Monday, December 22, 2008

Tired and Happy

Traipsed around Manhattan all day today in the freezingly blustering weather.

  • Saw Ground Zero and went shopping in the Gap in the World Financial Center building.
  • Took numerous pictures in Trinity Church.
  • Saw Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange.
  • Rode the Staten Island Ferry and saw the Statue of Liberty.
  • Watched a Steps on Broadway class taught by GELSEY KIRKLAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Went to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and watched archival dance videos of Gelsey Kirkland (this one was planned but the last one was not).
  • Am now physically and emotionally exhausted.

    It was good.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere...

Greetings from New York City and the borough of Brooklyn! I'm sitting in one of those circle chairs in the loft of Heather's lovely apartment. From the window that is right beside me I can see the rooftops of nearby buildings (she lives on the top floor of hers - and gets a stair workout every day, let me tell you), the Williamsburg bridge, and the skyline of lower Manhattan. I also see a lot of dripping. It has been snowing for the past week or so, but last night the temperature must have risen above freezing because I think it's actually raining. Despite the constant complaining of Sarah and Heather, and the fact that I almost slipped and died several times yesterday, I liked the snow. I felt like I was getting an authentic New York experience.

And an authentic experience I am getting! The title of this post refers to my survival of the NY transit system. It also refers to several conversations we've had about Heather actually living here. We both feel that after dealing with what this city has to offer, we can handle pretty much any other city in the United States. Maybe even world? I'm sure each metropolis presents its own challenges, but just listen to this tale of woe. Friday night I arrived pretty late, due to traffic right outside of DC. The bus, DC2NY, was GREAT, by the way: clean, friendly staff, safe-looking passengers, in-flight movie (I can't help but call it that), footrests, and a free bottle of water.

So arriving at Penn Station around midnight, I piled out of the bus with the rest of the passengers and followed the crowd down into the subway. And it was very different from the bus, let me tell you. After following the very confusing signs to the E train, I had to get a metro card. I already had figured out what type I was getting: 7-day unlimited. I tried to pay with my my debit/credit card, but it kept asking for a New York zip code and then wouldn't process the order. I finally figured out I should press the "ATM card" option and I got my card. I got on the right train, but then missed my stop to switch over to the L train. Once I figured that out, I got off, hopped across the platform and got on a train going back. At the 14th St/8th Ave metro station there was a little hike to get to the train I wanted. But what should I find after lugging my heavy bags all that way? That the L train has no service to this stop on late nights during the holiday. Instead, we were given a pass for the bus outside which would take us all the way over to 1st Ave where the train resumed service to Brooklyn. It was one crowded bus. Having reached said station, I got on a train which went backwards to 3rd Ave, then turned around and took us to the Bedford stop across the river, at which point I had to get off that train and get on another one which took me all the way to Heather's neighborhood. Hooray! I have marks on my shoulders from where my bags were digging into my skin. I guess I should have packed more efficiently? A rolling suitcase probably would have helped a lot.

Anyway, the rest of the trip has more than made up for it, and I'm less than halfway through my stay here. Yesterday, Saturday we just slept in. Sleep, glorious sleep. I had gotten about an hour's rest the night before, and Heather had had a stressful week, so we all just voted for a relaxing day. Around 2pm, she, her sister Sarah, and I all went to Bedford to eat at the vegetarian cafe Bliss. I had the soup of the day (guaranteed vegan - that day it was split pea) with a warm wheat roll. Heather had the same. Sarah even mangaged to find something she could tolerate, French toast with amazing looking blackberries and bananas on top. Then we came home to meet the locksmith for the mailbox, clean the living room, and chill out for the rest of the afternoon. Heather made some delicious salad while we were waiting. I also got to take short nap to refill my sleep reserves. Then, around seven o'clock we headed out to see...the Nutcracker!

It was such a thrill to see the Lincoln Center, after reading and hearing so much about it. So many famous people - dancers, choreographers, and everyone else who has touched the world of dance in America - have come through that building. I remember reading a book when I was younger about a little girl who got to dance the role of Clara in NYCB's Nutcracker, and this was just like I remembered. Balanchine's version is quite distinctive. It's very fairy tale and child-centered. The costumes and sets are brilliant. The choreography was all speedy and neoclassical and, well, Balanchine. It was very interesting to see that after being around so much classical Russian Vaganova stuff. I got to see the famous Dewdrop costume which I had read about and seen once in Pointe Magazine. The girl who danced Dewdrop was amazing, by the way. Let me go find out what her name was. Oh yes, Sara Mearns. I think that was my favorite part. Some of the costumes were a little too gaudy and colorful for me, some of Blanchine's tweaks were just a little too weird (extra music added in the middle of Act I?), but Dewdrop was amazing and the peformance as a whole was spectacular. It hardly felt like two hours before it was over. I definitely need to go back - and in fact I am planning to go back to Lincoln Center on Monday to visit the New York Public Library for the Peforming Arts.

On the way home we were going to stop for sushi, but since it was closed we went to a Thai restuarant across the street. I got crispy tofu in red curry sauce with brown rice. Mmm. And there were leftovers...yes! We put in The Santa Clause (in order that my Christmas movie education might be furthered) and I fell asleep halfway through. Which brings us to now.

Today we're planning to go to 12 o'clock mass at Saint Patrick's Cathedral (if Heather and Sarah ever wake up) and then see a lot of the famous sights in midtown. If it keeps raining, our experience should be very...authentic...but fun nonetheless. Well, off to start the day!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Money

*GASP*

I think these clothes are some of the most beautiful I've ever seen. If I were a famous Russian ballet dancer (see Emily's post from today) from the late nineteenth century with lots of rich adoring fans who lavished gifts upon me I would totally wear these clothes.

Instead, I am saving for retirement. It is a gloomy prospect. But with our nation's personal savings rate somewhere around 2%, I take not a little pride in being fiscally responsible.

I also recently read a summary of a story by Warren Buffet about the trade deficit called "Squanderville vs. Thriftville". It was published in 2003 in Fortune magazine, and you can read a summary here. I initially heard about it in an depressing documentary about the national debt, which you can see here. It's seems to be only a 30-minute excerpt from the full documentary, but it's still quite enlightening.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cured of Car Trips

Thank God I made it back to Maryland last night! No thanks to the weather, my poor planning, and the hordes of holiday travelers.

I left at 12:15 and was planning to get back by 8. I finally made it back a little before 10.

It was raining nearly the entire way.

300 miles of it was one big traffic jam. Stop and go. Mostly stop. At first I thought there was an accident, which would have been reasonable considering the weather. But it was just the sheer volume of vehicles. I felt like a traveller on a pilgrimage or an Israelite on my way to town for a census.

Because I hadn't printed directions, I was watching road signs rather than exit numbers. This is not a good strategy for me, apparently, because I passed my exit for both major interstate switches. Turning around the second time, I almost got lost in Falls Church, Virginia.

Then I got home and broke a glass jar of tomato sauce on the Stevens' laundry room floor.

Have you ever felt like it was reeeeeeally time for a day to end?

