Thursday, December 13, 2007

This is SO overdue!

It's a good thing that the person who tagged me is related to me, otherwise, we might not be friends anymore since it took me so long to do this.

OK, here goes - 7 random things about me. Eek.
  1. My most recently acquired superpower is the ability to make technology malfunction in such a way that otherwise intelligent computer-savvy people can't make it work. Seriously! The CD drive on my work computer stopped working, and we couldn't figure out how to make it work (and whatever you are about to comment and suggest, we tried it. Really.) - so they finally gave me an entirely different computer! Aaaannnnnnddddd - my second day on that (this) computer, my Outlook, which I used constantly for work, stopped working. The IT guy had to uninstall and reinstall ALL OF MICROSOFT OFFICE to get it to work again. (If you feel the need to use this as an opportunity to bash Microsoft, then you related to Jeremy.) And while I am not opposed to superpowers in general, or to randomly acquiring new ones, this new superpower is almost definitely not a good thing, since I'm supposed to help one of my former professors do a technology-based presentation this weekend on using technology to teach about language and culture. Good timing, Superpower Distribution Committee.
  2. I have been known to run the same load of clothes through the dryer multiple times. Over a several day period. Even if they were dry after the first time. Maybe you already know this trick, but if not, listen closely, my little Padowans. See, if you get your clothes out of the dryer when they are still warm, then you don't have to iron them. And I, uh, don't iron. But for this trick to work, you DO actually have to get the clothes out when they are still warm. Which means you have be present, and ready to hang clothes, when the dryer finishes. And sometimes I don't FEEL like hanging the clothes when the dryer finishes. Or I don't hear it end, and then I get there and the clothes are cold and wrinkled again. So I pull out the non-wrinkled or the "I don't care if they are wrinkled" items (you know who you are) out one at a time as needed until someone else needs the dryer, or until I need an item that I don't want pre-wrinkled. And that sometimes takes a while. But it's still a good trick.
  3. I am fanatical about recharging batteries, and about keeping things with batteries at a full charge. Yup.
  4. There are a few people who can make me laugh so hard that the part of my head right behind my ears hurts. This sister is one of those people.
  5. I take notes. Constantly. I have boxes full of notebooks full of notes that I have taken - in classes, in church meetings, during scripture study. I seldom refer back to them, but if I ever need to - Oh, baby, I've got 'em.
  6. I read like a maniac, sometimes a book a day, and I love reading until I fall asleep and drop the book off the edge of my bed. I feel like the size, shape, weight, and feel of a book are part of the reading experience. There are at least two books that I read for the first time mostly because of how the book was made and how it felt in my hand. I did end up liking the stories, too. :)
  7. My mom and I share a disease - an affinity for blank notebooks and cool pens. I think I have more notebooks and she has more pens. The problem is - I buy a new cool blank book or notebook, and then I can't think of anything worthy to be written in such a neat (usually little) book. So, I, uh, still have lots of blank books. They are in boxes right next to all the not-as-cool notebooks that I actually used to take all those notes (see #5). There probably is not a moral to this story.
And I'm tagging - Janell, Danielle, NoSurf, Nantie Meg, Josh, Adele, and Kathleen.

Oh, and this? Pretty much describes my life. (Thanks, Allie.) And it explains really well either why I will, or why I will NOT, get around to telling the people listed above that they have been tagged.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A few funnies, to demonstrate that I am still blogging :)

My niece was talking about how her baby sister rips pages out of the scriptures, and eats the pages. And I made some comment about how it's no good to eat the pages of the scriptures, and my niece said, "Why not? It says we're supposed to feast upon the word." FAR too clever for a (just turned) 9 (today) year old.

A few minutes later in our phone conversation she said, "Well, do you have anything else to tell me? Because my arm is getting tired, and I even switched a few times."

A little boy in church today, pseudo-whispered during the meeting: "Mommy, if I went outside, Jesus would help me get back inside the church. He helps me."

My hilarious darling Grandma, a month and a half ago, I can't remember the context, but it doesn't matter, it's still 100% Grandma: "Don't be right ALL the time; it's dull."

