Saturday, December 29, 2007


Home was nice. Sometimes my family is frustratingly smart though. I have been playing and getting 40-43 on average. This was great, higher than the people I challenged, until my dad and uncle both managed 49's (out of 50!). Their vocabulary has had twice as long to develop as mine, so I guess its something to aspire to.

Christmas was pleasantly quiet and everyone enjoyed my gifts. I managed to finish all of my yarn projects in time, and let my grandma take the snowman even thought I really wanted to take it home with me (so cute!). My kitchen is now even more fully stocked, especially with a 'play and freeze' ice cream ball! New years and ice cream go together, I swear.

The degu's survived the week, made some new friends and got a brand new, full size wheel. They also got names- Nala and Lola. Lola likes to run, so we get to say "run, Lola, run" and then laugh at the allusion. Nala is still a little skittish but she really loves gifts of toilet paper to add to the nest she is building.

Monday, December 17, 2007

live life

RIP Kelly

There are no words to describe the loss, 21 years old, so much potential, already accomplished more for this world than many do in a much longer lifetime. No Impact Man says it better than I can here.

There were many occasions when I was her mentor, but from now on she will be my inspiration. To teach, to love, to serve, to really live.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

money for fun

This afternoon I got paid to hang out with a bunch of math people and try to solve the problem: there is a lock with 5 buttons on it, to create the combination you can press as many buttons as you want, in any order you want and press them one at a time or in groups. How many combinations are there?

I'm going to spend the next three summers doing the same thing- getting paid to go to BU and solve problems with the same guy who has been teaching these workshops. In the process I get my masters which significantly increases my teaching salary. I still can't believe that people want to pay me to do cool things! Plus, I'll get to take the train into Boston every day, which means lots of time to sit by myself and get work done. Maybe I'll be the crazy person on the train who talks to themselves as I try to learn Spanish via podcast.

My degus are causing trouble already, trying to break out of their temporary home. I hope I can pick up the cage before they arrive this weekend!

My carbon impact is less than half of the average person's! Not that the average person is a good bar to compare to, but still an accomplishment. What's yours?

Monday, December 10, 2007

homemade pretty warm fuzziness

Meaning, the blanket I've been working on is finished. Complete with fringe! Its so pretty and matches my bedroom perfectly, I want to keep it... Sadly its a Christmas present so I'll only get to visit it occasionally.

I will get some replacement warm fuzzies this weekend: baby degus! They're like chinchillas, except smaller. Planning for their arrival has been my biggest form of procrastination lately. Getting them was very much an impulse decision so I've been giving myself a crash course in degu history and care.

Grading quizzes was a surprisingly amusing venture this weekend. My students have taken to writing notes when they encounter problems they can't do. Such as:
"Fractions, aaaaahhhhh!" -I still really don't understand what is scary about fractions
"I need to retake this test, you teach too fast" -the student who sleeps through class
"Two b's??!!" -next to 5b+1=2b+7, a type of problem we spent several classes on
"Things that work well together" -definition of coefficient

Monday, December 03, 2007

Snow day?

Yup, today was a snow day. Guess when I found out? I had a pretty good hunch that there was at least a delay when I turned off the highway to find no traffic at all. I wasn't really sure though until I asked the security guard getting in his car to leave. Apparently Lawrence closes all of the schools for a couple inches of snow overnight. I did try to check school closings this morning, but the radio didn't mention any in the few minutes I turned it on and a check of the school website and a google search turned up nothing. I have now set up a text message and email that will arrive as soon as delays are announced.

I spent the day appropriately- got some stuff done at home that needed taking care of. Mostly though, I lounged and baked cookies, crocheted and left my school stuff packed up. Best of all, I decorated my 'Christmas Tree.' The yucca that lives with me is nearly as tall as I am now so I wrapped it up in a strand of lights and hung some snowmen and peppermint candy ornaments on it while listening to holiday music. It was downright festive, without being gaudy like some of the banners my neighbors have hung on their balcony. With the added bonus of avoiding the 'artificial vs. real: which is more environmentally friendly?' debate.

This weekend was great, and after spending a lot of quality time in coffee shops with great friends I'm wishing for a good coffee shop around here to hang out in. I almost got motivated to go find one today, but the idea of staying home all day won out. My tea might not be as fancy and my apartment may not be as social, but not having to drive always seems to trump everything else.

p.s. After all that discussion, I decided to take the calculus class, even if it is 4 preps. Good luck to me!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

do it yesterday

Sometimes I wonder if people ever think about what they ask others to do. Yesterday I got an email telling me I need to take the GRE before Dec. 7, so I have to sign up immediately. But the meeting discussing the grad program isn't until Dec. 6 and they aren't sure I'm eligible. If you look at a calendar the only time to take the test without missing school is this weekend! Even if there were still spots available at a nearby testing site, that is absolutely absurd.

Today, my principal pulled me out of class to tell me that he needed to talk to me during my free period later. He didn't show up and then I ran into him on the way to lunch. One of the math teachers recently left, so he offered me her Calculus class in place of one of my Algebra I classes. It seems like a great offer- really motivated seniors who actually are excited about math! Until I realized that I would be preparing 4 different classes, which breaks contract not to mention being absurdly time consuming. He gave me until tomorrow morning to decide, so I spent the rest of the day asking everyone's opinion and coming up with: I'm interested but figure out how I can do it with only 3 preps. Principal's solution: call my advanced and regular classes 'Algebra', now they are magically the same and only count as 1 prep. Cute. I'm going to look at the schedules tomorrow to see if I can trade classes with other teachers easily or if it will create a scheduling nightmare. I really want the Calc class if I can get it though, because that makes it incredibly more likely I'll teach it next year.

In addition to all the other people wanting me to do stuff yesterday that they tell me about today, there's one thing I wish I had done yesterday- drink apple cider. Its bubbly today, and last I checked apple cider isn't carbonated- that's called sparkling cider. I thought I might have accidentally created hard cider, but a little online research tells me that cider they sell in stores will go bad before it ferments because of the way it is processed. The sell by date is in December, but, something is not quite right. My stomach is gurgling...

Saturday, November 24, 2007


I sent a work email at 10:30 on Saturday night, hope no one notices! I'm exhausted, except really awake. There seem to be different parts of my brain sending out conflicting signals. Part of me is revved up to be productive, and the rest has shut down. Listening to piano music makes me want to run downstairs and play, but the downside to living with people is that they wouldn't appreciate me pounding away, however beautifully, after 11:00 pm. Tomorrow I'll be back to living alone, but without a piano to pound on. When I was in college, Thanksgiving weekend was a big reunion, a time to visit with as many high school friends as possible. I didn't contact anyone to say hi, let alone see when they were around. It helps that I've seen people since the summer, but I still feel old. And I'm rambling. Got new yarn today for blanket #2, its pretty. I forgot to bring in canvas bags though, so I brought home plastic, another detriment of living with people, the bags have been kicked out of their prime position in the front seat so I didn't think of them. And tangent off of the rambling, I shall now sleep and dream of the delicious ziti we baked this afternoon...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

turkey day

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today was a lovely day of eating and family. We ate an enormous turkey (18 pounds, 6 people, tons of leftovers) but it was chemical free and never frozen, so the family is making progress. Personally, I'm making progress in the field of crocheting. I'm nearly finished with a blanket I'm making for me, and found out that a similar item would make a great Christmas present for my mom. That makes for something that will keep me busy and doesn't require shopping anywhere that will be open at 4 am tomorrow trying to entice me to get out of bed at an ungodly hour with an iPod. On that note, I have 20% off at Old Navy starting Monday, and nothing to do with it.

Monday, November 19, 2007


The temperature fluctuations my body has been enduring are absurd. When I arrived in my classroom this morning from the 30 degree outdoors, I found the radiator was blasting cold air. I taught my first class wearing my jacket and with gloves on. By 10:00 the heater began pumping out 'room temperature' air (ideal room temp, not actual). Before the day was over though, it was uncomfortably hot in the room and I was wishing I hadn't worn such a warm sweater. This happened all last week, except it was a little more spread out, and was replicated again this weekend when I spent time outside (feels like temp=28) and returned to a friends apartment with an overactive heater (feels like temp=suffocating aka 80). I no longer know what to wear anywhere and my body cannot adjust to anything because of the constant changes.

In other news, 1.5 days to Thanksgiving break. I'm trying to put together an interesting way to review with my classes the next few days because new material probably won't go over so well.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

2 of 4

Today was the official start of the second quarter.

