Friday, July 30, 2004
I did another great exercise in Murray Bible-ity today. I continually freak out about not being able to graduate in the traditional four years. The truth is that I can, but I'm paranoid nonetheless. After manipulating my checklist of required courses into manageable chunks called semesters, I can see that if I take a reasonable, not even strenuous, amount of credit hours over the next two academic years including summer 2005, May 2006 will see my graduation. The thought of graduation, in and of itself, is also highly intimidating. But what scares me about the upcoming semesters is not the number of hours I will have to take. I've tackled larger course-loads in my day. It is the prospect of what courses I will be taking concurrently. There is no way to avoid taking a big scary education class while also taking a big scary English course or multiples of the same kind. The necessary evil of what is known as an area: like double-majoring without a minor. What happens when collegiate study becomes an elective-free endeavor is an intense, 100% hard-core battery of academia. Now that I've likened the future of my college career to hell, hopefully I will be pleasantly surprised when it is not hellacious at all. Hopefully.
All of this recent talk and contemplation of attaining a degree makes me realize that I'm in school to be a teacher. No matter how many times I resign myself to this fact, every time think about it, it is like a hilarious revelation. And it's not that I do not want to be a teacher, but it is occasionally ridiculous to me that I am not only mastering an area of study, but also I am training for a very specific occupation. Not every major is like that. Many are degrees that could lead down nearly any path. I cannot decide if that is freedom or ambiguity or if a professional degree at the bachelor level is an embodiment of objective and ambition or unfair restraint. I have to at least tell myself that I don't have to be a teacher so that I don't suffer from academic claustrophobia. Wouldn't it be similar to not utilizing a minor? Lots of people never do anything with their minors, right? Not to say that I haven't learned many valuable things that I can use whether or not I end up in education. Not to say that I don't anticipate being in education, at least for part of my career. It is just a matter of keeping myself sane.
And this speculation leads to another question: If I'm not a teacher, what will I be? Sadly, that's a question that has been somewhat of a guide. Mostly, my answer to that question is that I do not know. Possibly a very immature mode of decision-making, but it's what I've got. I suppose that I think I am taking the safe road by aspiring to be an educator. Isn't that how many people become teachers? Of course, that doesn't make them good teachers. Yet another fear of mine. Will I even survive as a teacher? I honestly cannot answer that question, but there are very few questions about the future that anyone can answer. But I do have two different dreams that, I guess, could co-exist. I like to think of one of them as practical and the other as ideal, but those two adjectives are not necessarily binary opposites. Both could be the practical ideal. It seems practical to me to want to be a great educator. It seems ideal to me to be a writer of some sort. But then come the doubts. What on earth makes me think I can be a writer? And then the one that undermines any shred of confidence I might have. What on earth makes me think I can be a teacher? (So it is quite obvious I have little confidence in myself.)
The operative phrase in both of those questions is this: what on earth. I believe that any ability of mine is not really mine at all, but is a gift of God. But are these my gifts, or just selfish ideas for myself? Living for myself would be quite disastrous. (I have just come to a mental place where I somehow cannot form an intelligible sentence, so I apologize.) So I all I really do know, despite all my planning and freaking out, is that my future is in my hands in that it is up to me to put my future in God's hands. To worry and fret is to waste time, energy, and the prospect of peace.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
I just ordered another book from half.com. I really should stop, but at least I'm buying useful and necessary texts. Well, okay, part of the time. I mean, I find value in them, or I wouldn't by buying them to begin with. Recently, I have gotten The Weight of Glory by C. S. Lewis, Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam, Jr., and The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms, a book that most English students are required to buy early in their studies, but I somehow managed to not have to buy it. And then today, I ordered The Penguin Dictionary of American Usage and Style. I researched a long time before choosing it over The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style. But after sifting through reviews, numbers of pages, list prices, and availability of hardback editions, I made my choice. I'm aware this is boring you to death. But oh, how I love it. Thank you to half.com, I'm eventually going to have an extensive and essential linguistic and literary library. But that would have to include the nearly-$1,000 twenty-volume Oxford English Dictionary. So maybe I'll just stick to a couple cheap books.
I am about disability-movied out. Last night, I completed my triad of films with The Other Sister. Good movie, but I believe I Am Sam is far superior. For the past four weeks, I have been submersed into the world of all sorts of disabilities, and I can say that I've learned many valuable lessons. I have learned how to accommodate for these students and how to make each student in the classroom successful. Students with disabilities are not the sole responsibility of the special education teachers in a school system. Of course, all of this is easier said than done. But I have learned that it takes a very uncommon individual to understand and work with these people on a constant, everyday basis. I do not know that I could do it. Kudos to those who do.
