Category Archives: Work

“Oh! what a tangled web we weave…”

“When first we practice to deceive!” But how much worse then can it be, than when the one deceived is me?

An interesting thing happens every time we go on a field trip to visit a college campus… The teachers are way more interested in the programs than the students are ! It amazes me how many affordable opportunities are available now that weren’t even around 10 years ago when I started college. We mostly visit low-cost schools, like the local technical and community colleges and some of the two year programs that they offer are phenomenal! Every trip, I shake my head in regret that either they weren’t around or I didn’t know when I was making BIG choices about my future.

And, yes, some of the yearning to go back to school is just a “Grass is greener” situation, but the one thing that causes a real reaction every single time are the culinary arts programs. UGH!! I die a little on the inside as we tour the kitchens and listen to the instructor talk about what they teach and all that. Every. Single. Time. You see, when I was a sophomore or junior in high school, I decided that I was going to take my love for baking (and cooking, to a lesser degree) and turn it into a career. Hooray! Bright-eyed and full of hope, I shared my dreams with everyone! I was going to be a chef (or pastry chef, I hadn’t decided)! Hooray!! Little did I know that culinary arts programs (at the time) were incredibly expensive and didn’t include housing! Hooray…?

My hopes soundly dashed (we was po), I went to work as a kitchen prep at a newly opened local Chili’s and let my dream die. When I hated being a prep (who wouldn’t), I told myself that it was proof that I wasn’t cut out for working with food and sank further into complacency. I eventually started college at the local university, once my dad got laid off and I qualified for financial aid. I petered around, majoring in Psychology at first, considering Art and settling on English (cause it was easy for me). Got my degree. Got my teacher certification. Started teaching…

It wasn’t long before I started feeling dissatisfied with my job and I started regretting my decision to get a degree in English. More and more, as time has gone on, I’ve longed for the days of working at the coffee shop where I worked in the middle of my college career. And as I’ve been examining the infinitely opportune future, I’ve been feeling the pull to go back to school and get that culinary training that I’ve always wanted.

Today, though, was just the straw that broke the camel’s back… The culinary arts professor at the technical school we visited was talking about the food industry and how different it was from other careers. And then, he described, with perfect clarity, the feeling of joy and gratification that I’ve always felt when serving good food to people and my heart surged with longing. That! Just exactly that! That is what I’m missing! That passion that I’ve only ever felt when working with food! He talked about taking a bunch of raw ingredients that weren’t much on their own and creating something wonderful with them. AND THEN! While it’s still fresh and new, you place it into the hands of someone that can immediately enjoy it. I’ve felt that again and again. At the coffee shop, when I got the order just right. At home, when I cook something that makes the dining room go quiet. A feeling of peace and joy that I’ve never felt as a teacher.

And I want it back.

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I really am trying…

…To enjoy the season, but right now, I could punch spring in the face!

This morning started off pretty nicely. I woke up early and it wasn’t terrible since I made myself go to bed early. I did my usual morning routine, but since I was up a little earlier than usual, I took my time about it and ate breakfast at home instead of at my desk before work. When the time came to leave, there was the slightest hint of coolness to the air which was very nice. Traffic wasn’t too horrific and I got to work with plenty of time to spare to check email and enjoy the sounds of spring.

I love birds. Not as pets, so much, but watching and listening to birds outside is always very pleasant for me. So, as I waited for the first bell to ring, I sat at my desk listening to the cacophony of different birds through my slightly propped open classroom door. (Our campus used to be an elementary school and isn’t a single building, so much as a collection of loosly connected buildings that open to the outdoors.) The one benefit of our campus is being able to enjoy some of the rarer local wildlife. We get whistling ducks, woodpeckers, meadowlarks, tree squirrels (Which are an oddity in an area dominated by ground squirrels.) and the normal sparrows, grackles and mocking birds.

And this morning ALL of them were doing their chirpy bird thing at the same time. Except for the squirrels, which are not birds. And it was lovely.

And then, I started sneezing. And my nose started running. And I started getting assaulted by dad-blamed fleas (which were almost gone as of yesterday, but apparently we got a new batch!). And then I remembered why I don’t like spring (not to be confused with Spring, whom I like very much) and I closed my door.

Ring Around the Rosy!

Pocket full of posies!
Ashes! Ashes!
We’re all getting The Plague!

-Traditional Nursery Rhyme
(with a slight change by me)

While I probably won’t catch The Black Death from the fleas here on campus, this is just fair warning in case I “disappear”. (It could happen! Last year there was a case of Plague in OREGON! Straight from the CDC even!!)

