May 03, 2004


Today, while I sat in Dolores Park eating lunch, I watched a girl sitting near me trying to be sneaky about smoking pot. She was carefully watching to see when people were looking in her direction, and when they weren't she'd light a little tiny pipe and take a hit from it. It was pretty adorable the way she tried so hard to be unnoticeable, exactly as if her lighter weren't making a loud clicking noise that gave her away to everyone in the park.

Adorability notwithstanding, I have to say it was a terrible waste of nice air. You see, cities don't generally smell very good. It's just inherent in urban-ness. It's pretty inherent in suburban-ness as well, for that matter. City environments just smell like car exhaust and spoiled food and perfume and hot asphalt. It makes the air sub-optimal for breathing purposes, and San Francisco air is usually no exception.

Dolores Park air at noon on the first sunny, clear Monday in May, however, is an exception. It's green. It's warm. It's rich, and not in that week-old tuna kind of way. It's what you get when you crank up the heat and pull the photosynthesis lever over to "Turbo". It's air that drips out of the sky at 85 degrees Fahrenheit and settles down into the cool green grass, bounces around among the blades and comes back up feeling wiggly and alive. It's occasionally joined by stray whiffs of sugar and vanilla from the bakeries in the Mission, unless that's just coconut from the various tanning products being used by the sunbathers basking on their towels. Ahhhhh.

My boss complimented me on my logic today. Tomorrow I'm bringing homemade vegan banana bread to the office. Is it wrong to experiment with stimulus-response conditioning in the workplace?

Posted by dianna at May 3, 2004 10:58 PM

you wouldn't happen to be related to a mr. woolsey that taught at carpenter ave. elementary school in studio city? he was my teacher once...interesting coincidence, if that's what it is.

Posted by: somerandomguy... at May 5, 2004 07:12 PM


I would in fact happen to be related to that Mr. Woolsey. He's my grandfather. How long ago did you have him for a teacher, anyway?

Posted by: Dianna at May 5, 2004 08:20 PM

oh man, you're making me feel old here, but by my count it was 15 years ago. fifth grade.

amazing how time flies. i liked your grandfather, by the way. he taught me how to square dance.

Posted by: somerandomguy at May 5, 2004 09:07 PM

carpenter elementary in studio city? holy crap...when i sober up i'm coming back with some seriously reminiscent shit.

Posted by: Erik at May 5, 2004 09:24 PM

Erik, don't tell me you had my grampa for a teacher too. Wait... actually, DO tell me you had my grampa for a teacher. That would rock.

Old? 5th grade + 15 years = 25-26? Spring chicken!

Hmph... I've yet to get any square dancing lessons from him. Perhaps I'll have to ask next time I see him. He'll probably tell me to "look it up"; that was his eternal refrain when I was little and asked him questions. Did he do that to students too?

Posted by: Dianna at May 5, 2004 11:03 PM

Nope, I never had a Mr Woolsey, though the name is very familiar (of course, it's your name...which may be why it is familiar...); he must not have not been teaching at Carpenter by the time I reached the upper grades.

Posted by: Erik at May 6, 2004 06:03 AM

Oh, okay. Then continue on with the promised reminiscent shit, assuming of course that you've sobered up. Or did you mean in a general way... "I sobered up 10 years ago after I threw up whiskey on my wife's poodle, and we both agree it was a change for the better."

'Cause if you mean like that, then I'm not holding my breath waiting.

Posted by: Dianna at May 6, 2004 10:10 AM

i don't ever remember him saying "look it up", but 15 years certainly have opened up a few gaps in my memory!

he used to "twiddle his thumbs" a lot. he'd circle them one direction, and then switch to the other. we always had fun in mr. woolsey's class.

and i appreciate the spring chicken comment (i'm 25). =)

Posted by: somerandomguy at May 7, 2004 09:45 PM

...did you google to find this page by looking for woolsey? and why would you do that? not that i'm casting stones. nothing wrong with googling for a teacher you had 15 years ago.

Posted by: michele at May 7, 2004 10:47 PM

actually no - i noticed dianna's name on an alumni web site for my (our) old high school, and thought she might be related to my fifth grade teacher. that site pointed me to her blog, and here i am.

why i didn't e-mail her directly, i don't know. i'm pretty unfamiliar with blogs, and the idea of posting comments to specific entries intrigued me.

Posted by: somerandomguy at May 8, 2004 10:09 AM

no no, it's good commenting directly to the blog. i'm fascinated (as i'm sure we all are) at how the internet can find people and then, uh, bring people together.

Posted by: michele at May 8, 2004 11:35 AM

Now, hold on just a moment here.

You went to the HGM. Class of, I'm guessing, 1997 or so. That means there's at least a 50% chance that I would know you by name and/or appearance.

Uncloak! Reveal thyself, please!

Posted by: Dianna at May 8, 2004 01:12 PM

Heh heh - okay okay. Here I am! =) I'm actually class of '96, so unless you were one of the first 9th grade classes at NHHS, you most likely do not remember me.

There are actually a number of people from the HGM that were students of your grandfather. I can think of three or four in the '96 class alone, and a couple more in the '97 class.

Heh...good memories.

Posted by: dustin at May 8, 2004 04:53 PM

And apparently I like the word "actually" because I used it in two consecutive sentences above. DOH! =)

Posted by: dustin at May 8, 2004 04:54 PM

I was at NH for 9th grade, as a matter of fact. I don't know if my class was one of the first, but we probably were because Portola was still switching its grades to catch up when I was there for 7th and 8th. Nonetheless, I don't remember you. Alas.

