Thursday, August 24, 2017

It's Almost Time

The start of the school year is nearly upon as. As I savor the final glorious golden days until I go back to work, I needed a little reminder that being a human Kleenex for a living is not always terrible. Every day there are gems like these just waiting to be uttered:

"It's not my best, but it's my fifth or sixth best."

L: I've been to the North Pole.
Me: No you haven't.
L: Yes I have. I found a direct flight from Seattle for $9 million.

"Look, Ms. Margoshes! I brought something to help me with my math!" -S, holding up a calculator

"Cutting people in half is considered rude."

"Look at my finger! It's yellow! You know why? Because my guts are leaking through. You never know--your guts could be yellow."

"It's not bragging if you only say it twice."

"This is Bugtopia. Here is Buglington National Cemetery...and Steakhouse."

C: Ms. Margoshes, is showing your belly button at school inappropriate?
Me: You should probably leave your shirt where it is.
C: Yeah. Once is fine but a lot of times can get pretty gross.

"I'm a legit monkey!"

"Look at this giant pinecone! It's science!"

"You know when dogs die and people put them in boxes and set them on fire and then they turn into coal?"

"She should have a bling bling. That's a big necklace with a B on it."

"My Elf on a Shelf was on the very top of the curtains this morning. That's how I knew she was real--because my parents can't reach that high."

"But if our parents are Santa, that means they're the ones eating the cookies we put out. That's ridiculous."

"No offense, but you can't erase colored pencil."

Me: If you have one apple, can you take six away?
C: No.
Me: So what do you do?
C: ...Buy more apples?

"My car insurance is Liberty Neutral."

"My dad is smarter than you are. He saw a muskrat."

"I wanted my nose to be the record of tallness." -C, when asked why he had a ruler on his face

K: Do dragons live in volcanoes?
J1: Dragon's aren't real.
J2: Some people think they were.
A: I've seen videos.

A: I told my mom I wanted to be back by Sunday.
Me: You don't want to miss more school?
A: I don't want to miss church. Sometimes there are doughnuts.

A: Can I go to the library? I need to find out something.
N: What?
A: If cows are endangered.

G: I kind of have a dog.
N: Kind of?
G: Yeah, we sort of gave up on her.

S: My superpower would be wizard shaving.
Me: Do I want to know what that is?
S: Probably not.

"I'm a nice kid. Except yesterday I bit my grandma."

N: S, where's your sock?
S (shrugging): It must be the in the library.

"The good part about dying is that there are flowers and people carry you. The bad part is they bury you in the ground and in a year you're dust."

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Not-Me

A while ago I read How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran. It's a book about a fourteen-year-old girl who embarrasses herself so profoundly on a local TV talk show that she sees no other choice for her life but to recreate herself entirely. Since then, I've been thinking about who I would become if I could ever unbecome myself. It's comforting, the existence of this hypothetical other me. I like imagining that somewhere out there is a woman living a life I un-have.

This not-me would wear high-heeled black boots that end just below the knee, which I don't wear now because they make me look like a dominatrix, and patterned skirts that hit me mid-thigh. (If I can invent an entirely new woman to take over my body, I'm certainly not going to give her any of my current insecurities.) I'd invent a formal gown with built-in pajamas and a ten-gallon hat with an actual ten-gallon aquarium. I'd have a constant headache, but at least I'd get to secretly spend all day in my jammy-jams.

I haven't decided whether I would chop off all my hair--a friend once suggested I'd look cute with inch-long curls--or grow it out so long that I could just whip it unabashedly in people's faces when they annoyed me. The mere thought of maintaining said hair exhausts me, but I have to remember that it might not exhaust not-me. In fact, not-me might love nothing more than clogging the drain with dark brown baseball-sized hair nests and being mistaken for the business end of a donkey.

I would have some cool, impressive job like museum curator or the person who holds the clapperboard before every take during a movie shoot. I would live in a modern geometric eyesore of an apartment and fill the garden with only yellow flowers. I'd host lavish dinner parties where I'd serve pretentious things like carrot foam that you pump out of a lotion bottle.

I would have a friend in every country in the world, so if I ever wanted to ride a yak in Kazakhstan or gamble away my fortunes in Monaco, I'd have somewhere to stay. My friends would all know me down to the soul, and most of them would take the fall if I ever hacked a government official's emails.

