katernater: (actress • (mature))
There's a stack of boxed wall clocks in the break room at work. The boxes are of a certain dimension that, for half a second, I mistake them for donut boxes. When I remember what they actually are, I become very sad. This happens at least three times a week.

...It's good to be back in the saddle again.
katernater: (house • (meaning))
It's been a couple of weeks since I've updated, and there's really been no down time in that two weeks. The end of any term is chaotic, this one made even more so by the fact that I had to helm a complete mock trial for my CS 5 class in a little less than a week (which we performed yesterday and which could not have gone any better) and that I've been more active on the weekends than my usual, sedentary schedule is used to. Last weekend I went back to Muncie to see Tim and to attend a friend's wedding. Tim and I continue to enjoy one another's company immensely. In fact, I'm heading back tomorrow for an overnight before I head back to my parents' place for the break week. Tim and I are going to go apple picking in the afternoon, then we're building a fire and camping out in his backyard overnight. I am still trying to figure out when my life turned into a Nora Ephron screenplay.

In other news, I've been completely slacking on my novel project lately. I said I was going to spend all of September outlining, but that never happened. My cork board is pretty barren. I hope to be able to develop some more ideas over the break. I'll lie in bed at night before falling asleep and I'll have these random ideas; sometimes entire scenes will play themselves out in my head, complete with dialogue. I haven't really been active with any other kind of writing lately, so I suppose my creative drive is pooling its resources into the novel concept. If I don't write for a while I start to get irritable. I'll be glad for the upcoming break, as it will give me an opportunity to kick start the creative process. (Which, for me, involves many cups of tea and an all-out staring contest with a blinking cursor.)

I feel like taking a bath. Gonna' put on some David Gray and pile on the bubbles.
katernater: (actor • (tennant))
I spent part of today trading e-mails with a guy I'm pretty sure I've been secretly in love with since we met at a party my first week of college. He's invited me to spend Labor Day weekend with him at his family's lake cottage and I'm trying to be all nonchalant, like, "Oh yeah, I get invited to lake houses by hot guys all the time; where's my regatta scarf?" when, on the inside I'm really all, "206 is the magic number, baby, because that's how many bones you have and that's how many I'm planning to jump."

My parents and I drove up to Valpo last weekend to move my stuff out of Todd's apartment. He was decent enough to break down most of the furniture and move it into the living room, but I still had a ton of books and brik-a-brak to box up. We filled a whole UHaul trailer with my half of the apartment. I'm not going to lie: it felt good to get my stuff out of there. Todd and I are on good terms and can carry on a civil conversation, but I think this last weekend made the break-up, well, real. I still felt like I had a link to my old life with all of my furniture and books in another place. Todd wasn't there, which was okay. He got a chance to go home to Fort Wayne to see friends and family and he took it, so my parents and I could come and go from the apartment as we pleased. It took about an hour and a half. The only time that I really got somewhat nostalgic was when I went through all of the LPs we'd bought together; I was sad to leave "Beggar's Banquet" and "The Stranger," but Todd had bought those on his own and it wasn't right for me to take them. I don't have a turntable to play them on anyway. I was able to move some small things back to my apartment: pictures, some glassware, other small items. I really feel like I'm making this apartment -- this town -- my new home. I finally got a gym membership (and am currently sweating it twice a week in Zumba classes) and found a classic rock station that comes in clear on my stereo. I'm happy in my job, happy with the friendships I'm making, and happy with the new creative opportunity in my novel project. Money's tight and I'll be happy when I will be able to stop paying rent-and-a-half for two apartments, but I'm nowhere near starving or deprived. I'm just learning how to manage my money and my time more effectively.

I'm not in any hurry to date again. I like the freedom that being single provides, and I have always been happy in my own company. I'm open to whatever comes next, but I also think that this time is an excellent opportunity for me to find out who I am and what I want in a partner. And there's no rush to figure out either of those things.

I think [livejournal.com profile] another_myself and I are going to watch an episode of Doctor Who together tonight. I can't wait until the second half of the series; it's in, like, two weeks, right? I NEED MY DOCTOR. I AM MARTHA JONESIN'.