Last week saw a mad rush from some students to get all the work from the entire year done. Other students were frustratingly indifferent to their impending F. I got to go to Boston and get lots of muchly needed hugs on Thursday. The weekend was spent grading, reading the entire archive of It was a great read, I was both disappointed and proud to find that I'd already made most of the changes she made. Except the big scary ones like selling the car and unplugging the fridge. Sometimes I wish I lived in a city so I wouldn't have to drive anywhere and the store was easier to access. But there are just so many people in those places! Maybe I'll move into one of those 'green' apartments they're building in Lawrence from the mills, I think they're right down the street from the Italian grocery!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Everything comes with a story. Usually its impossible to help a student without hearing multiple levels of stories. We met with one student's mother today because he has been consistently absent. On one layer, he stopped coming to school because he thought that he had already failed his classes, he got an inaccurate version of the policy and went with it rather than asking his teachers. On another layer, he was failing his classes anyway because he needs special services due to ADHD and other disabilities that were not being addressed. On a still deeper level, he was having issues with gangs- got in a fight at lunch and couldn't take the bus for fear of getting in the middle of something. A member of the city gang task force came to the meeting to discuss the situation- how he shouldn't be wearing a red t-shirt underneath his uniform, by sitting with certain student at lunch he was associating himself with a gang, even if he wasn't a member of it, that she could kick the threatening individuals off the bus, but since they live near him and school can't protect him in his neighborhood that probably isn't the best solution. High school is complicated enough as is- add more gangs than I can remember (with some absolutely ridiculous names) and it becomes downright overwhelming.

Monday, November 05, 2007


Day light savings has so many pluses and minuses I really can't make up my mind about it. Realizing it was only 10 am when I thought the morning was gone yesterday was great. Trying to stay up until 10 pm last night was challenging, at best. Seeing the sun when I woke up this morning was terrifically motivating. Seeing the light-sensitive street lamps on in the parking lot when I left school this afternoon was depressing. I don't know if I actually believe the energy savings that result. I do know that there is a spike in accidents the days following the change because of our off-kilter circadian rhythms (thats a really strangely spelled word). Result of this all? I'm tired and can't think clearly enough to figure it out.

The first quarter ends this week. I'm pretty sure a lot of my students are failing, they have until Friday to hand in missing assignments. Hopefully the low grades will be motivation to do better work next semester.

Monday, October 29, 2007

fall, finally

Its finally gotten down to reasonable temperatures. It was 37 as I drove to work this morning and leaving the door open is significantly cooling down my apartment (which is still hanging out in the 70's without the heat ever going on).

This weekend brought parents. Friday night should have been Phantom of the Opera accompanied by organ in the music hall in town, but it got inexplicably canceled. Saturday was rainy, so we decided to go shopping in 3 states (Newburyport, MA, NH liquor store and Kittery, ME). Sunday provided entertainment via our musically and rhythmically talented students, interspersed with boredom via politicians announcing all the hard work they put into building our school. Either way, its nice to be officially open and construction essentially over.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


That title makes me think of the electric slide...

Since I live alone and have nothing better to do, I've been working really hard to drop my energy use. I now use less than 4.1 kwh per day. I can't seem to find averages, but I read someone's blog who was trying to get an apartment smaller than mine down to 5. That makes me feel accomplished!

Monday, October 22, 2007

late october

Yesterday I got a sunburn while regretting my choice in attire (long sleeve shirt and closed toed shoes).

Today I had to stop every single one of my classes to tell them that it is necessary to bring a pencil to class and get out paper when I write something on the board.

Are you really very sure it isn't August?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

life keeps coming

Last weekend saw 5 women living in a 1 bedroom apartment, mine to be exact. It was fun filled but left me rather sleep deprived. This week had my brain feeling scrambled. Between a trip to the library, PSAT testing and an assembly I hardly had any time with my students in the classroom. Somehow I still managed to create a pile of grading for myself though. This weekend has been beautiful- sleep filled with amazing weather. It was in the 70's today so I went for a bike ride and appreciated the colors that come with fall. Late afternoon brought a rainstorm to rinse off my dirt-covered car and mother nature followed it all with a rainbow.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

an entire year

Today one of my students asked if we could play video games on the TV I have in my room. When I said no, he asked if we could during the last week of school. It hit me then, I'm teaching these students for an entire year! June is a really long time from now and I'm the only one teaching them math from now until then. I hadn't realized that I'm in this for the long haul. It appears I'm doing well though, I've covered all but one section of the list I got today of 1st quarter topics. Granted it would have been great to have that list before school started, but at least me making it up as I went along coincided with what the veteran teachers thought would be good.

This weekend is a mini-reunion! Four MHC '07-ers coming to stay in my 1 bedroom apartment. It should be fun times.

Friday, October 05, 2007

weekend, extra large

Yay three day weekend! Its well deserved, but I'm also really excited about whats going on at school and look forward to getting back. Two of my classes started group projects which are decorating the classroom walls and another class is about to start the computer portion of the curriculum.

The best part of my day truly proved to me that I'm an adult. Linens 'n' Things is having a Columbus Day sale, so I went to pick up a comforter. I got a gorgeous $100 set for $40! My bed looks all shiny and nice; especially with the ruffle on the bottom to cover my wire frame. Too bad it was 90 degrees out today and I really won't want to sleep with that on the bed tonight.

I know I'm not too much of an adult because I couldn't drive past Friendly's without getting an Oreo Friend-z. I had a gift certificate which clearly needed to be used up! It did an excellent job of ruining dinner, which I am currently totally unmotivated to make.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


The three day weekend is coming, but not quite soon enough. Tension is running really high at school- among the students and staff. Teachers are building up frustrations at a lot of circumstances beyond our control which leads to them either blowing up at students or venting to me. Students are snapping over little things- two boys started cursing each other out because they were both too lazy to take three steps to retrieve a textbook. Then two girls tried to rip each other apart (literally- pile of hair found on the scene afterward) because one said something about the other in my class. They were considerate enough to wait until they got to the end of the hall before attacking so they wouldn't mess up my classroom. And this was all before lunch! Needless to say I got a bit of an adrenaline rush between anticipation of fights and actually pulling the girls off each other.

I can't wait for Saturday- I get to spend the whole day outside pounding a hammer or something like that. Productive release of energy.

Monday, October 01, 2007

when did Monday happen?

This weekend was awesome. Fun-packed (and therefore lacking in sleep) but completely refreshing. Friend visit, day of outdoor manual labor (Habitat), dinner party and an Italian festival complete with bocce tournament. Plus, I still managed to get enough grading/planning done to be ready for Monday. Monday never happened though. Part way through my first class I got the message that I was due at training for a computer program. I had 2 minutes to tell the substitute how my day works and what he should do with my classes before being whisked off to the computer lab. The training took an entire day and was mostly a waste of my time. I missed team meetings and some sorely needed time at the copier during my prep. I ended the day wondering what had happened. I still feel like I'm floating in time warp. Tomorrow is Tuesday, but it will be more like Monesday- the overlap of everything that should have happened today and that needs to happen tomorrow. Life keeps me on my toes!

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Life is better today. Can't tell you what changed, but things are okay. A dose of Finding Nemo, some venting and promise of a best friend visit certainly helped. Extreme heat causing lethargic students was an added benefit. We played math vocab hang man (my way of bringing literacy into the math classroom) with most of the lights off - that was a relaxing end to the day.

Its good to be back to calm and happy. I like it here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

trying so hard

I don't want to write about being grumpy. I don't want to be grumpy. I don't want to end the day exhausted, without feeling like I've accomplished that much. I don't want to give up or give in.

The fact is, we're a month into school and everything I told myself (and others told me) was temporary is still true. My classes are too large, there are students grossly misplaced, we don't have enough materials. The administration means well, but their hands are tied. My class feels boring, all we do is problems from the textbook. The students don't seem to mind, so maybe its only boring to me because I do it four times a day. I still don't have an official mentor, or anyone to talk to who is good at this (all the Algebra teachers I know are new).

I want to be thrilled with the impact I'm having. I want to be flattered that one student would rather spend the entire day in my class than go to her other classes. I want to laugh when they try to find creative ways to ask how old I am (turn it into a math problem, calculating from the year I was born). Maybe I should leave my happy teacher face on all day- everything has to be okay when I have a smile on my face!

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Its Saturday, and I'm motivated to get out of the house and go on a bike ride. Two hours and an impressive number of internet searches later, I decide that the only place to go is the farm I got a flyer from when I first moved in. I was hoping to bike somewhere interesting from home, but that doesn't seem to be a good option. Instead I strapped my bike onto the back of my car and headed to the next town over. When I arrived at the farm converted to nature trails I found an empty parking lot and a bike rack. Why would there be a bike rack at biking trails? That question doesn't make sense, but this one does. Why would there be a bike rack at walking trails? So one could bike there and then walk around in the forest. The paths were far too narrow and sometimes had wooden plank 'bridges' over muddy areas- not intended for bicycle use at all. The area warrants exploration another day, but it will have to be on foot.