Erik's comment a ways above had me wondering-- do you know when he (not Erik, I mean my grampa) stopped teaching at Carpenter?

Posted by: Dianna at May 8, 2004 05:30 PM

yes, my comments do tend towards the thought-provoking...or infuriating. let's see...i was in fifth grade in {{does some mind-bending mathematics}} 1991-92 (and yes, I did use Excel to figure that out...), which was 12 years ago. i definitely don't remember your grandfather from when i was in fifth (though my mom remembers his name from earlier...). so i'm thinking that he must have stopped teaching at carpenter somewhere 'tween '89 and '91? that doesn't leave many options.

Posted by: Erik at May 8, 2004 08:11 PM

Wait - Dustin who ended up going to college in Texas? Friends with Cathleen Sullivan? Or am I thinking of someone else entirely? I was at NH for ninth grade in '95 too...

Posted by: Arianna at May 10, 2004 07:34 PM

Yes, I'm the same Dustin! I was very good friends with Cathleen. I even got a chance to have some coffee with her about 6 months ago as she was passing through Austin. Her hair is short! =)

Hmmm...'95 huh? I can't say that I place you, but most likely I'd recognize you. I don't tend to forget faces.

And how is your grandfather by the way? All this discussion and I forgot to ask. Where are my manners?

Posted by: dustin at May 11, 2004 10:48 PM

I was very short, with long hair and big glasses; I fit quite conveniently in the back of Cathleen's Bug, which was excellent for our cramped carpooling. What else....I don't know! Classmates of '95, how would YOU describe my ninth grade self?

Posted by: Arianna at May 12, 2004 06:32 PM

LOL...I should actually *read* the name of the person posting before making any assumptions. Sorry Arianna - I thought it was Dianna posting!

And yes, I DO remember you!

I'm going to have to dig around for my senior yearbook...

Posted by: dustin at May 12, 2004 07:28 PM

I just found my yearbook. Now I remember what you all look like! And as Erik says, I'm remembering some seriously reminiscent shit! I can't believe how young we all looked. Especially all you wee 9th graders! =)

My class is having a little get together this July. It's fucking been 8 years.

Dustin = old as dirt.

Posted by: dustin at May 12, 2004 07:57 PM

I know when he retired! I was a year behind Dustin on the Carpenter-Reed-NH track (though I never went to NH). I had Mr. Woolsey for 4th grade (1988-1989). Then he retired and we got a new teacher for 5th grade (who wasn't nearly as good). Mr. Woolsey was great. He lifted my confidence when no one else could. How is he doing?

Posted by: Beverly at July 14, 2004 10:59 AM

This is officially the coolest thread ever

Posted by: gene wood at July 14, 2004 11:30 AM

That's a damn good question. I haven't seen him in a couple of years, as an unfortunate side effect of some family drama which is entirely unrelated to him.

He had a minor stroke a few years ago, but he seemed to be pretty much his usual self afterwards. Still grumpy, still knows more than should be humanly possible. I'm not sure what he's been up to lately, because when I do hear from that side of the family it's usually about my grandmother going gallivanting off to Europe or Alaska without him.

Hang on a second. I don't know why I didn't think of this before. If any of you folks who had him for a teacher would like his address so you can drop him a line, just ask and I'll give it to you. I think he'd be tickled pink to hear from you.

Posted by: Dianna at July 14, 2004 11:30 AM

This really is the coolest thread ever. Gene, do you see what you're enabling here? Cue warm fuzzy feelings right.... now.

Posted by: Dianna at July 14, 2004 11:31 AM

Yes! Address! I'd love to send him a letter. I was quite the slacker in school and I've been trying to send letters to all the teachers that didn't give up on me, thanking them. Warm fuzzy feelings for everyone....

My email is

Posted by: Beverly at July 14, 2004 11:49 AM

Apologies for the Xs, Beverly. I copied your email address and then took it out of here so you don't get attacked by spammers. Cementhorizon is ground zero for the bastards, for some reason.

Email headed your way.

Posted by: Dianna at July 14, 2004 11:58 AM

hey dianna!

I remember you and I remember always being curious about your name -- but don't think I ever thought to ASK you if you were related to MY fourth grade teacher (I know Beverly from back then too!). D'oh!

So, um, hi again. :) The spamproof e-mail address here will work to drop me a line if you like. Beverly passed me the address. I will try to send him something from Spain!

Posted by: Casey at July 17, 2004 11:40 AM

Beverly! Casey! Holy shit, it's a Carpenter reunion! Thank you Dianna for pointing me back to this thread. And could you be so wonderful as to send your grandfather's information to me? I'll be your slave for a period of 12 months if you do.

I just dug out my 5th grade class picture. Yikes! We were so young. =)

Posted by: Dustin at July 22, 2004 10:13 PM

You know, I was going to try to tie the 12-month slave business in to yesterday's comments about cherries and chocolate and footstools, but upon consideration I've decided that it's wildly inappropriate. Address given, offer politely declined. You should scan the class picture!

Posted by: Dianna at July 23, 2004 02:47 PM

I was in Mr. Woolsey's fourth grade class in 1974. He was one of my most memorable and influential teachers -- I learned algebra and computer programming in fourth grade because of him, and I would love to send him a note...

Posted by: Nuke at January 30, 2008 08:37 PM