ALSO. [livejournal.com profile] awesomesquared, I AM LOOKING AT YOU AND YOU KNOW WHY.
katernater: (actor • (fame))
I'm in such a good mood today. I feel like I made good progress on my NaNo project last night and I woke up this morning (at 11:15, which is really late for me) feeling really good. I spent some time by the pool this afternoon, watched an episode of Luther and then went out to pick up a couple of pies for my boss's birthday. While I was out I also got some Chinese food from this little place everyone at work's been recommending. For $8 I got, like, ten pounds of food. That's insane. And it was good, too. I don't eat out very often these days and when I do I'm pretty much looking for economy: how much is it, and how much of it can I keep for lunch tomorrow? I ate until I was stuffed and put the rest in the fridge. I didn't even touch the hot and sour soup I ordered. Maybe I'll go back for a snack later on.

I'm going to hang around here until it gets a little cooler outside, then I'll go out for a walk. I usually run in the mornings on Saturdays and Sundays, but I missed my window this morning because I slept in. I don't feel much like running with a stomach full of sesame chicken, either, so the walk will be nice. Tomorrow we're having a half-day workshop at the office, which should be interesting. It's mostly for the new teachers (we've hired on two new ones who are set to start this next term) and, since I still consider myself something of a newbie, it'll be good for me, too. After the workshop I'll run back to the apartment to pick up my stuff so I can go back to Fort Wayne for a few days. Wednesday is the Muse concert, so I'll drive down to Indianapolis sometime that afternoon, rendezvous with my brother and his girlfriend, and get my symphonic rock on. The new Preston-Child book comes out on Tuesday, too! Gah. This week is going to be amazing.

On Friday night, I was invited to a dinner and reception for the Rose-Hulman students. This last Thursday was my last day with them. Overall, the experience was very positive. There were a few things that I would have changed -- the lines of communication definitely needed to be clearer, and I would have liked more time to spend with them each week -- but I am very satisfied with the project. I hope that I will be able to revisit Rose-Hulman next year, with a new batch of students. Anyway, on Friday all of the Korean students got together at the coordinating professor's house and made an authentic Korean meal for everyone. I have never seen so much food, my god. The dining room table was jammed with plates, bowls and piles of steamed white rice. I had kim chi that just about took the roof of my mouth off. But it was so good. And it just kept coming: as soon as one dish was depleted, some mindful student swooped in with a fresh helping. And they really took care of me: they saw that I was being a bit indecisive about what to put on my plate and took it upon themselves to intervene, piling my plate with a bit of everything on the table. The professor whose house we were occupying is originally from Manchester, England, and he told us about growing up overseas (especially his time in Uganda, where he constantly had to look over his shoulder to avoid Idi Amin and his men) and the things he's learned in his travels. It was really neat to listen to him. I soak that kind of thing up like a sponge. A little while later the Koreans were doing shots of red wine around the dining room table. They would fill their red plastic cups, clink them together while saying something in Korean, and neck them back like champions. Everyone was feeling pretty loose at this point and the house was full of that rare kind of camaraderie that makes you feel good about being a part of something much bigger than yourself. A couple of Koreans slung their arms around my shoulder and guided me to the tableside, putting a red cup in my hand. Another student sloshed an inch and a half of wine into my cup and we all raised our drinks. "This drink is for Ms. Katherine. We love you, Ms. Katherine!" they said, while I blushed like a maniac. It turned out to be a terrific evening. I left feeling very happy. I am grateful that I am in a place -- and in a time in my life -- where I can experience nights like that. Taking this job has changed my life in so many good ways. I could not imagine being anywhere else right now.

All right. Time for that walk. Then I'm coming back, putting in some Castle and sitting down with a little light reading.
katernater: (luther • (one coffee))
I started watching Luther this week and, honestly, I can't watch any episodes after it gets dark outside because I am legitimately worried that it will give me nightmares. There is at least one moment in every episode (of the three I've seen so far) where I throw my hands up in front of my eyes because what's happening on screen is freak-out-level disturbing. Of course, the writing is amazing (would have to be, for this kind of show to fly) and I'm quickly becoming a fan of Idris Elba because, my god, that man can act. And you don't even notice that he's acting while he's doing it; his reactions are so natural and so well-timed that, even from the first scene in the first episode, you're in his head. And that can be a very scary place to be.

INTERLINK graduation is this morning. I can't believe we've come to the end of another term. It was probably the most stressful term I've had here so far, but also the best in terms of what I learned and how I think I came along as a teacher. We've a week's break after this and I'll be going home for part of it. On Wednesday of next week I'll be seeing these guys --

-- the idea of which is still gives me happy tingles every time I remember it.