Here in South Texas, Spring is most definitely upon us. This not only means uncomfortably warm and humid days but it means the return of THE FLEAS! (Not to mention the ever-present mosquito menace.) I’ve blogged before about my adventures at my campus with flea infestations and this year is looking like it’s going to be just as grueling and unpleasant in that regard. Last year it started in April, but this year, with the earlier warmness and all, they are early too.

This year, I am trying out some new techniques in flea killing, prevention and detection. Apparently, because we are a school, we can’t use pesticides in the building, so we are left to our own, non-poisonous devices while they try to catch the culprits (possums, or as they’re called around here “tlacuaches”, in the ceiling) and spray outside (hopefully). My room and the computer lab seem to get it the worst since we are both at the back end of the campus, away from most of the scary activity that would keep flea-ridden beasties from taking up comfortable residence. Plus, this wing has a convenient hole in the roof. Huzzah…

Last year, my arsenal in the battle against The Itchy Ones included hand sanitizer, cheap-o Lysol and my pinching fingers. This year, in an effort to be more cost effective and avoid the use of chemicals (mostly the former), I’ve retired the two cleaners and I’ve got a few new tricks up my sleeve. Of course, nothing (aside from poison) tops the effectiveness of well trained pinching fingers, but they don’t always get the job done.

That, my friends, is where good lung capacity and scotch tape pick up the slack. We have pale linoleum floors all over campus and they’re kept fairly glossy making it difficult for the enemy to execute their usual long jumps. If you happen to look down (which I do a lot now) and see one creeping toward you in little hops, often a mistimed pinch ends with a flea somewhere on you and in the very near future: itching and the distant possibility of the Black Death or Typhus.

Not. Good.

The Enemy Combatant’s biggest weakness is how light they are. Either from exhaustion from the fight or in a sad attempt at camouflage, fleas will often lie still on the floor. But one well timed gust from strong lungs and you KNOW if that black speck on the floor is in fact a flea or if it’s just a black speck. AND if it is in fact a flea, it is now further away from you, which is a definite plus! Then, you simply tear off a small piece of tape and place it over the flea until it’s good and stuck, lift, fold it over and you have a tiny little prisoner and can pinch through the tape at your leisure without worry that it will escape. That little jerk isn’t going anywhere! Or, if you’re having a particularly bad day or are feeling particularly evil, you can just leave it there to die on its own…

And with that lovely image, I must depart. Happy Hunting!

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Lali-ho! We shall see where the road takes us!

Vappy Dalintine’s Hay ladies and gentlebugs! You know, I find it funny that the gifts I get from people on special occasions are from previous students and not the ones currently in my class.

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off  to.”                                                                                          Bilbo Baggins

 As my husband’s schooling winds down, we find ourselves examining options and preparing to make big scary leaps of faith into the great, wide world beyond this smallness that we inhabit at the moment. I don’t know what’s with the waxing poetical, but I’ll try to keep that at a minimum. Maybe it’s just the abject terror that makes me lyrical?

There are several things that we’ve been considering as I desperately scrounge the web for some glimmer of an idea of what the hell I’m going to do once I say farewell to the frustrating (but familiar) world of education. (Okay, deep breath… In. Out. Better? Not so much…)  Aaron (The husband. keep up, will you!) will be  getting his degree in Communications (with a focus in theater, TV and film) in December so he’ll be looking for something having to do with TV and film. Which, in turn, means that we will have to move away. Far away. The closest possibility is Austin (300 miles) and the furthest is taking a (flying) leap and going overseas.

Going overseas is intriguing and (as I mentioned to twitter) carries the possibility of teaching English abroad. There’s a training center in Prague (about 6,000 miles from home) that we’re looking at as a possible jumping point if we decide to go that route, but just the thought of leaving everything we know and is familiar behind makes my anxiety level vault into epic heights. Still, though, it’s a very real option… The biggest deterrent (funnily enough) is that we would probably have to get rid of the cats which is not a prospect we take lightly. The other thing is the question of what Aaron would do while I’m teaching in “exotic” locations. Lack of the language would seriously impede employment and I know he’s ready to be a largely contributing member of our family unit.

Stateside, we are looking at a few different locals as well. As I mentioned, Austin is a possibility, though a bit boring as we wouldn’t even be going out of state. This might be a more reasonable option, though, since I’m certified to teach in Texas (even though I want out of the teaching game) and Aaron has never lived anywhere but here and we’ve at least visited Austin fairly regularly the last couple of years, so it wouldn’t be too terribly traumatic for him.

Los Angeles is another option. It’s (traditionally) where movie folks congregate, so there’s that. I don’t have any idea what I would do in L.A. while he works at getting into the field, but I’m sure I could find something to occupy myself and contribute.