I tried to drive toward town where I knew there was a bike shop, but got lost and at some point came across a sign pointing towards America's Stonehenge. Curiosity took over. Apparently by this point I had landed in NH, where you can purchase a self guided walking tour of a 4000 year old megalithic (stone arrangement) site. This looks fascinating, but should wait until I can discuss it with someone as we explore.

The afternoon ended with me finding a sign directing me home. I basically went on a very early leaf peeping drive with my bike attached to the car for kicks. I do have some interesting hikes to do in the near future, but the bicycle may remain neglected for another weekend.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I had a meeting of math teachers today and going in I had no idea what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised: it wasn't a meeting to discuss teaching but a 'study group' that meets to do math. It was nice to get to explore some interesting problems and be the student rather than the teacher for a while- plus we discussed what relevance this has to our students, so it wasn't completely for our own enjoyment. Considering I get paid extra to go, I'm not complaining at all! They mentioned a masters program run at BU that takes 3 6-week summer sessions and you get paid to do it! I'm working on getting more information on that. Pronto.

Students get their first quiz tomorrow. Which of course I wrote less than an hour ago. Should be interesting to see what page everyone is on. I have no expectation that they're all on the same page, but it'll be nice to have some more concrete information about their ability and comprehension. Especially after the special education teachers came in today and told me I have 8 students with math learning disabilities in one class and 9 in another. I should get a sp.ed. teacher in my class once a week... thanks?

40's as I was driving into work today, high 80's predicted for Friday afternoon- yay New England weather!

Interesting note- leftover rice pilaf and string cheese work surprisingly well in a burrito when combined with black beans and masked with salsa. Creative use of leftovers always provides unique results.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Today was great! Public transportation is so helpful (even if the subway in Boston is totally illogical- I had to take the inbound train to get where I was going and back- what??). I took the commuter rail into the city this morning, got some work done and read a fascinating article. Spent some time wandering the city and catching up with a friend. Then spent 3 hours sitting outside, enjoying the grass and sun while I got some grading done. On the ride home I finished grading and set up my record book for the year (I feel so official!).

Tomorrow I am meeting with the principal to try to get an appropriate number of students in my classes. Cross your fingers that it isn't going to be as incredibly complicated as I'm sure it will be.

Back to watching the Emmy's- if only I knew what all these shows were...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Yea, so anyone who thought that teachers get off easy with a great schedule: its 10:00 and I'm still working. I get to school at 8 am and am happy if I get home before 5 pm. Now I'm going to take a brief break before dreaming about school. I swear I'll stop working so hard, I just need to finish this list of 5,000 things to do before tomorrow....

Other than being a lot of work, school is great. My kids are involved, interested and generally willing to try things. Even the blind student is good natured as he goes through the day, attending classes he isn't equipped for with an aide who isn't any help, even when she is there. (Don't despair, he'll be in a substantially separate classroom actually learning soon).

Friday, September 07, 2007

of course I still need that!

"The average American throws away more than 68 pounds of clothing a year" -Grist

Seriously? I never throw clothes away, I guess clothing can be heavy, but I imagine that 68 pounds is a whole lot of T-Shirts.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

index cards

My students are fascinating. I had them fill out index cards with contact info, how they feel about math and some of their interests. One listed the top 5 bands she listens to. Lots said they hate math, one said 'no offense.' This was frequently followed by: 'you have to teach me slowly,' 'break it down' or 'teach me well, I don't understand math.' Many of them can't spell, and I can count on one hand how many students have the same last name as the guardian they listed. One girl mentioned she has an IEP but neglected to tell me what type of learning disability she has.

I felt really bad today because I asked a blind student to write at least his name on the notecard. I didn't know he was blind, his aid told me she was going to lunch and that she'd be down the hall if I needed her. The student seems really sweet though, and he told me that he couldn't write, so I went with the flow, took back the pencil I had lent him and went on with class. It wasn't until I asked another teacher who had him that I found out he's 80% blind! These are the things that I should know before class, really.

I think someone is secretly stealing hours from me. School ends at 3, but I didn't get home until 5. I had dinner and did some work, suddenly its after 9. I just know that as soon as I go to bed my alarm is going to go off. Life is here and speeding by quickly!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


And we're off!

Yesterday the juniors and seniors had a half day and things ran quite smoothly. Especially for me (I don't teach juniors or seniors). I got my room nicely decorated, directed students toward their classes and accumulated more textbooks. After school all of the teachers in the district met and were greeted by the superintendent, lots of political figures (who just wanted to get into the school) and a comedian. Yes, our 'special guest' was a comedian. The district paid over a thousand people to sit and listen to this guy, he might have been funny if I had been in the mood, but I had a lot of better things to be doing. In fact, another teacher and I spent the last 15 minutes listing the things we could have done in that hour that would have made us better teachers. My favorites were: eat pie and go out to lunch with our co-workers, there were also the more practical ones like: find someone who knows how to teach Algebra I and talk to them. That one is still on my list of things to do, preferably really soon.

Today I actually had kids in my classroom, how exciting!! My classes keep growing, not quite exponentially, but steadily nonetheless. I'll actually get to know them later, today was just 9 minute periods, which means enough time to take attendance, send people who weren't in my class to the right place and remind them they were in math class. We might actually talk about math tomorrow, interesting concept, I know.

Monday, September 03, 2007


School starts tomorrow. I suppose I'm ready, but I've been too busy the past few days to really think about it. Friday morning I brought in a bunch of decorations for my classroom and set things up somewhat. I'm happy with the placement of the furniture but I haven't decided how the walls will be organized yet. I also spent a lot of time moving and sorting books. I'm trying to nab all of the newer edition of my textbook so all of my classes can work out of the same book. It might not work though.

Once my stomach decided that I was done at school I headed home for sustenance before driving to a friend's lake house in Maine. We went out in Portland and spent a lot of time on/near the lake sailing, swimming, motoring, sitting and lounging. Sunday night brought me home, to meet with other friends and head to the Italian festival in Lawrence. It was a cultural experience including a parade with 3 saints as the focus and a political feel with the baby kissing and money collecting. There was an abundance of confetti (much of which made it home), music and dancing. Small children dancing are amazingly adorable. Today, Labor Day, presented another festival in Lawrence. The labor movement started here and is commemorated at the Bread and Roses Festival. We wore our white dresses (from Laurel Parade) in solidarity with the suffragettes, of course. There was a walking tour, museum visit, ballet performance, Raging Grannies, African Dance, jazz, spoken word, bumper stickers, buttons, jewelry, stir fry and ice cream. Plus it was super hot out, so the experience was enjoyable but exhausting.

School starts tomorrow!!

Thursday, August 30, 2007


New school: Huge, enormous, gynormous. Beautiful. Big! (6 academic wings, arts building, library, cafeteria seating 1000 and gym: 25 acres, 17 acres of grounds/fields)

Classroom: 5 computers, plus computer lab next door. Wood cabinets, file cabinets (plural!). Desk and rolling table. Windows (plural!). Lots of desks (which I nicely arranged).

Facilities: art rooms, large dark room, dance studio (wood floor, mirrors windows), instruments, practice rooms, astounding theatre (tons of seats, balcony, state of the art lighting and sound system, orchestra pit).

Photos are necessary but lacking.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

life is coming, fast!

Wednesday and Thursday brought the rest of new teacher orientation. Basically I sat and absorbed as much information as I could, then spent the rest of the day looking attentive. I made a plan for how to start classes, outlined a syllabus and got answers to all my questions, plus a lot of questions I never knew I had.

Friday morning I had to get up early and wait for the cable guy to come change me to basic cable. The guy offering the great deal of 1 free month of expanded never told me that someone would have to come out to change things after a month, arg. Then I went to lunch in Boston with friend #1, headed to New Haven to spend a couple nights with friend #2, backtracked to back woods CT to see friend #3, scooted over to central CT to see the family, traveled across to RI for a day at the beach and finally reached home Monday night. It was awesome to see everyone, especially with the interesting variety of city/rural life I experienced. As much fun as traveling is, it was great to get home and putter around my own place. This really does feel like home now, and it looks like its my space- I've settled in!

