Friday, March 26, 2010

just read...

"Things You Should Know" by A.M. Homes

There are things I do not know. I was absent the day they passed out the information sheets. I was home in bed with a fever and an earache. I lay with the heating pad pressed to my head, burning my ear. I lay with the heating pad until my mother came in and said, “Don’t keep it on high or you’ll burn yourself.” This was something I knew but chose to forget.

The information sheets had the words “Things You Should Know” typed across the top of the page. They were mimeographed pages, purple ink on white paper. The sheets were written by my fourth grade teacher. They were written when she was young and thought about things. She thought of a language for these things and wrote them down in red Magic Marker.

By the time she was my teacher, she’d been teaching for a very long time but had never gotten past fourth grade. She hadn’t done anything since her Things You Should Know sheets, which didn’t really count, since she’d written them while she was a student.

After my ear got better, the infection cured, the red burn mark faded into a sort of Florida tan, I went back to school. Right away I knew I’d missed something important. “Ask the other students to fill you in on what happened while you were ill,” the principal said when I handed her the note from my mother. But none of the others would talk to me. Immediately I knew this was because they’d gotten the information sheets and we no longer spoke the same language.

I tried asking the teacher, “Is there anything I missed while I was out?” She handed me a stack of maps to color in and some math problems. “You should put a little Vaseline on your ear,” she said. “It’ll keep it from peeling.”

“Is there anything else?” I asked. She shook her head.

I couldn’t just come out and say it. I couldn’t say, you know, those information sheets, the ones you passed out the other day while I was home burning my ear. Do you have an extra copy? I couldn’t ask because I’d already asked everyone. I asked so many people ̶ my parents, their friends, random strangers ̶ that in the end they sent me to a psychiatrist.

“What exactly do you think is written on this ‘Things You Should Know’ paper?” he asked me.

“ ‘Things You Should Know,’ “ I said. “It’s not things to know, not things you will learn, but things you already should know but maybe are a little dumb, so you don’t.”

“Yes,” he said nodding. “And what are those things?”

“You’re asking me,” I shouted. “I don’t know. You’re the one who should know. You tell me. I never saw the list.”

Time passed. I grew up. I grew older. I grew deaf in one ear. In the newspaper I read that the teacher had died. She was eighty-four. In time I began to notice there was less to know. All the same, I kept looking for the list. Once, in an old bookstore, I thought I found page four. It was old, faded, folded into quarters and stuffed into an early volume of Henry Miller’s essays. The top part of the page had been torn off. It began with number six: “Do what you will because you will anyway.” Number twenty-eight was “If you begin and it is not the beginning, begin again.” And so on. At the bottom of the page it said, “Chin San Fortune Company lines 1-32.”

Years later, when I was even older, when those younger than me seemed to know less than I ever had, I wrote a story. And in a room full of people, full of people who knew the list and some I was sure did not, I stood to read. “As a child, I burned my ear into a Florida tan.”

“Stop,” a man yelled, waving his hands at me.


“Don’t you know?” he said. I shook my head. He was a man who knew the list, who probably had his own personal copy. He had based his life on it, on trying to explain it to others.

He spoke, he drew diagrams, splintering poles of chalk as he put pictures on a blackboard. He tried to tell of the things he knew. He tried to talk but did not have the language of the teacher.

I breathed deeply and thought of Chin San number twenty-eight. “If you begin and it is not the beginning, begin again.”

“I will begin again,” I announced. Because I had stated this and not asked for a second change, because I was standing and he was seated, because it was till early in the evening, the man who had stopped me nodded, all right.

“Things You Should Know,” I said.

“Good title, good title,” the man said. “Go on, go on.”

“There is a list,” I said, nearing the end. “It is a list you make yourself. And at the top of the page you write, ‘Things You Should Know.’ ”

This comes from a book titled Flash Fiction Forward, a compilation of 80 really short stories. I suggest it to anyone who likes a short, yet deep read, whenever. So many life lessons..

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


i seriously hate it when people dont post for a long time.. and you keep checking to see if they did--and your heart gets broken a little every time you check it and see its the same title you already read six times. sorry guys.. for those of you that do read this.

things have been too great. thats all i can even say. happy happy happy, and im just wishing i was not at work right now.. and that i was outside flying a kite. preferably one with dora the explorer, or aladdin on it. that would be best. too bad i cant.

so glad to have my best friend back, he is doing well in case you were wondering. and just as funny as ever. picture less blog... not exactly aesthetically pleasing. ok ok ill throw one in.

happy tuesday

Monday, March 8, 2010

because lindey asked

some of my favorite things?
no one should ever not have this. whether you wear eye shadow or not.. this will keep those creepy creases away--and if you dont wear eye shadow this is a great substitute. get it.
hats. i cannot stop. they consume my mind. this is the summer of hats. this brings me to...
anthropologie. i dont know why anyone ever made me think i could shop there......... maybe one day ill have enough money. for now ill just keep the catalog close by and check whats on sale online daily.
my favorite book i have read this semester. im about to write a paper on it... so i can say that until the paper begins. if you want lush, roll-off-the-tongue literature ... read this book. really.
this gets rid of the (i never want to wake up no matter how many hours of sleep i got last night) bags under my eyes like a DREAM. not even kidding. thanks melissa for working at such a great establishment, and for being an amazing saleswomanmy new satchel. i couldnt have asked for a better replacement.. thank you urban outfitters for making my satchel dreams come true all over again.

ok thats it for now. la la la. ill think about writing that my antonia paper now.

Monday, March 1, 2010

spring... is that you?

today was beautiful. the weather guy said winter is over, i want to believe him... and pretend that google didnt tell me that its going to snow on wednesday. we will see. spring time just brings so much happiness with it--cannot wait.

i had the opportunity to go to a diabetes expo for my work this last weekend... and it was crazy. haa. really though, i never knew what a hobby expo's and trade shows could be. people were there right as the doors opened at 9 am and swept the floor. we had to start taking our display products off the table cause people were stealing them, legitimately stealing them. so awesome, and so awkward for ashley and i who had to like tell people not to take the huge mouth wash display on the table, and explaining that we actually had smaller samples for them. haha. im going to start going to expos, and getting free stuff. i even got my blood tested there, and its all FREE. why didn't anyone ever tell me about this? well now i know, and i also saw a billboard for the food and candy expo on april 6th. who wants to go?
our table. prior to getting swept by ladies with cat sweatshirts on.