1st Semester, In The Books.

Monday we had off to celebrate Dr. King.  I sang with a choir at a mass for the Black Catholic community at St. Ignatius Chapel on the SU campus.  I love that chapel but I always wished I could see the sky in there. The archbishop celebrated the mass. There was a weird standoff, because they had agreed not to sing the Kyrie or the Gloria, but they paused for a looong time, too long.  So the choir director shrugged and started the Kyrie; I don’t blame him, I would have done the same.  They waved him off after three or four beats, which is awkward, and then started the Confiteur.  After that, there was an awkward pause, and the archbishop cranked his head around and said, “did you want to sing that song?”  He may have meant it as a question, but the choir director took it as a request… so we sang the Kyrie.  My friend R looked at me afterward and said, “what just happened?” but the reading started so I told him I’d tell him later.

Later on after the sign of peace, the archbishop looked over and asked, “Are you going to sing the Lamb of God?” and our director said, yessir and started it right up. I’m sure he knows that the sign of peace lasts a little longer in Black parishes for cultural reasons but whatever.

It’s not in the rules anywhere but if a celebrant that you don’t know asks you in the middle of the mass to sing something, a music minister is going to make it happen. I have been in a situation where a celebrant asked me if we were going to sing the Gloria, which we had agreed beforehand not to do, and I hadn’t rehearsed, so I told him no, in front of the whole congregation. Yeeks.

After that mass, I went to dimsum at Ocean Star with my friend.

(Last year, I was asked to sit in at piano, and the bishop sprung a surprise Gloria request on us. I opened the book and SIGHT READ THE GLORIA, and the singers sight sang it.  Not the old glorias that I knew; it was a new, wonky, un-singable, un-musical Gloria that’s “through composed.” When I hit the final chord I felt like standing up and saying THAT’S RIGHT, HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW, and I looked over at the singers who were wide eyed and a little shaken for having flown by the seat of their pants. And then I looked around at the bishop, the other faculty, and all the students and realized that nobody else gave a smoke outline of a rat’s ass about what we had just accomplished.)

On Tuesday, I had one prep period and one final exam. I sat in my classroom and graded all the exams; it took me less than an hour. I had hoped to get all-you-can-eat prawns with my cousin but he didn’t get back to me so I went to Ivar’s Salmon House fish bar on North Lake Union, and had a 5 piece cajun fish and chips. Then I drove home and was home by 4pm. I texted my friends at my old school about how easy my finals were to grade, and one colleague replied, “Pinche JP.”

On Wednesday, I had two final exams. Afterward I went to a colleague’s birthday lunch at the Blue Star, and then took my exams to the Ampersand, which my sister and her crew call “the beach office.”  I sat that for a couple of hours and got both stacks of exams graded and was on my way home by 5pm. On the drive home, I saw a beautiful sight: Sunfish was open again, after a 3-week holiday break.  I was so happy to see it that I took a picture and sent it to my sister. She immediately called me and asked her to bring her some fish and chips, she wasn’t feeling well.  I said no! Later I told her that getting fish and chips to go violated my deeply held belief that fish and chips should never be allowed to get cold and soggy, which they would have; she wouldn’t have been able to eat them for an hour anyway, since she had to go into town to pick up K.  She chastised me for projecting my extremist values onto her. I told her we’d get fish and chips when she got back with K.

As I waited for her to get back, I got the news of a shooting downtown, near the 3rd Avenue McDonalds. I texted my sister, who had heard the news and had already taken an alternate route. The local coverage…. Let me put it this way; the eyewitnesses they interviewed on the street were very cool and practical, as were the first responders. The reporters doing live remotes on the street were fine, a little goofy, but they were getting solid eye-witnesses.  The director in the control booth must have been having a tough time, there were wonky transitions. The worst were the anchors in the studio, who had very little control over their situation, and were reduced to interviewing people who called in. The interviews grew more and more useless as they ran out of details questions and started asking detailed fear-based questions, speculating, exposing their biases, saying “we’re not sure if it was a robbery or a gang-related shooting.” Wow, thanks for setting us up with that uninformed false choice. What a tough spot to be in; live TV with actual breaking news is some drama.

Anyway, after that, I took my sister and brother in law to Sunfish and we ate fish and chips.  And prawns and chips. And oysters and chips. And it was great to see our Greek uncles again, who gave my sister an extra piece of fish.

Please welcome: a snail!

A thoughtful gift from a coworker

Thursday I had one prep and one final. I gave the final and then met my friends from Seattle Prep to eat ramen. Afterwards I took my stack of finals to Bauhaus and finished off that stack of finals. After that I met my cousin at Chinook’s for All You Can Eat Prawns and Chips. That’s right. Fried seafood three nights in a row. Our server took one look at us and said, you look like All You Can Eat Prawns People!  Was it the way we were dressed?  Did she smell it on us?

My cousin and I joked that we have become the All You Can Eat Uncles, as our uncles had been at our age, when they ate so many oysters at the Mother’s Day oyster buffet that the staff started slow-rolling the oysters, pleading with our uncles that they were eating their entire day’s stock of oysters!  Stupid restaurant, didn’t account for Filipino uncles!  Bet they didn’t make that mistake again.

My cousin and I didn’t eat the entire day’s stock of shrimp; we stopped at two baskets. I asked if we had set a record, and the server said NOT EVEN CLOSE.  Wow, ouch.

On Friday I had one prep and one final. After the final I met my friends at Toronado, which is the dream bar of all my white friends from 1991 to 1997. There was a trip to Daiso, and then I met B and D. We went to the Oak, walked down the street to Bar del Corso, and then El Quetzal. I didn’t have fried seafood!  But I did have a bowl of clams…

Somebody is flying the Doug!

This morning (Saturday) I had breakfast at the Square Knot and then finished off that last stack of final exams at the Firehouse. I had a tuna melt at the Salmon Bay Cafe,  and then went back to my apartment, where both my sister and brother in law were groaning with the zombie flu. My brother in law groaned a “get out of here,” a warning to save myself, so I had dinner at Super Six.

The rice was slightly undercooked, I think they opened the lid too early after the rice cooker had finished. It was a little bit short on curry and I had to ask for a spoon… but it wasn’t bad.  The best part was the pickled pearl onion.

So I ate out at a lot of places this week, and the whole point of this is that finals week was bananas it was so easy. I’m used to spending finals week in tears, with stacks of papers, ungraded final projects and outrageous deadline stress hanging over my head. This year my gradebook was always current to the day, and my finals were so easy that I could have a social life. I wish this upon my coworkers in California; I didn’t know this kind of finals week was possible for a Spanish teacher.


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