(Today has been much better.)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Weekly Update

What can I say - I'm a busy woman! Rather than posting this week, I got a few things done (of varying levels of importance).
  • Voted for the first time in Maryland.
  • Was pleased to see gas prices are down even more.
  • Had to buy another carton of orange juice because I drank it so quickly.
  • Actually graded some tests.
  • Went to the gym and took an aerobics class. I plan to return, once I can walk again.
  • Created a "Wicked" playlist on iMeem.
  • Slumped into and rebounded from (I hope) a little inexplicable gloominess.
  • Realized I can see a professional "Nutcracker" performance this year. Anyone want to come with me to see the Joffrey Ballet at the Kennedy Center? Tickets are $55 and up.
  • LOVED this week's episode of The Office. I think it's been a pretty good season so far.
  • Discovered that bullet points are a good means for quick updates and may post more often in the future.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Post Gratia Posting

In order to avoid the stack-of-tests-to-be-graded, I have been organizing every other aspect of my life. I have balanced my checkbook, gone grocery shopping, cleaned my room, washed clothes, cooked, washed dishes, and probably something else that I'm forgetting. Now, I will update my blog. I hope you all appreciate the work I am sacrificing to make this happen.
  • I love orange juice. I never liked it when I was little. If given a choice between apple juice and orange juice I would always pick apple. I thought it was sweeter and yummier. I also don't really like the way orange juice tastes with other foods. But now I think there is nothing better than a glass of high-quality, high-pulp orange juice when I'm thirsty.
  • I have also started to enjoy tea. When I was little we always had herbal tea, which pretty much tastes like water with a fruity smell. But real tea - mmm, so good! Laura is lending me her electric kettle that we used to use at Hillsdale and it's taking me back.
  • The church I went to this morning (and have visited twice previously - I think it's winning the best church contest) has a five minute sharing of the peace. It's like social hour in the middle of the service. It's kind of neat. Instead of just greeting the people within reach, you get to see just about everyone.
  • The service was contemporary, since I didn't wake up early enough for the "heritage" service. And it wasn't terrible. However, I was sad I didn't get to sing "For All the Saints" and other such wonderful All Saints Day hymns. That church has a great organ.
  • Speaking of organs, the reason I didn't wake up in time for the 8:30 traditional service (despite getting back that extra hour of sleep) was because of the Naval Academy's Halloween Organ Concert the night before. Laura and I went with several of our tenth grade students (as their guest) and had a great time. The program was a little bizarre but amazingly spectacular and very fun. It ranged from the famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor to "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast to a tribute to fallen soldiers set to Barber's Adagio for Strings. And best of all, it opened with this. Even though the caliber of the singing is...well...the best you could expect from midshipmen at the Naval Academy, just imagine being in a huge chapel with the live organ music and soaring ceilings and balconies and spotlights. So neat.

Thanks for reading the worst-written post in the history of this blog!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

De Gaudiis Legendi

This past weekend I did something I haven't done for a long time: I wasted time by reading! It was such thrilling and gratifying experience that I almost don't consider it a waste of time (except for the fact that my stack of ungraded papers is now almost an inch thick).

When I was little I was an avid reader. My grandma, a teacher, used to make me feel so proud when she told me I was "reading at such-and-such grade level" when I was only eight. When I wasn't playing outside, I was reading. Granted, I wasn't reading things like the Iliad (which, I happen to know, some little kids actually read), but I was reading - engaging my brain. In high school between school and ballet there was little time to read for fun, which is when reading became my time-waster. I still enjoyed it, but I didn't get to increase my abilites.

Then my reading came to a screeching (yes, screeching) halt. With unlimited access to my own computer in college, I quickly shifted my time-whittling energies to the internet. First it was instant messenger, then Facebook, then the blogosphere. And all along were the movies and TV shows that suddenly became accesssible to me. Most reading, even relatively easy stuff, was edged out. I can think of one book that I read from start to finish during my college years. It was a good book, and I remember feeling refreshed by reading it, but it was the exception.

So I finally took some time out to read. It wasn't great literature, but it was substantial reading. I added back a part of myself that I had lost. My life is now a little less like white bread and a little more like whole wheat. Yay! I look forward to a lot more adventures in reading.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Worth the Move to Another State

After our upper school staff meeting this afternoon I drove home to drop Laura off, then rushed over to the MVA. After making two wrong turns I walked in exactly one minute before it closed.

When I got there I proudly produced everything demanded of me to obtain a Maryland driver's license: Tennessee license, proof of identity, and two proofs of Maryland residence. The lady took one look at my proof of identity, my passport, and said "This is not valid."

"Oh." I said, a little shaken, but not thwarted from my goal. "That's okay, I have my birth certificate." And I did. But I asked her anyway why on earth my passport wasn't valid, she pointed to the signature line which is labelled "Signature of Bearer" and "Not Valid Till Signed". Apparently she wouldn't just let me sign it and accept it as valid. So fortunately I had my birth certificate.

Then I took my number and waited. For only five minutes. Really, I have had very little trouble at the MVA office of Annapolis. And today made it best of all, because I got a semi-flattering driver's license photo. I had almost forgotten that step of the process, but when the lady mechanically said "Please stand in front of the blue cloth" and I repeated "Stand?" I realized what must inevitably occur. But it turned out so well! I was really quite shocked. All thanks goes to my hair stylist. I am also glad I blow-dried my hair. Also I see a lot of resemblence between me and my mom in this picture.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Not Entymology

Somtimes I teach my students etymology. I have them get out their Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionaries (have you ever noticed how you're always expected to utilize resources that are intended for higher than your level? how in high school you have to use a collegiate dictionary, but when you are actually in college they start training you to use the OED?) and find out that "pronto" doesn't exactly come from protinus, meaning immediately, but from promptus, -a, -um which means, well, prompt. I haven't yet pulled out "etymology by sound is not sound etymology" but we're working up to that.

Along those lines, I pass along from the classics blogosphere this funny excerpt from a column in the Buffalo News:

"Now I look forward to cool evenings, good sleeping and new energy. This is the time of the year when it is finally possible to enter the attic without the benefit of a space suit. The word attic is derived from “Attica,” the name for the land of the ancient Greeks — a society that accumulated so much junk that museums had to be built all over the world to accommodate it. Thus, in the modern house the attic is the place to put things that don’t fit anywhere else."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Good-Bad-Good-Bad-Good

Up and down, that's how this week has gone. Fortunately that means it began and ended on a high (except for the small insignificant little detail that the week hasn't ended yet).

* * *

"Sinner! Sinner!" No, that's not Angy bringing my grevious faults to light. Those are the words of a seventh grader in my homeroom, after discovering that a classmate didn't know about Chuck Norris. Chuck Norris is quite popular around here. "Not knowing Chuck Norris? That's a sin!" he said.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sunny Day

I am having a much better day today - in fact it's been downright good. Thank you so much for the encouragement. (o:

At the end of my first class today I asked for questions, the way I always do. One guy in the front row looked at the guy beside him and said in a low voice, "Can I tell her? Has it been long enough yet?" I was like, "Yes! Tell me!"

Apparently one of their other teachers told them that he had conducted an experiment with his friends in college in which they could control where there professor was standing by the direction in which they looked. I guess if all of them were gazing off to one side, the professor would shift to that side to catch their gaze. But it didn't work on me. Haha! I am immune from student manipulation.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Can I Do This?

Or, Can I Do This Well? The Story of a First-Year Teacher

Well, I'm at school right now, I'm sitting at my desk. To the far left is my copy of Aeneas to Augustus ready to teach 10th graders to read real Latin. Next to that is my watch which hurts to wear when I'm typing because I always rest my wrists on the desk. Then comes my red Sigg water bottle which Caleb thinks looks like the fuel tank for a camping stove, which is empty right now. Sitting right beside that is a paper cup, which is also empty except for coffee grounds. Between that paper cup and the keyboard is a mini yellow sticky pad scrawled upon with grading calculations. Beneath my right arm are the Vocabulary Review Tests from 10th grade that are giving me much grief. To the right of that lies a red pen, a roll of white-out tape, a larger yellow sticky pad with my to-do list on it, and a stack of 8th grade Vocabulary Review Tests which are about to give me much grief.

I foolishly decided to give all six sections these gigantic Vocabulary Review Tests on the same day, which means I ended up with about 70 tests to grade all at once. That means that even if each one takes only ten minutes to grade, they take up at least 700 minutes of my time. That equals over eleven hours. And I know I may be astounding you with my mathematical skills, but I definitely did not calculate this beforehand.

That is just one of the many reasons my confidence as a teacher has taken a hit today.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Cats and Dogs

Tropical storm Hanna is sitting right on top of us, making this a very wet Saturday -- occasionally quite gusty. I kind of like it, though. Hanna doesn't seem too unfriendly. Last weekend one of the school families invited Laura and I over for dinner, and afterwards took us on a tour of Annapolis. I didn't realize how close we were to that city, nor how close to open water. Sailing is huge there. Down by the docks there's an area called "Ego Row" where people line up their luxurious crafts and sit there enjoying the weekend. Apparently there's a big boat show every October.

