Because some days all I get is thirteen minutes and I piece it together as best I can

Aside from the instant weight gain the morning of February 7, 2012, I loved turning 40. I loved being 40, growing into my canas, being able to turn down work, feeling wise, still kicking a••. But 41…sigh. It’s like the day after Christmas or having to clean up the kitchen once the party guests have gone home. Kind of a letdown. But now that I’m one month into this new age, I am paying closer attention to my body, sleeping when she says, “I’m tired,” drinking water instead of eating a brownie, jogging the streets of my old neighborhood at sunset because I’ve been sitting all day, and the streets are well lit, and people are out walking their dogs.

I’m taking swimming lessons for the first time since 1980. Back then Tommy Trujillo was my swim instructor, and my mom says I had a crush on him. He went to our church, and he was one of the tallest boys in Deming, and even though I was just a little kid, he would always say hi to me when I saw him at the Safeway after mass.

photoTwo of my Otro Lado boys got in a fist fight. I don’t know what it was about. It happened on Tuesday a few hours before I arrived at the school, maybe during lunch. They are in different classes but play together on the basketball team. One spends most of the class walking around. The other talks constantly. Both are really smart, a little cynical for their age. Both are easily distracted. Both challenge me to plan engaging lessons, give clear directions, and to pay attention. They’ve each been suspended for three days. Whey they return, most of their classmates will have finished their journey maps. (Think the voyages of Christopher Columbus or Billy from Family Circus walks home from school.) The one who talks wanted to map the journey from the desk to the classroom door. I might say yes to this when we meet again. The other was going to sketch a trip with the basketball team. It’s hard not to personalize it when they don’t immediately take to watercolors or poetry. But each student comes with a story. Expression is difficult for some. One wants to get it perfect. Another doesn’t know where to begin. We started on Tuesday with eyes closed, just feeling the paper. Rest your finger on a spot. Start there.

photoThe kids’ backyard playhouse is a one-room, open air casita on stilts that shelters a sand box where they would dig tunnels and bury toys until the afternoon we discovered two black widows under the cross beams. Then a colony of yellow jackets built their nest above the play table in the upstairs room. The playhouse hadn’t seen a child until two weekends ago when Henry and K. “relocated” the arachnid and insect inhabitants, swept, dusted off the furniture, and pulled out the stake that held the climbing rope taught between the roof and the ground. Now K. has reclaimed the space. He swings from the rope and is negotiating with P. to turn the place into a Power Ranger headquarters (I’m the Purple Rhino Ranger). Today we did homework at the play table. For every three sentences, K. got to swing from the rope. This arrangement works much better than forcing him to sit still at the dining room table.

Sometimes the men return to our yard. Jimmy went to rehab. Now he’s back in the neighborhood, working out, cleaning offices with his brother-in-law, going to church. Trying. Joseph’s cousin has been sober for eight days. He’s working on the farm, harvesting, planting, weeding, anything he can to stay busy.

Pope Emeritus. Hmmmm…

I think the sequester (should this be capitalized?) was John Boehner’s intent all along. Thanks to gerrymandering in states like Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, even if voters turn their ire toward the GOP, Boehner’s party will most likely retain control of the House. Read all about it here.

I’m thinking a road trip is the best way for my mom and me to travel to Laredo.

February is the longest month.

We’re getting ready for a yard sale at Casa Rael/Otero, so my side of the office is packed with old clothes, household items, and toys. In search of props, I raided the Playdoh bin and found lids embossed with turtles, flowers, butterflies, and ponies. I stuffed the lids in my bag of tricks and headed out the door for an Alzheimer’s Poetry Project workshop at Barelas Share Your Care. (Read our onion poem from January here.) We did some call and response with William Blake’s “The Tyger,” and Hilaire Belloc’s “The Frog.” I passed out the Playdoh lids, and we sang “Old MacDonald,” inserting the animals from our lids.

and on his farm he had a horse, EE-I-EE-I-O

with a clappity clap here and clappity clap there

here a clap, there a clap, everywhere a clap clap

Old MacDonald had a farm, EE-I-EE-I-O

and on his farm he had a nightmare, EE-I-EE-I-O…

and on his farm he had a flower, EE-I-EE-I-O

and the flower said, “Look at me, I’m beautiful

Published in: on March 7, 2013 at 4:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

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