All right. Gotta' put on a shirt and go to work.
katernater: (doctor who • (tardis))
I had horrible insomnia last night. Which is weird, because at seven o'clock I was leaning on my arm while typing up student evaluations, literally a minute or two away from faceplanting into my laptop. I went to bed around ten thirty but couldn't fall asleep. I eventually got up and tried sleeping on the couch, like a change of venue was the problem. It wasn't. (FYI: If any of you ever get up here to visit me I'm not making you sleep on that couch; it's like a topographical map with a slipcover.) I went back to my bedroom and toughed it out and I guess I fell asleep around two or two thirty. The good thing about the whole thing was that the sleeplessness gave me a chance to think and I essentially reworked my whole NaNo concept for this year. I mean, to the point where I've scrapped my original idea entirely and gone in a wholly different direction -- right down to characters, setting, plot and time period. I decided that, to do justice to my original idea, I'd have to build a time machine out of used dishwasher parts, travel back to 1970s Britain and make friends with glam rockers. It's hard to explain. I could do it, but I feel like I actually need to live over in the U.K. before I start aping their slang and mannerisms, you know? So I'm putting that idea on the back burner and working to develop another project I've been kicking around in my head. It's kind of Philip K. Dick meets Inception meets the general tone of any Pink Floyd album. I'm going to start all over with the outlining process and, fingers crossed, I'll be ready to start writing at the beginning of November.

Work has been kind of stressful this week but it's the last week of the term and that's to be expected. I've been cheered up by my co-workers, though, and it's really great to have that kind of support system at the ready. It's also great to be around people who come from so many different backgrounds and levels of experience but who, at the same time, are a lot like me. My boss found out that I was a Doctor Who fan today and we spent, like, twenty minutes talking about which Doctor from the "classic" series was the best. My boss grew up with Four. I told him that I liked Two. We both agreed that Ten was awesome. I finally feel like I'm becoming part of that group. At the beginning it was a little hard for me to acclimate to my new job. I mean, everyone was terrific and very helpful, but there was still that stigma, like, "You're still a newbie and we're not completely comfortable with you yet." I feel like I'm starting to really make a place and an identity for myself. I feel more comfortable joking around and offering my honest opinion about things; generally when I'm new I like to keep my head down until I've earned the right to say something. After almost eight months I think I'm at the point where I can show a little bit more of my personality and weigh in on things.

I am really lucky to be where I am. It's stressful at times and I'm still not completely sure what I'm doing (and probably won't be completely sure for a long time), but I feel happy here. And, my gosh, you know when prospective teachers give you that line, like, "If I can help just one student learn something, that will be enough."? That's mostly bull. Teaching is a numbers game. A lot of the time, if students are just meeting the benchmark you're happy. If they get the concept and can prove that they can follow through with it, hallelujah. If more than half of the class can string a sentence together without too much trouble? You're doing pretty damn well. But I had one student in my writing class this term who struggled and really had to work on her skills. I worked with her one-on-one, got her additional help outside of class, and her skills really improved. She turned in an awesome research paper to me today. It was worlds better than her writing at the beginning of the term. I almost got choked up reading it. Seeing her succeed made my entire term. It was as close as I've come in my life to knowing what being a parent is like -- if being a parent involves long explanations about punctuation and subject-verb agreement.

It's still hot outside but I'm going to try to run anyway. I didn't run last night and that might have been part of the reason I couldn't sleep. Apparently I just need to exhaust myself to the point of collapsing if I want to get a decent eight hours.
katernater: (movie • (pirate))
Thanks, all, for your thoughtful reading recommendations on my last post. In the end I decided to re-read the last book in the Pendergast series, as a refresher for the sequel that comes out at the beginning of next month. I'm sure I'm going to eat right through that book, though, so I'll be picking up some of your suggestions when I'm next at the library. (Which will hopefully be when Cute Bespectacled Librarian Boy is also working.) A lot of you recommended Game of Thrones, so I'll probably start there.

I got a Facebook message from one of my friends from graduate school this afternoon. She's currently teaching English as a second language at a women's college in Hiroshima. She wanted to let me know that there would be a couple of positions opening up at the college soon -- in September of this year and March of next. I checked out the position and it looks pretty interesting; you teach a bit and then participate in a group-focused research project, the subject and parameters of which are determined by your individual discipline. It sounds pretty cool. I mean, I wasn't exactly looking to go overseas within the next year (I have plans to do so eventually, but after I've accumulated a little stateside teaching cred first), but it's good to know that the opportunities are out there.

