Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Being a grad student has its advantages.

There was a reception being held in the foyer of our building during class having something to do with grants. It was never made clear to me what the exact point of it was. Our professor kept giving us group activities and discussions while he popped down to rub elbows and munch on the food offerings.

During break, the more daring students shoved their way up to the food table and emerged with little plates full of cheese and crackers. I dispatched a classmate in search of cookies. Eventually we were all digging in.

But the best part was the open wine bar. A glass of rose definitely made for a much improved second half of class.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Little Bits of Sunday

  • I got the Halloween candy. I've only eaten one piece so far. I hope there's some left by Wednesday.
  • I need to go bring in the plants. It may frost for the first time tonight.
  • I closed all of the storm windows except one that wouldn't budge.
  • I vacuumed some of the house because the little yellow honey locust leaves are everywhere. And I mean everywhere.
  • I took the broken storm window and ripped screen to the hardware store to be repaired. I managed not to buy anything while I was there, but I did spy a coat rack that would be perfect in my newly finished entryway coming in from the garage.
  • I went to visit my stepmom afterwards as there were rumors of gifts (tea and local honey).
  • I raided her liquor cabinet and took the dregs of three bottles (at least two of which had been mine originally). Now I just have to figure out what kind of drinks I can make with them.
  • She let me sample a delicious raspberry brandy wine. I may have to get me some of that.
  • We had a very nice visit until I was leaving and the subject of Thanksgiving came up. Lordy, that surely can spoil the whole afternoon.
  • Maybe another piece of Halloween candy will help.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Just another Saturday night...

I really wish for your sake and mine that I had something inspiring (or even vaguely interesting) to write about. But I don't.

As usual, I have tons of schoolwork to do this weekend. And yet I spent remarkably little time actually doing any of it. I did, however, clean the tops and fronts of the washer and dryer. Even my extreme levels of avoidance don't extend to the backs of large appliances.

Tomorrow I may tackle closing the storm windows. And I still need to shop for Halloween candy. Oh, the life I lead...

Friday, October 26, 2007

You must be kidding.

All you homeowners out there, feel free to nod along knowingly.

FF discovered recently that there are water spots on the ceiling in the catroom (obviously a room I attempt to avoid like the plague, therefore not having much opportunity to spy on the ceiling). You may remember that my father had a new roof put on the house before I bought it. That's right, folks, the roof is just over a year old and it's leaking.

I promptly phoned the roofer, who I've never met nor spoken to, only to have him inform me that he's gone "out of business." Curses. If I weren't so dreadfully exhausted I might be freaking out.

Just now while attempting to hunt down a piece of mail I'd thought I'd left on the kitchen table (it turns out it was on the coffee table, which is odd because I never put mail there), I flipped on the dining room light switch. Flash! And dark. I turned off the switch and tried again. Flash! And dark. Because I clearly was at a loss for what else I might do, I tried several more times, with the exact same result. I don't get it.

Seriously though, is this the kind of shit I can expect on a daily basis as a homeowner? Can't I have a day or two in a row without something breaking or going wrong? Whoever put this curse on me, what do I need to do to lift it?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Return of the Chemistry Cramp

The other night I woke from sleeping on the couch to clutch madly at my left calf muscle. It was cramping something fierce. The first time I'd experienced this phenomenon was my freshman year of college, while taking general chem. I hated that class with a passion. The only thing I learned was to never, ever take a lab at 8 o'clock in the morning. Throughout that semester I would wake screaming and clutching at my left calf. Fortunately my roommate was a heavy sleeper, just about her only redeeming characteristic.

Several years later, at a different college, in a different state, I took a second semester of general chem, and the cramp returned in the same spot. And again when I took organic chem.

Well, I'm not taking chemistry right now, thank god. That would probably push me over the edge. But I think the return of the cramp may be related to the second topic I'd like to address in this post. I'd thought to include it in the title, but that became cumbersome. I'm referring to my emerging "theory" of teacher prep programs. (I put it in quotes because it's not evolution or gravity, after all. But it is based on observations.)

Teacher prep programs suck. They suck big time. We're less than two months into our program and we're already horribly disillusioned and just sick of it all. We're not being taught anything that appears to relate to life or the real world. We do group project after group project with the same few people until we can't stand the sight of one another. Most of the assignments feel like busy work.

So here's my theory: Teacher prep programs are designed to suck so that they separate out the few people that can put up with this shit because chances are they will be able to put up with the shit that they have to deal with as teachers.

Maybe I was just crazy thinking I would actually learn something.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Stuck Inside on a Beautiful Day

I've gotten my most important schoolwork completed. That certainly doesn't mean all of it but enough where if I could I would be outside enjoying this gorgeous sunny day. But alas, that is apparently not to be.