But speaking of Annapolis, it has come to my attention that at least two readers, both whose name begins with "A", are a little confused 'bout things. I believe a quick recap is needed. Sorry to those who have been paying attention. ;)
  • At the end of July, while on vacation at beach, I recieved an email from former roommate Laura C asking if I knew any classics majors interested in teaching Latin at her new school, Rockbridge Academy.
  • Because my long-term goal was to become a teacher, I decided to give it a shot even though I was already planning to go to Georgetown. But really, of what worth is a post-baccalaureate program when compared with a full time job?
  • Within the space of one week, I completed that application, was interviewed twice for at least an hour, and signed a work agreement (Laura, if you are reading this, that last sentence reminds me of what you pointed out about that section of the Nicene Creed).
  • I moved up here on August 16th, meaning I have now been a Maryland resident for a grand total of three weeks. That's two weeks of teacher training and (almost) one week of teaching.
Okay? Let me know if you have any questions. Oh I just love rain.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Quick Thoughts

My black pants have chalk all over them, which I think is so cool and teacherish. My hands are also regularly covered with dry erase marker.

One of the best parts about teaching Latin is making up (and having the kids make up) example sentences. A product of today:

"The pencil that is yellow has many friends."

That was an English illustration of the relative pronoun.

I still have to take a shower and eat dinner, so I'd better run.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Peaceful Rest

I am ready to sleep. After getting up at 4 a.m. in order to fix shoddy lesson plans, my bed looks more delightful than ever. And just to prove it, here's a picture.

And here is where I am sitting right now, typing to you all.


That's all you're going to get for today, I'm afraid. Good night!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The First Day

This morning Laura and I drove to school at 7:15, just like we've been doing for the past two weeks. But today -- there were students. It was the real deal. And it was great.

It didn't go as perfectly as I had planned, but maybe that was because I hadn't planned perfectly. I made poor Laura turn the car around a quarter of the way there because I had forgotten my course policies (aka syllabuses). And once we reached the school, I realized I didn't have the lesson plans! I was praying a prayer of my own during staff devotions.

Despite all, it went well. I definitely broke the rule "don't smile before Christmas". I think you can build rapport and respect when you're joking as well or more easily than not. But that theory will be tested during the coming months, won't it!

And now, pictures!
Laura and I, off to teach. I am kind of dissappointed with how I look in such a momentous picture!


My corner.


My plant.

My desk.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Newsy News

My dear, patient friends:

Yay! Eleven comments! Time to post again.

Just kidding.

One of the real reasons I have been so remiss is that I was hoping to share photos when next I posted. However, I have been waiting for my classroom to be set up (I don't have my own homeroom, but my desk is in Mrs. Crawford's 7A) before I took pictures of everything and so I don't have any to share yet. Those are coming.

These two weeks have been unparalleled by any other experience I've had so far. And yet (most of the time) it has not felt too foreign or frightening - just natural. It has been challenging at times, and I expect even more challenges in the next week when I actually begin teaching - challenges and stress.

Well, what can I tell you all?

The school is wonderful.
The job is wonderful.
The people are wonderful.
The area is wonderful.
The grown-up life is mostly wonderful.

I bought a car.
I got car insurance.
I opened a new bank account.
I have a debit card.
I recieved my first paycheck (very important with all that buying and getting and opening and having).
I am in charge of "coffee mess" on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

I really could write an entire post on each of those topics, a feat which feels a bit overwhelming. Oh well, I'll just resolve to write more frequent, smaller posts. With school starting tomorrow, my goal will be to write one post every day for the rest of the week - to be extended if the result is a positive one.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tonight in the Becker Kitchen

I have been measuring ears. The first number below represents the distance between the tip and the earlobe, as straight up and down as is unscientifically possible. The second number represents the width from the widest part of the ear to the place where the tragus connects to the head.

My mom's are 2" x 1.25"

Josiah's are 2.25" x 1.5"

Mine are the same as Josiah's.

My dad's are 2.5" x 2"

Friday, August 8, 2008

Calm, Cool and Collected

I have been offered a contract. It is a real job with benefits. I was complimented on my composure during the interview. Well...

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

In other news, I worked 16 hours today. For the first 13 hours I was the JBC (Judge Booth Controller) operator for the Sullivan County Election Commission in the Tennessee state house and senate primaries. That means I gave people access codes for their electronic ballots, kept track of applications for ballots, and explained to senior citizens how to use a clicker wheel to make selections. I had a great time, mainly because I got to hang out with awesome old people who

- function more slowly than I do
- have awesome Tennessee accents
- talk about going to the Cherokee casinos to "make a donation"
- share stories about dead people on buses
- hand out suar-free candy
- advise me to marry a "good Annapolis midshipman"
- wonder if hummingbirds get diabetes since they drink all that sugar water

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Exciting Developments

I totally forgot about a hair appointment I had this morning. This was a very unsettling event, especially because I'm in the midst of one of the most grown-up proceedings in my life.

Last week, while checking my email at Beauford County Public Library on Hilton Head Island, I got a message from Laura Calderone telling me about her summer. She also mentioned that the school where she's teaching next year, a classical Christian school in Maryland, was in dire need of a Latin teacher. As most of you know I was not planning to teach next year because I didn't feel ready. I still don't. I mean, I miss hair appointments even when the salon calls to remind me the day before.

The night before I got the message, however, my dad had been reading to us (despite groaning and complaining) from a book he was reading about "visioneering". And although I still might not be able to define that neologism, the passage he read made me think about my long term plans and what I really want to do with my life. Teaching hasn't exactly been a life-long dream of mine, but more of a "practical" option that I might enjoy as a career. But for some reason after hearing the introduction to that book I began to envision what it might be like to teach.

Then lo and behold, here comes the email! So even though I still felt uncertain about being able to hold sway over a class room of people more than half my age, I decided it wouldn't be a good idea to just dismiss the opportunity. I decided to leave it up to the school to decide. If they needed me, I was willing and actually eager to serve in that way.

That was approximately a week ago. Since then I have completed a rather lengthy application and had my first interview with the headmaster. Today I talked to and recieved last year's lesson plans from the principle of the upper school. And tonight I have a confernce call interview with the school board, the governing body in charge of hiring. Oh yes.

I, who may become a spiritual and academic authority for dozens of young people in middle and high school, cannot keep simple scheduled appointments. It is very sobering.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Beach

We are going to the beach! It will be our first time in several years, and miraculously all six of us will make it. We're driving to Atlanta this afternoon, fetching Josiah from his Scout trip tomorrow afternoon, and heading toward Hilton Head, South Carolina, tomorrow night (question: was the comma after South Carolina necessary?). This post is not so much to make you jealous (hehe) as it is to warn about a lack of posts in the coming week. When we get back next Friday, it will be time to leave for T and A's wedding.

And you know what that means...no Sonic for over a week!

Peace out, homies.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Missing You, Etc.

Ohhh how I am beginning to feel it. I'm not going back to Hillsdale! I am parted forever from the joys of undergraduate life. The excitement of moving back into the dorms. Seeing friends for the first time after a long summer. The sweltering heat of Michigan in mid-August. Catching the first glimpses of favorite professors. Long lines at registration. Bewildered freshmen. The bookstore. The glorious few days before classes begin. All no more. I think I'm going to go cry.

Maybe the attractiveness of the new school year is what keeps me coming back. I have always looked forward to it, no matter how torturous the previous year was. New beginnings, new resolutions, new possibilities, new things to learn. As much as I love summer (and I love it a whole lot) I couldn't linger here forever. And this fact prevents me from despairing in my laziness.

One more day at Sonic and two more at the pool before Hilton Head Island with the family. Then it will be time to repack for Aaron and Tiffany's wedding and meeting my host family in Georgetown. When I finally return to Kingsport the pool will be on school hours, i.e. only weekends. I'll have a haircut and a couple more weeks at Sonic, then it's off to DC. Off to the unknown. I have such a long to-do list, but I can't write it down since I don't have a planner. Buying a planner is like number one on my to-do list.

