grad school, teaching

Turn, turn, turn

A few weeks, a few spins of the earth, and the world is no longer the same place. It’s odd how years can drag by being full of the same old nonsense then big events can pleasantly shake up the fountain of your ho-hum life. I graduated last month, spent the rest of the month tediously filling out job applications, and was hired as a fourth grade teacher last week. The day before I had to go in to the central office to sign paperwork, my official teaching license arrived in the mail. I’m excited, off and running, tearing through ideas in my head. I have so much to prepare, two months to get there, and drive to have as much done before August rolls around as possible.

I’ve also had a few dates this year. For some, that is a given. But for me, Ms. Moon-over-the-same-never-gonna-happen-man-for-the-better-part-of-seven-years, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. And, what’s more, I’ve enjoyed these no-pressure dates immensely. Score one point for moving on!

So life continues, but it feels like a new plane of existence has been open and anxiously, I step towards new horizons!

books, grad school, travel

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Today has been a terrifically muddled up day. I had an appointment at 9:15am to go over my application to get a teaching license. I showed up at the graduate campus to find my building completely and eerily empty. Waited around for about 15 minutes before digging out my laptop and logging online to see what was going on only to be told that the exit interviews were taking place at the undergrad campus, about 15 minutes away. Shot my advisor an apology email, told her I was on my way, fought through traffic once more, and arrived, a bit harried, at the other campus. I pulled out my laptop again, only to see an email from my advisor telling me that she was now waiting for me at the graduate campus. Arg!
Near tears, I drove back to the graduate campus, waited while she met with another student, then finally squeezed in a meeting with her. At the end of the meeting, I’m asked if I have an educational survey that I supposedly received about 6 months ago. I just blink. Fortunately, I’m not the only person who apparently forgot this important document. I take a new copy, sit in the lobby, and proceed to spend nearly 2 hours filling it out. Hand it in, relieved to be finished with this whole grad school mess, when I’m informed that my advisor only has a copy of my SAT scores, not the original. I probably won’t be able to be licensed without it. “But…I had it sent to the school. That’s how you have a copy.” “We need the original.” Sigh.

I leave school, run a few errands, and make it home in time to call up the undergraduate admissions office before they close for the night. “I remember my test scores were sent to your campus and they need them at the grad school campus.” “We sent them off a long time ago. Let me transfer you to check.” A thousand transfers later, I find that, yes, the grad school should have the scores. Call the grad school; nothing in their office. Finally talk to an angel of a woman who takes my name, works some magic, and comes back to the phone. “Your official scores are currently in the assistant registrar’s office because you are about to graduate. I can send a copy to your advisor.” No, no, I want nothing more to do with campus mail. I convince her to hold the scores until either my advisor or I can come and pick them up. We take the original, I explain, and give you the copy. Angel woman seems okay with that. Just then I receive an email from my advisor. Apparently the copy she has of my scores is good enough to be sent. I just wasted another hour of my life.

I decided to drown my frustration by trying to sign up at a gym where I have a 30-day free trial…only to be told that you only get that if you sign up for a year in advance. At least, I think that’s what I was told. I was so frustrated by the day in general, I don’t know anymore. Made an appointment anyway to come in on Wednesday to tour the place…we’ll see what happens.

I decided then that I was a little too stressed. Came home and meditated by following the exercises at the Online Labyrinth site. Pretty neat, I think, and pretty calming too.

Feeling much better now, I’m off to read Chocolat. Jamie and I decided that we would read books about a specific country, hopefully fall in love with the characters, and then travel to said destination. First stop? Clearly France. I also read a few other books about France yesterday to prepare. Although they were cute, nothing can compare to a book with Mr. Depp’s profile gracing the cover.J

grad school, holidays, photography, travel

No dollar sign on a peace of mind…

Every spring, except the one I spent living in Puerto Rico, enters my life the same way. One moment I’m freezing, bundled tightly in layers of cotton and wool, and the next I’m running my barefoot toes through the new blades of grass and wishing with all my might that I lived on the banks of the Mediterranean Sea. Newly emerged from the chrysalis of a dreary, dead winter, I’m amazed, every year, at the beauty I see around me. And Easter, ah Easter, with its colors, gaiety, and joyful hope!

I miss Massa Marittima around this time every spring…the little city in Tuscany Amy and I escaped to a few years ago. The cathedral in the center of the town with a boy who sang a haunting melody that seeped its way through the columns and the stones of the church and into my heart and soul and memory… The hotel on the edge of Massa’s mountain complete with grandchildren and Easter cakes and chocolate eggs as big as your head filled with toys and guaranteed to carry even the most gluttonous child through until summer… And the serenity of being in a town so far removed from both the hustle of Rome and the stress of everyday American life…

The Cathedral in Massa Marittima
This year, spring break will not be the romantic endeavor to the hills of Italia or any other foreign port. I’ll spend the first part of the break here, playing catch up with my school work. Then I’ll head to Tennessee to meet up with family members I haven’t seen in months. As the years fly by and months scurry in between each visit to see grandparents and cousins, I’m always fascinated by how much everyone changes while managing to still stay so blessedly familiar, so achingly like home.