And, anywhere I go, I need to be sure that I can still see first run movies in theaters because, OH MY GOSH, YOU GUYS, THERE ARE COMIC BOOK MOVIE TRAILERS BEING LEAKED ALL OVER THE PLACE AND I'M JUST LIKE


katernater: (actor • (fassbender))
Starting next week, I will be teaching part-part time at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. A group of twenty students from the University of Seoul, South Korea, will be taking part in a four-week set of courses, one of which includes supplemental English language instruction. Another teacher at INTERLINK has been brought on to teach the brunt of the class but they need additional instructors to supervise and/or tag-team teach when necessary. My boss approached me about the position a few weeks ago and I got confirmation today that I'd been brought on. I'm really excited! It's a little more work at a hectic time in the term -- I am slated for at least five additional hours per week, mostly in the afternoons -- but it will pay dividends, both in terms of extra cash and real-world experience. Frankly, I'm very flattered to have been considered for the position. This is only my third term teaching and I am absolutely chuffed to have this opportunity. The students are all on track to return to Korea after they complete their classes, with another group to come to the States this time next summer. Out of 200 applicants, only twenty were chosen to come to Rose-Hulman. I have an inkling that they are a very elite group, which will be very much like the type of teaching I did during my certification.

Anyway, experience
+ extra cash
+ the opportunity to be around adorably nerdy Rose-Hulman interns =

It's so hot out today. I want to go for a run but the heat makes me lean toward staying inside eating chocolate drops and playing with make-up.
katernater: (actress • (poehler))
Oh my gosh, have you ever had one of those naps that's, like, "Hello, I'm going to fix everything that was wrong about today that you totally didn't know about, so you're welcome"? I have gotten out of the habit of taking naps. It's my schedule, I'm sure: get up in the morning, go to work until about three or four in the afternoon, come home, run, eat dinner, plan for the next day; there's not a lot of room in there for napping. Well, today I took a nap for the first time in months. 'Did it "classic style," too: I pretty much just faceplanted on the couch and didn't move from that position for an hour. It was awesome.

The term is clipping right along. We're already into the middle of Week 6, which leaves just three weeks until the end of the term. I finally feel like I'm hitting my stride with this research paper class. Last week was so revealing: I just let go of a lot of expectations and started focusing on what my students needed. I was putting a lot of (unintentional) pressure on them (and myself) and it just started to burn us all out. Last Thursday I brought in donut holes and green tea and we all sat around for the first part of class, discussing the research paper and fielding questions from one another. It was fantastic and I think it really helped overall class morale. I'm learning (sometimes painfully) that this whole process is really a complex balancing act and that, in the end, it's impossible to control everything. I've got to let some things go. I've got to give my students the information they need, but it's up to them to follow through on it.

Things are going well for me. Without getting too into it, I continue to develop myself spiritually and see daily improvement in my overall attitude and outlook on things. I'm learning to trust my instincts and to rely on my emotional barometer; if something upsets me, I allow it to upset me. If I'm happy, I'm comfortable saying that I'm happy. I am not doing as much free writing as I would like, but I think that's probably because I'm stacked to the ceiling with work stuff right now. My plan, by the end of summer, is to put some serious time into the rough scratchings of my novel. I would like to put together an outline by the end of August so that, if possible, I can do NaNoWriMo this year. I've always wanted to participate and I feel that the structure would compel me to write on a regular basis. Even if I end up missing the 50,000 word goal I will still have made some progress in the right direction. Is anyone else planning to participate this year? Can we be NaNo buddies? I can ply you with Oreo Balls and iTunes playlists.