The painters showed up just before noon and are planning to finish the job today. My car is blocked in and the doors must be left open to dry so I won't be going anywhere anytime soon. I am sad to miss such a lovely day of course, but I am also anxious for them to finish. When they are done, the whole project will be complete. I look forward to having my house all to myself again.

Contractor has not returned the key yet because of a cat-related situation that I've asked for his help with. The hateful beasts have pulled the brand new carpet loose from around the brand new tile floor. If I can't get it fixed and prevent it from occurring again, they could unravel pieces that run the full length of the room. Have I mentioned recently how much I hate cats? If I didn't have so many other things to worry about this would probably be causing me to freak out.

Does anyone want a very loving, litter boxed trained black and white cow kitty?

Thursday, October 18, 2007


No, I am not referring to the paint job. That actually looks pretty good.

The spots I'm talking about are on my throat. I drank three cups of Throat Coat tea at work today as I talked my way through six interviews. Don't you wish you were shaking my hand? Ha! All that talking did nothing to help ease the discomfort.

And tomorrow... three more interviews and an exam on child health and safety. I think I'd better go lie down.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Evil Darkness

The painter started spraying the aluminum siding on my house today. I hate picking paint colors with a passion, so I picked the one that seemed to me to be the closest to the current color. (I know, you are wondering why I'm bothering to spend all this money to have it painted. Well, I'm wondering the same damn thing.)

As I was driving home from class, FF called and said "I see you decided to go with a lighter color." Uh oh. I specifically told the painter that I wanted it to be essentially the same color. Perhaps he misunderstood? English is, after all, not his first language and I have difficulties with his heavy accent. Perhaps he doesn't care for mine either.

What's really killing me is that it's dark by the time I get home from class, so I can't see the damn siding. I have to wait until morning!

I'm already so super stressed with school and work that I had the most elaborate and looong chase dream last night. It was scary and awful and kept going and going even when I would wake up and go back to sleep. Now I have the added anxiety of a paint color that I may hate and will have to live with for decades to come.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Little Things

I was supposed to have written about the environment yesterday, but between work, classroom observations, class, and schoolwork I wasn't able to find the time. That doesn't mean that it isn't a topic that I think about on a daily basis.

One of the goals I have with becoming a high school biology teacher is that hopefully I will have the chance to help kids learn to enjoy science. I think that is sometimes the beginning of learning to care for the environment. In my ninth grade biology class we did "Seton Spots," where each student had to pick a location in nature to spend a series of visits sitting and observing their surrondings. I loved and still love the opportunity to do just that. I hope that my enthusiasm and dedication will be contagious.

As for the little things I referred to in the post title, I thought I'd mention some of the things I do (both consciously and subconsciously) to keep my carbon footprint down. Sometimes all it takes is hearing someone say what they do and why for the lightbulb to go off in your own head. It's easy to overlook the obvious. There are lots more things I could be doing or could be doing better, so I'm always on the look-out for inspiration. Got ideas? By all means share them!

  • I am passionate about recycling. The county I live in does well with recycling. It kills me that in this day and age recycling isn't mandatory. When I lived in Florida, no one recylced. But even here many people still don't understand what is and what is not recyclable. Toilet seat? NO!
  • I try to avoid buying things that are bottled in containers that are not recyclable (numbers other than 1 or 2).
  • I only run the dishwasher and washing machine when I have full loads.
  • I wash most of my clothes with cold water.
  • I often have only one bulb lit in the whole house (living room).
  • I use as many of the energy saving light bulbs as possible.
  • I wear many of my clothes more than once (especially pants and sweatshirts) between washes.
  • I donate my old clothes, shoes, and what-have-yous instead of just throwing them in the trash.
  • I love the Farmer's Market and support the idea of buying local (this I could improve on!).
  • I return all of my bottles and cans and support the idea of an expanded bottle bill for non-carbonated beverage containers.

I'm sure I've forgotten many of things that I meant to mention, but perhaps they will come to me and I can add them later.

One of the many things that I do that bothers me is the length of my commute. Due to the nature of my job and my schooling, carpooling is not an option, nor is mass transit. I can only hope and pray that after graduation I can find a job that is closer to where I live.

I would also like to start composting at some point once I get settled into my new house and figure out the best way to do it for my yard and my neighborhood.