My youngest sis and her husband are on the west coast for grad school, and we have agreed that it would be really cool at some point to talk on the phone when she is standing in the Pacific Ocean and I am standing in the Atlantic. So on Friday night, when I couldn't bear the thought of just going back to my apartment, I wandered until I found the Potomac River. And I had been so excited to get to the WATER that when I got there I called my sis to tell her. And AS I was leaving a message I realized that this was NOT quite the "event" that I had been thinking, because I was only next to a river, not the ocean. So I left her a kind of sheepish message about how here I was, next to water that is CLOSE to the Atlantic Ocean. And on Saturday I got a reply voicemail: "We thought maybe we'd call you while we were standing in the bathtub - then we'd be in water that was NEAR the ocean." Little snot.

And I need to post Kate's meme, and I had a FABULOUS weekend, such as I have been WANTING to have ever since I moved to this state, so I need to write about that, and I just FINALLY got a batch of pictures off my camera, so I'll get those posted SOON. Really. :)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I have the moves of an '80's back-up dancer

I saw these guys on Friday night. And, um, the drummer wore a full Imperial Storm Trooper suit. I kid you not.

And oh. My. Gosh. That was some SERIOUS good times. I mean, I haven't seen that many off-the-shoulder shirts with the tank top showing underneath, big (I mean BIG) hair, jelly bracelets, denim jackets with the sleeves cut off, skinny ties, or faux leather pants since it WAS the 80's!!

I went with an old friend and some new friends that I met that night, and um, now we HAVE to STAY friends because we danced and shrieked our heads off to the best of the 80's. Just imagine, all those 80's tunes that we love so much and could sing in our sleep because we've heard them so many times even tho the "so many times" we heard them was 20 years ago - imagine a band actually PLAYING them (!!) and then imagine a big ol' theater full of people dressed appropriately and singing along, and dancing like we did in the 80's.

And then as I was singing along to one song and one of the girls I was with was so impressed that I knew the words, I realized that I knew them because...well, the Jonas Brothers do that song on the Disney Channel. Yes, I watch WAY too much of the Disney Channel, but they shouldn't be recycling songs from my life time as "oldies" for these teen rockers to "revive!"

My new friends and I spent half the night checking out people's outfits and saying, "oh yeah! Remember the gloves with no fingers? and matching stylin' boots with your HUGE sweater / sweatshirt / jacket?!"

(And I know that fashions recycle, but mini-skirts with tights? and high wide belts? those are BACK, and they were from the 80's. Weird. I REMEMBER that, and it's recycling back. Awesome.)

And we spent the other half of the night copying the sweet moves of one of the back-up dancers. And man - we were GOOD at it! There was lots of running in place and bopping side to side, and the fingers pointing to the horizon... you know you used to dance like that too. But probably not as recently as me.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

What? Nothing's been posted?!

I actually come here about every other day - maybe I'm hoping there's something new up? Like how we go back to the refrigerator again and again, even tho we KNOW that nobody put anything new in since we last looked.

So this isn't much of a revival, but I am back, and I have LOTS of posts half composed in my head, AND I've been tagged to do Kate's meme, AND I have pictures of this gorgeous state that I now live in that I need to post.

And please don't remind me that I still haven't posted pictures or stories from France this summer...

And I need to update my profile, since some of the things I put in there don't apply to me anymore, and am I going to keep doing the book list, since I haven't updated it since I don't even know when?

But I'm back. Hi, internets. :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fashion show: Explanation :)

Ok, so I'm in DC! I have been here for 9 days now, and I am liking it! :) My new job will be a challenge, but it's going well so far, and I think it's going to be fun.

And, uh, shopping is fun. :) Having been a student for all of my life, my "professional wardrobe" is, uh, pretty weak. So I've been adding to it. And since, despite what some people say ;) , I have no friends close by here to do a post-shopping-trip fashion show for, I wanted to show someone and the files were too big to email, so I posted them here for my sister to see, and, uh, you're invited too, internets. :)

So these tops are to go with the new brown pants, that's why I'm wearing the same pants in every picture.

And, uh, it's not that easy to take a picture of yourself when you are trying not to block the view of the clothes...

Fashion show: White blouse

Fashion show: Pants

Fashion show: Outfits

Fashion show: purse

Fashion show: shoes

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Friday, September 14, 2007

Lucky 13

So it's barely Friday, but it IS Friday, so I can say that TODAY I will drive out of this town that I have lived in for the past 13 years.


I was the first of my sisters to come to this town, though not the first to come to the state, and now we ALL have college degrees, 2 of us more than one degree. My older sister is a doctor and a mom, another is a mom of 4 kids, and my baby sister just moved to CA so she and her genius husband can do grad school. Oh, and learn to surf.