Friday, July 18, 2008

But oh, those summer nights

Nights really are the best of summer. I remember evenings when I was about twelve years old, when our parents were out to dinner and Caleb and I would have the best time running around the backyard with the neighbors. We played tag and caught fireflies and wondered if we could see bats flying around. Being out there in the waning light all by ourselves made me feel cool and grown up. Josiah wasn't allowed to stay up past eight, so he had to go to bed when it was still light outside. He used to sneak out of bed and watch us from his bedroom window...poor JoJo.

Nights at the pool are beautiful, too. The sun has ceased scorching my skin but the pavement is still warm and the sky glows in the west. Most of the people have gone home so the water is peaceful. Only a few families linger, talking and laughing.

Tonight I got to go to Taste of Tri Cities with my mom and Julie. Area restaurants set up a row of tents in a park across from the stadium where Fun Fest concerts are held. Tonight was Gavin DeGraw. We got our sesame chicken with rice and an egg roll, our black bean hummus with pita bread, spread out our blanket, and enjoyed the music filtering clearly over the trees. And now for some pictures.

The tent with the hummus:

American flag over the stadium:
View of the street:

It was a good night. Good night!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sonic Stories

I just got home from another night of closing at Sonic. I close three nights this week; last week I closed four. Sonic is not my favorite place to work for many reasons: closing at midnight, having lazy managers, and dealing with unwanted...advances.

There's this one other carhop - a short, shrimpy guy with bleached-blond hair and a voice which most people in drive-through respond to with "ma'am". He's really nerdy, but not really going anywhere fast in his life, as he's twenty-two and "thinking about looking into" attending the community college. He's constantly saying things like "Katie," (or whomever it is) "I have a question. Where do you think black holes lead to?" His catchphrase is "or whatnot" and if I hear that phrase ever again, so help me... Anyway, not a bad kid, but not really my type. Out of the blue, he asked me a couple weeks ago if I wanted to see a movie with him. Fortunately I was going to a picnic with my family that day, but I panicked and immediately made plans for the rest of my days off so I'd have an excuse lined up.

Then tonight I found out how desperate he really is. He asked me again what I was doing tomorrow, to which I responded I was working at the pool. He said that the reason he was asking was that he "and a group of nerdy friends were going to see the Incredible Hulk in Johnson City" and I reacted something along the lines of "oh, that's nice". But he apparently had asked another girl if she wanted to see Hancock. So I was a bit relieved that I wasn't being singled out. But still the guy kind of freaks me out.

But the unsolicited attentions tonight became stranger as I was taking out one of the last orders of the night. It was a man and his wife in a pickup. The guy was talking on his cell on speaker phone, and when I came out with their food, phone-guy was like "do you have a pretty little girl serving you there at Sonic" and truck-guy was like "I don't know I can't really see her" and then turned to look at me. He expressed his great appreciation for my beauty, and then phone-guy proceeded to hit on me via...the phone. He even yelled out "Goodnight, honey!" as I was going back inside.

Oh, and I can't forget the car full of guys who always come by after playing soccer. They are really funny but quite obviously high schoolers. Tonight one of them said "My friend wants to know how old you are", and when I responded twenty-two he said "My friend is twenty-two also." Okayyyyyyyy.

Then I came home and my mom asked, "How was Sonic tonight?"

Friday, July 4, 2008

Update!

Days on which no new blog posts pop up in Google Reader are very sad days indeed. I realized how much I enjoy getting updates, because with most of you it is my main means of communication. Then I realized that I should probably update more myself, because (far be it from me to presume, but) maybe other people enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy reading theirs.

Today's topic is how terrible it is to be an almost-grown-up.

- Parents want to tag along to friends' weddings so they can meet your new employer/landlord.
- You do not have your own house/apartment nor do you really have a place in your parent's house (nor do you really want a place in your parent's house).
- Your schedule and goals do not always line up with your family's, and yet you are still a part of your family.
- You do not have a real job and have to keep really crazy hours and hang out with drug addicts and drama-enamoured teenagers in order to make money to pay for your continued education.
- There is constant tension between what you think your parents want you to do and what you think you want to do and what you really want to do.
- You have a feeling that you are acting very immaturely to be complaining about parents and your rather fortunate situation, but you can't help the frustrated feelings sometimes.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Sugar Free Month

Whereas I admit my addiction and the fact that I am powerless to change without help...
Whereas eating sweets is one of the main deterrants of me exercising...
Whereas I have personally consumed in less than one summer the sugar quotia of a small country...

...I hereby proclaim July as Sugar Free Month. Updates to follow.

P.S. In the process of writing this post I have acquired two compatriots, Josiah and Julie. All are welcome to take part. ;)

Mainly About Work

So I'm going to try to post more often, but that probably means the quality won't be very high. Just a warning.

I worked 9.5 hours today - not too many and not too few. If I could have those kind of hours consistently it would be nice but it's usually pretty sporadic. That's one thing I'm looking forward to in my future career, whatever it may be: regular hours. I know for a teacher things are not as standardized as an office job and a lot of work comes home for evenings and weekends, but it must be better than what I'm doing now. I'll be able to get up early in the morning and go to bed at a decent hour at night. Won't that take some adjustment!

Tonight at Sonic the head manager was talking about the minimum wage increase coming later in July. He said that companies everywhere are scrambling to find ways to absorb the extra cost that it will entail and that a lot of jobs wil be lost. That's not news to me, of course, but I kind of wish people would think things through a bit more before passing these kinds of laws. Apparently one way Sonic is considering controlling costs is to lower carhops' wages to dining wages (somewhere around $2.15 an hour) and indicate on the receipt to the customer that tips are now expected. I don't know if and when this is going to be implimented, but I don't really like the sound of it. Working for tips doesn't sound like it would be very lucrative at a fast food restaurant. I guess I'm glad I'm leaving soon.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Tiredness - or Fatigue

I have recently and on numerous occasions caught myself in the embarassing act of word contrivance. It comes about mainly I'm talking about one thing but my mind is somewhere else, and I can't think of the proper abstract noun so I incorrectly construct one. For example, I origianlly titled this post "tiredness". I don't even know if that's a proper word. I probably should have used "fatigue" or some other real word. But my writing style is so stilted anyway, if I titled it "fatigue" it would probably sound like an article in some medical journal. (Is "title" even a verb? I'm so tired right now I dn't know.)

Anyway, this is to say that I am tired and in my opinion need about twenty-four solid hours of sleep. However, with the impending work week I don't think that will be quite possible. Seven and a half hours until I have to be the pool. Oh, listen to me whine!

Acting my age is very, very, very difficult. I don't even know if I want to.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

For A Limited Time: Family Reunion Pics


A\Twisty mountain road in West Virginia. B\Horses grazing along our scenic detour.


A\Cool green car with paisley pillow overlay. B\Gold dome of capitol building in Charleston, WV.


A\My beautiful yet obstinant sister. B\Tabitha and I.

A\On the way to one of many activities. B\Julie and Tabby.

A\The lake where we went peddle boating. B\My Daddy and Esther.

A\My Mommy and Tabby. B\Aunt Ruth and Julie.

A\Amanda. B\Tabby and Esther.

A\Shortcut to the cabins. B\Girl cousins.


A\Tabby eats a strawberry. B\Two meercats at Good Zoo.


A\Two guys hanging out. B\Dad and Mom.

A\ The train! B\The defensive ostrich that charged us out of the pen.

A\Rare smiling shot of Peter. B\Emily and Aunt Lois.

A\Girl cousins - one of many many photo ops :) B\Grandma and Grandpa.

A\My sister the photographer. B\The Oglebay fountain.

A\Putt-putt golf. B\Beautiful Anna keeping score.


A\A hole in one, no doubt. B\Light show at the fountain.

A\ Beautiful. B\Just beautiful.


A\The girls do lunch at Perkin's. B\Self-timer at Carriage House Glass Museum.


A\Laura and Amanda walked in the rain to stimulate their immune systems. B\40+ years ago!

A\Identical twins (pink is Mary, white is Lois). B\My little mommy.

A\Goodbye to Laura's family - Dad helps them up the hill. B\Our two cabins.