Today brought a day full of training in Bridges to Algebra. Its a curriculum set up very similarly to my summer program, which is awesome. I'm interested to see the computer program we're supposed to use 2 days a week. The whole thing is very scripted, but the training dude seems to realize that flexibility is key, so this could work. Tomorrow brings further instruction on how to instruct this class. I'm missing all the school bonding and team planning, which is icky, but if I have to miss it, I'm glad that I'm missing it for a curriculum I like.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

boston and much more

Friday one of my friends from college came and brought 2 of her friends from camp. We lunched and headed into Boston to meet up with another camp friend and frolic. We got lost, explored Boston, generally enjoyed ourselves and the 3 of us headed back to my apartment after getting lost again (we left one camp friend in Boston). Saturday my brother came to visit and it was much of the same- get lost, hang out in the city, get lost again. I went to a barbecue with some of the teachers I'll be working with- they're really cool! It was just the 9th grade team for my sub-school but we had a great time, told a lot of stories, I got filled in on a few things and time passed very quickly. Then I headed back to the city and didn't get lost! Brought 3 people back to my apartment and only got slightly lost on the way. Sunday brought waffles - so delicious - and wall decorating. Most of my paintings/puzzles/posters are hung and the ones that remain have a place on the wall, I just couldn't find any more nails. Then, of course, we headed back south, to our second home for the weekend. DDR happened, as did a wild night that didn't end until the early hours of Monday. We never quite made it back to my apartment. Monday was spent leisurely (i.e. in recovery), we did manage to spend a couple hours lounging by the Charles. The ducklings were rather adorable. Monday night saw the departure of visitors and left me alone to prepare for new teacher orientation.

This morning I had to get up painfully early, I used to see 6:45 on a regular basis, but my body quickly adjusted to getting up later than that (especially when I had nothing to motivate me in the morning). Everyone in the school system is really cool. The superintendent is impressively motivating, positive and enthusiastic. The system is set up surprisingly logically. The high school is amazingly innovative and has facilities that are the best and the biggest in several categories. The city may be lacking in funds, but it has an abundance of charisma. My brain reached saturation point around 1:00 (2 hours before the program ended) but the day was well organized and everyone seems to have reasonable expectations of how much we can actually do as new teachers. Hopefully I'm still feeling this enthusiastic tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


This morning I was walking down the sidewalk, minding my own business, then suddenly the air in front of my foot gets really hard and cuts my toe! Stupid metal base for a post that is no longer. Maybe there is some merit in wearing close toed shoes...

Then I got to school- there's still a lot going on at the old school, I can't imagine how we're going to be ready to open the new school on Sept. 4, but it'll happen somehow. The principal finally tells me there isn't a syllabus for the algebra classes. Now, this fact in and of itself is fine with me. I can make it up and use the textbook. The fact that he couldn't tell me when I first asked for a syllabus months ago- mildly irksome. The other class I'm teaching might be taught using a computer program, that the administrators were introduced to yesterday. Yea, we're flying by the seat of our pants for everything.

Visitors coming this weekend, along with a Boston trip or two. Then orientation starts next week. Today may mark the end of my entitlement to do absolutely nothing. Labor day weekend brings another visitor. MHC flashbacks will abound as we attend the Lawrence Bread and Roses festival. Still undecided if we will wear white, carry a vine and subject others to our singing. That being the day before I start school I'll have to decide what kind of and how much attention I'm looking to attract.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

big kid

Today I went to the bank and opened a new account, went grocery shopping and cleaned the bathroom. Yesterday I paid bills. I feel like such a grown up!

The rest of my time has been spent lounging- reading, watching tv and crocheting with plastic bags. I'm back in my James Taylor phase- I have 6 of his CDs and I've been listening to them in chronological order, reverse chronological order or at random. I wonder if my neighbors can hear my music, and if they can, who they think I am.

Tomorrow I might get syllabi for my courses. Maybe. I'm meeting the principal at the old school because I asked for syllabi, but he won't tell me if they even exist, let alone if we'll be able to find them at the old school. It would be really cool if we got to go to storage at the new school- I want to explore and see if it is actually ready! Just a few more weeks...

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Enter Internet. Its been a lonely 1.5 weeks here without internet connectivity, but tons has happened.

I have: a new apartment, new bed and dresser, new dining room set and cabinet (that I got to build-yay!), almost everything they sell in the Christmas Tree Shop, new car and most importantly- a shiny new adjustable wrench. You may think my priorities are a little off, but I swear the wrench was the most exciting thing I bought all week. I might have enough tools now to pull off the heavy duty tool belt when I head to Habitat builds.

I am headed out tonight with the only person I know around here- and know is using that term really loosely. He was our waiter at lunch and was excited that I'm new in town so I got his phone number. Next weekend someone is having a get together for all the high school teachers, maybe I'll make some friends there? Its not that I have trouble making friends when there are people around, I just don't know where to meet people- why don't new towns come with orientation and name games?

There were lots of other interesting little things that happened- like the water in my shower being installed backwards so I took a shower with the coldest water possible thinking that I was encouraging hot water. I also lost my voice for my first few days in town- so I had to have my mommy talk for me- that didn't make me feel very grown up or independent. Almost all of last weekend was spent in the car exploring and learning my way around. My friend and I got asked if we knew each other from college (we d0)- it was weird, because only old people get visits from college friends. When did we get old?

The only thing left to set up is decorating the walls. It is an intimidating task- probably because of the permanence of it- so I've been letting the pile of paintings, pictures and puzzles sit in the corner until someone comes to help.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

almost there

My stuff has taken control of the kitchen. I never knew how much I owned, or how much my parents had saved so that I could take possession. Of course, everything that I relocated into the kitchen had been sitting still for at least a month, so it was covered in dust. Dust and I don't get along that well, so my poor nose has been running a marathon. Everything might finally be contained in something that can be easily carried though.

The best part of today was the DMV- the most waiting that happened was the teller waiting for me to fill out forms. It was amazing. Plus, getting a driving record with 0 points handed to me was an ego boost. Thank you to the random guy who let me go without making anything official when I bumped into his truck!

Monday, July 30, 2007

one month later...

Yea, so camp happened, and blogging didn't. Camp was crazy: met lots of awesome people, did some cool math, rode in an ambulance, trained my body to live on lots less sleep and managed to not go completely insane. There were 40 high school girls living with 6 residential advisers. They were amazing- the girls and the other staff members. I got to personally step in to several heated discussions and be first responder at a number of medical emergencies, but generally speaking the students were easy to work with- interesting, unique and spirited. The girls in my class were brilliant and insightful. I got to make a lot of cool origami in our workshop- my apartment will be colorfully decorated with all sorts of interesting paper objects. I have tons of interesting stories about the month, but I couldn't possibly write them all down now.

I move to my new apartment on Wednesday. Thats really soon. I had no idea how much stuff I have- its all over the house, mostly packed, but there's still a lot of work left to be done. I think I'll go play with bubble wrap. :)

Thursday, June 28, 2007


I got the apartment! :D
I am now an official resident of Methuen, MA.

Today I got to role play as a student in math classes here so the TA's could practice. Its so much fun to play with my cell phone, pretend not to understand fractions and get side tracked on a petition to include sun dried tomatoes in our diet. I wonder what interesting antics the actual students will engage in over the next several weeks.

Next step, convince the MA RMV to give me a driver's license. Ideally for less than $100, but sadly, I believe it costs an absurd $110.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Life is good, went out to staff dinner and reminisced about last summer with one of the other RA's who worked with me then. Its crazy hot today, and I hate air conditioning- too much contrast for me to adjust to quickly.

Philosophical Rant: (it got long so I felt it deserved a warning)

My friend who is doing Teach For America, called me tonight, crying and seeking advice. While I'm always happy to give advice, support and a virtual shoulder, I question a program that sends a member to someone who has one semester of teaching experience. The supervisors have 2 years of experience, and were taught by people with just as little experience. There is so much to be said for the advice of an expert in your field- 2 years in the field doesn't get you to expert status- in anything. I admire everything that TFA does- getting college students into the field of education, and staffing schools that need the most help. But where are the veteran teachers? Where are the administrators that have watched young teachers struggle?

In my summer program the TA's are trained by teachers who work in the classroom full time. They are introduced to a new teaching method by engaging in it and practicing it for a full week before students ever arrive. They have additional training each morning before class- but not at ridiculous hours, taking into consideration the other duties that the TA has. This is summer camp. Its not the end of the world if TA's get put on a strenuous schedule because it only lasts a month- but the directors know better than to do that. The program has been going on for over 25 years and the original directors are still teaching- veterans who can tell you what to expect and how to deal with frequent issues that occur.