Right. Off to grab a bite to eat and then grade some papers.
katernater: (actor • (hawke))
I'm back in Fort Wayne for the holiday weekend. The last couple of days have been wonderful. Yesterday, I woke up early and jetted across town to the theater to see an 11:05 showing of X-Men: First Class, which lived up to absolutely every one of my expectations. Although, after looking at my Tumblr dash lately, I felt as if I'd already seen half the movie. It didn't matter. James McAvoy was civil and dignified and Michael Fassbender made me feel funny feelings, especially when he wore slim trousers and turtlenecks that made him look like a glorious tribute to male geometry. (Seriously. This guy had the classic '60s 'A-frame' thing going on. Me gusta.) After I got home my family and I went out to Chipotle for lunch. My brother had randomly entered a drawing for a free meal a couple of weeks ago, and they drew his name. He was nice enough to invite my mom, dad, and me along. We got whatever we wanted for free! I got tacos carnitas, which hit just about every one of my happy places. There was so much food on our table that we had a hard time navigating around the chips and tortillas. We felt like kings! Afterward, my brother and I made a trip to Barnes & Noble. My brother is going to Ireland and England next year, so he bought a travel guide. I demonstrated a tremendous amount of restraint and did not buy anything (although I had my eye on one of those Nook Colors. Does anyone have one of those? Can you sell me on reasons why it needs to be a part of my life?).

Today, the family and I went to Defiance, Ohio for a family reunion. I haven't seen my mother's side of the family -- not the extended bits, anyway -- since my grandfather's funeral in 2001. My relatives live on a big parcel of land out in the middle of the country. They have a beautiful pond, a deck, and a go-kart track. They even rented a bouncy castle for the reunion! (My mom and I, especially, had fun in the bouncy castle.) We just got home a little while ago and I went out for a quick run before taking a shower and bunking down for the night. I managed to get my hands on the first season of Modern Family and I really like it so far. It's not at all what I expected. I just got to the episode where Edward Norton makes a cameo appearance as a member of Spandau Ballet. Hilarious.

Tomorrow my family and I are going to have a cook-out in the backyard. I'm going to have to leave to get back to Terre Haute sometime tomorrow afternoon, but it's been a really nice few days. I needed the break. The term has been up and down, especially the last couple of weeks. I'm learning how to budget my time -- and my patience. I still really enjoy what I'm doing and honestly can't see myself being anywhere else right now. I know that, eventually, I'd like to take the plunge and go overseas to teach. My cousin is spending the summer in a chateau in France, tutoring some rich family's kids. I think I could do that: live Brideshead Revisited style while teaching elocution or something. It would be ideal for me to get some experience stateside first, then try my hand at continent jumping. I'd love to see Asia. Anywhere, actually, so long as it's an adventure.

I'm going to spend tonight hanging out, watching Modern Family and reading Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. A perfect end to a perfect day.

Happy Fourth of July to all of my American friends! I hope your holidays are wonderful!
katernater: (lost • (faraday))
I just got back from the INTERLINK potluck dinner. Once every term, all the teachers, staff and students from the program get together outside of class to share food and play games. This term we had the party at a park near my apartment. The weather had been shaky all day and we weren't sure it would play along, but it turned out to be a really nice evening. One of my students brought his family along. He has three little girls, all under the age of seven, and a little boy. His smallest girl, Sara, kept coming up to me and putting her arms up to be held. I'm not usually around a lot of kids and don't consider myself really good with them, but this girl was absolutely adorable, so I couldn't refuse. Every time I held her she kept putting her hands into my hair, running it through her fingers and playing with it. I melted. I just did. She would put her cheek on my shoulder and stroke my hair and I would feel her warm little breath on my neck. I think I carried her twice around the park and back before I returned her to her father. And his other little girl, Zahar, kept coming up to me and wrapping herself around my legs. At one point she tugged on the edge of my shirt to get my attention. I turned around and she pointed to my hand, which I showed to her, palm up. She then spit an ice cube into my open palm, giggled, and ran away. I'm not quite sure what kind of a cultural gesture that is, but I think it means we're best friends for life or something.

The latter half of this week was tough. By the time Thursday rolled around I felt like I had run out of steam. I had to really sit on some of my students today and that always makes me grouchy. We're really picking up speed on their research papers and it's especially difficult because many of them have never written anything like that before. I have to take them through the research process, the step-by-step outline and the citation process before they begin to write. A lot of things that I have taken for granted or committed to reflex memory -- like how to cite sources -- are completely new to them and it takes time to transfer that knowledge. Add to that the fact that our terms are only nine weeks and you really start to feel the crunch. I just need to pace myself and be available to answer questions when they have them. I also need to take this weekend to seriously decompress. I think the biggest thing I've got planned is going to see 'X-Men: First Class' (if it's still in theaters) and/or going to the library to apply for a library card. I'm ninety percent planned for Monday, so I can afford a little downtime.