A\Dearly beloved.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tired and Happy

Traipsed around Manhattan all day today in the freezingly blustering weather.

  • Saw Ground Zero and went shopping in the Gap in the World Financial Center building.
  • Took numerous pictures in Trinity Church.
  • Saw Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange.
  • Rode the Staten Island Ferry and saw the Statue of Liberty.
  • Watched a Steps on Broadway class taught by GELSEY KIRKLAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Went to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and watched archival dance videos of Gelsey Kirkland (this one was planned but the last one was not).
  • Am now physically and emotionally exhausted.

    It was good.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere...

Greetings from New York City and the borough of Brooklyn! I'm sitting in one of those circle chairs in the loft of Heather's lovely apartment. From the window that is right beside me I can see the rooftops of nearby buildings (she lives on the top floor of hers - and gets a stair workout every day, let me tell you), the Williamsburg bridge, and the skyline of lower Manhattan. I also see a lot of dripping. It has been snowing for the past week or so, but last night the temperature must have risen above freezing because I think it's actually raining. Despite the constant complaining of Sarah and Heather, and the fact that I almost slipped and died several times yesterday, I liked the snow. I felt like I was getting an authentic New York experience.

And an authentic experience I am getting! The title of this post refers to my survival of the NY transit system. It also refers to several conversations we've had about Heather actually living here. We both feel that after dealing with what this city has to offer, we can handle pretty much any other city in the United States. Maybe even world? I'm sure each metropolis presents its own challenges, but just listen to this tale of woe. Friday night I arrived pretty late, due to traffic right outside of DC. The bus, DC2NY, was GREAT, by the way: clean, friendly staff, safe-looking passengers, in-flight movie (I can't help but call it that), footrests, and a free bottle of water.

So arriving at Penn Station around midnight, I piled out of the bus with the rest of the passengers and followed the crowd down into the subway. And it was very different from the bus, let me tell you. After following the very confusing signs to the E train, I had to get a metro card. I already had figured out what type I was getting: 7-day unlimited. I tried to pay with my my debit/credit card, but it kept asking for a New York zip code and then wouldn't process the order. I finally figured out I should press the "ATM card" option and I got my card. I got on the right train, but then missed my stop to switch over to the L train. Once I figured that out, I got off, hopped across the platform and got on a train going back. At the 14th St/8th Ave metro station there was a little hike to get to the train I wanted. But what should I find after lugging my heavy bags all that way? That the L train has no service to this stop on late nights during the holiday. Instead, we were given a pass for the bus outside which would take us all the way over to 1st Ave where the train resumed service to Brooklyn. It was one crowded bus. Having reached said station, I got on a train which went backwards to 3rd Ave, then turned around and took us to the Bedford stop across the river, at which point I had to get off that train and get on another one which took me all the way to Heather's neighborhood. Hooray! I have marks on my shoulders from where my bags were digging into my skin. I guess I should have packed more efficiently? A rolling suitcase probably would have helped a lot.

Anyway, the rest of the trip has more than made up for it, and I'm less than halfway through my stay here. Yesterday, Saturday we just slept in. Sleep, glorious sleep. I had gotten about an hour's rest the night before, and Heather had had a stressful week, so we all just voted for a relaxing day. Around 2pm, she, her sister Sarah, and I all went to Bedford to eat at the vegetarian cafe Bliss. I had the soup of the day (guaranteed vegan - that day it was split pea) with a warm wheat roll. Heather had the same. Sarah even mangaged to find something she could tolerate, French toast with amazing looking blackberries and bananas on top. Then we came home to meet the locksmith for the mailbox, clean the living room, and chill out for the rest of the afternoon. Heather made some delicious salad while we were waiting. I also got to take short nap to refill my sleep reserves. Then, around seven o'clock we headed out to see...the Nutcracker!

It was such a thrill to see the Lincoln Center, after reading and hearing so much about it. So many famous people - dancers, choreographers, and everyone else who has touched the world of dance in America - have come through that building. I remember reading a book when I was younger about a little girl who got to dance the role of Clara in NYCB's Nutcracker, and this was just like I remembered. Balanchine's version is quite distinctive. It's very fairy tale and child-centered. The costumes and sets are brilliant. The choreography was all speedy and neoclassical and, well, Balanchine. It was very interesting to see that after being around so much classical Russian Vaganova stuff. I got to see the famous Dewdrop costume which I had read about and seen once in Pointe Magazine. The girl who danced Dewdrop was amazing, by the way. Let me go find out what her name was. Oh yes, Sara Mearns. I think that was my favorite part. Some of the costumes were a little too gaudy and colorful for me, some of Blanchine's tweaks were just a little too weird (extra music added in the middle of Act I?), but Dewdrop was amazing and the peformance as a whole was spectacular. It hardly felt like two hours before it was over. I definitely need to go back - and in fact I am planning to go back to Lincoln Center on Monday to visit the New York Public Library for the Peforming Arts.

On the way home we were going to stop for sushi, but since it was closed we went to a Thai restuarant across the street. I got crispy tofu in red curry sauce with brown rice. Mmm. And there were leftovers...yes! We put in The Santa Clause (in order that my Christmas movie education might be furthered) and I fell asleep halfway through. Which brings us to now.

Today we're planning to go to 12 o'clock mass at Saint Patrick's Cathedral (if Heather and Sarah ever wake up) and then see a lot of the famous sights in midtown. If it keeps raining, our experience should be very...authentic...but fun nonetheless. Well, off to start the day!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Money

*GASP*

I think these clothes are some of the most beautiful I've ever seen. If I were a famous Russian ballet dancer (see Emily's post from today) from the late nineteenth century with lots of rich adoring fans who lavished gifts upon me I would totally wear these clothes.

Instead, I am saving for retirement. It is a gloomy prospect. But with our nation's personal savings rate somewhere around 2%, I take not a little pride in being fiscally responsible.

I also recently read a summary of a story by Warren Buffet about the trade deficit called "Squanderville vs. Thriftville". It was published in 2003 in Fortune magazine, and you can read a summary here. I initially heard about it in an depressing documentary about the national debt, which you can see here. It's seems to be only a 30-minute excerpt from the full documentary, but it's still quite enlightening.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cured of Car Trips

Thank God I made it back to Maryland last night! No thanks to the weather, my poor planning, and the hordes of holiday travelers.

I left at 12:15 and was planning to get back by 8. I finally made it back a little before 10.

It was raining nearly the entire way.

300 miles of it was one big traffic jam. Stop and go. Mostly stop. At first I thought there was an accident, which would have been reasonable considering the weather. But it was just the sheer volume of vehicles. I felt like a traveller on a pilgrimage or an Israelite on my way to town for a census.

Because I hadn't printed directions, I was watching road signs rather than exit numbers. This is not a good strategy for me, apparently, because I passed my exit for both major interstate switches. Turning around the second time, I almost got lost in Falls Church, Virginia.

Then I got home and broke a glass jar of tomato sauce on the Stevens' laundry room floor.

Have you ever felt like it was reeeeeeally time for a day to end?