If a small program can figure this out- why can't a big one? The camp is funded almost entirely by grants, it works with students labeled 'at risk' and it starts with TA's who know nothing about the unique teaching methods used here, and usually who know nothing about teaching in general. Really, its not so different at all from TFA. Except we're happy, I left camp last summer eager to continue using a method that I believed in, that I understood. Questions are encouraged, explanations are given. These are basic tenets of any program seeking to create independent individuals- why doesn't TFA do this? I was surprised to hear that my education professors disapproved of TFA- I now understand. It makes me want to fix TFA, or start a different program- with a bunch of people who actually know what they're doing. What it really makes me want is- a way to eradicate the need for TFA. Its awful that schools are so desperate for teachers that they are willing to take a team of unlicensed recent grads being trained by a team of recently licensed individuals.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


I'm here, back at school, back in my dorm, back on a schedule and soon to be back to teaching.

Its weird, sad, exciting, different but the same. All my friends aren't living in the dorm anymore, but enough people have come to visit that its not terribly lonely and new. The other staff members seem nice, the other TA's are so young though! Who knew I'd think rising juniors seem young. The head resident is super organized, which is so helpful.

Today I went on an adventure. I was supposed to drive to a school in Amherst, but ended up traveling through lots of back roads into Shutesbury and Leverett and who knows where else. I did finally accomplish my goal of retrieving walkie-talkies! Yay toys that are somehow so much cooler than cell phones.

Tonight I play cards and contemplate the mathematical implications.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


So a few days ago I took down my profile which included a reference to me having a computer and too much time on my hands. I didn't think it was a particularly accurate description. Apparently I was very wrong- I spent the evening browsing different 'green' blogs (GreenPa and CrunchyChicken, for example) and found a cool pattern for knitting a bag with plastic bags. Since I happened to be sitting on the couch with scissors, a plastic bag and a crochet hook, I had to try it. Now I have a square of crocheted plastic, and, I'm hooked! (punny ;) ) Seriously though, its not much harder than yarn, and if my hook/needles were wood I bet it would be the same. The square I have is flexible, a funky texture and is super durable (especially compared to the bag I made it from- already had several holes!). It has holes, so it wouldn't contain water, but no worries if it got wet, and clearly quite stain proof. The writing on the original bag promises to make an interesting design, as would alternating different color plastics. Cutting directions here.

Now I have 3 crochet projects going on at once. And I start camp Saturday. The blanket's scraggly ends are waiting until a chilly night in the new apartment (somewhere...). I may bring the pillow along to alternate with the new form, so I'm not the crazy girl who makes plastic bags with plastic bags. Maybe the other RA/TA's will be developing eco-friendly dwellers like myself.

I made pumpkin muffins today. Tomorrow I will have a muffin for breakfast and be reminded of MHC.

Now, time to poke at my plastic square- its squishy!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

license to teach

As of yesterday, I am a fully licensed teacher! The Mass. Dept. of Educ. reviewed my paperwork, deemed me responsible and capable of teaching math to 8-12th graders. They printed the letter today, its not even in the mail, but by the wonders of the internet I already know! Through further world wide web tricks I re-routed my mail to reach me at camp so that I can see my pretty license before August.

It also made me smile to read the network statistics for MHC on facebook. Most frequently listed interest: reading. Oh Mount Holyoke.

depressed activist

Went to Radio Shack today to buy new batteries for the cordless phones. They don't make that kind of battery any more, the 2 year old phones are outdated. Plus, batteries cost more than a new phone, batteries included. The old phones are trash- they're useless without batteries, no one wants the phones even though they work perfectly. So now we put 2 handsets, bases, cords and electricity converters into the land fill to hang out for who knows how many years.

Then I came home to an email suggesting I watch this video. It was a little upsetting to say the least.

The next email in my inbox was from Grist, telling me that China now is now the biggest polluter in the world (beating out the US by 8%), but the reason is that the US is now outsourcing manufacturing there. That means lots of use of fuel for travel, plus all the dirty energy there.

In other news, found an apartment in Methuen that I love. But I had to apply for affordable housing and won't know for a few weeks if I got it. Four years of college and a licensure program get me a salary that qualifies for affordable housing? In fact, I might not even make enough to qualify to live in this complex. Education is important, isn't it?

The world is yucky today.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

productive day

Today has been a day of accomplishment. I scheduled tours at 3 apartment complexes for Monday. I nearly finished my scrap book (from high school, but it had to get done someday). My car survived a hail storm. Bought glue sticks to finish the scrap book and a pillow filler to make a matching pillow for my recently completed (yay!) blanket. Then I taught myself how to crochet ripples. In the process I found a pattern for a cell phone case with nipples... almost as strange as the freeform crocheter. It takes all kinds!

Yesterday I went to a tag sale and got a grater, butter dish, matching vase and tupperware. All for $2! I'm making some progress on the overwhelming list of items I need. I also packed up everything I want to take from this house except some books that I need to throw in a box.

Tonight I will finish the scrapbook and pack books. Then everything will be done and I can feel free to spend all my time tangled in yarn :D.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Okay, so I'm going to turn into a housewife gushing about all my new toys for the kitchen over the next few months. But I really am really excited about my pots. They're blue and non-stick and sturdy and good sizes. They also came with lots of utensils- spatula, ladles, strainer and fork! All plastic of course, to not injure the non-stick-ness.

I had a minor panic attack today when I went to four different stores and couldn't find the yarn I need to finish the blanket I'm making. My mom finally found a very similar yarn that will be good enough to use for the back. I just have to decide if I want a border or not. If buying yarn is this much of a headache I could skip it. Since its my blanket and I made up the pattern it can look like whatever I want! Hmph.

Tonight I work on that while staring at my pots and dreaming up the rest of my apartment. Now if only I had a new place to put all these things...

Monday, June 11, 2007


Yesterday I went white water rafting on the Deerfield River. We were concerned that overcast skies and cool temperatures might make the day unpleasant rather than thrilling. Happily, it warmed up enough that the frigid water felt shocking, but not painful, and we dried off quickly enough not to get chilled. I almost fell out of the boat, twice. One time got caught on film! The photo sequence looks about like this:
1. everyone smiling and rowing calmly
2. everyone shocked as the boat goes over a big dip
3. my leg sticking out of the boat
4. me falling into my friend's lap as she pulls me back into the boat
5. everyone smiling and rowing calmly
After that I figured out that its better to lean towards the middle of the boat and sit in an awkward position than practice good posture. The class IV rapids were crazy and exhilarating. I was o so very happy not to be in charge of steering the boat. Our guide was very competent though, and the worst that happened was me almost falling out. Lots of other boats actually had people fall out, sometimes even all three people on a side!

I still haven't figured out where I'm living next year. Now we've thrown NH in the mix too. Salem, NH is 15 minutes away from Lawrence as we found out when searching for a nearby Christmas Tree Shop. I'm not sure that the advantages of buying a car with no sales tax outweigh the advantages of living 2 minutes from school, and in the same city as my students. But I do like the idea of having a shopping mall 15 minutes north- tax free and away from traffic.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

moving forward

A two page letter of reasons why I'm making a mistake was not the greatest of things to wake up to, but the day got much better from there. This morning I made phone calls to people I hadn't talked to in a while. Then this afternoon I actually left the house with a friend, got some shopping done and looked at pretty things. I can't wait to decorate my future apartment and find a reason to justify the purchase of a basket from the Philippines (bamboo baskets just have to be useful!). We also played with toys- a necessity to any shopping trip- children today have such fancy things! Diaries these days don't come with a key to wear around your neck, but a voice activated password. My diary was one of those blue books that I now associate with exams. And, some of the games we played as kids are now labeled as 'classics' or 'original version.' Geez that makes me seem old. At least watching SNL from '75 made me feel young- but it wasn't funny so I don't think I missed much.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


I picked Lawrence, and life is not going so smoothly on the home front. I'm excited though, as are my co-workers and friends (especially the one who loves Dominican food). Next steps- apartment and car.

I have now gathered all of the recipes my mother uses into one convenient 3-ring-binder. I feel accomplished! I also got out on a bike ride today, double accomplishment!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

office job

In case I was ever worried about feeling office withdrawal, this weekend will take care of it. I usually spend my summers working as an office assistant, but am not home often enough to do that this year. Instead, I spent my entire day photocopying, without getting paid! There were great benefits to the work though, food for next year. I'm photocopying my mom's recipe book so I'll be all set to cook for myself. Nothing makes you hungry like reading about delicious foods, my stomach is growling now just remembering.

Still haven't officially decided where the next section of my life will be spent. No pressure, just a clock ticking and people I don't want to talk to giving me advice and asking questions. I like talking to most people, its just hard to get advice from people who don't think that I should be teaching in the first place. I'll figure it out, I have to.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

um, help?