Every day on the way to school, I thank God for this life; for the opportunity to see the colors pop from the new blossoms coating the trees, for the sunshine, the giggles of the children in my class, and the little boy who picks flowers for me every day during recess. It’s the little things that make up our lives and the little things I am so grateful for when the big issues–graduating and finding a job, for example–seem so absolutely overwhelming.

books, grad school, travel

Back to Reality

I’m now into week nine of my fourteen week student-teaching experience. For the first seven weeks, I was in a fourth grade class and am now hanging out in a first grade class. I didn’t realize how much we were covering on a daily basis in fourth grade, but I’m loving the younger kids. I, obviously, can’t have the in depth conversations I could with the older ones, but they are all so sweet and aiming to please, that it consistently makes my day.

As much as I love them, today was exhausting. I spent the weekend at the beach with a group of my favorite people from undergrad. (It is so nice that one of them has a house a mile from the beach.) Two of my friends have birthdays around this time of year, so it was also a joint celebration for them. But between the sun and the sand and the celebration, I slipped into summer. Being jaunted back into a rainy, spring day this morning was a rude awakening. I was supposed to have a phone date with my cousin at 7:30, but ended up crashing for a nap before then…not making sure to set my alarm for the correct time before hand. But, having rescheduled that, life moves along.


Not much planned for the near future. I have a load of work to do to wrap up this grad program, so I think I’ll head to the library for a couple hours after school a few days this week. I also have bills to pay, emails to send, reports to write up…all the fun, typical aspects of life.

Over New Year’s, my friend Jamie and I went down to Savannah and Charleston. In Savannah, we stayed on the waterfront, and meandered through the city at our own, relaxed pace, taking plenty of time to see SCAD’s shop and cemeteries deluged with moss-dripping trees. In Charleston, we made hats and masks and noise makers at a giant First Night celebration then brought in the New Year on a rooftop with champagne and chips and a young man who looked like Draco Malfoy. Being a generous individual, Jamie sent me the book Gone with the Wind. While I have seen the film multiple times, I had never picked up the book before. So far, it’s well-written and an easy read. But I’m only 100 pages in…meaning I still have over 800 to go. This is going to take a while…
Jamie in Savannah
conversations, grad school

Happy is what happens

That’s why I couldn’t be happier.
No, I couldn’t be happier.
Though it is, I admit,
the tiniest bit
unlike I anticipated.
But I couldn’t be happier.
Simply couldn’t be happier.
Well – not “simply” –
‘Cause getting your dreams,
it’s strange, but it seems
a little – well – complicated.
There’s a kind of a sort of…cost.
There’s a couple of things get…lost.
There are bridges you cross
you didn’t know you crossed
until you’ve crossed.

It’s been over a month since my last post! School and weddings and colds have kept me on my toes. But, what has cracked me up this month has been labels found on household products.
On a bottle of Aussie Shampoo:
“Sometimes your roots are greasy, your ends are frazzled, and your car won’t start. This helps two of those problems.”
~~ More added later. Time for work.~~
conversations, grad school

It’s the climb

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side…

A few days ago…
K: I heard on the radio that 43% of adults text message other people in the bathroom. We’re either finding strange ways to show our affection…or we’re really stretched for time.

J: Texting? That’s not affection. Now when I Face-stalk you while I’m in the bathroom, that’s affection.

K: That’s disgusting. And explains why we’re not Facebook Friends.

J: Would you rather I just call you?

Tonight, after leaving class, I sat in construction traffic… and then my car’s battery died.

K: So, when I got in the car at school, the clock said “9:45pm.” And when I got home it read “1:10am.”

M: But, the grad school is like…15 minutes from your house. It took you over 3 hours to get home?

K: No. The car’s battery died. So the clock read “1:10am,” but it was really about 11:15.

M: …You know, you can reset your car’s time.

K: You’re joking!

M: And you’re either very sarcastic…or a complete moron.

conversations, grad school

All About the Wordplay

Are you prepared to take a dive
into the deep end of my head?
Are you listening

to a single word I’ve said?

Conversing with a crazy man…
R: She looked at me and blinked.
K: Blinked? Or winked?
R: Blinked.
K: Then who cares? We all blink.
R: While looking at someone?
K: Uh…yes.
R: I don’t care what you say. This is so going on Craiglist’s missed connections.

And Rachel, trying to put my mind at ease:
“Eh, just wait ’til you finish grad school. You’ll be more of a globetrotter than the guys from Harlem.”

(Image is from Jim131314 on Photobucket)

conversations, grad school

Kick off your Sunday shoes!

I get this feeling
that time’s just holding me down.
I’ll hit the ceiling
or else I’ll tear up this town…

It’s been a long few days! Too much school work and not enough time for real, honest-yet-amusing conversation.

Last night, in an effort to alleviate school stress and anxiety, I popped in an episode of Will & Grace, my all-time feel-good show. In one episode, Jack and Karen get so upset that their favorite shows are canceled. They are unsure of how to carry on until they see Frazier‘s Lilith. They hound her and after she leaves they exchange a couple of cute lines:

Karen: Hey, Jackie, did we get a little nutty thinking that some made-up character could help us?
Jack: Maybe a little? But it doesn’t matter. We don’t have to resolve this until the same time next week.

Marvelous. Almost as good as the Matt Damon episode.

celebrations, grad school, travel

NY, New York

Finally wrapped up my second semester of grad school. After meeting up with some of my favorite people from college for a bridal shower (an event that flew by way too rapidly), I flew up to NYC to meet up with one of my best friends who had never ventured here before. So far, the highlight of my time here has been the shows we’ve been able to watch…tonight will be our first “dark” night, although, in NYC, I doubt we’ll be left with no place to go.






What would really complete the trip, however, would be seeing someone much like this incredible individual…or at least someone with half his skills:

Oh me, oh my, how I love that man!