books and listening to music. I loved having books around and looking at the pictures and being read to.

When I finally learned to read, I was motivated by programs like Book It or by praise from my teachers, but honestly, I didn’t like reading so much.

I would have to read passages over and over sometimes because I didn’t understand the words and/or would go off on a mental fieldtrip. Still, I continued to read.

It’s funny that for someone who didn’t love reading, I actually read a lot. Perhaps my lack of friends helped. In seventh grade, I would spend my lunchtime in the library perusing the shelves. Or maybe the summer that we moved to my sisters and there was nothing to do and I learned to stay up all night glued to a book because I became enthralled by the lives of the characters. During high school, I often avoided going home and hung out in the library instead.

When people asked what I liked to do, naturally, I said read because it was something I did often whether or not I was successful. I faked it until I made it because now, I really do like to read. I’ve spent much of my free time this summer with my nose in a book or listening to one on my iPod as I clean or attempt to fall asleep. So maybe lying to myself this instance wasn’t such a bad thing.



Today, amidst the cleaning and napping and errand running I visited two memories.

The first happened when I was sitting on the floor at the foot of my bed staring at the various tubes of lotions that ended up in my bedroom. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed because there still seemed to be so much to do and I couldn’t figure out how I was going to carry that many products back into the bathroom and then I’d have to rearrange the contents of the cabinet to make them fit, but before that I would need to change the litter because surely I wouldn’t be able to stand the smell and I might as well sweep and mop the floor before I clean the litter. So I sat there and took a trip to the district championship soccer game last spring. Who knows what got me thinking about it. But I started thinking how telling it was that the student who invited made sure to come up into the stands to say hello and thank me for coming. I also got to wondering if he’d invited any other teachers. The old coach who took a position mid-semester was there, as was the head coach, and the program coordinator that funds soccer (soccer is considered a club and not a sport at our campus).

It made me feel really good to go and see some of my current and former students kick some SoHo butt. I also enjoyed listening to the parents cheer on their kids. Everyone was supporting “los rojos.” Some parents brought gallons of juice and coolers for the little kids. One of my former students was out there trying his best while his mom gave birth to his baby sister down the street. His dad and little brothers were there supporting him. Those are the things that I truly miss. Last year I had so many duties that although they help kids, don’t allow me to be in the midst of all the action interacting with the kids. I hope I can change that this year.

The other memory trip came as I was driving to run an errand. Again, who knows what triggered it, but I got to thinking about my graduation party. Thinking back, I feel guilty that I wasn’t around to help much. My sister, her bff, and my mom did all of the work from cooking to setting up tables and decorating. It was really cool. There was mole, frijoles refritos, Caro’s famous empanadas, garbanzo and onion salad (one of my favorites), and perhaps some kind of wine punch. There was a cake made by my old supervisor at APP. I’m sure there were other things, but that’s all I remember these days. It was cool because despite it being crazy times, lots of people came and we all just had a good time. When I was thinking about this earlier, I was captivated by the idea that these three women had done this for me, like my ada madrinas. I guess in a way they all kind of are. It’s the kind of thing that happens in movies and sometimes we say, “wouldn’t it be cool if I had….” Sometimes completely missing that we actually already have that.


Summer 09

Summer is halfway over and I feel like I just now got a chance to relax. Even though I attended fewer staff developments this year and the training I helped lead didn't involve as much planning as last year, somehow I feel like I’ve spent the first half of this summer working. June felt like it just flew by.

The good news is that I can totally get away with slacking off now if I want. Aside from spending Tuesday conducting interviews with a slew of characters, I spent most of the week just relaxing. Although, when your nose is constantly congested and your hearing is a bit off because of it and you’re living for your next dose of Sudafed, it’s not much of a vacation.

I did manage to get into a little routine in which I live my life in thirty to one hour increments depending on what television show is currently leading my life. Today, I made a conscious choice not to do that. Yesterday, the finale of the Gilmore Girls was re-aired and I’d been waiting for that since Spring Break, or maybe the little break I gave myself in May. Anyway, I mostly laid around reading a manuscript of an upcoming Pinata Books title with the television on something crappy just for background noise.

The good thing is that it doesn’t take much for my obsessions to change. I just have to become involved in the lives of the characters and then it’s like my sunflower seed addiction—don’t stop until you finish the bag…even if you scald your tongue with the salt.

I got like that with My Sister’s Keeper earlier this summer. It was during the three day TALA training that I twitted about. I would stay up until 2 or 3 AM knowing that I had to be at training the next day, but I'd become so obsessed that I was dedicated to finishing it before the week was over. In my mind, I rationalized my reading with being brain dead at the training. I think that’s the only way I made it through that week. Kelley Gallagher said it best, “I was better off sitting in my cubicle staring at my belly button and watching fuzz grow.”

I do have to make a more decent effort at not spending my days wishing I would just get up and shower so that I could sit at Barnes and Noble sipping tea and writing or reading as the afternoon sunlight streams in and causes a golden glow on the table tops. I also really want to check out the renovated main library. Apparently, best coffee shop in the area has a café in there. I should totally go and take advantage of reading smut magazines instead of rushing through them while waiting to check out at Wal Mart.

Next week the Mother arrives so that should be fun. And then after that, I think I have one official week of summer left before my times gets eaten away by the little work caterpillars. I must make the most out of this last bit of summer. Next year isn’t promising anything different and I will need all of the energy and I can gather up.