Friday, March 27, 2009

Service Day

Service day was hilarious.

We drove the kids to the Catholic elementary school we had offered to do an Extreme Teacher's Lounge Makeover for, and went bananas.

The walls hadn't been painted since about 1983, before most of the kids' parents were married. Originally bright white, they were now dingeriffic. The trim had all been painted a hideous shade of dentist's-office aqua. The bathrooms were decorated with multicolored handpainted chalk-squiggle paint things. It was hideous.

We painted everything a nice tan color, sort of the shade of coffee ice cream. We got paint on the kids. We got paint everywhere, but all over the walls, luckily. The kids assembled the new furniture from IKEA.

We ripped out the carpet, or rather, several teenage boys ripped out the carpeting while the older men on the expedition (husbands and fathers of teachers, fathers of students) watched and made kind, non-self-esteem-shattering comments like "Stay in school guys," and "You in the red shirt, you are gonna go to college, right?"

Several kids wired a nice light fixture.

Teenage boys went upstairs to the boys bathroom to wash paintbrushes. A short time later, water began to come through the downstairs ceiling.

Luckily, one of the dads is a plumber.

We installed shelves and things. Two of the aforementioned older men were completely startled and entranced when one of the teenage girls demanded to learn how to use the electric drill. They taught her, and then stood, amazed, as she drilled. "Look at her go," one of them marveled.

We got stuff done. A good day.

It's been a crazy time

I'm busy these days. Busy, busy, busy.

Which is weird, because I'm only working part time, but I'm working two jobs part time, which means I spend six days a week needing to be somewhere, sometime.

Tomorrow, though, is a bit of a change. St. Dymphna's is having a service day, which means that my 'faith family' and I, and some other people, are taking off to completely revamp the teacher's lounge at a local Catholic elementary school. We're doing the full Complete Lounge Makeover. Paint, artwork, new carpet.

NEW CARPET? That was the part that threw me. For God's sake, they want me to lay a carpet with these kids? But apparently Mr. Villanueva, who is a professional carpet layer, is coming with us, and we have some special easy-to-lay carpet from Ikea...whatever. It will be OK.

I registered with Little Verdant Footballs. It was a moment of weakness. I've been spending too much time reading and commenting and playing around. I have a weird relationship with LGF. I find lots of the people there interesting and funny, and I enjoy being someplace where Israel is news, and no one will ever turn anti-Semitic or plaintively ask why Israel won't make peace with the poor Palestinians. And they have entertaining discussions about anti-evolution forces in the GOP, and I sort of let the incessant bashing of Nancy Pelosi flutter by me.

I think I may have to give it up, though, after a few months of cautious fun. For one thing, they are getting absolutely wonko about Obama, and honestly, I'm getting bored hearing about how the Communists are gonna take away their guns and make them pay for health care for unemployed undocumented Democrats.

For another, today I finally got irked enough to mildly object to a frequent trope of theirs, calling Mohammed (the prophet, not my ex-sixth-grade student) a 'pedophile', due to his marriage to Aisha. I pointed out, I thought rationally, that a lot of girls were married off very very young for political reasons in the seventh century, worldwide, and that the constant moral indignation about this was wearing thin. I was called a moral relativist on the spot. OK. Not such a big deal.

Then, this evening, I got annoyed when one of the regular posters bitterly complained about Muslim children being allowed to use school space for prayer. My take on this is pretty simple--it's legal, Christian students do it all the time, no big whoop. (Moreover, on this site, it's more common for people to complain that Christian students aren't allowed to pray at school. Which is not the heck true.)

Wrong, big whoop. Not from a whole lot of people, but intensely from a few regulars. Not my favorite people, but still. I got pissed off when told that Islam was not a religion, but a primitive death cult, and I was probably not really a Jew. I called that gal a bigot. Bigger whoop. Personal attacks. Then someone tried to help by sending me a link to a website that could explain the existence of Islamic terror to me.

Well, heck, that opened my eyes right up. I love it when people assume that if you're in favor of letting Muslim schoolchildren pray, and don't stand for slimy religious bigotry, you're a starry-eyed moron.

Anyway, I'm just venting a little right now. I just wish I could find a pro-Israel, centrist Democrat website to hang out on, I suppose. One with no crazy people on it.

Anyway. Busy, busy, tired. Wish the fella could find a job. No one calls back. Except for the census, who called back, but didn't leave a phone number or a name, and wouldn't accept calls at the phone number he had. Now they've called back and left a message telling him that they called eight times, and wanted to know why he didn't set up an appointment. And when he called to tell them, the line was busy.

If you want to know who's running the census, the answer is: no one too bright.

On a good note, Basya, my bridesmaid, is back in town, and she's moved in with Niamh, also my bridesmaid, and we're getting to spend a little time together, and it's way cool.

On a worrisome note, Pesach is coming.

There is chametz in every corner of my house. I am considering taking a note from the Ethiopian minhag and simply camping out on my deck for the duration of the holiday.

And there's work, which is just complicated.

It's the middle of the bloody night, so I should get some sleep.

Guess I'm back to blogging.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sad and Dazed

Flags at St. Dymphna's are flying at half mast for the four police officers killed in Oakland on Saturday.

All The Wingnuts Go Berserk!

Let's see. In a matter of days, Laura Ingraham decided to act like a mean middle school girl by telling Meghan McCain she's too fat, Tammy Bruce called the Obamas 'trash in the White House', and Rush Limbaugh 'mixed up' Robert Mugabe with Barack Obama, referring to the latter as 'Barack Ogabe'.

What has gotten INTO these people? Is Mercury in retrograde?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Ducks Have Landed

My pair of mallard ducks, who return to the stretch of creek near my house each spring, are back. Actually, they've been back a little while, they usually show up just after Tu B'Shevat. I call them the Duckworths, or the Duckbergs, or sometimes just 'ducks'.

It has been raining like crazy this spring, hard pelting showers, including some hail. The creek rushes high, the rain pours down, and I worry about the ducks. But as much as I want to scoop them up, bring them home, and let them hang out in my bathtub, I realize that they are waddling around with, I dunno, 150 million years or so of information about how to be ducks coded into their DNA, and they know how to do this. Also, I realized after a recent shower that the rain brings out the earthworms from the grass planted in the Ohlone Greenway, and the ducks were happily eating them.

In addition to the rain, I worry about cats, raccoons, mean kids, and toxic runoff, but they come back each year--this is the third year I have seen them--to lay eggs, so I assume the spot is a good one.

Just another sign of spring--the Duckworths are back.