Posts Tagged With: College

School

I am officially a stay at home mom these days. At least for the next year or so. How am I managing that on our pared-down lifestyle? I’m going to school.

I have been thinking about babies and careers for a long time now, and when it all came out in the wash, it came out English teacher. Not only are the benefits great and the hours conducive to kids, but I really couldn’t think of a better way to spend my days than surrounded by books and writing. I’m hoping my enthusiasm will be infectious.

I got my fieldwork assignment, though, and I panicked. Because somehow in the middle of all this, I forgot how much I loathed high school. Like, I hated it so much that I graduated in three years just so I wouldn’t have to be there anymore, only allowed because I threatened to drop out. And now I was going back? Voluntarily?

Careers and I have always been uncertain bedfellows. I have worked the longest at Disney costuming, and it took me years to realize it wasn’t going to work. I could put up with bad pay, lack of advancement opportunities, and the horrible commute. What tipped me over was the hours – 12 hour days, midnight parade rehearsals, never a break. In short, no room for children.

I remember feeling, on my last day, not exactly sad, but nostalgic. I looked back through the white steel gates to take it in one last time, the yellow swoop of the Team Disney building, the boxy windows of the Eat Ticket, the gray concrete parade building, where I worked, beyond. I watched dozens of people in different uniforms scan their passes and go though the gates. ‘you’ll never be a part of anything if this scale again,’ I told myself, not unhappy with the prospect but still lingering. Eventually I turned and drove home.

My first week returning to high school just ended. And it was ALMOST just as I had thought it would be, with one major difference. It was like attending your very favorite class in high school all day long. The kids were smart little assess. I enjoyed myself.

As supervisory teacher was showing me around the campus, the quad full of trees and planters, the tan cinder block buildings tucked under the mountains and the blue California sky, I found myself returning to that last day at Disney.

And I realized… I might be embarking on something of that epic scope again. I’m looking forward to the rest of it.

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Ends and Beginnings

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This week has been a transition week.  Brian is taking a job right across the street from our house, starting next Monday.  Which meant, of course, that I had to drive down to Orange County (where he’s working now) and help him pack up his office.  Too much stuff for the train.  He had it mostly done when I arrived.  So we packed everything in the car and went to dinner at Taco Adobe, my favorite place in the world.

Taco Adobe is a little hole-in-the-wall Mexican food place sandwiched on a back street between two dumpy car repair yards.  There’s a derelict burger joint across the street.  But you can sit in the bright restaurant or under the blooming bougainvillea on their patio and have the tastiest meal.  They’re the first place that taught me I actually DO like enchiladas; it’s red sauce I don’t like.  They have amazing rice and tasty black beans, and their salsa is unrivaled.  Taco Adobe is one of the things I miss most about Chapman.  The other things being Leatherby Library (and it’s interlibrary loan amazingness), the way they used to pipe Christmas music through the campus speakers during break, and all of the awesome history professors.

It’s definitely the close of a huge chapter in our lives now that Brian will be gone.  There was a time when I spent more hours at Chapman (by far) than I ever did at home, between dropping Brian off at work in the mornings and staying late for ASL club meetings at night.  The campus is different now, with the Musco Center all finished, the DMAC up and running, and a new museum and all.  But it still feels the same.  It still feels like home, I realized last night as we walked to the car in the dark with the buildings shining around us.

My guess is that it probably will always feel that way.  And it definitely won’t be our last time on campus.  If nothing else we’ll see everyone at the Animation Show of Shows, and maybe at other screenings, and things like homecoming. But with Brian leaving, it feels like more the end of an era than my graduation day did.

I’m excited for the future, though.  I feel like I’ve gotten the best present in the world in the form of more Brian around the house.  He has gained back 4 hours a day in commuting time, and I think it’s going to change his life in ways he can’t even imagine yet.  There are Masters Degrees in the cards, and lots of Redlands goodness to explore.  Things are looking up.

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A story of Wine, among other things

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It’s weird working at the school you went to only a semester ago.  Working at the college is infinitely different than attending it for many reasons.  Some reasons include the way I have lots of work, but no homework at all.  The other is how the semester passes, and I’m not really involved in it.  It’s happening around me, but I am not a participant.  I’m not aware of add dates, midterms, clubs, tests.   There is also the authority thing.  Before, everyone assumed I was twenty one and just like them.  Now I wear the weight of my thirty one years, and I am Someone To Listen To.  This, and my hilarious new boss, have been the best things.

Event season is upon us, starting with the Cirque Du Solei symposium in two weeks.  My boss, Liz,  and I spent an hour last Friday in BevMo, on a wine field trip.

“Um… are both of those carts yours?” the employee asked when he saw us, cases of wine and champagne piled high.

“Yup, both ours,” we said.

“Having a party?” he said.

“We’re stocking up for the whole semester,” I said by way of making things better somehow.  I don’t think the guy believed it.  Still, he helped us load down Liz’s cherry red car and we drove back to the college.  I had a place cleared for all nine cases the corner of my office, in the warren that is the basement of historic Smith Hall.  We called the two student workers to come over with the dolly and transport it for us.  They wheeled the dolly gleefully out to Liz’s car, and made a plan for getting it through the door.

“I don’t think we have to load it off the dolly when we go down the stairs,” said Marcus.  “The wheels are big.  I think we can just back it down, if we’re really careful.”

“I don’t know,” I said.  “Are you sure that will work?  I mean, there’s a lot of wine, and it will be heavy.”

