Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A program update

In my teaching program, there are two possible ways do to the foundation classes:

1. Apply to the program as a graduate student and then take the classes.

2. Just take the classes (which only works if you are an undergraduate at the university).

After the first year, the undergraduates have to apply to get officially accepted into the program and continue on to the second year. For some reason, though, they make the graduate students, who have already been accepted to the program, reapply. Now it isn't a full application, as they already have our stuff from the first time we applied, but we still have to update our statement of purpose and get another letter of recommendation. Why? I don't know. What I do know is that people who have been in the graduate program the whole time wind up having to have an additional letter of recommendation, which is just a nuisance.

Monday, January 29, 2007

A journal assignment

Each week, in tandem with the practical course, one of my education studies classes has us turn in a journal. Within this journal we have to report what we did in the tutoring class the previous week, note an interesting occurence, and then relate this occurence to the class readings. This third part is always the kicker for me, as some weeks I really haven't seen anything that relates to the readings. This last week, for example, all of our readings had to do with classroom management, and I really didn't see any of that during my tutoring sessions. I wound up having to really stretch one event I saw to make it fit with a small blurb in the readings (the other tutor in the history section I tutored wound up leading the students into a discussion on the concept of a draft, so I related that to a brief section in the readings that talked about teaching ethics to the kids). Honestly, when we have to stretch so much to get our events to fit the reading, I feel that we're learning to twist the truth rather than make poignant observations on teaching.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Any help is good help

Powering through the last of the First Year Teacher archives, I came across a post that dealt with encounters with well-meaning people of other religions, which brought to mind a recent event that had totally slipped my mind. R and I were out to dinner with his parents, and his mom was telling me about this ritual card that one of her sisters had sent her. The ritual is called a novena, which involves praying to some saint once a week for nine weeks (I know Wikipedia says nine days, I'm just repeating what I was told), and at the end of the ordeal your prayers will come true. She then asked me if there was anything I would like her to pray for. Now, being brought up in the Protestant tradition with a mother who is somewhat militant about her faith (i.e. everyone else is wrong), a few of her ideas have managed to rub off on me. Saints are a concept that doesn't quite jive with me. If God is supposed to be omnipotent and omniscient, why do you need someone else to put in a good word for you? In any case, I decided that the right course of action was to ask for her to pray that I will have good students next year. It really couldn't hurt.

A's thought of the day

Someone really needs to write "Dracula: The Musical." I'm going to go see a theatre production of "Dracula," but I think the whole story really would be better (or perhaps funnier) in song.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A hurdle

I'm hoping to get BCLAD certified when I get my credential. I know Spanish, but haven't used it regularly in a while (except for talking with the groundskeeper), so it is quite rusty. I just took the FSI (language competence) exam and got a score of 2+, but needed a minimum of 3 in order to pass, which means that I have to take a Spanish course next quarter and then take the exam again. How frustrating!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A whiney post

I'm sick. I knew it was bound to happen, as everyone around me has been getting sick. I tried not to gloat about my superior immune system, but I was still thinking it, which was apparently enough. I'm just hoping I don't get anyone else sick.

Okay, so that's not entirely true. At the AVID tutoring section yesterday, one of the guys of the classroom came around, asked my name, and shook my contagious hand. He then proceeded to tell me that it was national hug day, and then gave my back a little hug while he was walking behind my chair. Um, thanks. Since you're so desperate for contact with university coeds, you can have some of my germs. The student I was tutoring wryly quipped, "Well, that wasn't at all awkward," which just struck me as freaking hilarious and completely banished the awkward feelings. Honestly, in the two tutoring sessions I've attended so far, I've decided that I love high school students. Even when they're being annoying, it's a more manageable annoying than middle school students.

Monday, January 22, 2007

An Anonymous observation

Perhaps it is just the people I know, but it seems as though a massive migration is going to take place. Everone here seems to want to move up North. Whenever I mention that we're thinking of moving up to Washington, I always seem to hear that they're thinking of moving up to Washington or Oregon as well. I guess it's just a nice pace to live. I mean, think about it. Teacher salary: slightly lower. Housing prices: a lot lower. Hey! Suddenly teachers can afford to live. Of course, why am I telling all of you this? If you all take my advice and move up there, the housing prices will go up...

It's horrible up there. Really. Stay away.

Friday, January 19, 2007

A doesn't like to talk to old men

Apparently, I do something strange to the brains of old men. Although I think these people are capable of normal conversations, whenever they talk to me the topics just take a turn to the odd. The guy in the office across from me comments whenever I put on or take off my sweater and is always asking me when I'm going to go skiing. He's given me the nickname "Super Skier," even though I've repeatedly told him that I'm a snowboarder.

