Friday, March 22, 2013

To Be Me - Birthday Edition

What a day for a poem on being me! Today I am 37. I keep hearing Alice Cooper in my head "I'm 18, and I don't know what I want..." then the Beatles, then Cracker - the birthday songs of my life. My parents would play them, my friends would crank them up, and now it's me: singing them in my head, musing on those years, happy to be right here. Right now. This is the good stuff. You are the good stuff, you friends. 
Here's one from a few weeks ago:

To Be Me
To be me is to be hearing snippets
to be hearing lines pass through
words forever unfolding
like ribbons rumpling
like kites with no tether
balloons with no hand clenched tightly

It is background
it is white noise
It is a parallel life
invisible by my side

I can turn and be silent
or I can grasp that kite
sprawl those words across paper
from my hand
to your heart

I can keep walking
watch that balloon 
into the distance
lose that kite to the wind

Those words might have been
The Words
That line might have made
It All Clear

This circular universe
this unicycle of life
might never bring the same exact words
but there is nothing new


Mom comes to visit today, so, there will be tales to tell. You know it.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cultures in a Jar

So, a month ago, the bilingual specialist (my co-coordinator) Mayte and I sent out volunteer forms for the elementary school's International Night. This event is the most-loved, best-attended event at school - usually over 500 people come to International Night. Our school has over 250 families from outside the US, and we try to have a table for each of those countries - but it all depends on volunteer parents. There are 7 choices on the form, from "Coordinate a table" to "Bring food" to "Wear traditional clothing from my country" to "I know a dance group from my country."
The volunteer table coordinator has to make a tri-fold poster about the country, come up with a stamp or sticker to mark the kids passports that night, make or purchase small samples of food, wear traditional clothing - and most importantly, contact and organize all the other volunteers for that country.
My job has been to process all the forms, input the names & contact info and create a spreadsheet and binder  of separate countries and volunteers. Then, pass this organized info on to all the country table coordinators, and stay in touch to be sure everyone is on target and on time. We have 29 countries represented this year, and a response trend emerged early on. Alpharetta is a big tech-job area, resulting in a size-able east Indian population. But, as in most school events, finding volunteers to coordinate or head up anything can be a challenge. We all have busy lives and varying abilities to Show Up and Lead. Here are my favorite responses, and some of the cultures in a jar:

  • East Indian responses: total: 31 - (our best response) 30% want to bring food, 60% want to wear traditional clothing and 90% know a dance group from their country. No one wants to run the table.
  • Mexican responses: total: 22 - (second best response) 10% want to wear traditional clothing, 90% want to bring food. No one wants to run the table.
  • Iranian responses: total: 4 - All 4 want to bring food, all 4 want to run the table.

I would call these generalizations, but they are Actual Responses and Rough Estimates - and they crack me up. Over the past month it's become a game with Rick & I. Mayte sends home an envelope of whatever forms were returned that day - I divide them into countries and hold them up for Rick to guess the responses. I am continually fascinated by cultural differences, and love this opportunity to see them in play, at our own school event!
In other updates - thank you for the well-wishes - and 10 points to Gryffindor! No wait, 10 points to Root Doctor-indor! Mom's tea tree oil steam treatments have won the day!
I did 7 treatments in 2 days, and cleared those sinuses right out. Now, it was not without issue, let me assure you. Isabella walked in after school, took a deep sniff and said "What smells like Gigee's house?" HA! Sorry Mom, you smell like ointment and oils! And, I discovered later, much to my chagrin (since I couldn't smell a thing!) that I smelled like a potent mix of antiseptic tea tree oil, peppermint (for the headache), and Vick's VapoRub (for whatever it would fix) - and wow! You wish you could get near me. :) Here's to warmer weather (though it's currently 32 in GA) and healthier households.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

In Which I Consult The Root Doctor

Now, I know it has been awhile since I wrote about my Mom, but that's because she has fallen in love and fallen off the planet. Oh, I jest! (Not really.)
But, after 14 days of a sinus ache that I could not beat, I called The Root Doctor aka, My One and Only Mother (this is how she refers to herself in every voicemail). Oh, I jest! (Not at all.)
You may remember my loving recollection of Mom's root-ish remedies from this post a couple of years ago. Oh I jest, how I jest! (This one bit me on the butt.) Because I truly did need a remedy, and I needed it fast.
Mom did not disappoint. In less than an hour I was set up at home with steaming water, dropping in essential oils and dripping potions into my ears. I did have a brief panic attack and visual of a Bill Nye the Science Guy experiment gone wrong at one point - when I had cleaned my ears with tea tree oil and then later dropped in hydrogen peroxide. Ooooh, the excitement! The thought flashed through as I dripped peroxide "Ummm, maybe I shouldn't mix things IN MY EARS..." flash bang boom fizz! Well, mostly fizz. Okay, it was all fizz, and it was all fine.
I breathed steamy tea tree oil and water, I dripped and dropped and I felt mildly better.
I forgot where I was going with this, because that's what happens when you have a sinus headache. Thoughts leave your head because all you can think is in a cave-womanish mumble: "Ugh. Head hurt. Head hurt. Face hurt. MUST STOP HURT." And then you make a call to your mother and wind up at the natural food store wondering what a eucalyptus oil enema is. The jesting, I can't stop! (Seriously, don't try any kind of oil enema, I totally made that up.)
The moral of the story, kids, is that *sometimes* root doctoring can help you out.
Other times, you just get a good story in which you can make fun of your Mom.

In other Borderland news, I am the PTA's International Liaison this year for our school's International Night!
That is going to be a separate post, entitled In Which I Generalize Cultures Based On Volunteer Form Responses. I know. Sounds boring, but really isn't. I jest not!
Last year's post can be seen here, in case you want to reminisce with me about how often I used to post, and how sometimes I wrote cute stories. Ah, the good old days.
Now back to my regularly scheduled Sinus Steam Cleaning.