“No, I’m pretty sure we can make it work,” he said.

“Meh, okay,” I said.  “I will trust to your expertise.”

“Wait, what did you just say to me?” he said.

“Um… I’ll trust your expert opinion?” I said.

“Wow, I don’t think anyone’s ever said that to me before.  Did you hear that?” he nudged the other student worker, ” I’m an expert.”

Yup.  Sometimes this authority thing is fun.

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Crows

Jack didn’t think about it much when the first crow appeared. He was about to bite into a soggy tuna sandwich, sitting down in the middle of the tree-lined quad at the college where he worked. It was a cold day, the wind tossing the tree tops gently back and forth. Students scuttled to their classes, hands stashed in their armpits, scarves trailing behind them. His usual lunch location had been overrun by a group of noisy law students, and the sun was shining, so Jack decided to brave the cold and eat his lunch peacefully in the quad. His cheeks and hands were pleasantly numb as he raised his sandwich to take a bite.

The crow hopped up to him and stared with its beady little eyes, cocking its head this way and that. It looked like it wanted something, Jack thought, perhaps a piece of sandwich? Then it opened its black beak and let out a loud caw. Jack turned his attention back to his tuna, but it continued to look at him for a few minutes, head still moving this way and that. Jack felt uncomfortable as he stared back at it, facing off absurdly with something so much smaller than he was. Suddenly, the crow took a step forward and exploded in a barrage of caws, filling up the empty quad with echoing noise. It flapped its wings at him and generally made a scene. Jack looked around, embarrassed, to see if anyone had noticed. No one was around.

“Will you quit it!?!” Jack said to the bird. It didn’t stop. Great, he thought, now I’m talking out loud to birds. He threw his sandwich back into his brown paper bag and stalked back to his office, his peaceful lunch ruined.

The crow squawked after him as he walked away. “That’s right!” It seemed to say. “I’m talking to you, mister, and you’d better listen.”

It was waiting for him as he left the office that night, and it had brought a friend. They were sitting smugly in the tree outside the white concrete building where he worked, gurgling back and forth to one another and discussing their day, little black blobs among the green leaves. As the automatic glass doors slid open and Jack stepped out, the birds started again, both screaming at the top of their lungs.

Jack gave them a dirty look. Wonderful, they’re following me now, he thought sarcastically. Another crow flew over to join the two in the tree. Worse, they followed him to his car, hopping and flying as he walked along. Jack couldn’t believe that three such little animals could make so much noise, and it annoyed him. He sat down in his car, slammed the door shut, and peeled out of the parking lot.

Jack pulled into the white, modern garage that stood in front of his white, modern condo. He opened the white door, threw his keys on the marble kitchen countertop, and pulled a TV dinner out of the freezer. The answering machine gave a loud beep, and Jack pressed the play button as he waited for his dinner to warm up. A shrill dial tone pierced through the air until he pressed the delete button.

When the microwave beeped, Jack removed his dinner, sat down on a vast, black leather couch and flipped on the football game. Besides the giant plasma-screened TV and the couch, there was no other furniture in the laminate floored, white walled living room.

Finished with dinner, Jack wandered upstairs to his white walled office where the sound of the TV still chattered in the background. A glass-top desk and leather desk chair stood in the middle of the room, a state-of-the-art computer perched on top. Piles of papers covered the laminate floor like carpet. Jack picked his way to the computer and typed “Crows” into the internet search engine.

The usual popped onto his screen: information about types of crows, what they eat and their life cycle. There was nothing that would explain why crows had suddenly started stalking him. He did learn that the big black crows interrupting his lunch were the kind that ate the flesh of decaying things. Suddenly, the crows no longer seemed funny or annoying, they seemed like something more. He went back downstairs to the football game and fell asleep on the couch.

There were four crows waiting in the tree for Jack when he walked into work the next morning, one more than the day before. They screamed at him as he walked past them through the sliding glass doors. At lunch, walking to his favorite café, they followed him, attracting two more cawing black birds as they all walked along. People stared as he passed by, and he tried to look nonchalant, like the crows weren’t following him specifically, like they just happened to be on the street near him. It was hard as they hopped along beside him, flying from small, manicured tree to lamppost as he walked along the sidewalk of downtown. I wonder how many crows constitute a murder, Jack thought to himself grimly.

“I’ll take a table inside today.” Jack told the host as the crows fluffed their wings and roosted on the roof, waiting for Jack to emerge again.

By Friday night, the birds had not stopped following Jack. In fact, several more had joined the group each day. There were now a grand total of twelve birds following him and screaming no matter where he went. As he shut himself inside his black sports car, he breathed a sigh of relief. A weekend at home, sans birds, awaited him. He looked forward to it.

Jack was surprised, and extremely pissed, when he opened the front door for the newspaper the next morning. There on the little maple by his door was a crow. Not black like the other crows at work, this one had a creamy body, its black head, wings, and legs peaking out, like it was wearing a white feather sweater. It didn’t make a sound, but it studied him carefully as he picked up the paper. A sort of despair settled over Jack as he stared back at it. Was he unable to escape them? He tucked the newspaper under his arm and went inside.

When he left the house for groceries a few hours later, twelve black crows had joined the white one. Jack couldn’t be sure, but he thought they might be the same that had been following him around at work. They cawed at him as he ducked into his garage and peeled away. “Listen to us,” they yelled incessantly as Jack walked back and forth from garage to condo, unloading brown bags of groceries as he seethed.

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