My family has gone from living in the house we lived in for 21 years to living in 5 different locations around the nation and the world at the same time (can you get farther apart than Argentina and China?!) to living all in the same state for the last 14 months.

I have an aunt and uncle who live in this town, and their family has been my family since I moved here, so I judge the passage of time through events in their family as well as mine. For example, in the last 13 years, between our two families, we have had 9 weddings and 15 grandchildren. And there are 2 more of each looming on the horizon. :)

When I came here, my aunt and uncle had 9 kids, and their oldest kids, twins, were sophomores in high school. Now there are 10 kids in the family, 6 of them are married, there are 10 grandkids, and those 2 high school sophomores each have 2 kids and a college degree. The second youngest was too young to remember life before I came here, and the youngest didn't have life before I came here! :)

In the past 13 years...

...members of my immediate family have lived in:
  • New York
  • St Louis
  • Champaign, Illinois
  • Taiwan
  • Argentina
  • California
  • Utah
  • China
  • Arizona
...I have personally visited:
  • Romania
  • Israel
  • Egypt
  • Jordan (2 times)
  • Argentina
  • France (3 times)
  • Canada
...I now have:
  • 2 college degrees
  • a car
  • 3 brothers-in-law
  • 3 nieces
  • 2 nephews
  • cunieces and cunephews to whom I am a Cuzaunt
  • 4 bridesmaid dresses
  • highlights in my hair
  • 3 pairs of 3 inch heels
  • a cell phone
  • a real "move to be near it, get paid a salary, have good health insurance" job!

I have been staying at my aunt and uncle's house for the last two weeks, while getting ready for this move, and tonight when I got home, my uncle said to me, "So is this the last time you'll be sleeping over at our house?" And it hit me that it is, and I nodded yes so that I wouldn't cry when I said it, and he said, "It's the end of an era."

And lists like the ones above don't even TOUCH the friends that I've made, and the road trips, and the funny one-liners that stick with you. They don't cover academic growth, or spiritual growth, or personal growth, or professional growth, or what I now know that I want in my life that I didn't know I wanted before. They don't cover being in love, or getting your heart broken, or waiting. They don't cover jobs, or my coworkers who became my work family, or the stress of all-nighters freshman year and all nighters prepping the masters thesis, or the deep-down satisfaction of knowing that I finished that massive paper and contributed something to the university with my project.

I can't make a list of the changes in my world view, or the opinions I've discovered that I actually do have, or the power I've found to express them. I can't list the gratitude that I have to the people who have supported me, or even begin to ennumerate the ways they have done so.

And next?

  • My mom and I get in my car in 30 hours and drive across the country.
  • I hope that my 8-yr-old niece namesake forgives me for moving so far away after only a year and 2 months of us living in the same state.
  • I hope that I don't cry every time I think of my 4-yr-old niece in tears telling her daddy, "I just really know I'm going to miss Aunt Margaret!"
  • I buy a professional wardrobe.
  • I find a place to live, hopefully adequately close to fun stuff and my job.
  • I make new friends.
  • I swallow my fear and my pride and step down from my "I've been top dog in my on-campus lab for 6 and a half years" pedestal and learn how to do my new job.

I try to think about what's AHEAD instead of what I'm leaving BEHIND so that I can make it to the other side of the country without losing all the liquid in my body through my eyeballs.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Job interviews are SCARY!

...even when you like the company and think that you ARE a good fit for the job and think that the interview DID go well.

And then you hang up the phone, and it's - NOW what?!

Now I wait - will they fly me out there for more interviewing? Did I make a fool of myself when I said, "I'm really smart" even tho the interviewer cut me off right then and I don't think he heard me say it? (eek.) And do I WANT to move to that town?

And really - what kind of a job do I want? Even tho I feel like I would be a good match for that company and that position - do I want to do that work?

Ah, life.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

SURELY we can do better than this!

So the front page of the university paper has this headline today:
Child obesity a growing epidemic
No, really?!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

You can call me Pinkie, but I won't respond.

So I have pink eye, and in order to give you an accurate picture of what it's like, here's a picture of what it's like:

And wow - that just really doesn't capture it, the redness, the swollenness, the bloodshotness, you can't really see it that well. But it's there, oh, it's there.

Let's try again:
How's that? NOW do you feel sorry for me?!

