Dear 100 Hour Board,
What is your favorite thing about yourself?
-Rainbow connection, who thinks you are all awesome
I love that I am able to empathize easily with others and see the best in them.
Despite the fact that I can be pretty competitive and feisty... maybe even a little verbally aggressive at times, which you may see from my more political responses... at heart, I appreciate all people for their complexity of experience and opinions. I'm learning to tame the part of me that makes split-second reactions based on the political leanings of others, I promise. I just get fired up about injustice, okay?
I also (equally favorite!) love that I am so inquisitive. Though it can probably be said of everyone on the Board, I have a deep devotion to learning new things and new perspectives. I always can get sucked into information rabbit holes (i.e. reading about the themes of corporate authoritarianism in Thomas the Train until 1:00 am) and love listening to podcasts that get me thinking about the world in a different way (s/o to Invisibilia). I appreciate that I am open to growth and change and am a sponge for new information. I think this trait keeps me evolving into a better person.
I'm pretty good at winged eyeliner, and I think that's pretty cool.
More seriously, though, I like that I genuinely love and care about people. I care fiercely about my friends and family, I try my best to care for marginalized groups in society, I care about random acquaintances, and I care about helping my students and making my class as engaging and meaningful as possible for them. I try really hard to make my presence inviting and welcoming for others, and while I'm sure I don't always succeed, at least I keep trying.
Dear Lovers and Dreamers,
I like that I get to be a teacher. I think teachers are really cool and meaningful, and whether or not it's because the puddle fits the pothole, I'm glad that my skillset lines up so that I can be a good teacher.
I most like that I'm resourceful. I'm often able to hack together some kind of solution to a challenge I'm facing, especially if it involves cooking, or food.
[old timey intro music plays]
For example: earlier this year I was minding my own business driving through the Mojave desert when at length through the beautifully bleak blackbrush appeared an oasis.
It looked idyllic, but I'd seen enough Stranger Things to be skeptical of whatever topsy-turvy-Upside Down-Mirror-Dimension was all up in there. And sure enough:
"Nagleria fowleri?" I exclaimed. "I think she was in my gym class! ...Brain-eating infection? That's her, all right!"
Giving the accursed Mirror Dimension and its unseen inhabitant plenty of space, I surveyed the area. And by the by I did spy with my little eye something that looked like an excellent dating opportunity.
"Phoenix dactylifera?" I exclaimed. "I haven't seen you since, like, 2012 in Tel Aviv!"
The wild date palm did not respond, but its invitation was clear.
Clear, alas, did not mean simple. The fruits swung over twelve feet off the ground, and I could think of a dozen reasons why this would be tricky.
Six of those were the six feet I lacked in height. The other six included years' worth of old, fibrous leaves lined with sharp, dirty spines.
I had no blade to saw them free, no rope to thread over and bypass them, no gloves to protect my palms from what—should my grip slip—I could only envision as tendon-severing paper cuts from hell, or K-mart: almost as good, but a lot cheaper.
Okay, so no monkeying around. The situation seemed intractable, but I considered the situation playfully. Life was but a game, right? I'd never played this level before, but you wouldn't make a scenario without the pieces to solve it, and clearly my solution was nearby. I just needed to look around and find it.
Or make it.
Nearby was another date palm—wildly taller, and with less fruit, if you were wondering. At its base was a long, flexible stick with... tendrils? The overall effect was something like a broom, and I recognized it as an old date bunch from last year, long-emptied of its fruits, full of opportunity.
Using some of the twangles, I affixed a nearby Deluxe Stick, cradling its hooked end inside the nest of plant-noodles, and got to work.
Good thing I didn't skip those Cub Scout tutorial levels, I mused as I wove, twisted and bent the bunch into itself, because elsewise there'd be no way I would've concocted this beautifully bad basket.
Indeed, the Pueblo peoples—the historic inhabitants of the Moapa Valley where I sat under the winter sun—were master basketweavers (as are contemporary Moapa Paiute artisans like the remarkable Everett Pikyavit) and would find my tool laughable, but it didn't take an expert to see my creation was a little loose around the edges. Soaking it might have been useful, as would have been several more hours for it to dry.
