ninjas are like that

Leaving z-amber’s pirate/ninja party last night at around 10… someone in a wonderful ninja suit with tinfoil throwing stars tucked into the sleeves sneaked past us on the stairs. “I’m a ninja, you can’t see me, I’m so sneaky.” Me: “Who said that? I can’t see anyone!” Moomin: *I SEE YOU!* Because I’m a ninja too and one of the powers of ninjas is to see other ninjas! Besides, I’m pretending I have red vision goggles, so I can see him.” Rook: I could see him too, because *I’m* a ninja. Moomin: My dad knows everything about ninjas and their powers!

He is not quite old enough for me to show him “Ninjas are sweet”.

I had a nice time talking public-school gossip with a woman whose name I’m totally forgotten but who is a kindergarten teacher in Hayward, in a school near 880. She was drooling over my description of Gon Jill, Moomin’s school. It sounded unttainably great to her. The school she taught in last year, also in the east bay, was way worse than the one she’s in now. But her current school has no PTA; she said the parents mostly don’t come into the school itself for any reason because they’re afraid someone will turn them in to some authority for their immigrant status; the kids come in not knowing their colors and never having held a pen or pencil, which makes things very hard. Anyone who knows their alphabet or can read a few words pretty much she can’t give them any attention to spare; they have to get along as best they can. She would like to read to them all more, but can’t, because she has a lot of set curriculum elements she has to do. So there’s only so much space in the day for reading a book. They don’t have tracking. She’s dying for just a couple of parent volunteers to come in. She was incredulous at a school with a PTA that can raise enough money to pay a teacher’s salary.

In contrast … at Moomin’s school they don’t even seem to want people in the classroom much; maybe to staple papers. Again, this makes me think if I volunteer at that school, I also should go over to the other side of town and give them equal time (not doing double, but doing less at Moomin’s school, you know?) I should do an hour a week, read kids books, or play board games with them. It might be next year until I rev up to do this.

The bookshelves in the living room at z-amber’s house were juicy. But the owner of the books wasn’t participating in the party, and wouldn’t answer her door… she hid in her room. Alas — because our books intersected in good and strange ways. A lot of spanish, french, excellent novels, “world lit”, and I realized maybe it meant another comp lit type of person – a person I’d love to have met. Anyone who’s read homi bhahba, bastard out of carolina, luisa valenzuela, some norse sagas, chinua achebe, and story of the stone, I want to know why, and what they think of it, and how it colors what else they read and how they think of reading. It was way more books than just having taking a college class or two.

I scored 28 million, then 55 million, on the Dr. Who pinball machine, and then taunted Rook with it until he kicked my ass with 83 million. I won a couple of games of pool against some dude who was extremely nice but who acted all expert, and then one playing as a team with whump. How strange to be around dudes (not whump) who act all surprised and weirded out at women who can play games and who are competent. (Which was odd, since they all know z-amber, who most obviously can kick anyone’s butt and who never does the femmy-helpless thing, so they should be used to it. But they weren’t.)

I was a pirate, in leather pants, stripey shirt, bandana, and mustache.

Moomin had more fun conversations with people about books. “Do you like to read?’ “Well, of COURSE. I love to read.” “What’s your favorite book?” “That’s crazy. I like ALL books.”

Moomin cried at the karaoke, because the singing was loud, raucous, drunk, sang badly, and he had started doing it with his dad as sort of a them-together thing. He cried because he couldn’t get them to stop singing “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and Rook was annoyed with him, and because the song was bad, and “too loud”, and he wanted the other people to go away. It was just a case where he was overstimulated, it was too late at night, and he wanted attention; I should have taken him from Rook a bit earlier and settled him somewhere quiet. He ended up with me in a corner of the pool table room, watching Transformers on the laptop with headphones. I played pool and in between turns, sat with him in a cuddly way. I suspect he and I might be getting colds. Dammit!

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