And here's how you might be able to understand what the last few days have been like for me:
  1. You know when you are sick, and you blow your nose, and it comes out all yellowish-greeny? That's what the gunk looks like that is coming out of my eyes. I wiped it out before I took the above pictures. You're welcome.
  2. And when you are sick and you blow your nose all the time, you know how your nose feels raw from being blown so much? That's how my eyes feel. Yeah, weird.
  3. Women - you know when it's that time of month, and you wake up in the middle of the night with a sure and certain knowledge that if you don't get your body vertical in less than one second things will get REALLY bad? Well, that happened to me last night - but the leaking was out of my eyeballs.
  4. You know when you have tears in your eyes, and the water from your eyes kind of hovers on your lower eyelid and makes it kind of hard to see, and you have to blink to see through it? Yeah, it's like that, but the liquid in my eyes isn't clear, it's...well, see #1.
  5. You know when you have tears in your eyes, and you don't want to wipe them, and you tip your head back to keep the tears from falling on your shirt? Well, I do that. But it'd be WAY worse if THIS dripped on my shirt than if tears did; see #1.
  6. You know when you stay up all night and your eyes burn? I have that feeling all the time, even though I didn't stay up all night.
  7. You know when you drink a lot of water, and then you have to keep getting up to go to the bathroom? And then you get back to work, or whatever, and 5 minutes later you think, "What?! I have to go AGAIN? I just went!" That's how it is with me with wiping the gunk out of my eyes. I wipe it out, and then I wash my hands (because - EWW!), and then I sit back down, and then 2 seconds later my eye is all blurry again and I endure it as long as I can, and then I have to get up and go wipe the gunk out again and wash my hands again. Sigh.

So really, people, good times, good times. And in case you couldn't tell, I have it in BOTH eyes. That's what I get for having 2 sleepovers in one week with 4 nieces and nephews who ALL have it.

And I'll buy you a candy bar of your choice if you can come up with a good caption for the pictures of my eyeballs. Here's mine:

Don't attempt to read all 7 Harry Potter books in one sitting.

P.S. I went to the doctor to get eye drops for this lovely condition, and he came into the room looking at my chart and said, "So you have pink eye, eh?" And then looked at me and said, "Looks red to me!" Apparently if you are a doctor there is no reason to resist the obvious one-liners.

P.P.S. And just so this post isn't a TOTAL downer - the medicine has been helping. :) And I'm going river rafting with my family tomorrow! And I went to a family reunion last week and hung out with some of Kati and Kari's kids - cuties! And I looked through all my France pictures the other night, and I got some GOOD ones! If you're nice, I might even post them... ;)

Friday, July 20, 2007

still here...

It's been WAY too long since I posted, and I have SO much to catch up on, but this is not that "catching up" post. :)

This is just a short post to say that I AM alive, that I AM back from France, that I had a GREAT time, and that I have NO idea what I'll be doing with my life in about a month and a half, or where I'll be doing it.
"Start panicking!"
Name that movie.

Friday, June 01, 2007

So maybe I AM an idiot. Or maybe I am just hungry.

So I have lots of things to blog about! Like:
  • my students' responses in the culture bowl. (Did you know that C.S. Lewis invented the printing press? or that New Jersey is the capital of Columbia?)
  • yesterday was the last day of school.
  • I'm REALLY excited to only have ONE job this summer.
  • I am leaving for France in TWENTY-FOUR DAYS.
Or maybe just:
  • my job hunt led me to a bunch of REALLY depressing information about how much EFFORT it will take to get a teaching license in Massachusetts.

It makes me wonder if:
  • it's even worth getting one, since I only plan to teach for a couple of years anyway.
  • I have the time to get it done this summer.
  • I should even bother applying for jobs before I have done all the licensing crap.
  • I know enough to pass the content exam.
  • I spoke too soon about moving to Boston.
  • It's time for me to leave my office and go home and eat dinner before I decide that I should just apply to work at Wendys and totally give up on switching states, teaching, and life beyond hot French fries and a cold Frosty.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Plan

So I think I'm going to move to Boston! No, I don't have a job there yet. No, I don't have a place to live there yet. No, I have not yet put more than 1 hour's worth of effort into finding either, but Boston just sounds like it would be a great, fun, exciting-but-not-too-exciting place to live.

And I'd like to leave today, please - I have deadlines approaching. :)

Monday, April 23, 2007

The secret to ROCKING the Astro Blaster... to hold the laser RIGHT in front of your face, as I demonstrate here.