I can't decide if I need more advice or less. Maybe more advice from different people. I love Lawrence, everyone there is really nice and they seem to have the best interest of the students in mind. The students who I did meet were nice kids- normal, slightly immature 9th graders for the most part. Working there I would definitely be making a difference, really convincing kids that they have options, a future, that math is worth learning. Lawrence very much reminds me of Holyoke, it is post-industrial, large percentage of hispanic and low income students. Lots of Holyoke was great, it feels comfortable, but, there were also things in Holyoke that were difficult. Teaching 35 students by myself was nearly impossible. And I just found out that the classes in Lawrence can have as many as 45 students. That doesn't last very long because people drop out, get sent to night school and end up on a variety of paths that don't include math class. However, the fact that I could ever be faced with 45 9th graders is seriously intimidating. It also isn't helping that my father is worried. He doesn't think that I should be going into teaching to begin with, so its hard to decide when he's worth listening to, but even if I decide to ignore him, its still frustrating to know that I'm doing something he thinks is below me. When did teaching get to be such a lowly profession? Sure, the fact that the appartment I'm looking at is in a gated community doesn't exactly sing praises of the neighborhood, but I wonder whether that is a security blanket for people who drive through the older parts of Lawrence and get scared. Someday I'll have enough common sense to be scared too, but for right now, driving through 'bad' neighborhoods doesn't bother me at all. I'm just excited for the brand new high school being built, the beautiful yet affordable appartments 2 minutes away and the hiking trails and pond that lie in between. I have until Monday to decide, do I accept this job? Or else there's the job in Lexington, which reminds me far too much of Stepford Wives.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

life overload

I'm no longer a student, but an alum.

Laurel parade was absolutely beautiful. Alums are adorable and I'm so thrilled to be one. Canoe sing went perfectly, no one ended up in the lake and all the songs were stuck in my head for days. Graduation itself was nice, but kind of anti-climatic. I wore shorts and a sports bra under my gown because it was so hot out. It was a smart thing to do, but posing for a photo showing off my outfit was not so smart- one of the professional photographers snapped a few shots too! Hopefully that won't end up somewhere embarassing.

I am currently sitting on the porch at home, surrounded by a mountain of my belongings. I have no idea where to put it all- there's no point in unpacking everything just to pack it again in 3 weeks, but there isn't sufficient storage space here to have boxes. I have to go to Boston at least 3 more times, probably lots more, to find a job. Then once I have a job I need an appartment. And then a car. I might want furniture, cooking supplies and any other things that are necessary for independent living. All this has to be done before September, and there are 5 weeks in June/July that I'm scheduled 24-7 for camp. No problem?

Friday, May 25, 2007


After one last drive into Boston on the 12th we flew to Atlanta for 10 days of pretending school didn't exist. Atlanta offered barbecues, parks, friends of a friend and an amazing aquarium. It also provided the vehicle which transported us to Florida for beach vacation: walking the beach every morning, eating great food and enjoying the sun (but feeling guilty that the skies were so clear while forest fires burned nearby). Return to the north promised another drive to Eastern MA to re-visit Lawrence and check out Lexington. Lexington is super normal- like home, but up a notch in uniformity.

The rest of the week was spent preparing for this weekend. I am now an accomplished synchronized canoer. I also learned (from professors) that play is more important than work, all jobs are dead end jobs and we should trust strangers. Don't tell the parents we got that advice though, its a secret!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

job...find job...

I went to Lawrence Thursday. It reminds me a lot of Holyoke, in fact I was sure that I had somehow teleported back to Holyoke when I crossed the bridge and turned onto canal street. I arrived early for my interview so I was able to give myself a driving tour of the city. Its post-industrial but in the recovery stage and is maintaining the character of the city as they refurbish. Everyone I spoke with at the school was super friendly and welcoming. I think having a good group of co-workers is so much more important than anything else. The principal hinted I have a good chance of getting this job, but he still has a few more interviews.

Bennington, VT was Friday's trip. So much driving this week! Its a beautiful area, people seemed nice, but its really rural. I'm not worried about not having stuff to do (I mean, how often do I really go out and do something only available in cities?). I am concerned about the lack of people. They seem super desperate for a math teacher. I had the interview, got the tour, met half the teachers and got pressured to come back to teach a class immediately.

I like Lawrence best of everything. Its big enough that there are plenty of people and things to do, but not so big that its full of traffic and chaos. Its near Boston, with the commuter rail giving easy access, so I could visit everyone living there. Plus, I get to connect math with theater and fine arts, how cool is that??

Monday, May 07, 2007


I had an interview in Revere this morning. Barring everything surrounding the interview, it went well. The school is very well organized, aware of the needs of their population and has adjusted the program to benefit all students. The woman who I spoke with was nice and she speaks highly of the math department. I think I could be quite happy there.

I got in my car at 7:30 am and did not get home until 1:30. I determined everything above in a 30 minute conversation- the rest of the time I was driving. $11 in tolls, $25 in gas, $8 for a half decent sandwich, endless driving on an endless highway and getting lost in the insanity of one way streets, rotaries, and combination street/rotary (there was a light in the middle of a rotary... seriously?): this all adds up to a headache. One thing I am totally certain of- I will live as close as possible to wherever I work, I hate driving.

Tonight was a ceremonial dinner of sorts with student teachers and our mentors. I don't feel done. I've managed to build up a substantial bubble to live in; I can plan for next year, pack and be done with everything MHC without really realizing it. I'm afraid of what will happen when my bubble gets a leak, I predict a huge flood.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

the end

End of relationship.
End of student teaching.
End of normal weekends on campus.
End of assignments, reflection papers and school work in general.
End of mono?

Beginning of allergy season.
Beginning of job search.
Beginning of packing and moving at least 4 times in 3 months.
Beginning of an effort to use the phone, ever.

Graduation 2 weeks from today.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Things always do seem to fall into place as they need to.

I went to a job fair in Boston today, talked to a lot of great people who work for schools in the greater Boston area, who now want me to work there. I want me to work there too. Boston feels comfortable, yet refreshing. Like that lovely breeze blowing off the harbor today.

I love it when everything feels right.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


My brain is working! Its after 8 pm, and I can still do brainteasers, completed 12 in fact, to nearly clear out my email inbox. Also, I wrote complete paragraphs yesterday; that was less exciting, but a bigger deal in the overall scheme of getting things done. Tomorrow I will walk to the greenhouse in the rain, because the world is flooding and I don't know how to throw away plants. Violets flower year round if taken care of properly, who could really give that up? I think I may donate some spider plants to the greenhouse though, 3 of them outgrew their home and the big one is about to have babies again anyway.

Now to sleep before I ruin the good things I've gained.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Snow in April.
Not little flurries, big fluffy flakes, coming down for over an hour.
I'm concerned for the state of the climate. I'm also concerned that I'll need to reanalyze my wardrobe, I packed away all my sweaters and moved t-shirts and tank tops to the front of my closet.

Vacation is this week but I keep forgetting that I don't have to get up early on Monday, its a pleasant surprise every time I remember. I have a very long list of things I'd like to accomplish, I have a feeling very few of them will actually get done, but something is better than nothing. Step one: be awake. I'll go work on that one.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


I'm home again, I have mono and a girlfriend (which I really did get in that order).
Still no job, probably because I haven't really applied for any.
And its April!
3 weeks left of student teaching, one week of break in the middle of that, off to GA/FL for vacation and then I graduate.

I'm very happy about all of this, except the mono part. That just makes me tired. Its shocking how little there is between now and the end of college, how much I have to look forward to in the meantime and at the moment how little panic I feel. Maybe thats just because I'm too tired to put any energy into panicking. Why is there a k in that word but not in panic? Weird.

Really though, life is great, so great that when I go to make a wish as I blow away an eyelash, I don't know what to wish for. The ability to write paragraphs might be nice... I can't write complete papers anymore, just outlines. Someday soon my brain should wake up and be able to think in more than just phrases.

Happy Easter Weekend!

Sunday, March 18, 2007


I built stuff this weekend! Ikea is now my new favorite store, even though I've never been there I feel that I know it well, my parents bought the place out and brought it all to our basement for me to build. I constructed 3 sets of shelves, 2 lamps, a media cabinet and a computer desk. Didn't see much of the outdoors, but I fully enjoyed it.

Friday I nearly crashed head-on with another car, on the highway. Cars should not be facing me as I drive on the highway. It was snowy and they spun out, full 180 degrees to be facing toward me in my lane, I swerved around with maybe 6 inches to spare. After I got my heart back into my chest and beating at a reasonable rate, I laughed at the sports car stuck in the pile of snow on the side of the road. Didn't he check the weather before deciding to go out in that useless vehicle?

