Thursday, April 30, 2009

Everyday Encounters

As we have already established, I work with kids. Teenagers to be exact. They fill my life with joy, always keep me on my toes and puzzle me to no end.

I offer a conversation I had yesterday as an example:

Me: How was your day?

Teen: Good, but I'm really tired.

Me: I'm sorry to hear that. Did you have to be at school early?

Teen: Yes. And I've been tired all day. I could just lay down and take a nap right now.

Me: You should go for it. (Inner monologue: I mean, you did show up an hour and a half early for tonight's activity. It might help both of us if you got some shut eye)

Teen: I can't sleep now. I'm wide awake.

Me: But you just said you could take a nap right now.

Teen: I know, but I'm wide awake, so I can't. I've been wide awake since five this morning.

Being a teenager is much more difficult and confusing than I remember.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Easter Encounters

For 40 days following Easter it is customary for Orthodox Christians to greet each other by saying "Christ is Risen!" and then the other person responds by saying "Indeed He is Risen!" We say it in all kinds of languages and sometimes even make up our own. (You may recall the scene in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" where Toula is trying to teach Ian to say "Christos Anesti"...) In fact, I bet if you found an Orthodox church in your phonebook right now, someone would answer the phone by saying, "Christ is Risen," in one language or another. It's a pretty big deal.

Anyways, at the Eater service this past weekend, there was this adorable 10 year-old altar boy who was holding a basket of bread after church on Saturday night (apx. 2:30 a.m.). My friend walked by and said, "Christ is Risen, Daniel!" He didn't respond, so she explained to him how he should respond when someone greets him in that way. I mean, he is so cute and he has to learn sometime. She was trying to do him a favor. You know, help him get more candy in his Easter basket.

Later, while everyone was feasting in the hall, she saw him and again said, "Christ is Risen, Daniel."

He looked and her and said, "Yeah, yeah. So I've heard..." and walked away.

It. Was. Priceless.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Periodic Encounters

It's Tuesday. Again. The kids are here. Again.

This time they didn't bring chickens, but they are working VERY hard on their periodic tables. How do I know? No, I am not creepily lingering outside their classroom doors. I am just sitting here at my desk listening to them sing all about the elements. Over and over and over and over...

I would like to invite you to join my world for a moment:
Warning: you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

(This is sung to the tune of "This Old Man." You know, "This old man, he played one. He played knick knack on my thumb..." No? Your memory can be jogged here.)

Lithium, Barillium, Boron, Carbon.
Nitrogen, Oxegen, Florine, and Neeeee-On...."

Also, keep in mind that the teacher/mom who is leading this songfest has an amazing falsetto range.

I. Love. Life.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chick Encounters

Every Tuesday, a homeschool group rents out the building I work in for their "co-op day." (My thoughts on how you can be called "homeschoolers" and have classes in a big building with a zillion other kids will have to wait til another day.)

Needless to say, Tuesdays are loud and always an adventure. I'm used to it. I am used to hearing ridiculous songs about the periodic table and the order of the presidents. I am used to walking down the hall while hugging the wall because the children insist on walking side-by-side in groups of eleven when they venture from room to room. I am even used to seeing breast-feeding mothers - EVERYWHERE - with or without blankets to cover themselves. Doesn't even phase me anymore.

But today - oh, today - today is different. Today, Tuesday, the 14th of April, is the day that the kids brought chicks to school. No, not hot teeny-boppers or twenties somethings, like real chicks. Baby chickens. How do I know this? Well, the chicks have been chirping and tweeting ever since I walked in the door this morning. Don't get me wrong, they are adorable, and it makes me sad to think about how many of them will probably die before they make it to the "big farm" all the mothers are taking them to on Thursday. I just wish they could be cute and adorable in a room that isn't right next door to my office. Is that too much to ask?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Joyful Encounters

I'm just going to say it: I love Christmas music. I don't care how typical it makes me. Or how annoying it might be to other people. It's true. And that's all that matters. So what could make me write about Christmas music in the middle of April? THIS:

(sorry about the wind noise - it was very blustery)
This is my dear adopted niece singing her heart out on the swings at the park two days ago. She loves to sing, but usually only sings Christmas carols. What can I say? She's a woman after my own heart.

Anyways, she just kept singing this song and every now and then she would stop and say things like, "It looks like spring over there," or, "there's the mailman," and then she would start all over. Again and again and again. She is two and I love her.

If that doesn't make you smile, well, then I'm sorry, there is no hope for you.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pirate Encounters

Today I was driving and I saw this cute old couple driving in their minivan. They were probably in their late 60's. They had on matching track jackets and I imagine they were going to take a few vigorous laps around the mall or something equally classic like that. (It's probably sad how I let my imagination play out other people's lives as well as my own. Then again maybe I'm just like Meg Ryan in "You've Got Mail," when she sees the butterfly on the subway and imagines it is on its way to Bloomingdale's to buy a hat that will turn out to be a mistake. Not that that makes it any better, it just means I'm not alone in my insanity - I have a wonderful fictional character to keep me company.)

Anyways, I saw this couple driving in their lovely minivan that probably holds all their perfectly behaved grandchildren, when I suddenly noticed something. They had a license plate on the front of their van, as many people do. But this license plate didn't say "Florida," or have a smiley face or an airbrushed name on it. Instead, it had this. No lie. There was a skull and cross bones on the front of their van. Totally didn't see that coming.

Clearly my imagination and I have a serious problem when it comes to the accuracy of our visions. Oh well, can't win 'em all.