And, um, I loved Disneyland. :) I kind of wasn't sure that I would love it - I tend to be fairly cynical about big commercialized money-making machines, and Disney, uh, makes a lot of money. And they sell TONS of stuff. But it was REALLY different to BE there, and to SEE the kids get excited and to FEEL what Walt was going for when he conceptualized this idea in the first place - a place where kids and parents can have fun together. And, ya know, I'm an adult, right? But yes, I did multiple rides multiple times, and yes, I DID run back in line immediately after getting off California Screamin' AND the Tower of Terror. And I got my picture taken with Mickey, and it was a little magical, even tho I KNEW there was a person inside, probably even a female person.

One moment that pretty much captured the new feeling that I have for Disneyland was when Crista and I got off the Tower of Terror after our third ride (and we would have gone back for a fourth, but the Electrical Parade was starting and it was our last night there and I hadn't seen it yet) and there was a family of four that had been on the same ride as us, and it was their first time on it. And the kids seemed to have enjoyed it, but the dad was TOTALLY cracking up - it was obvious he had LOVED it! And Crista said something like, "Walt would LOVE that - that the dad liked it more than the kids did!" She said, "Kids need to see their parents like that." And I think it's a cool thought, and it makes me rethink how much I like the Disney commercials where the parent "turns into" a kid while in the park. The adults we saw there, and there were plenty without kids, seemed to be having a really good time. And the adults we WERE there :) had a FANTASTIC time! :) :)

So despite this overly-commercialized THING that I was expecting, I came away instead with a very sweet, tender feeling - a man planned and worked with a very specific family-oriented goal in mind, and I think that's GREAT. And the magic of the movie characters coming to life, and of BEING in Toontown, and of sailing through the Pirates' lair, and of hearing your voice, and your friends' voices, as the audio of a scene in one of your favorite animated movies, and of Crush the sea turtle swimming down this big tunnel that they dug from the ocean to come and talk to you - it IS magical! It's as magical as you allow it to be - and maybe that's the key. :)

So there will probably be more posting about the spring break Disneyland adventure - the driving, the craziness, the finding-out-about-your-friend's-arrest-record, the tears, the wonder, the penny presses, the walking, the reading a book outloud while we stood in line for Star Tours and getting another guy in line intrigued about the story, the rain, the churros, the crowds, the fast passes, the magic, the dreams coming true - but since we got home at 2 this morning and I had to get up early to plan French lessons for today and hence am operating on very little sleep, that posting will not be happening now.

But kids - good times, seriously good times. :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The verdict is in.


I have been accused, by people close to me but whom I will, in the kindness of my heart and for their own protection, refrain from naming, of wearing clothes simply "to avoid being naked" and not because the clothes look nice or have any redeeming characteristics.


I have received word from one who is, in most universes, the undisputed expert on fashion (and everything else, really, just ask her, she'll tell you) - THE FEMALE JUNIOR HIGH STUDENT. A representative of this renowned body wrote, on a birthday card addressed to ME:

" dress great!"

Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case.

Other, less eternally-significant comments on the card my students made for me while I was skipping school on my birthday include:

"Thanks for being nice to me, even tho I talk! and talk and talk and talk!"

"thanks so much for putting up with our big mouths! But we love you! your my favorite!"

"Happy B-day Senora Merrill you'r so cool, like a fresh drink in the hot summer beach, don't change you'r funniness!"

"You rock at French so enjoy some fries"

"You are so great at teaching us, you try really hard!" - ?!?!

"Thanks for helping us learn french, and please don't ever leave us with a substitute again!"

I'm like a well-dressed fresh drink in the hot summer beach. Ah yeah, baby. Would you like some fries with that?

Friday, April 06, 2007

My dad ROCKS!

So I found out 2 days ago that my school will NOT be continuing the French program next year - not enough budget $, yada yada yada. They made the best decision they knew how, and I don't blame them for it, and I'm not bitter. Honest honest.

In fact, it's really kind of an exciting feeling! Here is how my dad put it:
Wow! What a great opportunity to design your life!

Freshly minted masters, lotsa experience, no debts, no anchors, an income stream for some months yet, positive support from your previous employer!

99.9% of the population would kill to be in your shoes!

And hey - he's right!! So...where should I go?????

Thursday, March 22, 2007

"That's it; you're done."

That's what the girl in the Graduate Studies office said to me as I stood there for a second, looking blankly at her, waiting to be told what the next step was. I had just handed her my 8b form, validated by the library administrative office, certifying that I've turned in my thesis for binding (a day BEFORE the deadline) and will hence graduate.

