Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Happiness - According to Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones

Have I not introduced you to Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones? How embarrassing! Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones is my cell phone, of course. My family has a long and cherished history of naming inanimate objects; I believe it goes back to my mom's first (?) car - the Unsinkable Molly Brown. I don't know whether Tom's family had this tradition as well or if he just embraced that particular quirk with all the others when we got married. I do know that we have a cooler named Wellington and that our Apple TV is called Sir Francis Awesome.

In any event, my phone's name is Ms. Luella Bates Washington Jones, and while I wish that I could take credit for coming up with that, she is named after the character in Langston Hughes' Thank You, M'am. I read that story to my students every year when we talked about character development, and I loved it more every time. If you haven't read it, you should. It won't take you five minutes, and Ms. Jones is totally worth it. She is tough and kind and wonderful. The kids always liked the part where Ms. Jones turns to face her would-be mugger and then kicks "him right square in his blue-jeaned sitter." Of course, at first they couldn't figure out what happened, but once they did, they were pleased to have a more eloquent way to say ass. Annnnyway, I started writing this with the intention of sharing a few pictures from my phone of things that have made me smile over the last week or so, but I have gone off on a tangent, and now memories of sharing Langston Hughes with students are making me happy but also a teensy bit sad...

Speaking of school nostalgia, I made a very brief (less than 24 hours) trip to San Diego last week to collect some classroom stuff that I had been storing in my parents' garage. Everything in the garage was headed to storage in preparation for the addition (yeah, that's happening) that is about to get underway. I hadn't expected to feel so sad as I dumped lesson plan after lesson plan in to the recycling, but I also hadn't expected to find a stack of letters I received on my first ever Teacher Appreciation Day. The letters were so sweet, and for a second I forgot about all the bad stuff, the stuff that burned me out and bummed me out, and I wanted to be in front of a classroom again. Good thing I have photos of slanderous graffiti written about me to keep me from making a rash decision in moments like these...only partly kidding.

Shockingly, I am now two tangents away from where I thought I was heading. All I really wanted to do was show you this picture of my parents and Lucy watching TV together, but then I got all caught up in the back story... Point is - quality time with the fam and Lucy always makes me happy.
They tried to stay firm on the whole no-dogs-on-the-sofa thing, but Lucy believes she's a lap dog, and no one has the heart (or inclination) to tell her different.

While we're on dogs, I'm convinced that this guy can see into my soul. I spent three lights trying to catch up with him...I felt like the puppy paparazzi. The puparazzi? Ugh, I can't believe I just took it there. Dogs that hang their heads out of car windows make me happy.

Seeing Tom excited makes me happy. He finally used some of the windfall from his giant CD sale to buy himself a new toy serious musical instrument, a pedal steel guitar. It arrived yesterday and was promptly set up in the middle of the living room.

Bright pink dahlias from the farmers market make me happy, so does the blue mason jar that I bought for 25 cents at a yard sale.

While we're on flowers, my ability to not only keep an orchid alive, but get it to flourish and rebloom is making me happy. Tom gave this to me the day I moved to Los Angeles. I arrived bleary-eyed, sick, and weepy, and Beauregard (that's the orchid's name, obviously) made me feel a little better, so I'm glad that I've been able to keep him alive.

Trips to the library make me happy. The West Hollywood library doesn't have the old school romance of the downtown library (probably because it was built this year), but it is beautiful just the same. The second floor has floor to ceiling windows that look out at the Pacific Design Center across the street.

Do all libraries have plenty of copies of Variety on hand, or is that an L.A. thing?

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