I am also considering an X-Files series re-watch, starting this weekend. Who's with me?
katernater: (doctor who • (optimism))
No joke: my boss just spent the last half an hour teaching me how to play Magic: The Gathering.

Love. this. job.
katernater: (thrones • (winter))
Back from hiatus and, though I have not been actively posting here, I have been following my friends' page and trying to keep up with everything that's been happening ([livejournal.com profile] farstepper, I'm looking at you in particular and sending best wishes for a speedy recovery). So far, what I have been able to ascertain is that a new X-Men movie came out and more than half of you are excited about it, and the other half of you are watching Game of Thrones (which I am excited about), but that no matter who you are or what you're watching, you all find James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender incredibly attractive. I have not been able to get out to see X-Men: First Class yet, mostly because I am not really sure where the theater in this town is located. And because I still feel weird about going to see movies by myself. The only two movies I've seen on my own have been Iron Man and Thor (while I was home for the last term break) and that was okay because the chances of me running into someone I knew were rather slim back home. Here, I'm paranoid that I'm going to go to the theater and there's going to be a whole crowd of my students there, and I will have to explain why it's not weird for a twenty-seven-year-old woman to go to the theater by herself to watch Professor X and Magneto try to get into each other's X-suits.

My refrigerator has not been refrigerating lately. I've had a bunch of food go off because the temperature hasn't been low enough to keep things fresh. And, get this, my brain has been in such a state lately that I've actually thought I was faking myself out about it. Like, there's no way that this fridge couldn't be refrigerating; it has to be my imagination. But after I bought fresh strawberries and they went off a few days later, I knew I had to make a call. I got in touch with maintenance while I was at work this afternoon and by the time I got home they had installed a brand new refrigerator. They had even arranged all of my stuff in the new one! I can't tell you how nice it is to be able to drink water that is not room temperature.

I guess the whole refrigerator problem is indicative of how things have been going for me lately. Not that I'm falling behind or freaking out, but there just seems to be a lot more pressure riding on this term than there was before. I've started waking up in the wee small hours of the morning with ideas for lesson plans. When my alarm goes off I can't remember them. To my credit, I'm taking more responsibility and initiative than I have in the past. At work and in class, I want to make sure that I am on target with the expectations of the program so I have been checking in more than usual, making sure that my superiors are aware of the trajectory of my class and my impressions of problematic students. All of this cross-checking and attention to minutia wears me down though, and by the end of the week I'm pretty much good for nothing but a good collapse into bed. At the same time I'm making a conscious effort to break out of my comfort zone by saying "yes" to outside activities that would usually put me off. This weekend, for instance, the school is taking a trip to an amusement park. I think I might go, if only to chaperone. I haven't been on a rollercoaster since high school. It's so weird, because I like to think of myself as this gregarious, outgoing person a lot of the time but there are just so many occasions when I fall back on seclusion rather than take a risk by going out with other people. I'm trying to train myself to not immediately shut down when invited to do things; I'm twenty-seven and I have been "safe" for a lot of my life. Not that I'm signing up for recklessness lessons or anything, but I don't want to look back on my life in ten years and regret not making the effort to go out and do things.

After work I went to get my hair cut for the summer. They took off about two-and-a-half inches of length, added some layers and framed my face. I think it looks pretty good. It also felt kind of like a transition exercise: getting rid of something heavy and old in order to be lighter, different. There are so many signs of change around me that I felt like a physical manifestation of that change would help me to accept it more readily.

Plus, if I fluff it out I've kind of got a 'Joan Jett' thing goin' on.

I am also making a conscious effort to take better care of myself, physically. I have begun an exercise regimen and started watching my diet. I am already feeling better. If I can manage the physical I feel like it will be a gateway to understanding the emotional and the psychological. Ultimately, I've got to be proactive in my own life. I have to trust myself and my instincts, allow myself to have emotions and to get frustrated when I'm frustrated. I've been reading a lot more. Praying a lot more. Singing and dancing a lot more. And I'm doing it for myself. The process is incremental and a lot of the time it seems I'm no further along the path to understanding myself than I was a year or two ago. But I'm getting there. I don't think I'll ever fully understand why I am the way that I am, but I hope to be able to find peace with that person and that I will come to love myself for who I am. It's been a long time since I've been able to do that.
katernater: (movie • (captain))

Today was Question Day in CS class. I had students working in small groups to answer open-ended superlative questions. We tackled the great Pirates vs. Ninjas debate, of course (TEAM PIRATES! WOOF!) and then moved on to the slightly lesser-known Ninjas vs. Vikings wicket. I drew a viking, with which to better illustrate the paradigm.