Seattle, too, has appeared on our radar. Largely because I’ve lived there before and know some people (which is unique to all of the places we’re considering) and because we know there are some delightfully nerdy things that go on there. Plus, Washington is really pretty. (See how grown up our reasoning is? SEE???)

And that’s where we are right now. Mostly lost, weighing options and priorities and planning. And these decisions need to be made ASAP! Our lease is up for renewal, December is right around the corner (when measured in grown up time) and no matter what we decided, steps will need to be taken.

Things are changing and I’m terrified and exhilerated and I can’t wait to see what happens!

“I quit, I’m done…”

“…’cause I don’t think it’s gonna turn out okay
It’s no fair, it’s not fun
If every time it’s gonna end the same way
Me: zero
Big bad world: one”

“Big Bad World One” by Jonathan Coulton


Yet again, I find myself feeling wiped out. I don’t know how driven people do it. I just don’t have that kind of crazy energy. A couple of weeks of frenetic business and I’m ready to crawl between the sheets and sleep for a month. Seriously, how do you people do it?

So, I knew going into NaNoWriMo this year, that I wasn’t going to kill myself over it. I did that last year and it caused some strain on my already tenuous social life. (Sorry guys. I’m not exciting. A thrilling night out for me includes going to eat somewhere like P. F. Wangs with friends and then a trip to a book store. Yikes! I’m boring.) Things seemed to be hurtling themselves at me pretty frequently, including some wretched bouts with writer’s block and feeling unwell. Needless to say, I got behind. Horribly behind.

Currently, I am over 10K behind, so I’m throwing in the towel. This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop writing, it just means I’ll be doing it at a slower pace. After all, this year’s story took some strange turns and I get the feeling that unless I go back and correct said detours, I’m going to end up at the same dead end I did with last year’s “winner”.

I have no regrets about calling it quits. And now you know.

“Ha ha ha! Hee hee hee!

“…Little brown jug, how I love thee!” Ah! I have to confess, I’ve always loved Glenn Miller.

Sooooooo…

::sings:

On the first celestial evening
From somewhere out of nowhere pebbles drop upon the world.

::cough::

Sorry. That’s a song from Trigun, one of my favorite anime series. I must confess that Vash the Stampede is one of the few blonds I’ve ever had crushes on… And YES, I have had many crushes on animated characters! Is that really any different than celebrity crushes?! They’re make-believe too!

Seriously… Sorry. I’m really, really tired and I’m sure that this post will prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt. Be prepared for a scattered and possibly confusing/confounding ride!

I do lots of thinking late at night as I lie in bed trying to sleep. It keeps me up some nights. Woah! What’s with the sudden solomn shift in tone?! Ack!! SO SLEEPY!! But it is true. My brain and even sometimes my body wakes up after 10 PM. It’s a sad state of affairs that even though my job requires me to be up before dawn, my night compatible self still strives to function in the time that it works best. This isn’t exactly ideal for me, since I do have to be up by 6 at the latest and I need more than 7 hours of sleep to be fully functional. If anything, it’s depressing.

Last night, as I lay wide away next to my snoring husband, my brain was firing and my body was eager for activity… You’ve got to be joking! Now? I thought. Now, you want to do something? (-_-) In all seriousness, if it hadn’t been 11:45-ish and I didn’t know the dangers of even seasoned swimmers swimming alone, I would have slipped down to the apartment pool to run some laps.

::sigh:: No life guard on duty (or friends to watch your back) and no pool lights when attempting to do laps in a tiny pool? Not a great idea.My overactive imagination took over even as the longing to swim tempted my muscles. I could just see myself out there in the dark, coming toward the wall, miscalculating the distance and BAM! They didn’t find the body until the next morning. Poor Aaron!

Speaking of muscles… I really wish that I could be a runner. There is a huge appeal to the freedom of speed under your own volition. Sadly, my doctor has advised me to avoid running since I had some trouble with my knee last year and she doesn’t want me to injure it further.

Woe is me. A night owl with a morning heavy job, no pool to speak of and a serious case of sleep deprived itchy eyes!

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“Well… I can try…”

One crazy, manic week is bleeding into the other this summer! Today has flown by like a whirlwind! It’s even making me use similes… :P

I started teaching Speech today… Am I trained in Communications? Do I have any background whatsoever in Speech? Nope! But neither did my recently resigned colleague, but they had her teach it anyway… Luckily I took a Communications class in college (That’s right. ONE.) and I more or less remember what my attractive, young professor taught us about the subject.

The morning session was a little rocky and I floundered a bit before getting my bearings but the afternoon session, which I just wrapped up, went smashingly! (^_^)

If I can just maintain the momentum of relaxed, fun classwork, it’ll be great! Here’s hoping!!

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