All this happened, more or less...

My name is G and these are the true stories of my adventures.

Monday, August 27, 2007

It Starts... Again.

i thought i'd get through at least one day of work without having stories to tell... then i walked back in that building.

if you've been enjoying my ramblings about summer vacation, then i must apologize. this is the last week of august and it's time for me to get back to the dry-erase board. i don't have any kids yet (which is why i thought i wouldn't have any stories) but i did get to spend a marvelous day in pd *translation: professional development, ie "six hour of my life i'm never getting back"* with all the teachers in the whole district.

just to give you a little background: teachers hate pd. especially the week before school. we all sit there thinking of all the billions of things we need to get done while whatever presenter drones on and on about things we already know. thankfully, as is always the case when you shut hundreds of human beings in a room and leave them there all day, a source of entertainment presented itself before long.

on monday, entertainment presented itself in the form of one of the middle school teachers. it's not unusual for teachers to bring a little something to help them get through the day -- a book, a notepad to doodle on, some knitting. (i didn't make up the knitting part. i told my colleague aaron that i aspire to live long enough that someday i'll be so old i can bring knitting with me when i go to meetings. i just said that to make him laugh -- i'd much rather die than knit in public.) well, this middle school guy took it to the next level.

did i mention that we all hate these meetings? we do. but this guy swaggered in (late), took an aisle seat alone about five rows in front of aaron and me, and proceded to put on quite a show. first, he took his sandals off. then he slouched down in his seat and propped his bare feet up on the arm of the chair in front of him so they hung out into the aisle. next he pulled out a book -- "a salty piece of land" by intellectual giant jimmy buffet. then he popped in his ear buds and flipped on his ipod. then, oblivious to all the disapproving glares, he pulled out his cell phone and started a text message conversation with some friend of his, apparently another diligent member of the workforce.

we've just had three months of paid vacation. we get two weeks for the winter holidays and at least one day off every month. so... i think this guy's a jackass and if i was his boss i'd tan his arrogant hide. but i'm not his boss, so i don't care.

however, the two crabby old ladies behind me cared. they cared a lot and erupted into shocked and indignent whispers.

"oh, sue! look at the guy! he's got his stinky bare feet all over that chair. who IS that? do you know who that is?!"

"no, i don't. i've never seen him before. is he a TEACHER?!"

"i don't know. who IS that?!?"

"look! he's got his cell phone out too! why i never!!"

"who IS that? ask jim if he knows who that is."

"jim doesn't know either. he must be from the middle school."

"well, honestly. look at his feet all over that chair! tell jim to go talk to him! that's disgusting."

"jim! tell him he has to clean his sweaty bare feet off that chair with a moist toilette or something." (i'm not making this up! she really said "moist toilette".)

at this point, jim, who is one of the high school administrators, walks down the aisle and stands about four steps behind the guy. then he turns around and comes back with a shrug.

jim: "i don't even KNOW that guy!"

"o honestly, if that was one of the kids, you'd read him the riot act."

now another lady who's a big gun at the high school goes down the aisle and actually does whisper something inaudible to the exemplar of professional decorum. he grunts at her and puts the cell phone back in his bag.

"well, didn't she tell him to sit up!! geez, he's still laying there like he's at the beach!"

"can you believe the gall?! who IS that?!"

"he must be new."

"doesn't anybody know who that is?!"

aaron turns around and interjects that the guy is listening to an ipod too. this news is met with gasps of horror and more whispers, as they didn't notice the ipod before. we determined that old people can't actually see ipods; such gadgets are outside of their realm of reality.

eventually, the middle school administrator comes down the aisle, apparently sent from the opposite side of the auditorium. he too leans down and interrupts margaritaville with a mumbled reprimand. another grunt, but this time the fellow actually does sit up and put his shoes on... a few minutes later he walks out of the room altogether.

all this transpired over the course of about an hour, during which the two old hens behind us never stopped talking about how offended they were that this young man was being so disrespectful to the presenter. incidently, they were talking so loudly and with so much prudish passion that aaron and i couldn't hear a damn thing the presenter was saying. hmm... irony makes my toes tingle with delight.

in all fairness, i wish i was still on the beach too.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The PCH, Loads of Adventure, and Overdraft Fees

it's all sandra's fault, really.

well... some of it is k.c.'s fault.