When discussing where I would live next year my parents mentioned that I would not be able to take my plants with me if I moved across country. I'm fully reconsidering the advantages of Oregon, I will not give up my babies. Someone will want to road trip in a moving van with me this summer, right?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

So ridiculously appalling its funny:

...he would endorse prenatal hormonal treatment — if such a technology were developed — to reverse homosexuality. He said this would no different, in moral terms, to using technology that would restore vision to a blind fetus. "I realize this sounds very offensive to homosexuals, but it's the only way a Christian can look at it," Mohler said. "We should have no more problem with that than treating any medical problem."

On a more cheerful note, Happy Pi Day. I celebrated by studying irrational numbers with my Algebra I students. Yay for relating class to the real world, or really, forcing math onto the real world.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I would do that.

So I finally sat down and applied for jobs. I submitted two online applications for advertised openings and emailed 10 districts asking if they have openings. After I sent all of those emails I read over the resume I had been attaching, lo and behold, I had notes to myself on the second page of the document. The page I wouldn't print, but gets sent along in an attachment. Nothing terribly embarrasing, just a few positions I decided to leave off the final copy and a question if I should include my related coursework. Not professional looking at all though. Maybe they won't even read my resume, they'll want a full application through some website anyway, right? At least I didn't send that to the jobs who actually have openings.

In other news, I started teaching my third class today. My cooperating teacher is very bored, she only has one class left. They seemed intrigued by the fact that I brought in props (a hacky sack to study projectile motion), I'll have to do that more often.

Everyone goes on spring break next week, but I have to stay on campus. That will be strange and lonely. Expect many more updates then.

Friday, February 23, 2007

yes, sir, mr. police man

Today was an adventure!

I went outside, decided it was a beautiful day and that I should do something to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. So I called my friend and we determined that we should spend the afternoon exploring an intriguing abandoned insane asylum. We gathered video camera, warm clothes and sturdy shoes to head out. As we passed the large, posted 'no trespassing' sign we decided it would be best to park the car in the back, but didn't really think much of the consequences this adventure could impart. We took some time to explore the outer limits of the building, an impressive brick structure, 4 stories high, with barred and covered windows in most areas. There were large piles of debris accumulating in some areas- air vents, pipes, bricks and wood - seperated and rising several stories above the ground. The brick pile happened to lead directly to an open window, so we strapped the camera on carefully and scrambled up into the building. It is certainly run down- paint peeling, wires hanging haphazardly and no doors or windows remaining- but we still got a sense of what it had been like. The rooms were cramped, and would have been far more so with furniture in them. One room had debris piled outside the window completely blocking it- this seemed to depict exactly the trapped feeling someone in an insane asylum would have. There was also an avalanche of bricks that was precariously positioned in one staircase, I could imagine all too easily kicking one brick out of the way and the entire building coming crashing through that doorway. When our camera battery died and we decided to leave, I came down the brick pile first. My friend jokingly asked if her car was still there, and when I poked my head around the corner to check, I saw it was, with a police officer looking into it! We played innocent girls just looking to take some pictures of the pretty buildings and managed to get off with a warning. He asked if we knew trespassing there was an arrestable offense (which I certainly hadn't thought deeply about) and ran our licenses to make sure that there was no warrant out for our arrest. Then he told us not to come back, and if we did, not to get caught, because the warning was filed and the next time we would get arrested.

Usually I hate playing the helpless girl card, and I disprove it on a regular basis, but once again it came in useful that with my brightly colored hat and innocent smile I look about as harmless as a butterfly. I hope warnings don't come up on CORIs, although it would be fun to explain.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

what happened?

Its already Thursday, my vacation has slipped by and I'm not sure where it went. I think I did productive things, maybe. I still haven't thought about what I'm going to teach next week though, I might need to get on that.

My mother is worrying that all of the jobs will be gone if I don't start applying immediately, so I finally decided to sit down and pick a few states. The criteria that I started with - trees, four seasons, my license applies and near a major airport - didn't get me very far. Then I realized if I plan to stay for more than just next year, I need to be able to adopt in that state. That certainly did an amazing job of narrowing down my list, but it left me feeling far more frustrated than accomplished. The two states I've already lived in are some of my best options, but I think I need to get out. If I really want independence, it'll have to be Oregon, which seems like a really cool state, and I'll be near the redwood forest, which was where I wanted to go several months ago. If I settle for kinda far away, VT, NH and NY (not in the city) are my best options. Yay for having decided?

Now to the career center to figure out my next steps. Or maybe this is enough for one week.

Monday, February 19, 2007


I have the week off, and its wonderful. Saturday was a lovely day of birthday celebration. Out to lunch, dinner and a campus party. I'm not sure why we never managed to go to drag ball in previous years, but I'm very glad we went this year.

Today has been a day of educational discussions. I've been educated and also discussed my education of others. The looming pile of licensure paperwork has lots of colored stickies on it, which supposedly means its more organized. At the very least its physical proof that I accomplished something today.

I'm rather shocked how busy I am this week, considering that the majority of my time is usually spent at school and I don't have to go. I'm supposed to go home to visit at some point, and I can't figure out when the best time will be to do that since there's some meeting or event every day! Overcommitted? Can't say no? Not me!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

snow day!

No school today :D. I was such a little kid last night checking the website every 5 minutes to see if they had canceled yet. Its a really good thing it was since I stayed up until 1:00 am. There are several inches of snow and sleet which I will be sledding in at 4:00. Until then I will complete backing up everything on my computer (I'm extra cautious now after my friend's computer died last week) and attempt to tackle the pile of paperwork that looms nearby. I love extra days to get little things done when it doesn't actually matter if I accomplish anything important!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Saturday was a good day. Went to Mass MoCA and saw the rice exhibit. 16 tons of rice, distributed in piles, each pile depicting a certain statistic, each grain of rice counts for one person. The comparisons were really interesting (number of people living in gated communities vs. number of people in prison) and some of the piles were just really impressive (pop. of US or Brazil). It made us realize how little history we knew (what exactly happened in Mexico between 1492 and 1800 to remove 2/3 of the population?) and how small we are in comparison with the rest of the people out there. The 16 tons represented all the people in the Americas, and we each got a grain of rice to keep as a souvenir. Mine is taped to paper, labeled as "ME ->" and on my bulletin board.

After the exhibit we went out to dinner and to a dance performance. The American College Dance Festival was at Williams College and one of my friends was performing a piece she coreographed. 3.5 hours of dance is a lot, but we saw some really cool acts.

The rest of the weekend was spent almost entirely listening to friend's drama. I guess its nice that my life is so uncomplicated? Went ice skating on campus today, fell on the same spot I fell on last time I was sliding around on ice. That should look pretty tomorrow. I hope my voice comes back tomorrow or else I'm really gonna look like an old lady, hobbling around with a sore knee and scratchy voice.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I taught without the teacher in the room today. Yay progress. It went exactly the same as it doesn when she's there, that felt good. Apparently I've been talking too much though, my throat hurts and I almost lost my voice at one point today. I will spend the weekend in silence. Maybe. One more day to weekend, then 5 more days to vacation. I just started and I'm already counting down. A week of calm would be amazing, or really amazingly boring. I'm sure it won't happen anyway. What should I do during that week off?

Monday, February 05, 2007


Did I mention things are busy? I thought this week would be calm, not true. It will certainly be calmer, but never calm. That's okay though, I'm always itching to be busy, I love having projects to focus on and I've felt really productive lately.

Student teaching is going really well. I may even be on my own for an entire day on Friday. My supervising teacher is going to be out (she's going to New Orleans for the weekend) and I might get to be the substitute for all of her classes. 35 Algebra I students, all at once, wow!

We got a couple inches of snow on Friday. I went sledding on Saturday, and I didn't injure myself at all (ignoring my left tricep which is achy), but I don't have any bruises, which is a big deal for me. It definitely feels like winter these days, what with the 12 degrees feels like -4. That makes me less concerned about the state of the world, more concerned about the state of my fingers, which I can't feel when driving, even with gloves on.

I went to an award ceremony today. Its always inspiring to hear about the amazing things that students and alums do. I was honored to be among those described. They presented me with a large wrapped package, which I opened when I got back to my room. Its a diploma frame. It is beautiful and professional looking, but scary, because it is supposed to contain a diploma, which I get when I graduate, which happens when I leave here. So I decided to leave the frame on my bed and ignore it. My friend walked into my room this evening, looked at it, and jumped 3 feet away when she realized what it was. Its funny how fearful we are of graduating. For now I will focus on my friend's motto: I'm not graduating today.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Student teaching is amazing. Living in a dorm and still being too involved in campus stuff while student teaching isn't quite as easy as I thought it would be, but it is all most definitely worth it. Monday I took over two Algebra II accelerated classes. The students are overall respectful and obedient. The class that I have to start teaching by March will be neither respectful or obedient, they are already testing my limits and I am only assisting in that class now. Controlling 35 rambunctious students will definitely be a learning experience. The teacher I am working with continues to amaze me, I want to be just like her!