She said those words so lightly.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I felt really smart...

...when I ran out of shaving cream in the shower this morning and then remembered that I had already purchased a new can.

Aaah yeah, baby.

What makes you feel smart?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Years of famine, apparently

The rest of the story:

In fourth period today, pretty much right after the bell rang to begin class, all my students were in their seats, with their hands in the air.

Yup, you guessed it - they all wanted to go get a drink of water. :)

It's kinda fun to have an inside joke with my students.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Third period drought

The back-story:
There is a drinking fountain about six feet from the door of my classroom, so I let kids get a drink pretty much whenever they want, but they DO have to raise their hands and ask.
And also, I have a class of all seventh graders during fourth period.

The story:
During a presentation of new vocabulary in 4th period today, approximately half my students, one at a time, raised their hands and asked if they could get a drink of water. Since I kept thinking that they were raising their hands to answer my questions about the new vocab, I kept calling on them and having the flow of class totally interrupted. GRR. Finally I said, "What is the deal?! Was there a DROUGHT in 3rd period today??" to which all my students, at the top of their voices, responded, "YES!" So I said, half-kidding, "Shall we just ALL go get a drink??" to which all my students, at the top of their voices, responded, "YES!"

So we took 3 minutes of class time for them to quietly pile into the hall and get a drink, which is fine with me, if it allows class to carry on without 25 individual requests to go get a drink.

I was attempting to restart class by saying, "Now that we're all well-hydrated..." when one of my students piped up, "Now I have to go to the bathroom!"


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Sometimes stuff just STINKS.

Yesterday I was bugged at:
  • boys
  • traffic
  • staying at work too long and getting too little done
  • being hungry
Today I am bugged at:
  • my crappy lesson plan for today
  • hitting the snooze button too many times
  • snotty students who won't stay on task in class
BUT - I saw my aunt as Aunt Martha in "Arsenic and Old Lace" last night, and she was FABULOUS, just like I knew she would be. And there ARE tasks in my life that ARE getting done. And my first payment for my trip to France this summer is due, which means I am REALLY GOING!

So I guess I can keep on just keepin' on for a little while longer. :P

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The rumors are true.

Not sure why this looks retarded when I post it and not when I preview it, but I wanted to get the news out.

Your results:
You are Superman

Wonder Woman
The Flash
Green Lantern
Iron Man
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero am I?" quiz...

Friday, February 16, 2007

DYM should try this game for Laylee's faerie party

Speaking of four-year-olds and sugar and "best ever" and "orbiting patterns," I feel like I should tell you all about the game I played once with my 27-yr-old bro-in-law and several young nieces and nephews. (The BIL is not the dad of these kids.) (Or any kids, for that matter.) It consisted of one of us sitting in the middle of the room and the others running in a circle, or, shall we say, "orbiting pattern," around them, chanting "ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow."

You should get rid of your TV so that you, too, can create treasured family memories like this one.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thoughts from today, such as they are

1. It is TOTALLY okay that I ate chocolatey-chip cookies for breakfast, because they contained oatmeal, which everyone knows is a breakfast food.

2. Ankle socks are so called because they leave your ankles UNcovered. They are thus probably not the best way to keep said body part warm.

3. That one house that is painted bright yellow with a really bright green striped roof...shouldn't be.

4. One of my roommates moved out today. She moved to a city that is far away. I am NOT happy about this. Some roommates we are glad to see go, but not this one. :(

5. I put in a good, solid work day at my second job today and it felt good. :)

6. Little kids know about love - Laylee wants to marry Magoo, and my 6-year-old nephew said to me the other day, "If you aren't married by the time I'm grown up, we could get married." Well, no, but I do love you, kiddo. :)

7. It really IS all about love. I was reminded recently of a comment made about a language teaching seminar that I worked on almost 2 years ago in a very far away part of the world. One of the participants, in his end-of-the-seminar report, wrote that the seminar was really about creating bonds of love between individuals. I agree. I think most of what we do is, or should be, about creating bonds of love between individuals. Happy day-after-Valentine's Day, I guess. :)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

It's gonna be a good day!!