(Today has been much better.)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Weekly Update

What can I say - I'm a busy woman! Rather than posting this week, I got a few things done (of varying levels of importance).
  • Voted for the first time in Maryland.
  • Was pleased to see gas prices are down even more.
  • Had to buy another carton of orange juice because I drank it so quickly.
  • Actually graded some tests.
  • Went to the gym and took an aerobics class. I plan to return, once I can walk again.
  • Created a "Wicked" playlist on iMeem.
  • Slumped into and rebounded from (I hope) a little inexplicable gloominess.
  • Realized I can see a professional "Nutcracker" performance this year. Anyone want to come with me to see the Joffrey Ballet at the Kennedy Center? Tickets are $55 and up.
  • LOVED this week's episode of The Office. I think it's been a pretty good season so far.
  • Discovered that bullet points are a good means for quick updates and may post more often in the future.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Post Gratia Posting

In order to avoid the stack-of-tests-to-be-graded, I have been organizing every other aspect of my life. I have balanced my checkbook, gone grocery shopping, cleaned my room, washed clothes, cooked, washed dishes, and probably something else that I'm forgetting. Now, I will update my blog. I hope you all appreciate the work I am sacrificing to make this happen.
  • I love orange juice. I never liked it when I was little. If given a choice between apple juice and orange juice I would always pick apple. I thought it was sweeter and yummier. I also don't really like the way orange juice tastes with other foods. But now I think there is nothing better than a glass of high-quality, high-pulp orange juice when I'm thirsty.
  • I have also started to enjoy tea. When I was little we always had herbal tea, which pretty much tastes like water with a fruity smell. But real tea - mmm, so good! Laura is lending me her electric kettle that we used to use at Hillsdale and it's taking me back.
  • The church I went to this morning (and have visited twice previously - I think it's winning the best church contest) has a five minute sharing of the peace. It's like social hour in the middle of the service. It's kind of neat. Instead of just greeting the people within reach, you get to see just about everyone.
  • The service was contemporary, since I didn't wake up early enough for the "heritage" service. And it wasn't terrible. However, I was sad I didn't get to sing "For All the Saints" and other such wonderful All Saints Day hymns. That church has a great organ.
  • Speaking of organs, the reason I didn't wake up in time for the 8:30 traditional service (despite getting back that extra hour of sleep) was because of the Naval Academy's Halloween Organ Concert the night before. Laura and I went with several of our tenth grade students (as their guest) and had a great time. The program was a little bizarre but amazingly spectacular and very fun. It ranged from the famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor to "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast to a tribute to fallen soldiers set to Barber's Adagio for Strings. And best of all, it opened with this. Even though the caliber of the singing is...well...the best you could expect from midshipmen at the Naval Academy, just imagine being in a huge chapel with the live organ music and soaring ceilings and balconies and spotlights. So neat.

Thanks for reading the worst-written post in the history of this blog!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

De Gaudiis Legendi

This past weekend I did something I haven't done for a long time: I wasted time by reading! It was such thrilling and gratifying experience that I almost don't consider it a waste of time (except for the fact that my stack of ungraded papers is now almost an inch thick).

When I was little I was an avid reader. My grandma, a teacher, used to make me feel so proud when she told me I was "reading at such-and-such grade level" when I was only eight. When I wasn't playing outside, I was reading. Granted, I wasn't reading things like the Iliad (which, I happen to know, some little kids actually read), but I was reading - engaging my brain. In high school between school and ballet there was little time to read for fun, which is when reading became my time-waster. I still enjoyed it, but I didn't get to increase my abilites.

Then my reading came to a screeching (yes, screeching) halt. With unlimited access to my own computer in college, I quickly shifted my time-whittling energies to the internet. First it was instant messenger, then Facebook, then the blogosphere. And all along were the movies and TV shows that suddenly became accesssible to me. Most reading, even relatively easy stuff, was edged out. I can think of one book that I read from start to finish during my college years. It was a good book, and I remember feeling refreshed by reading it, but it was the exception.

So I finally took some time out to read. It wasn't great literature, but it was substantial reading. I added back a part of myself that I had lost. My life is now a little less like white bread and a little more like whole wheat. Yay! I look forward to a lot more adventures in reading.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Worth the Move to Another State

After our upper school staff meeting this afternoon I drove home to drop Laura off, then rushed over to the MVA. After making two wrong turns I walked in exactly one minute before it closed.

When I got there I proudly produced everything demanded of me to obtain a Maryland driver's license: Tennessee license, proof of identity, and two proofs of Maryland residence. The lady took one look at my proof of identity, my passport, and said "This is not valid."

"Oh." I said, a little shaken, but not thwarted from my goal. "That's okay, I have my birth certificate." And I did. But I asked her anyway why on earth my passport wasn't valid, she pointed to the signature line which is labelled "Signature of Bearer" and "Not Valid Till Signed". Apparently she wouldn't just let me sign it and accept it as valid. So fortunately I had my birth certificate.

Then I took my number and waited. For only five minutes. Really, I have had very little trouble at the MVA office of Annapolis. And today made it best of all, because I got a semi-flattering driver's license photo. I had almost forgotten that step of the process, but when the lady mechanically said "Please stand in front of the blue cloth" and I repeated "Stand?" I realized what must inevitably occur. But it turned out so well! I was really quite shocked. All thanks goes to my hair stylist. I am also glad I blow-dried my hair. Also I see a lot of resemblence between me and my mom in this picture.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Not Entymology

Somtimes I teach my students etymology. I have them get out their Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionaries (have you ever noticed how you're always expected to utilize resources that are intended for higher than your level? how in high school you have to use a collegiate dictionary, but when you are actually in college they start training you to use the OED?) and find out that "pronto" doesn't exactly come from protinus, meaning immediately, but from promptus, -a, -um which means, well, prompt. I haven't yet pulled out "etymology by sound is not sound etymology" but we're working up to that.

Along those lines, I pass along from the classics blogosphere this funny excerpt from a column in the Buffalo News:

"Now I look forward to cool evenings, good sleeping and new energy. This is the time of the year when it is finally possible to enter the attic without the benefit of a space suit. The word attic is derived from “Attica,” the name for the land of the ancient Greeks — a society that accumulated so much junk that museums had to be built all over the world to accommodate it. Thus, in the modern house the attic is the place to put things that don’t fit anywhere else."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Good-Bad-Good-Bad-Good

Up and down, that's how this week has gone. Fortunately that means it began and ended on a high (except for the small insignificant little detail that the week hasn't ended yet).

* * *

"Sinner! Sinner!" No, that's not Angy bringing my grevious faults to light. Those are the words of a seventh grader in my homeroom, after discovering that a classmate didn't know about Chuck Norris. Chuck Norris is quite popular around here. "Not knowing Chuck Norris? That's a sin!" he said.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sunny Day

I am having a much better day today - in fact it's been downright good. Thank you so much for the encouragement. (o:

At the end of my first class today I asked for questions, the way I always do. One guy in the front row looked at the guy beside him and said in a low voice, "Can I tell her? Has it been long enough yet?" I was like, "Yes! Tell me!"

Apparently one of their other teachers told them that he had conducted an experiment with his friends in college in which they could control where there professor was standing by the direction in which they looked. I guess if all of them were gazing off to one side, the professor would shift to that side to catch their gaze. But it didn't work on me. Haha! I am immune from student manipulation.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Can I Do This?

Or, Can I Do This Well? The Story of a First-Year Teacher

Well, I'm at school right now, I'm sitting at my desk. To the far left is my copy of Aeneas to Augustus ready to teach 10th graders to read real Latin. Next to that is my watch which hurts to wear when I'm typing because I always rest my wrists on the desk. Then comes my red Sigg water bottle which Caleb thinks looks like the fuel tank for a camping stove, which is empty right now. Sitting right beside that is a paper cup, which is also empty except for coffee grounds. Between that paper cup and the keyboard is a mini yellow sticky pad scrawled upon with grading calculations. Beneath my right arm are the Vocabulary Review Tests from 10th grade that are giving me much grief. To the right of that lies a red pen, a roll of white-out tape, a larger yellow sticky pad with my to-do list on it, and a stack of 8th grade Vocabulary Review Tests which are about to give me much grief.

I foolishly decided to give all six sections these gigantic Vocabulary Review Tests on the same day, which means I ended up with about 70 tests to grade all at once. That means that even if each one takes only ten minutes to grade, they take up at least 700 minutes of my time. That equals over eleven hours. And I know I may be astounding you with my mathematical skills, but I definitely did not calculate this beforehand.

That is just one of the many reasons my confidence as a teacher has taken a hit today.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Cats and Dogs

Tropical storm Hanna is sitting right on top of us, making this a very wet Saturday -- occasionally quite gusty. I kind of like it, though. Hanna doesn't seem too unfriendly. Last weekend one of the school families invited Laura and I over for dinner, and afterwards took us on a tour of Annapolis. I didn't realize how close we were to that city, nor how close to open water. Sailing is huge there. Down by the docks there's an area called "Ego Row" where people line up their luxurious crafts and sit there enjoying the weekend. Apparently there's a big boat show every October.