The monsters that have been growing in my kitchen sink are about to attack, so I better go take care of those. And homework, homework, homework, kind of like Marcia. But soon enough I'll get a little break before classes and such start again. During that free time, I absolutely need to brust up on my Spanish. Mi espanol es muy mal.
Monday, July 26, 2004
Friday, July 23, 2004
Ladies and gentlemen, you are reading the blog of an employed woman. Not that I'm working yet. Not that my job even requires work. But I have the spiffy title of Lab Supervisor. For a massive fifteen hours a week, at a whopping wage of $5.15 an hour, I'll be keeping tabs on the computers and users of those computers in the open labs in Applied Science and Hart. Not too much money, but not too much work. It's better than nothing, and I can get my homework and reading done on the job. And I've scheduled my hours so inobtrusively, that I can probably pick up some more hours as a tutor or something. Hopefully. Anyway, I start when school does, which is another month. I wish I had've had a summer job. Oh, how I needed it. But none of my applications availed that outcome. So this is the end of that long road called Emergency Job Search. Now, onto Real Job Search. We'll see.
I am home for the weekend. And it's already been an interesting one. Before I left Murray, I took my SED test that I think went well and I snagged a job. Before I got home, I met Mom in Madisonville and we went to WalMart. It was a little stormy, or maybe more than a little because the lights went out. That's a fun time, literally, being in that store with little lighting. Blackout party, aisle five.
It is true. Bad weather follows my parents, and fittingly so. The only time I'm ever in a storm is when I'm with them. And the last few times I've heard thunder in Murray, they were visiting. Strange times. Maybe Mother Nature is trying to tell me something, but I'm afraid to ascertain just what that is.
Thursday, July 22, 2004
Day 91 This is one of those nights where I just want to crush the world in my palm, set fire to the sky and breathe smoke, piss in the ocean and take a blade to the Mona Lisa.My brain keeps going around in circles and I'm sick of it - I need to rewire the ------- thing - put it in the shop and rework it before I don't feel like bothering.If I had a punching bag right now I'd be working it over, trying to split its seams or split my knuckles. I don't, so I bash on the keyboard.
I found my first attempt at this little project. It's kind of interesting. I was writing knowing that I didn't have an audience. Four months later in late October, we all gave in to the fascinating world of the online journal, and I have to say, I'm still intrigued. Not necessarily by what I publish in my bump in the information super-highway, but by the accessibility of what everyone else publishes. Possibly, it is some new-fangled voyeurism of the reality television or soap opera sort, but I think it is an excellent means of cultural education. People from all over the nation and the world are publishing what they think, feel, see, and experience in their daily lives, giving everyone else the opportunity to see the world through their eyes. The curious part of it all is the indefinite audience. Of most of the blogs I read, hardly any of the authors know that I am keeping up with them. Same goes for me. People stumble up web journals in all sorts of ways. Networks of links from other journals, lists of recently published blogs on Blogger, and being turned up in search engine results. I don't really know who reads mine, and neither does anyone else who has a publicly published journal. That carries with it mixed emotions. It's kind of eerie, but that means authors need to be responsible because what they publish could hinder their well-being. But it also makes you realize that you never know who is being influenced by your words. I see it as an opportunity. Not to relay some message to the world that I want them to hear, but to depict life as it is. Because nothing speaks louder than truth.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
That reminds me of the slumber parties we girls had a children. You try to fit thirty-seven eight-year-old girls and their sleeping bags, pillows, stuffed animals, junk food, and for what ever reason, Caboodles into a living room for a night. In the morning, what was a breeding-ground for hyperactivity, shrills, and giggles has turned into a wasteland of lifeless, sprawled-out ragdolls. Or landmines, if you prefer to provoke your post-traumatic stress of being stepped on my the girl whose mother insists she come home at 8:00 am while she's scrambling around trying to find all the pieces to her game of Girl Talk. It seems somewhere it that tragic morning, the little hostess' mom has made some cinnamon rolls or brought doughnuts or something. Then it doesn't matter matter that you have fingernail polish on your pillowcase or that you'll never find your other sock. That is, until your mom gets there to pick you up.
Okay, the cinnamon rolls are done, so I'm going to ice them and wake Victoria up.
Monday, July 19, 2004
artist: five for fighting
Well, I broke down and bought the CD. I've been wanting it forever, and all the downloaded versions of the songs were unplayable. But it was on sale for $9.97 or something of that nature at WalMart, so that's not so bad. I could have gotten it off of half.com, but CD prices haven't been really half-like lately. By the time I paid shipping, it wouldn't make any difference at all. So there.