The old guy at my apartment complex is a whole new level of odd. Yesterday morning when I was going to work out he said that I was working out in order to look like the Mona Lisa (she is the paragon of fitness, after all). Highlights from our very first conversation (he was there when I was taking out the cat box and I wasn't able to extract myself for over an hour. R was wondering where I went!) include: literature (like many old men, nonfiction is the only literature for him), religion, the deep knowledge of the civilizations of ancient Mexico, metaphysics (everything natural has energy, so if you're in a bad mood you should hug a tree. Don't hug your spouse, though, lest you steal their energy), and music (he doesn't like that traditional music that all these people from the North of Mexico listen to, and instead listens to Glen Miller, which is awesome). Odd as these conversations have been, I'm actually rather proud of myself for being able to understand them, seeing as they all took place in Spanish.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Annotated asparagus

1. Delicious
2. Makes your pee smell evil
3. Wtf?

Another sign that blogging has gone to A's head

In my dream last night I was planning on blogging about events happening in the dream.

Today was my first session of AVID tutoring. The class divided up into into groups and this other student from my program and I were assigned to the physics questions group. We took one look at the questions on the worksheet and immediately made one of the students go fetch a physics book. Being geosciences and biology, we could have figured out the problems on our own, but we would have needed the equations and some time. Plus, these all dealt with specific heat, so we needed some numbers from the book anyway. Even with the book, we still had to explain how to derive this long ass equation that they hadn't even gone over in class. It was madness.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A new level of dork

I've arranged my life around the release of a computer game. I was even at the game store 15 minutes before it opened, to pick up a reserved copy. Oh, Burning Crusade, how you shame me by revealing my inner nature.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Another setback

In my search for a teacherly wardrobe, I turned my sights to the Mervyns business casual section (being conveniently close to my house). I found one shirt I rather like amongst the frumpy clothing, and on my most recent trip I found a second, which I wore for the first time yesterday. I was slightly iffy about the shirt's appropriateness when I got it, but now I am quite sure: Too much boob. How Mervyns manages to have a business casual section that is, at the same time, too frumpy and too sexy is beyond me, but this shirt definitely shows too much cleavage.

I also tried Ann Taylor LOFT for clothes (they're having their end-of-the-year ultimate sale) and bought one of those hangy-downy tunics that seem to be so in fashion these days. Actually, I bought two because they were cheap and I couldn't decide between black and cranberry (I could just hear my mom's voice in my head, "All you wear is black." I don't, and what is wrong with wearing black clothes, anyway?). They finally arrived, and what do you know, they don't look nearly as cool on me as they did on the model. Even R thinks they make me look pudgy and matronly, and he's much less critical than I am. I think I might keep them, though. Who knows when looking pudgy and matronly might come in handy? Well, that and I'm desperate for clothes that might be considered school appropriate.

Friday, January 12, 2007

A light in the... cold?

I guess my lady cat was feeling a bit chilly today (the guy has a luxurious fur coat), because she's here on my desk basking in the warmth of my desk lamp.

And one thing leads to another

When I was looking for the medical word for sleep talking, I wound up learning about Dion McGregor, who has had several albums of his somniloquies released. Apparently the guy fully narrates his dreams. Someone put a few clips up on a MySpace page in his honor. Unfortunately, I can only seem to get one working on my computer, but it was pretty amusing.*

I think I'm pretty lucky, since R is very understanding of my sleep talking. The second night we spent together I told him how I wanted to show him the Christmas lights in Auburn, so I guess he knew what he was getting into. My mom was mostly annoyed by my dad's sleep talking (probably more than other people might have been because she's such a light sleeper. Oh, and the dancing on the water bed really didn't help my dad's case). Even knowing that I sleep talk, R does get major credit for not freaking out over what I say, though. Apparently one night when I had gone to bed before him, I looked over at him when he was getting into bed and asked, "Which one are you?" and he didn't freak out. Didn't even wake me up. See? An amazing guy.

* Warning: salty language. Probably not anything you haven't heard before, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A somniliquous incident

Apparently, last night I was naming different types of piñatas in my sleep. Viva Piñata has, in fact, gone to my head.

A sudden realization

As we were watching the first episode of "Veronica Mars," R had a sudden realization:

"Hey, that strip club is down the street from my house."

(Actually, a lot of the show appears to be filmed in San Diego. Recognizing the strip club first was just funny)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

An ode to the lady who takes my blood

Oh, laboratory technician
With skin a lovely shade of brown
You're my favorite laboratory technician
The gentlest vampire in town

You like how I rhymed 'technician' with 'technician'? It's because I'm awesome. Anyway, enough of that nonsense. The lady at my doctor's office has turned getting my blood drawn into a minor inconvenience, rather than a big event that used to send me into a panic. For someone who has to get their blood tested twice a year, this is a big deal. I used to leave the office, one or both arms useless, shaking from all the adrenaline and decidedly sweaty. I'm not the only one who feels this way, either. Apparently the medical group tried to move her to a different office four times last year, but patients complained, so they moved her back.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Viva moment