The past two days I was feeling overwhelmed with the community service project I am getting started (I keep waiting for a permanent leader to emerge, and waiting...), and that we have all sorts of events coming up that we aren't ready for and that my new schedule conflicts with everyone. Then today, I came home and checked my email, and my amazing board took care of everything for all the events. Tomorrow I can hand over my project to the volunteer coordinator at the org they are working for. And, granola bars were on sale today. Life is good.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

i missed the middle

When I arrived at college my friends all named me mom. I took care of everyone, anyone's problems were mine to solve and everyone had to be happy all the time. I was a shoulder to cry on, the alcohol monitor and the bouncing board for any decision to be made. I liked taking care of people, but there came a point where I realized I need to take care of me. My shoulder is still functional, I keep an eye on others and I'm always happy to listen, but I stopped contributing. If someone is making bad decisions and asks for my input, I give a brief analysis and then move on. It doesn't stay with me like it used to, if someone is upset I can still go out and have a great time. I thought I'd solved my problem of being everyone's keeper, I thought it was good that I was keeping my nose out of other people's business. Apparently I've been very vocal this year about not caring about everyone's decisions. Sometimes this has been praised, other times not, but either way I've been described as a bit more callous than I ever expected to be. It is infuriatingly frustrating to be too involved, but I think I'd like some of the 'mom' back, and I don't know where it went.


The number of people on campus has tripled in 2 days. Walking anywhere is a scary experience with people yelling out your name from all directions. Makes me feel like I actually know a lot of people, but at the moment it is rather overwhelming. I'd rather feel like I know a lot about crocheting. My blanket is actually starting to look like something other than a pile of yarn! I've turned into such an old lady, all I'm missing are cats to play with the balls of yarn. I have plants to take care of instead, and they don't make a mess of my projects. Okay, I'm just a little pathetic, maybe I'll leave the room tonight.

Monday, January 22, 2007


I made lots of important decisions today. For one, I figured out how many squares will be in my afghan (crochet speak for blanket). I also decided where I'll be spending the semester and the summer. I'm not taking the job offer since the teacher I was originally working with is great and I don't want to give up that support. I'll be spending part of the summer on campus again doing math camp. I think I might have chosen math camp over a vacation to San Francisco. Does that say a lot about me? Really, I just can't spend the whole summer at home, and I don't need 3 months to find a place to live (at least I hope I don't!!). Tomorrow I have to decide other essential things such as what to request in my bag lunch. Scary decisions will be put off to at least the weekend. These would include how to spend my Feb. break and where to move next year. I may spend the break figuring out where to move...

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Today I have a love hate relationship with the word 'curb.' I watched 6 episodes of 'curb your enthusiasm' and was highly amused. However, as I was leaving the parking lot this afternoon I ran over the curb and it sliced my tire. What happened to those nice, rounded, harmless bits of concrete that edged the roads? Sure the fancy stone with a sharp right angle looks classy, but its the edge of the road, I'd really rather it be safe than pretty. Since no one took my vote into consideration while re-doing the road, my tire was badly injured and I spent 40 minutes in 25 degree weather waiting for AAA feeling helpless. I know how to change a tire, but knowing how to do something and actually being able to are two entirely different things. Maybe someday if I drink lots of milk I'll grow up to be big and strong and able to unscrew my own lug nuts. Until then, thank you AAA.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


I was walking across campus today and was stopped by one of the education professors. She told me that she just got a call from a local high school that they are in desperate need of a math teacher for this semester. She talked it over with one of my other professors and they decided I would be capable if I wanted to take it. I wouldn't get paid for the classes I would be teaching for student teaching, but I might get paid for anything beyond that. Am I really ready to go solo? Actually, the more pressing question is- is it worth it? A semester of support from a teacher I get along well with vs. a semester of complete independence. I could do anything I wanted with this new position, but I don't know how limited I would be where I was planning to go. I don't need more decisions to make, I wanted decisions to be made for all the questions I already have...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

no good?

So today I decided I liked the sound of Michigan for next year. Water sounds fun, I've always liked lakes and huge (great) ones are even better. Far enough north for full spectrum of weather, close enough but not too close to home. It is also rated 5th highest for teacher salaries and my license works there. Fits all of my requirements, but apparently those are insufficient. The friends said Michigan isn't cool enough- how do I know if a state is cool? Maybe some cities are okay... it has GLBT community centers, I thought that was a good sign. Tomorrow I will get precise details on what is necessary for a state to be acceptable by my friends requirements.

The pool opened again today. Yay for smelling like chorine. It makes me feel clean, even though that is contrary because it just reminds me how I haven't showered. I'm very determined to keep on a consistent gym schedule so I won't notice the lost time when the semester starts. I think I can do it, I'll have to put gym time in my permanent schedule before I print it out.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


I slept until 11:30 yesterday and 12 today, j-term is really screwing with my schedule. I swore I was going to get to breakfast every day this month but I just missed three days in a row. The icky weather really isn't helping me to wake up. Yesterday I browsed job postings but just got overwhelmed and decided to spend my day playing games instead. At least I'm being social and seeing all the people that I haven't seen in ages. Maybe I'll put hanging out with people on my list of things to do so I can feel satisfied in checking it off.

Friday, January 12, 2007

close your eyes and point

I went to the career center again this morning. I have come to the conclusion that my future will be very arbitrary. At the moment I'm missing snow and think that living near water would be nice, so I'll look for jobs in the north on the west coast and by the great lakes. I saw a commercial with big trees a month ago and that made me decide that I wanted to move near the redwood forest, but I just looked it up and I'm not allowed to teach in California. Is there a better way to do this? It seems like I should be taking other things into account, but I don't really know what they are.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

busy bee me

So, remember when I was sick of having nothing to do? Some may think I've overcompensated, but I'm feeling quite content. I get up in the morning, spend the hours from 10-12 building houses, 2-4 teaching class, 5-6 at the gym and 7-9 learning to crochet. During the breaks I eat 3 meals and a snack, watch movies, read blogs and complete my 2 daily puzzles (Mensa puzzle and brainteaser page a day calendars). The weather has fluctuated so much that in the past week I could be found in anything from tank top and sandals to long underwear and 6 layers. I saw snow flakes last night, and in some places they even lasted more than 3 seconds on the ground. Maybe there is hope for a day of sledding yet.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

look at that time!

I'm happy to report that today was productive. Good thing since today lasted 18 hours! I went to the career center this morning and I now have a very professional resume, an outline of a cover letter and references. Impressive since I started the day with a resume that I threw together for a summer job over a year ago. I also rented 5 DVDs (rent 3 get 2 free), putting the tally up to 6 discs we have to watch in the next five days. I went to the gym for the start of my new year's resolution (I know I'm a little late, I was working up to working out). Then I went to dinner and started a conversation that has lasted a long time. Talked about some new things, rehashed some old things, heard funny stories and made interesting connections. Then, all of a sudden, it was 3 am. Of course, instead of heading directly to bed like a sane person, I had to pause to document it all. However, as we emphasized this evening, if I can question my sanity I'm not completely gone. With that final accomplishment, I head to bed.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

well, its like this

Between last night and tonight I've watched 8 episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I find myself thinking like Larry David now. This concerns me. I hope that a few hours sleep will cure this unusual train of thought.

I can't decide if today was productive or not. I certainly accomplished things, but looking at my January to-do list I don't know if it is too long or too short. It looks like a tornado went through my room, but its an organized chaos. I never used to believe people who said that their mess was controlled, but I now see that it is really just a question of space. I can't put everything away until I know where it goes, and I won't know where it goes until I can see everything I have to put away. Therefore, for the time being, my room is a maze. By tomorrow night it should be amazingly put together instead.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


I'm always amazed how happy it makes me to come back to school. It certainly also helped that it was a beautiful sunny day, but being in my own room, with a long list of things to do makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

New years was an interesting event, ended up in Brooklyn, had a fun time but I really would have been content to spend a quiet evening at home. Although, that could have resulted in me actaully realizing that I was awaiting the arrival of 2007. Since I have been telling myself for months that I don't have to worry about the future until January, being to cognizant of the impending arrival of January wouldn't have been fun. As it is, I'm vaguely aware that I'm supposed to be making an appointment with the career center soon. But not right now, because its lunch time.