In my spare time I would throw large objects into nearby lakes to see how long it would take to raise the water levels by at least a foot. I would learn to sing Don McLean's "American Pie" backwards. I'd collect antique doorknobs and use them to build a door that no one could open.

I would never write a blog post about alternate selves because I would have exactly the life I wanted.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Poetry Corner Sunday

Yard Work

Tod Marshall

No apples on the Braeburn tree. Some years, they
do that, you say. Your father, the expert gardener,
told you so. I'm gloomy. I see portents, doom,
disaster. Our neighbor mows his lawn every third day.
His name is Gideon, and he claims that someone
named a lamp after him. Click goes the switch.

Start the mower: upside-down helicopter
chopping grass instead of sky. Meanwhile,
the pinwheel across the street, among daisies,
daffodils, and a towering sunflower, spins
like a turbine just before takeoff, passengers
fastening belts, actually listening to advice, learning
how to float on something that's supposed to be a seat.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Dear Bean

The lilacs are stirring to life, their squeezed-shut pink buds beginning to loosen in the spring light. I think of you sitting like Ferdinand under those bushes, breathing in their sweetness. I still wish we'd buried you there.

The kids at school are working on their spring production of Seussical the Musical. I wake up every morning singing "Here on Who," and by the time I leave work, having listened to the entire soundtrack at least twice throughout the course of the afternoon, I can't remember if the book I'm reading is How to Build a Girl (by Caitlin Moran) or "How to Raise a Child" (sung by the mayor of Who and his wife).

We redid the bathroom. Raised the ceiling, retiled the shower and floor, put in an exhaust fan that I can never remember to turn on. It looks like someone else's bathroom. The door is loud when it closes.

There's a note on my desk that simply says, "Chia seeds!" I have no idea why.

I have more books than places to put them.

When I'm stressed on the weekends, I find a corner of the Children's section at the library and read until some mother comes by with her kid and looks at me like I've just set my hair on fire.

There are houses next door. Four of them. The ones that were going up noisily as you lay on my bed in your blanket, taking your last week's worth of shallow, ragged breaths. The houses are big and ugly and exactly the same. Little boxes made of ticky-tacky. I fantasize about them collapsing in a wind storm.

A couple months ago I was told by a ten-year-old at work that I "could use a face upgrade." He was building a Lego plastic surgery center and was desperate for patients.

I sliced pineapple and strawberries yesterday and you weren't there to stand below the cutting board and swat my ankles, waiting for your cut. I left you a few tiny pieces on a plate, which you didn't eat, because you're dead.

It's been warm lately, too warm for your blanket on top of my comforter, but I can't bear to take it off so I've folded it up and draped it across the foot of my bed. I need you with me, especially at night.

I made some eggs last night that looked like scrambled brain matter and them scarfed them down, barely looking, even though I wasn't hungry.

I've been going for runs after work, trying to get myself so tired that I can sleep through the night.

I feel like my body is made of lead. Every day.

I need something to write about.

I miss you.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Poetry Corner Whenever-I-Feel-Like-It


Sandra Beasley

We all went in a yellow school bus
on a Tuesday. We sang the whole way up.
We tried to picture the bodies stacked three deep
on either side of that zigzag fence.
We tried to picture 23,000 of anything.
It wasn’t that pretty. The dirt smelled like cats.
Nobody knew who the statues were. Where was
Stonewall Jackson? We wanted Stonewall on his horse.
The old cannons were puny. We asked about fireworks.
Our guide said that sometimes, the land still let go
of fragments from the war—a gold button, a bullet,
a tooth migrating to the surface. We searched around.
On the way back to the bus a boy tripped me and I fell—
Skidding hard along the ground, gravel lodging
in the skin of my palms. I cried the whole way home.
After a week, the rocks were gone.
My mother said our bodies can digest anything,
but that’s a lie. Sometimes, at nights, I feel

the battlefield moving inside of me.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

4 Years

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

-Emily Dickinson

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Poetry Corner Sunday Night

Selecting a Reader

Ted Kooser

First, I would have her be beautiful,
and walking carefully up on my poetry
at the loneliest moments of an afternoon,
her hair still damp at the neck
from washing it. She should be wearing
a raincoat, an old one, dirty
from not having enough money for the cleaners.
She will take out her glasses and there
in the bookstore she will thumb
over my poems, then put the book back
up on its shelf. She will say to herself,
"For that kind of money, I can get
my raincoat cleaned." And she will.