"They Poured Fire On Us From The Sky"

I finished reading this book last night. I wept as I went to sleep. My mind couldn't stop.

I thought about flying over Africa in 1999. I thought about the fact that I flew 5 miles over Sudan. I didn't even think about it then.

Three boys, two brothers and a cousin, were separated when war found them in the late 80's. They escaped and traveled alone or with groups at 5 - 10 years old. I think about some of my sweet, small students and wonder, if put in the same position, how would their need to survive drive them to do unnatural things for their age. Every town they came to, though, it seemed like, was directly on the path of the next attack and they could never find a place to just stop. You wonder how anyone can survive what the people of Sudan (and numerous other countries) have survived. The capability of the human mind and body and spirit is astounding... both on good and bad levels.

I met a man a year ago at a concert of an African choir. We chatted and it was warm until I asked where he was from. it was clear from his accent that he was African in addition to the colored pattern and style of the clothes he and his family were wearing for such an occasion. His demeanor became cautious and said "Iowa". I asked "originally" and he said "Just because you look like the queen doesn't mean you are from England". Conversation done.

I was... I don't know. I'd never felt that way before. I was uncomfortable the whole concert and cautious not to say anything about the music to my students who were with me that sounded uneducated and "american" as it was something I brought them to as their teacher and the man and his family were sitting in the row in front of me.

After the concert, he touched my arm and apologized. He looked at me directly and said "I am from Rwanda" and I had to breathe deep not to cry in front of this man. I apologized too. This man just wanted to be somewhere else. He had been spit out from home and the continual sojourn of trying to find another was just stopped because once again he was reminded "You're not from here either".

I will never know. I will never be able to relate. In those moments I am speechless and awed that someone has outrun death.

Find this book. Read it.


Substitue Chronicles #2456

Today I subbed for 1st grade.

Ben and I were having reading "group" today. Just he and I because %50 of the group was sick. The class was getting loud so I said...

“I don’t want to hear an ounce of talking.”

Ben replied...

“You can’t measure talking in ounces.”

He never looked up from his book.


"Oh the places you will go"

I love airports. I love planes. I love everything about this atmosphere. People are going somewhere and they are going everywhere because they just can. And no place is out of reach or unthinkable here. And you can fly. I don’t mean the literal action a plane takes, but what it is… being here means I will fly. And the magic takes over again of rising above the clouds and watching the earth below. This is fascinating to me. I never loved science overall, but I LOVED earth science, land formations, continental sciences. I flew to Africa from Europe and we flew over the Alps. And they towered and hosted clouds and met you above the clouds. They were wonderful. And then moments later, really, the unnamable blue of the Mediterranean was below me and it was a gorgeous pond of elusive waters. I fell asleep over it and prayed to be wakened to see the coast of Africa and when I woke next I was. We were over Tripoli. Overwhelming. It took 8 hours to head south across this land mass. But what amazed me most was the Sahara. I was flying over the Sahara and it was a tawny haze until I made out mild definition: sand dunes. And next, the space below was black with forest. Mold blowing to see all of this in a few hours. Watching the land below will never cease to captivate me. I would gorge myself on this. And it happens because I can fly. It’s enchanting.

I love seeing people’s shoes in airports. I look at these. You can tell which one’s are from Europe.

Seinfeld does a whole bit on what people are willing to spend in airports. I just spent $11.43 on a sandwhich, banana and a bottled water. I have quite a layover, but there’s no way I’d step beyond the boundaries of airport security because it’s such a pain to get back in. Frankfurt’s the worst with this. Their airport has what would be comparable to checkpoints… lot’s of points of entry. And just when you think you’ve cleared all the levels you find out you just haven’t. But their benches are comfortable to sleep on because there are no arms. I took one of Lufthansa’s blanket’s once and enjoyed a nap (until I was told my nap was done by a gentleman in airport wear). I still have the blanket.

I love watching the airport staff interact with each other like neighbors. They stop by to chat on the veranda’s of the eateries and admire each other as they’re walking the concourses. But they know each other because they work in the same vicinity. “You work on Concourse C. Me too. We’ll be seeing each other, then.” And they do. I’m sure there’s neighborhood gossip among the airport spokes. There’s probably a lot of inter-business dating.

People watching is always fun. That guy’s pants are really short. Does he know that? Yes, that man clearly was on vacation. He looks like a raccoon… or his tanning didn’t go very well. She must be tired of her children lagging behind but, oh, what cute luggage they have. Is that a man or a woman? I didn’t realize NASCAR made such apparel. But they have it in men’s and women’s clearly because that couple are wearing it all. That woman’s hair is quite large and she’s wearing a very faux leopard print jacket. Those two must be in their 70’s and they’re holding hands and I love that. Oh, that girl definitely missed her flight. That sucks. (that happened to me this morning. My schedule’s 5 hours off now. I’ll make it to my speaking engagement moments before I’m introduced)

I love the international climate of airports. I love being where polyglotinous conglomerates abound (those words together are probably a bit much. My apologies).

I don’t understand how women prefer to travel in 3” heels. That never seems like a good idea when walking long distances through the world’s large airports.

I love the bookstores. I will pay a lot of money for books in these just because, well, these particular shops are so inviting. And they really do have the most eclectic selection.

The people movers are fun. I have a friend that is looking forward to taking his children on these for entertainment, when they are old enough, when they have children.

I love the bathrooms. The stalls have floor to ceiling doors and this is very good. I have often found refuge in these. They are the most private place in an airport and though I really do love airports, I am still an introvert and need some space… not a lot… just not shared. The bathroom stalls do this for me. I’ve napped in them seated on my backpacks with my head against the door. No one is going to interrupt your solitude here. This is true.

Stories. Thousands of stories pass through these establishments daily. Stories of greatness, stories of victims, people going home to unexpected funerals and difficult families, people heading home to their spouses, people heading off to their affairs, people insecure, people unaware, people waiting to begin, people waiting to end. This is just a gallery and we are just performance art.

I walked off of the jetway and had my iPod on. Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek” was my soundtrack. Now it’s “Homeward Bound” – Appalachian folk song. I’ll end with Death Cab For Cutie’s “Soul Meets Body” streaming through my ears. The best line… “there are roads left in both of our shoes” and I’m off to follow mine.


...and what I did with it.

Some of the work done to the house over the course of the weekend before I moved in...

Props to Krista Gleason who, as far as I'm concerned, painted the whole house.

And for this great honor, I'd like to thank... Darci (who also painted a great deal), and her husband Paul who housed my belongings for 4 months and carried a great many things. Kate, Bekah, Aaron, Annie, Whitney, Patrick, Kate C. All of you are Tremendous. None of this would have been possible without your love and support! I'd also like to thank the academy (music begins to cut me off...)

The whole house got painted that weekend.

The House

It's taken a bit to get these up. Here they are.

Living Room/Dining

Kitchen/Three Season's room

Second Floor