After months of telling me how much I would like the game, R finally bought be a copy of Viva Piñata on Sunday. Since then, the two of us have been spending every spare moment playing the damn game. It really is too much fun. You have a garden that you tend in order to attract living piñatas, and some piñatas are attracted by other piñatas (and eat them). You get to breed them (they call it "romancing") and you can change them into different varieties. For such a simple idea, there is a surprisingly large amount of depth and attention to detail put into the game. All of the piñatas really look like piñatas - right down to their coat of tissue-paper squares. Plus, there are 60 different kinds of piñatas. Gotta catch 'em all, dammit!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A new year, a new quarter

Well, here we are at the cusp of a new quarter, in the fresh and shiny new year of 2007. Although I've already signed up for classes, I have yet to get my books or a notebook and I can't even remember what one of the classes I signed up for is about. It's a required class, so I suppose that it doesn't really matter anyway. In my practical class we start out as AVID tutors, but once they get us our placements we'll actually be teaching a class. It will probably only be one class, and we teach the lesson plan that our host teacher has prepared for us, but still - exciting! As might be expected, I'm a bit nervous. I'm glad they start us slowly into teaching; really just baby steps. Nevertheless, it will be new and nerve wracking. Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A pointless trip down memory lane

As we were driving to Ikea this afternoon, we happened to be passed by a motorcyclist. Today, unlike other days, this sight vividly brought up memories of my father's motorcycle. During his brief bachelor period (in between marriages), my dad finally got himself a motorcycle (my mom would never let him have one). It wasn't some cool chopper or a zippy looking crotch rocket, but rather a BMW touring bike that sounded like George Jetson's flying saucer. It really was a perfect fit, as my dad is a big dork. When he would use it to drop my sister off at school, she would always make him stop a block away, because she was too embarrassed. I, unfortunately, was never allowed to ride on it. My mom wouldn't allow it, and my dad, being the good guy that he is, respected the fact that she had 51% custody of me and didn't take me on the bike. He finally let me ride it just before he sold it, so that I wouldn't feel quite so left out. Of course, by that time I was living with him full time, so my mom couldn't really object. I still didn't mention it, though.

Friday, January 05, 2007

An interesting experiment

I just finished reading the blog of a guy's month-long project to eat for a $1 a day (linked to by Dubious Quality). Really interesting, though I have to agree with many of the commenters that the guy could have done a bit better for himself if he knew how to cook. Even a bag of onions could have livened up the monotony.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A's family is also 8 years old

As I may have mentioned before, my broad sense of humor has a definite twist towards what might be considered juvenile. This has gotten me into trouble in the past with a certain administrative assistant, who did not think that a banana peel in the recycling was at all funny. Now, mind you, I didn't put the banana peel there and it was kind of a sucky thing to do, but it was also hilarious. Luckily, now that I've moved offices, we've gotten ourselves a different administrative assistant. She's from the main office and so has gotten to know my dad (he works there), which therefore means she's already had some experience with my sense of humor as, you see, I got it from my dad. Although this was never in dispute, it really couldn't have been clearer this Christmas. My grandparents had gotten R and me a box of See's goodies, which happened to include a package of milk chocolate foil balls and a tin of extra fancy mixed salted nuts. Balls and salted nuts. When my grandparents left the room for a moment, my whole family cracked up. Shweaty balls, anyone?

Monday, January 01, 2007


7. Floss more regularly.

8. Be less messy. This is really an ongoing project. I tend to have brief moments of neatness before descending back into the chaos that is my life (or, really, my apartment). I just don't know how people do it.

2007 also marks the changing of the calendar. This time, the switch is from "Japanese Woodblocks 2006" to "Nuns Having Fun." Although the new calendar is certainly more funny than the last year's, it feels like a step down in classiness. I hope that isn't a sign for the rest of the year.

And a happy new year

Well, 2007 has finally arrived. It made it here without my supervision this year, as a glass of wine seems to be enough to put me to sleep these days. I'm not really a New Year's Resolutions kind of person, but I'll do them for the sake of the blog. A warning, though: A few of these are really just things that must be done this year, and not so much things that it would be nice to do.

The Goals:

1. Continue exercising several times a week, and don't slack off when school gets busy. Just think of all the complements you got this Christmas, and also keep in mind Grandma's quip about how she hopes they can also expand the ring when you told her about how you had to get it re-sized smaller. Grr.

2. Continue doing the readings for class on time. It really paid off last quarter, so don't get lazy.

3. Get a firm figure on how much money Dad will be contributing to the wedding. We don't want a repeat of what happened when we went of to college, now do we?

4. Reserve a ceremony and reception location and a caterer this summer for next summer's wedding, so that these tasks don't have to be done during the school year.

5. Post, on average, every other day. I think I'll be shooting for every day, but life just gets in the way sometimes.

6. Send people cards on their birthdays.

Well, that's pretty much it. I hope you all have a happy new year!