Good day.
katernater: (actress • (hullo))
Just sharing something from one of my students, in honour of Mother's Day.

I give a daily free-writing prompt at the beginning of every RW class. Students respond to the prompt in their free-writing journals. This week, one of the prompts was You have been assigned to invite somebody famous to come and teach the class for a day. Who would it be, and what would you like them to teach you?

One of my students wrote:

There is a lot of famous people around the world. And I know many famous people i could invite to come and teach. But the most famous person among all is my lovely mom. If I had that chance to invite someone to teach in my class, with no doubt, I would invite my mom. Because she's my first teacher, and the best teacher i ever had. (You're the second of course Miss Katherine).

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there. We couldn't do it without you.
katernater: (community • (comedy))
Bird news, now! And, you guys, I'm not even kidding, there's a fourth egg in that nest. I seriously don't know where this mother robin has been keeping them, or how long it takes an egg to form inside of a bird's baby birdy parts, but damn. The mother and father bird have been spending a lot more time sitting in the nest and do not appear to share my enthusiasm for me hanging out by my window all the time, waiting to snap photos of their home with my camera like I'm a paparazzo in bird Hollywood.

And, hey! I got a raise at work! All of the full-time teachers did. Enrollment has been up the last six months, which in turn means that home office is in the business of making magnanimous gestures. It doesn't kick in until August, but it's a sizable chunk of change and it will greatly help when my student loans come due, starting in June. I got the letter during the first class break this morning and instantly started thinking of ways to pre-spend it (break is coming up in two weeks and I thought I might take a trip somewhere), but then I thought about gas prices (it's $4.19/gallon here, which is absolutely unheard of) and all of the bills I have yet to pay, and pretty much every penny evaporated right then and there. Responsibility is the biggest buzzkill.

I've been watching Game of Thrones and liking it so far. I have discovered that I cannot read any of the reviews or commentaries, however, because I can't keep track of all the names. Hearing them pronounced is one thing, but seeing "And then Alyyyyyaui did this, and I can't believe Ryserys went all macho on Liyuliyuu like that, and did you see what Yyyyyyyyyyyyy was wearing? Tuh-RAMP!" somehow confuses the hell out of me. I'm like, okay guys, I'm just going to watch for the pretty, so you and your sticky 'Y' key can have at it on the forums without me. Similarly, I don't think I could read the books without keeping detailed notes, and that is simply not something I am willing to do. I'm reading Tony Blair's memoirs at the moment and I think the version I have is some special "Americanized" edition -- with footnotes and parenthetical asides that explain some of the details about British politics -- and I already feel talked-down to. (Not that I know a Shadow Cabinet minister from shinola anyway.) I just don't think I could take the indignity of being bested by epic fantasy. CHANGE MY MIND, O TRUE BELIEVERS.

And how about Doctor Who last week, huh?


katernater: (actor • (happy))
We watched The Truman Show in my CS class today, as part of a project on advertising and the media. I told my students that this movie was particularly interesting because, being released in 1998, it really hit before the big "reality TV craze" of the early millennium, and at the time raised some serious philosophical questions about what constitutes privacy and what right we have to safeguard our private lives from public opinion. Which probably would have opened up a very interesting discussion had their response not been "1998? Oh my god, that's so old."

You cut me to the quick, kids. I was a freshman in high school in 1998, but I am not old. Just so you know, the other day, when I bought The King's Speech at Wal-Mart, the cashier carded me because her register told her to check for I.D. before she potentially sold an R-rated movie to a minor. ("Now, honey, I know you ain't seventeen, but I've gotta' make extra sure.") So there.

I don't plan on doing much this evening. We're supposed to be getting an impressive line of thunderstorms later, so I'm going to try to write as much as possible before the lightning arrives and forces me to shut down my computer. No new news on the summer in Vermont, and I am starting to doubt that it will happen this year; the timing's just off and there's still so much for me to do here before I pack up and go somewhere else. (I still haven't started looking at health care plans -- or even gotten a library card.) If it's meant to be, it will find a way to happen. I've just got to do the best I can in the meantime.