And here's why:
  1. I did not have to scrape ice off my car this morning!
  2. Even tho I slept until 6:30 instead of getting up at 5 like I wanted to, I STILL got a couple of kick-tushy French lessons prepared! YAY!!
  3. I did laundry in the middle of the night so my favorite pants are clean clean CLEAN!
And that's enough reasons. :)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Two things

#1 - I missed my blog-iversary four days ago! I've officially been a blogger for a year. Weird. And I remember where I was in my old house (two houses ago :) ) when I felt that feeling that I posted about. And I remember what was happening in my life and in the lives of some of my good friends. It was a crazy, crazy time. :) And now here I am - thesis defended, 6 months into my first year of teaching, getting ready to apply for a PhD program (!!). A year ago I had one less niece, my sister was still in China, my other sis and her family hadn't moved into the state yet, I hadn't made my trip to France yet.

And I'm trying to avoid LOTS of really cheesy cliches right now, about time...and how it passes...and how we grow...and change...and even tho I mean it and it is important, to me and in general, I don't really know how to say it right now without it all coming out sounding like blah-dy blah-dy blah, so we'll just go on to thing...

#2 - I REALLY like BOTH of my jobs! How stinkin' COOL is THAT!?! Seriously, I had a GREAT day at the junior high today, and as I was wrapping up my day and getting ready to go home I thought, "YAY! Tomorrow I get to go to that other job!" I like that. :) I like that I feel prepared and well-placed in BOTH of my jobs. I like that I feel like I can contribute in both my jobs. I like that they are different and so I have a break from each one every other day and so I am still excited to go to each one. :) I like that I get 3 paychecks a month. :) :) It just feels down-to-my-bones GOOD to really ENJOY my work.

And that is all.

Blog out, internets.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

And then today...

...after enjoying the feeling yesterday of being all fired about teaching junior high French, I talked today to a member of my grad committee, who is a big name in my field (really big), and he told me of an interaction that he had over the weekend with one of the women in charge of the grant at the university, you remember, the one who requested a copy of my thesis, and she was optimistic about me being involved up there, and so this committee member and I talked about how I will approach getting myself involved up there, and now I am feeling torn.

I mean, I haven't received ANY kind of an offer to go to this university, and yet I am already contemplating if I really want to give up teaching at my school.

I mean, a PhD program is SUCH a big deal, and this would be SUCH a great opportunity for my specific skills, experience, and interest, but I have so much to learn about teaching, and only continuing to teach will help me learn it! And you know, that is why I wanted to teach before doing a PhD anyway - so that I'd have experience dealing with the issues that I instruct the teachers I train as to how to deal with. (did that sentence make sense?) And my teaching experience IS teaching me about teacher development, too - we do it at my school and in my district and it is very validating, since we address so many of the issues that I taught in my workshops and covered in my thesis.

So maybe all this just means that I am on the right track with my plans. Huh.

Monday, January 29, 2007

I'm all fired up!

I just had a GREAT discussion with the other language teachers at my school, and I am feeling renewedly (I know that's not a word) excited about teaching! See, 'cause here's the thing - it's hard to find a balance between all the different aspects of teaching. Plus life. :) I LOVE interacting with my students - they are hysterical, and I think I have a pretty good rapport with them. I enjoy the time that I get to spend facilitating their learning. I even don't completely HATE the time I have to spend grading the assignments that I give them. :) And I am absolutely FANATICAL about updating and storing my lessons plans after I teach every day. These little things I can do.

But I'm feeling that I'm NOT so good at having an overall teaching plan / curriculum and making sure that everything I do fits into that plan. I feel like it's hard enough to grade all their papers and make sure they have something reasonably effective to do in the classroom each day - the thought of taking MORE time to develop my overall grand-scheme long term plan and make sure it fits in with the district, state, and national standards is EXHAUSTING and makes me want to DIE. And as I type this, and LIVE this, I KNOW that it's DUMB DUMB DUMB to go day-to-day, teaching "stuff" and not knowing how - or even IF!! - it's going to get my students to where I want them to be by the end of the day / unit / year. So I struggle.

But during our discussion today I got to see a little bit more from the perspectives of these other two teachers at my school, and now I feel better. I think I "get" a little better now that we are all just doing the best that we can, and that my "best" will keep getting better. I made a statement comparing myself to a French teacher in the district who is SO organized and seems to be SUCH a good teacher, and one of my colleagues said, "And how long has SHE been teaching?" Ok, good point. :) I'm in my FIRST YEAR. I haven't even taught my whole curriculum ONCE yet! So it's ok that I don't have perfectly sculpted lesson plans and flawless speaking tests and exciting culture units yet! But I CAN start NOW to WORK to be excellent! There is more that I CAN do than what I AM doing, and I saw a few of those things today, and was reminded that I KNOW that teaching is a learning process. Thank goodness! :) And, ya know, go team!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"Done" doesn't mean a lot to me these days

I am feeling a little bitter right now, so if you don't like that sort of thing, you may want to come back later.