I believe that protecting our environment is not just something good to do, it is the right thing to do. And I feel very strongly about right versus wrong.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bullets of Procrastination

  • I spent all day yesterday on the couch watching TV. I still feel slightly stuffed up and very sniffley. I hope it doesn't develop into something much worse.
  • Obviously, I didn't do any schoolwork yesterday. That leaves today. Oy.
  • The sub-contractor my contractor lined up to do the exterior work has bailed on him, so he is here today trying to get the work done himself. He'd already moved on to another job in another town because he'd finished his end of the work. Or so he thought. Needless to say, the banging is a little distracting.
  • Even though it's mostly cloudy, the solar has been running occasionally, helping to bring the internal temperature up a few degrees from the rather chilly start of 61.
  • I took a break earlier and vacuumed the entire house. It's a little odd when vacuuming becomes a form of procrastination and not something that you procrastinate to avoid doing.
  • I've gotten it in my head that I may need reading glasses. I'm thinking a run to a store might be in order to try on some of those over-the-counter glasses. That doesn't sound like procrastination, does it?
  • Fine, I'll go back to reading that fascinating article on reform in undergraduate science classrooms.
  • Right after I eat some Nutella.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Chicken Soup Please

I'm afraid I may be coming down with something. My eyeballs are hot and dry. My chest aches. There seems to be some extra phlegm.

I don't care if it's just an old wives' tale; I can't help but think that getting soaked to the skin twice in one week hasn't helped.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Murphy's Law

Things that you don't want to happen when your best friend from Colorado is visiting for one afternoon:
  • steady, heavy rain - I'd been hoping to go to Pretty Color Lake or Small Glacier Lake for a nice walk. We settled for wandering around campus and the cemetery in the rain (which turned out to be rather nice after all).
  • having to run to the bathroom multiple times while on campus - "Uh, why don't you wait here in the hall while I pop into the bathroom. Again." Not fun.
  • two huge zits - Since I went back on the pill in March my skin has been much improved. I'm blaming the oral presentation I had to give in class on Monday night for the eruption of these two monstrosities. Needless to say, between the rain and the zits, not so many photos were taken.

You know your friendship rocks when none of this matters though, as long as you're together.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Desktop Meme

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Mary tagged me for this meme. Not only is it fun, but I learned something too. I'd never used the print screen function before! The photo I use as my background was taken by BerryBird. Isn't it gorgeous? I only use two or three of my icons.
Tagging: NSLS, Electronic Goose, Marni, Beth, and DancingFish. And anyone else who wants to play...

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Study Break

Who could resist taking a walk on a beautiful day like this? Not me!

I usually prefer leaving the road to hike through fields or woods, but since I could hear gunfire I elected to remain on the road. Even though some trees were completely bare, there is still little color to speak of.
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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Bullets of Bad Mood

  • My lawn desperately needed to be mowed so I thought I was being productive by getting that taken care of early in the day. Unfortunately, although I got the lawn mowed, I've been unable to do any schoolwork at all on account of the post-mowing head congestion.
  • Because of that I am in miserable mood. I keep wondering why I am doing this to myself, and how I am possibly going to get through all of it. Most days I feel increasingly stupid and incompetent.
  • The interior portion of my construction project is essentially done. I spent hours last night vacuuming the newly installed carpet and cleaning the new bathroom. Today I hit Target for some essentials, like a trash can and bath mat.
  • I have a classmate who is constantly pursuing me, which is doing nothing to ease my stress levels. I haven't the time, energy, or interest to be bothered.
  • In fact, I can't be bothered with much these days.
  • All I really want to do is watch TV and sleep.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Highs and Lows

I went to my suburban placement today, which I love. The more time I spend there, the more sure I am of this decision. The teachers and administrators are extremely welcoming and encouraging. The students are, well, teenagers. In my two sessions there I've already had the chance to observe three teachers and three different levels of biology. It's fascinating and a thoroughly inviting atmosphere.

In class tonight we had a guest lecturer in to talk about assessment. He was so condescending and offensive that I wasn't able to get past that to take away anything of value from the two and half hours he lectured at us, yelled at us, and implied we're all a bunch of idiots. I wanted to throw something at him and walk out. He, all by himself, made me not want to be a teacher at all. What a pompous asshole.

I think I'll go drink my Woodchuck, watch some TV, and try hard to not let him sour my great experience this morning.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Email Question

When I receive an email from a friend or otherwise I try hard to answer all questions and pose additional ones if relevant. It seems as though this is not the common practice. My friends often ignore my questions altogether. Should I assume that the topic doesn't interest them or that they simply can't be bothered? Or is this technique normal, and I'm actually the odd man out with my behavior?

Monday, October 01, 2007

A Case of the Mondays

Apparently I wore my teacher clothes for no good reason today. When I got to my first classroom today the lights were off and the door was locked. I went back to the main office where I was informed that the 8th graders had gone on a field trip.

Fantastic. Now I will have to take time off work to make up these missed hours. I will also have next Monday's hours to make up on account of Columbus Day.

It would've been nice had someone mentioned the field trip when I was there last week. Surely these things are not so spur of the moment that a little warning would've been impossible.