Today has been good so far. Class is getting increasingly better every day, and I can safely say I enjoy it. I solved the mystery of the already-teachers. That is, if straight up asking them what's their deal is solving a mystery. Turns out they have their bachelor's degrees, and their school systems hired them as emergency teachers. They are now getting their certification because, well, they have to, obviously. Man, those schools sure are hurting to need to hire folks and letting them teach a year or so without their certification. Such a high demand. Too bad none of them are English teachers.
Getting mail is a jolly-good time, and today I received my copy of C. S. Lewis' The Weight of Glory that I ordered from half.com. I thought I'd take on some philosophy of Christianity for this last stretch of summer. But I also might need to be reading Homer Hickam's Rocket Boys because I've given in to the desperate pleas of Kenny B for freshman year leaders. But it is Gimme Another Guinness Bowman, so would I really have to read the book? No. But do I want to? Yes.
I guess you can see I spent (read: wasted) some time and made myself a new design for the ol' blogaroo. I enjoy it. Hope you do, too. Okay, I have quite a bit to do in the way of homework, housework, and whatever else that might come my way, as it usually does.
Sunday, July 18, 2004
song: rough around the edges
I'm in an interesting musical mood. I'm listening to the ever-somber Teitur, and I have been listening to some James Taylor. There is something about James Taylor that automatically puts me in this alternate universe where I could cry for no reason at all. But it's not a bad mood, really. It does induce pensiveness, which I find quite gratifying.
Before I start spouting any philosophical revelations that might have come to me, I'll brief you on this weekend. Holly came down, and we had a good time. The original plan was to incessantly veg out on I Love the 90s, but to our dismay, we were already burned out on the series before we made it to the marathon. We decided that it didn't measure up to our obviously high expectations. The 90s were just too recent to be pored over in a ten-hour program that is supposed to immortalize a decade into a legendary status. Too soon.
[Yeah, okay. Sidenote, right here. I totally just about burned down Brentwood. Here's the story. I thought it would be good to buy the mini-sized bags of popcorn. Well, I'm a little hungry, so I threw one in the microwave. It's been a long time since I've popped popcorn, so I couldn't remember the standard popping time. Plus, this is a little bag, so the time had to be different. I was surprised when it said to set the time to five minutes, but I said "whatever," set the time, and came back to do work on this post. Within a couple minutes, the buttery smell of deliciously fresh popcorn changed into a burning stench. I looked over to the microwave to discover smoke pouring out of the door. I slung my computer to the side, probably finishing off its last leg, and tried to stop the conflagration (large destructive fire, according to dictionary.com). Everything is, um, cool now, but I had to drench my blackened bag of clearly unedible corn in water, waft the smoke away from the detectors to keep someone from calling the fire department, open both my doors, and prop Phal, the ultimate tower fan, in my front door to suck out the rolling clouds of smoke. Helpful hint: Read all of the directions on your popcorn before you pop. Step Two says that popping time varies, but it should take a minute or two to do the trick. Guess five minutes is just an overestimation to reduce the risk of underpopping. Whoops.]
Anyway, to continue. We just did a little hanging out, dessert-making, and seeing of Justin and Ryan, those boys we haven't seen in, like, years. We also spent too much money, ate too much, and watched Pulp Fiction.
Well, all those deep thoughts I was planning on sharing have been disintegrated with the brain cells they depended on. Smoke inhalation does that. So I guess I'll go. Leaving my door open has let some blood-sucking creatures like incognito mosquitoes in. I need to do something about that.
Thursday, July 15, 2004
It makes me feel old when I realize that, for the most part, I believe good television has seen its heyday, and I'd rather watch reruns of sitcoms from my childhood on Nick at Nite, TBS, and ABC Family. I don't necessarily think this is symptomatic of vicariously reliving my childhood through Cory Matthews and Denise Huxtable (or maybe it is), but in my old age, I enjoy the morals-of-the-stories and the then-risque' innuendoes I might've missed as a kid.
I've mulled my future as an educator over and over in my mind. It scares me, probably because I'm mortified of challenges, but that's exactly what makes me realize that it is right. It occurs to me that I am apprehensive about any decision I make, especially the good ones. That is just part of who I am. I cannot see myself doing anything else, at least for a living. And as much as the stereotypical education major grates on my nerves, the class I am taking this summer that is full of them is helping me realize my philosophy of education. I'll save that for another time.
A not newly discovered, yet newly rekindled, reality of myself is my love for words and their meanings. I love dictionary.com. I keep a daily mental list of words that I need to look up when I get online. I will unabashedly admit that understanding multiple meanings and uncovering the origins of words is a guilty pleasure of mine.
So I've clearly stated my case as viewer of modern television classics, my halfway-ambition about my future, and obsessivity-compulsivity about language. These thoughts may be unrelated, but possibly that reflects yet another characteristic I'm beginning to see about myself. Maybe I'll enlighten you with more profound revelations in the future. But for your sake, I may rethink my candidness.