But speaking of Annapolis, it has come to my attention that at least two readers, both whose name begins with "A", are a little confused 'bout things. I believe a quick recap is needed. Sorry to those who have been paying attention. ;)
  • At the end of July, while on vacation at beach, I recieved an email from former roommate Laura C asking if I knew any classics majors interested in teaching Latin at her new school, Rockbridge Academy.
  • Because my long-term goal was to become a teacher, I decided to give it a shot even though I was already planning to go to Georgetown. But really, of what worth is a post-baccalaureate program when compared with a full time job?
  • Within the space of one week, I completed that application, was interviewed twice for at least an hour, and signed a work agreement (Laura, if you are reading this, that last sentence reminds me of what you pointed out about that section of the Nicene Creed).
  • I moved up here on August 16th, meaning I have now been a Maryland resident for a grand total of three weeks. That's two weeks of teacher training and (almost) one week of teaching.
Okay? Let me know if you have any questions. Oh I just love rain.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Quick Thoughts

My black pants have chalk all over them, which I think is so cool and teacherish. My hands are also regularly covered with dry erase marker.

One of the best parts about teaching Latin is making up (and having the kids make up) example sentences. A product of today:

"The pencil that is yellow has many friends."

That was an English illustration of the relative pronoun.

I still have to take a shower and eat dinner, so I'd better run.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Peaceful Rest

I am ready to sleep. After getting up at 4 a.m. in order to fix shoddy lesson plans, my bed looks more delightful than ever. And just to prove it, here's a picture.

And here is where I am sitting right now, typing to you all.


That's all you're going to get for today, I'm afraid. Good night!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The First Day

This morning Laura and I drove to school at 7:15, just like we've been doing for the past two weeks. But today -- there were students. It was the real deal. And it was great.

It didn't go as perfectly as I had planned, but maybe that was because I hadn't planned perfectly. I made poor Laura turn the car around a quarter of the way there because I had forgotten my course policies (aka syllabuses). And once we reached the school, I realized I didn't have the lesson plans! I was praying a prayer of my own during staff devotions.

Despite all, it went well. I definitely broke the rule "don't smile before Christmas". I think you can build rapport and respect when you're joking as well or more easily than not. But that theory will be tested during the coming months, won't it!

And now, pictures!
Laura and I, off to teach. I am kind of dissappointed with how I look in such a momentous picture!


My corner.


My plant.

My desk.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Newsy News

My dear, patient friends:

Yay! Eleven comments! Time to post again.

Just kidding.

One of the real reasons I have been so remiss is that I was hoping to share photos when next I posted. However, I have been waiting for my classroom to be set up (I don't have my own homeroom, but my desk is in Mrs. Crawford's 7A) before I took pictures of everything and so I don't have any to share yet. Those are coming.

These two weeks have been unparalleled by any other experience I've had so far. And yet (most of the time) it has not felt too foreign or frightening - just natural. It has been challenging at times, and I expect even more challenges in the next week when I actually begin teaching - challenges and stress.

Well, what can I tell you all?

The school is wonderful.
The job is wonderful.
The people are wonderful.
The area is wonderful.
The grown-up life is mostly wonderful.

I bought a car.
I got car insurance.
I opened a new bank account.
I have a debit card.
I recieved my first paycheck (very important with all that buying and getting and opening and having).
I am in charge of "coffee mess" on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

I really could write an entire post on each of those topics, a feat which feels a bit overwhelming. Oh well, I'll just resolve to write more frequent, smaller posts. With school starting tomorrow, my goal will be to write one post every day for the rest of the week - to be extended if the result is a positive one.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tonight in the Becker Kitchen

I have been measuring ears. The first number below represents the distance between the tip and the earlobe, as straight up and down as is unscientifically possible. The second number represents the width from the widest part of the ear to the place where the tragus connects to the head.

My mom's are 2" x 1.25"

Josiah's are 2.25" x 1.5"

Mine are the same as Josiah's.

My dad's are 2.5" x 2"

Friday, August 8, 2008

Calm, Cool and Collected

I have been offered a contract. It is a real job with benefits. I was complimented on my composure during the interview. Well...

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

In other news, I worked 16 hours today. For the first 13 hours I was the JBC (Judge Booth Controller) operator for the Sullivan County Election Commission in the Tennessee state house and senate primaries. That means I gave people access codes for their electronic ballots, kept track of applications for ballots, and explained to senior citizens how to use a clicker wheel to make selections. I had a great time, mainly because I got to hang out with awesome old people who

- function more slowly than I do
- have awesome Tennessee accents
- talk about going to the Cherokee casinos to "make a donation"
- share stories about dead people on buses
- hand out suar-free candy
- advise me to marry a "good Annapolis midshipman"
- wonder if hummingbirds get diabetes since they drink all that sugar water

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Exciting Developments

I totally forgot about a hair appointment I had this morning. This was a very unsettling event, especially because I'm in the midst of one of the most grown-up proceedings in my life.

Last week, while checking my email at Beauford County Public Library on Hilton Head Island, I got a message from Laura Calderone telling me about her summer. She also mentioned that the school where she's teaching next year, a classical Christian school in Maryland, was in dire need of a Latin teacher. As most of you know I was not planning to teach next year because I didn't feel ready. I still don't. I mean, I miss hair appointments even when the salon calls to remind me the day before.

The night before I got the message, however, my dad had been reading to us (despite groaning and complaining) from a book he was reading about "visioneering". And although I still might not be able to define that neologism, the passage he read made me think about my long term plans and what I really want to do with my life. Teaching hasn't exactly been a life-long dream of mine, but more of a "practical" option that I might enjoy as a career. But for some reason after hearing the introduction to that book I began to envision what it might be like to teach.

Then lo and behold, here comes the email! So even though I still felt uncertain about being able to hold sway over a class room of people more than half my age, I decided it wouldn't be a good idea to just dismiss the opportunity. I decided to leave it up to the school to decide. If they needed me, I was willing and actually eager to serve in that way.

That was approximately a week ago. Since then I have completed a rather lengthy application and had my first interview with the headmaster. Today I talked to and recieved last year's lesson plans from the principle of the upper school. And tonight I have a confernce call interview with the school board, the governing body in charge of hiring. Oh yes.

I, who may become a spiritual and academic authority for dozens of young people in middle and high school, cannot keep simple scheduled appointments. It is very sobering.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Beach

We are going to the beach! It will be our first time in several years, and miraculously all six of us will make it. We're driving to Atlanta this afternoon, fetching Josiah from his Scout trip tomorrow afternoon, and heading toward Hilton Head, South Carolina, tomorrow night (question: was the comma after South Carolina necessary?). This post is not so much to make you jealous (hehe) as it is to warn about a lack of posts in the coming week. When we get back next Friday, it will be time to leave for T and A's wedding.

And you know what that means...no Sonic for over a week!

Peace out, homies.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Missing You, Etc.

Ohhh how I am beginning to feel it. I'm not going back to Hillsdale! I am parted forever from the joys of undergraduate life. The excitement of moving back into the dorms. Seeing friends for the first time after a long summer. The sweltering heat of Michigan in mid-August. Catching the first glimpses of favorite professors. Long lines at registration. Bewildered freshmen. The bookstore. The glorious few days before classes begin. All no more. I think I'm going to go cry.

Maybe the attractiveness of the new school year is what keeps me coming back. I have always looked forward to it, no matter how torturous the previous year was. New beginnings, new resolutions, new possibilities, new things to learn. As much as I love summer (and I love it a whole lot) I couldn't linger here forever. And this fact prevents me from despairing in my laziness.

One more day at Sonic and two more at the pool before Hilton Head Island with the family. Then it will be time to repack for Aaron and Tiffany's wedding and meeting my host family in Georgetown. When I finally return to Kingsport the pool will be on school hours, i.e. only weekends. I'll have a haircut and a couple more weeks at Sonic, then it's off to DC. Off to the unknown. I have such a long to-do list, but I can't write it down since I don't have a planner. Buying a planner is like number one on my to-do list.