And, in a move that was quite unlike me (but not in a bad way), I accepted an invitation of a co-worker to join her for church services this Easter Sunday. And, also unlike me, I think I'm actually looking forward to it. Plans to go home and see my family sort of fell apart this year and, for the first year in -- well, ever -- my extended family isn't getting together for the holiday. Maybe this is the reason.


Apr. 16th, 2011 11:52 am
katernater: (Default)
So, you've heard of the Decorah Eagles, right? They're the hottest thing in natural-reality programming. (Even hotter than that CCTV camera footage of that panda doing somersaults in China.) My mom Facebook messaged me last week to tell me, 1) that she and my dad were making weekly "dates" to watch episodes of The West Wing, and 2) that she was hooked on these eagles. Let's all pause for a much-deserved "awwww" for my mom. Anyway, so I clicked the link and, damn, she was right; once you start watching these birds it's hard to stop, like they're throwing off some kind of warped avian hypno-ray. I have tried, at times, to provide my own insightful David Attenborough-like nature commentary, but I usually just end up cooing when the daddy eagle brings the babies something to eat. And, wow, those eagles are big. The Web site says that the nest itself is over six feet across and four feet deep, and even then those birds look like they have to take advantage of every square inch of space just to fit into the thing. My mom was adorable; she was like, "Katie, you and I could sit comfortably in that nest. That's how big it is." And I was like, "Well, mom, maybe we should plan a trip to Iowa to do some nest-sitting." Anyway. Check it out. I defy you not to get attached to this bird family.

This week was better than last week, though it still had its challenges. I have not had a chance to really sit down and look at the S.I.T. materials, so that will be a part of my Saturday plan. At this point, I really have to question whether or not I can swing the trip financially, and if it will work with timing. I mean, if this is for a summer internship and it's already April, there's not a lot of time to dick around. I probably should have had forms in yesterday. I'll do some research this weekend and then find some time early next week to discuss it with my boss. I'd really like to go -- it would be great to get the experience and, ultimately, the second Master's degree -- but I don't want to rush into anything and end up sweating it two months from now.

I'm spending today in my jim jams, I don't care what anyone says.
katernater: (actor • (sheen))
Good news! Life-changing news! Well, potentially-postal-code-altering news, anyway. My boss poked his head into my office at the end of the day to ask if I was still interested in pursuing further graduate work in TESOL. I said yes, I absolutely was, and he told me to check out this program in Vermont, and that there could be an opportunity for me to do a summer internship that would be partially, if not fully, paid for by INTERLINK! So I might be spending the summer on the East Coast! 'Anyone living out there want to take me to a clam bake? I've always wanted to go to a clam bake. Essentially, since I already have my TESOL certification, I'd be eligible for an accelerated program of study. If things work out, I'll have another Master's degree in as little as two summers!

I'm going to do some digging into the program before I decide for sure and, of course, I have to consider my financial situation before I make any big decisions. But I'm really excited about this. I think it would be quite the adventure, and if the opportunity is there, why shouldn't I take advantage of it?

I also had way too much fun today plotting RP fodder with [livejournal.com profile] nerdish. It feels so good to be creative again!
katernater: (castle • (bad day))
I feel physically and emotionally drained today. We've been dealing with some internal politics this week at work and it's made everyone a little crazy. The usual upbeat, jocular atmosphere has been replaced by a group of crabby teachers who just seem to be pushing themselves to get to the end of the week, myself included. I finished planning tomorrow's lessons this afternoon and, after fifteen minutes of just sitting at my desk staring at the wall, I was like, "Okay, guys, I've really got to get out of here before my brain falls out of my ears." I think the worst part of it all is that there is very little communication between the people who know things and the people who don't. Our schedule moves in such a way that there aren't really a lot of opportunities for the staff to get together and discuss pertinent program issues outside of the weekly staff meeting. That results in a lot of speculation, paranoia and general discontent among the staff.

In general, I know that this too shall pass. I have not worked with these people for very long, but I have a good sense about them. I think that we will all band together and work through this rough patch. And there are still many more good things at work every day than bad, so I'm not at the point when I dread getting up in the morning. I just wish that the political side of it would sit the hell out for a while.

Also, even though I know nothing about video editing or the movie-making process, I have decided that if I could have any job in Hollywood or the film industry, I'd want to be the person who cuts together all of those science and technology montages you see in movies. Like this scene from Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus, for instance. (Hey, Deborah Gibson, where'd you get your Ph.D.? Foxy University?)


katernater: (Default)

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