OK, so remember that whole "I passed my thesis defense without any revisions required" thing? Yeah, well, two weeks later I am collecting the signatures after fixing the formatting issues and two tiny wording issues, and I just found out, about 5 minutes ago, that my department REQUIRES me to do my thesis as an ETD (electronic thesis / dissertation). I had chosen NOT to do that because of some material that I print from an Excel file and some stuff that I am citing but do not have WRITTEN permission from the publisher to include. Basically, it's going to be a pain in the butt, and I don't want to do it and I had already decided NOT to do it...and now I HAVE to do it!

erg erg
erg erg
erg erg
erg erg
erg erg
erg erg
erg erg

So one of my committee members is currently, right this moment, signing one of the forms, and then I need the department chair to sign, and then I bring it to the dean's office, and then I start the MADNESS of making it all a pdf.

Can't I just be finished? Will it ever end? I know that sounds melodramatic, but that's how I'm feeling right now! I just keep thinking, "This is the LAST step...ok, now this is REALLY the last step...ok, now for SURE I'll be done after this," and there keeps being MORE. I anticipate that the APA checking people in the dean's office will have some changes in my formatting, and I am mentally prepared for that, but I was NOT anticipating having to recreate a massive Excel file in Word or having to write to a publisher to get permission to use a diagram in my appendixes.

And the whole process takes twice as long for me because I have another job that I work all day every other day, so tracking down people in offices during business hours is something that I can only do every other day, so if it's getting to the end of the day and I'm ALMOST ready for a signature, or I need to check something with an office, it has to wait TWO more days before I can get it done.

This is taking forever and I want it to be over with.

erg erg
erg erg
erg erg
erg erg
erg erg
erg erg
erg erg

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Things that have made me feel like a grown-up recently...

...followed, in parentheses, by the reasons those same things also make me feel pathetic, lazy, or lame.
  1. buying a WHOLE BOOK of stamps to send Christmas thank you notes (I haven't sent, or written, them yet)
  2. passing my thesis defense with NO REVISIONS (it was a week ago and I still haven't finished the "no revisions" and collected the signatures I need to publish the *&#%@ thing)
  3. recognizing, and accepting!, that yes, Margaret, working "full time" DOES mean that I have to get up at a reasonable hour EVERY day and put in a full day's work EVERY day (that has NOT been my life pattern in recent years, which probably explains #2's parenthetical. And heck, probably #1's, too. And probably that whole "I understand eternity because that's how long it took me to write my thesis" thing, too. Ah well.)
So there you have it. What makes YOU feel like a grown-up?

Thursday, January 11, 2007


I PASSED!! :) :) :)

And not only did I pass, but I got the highest possible marks from all three committee members - the secretary of the department reportedly said that she's only seen that happen ONCE before. !!!!!!!

And not only did I pass with the highest possible marks from all three committee members, but I just found out that there is a university in another state that just got a grant from the government to do the same sort of thing that I did for my Master's project, and...THEY REQUESTED A COPY OF MY WORK! And that is one of the school's whose PhD programs I was looking into for 2 or 3 years down the line, but if I have the chance to work on this federal grant, I might do that sooner rather than later! AAAHHH!!

And my mom, from whom I inherited an obsession for nice writing utensils, was so excited about my scores (grades? marks?) that she immediately went and got me a beautiful new pen. :) And I'm carrying it around in my pocket today, chortling to myself every time I think about how well everything went yesterday.

I'm sure I'll write more about the defense soon, because it was a very interesting experience for me, but I just wanted to get the news out. :)

Monday, January 08, 2007

It's nice to have a different answer to give.

So in my world, everyone knows that I'm working on my thesis, and everyone ALSO knows that I have been working on it for a really, really long time. So in my world, one of the first things old friends ask me when they see me is, "How's the thesis?" And for the past 2 years, my standard response has been to kind of jokingly growl under my breath and say, "oh, ya know, it's comin' along."


Classes started at the university again today, and even tho I'm not taking classes, I was on campus doing paperwork, so I saw a couple of friends that I haven't seen in a while, and, predictably, they asked, "How's the thesis?"

And I took a deep breath and said, "I defend on Wednesday!"

And to say that it felt "good" to give that answer is only just a titch of an understatement. ;)