Friday, July 18, 2008

But oh, those summer nights

Nights really are the best of summer. I remember evenings when I was about twelve years old, when our parents were out to dinner and Caleb and I would have the best time running around the backyard with the neighbors. We played tag and caught fireflies and wondered if we could see bats flying around. Being out there in the waning light all by ourselves made me feel cool and grown up. Josiah wasn't allowed to stay up past eight, so he had to go to bed when it was still light outside. He used to sneak out of bed and watch us from his bedroom window...poor JoJo.

Nights at the pool are beautiful, too. The sun has ceased scorching my skin but the pavement is still warm and the sky glows in the west. Most of the people have gone home so the water is peaceful. Only a few families linger, talking and laughing.

Tonight I got to go to Taste of Tri Cities with my mom and Julie. Area restaurants set up a row of tents in a park across from the stadium where Fun Fest concerts are held. Tonight was Gavin DeGraw. We got our sesame chicken with rice and an egg roll, our black bean hummus with pita bread, spread out our blanket, and enjoyed the music filtering clearly over the trees. And now for some pictures.

The tent with the hummus:

American flag over the stadium:
View of the street:

It was a good night. Good night!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sonic Stories

I just got home from another night of closing at Sonic. I close three nights this week; last week I closed four. Sonic is not my favorite place to work for many reasons: closing at midnight, having lazy managers, and dealing with unwanted...advances.

There's this one other carhop - a short, shrimpy guy with bleached-blond hair and a voice which most people in drive-through respond to with "ma'am". He's really nerdy, but not really going anywhere fast in his life, as he's twenty-two and "thinking about looking into" attending the community college. He's constantly saying things like "Katie," (or whomever it is) "I have a question. Where do you think black holes lead to?" His catchphrase is "or whatnot" and if I hear that phrase ever again, so help me... Anyway, not a bad kid, but not really my type. Out of the blue, he asked me a couple weeks ago if I wanted to see a movie with him. Fortunately I was going to a picnic with my family that day, but I panicked and immediately made plans for the rest of my days off so I'd have an excuse lined up.

Then tonight I found out how desperate he really is. He asked me again what I was doing tomorrow, to which I responded I was working at the pool. He said that the reason he was asking was that he "and a group of nerdy friends were going to see the Incredible Hulk in Johnson City" and I reacted something along the lines of "oh, that's nice". But he apparently had asked another girl if she wanted to see Hancock. So I was a bit relieved that I wasn't being singled out. But still the guy kind of freaks me out.

But the unsolicited attentions tonight became stranger as I was taking out one of the last orders of the night. It was a man and his wife in a pickup. The guy was talking on his cell on speaker phone, and when I came out with their food, phone-guy was like "do you have a pretty little girl serving you there at Sonic" and truck-guy was like "I don't know I can't really see her" and then turned to look at me. He expressed his great appreciation for my beauty, and then phone-guy proceeded to hit on me via...the phone. He even yelled out "Goodnight, honey!" as I was going back inside.

Oh, and I can't forget the car full of guys who always come by after playing soccer. They are really funny but quite obviously high schoolers. Tonight one of them said "My friend wants to know how old you are", and when I responded twenty-two he said "My friend is twenty-two also." Okayyyyyyyy.

Then I came home and my mom asked, "How was Sonic tonight?"

Friday, July 4, 2008

Update!

Days on which no new blog posts pop up in Google Reader are very sad days indeed. I realized how much I enjoy getting updates, because with most of you it is my main means of communication. Then I realized that I should probably update more myself, because (far be it from me to presume, but) maybe other people enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy reading theirs.

Today's topic is how terrible it is to be an almost-grown-up.

- Parents want to tag along to friends' weddings so they can meet your new employer/landlord.
- You do not have your own house/apartment nor do you really have a place in your parent's house (nor do you really want a place in your parent's house).
- Your schedule and goals do not always line up with your family's, and yet you are still a part of your family.
- You do not have a real job and have to keep really crazy hours and hang out with drug addicts and drama-enamoured teenagers in order to make money to pay for your continued education.
- There is constant tension between what you think your parents want you to do and what you think you want to do and what you really want to do.
- You have a feeling that you are acting very immaturely to be complaining about parents and your rather fortunate situation, but you can't help the frustrated feelings sometimes.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Sugar Free Month

Whereas I admit my addiction and the fact that I am powerless to change without help...
Whereas eating sweets is one of the main deterrants of me exercising...
Whereas I have personally consumed in less than one summer the sugar quotia of a small country...

...I hereby proclaim July as Sugar Free Month. Updates to follow.

P.S. In the process of writing this post I have acquired two compatriots, Josiah and Julie. All are welcome to take part. ;)

Mainly About Work

So I'm going to try to post more often, but that probably means the quality won't be very high. Just a warning.

I worked 9.5 hours today - not too many and not too few. If I could have those kind of hours consistently it would be nice but it's usually pretty sporadic. That's one thing I'm looking forward to in my future career, whatever it may be: regular hours. I know for a teacher things are not as standardized as an office job and a lot of work comes home for evenings and weekends, but it must be better than what I'm doing now. I'll be able to get up early in the morning and go to bed at a decent hour at night. Won't that take some adjustment!

Tonight at Sonic the head manager was talking about the minimum wage increase coming later in July. He said that companies everywhere are scrambling to find ways to absorb the extra cost that it will entail and that a lot of jobs wil be lost. That's not news to me, of course, but I kind of wish people would think things through a bit more before passing these kinds of laws. Apparently one way Sonic is considering controlling costs is to lower carhops' wages to dining wages (somewhere around $2.15 an hour) and indicate on the receipt to the customer that tips are now expected. I don't know if and when this is going to be implimented, but I don't really like the sound of it. Working for tips doesn't sound like it would be very lucrative at a fast food restaurant. I guess I'm glad I'm leaving soon.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Tiredness - or Fatigue

I have recently and on numerous occasions caught myself in the embarassing act of word contrivance. It comes about mainly I'm talking about one thing but my mind is somewhere else, and I can't think of the proper abstract noun so I incorrectly construct one. For example, I origianlly titled this post "tiredness". I don't even know if that's a proper word. I probably should have used "fatigue" or some other real word. But my writing style is so stilted anyway, if I titled it "fatigue" it would probably sound like an article in some medical journal. (Is "title" even a verb? I'm so tired right now I dn't know.)

Anyway, this is to say that I am tired and in my opinion need about twenty-four solid hours of sleep. However, with the impending work week I don't think that will be quite possible. Seven and a half hours until I have to be the pool. Oh, listen to me whine!

Acting my age is very, very, very difficult. I don't even know if I want to.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

For A Limited Time: Family Reunion Pics


A\Twisty mountain road in West Virginia. B\Horses grazing along our scenic detour.


A\Cool green car with paisley pillow overlay. B\Gold dome of capitol building in Charleston, WV.


A\My beautiful yet obstinant sister. B\Tabitha and I.

A\On the way to one of many activities. B\Julie and Tabby.

A\The lake where we went peddle boating. B\My Daddy and Esther.

A\My Mommy and Tabby. B\Aunt Ruth and Julie.

A\Amanda. B\Tabby and Esther.

A\Shortcut to the cabins. B\Girl cousins.


A\Tabby eats a strawberry. B\Two meercats at Good Zoo.


A\Two guys hanging out. B\Dad and Mom.

A\ The train! B\The defensive ostrich that charged us out of the pen.

A\Rare smiling shot of Peter. B\Emily and Aunt Lois.

A\Girl cousins - one of many many photo ops :) B\Grandma and Grandpa.

A\My sister the photographer. B\The Oglebay fountain.

A\Putt-putt golf. B\Beautiful Anna keeping score.


A\A hole in one, no doubt. B\Light show at the fountain.

A\ Beautiful. B\Just beautiful.


A\The girls do lunch at Perkin's. B\Self-timer at Carriage House Glass Museum.


A\Laura and Amanda walked in the rain to stimulate their immune systems. B\40+ years ago!

A\Identical twins (pink is Mary, white is Lois). B\My little mommy.

A\Goodbye to Laura's family - Dad helps them up the hill. B\Our two cabins.

A\Dearly beloved.