24 July 2007 

Scout can still hike

After the poisoning incident, Scout seems to be just fine. When the normal wear of a Monday was over, we went on a rejuvenating hike on Gunpowder. There is just something so calming about watching this little guy explore the trail. I drop the leash and let him have at it. He doesn't go far from me, and I'm starting to get a little nervous by this bond that I'm forming with him. I grew up with animals, adored them. But this little guy is mine, solely. It's been pretty amazing watching him grow up and learning all of those little things like using the stairs, swimming, housebreaking even. He even has a manly bark. I think it makes sense that I enjoy this so much, since I dig my day job.

Which brings me to that. Teaching is going wonderfully. I have my footing, figure out the 30 minute lessons. Our scholars are freakin' incredible. They've been opening themselves up to a whole new way of existing and some are meeting this with immediate success. Others need some time and our, the staff's, persistence. It's just amazing, every morning, to have an administrator face all of our students in complete silence. He has silence because he's that good. He can tell these wiggly 9th graders a straight story. He harps on them, gets frustrated, and loud. Two seconds later, a smile stretches his face and he's pointing at them and saying, "but we aren't giving up on you. You can do this. THIS IS IMPORTANT. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT." It's just going to take time for kids who are used to failing and being failed to move the other direction, but some are latching on and they're slowly pulling everyone else over as well.

The transfer to this school is static at this point. I'm unhappy with the union's attention to this issue that's affecting the placement of many teachers, but I just don't have it in me to give my time to helping create a solution to the union's kinks. I can't imagine being a leader in the union and how hard, overwhelming that may be, but it needs to be better. My heart's just not in tackling that problem. Rather, I'm helping out a Hopkins prof with a nonprofit that works to end human trafficking. I'll be putting in anywhere from 10-20 hours from now on. I have to say, I really miss this part of my life, you know where I volunteered and was a social advocate for people. Can't wait.

22 July 2007 


I live in East Baltimore, really just its beginnings. While my street has its fair share of violence and drugs in their many forms, my roommate and I have had a good experience being in this neighborhood. I'd say it is still good, even after last night.

One of our neighbors, Angela, always tries to yell at Heather and I when we bring our trash out before the actual trash days. Whatever. It's our can, we can fill it. She has a mental health disorder, that much is obvious. She is always well-meaning, and who can dislike someone who wishes me happy birthday every time I meet her again for "the first time?"

Yesterday I went to throw dirty litter in the trash can and she approached me, inevitably asking me to not put my trash out yet. I skirted around it, and she started telling me about how much they try to keep the trash cans cleaned up. She does. She does it well. I asked her if it was because of the rats; I've noticed they have open wounds and sores and thought them diseased. With a look of pride she told me about how she was taking matters into her own hands and was setting out poison. Now it made sense.

I left and did my day.

Then my night did me.

I was cooking dinner, let Scout out, chopped an onion, let him in. He came in, happy as hell, and was munching on something. I immediately started digging in his mouth, because the rats carry chicken bones into our yard and Scout tries to gnaw on them. I pull out what looks like a puporoni.

Immediately, it occurs to me that this is probably rat poison.

This kills dogs.

Due to the onion, I wasn't sure how much he had. I didn't even really know if it was rat poisoning, but I panicked for two seconds and threw him a bagel. He was really feeling great now. Wow - a whole bagel.

Proceeded to handle the situation in an awkward fashion and called my dad, hardware store extraordinare, who would absolutely be able to confirm my fears. I took a picture, sent it to him, and he gave it a go - my dog was eating poison. In a last ditch effort to not have a poisoned dog on my hands that I LOVE AND AM OBSESSED WITH I walked over to Angela's and showed her what I pulled out of Scout's mouth. She confirmed and then told me it was three times bigger at one time.

I proceeded to drive Scout to 24/7 animal shock trauma center. I called them first, and they riled me up further. So I blasted the Vibe to the hospital. I walked in the door - they took him from me immediately (still looking normal and happy-go-lucky).

