Thursday, July 11, 2013

Monkey-free Week


I miss our kids so hard. Hanko and Miss Roo have been gone since Sunday-- they headed up to the hills to their Mimi's house for a week to run around in the dirt and play tetherball and take swim lessons and be spoiled and stay up late and eat all the things they can't eat at home. The timing worked out well for them to do that since I was going to be at the AVID Summer Institute most of this week. They're having a blast, but it's weird for me and E to be home without them. I can't wait to see them tomorrow.

The conference was wonderful, rude participants notwithstanding, and I learned so much. I feel really excited to take on this new challenge of becoming an AVID teacher this year. I spent a lot of time this week thinking about getting my classroom set up and thinking about heading back for the new school year.

I'll be teaching an entirely different schedule this year than I've had in a long time. For the first time since the fall of 2004, I won't be teaching AP English Lit. I wanted to take a year off so I could write my thesis by December and focus on my writing for my MFA. And I'm also teaching Juniors, American Lit, which I haven't done in a long time. After the stress of trying to deal with the workload of three AP classes last year, I can say I'm looking forward to a break from the insane grading. (A few months ago I realized I've been doing that since I was pregnant with Henry. So I've never not been grading summer work and essays every weekend since there was a him. Mind-blowing.) I was scared to let AP go, even for a year, but it feels like the right thing to do for my education and my writing career. And it's been a long time since I've looked at my 11th grade curriculum, but thanks to AVID I have a lot of new ideas I want to try. I think it's good to keep moving, keep changing.


Being downtown all week gave me the opportunity to eat at some of my favorite spots and take some long walks that I don't normally get to take.

Monday I ate lunch at one of my favorite haunts from my days as an apprentice at Sac Ballet--The Bread Store. Of course, I was so poor when I was dancing with them that I could only afford to eat lunch out about once every three weeks. (The other days lunch was usually--no joke--a can of tuna with mustard and pepper on it.) This week on my big fat teacher's salary (ha!) I could buy a whole sandwich AND an iced tea. Ballet-me wouldn't have known what to do with that. (Ballet-me would have been looking under her floormats for quarters just to buy a breadbowl of soup.) Monday I walked all over Midtown, remembering how I used to rotate my illegal parking spots when I was dancing so I wouldn't get towed. (And remembering how mean the guy was who used to own The Beat.)

Tuesday I had lunch with my friend Diane--a former AVID teacher herself, and one of my best teaching buddies at school--at Burgers and Brew. She's made a habit out of meeting any of us who are at the conference for lunch even though she's not teaching AVID anymore, so it was a special treat that she made good on the tradition even when it was just me. After the conference Tuesday, I took a walk past the Capitol and all the way down to E's office by the Crocker Art museum. It was a little warm, but sunny and clear. I'm such a sucker for a city block, and the opportunity to wander and stare at everything. Even in Sacramento, I like walking the streets with tall buildings around me, checking it all out. I got to go up and say hello to many of the attorneys in E's office and then he and I rode home together.

Wednesday K whisked me away from the conference downtown and we had lunch at Evan's Kitchen, where we promptly gabbed and gabbed for hours because we hadn't seen each other in a week.

It's been a good week in both food and friends.

Finally, a ripe tomato!Untitled

My garden has produced a grand total of five cherry tomatoes this week. The first two, I ate before I even got back into the house. I got a small handful of strawberries tonight, too. I know nothing about strawberry plants, but they seem to be doing much better this year than when I planted them last year, and all I have done is completely ignore them. We continue to have zucchini and yellow crookneck squash at a rate of about 1 every 3 days; the cucumbers (2, even though my entire fence is covered in vines) are growing at a snail's pace. They should be ready for one grand serving of sunomono sometime in August.

Tonight I decided I had to do something about my basil plants, though. I have four plants. Three are GIGANTIC, one is tiny in that way that sometimes things don't get as much water or they're in a place with bad soil, or whatever. But I decided I was tired of pinching off the tops so they didn't flower, and I needed to do some serious basil plant-hacking.

Long story short, tomorrow will be Pesto Day. Capital P, Capital D.


It's been a good week for me and E. While we definitely are both missing our kids like crazy, it's been healthy for us to spend some time enjoying each other's company. We've been eating dinner together at home, carpooling, running errands together, bingeing on Netflix series... just silly stuff. But the kind of stuff that reminds you that you like each other and you can get along in your house. We needed this reminding. Unfortunately since I got home from residency, it's been really hard. Really, really hard. Reentry into real life has been painful, bumpy, awkward. For both of us.

I don't like when things have to come to a head, but sometimes they're better after. This is a case of that.  This week is the after, thankfully.

Last night I was finally able to go to one of E's softball games to watch him play. We had just dropped my car off at the dealership to get the Bluetooth fixed and enjoyed a mediocre sushi dinner together even though the food was so-so. He played great. And I'm not just saying that because I'm all dreamy-eyed about him looking good while he swings a bat or plays first base (although I am). He was really good. And it was nice to be able to tell him that. And it's been nice to spend this week together, the two of us. No school, no kids, no running around like crazies.

I miss the monkeys. But we needed this, too.

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