along the pch

it occurred to me months ago that i needed to go to california and run around with sandra. she was by far my best girl bud in japan, and i'd been missing her and her shenanigans like crazy. all school year, i'd been promising myself that i would make good use of my summer holiday, and a trip to california sounded like the perfect way.

enter k.c. we met several months ago and have been getting on wonderfully ever since. when i started making noises about going out west, he started waxing nostalgic about the two years he'd spent living in san diego. the weather is so perfect, the people are so great, there's so much to do, etc. he would just really love to show me around san diego.

the only little problem is that san diego is a mere ten hour drive from where i was planning to go in california.

after a great deal of discussing, debating, and counting the pennies in our piggy-banks, we decided we would indeed fly to sandra's... then make an epic journey down the pacific coast. and that is what we did. we saw everything from tahoe to the governator to pandas at the zoo, not to mention the drive down the pch (pacific coast highway) -- the most glorious ten hours i've ever spent in a car. courtesy of a good contact, we even spent a night at bacara, which was clearly way out of our income bracket.

here are some photos to make you jealous...

sandra & kc

sandra and k.c. hiking at lake tahoe. tahoe was absolutely gorgeous -- bright blue and clean, tucked way up in the mountains -- and freezing cold. we had a blast hiking around emerald bay and climbing all over rocks like these.

we stayed at sandra's for three days of eating japanese food, randomly bursting into song, and hearing sandra's childhood tales of jew camp. then we took off at four o'clock in the morning to beat the rush hour chaos between sac and s.f. it's a good thing k.c. is a morning person because i'm really not fit to drive until at least nine.


random stop along the pch -- driving down highway 1 (also known as the pacific coast highway) redefined the term "scenic drive" for me. the only thing we had determined when we left home was when we would fly back. this left everything in between a blissful blur of spontaneity, which we took full advantage of, particularly during this drive. we stopped often and very randomly whenever the notion struck us.

first official pic of me in the pacific ocean

getting our toes wet at carmel -- we stopped at carmel because we saw a sign on the highway for the "historic mission" and thought it might yield some good photos. we never found the mission, but we did find a beach and decided that was good enough. this is the first picture of me in the pacific ocean. (my toes are the pretty ones; k.c.'s are the big man toes.)

hearst rose gardens

rose gardens at hearst castle, san simeon... thank you, i thought it was a great shot too.

funny story about hearst castle: the castle's on the side of a mountain in the middle of a huge piece of land that used to be the hearst ranch. when you get to the visitors' center, they put you on a bus to ride up the mountain and on the way, you listen to a recording about the history of the place. part of this is a little blurb about hearst's menagerie, which included thirty types of exotic grazing animals that roamed free on the ranch. a few ancestors of these animals are still living wild on the property around the castle. (this is the part where i got excited.) some of them are zebras. can you imagine how frickin' cool it would be to see a zebra just hanging out in california? so i decided to spend the rest of the day keeping an eye out for the zebras...

well, if you've followed my adventures in the past, you'll know that i'm not very lucky with spotting creatures of the woodland realm. in a scenerio sadly reminiscent of my moose-tracking expedition in the adirondacks, i didn't see any zebras.

but i could feel their presence.

ocean view at bacara

admiring the ocean view at bacara -- as mentioned earlier, we went to the fabulous bacara resort & spa near goletta, ca. the resort was everything they promised and so much more. the room was wonderfully luxurious, the views were breath-taking, and the staff were downright cool. the food, though shockingly over-priced, was pretty scrumptious. the spa itself, however, was a bit of a let down. not to sound like a spa slut, but i've had better.


the national cemetery at point loma -- when we arrived in san diego, k.c. was thrilled to be back on his home turf and our entire stay was high-lighted by his always comical and unpredictable "this one time..." stories. as we drove up to point loma, he told the story of the one time that he took his scooter up the same very long and steep hill at about five o'clock in the morning. the story mostly went "so i was pushing and pushing" on the uphill parts and "here i was coasting" on the downhill parts with a few interjections of things like "here's where the navy guys passed me in their jeep and told me to go home..."

the pandassan diego zoo!

we also went to the san diego zoo, which was very cool. and here i did see zebras, but it wasn't the same.

o yeah!

and my very own photograph of one of the most photographed spots in america. i don't really like l.a., but we stayed here in hollywood for several days and had a pretty good time, in spite of the pollution, the traffic, and the general over-population.

so now i'm home. i have no money and some overdraft fees to pay, so it's a good thing that school starts up again next week.

until next time...

- g