$300 later, his stomach was pumped, filled with charcoal, and they injected two softball sized tumors of water into his skin. I left with vitamin K pills that he has to take twice a day for two weeks.

There are two kinds of rat poisoning: blood thinning and some sort of brain failure type. They treated him for the blood thinning form, because there's now way at this point to know if he had the kind that will attack his brain. That doesn't show up for a couple of weeks, you know when I start watching him to see if he changes.

Since the rats had so many sores and wounds, I think he's safe from the brain killing agent, but we just can't know that as 100% true.

His poop is black.

18 July 2007 

Baltimore is a city

Since I vacationed in Boston I've started teaching summer orientation at *hopefully* my new school. I have to say, things are going really well. Aside from minor random facts of teaching life (like a 14 year-old girl standing in front of me, with sad eyes, saying that she can't wait to go to the bathroom, and watching a yellow pool form below us), everything is just so normal and right with this school.

I'm struggling with 35 minute periods that aren't on consistent bells. They play jazz music during passing time, and that means someone has to go into the hallway and hit play on the CD player. It's not clockwork, but it's better and calmer - the hallways are more peaceful thanks to the greats. I just don't quite know how to make a meaningful lesson fit in that time frame. I've noticed these last three days that I need to talk less, though.

A wonderful friend visited this past weekend. It was good and calming to see her - and her boyfriend is a good guy. Whew. Good for him, because Scout can tell these types of things and his stay at my house would've been vicious. She and I have the ease and honesty with each other that I want with all my friends, and she's one of the first people to see me at my worst and make that okay. Maybe that's because her parents freakin' rock. They were in town too - love their sense of humor and hospitality.

Okay, I should go. I'm working on doing some justice to history during these next three weeks. I'm starting by making sure my students know who/what/when/where the Native Americans are - and they're letting themselves be upset by the history itself and the way things played out. Oh, and they're learning their states. They don't know them - but they will. Knowing where you are is half the battle, sometimes.

10 July 2007 

Lifetime teacher?

Don't know. Funny thing is I used to always know exactly what I wanted to do with my life. Then life happened, more specifically a near-death encounter, and now I don't know what I want anymore - you know in specific professional terms (I suppose small parts of not professional life too).

I love teaching. Love it. Sometimes hate it, but usually love it and all of its ugly. I'm loving my counseling class and wish it didn't end tomorrow. I guess more than anything, the class has just reminded me that there is so much social activism left to do that can be done professionally, and if that ends up always being teaching, fine; at least now I can say that I'm legitimately considering options in general. I've focused so much on doing one thing the best I can these past six years that I've built a sort of tunnel vision.

Good thing I have friends. Check out this weekend's view:

View of White Mountains from Mt. Cardigan's Summit

Me, Kim, and Kerri

01 July 2007 


Michael Moore is a sexy beast.

He can be a little extreme - okay, a lot extreme. When all was said and done in the theater, I felt a little overwhelmed and inundated with information. I'd like to now take some time to sort through his arguments and sources. In the end, I am with him. Not only is it ridiculous that we don't have universal health care, but for those who do have insurance, how is it that we've not held those institutions ethically accountable?

I mean, really, check out this NYTimes article: Psychiatrists Top List in Drug Maker Gifts.

The film left me pretty disappointed in Hillary Clinton. She lost any potential vote from me after seeing this film. I had no idea she received so many contributions from the same system she fought. And I'll judge her for her early nineteen-nineties silence after her health care plan was defeated. I'll hold the grudge until she tries again.

I was relieved to see that Moore gave air-time to 9/11 rescuers. I can distinctly remember sitting in rush hour traffic on 494 three summers ago and listening to a MN public radio piece about how all of these selfless people were suffering from major respiratory illnesses. Same thing happened with the workers from the Valdez oil spill, but these people are freakishly, consistently untreated. It's sad that, still, nothing has happened to help.

If Moore was perceived as a little less extreme, more people would listen to him. However, if he was less extreme, he wouldn't be exposing every truth.

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