The Anatomy of the Dead Fern in my Bathroom

It's Halloween weekend and of course Friday night I lost my voice. Because I sound a bit like a chain smoking Muppet and because I might be contagious, this weekend has been kept pretty low key. Mer and I found ourselves a new coffee shop called Lotus in downtown Arcata to do our homework in Saturday afternoon and went to a quiet Halloween party that night. But for the most part we have kept to the apartment.

I went out a bit today to get some Halloween photos for my photojournalism class but our plans for today were mainly to stay in and work on homework. We made a deal that we would study for 30 minutes and watch a short episode of Scooby-Doo then repeat for most of our evening, but we found early on that Netflix only has hour long Scooby movies so we decided to forgo the movie watching and just get down to studying. Sounds pretty hard-core nerd right?

I don't know what distracted us but the next thing I knew, I was vacuuming the counter top in our bathroom as Mer was grooming the quickly dying fern that dwells ( I could hardly say it lives) on the back of our toilet. I'm not sure entirely how this came to pass but I will attempt to recount it for you.

For some reason totally unrelated to the human anatomy and obituary writing each of us were respectively studying -- yes I was assigned to read about obituary writing on Halloween weekend -- I began recounting my childhood, my younger brother and his various oddities, my Barbie Lamborghini and the elaborate gardens my mother used to plant when I was really young. Mer loves to garden so the conversation, that I shouldn't have been having because my voice sounds like broken construction equipment, turned toward plants and gardening. I talked about the orchid I killed in my dorm last year and she reminded me of her dying fern in the bathroom. Before I could say "Plant murder" we were in the bathroom trying to devise ways to save the plant, littering the floor, and counter, with needles as we went.

The plant rescue has been put off for a few days, because we remembered that we were supposed to be doing homework this evening. But I'm sure we will be in the grips of distraction again soon.



I am an Atheist. But recently I've been considering going back to church. I've always sort of dipped my toes into religion, so to speak. This sounds totally silly coming from an Atheist I know but there is something I really like about tradition. I like lighting candles for eight nights and singing songs in a language I don't understand. I like singing hymns out of a hymnal. I like going to satyrs and leaving a place for Emanuel. I even like sermons. That is why I've been thinking about going to church.

The problem is when you don't believe in anything there is no need to commemorate that lack of belief. There are no traditions that one must carry out of a sign of their lack of faith. There aren't a lot of aesthetic selling points on Atheism. But that's what I believe in, or don't believe in, as the case my be.

Religious people don't understand why I would carry on with traditions even though they are essentially meaningless for me. To be perfectly honest I don't know for sure why I would either. There is just something about traditions even if I'm just doing them for the sake of repeating the action. I want my life to have tradition. I don't need every action I take to be drenched in meaning. The meaning for me is happiness.

In all honesty I wont go to church. I feel like participating, despite my lack of belief, is cheapening the experiences of those with plenty of faith. But I do miss hearing sermons. Pastors are like the dependable advice columnists of the religious world. Maybe I should spend more time with the news paper instead.


Dating Advice

When I first started working with children I thought it was really strange that, no matter where I worked or with what age, they always asked me Miss Kristin are you married? Do you have kids? When I said no the next question was Do you have a boyfriend? The answer to that was generally no as well. When I began it seemed like a really bizarre conversation to have with a child, but as I got older and worked with children more and more I got fairly used to it. It wasn't until a few days ago that one of the kids said something that really caught me off guard. It always fascinates me to see how children view life, but more specifically, subjects that they won't understand fully until they are much older. I think it's because I always wonder what I thought as a child and can't seem to remember.

The context was fairly ordinary. I had just explained to a little girl that, no I wasn't married, I had no children, and no boyfriend either. Her response was what cracked me up. She said, Good! You should never be married, but you never want to be single either. Just have a boyfriend for your whole life! I didn't know how to respond to that, but luckily I didn't have to, she piped up again to say It looks like you need to go get a boyfriend. This time I had a response. My question to her was How do I get a boyfriend? The girl just shrugged her shoulders at that, much like any grown woman would do, and asked Have you brought him cookies?

Haha. Oh yes. I have.

Lucky for me a little boy was sitting next to us who knew the answer. These were his instruction on how I should go about getting a boyfriend:
1 Bring him flowers, chocolates, and cookies.
2 Go home.
3 Cross your fingers.
4 Hope he will be your boyfriend.

This is my new tactic. Cross your fingers for me...



I played the most intense game of chess that I've played in a long time today, with a second grader. I work at an elementary after school program in the afternoons and I'm becoming especially fond of some of the children. This little boy, we'll call him Oliver, is probably my favorite. I know I'm not supposed to have favorites, but in the years that I've spent working with children, I've found everyone has favorites.

Looking across the chess board at Oliver, formulating his next move; I felt like I could actually see the gears turning in his head. I was honestly worried that he would beat me through-out most of the game. Not only that but it went on through free time until his dad came to pick him up. His dad even waited around while he and I pushed our few pieces across the board. He really was good at chess, not just for a seven-year-old. Just when I thought I had him cornered he would take my bishop or rook right out from under my nose. It was really fun even if Oliver got a little bit over impassioned when he lost. Yes I did win, but I almost hoped he would sneak one by me. But there is always tomorrow and I'm rooting for him. Am I crazy for wanting to play chess with this little boy every day for the rest of the school year?

French Poetry

Earlier this evening I found myself in the rarest of all my moods. I felt terribly inspired to write French poetry. Inspired so much so, that nothing, not even the fact that my French is perfectly awful, could stop me. So this is the untitled poem which resulted.

Si j’étais un oiseau,
     Je voudrais voler aux tout le monde.
Mon cœur vole avec moi,
     Sur le bout de mes ailes
Comme les gens
     Qui pleurent après les films.
Bien que je suis une personne
     Qui pleure après  les films.
Je vais aller voir les maisons petites et grandes.
     Mais je vais aller voler après les maisons
Et vers l’horizon
     Parce que je n’ai pas peur.



Earlier this weekend my roommate, Mer, and I decided to venture out to Arcata High School to see The Phantom of the Opera in its original silent movie form accompanied by an orchestra. I was not sure what to expect one, because the orchestra was comprised of high school students and two, because I have never attended a silent movie. I was really concerned, most of all, that I had coerced Mer into coming with me and it was going to be a mind numbing evening filled with out of tune oboe and squeaky clarinets. I'm a bit of a snob. Lucky for me it exceeded both of our expectations.

There was something simplistic and perfect about watching a silent movie. The text narration was far more manageable than today's equivalent; that coming from someone who really enjoys reading. The film mostly relied on the audience's ability to read the actors gestures and facial expressions. It was almost interactive compared to the spoon-fed plots to which my generation is accustomed . And it seems I made a premature judgement about the musical abilities of the Arcata High School students. The music was enjoyable. Not one deafening squeak met my ears. 

Mer and myself were envious of the turn of the century dresses. There we were in a tiny auditorium watching The Phantom, who looked like the love child of Lurch and Droopy-Dog, in our dark jeans, sweaters, and heals. We were almost too fancy for the occasion by the standards of the beaming parents that surround us. Yet there was Mary Philbin on the screen donning lace and silk draped about her as only we could imagine having. And we both thought, every now and again, maybe it would be nice to put on a nice dress and go on about our lives without having the whole world stop because we are not wearing sweats or jeans. Just a thought.

I could come to only one conclusion given the whole evening; we were clearly not born into the right decade, not even close.