Nonetheless: it was hideous, it was mine, and it was time to see what it could do.
HA! It reached perfectly as I craned it upwards and cradled the fruit, cackling at my own cleverness, and shook it.
I shook it harder. A single date shook loose, then another, this one slipping through the gaping mesh of my basket, dropping into the amoebic stream that ran along the base of the palm tree.
Gingerly, I brought the other fruit down and investigated.
Rats! This one looked nibbled by some rodentious interloper, a wordy phrase here meaning "wow, rodentious is actually a word? anyways I am pretty sure rats just climb up dangling branches to the fruits and eat those delicious things whenever they feel like it, little jerks." Curiously, whatever it was had barely taken a bite and left the rest of the fruit uneaten. No matter. I put my basket back up and shook it more vigorously, using the hooked stick inside it to twist, tug and pull the dates free.
Tediously, slowly, I harvested the recalcitrant red rubies, ignoring those I knocked and lost into tall grass and the stream, accepting the increasing damage to my basket pole.
At length and at last I was satisfied with my haul:
Proud, I savored the moment, selected one and bit into a date—
—grimacing and spluttering. Astringent, almost bitter, the inside of my mouth felt dry, almost leathery.
I'd misread the situation entirely; my timing was months off. The dates were unripe.
I took the hard little fruits home anyways, partly out of hope, partly out of spite: a small reminder that in dating as in life—no matter how clever you are—sometimes it's just not your season.
[old timey outro music plays]
Awww, thanks! You're one of my favorite readers!
I like that I'm very determined/have a very strong will. Once I get my heart set on achieving something, little can stop me.
Dear Roy G.,
I tend to be very sedate. I think first and act second. This has its problems; I'm not always the best at snap judgments, for one thing, and I make a pretty bad activist since I don't tend to get fired up about things. But being able to approach things logically and methodically makes it easier to defuse disagreements or moderate discussions, and that's a skill that I'm glad I have.
Dear Double Rainbow,
I dunno if this sounds prideful, but I think I'm a really good Mom. When we went to the doctors when Carl Jr. broke out in a rash (ended up being eczema) the pediatrician didn't know why he had a rash and said to put lotion on it. Then they'll check up on him again in 2 weeks during his 2 month appointment. That didn't sit right with me and I knew there was something more. The next day I confirmed with an awesome dairy-free Mom group he has a cows milk protein allergy. Since then, I've been dairy-free as of February 22nd. I'm constantly trying to learn how to make Carl Jr.'s wellbeing better.
For example, Carl Jr. was really not doing well after his 4-month vaccines. It seemed like he had consumed dairy, which made no sense because I'm very careful (and me being lactose intolerant myself) I would have been able to tell if we had gotten 'dairyed.' So once again, something didn't feel right. I learned that medications don't have to tell the consumer whether there's dairy in them or not, as they're hidden in 'natural flavor' or inactive ingredients. WELL. We figured it out that the rotavirus (Rotateq) vaccine has dairy in it! It's the only oral vaccine that he took, and that's what made him react so poorly and we went through ten days of hell crap! Well, it's because he had an allergic reaction to it! Needless to say, he did not get the 3rd dosage of that vaccine per the vaccine insert's instructions. There's another manufacturer that makes a similar rotavirus vaccine (Rotarix) that is dairy-free. We called through five google pages of pediatricians to see if they carried the Rotarix vaccine. They didn't, and due to their contracts they're not allowed to order it for us. I feel like we did our due diligence to try vaccine him for the rotavirus after much research and prayer. He got his 6-month vaccines recently and there was a NIGHT and DAY difference without that vaccine!
Dear Ray Ray,
I like that I'm optimistic. When life gets hard, as it has been for us all lately, 9 times out of 10 I can blast some Disney song, dance in my living room, and come out feeling like the world magically got a whole lot better. Or maybe that's not my natural optimism and rather the magic of Disney...
-guppy of doom
I am pretty good at seeing multiple sides of issues.
-Sunday Night Banter
I like that I am usually pretty good at listening to and being there for my friends.