These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

kind words

this week my supervisor was on vacation, so i was in chargeof the newsroom. i'd been in charge for the day before, but never the week. on top of it, our director of audience resigned and left tuesday. and some other higher ups were on vacation.

nonetheless, the week went well and the reporters responded vigorously to both coming up with their own stories and being assigned stories. plenty of copy until monday. the design team helped, too, by editing stories. big thumbs up to them.

still, i was ready for a drink last night (although i'd had two the night before). no, i wasn't out trying to outdrink mig. dawn and i stayed home and rested. i needed it. so i nursed by jack and coke and felt good.

it was late and dawn says, "here's some letters for you." she handed me over some folded pieces of construction paper.

they were notes from the kids in the migrant program.

the notes were simple, mostly a sentence or two. but they were very kind, sweet and endearing to me. it meant a lot that these kids, whom i've met handful of times, mean quite a lot to me. i've become almost as invested in them educationally as dawn and steph.

i know it sounds strange, but there's somethng special about the kids that i can't put my finger on. we clicked since the first day i met them last summer and we continue to do so. i enjoy their questions and constant asking for stories and i enjoy telling them stories and listening to them read or interact in class.

i've still got the picture collage on my desk that they made last year. now i will add these cards to that area.

the cards contained messages such as arlette thanking me for putting her in the newspaper to misa thanking me to saying in a story that he made a goal in a soccer match with marlynn.

when i went to the classroom last time and gave them the article in which juan and arlette were quoted in the paper, she was thrilled. she kept saying, "thaks for making me famous." now that means more than most things someone can say to me.

perhaps i've done something to enhance their lives. i hope so. but i think they've done a similar thing to me. they've made me a more caring person. i'd honestly like to continue to interact with them. maybe over the course of the year they can write a letter or something. that'd be nice, see how they're doing in their lives outside the classroom.

Monday, July 14, 2008

my first mojito of the year

we went to chicago this weekend with mig and denise. he was there for a conference and the three of us went to join him and have fun.

it was only saturday that we had to enjoy, but we packed it in with some stuff.

we went to the nation museum of mexican art. it was awesome to see all that art, paintings and sculpture from as far aback as 1521. amazing stuff. you have stuff from dia de los muertos, crosses, art on immigration, the plight of mexicans, religion, spirituality and even a santana song playing as part of a piece. it's very well done and tasteful. i really enjoyed seeing art that was several hundred years old.

we slipped off to chinatown. we got a glimpse of it, but wedecided against stopping, thinking it was going to be too much. someone in the group said the thought of too many asian women would have been unbearable, so s/he was glad we kept going.

so we took a drive downtown, saw people, faces, expressions, cars honking, urbanization, crowds, trains, buses, taxis, more people. then we stopped in the old town area, which is one of my faves. you have a quiet, almost woody area in town. we stopped by st. michael's, the buddhist temple, then walked around neighborhoods dawn and i had walked through before while on previous visits. we saw the cute littel yellow house we'd seen several times before.

then we took a rest at laura's place, dressed and we were off to national 27. there i had my first mojito of the year. it was accompanied by a piece of sugar cane. yum. i had almost forgotten the taste of a mojito. we ate some nice food then the music started. we had to leave somewhat early, but denise wanted to sneak ina dance. we i joined her. my legs were wobbly and my hips uncooperative. it's not like dancing tejano music. still, i kept up and sweated up a bit before we left.

the followinig day we picked denise and mig at union station (they were staying in elgin with his sister). as we descended the stairs (which sounded oddly familiar to me), dawn says, these stairs, they came came out in "the untouchables." then it all came back to me. it was the train station/baby carriage scene where the bad guy pushes the baby carriage down those stairs, forcing costner to come out of hiding. he slides, catches the baby carriage before it tips over, then aims and shoots the bad guy. i stepped a certain way as i ascended the steps and yes the sound was the same. very nice.

and now we're back and it's super reality. jim's off for the week and rick is leaving tomorrow. nervous? perhaps a tad. crack the whip? oh yeah. no mild-mannered asst. news ed. here. ha ha