Monday, July 12, 2004
Also, as we all know, I love John Mayer. There's nothing like a little John to restore me to myself. With the wonderful and bunny-like internet now available at my fingertips, I downloaded his recent appearance on the CBS Early Show, and that reminded me to do a little checking out of the road journal since the summer tour has already kicked off. I can barely contain myself. The set lists are fabulously long, and it appears that David Ryan Harris is along for the ride. So beautiful. Anyway, it seems my chances of seeing Neon live are becoming more probable, and the fact that new songs are showing up onstage is quite exciting.
I'm aware that this entire post categorizes me as something of a loser. But I love it.
The past week or so had been all right. I'm in my second summer course, SED300. Education of students with disabilities. I try to like this class despite the fact it's at 8:00 am and most of the people in there intimidate me because they are either hyper-educationy (I cannot quite explain it, but it is absolutely annoying) or they seem to already have three-years' teaching experience under their belts. What is that? I thought that's why we're in college--to get certified to teach. Maybe they're substitute teachers or something. For the highly anticipated group project (sense the sarcasm), I've been assigned to a group that includes two of those folks, so maybe tomorrow I'll ask them what the heck the deal the is. That is, after the test. Yup, I already have a test. I just love education classes.
I imagine my attitude toward higher education and a career is evident. I've become a little frustrated with life in general. I hate to cheesily quote John when I say it might be a quarter-life crisis, but I hope that's all it is. I've spent a good deal of the summer looking for a job, and I somehow have managed to successfully remain unemployed. It bothers me that I can't find a job. How pitiful am I that I cannot be hired? I need a job because I need some sort of income. I need to fund my education. Yes, I have student loans, but those have to be paid back after I graduate. I haven't seen the likes of a scholarship for a long time. Isn't there something wrong when I maintain a 4.0 for two semesters in a row and cannot get any scholarship money? As for paying back those loans, I wonder if I'll have a job so that I can. I harbor an anxiety about my major. It's not that I don't want to teach, but being the confidence-free person that I am, I'm mortified that I won't be able to do it. And so it is a circle. I need a job because I need to pay for my education because I need a job that I'm afraid I cannot do. Soon, I will succumb to the mental illness that runs rampantly through my family tree.
So I worry too much. I'm aware of it, and I'm trying to work through it. I do believe that everything works out, but I also know it's not easy. But I guess knowing that everything is going to be okay helps me face the challenge. Is that hope? Or faith? Or both? Either way, it's what I need to keep going.
Yeah, so I'm sorry to bombard you with such emotional garbage. Well, I wouldn't call it necessarily emotional or garbage. These are the things that life is made up of. Not that life is all bouts of depression and doubts about the future, but I think it's healthy. To know your life is progressing. Struggle gives way to progress, learning, and experience. Maybe it's a version of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger." Okay, now I'm going to apologize for subjecting you to my stream of consciousness.
Enough, enough. I'm putting this tired blog entry to an end. Oh, yeah. The apartment is good, in case you're wondering. You should come visit.
Friday, July 02, 2004
My first 5-week summer course was officially completed today. At 1:35 this morning, I finished my research paper, and at 10:30 am, it was turned over to the beloved QMcQ. I will miss that man. I probably will not miss Romantic and Victorian British poetry, but I must say, I do have a deeper appreciation for it. Come Tuesday, I'll be walking to Alexander for an 8:00 am special education course.
Tonight is the last night I'll be staying here at this apartment. I've got the keys to mine, and I'm moving what I can there tonight. I would stay there, but I don't exactly have a bed in town yet. The family is coming to help me make the transition in the morning, conveniently bringing such furniture as my bed. I'm trying to get as much done today as I can, though. I went to have the utilities switched to my name and have internet added to my service. Indeed, I'll have access that's quicker than a bunny, but what's not quick is getting the hook-up. That's right, ladies and gentlemen. They can't "get" to me until July 12. TWELFTH! That's ten days. It's a sad time, really, but I guess I'll be okay. Such a shame that the first week and a half of my living-alone experience will go unblogged.
Well, I'm really tired from the late night, but I have packing to do. I better start filling boxes now before I fall asleep.
Oh, and another thing that's going to be different from the last month. I think the air in my car quit today. Or maybe I'm just not giving it enough time to cool, seeing as since it's the Fourth of July weekend, it must automatically be the hottest of the year. But I have a sneaking suspicion that my air did quit. But let's hope not.
Looks like I won't be around for a while, but I'll probably break down and go check out a laptop at the library some. Adios.
Thursday, July 01, 2004
I spent four more hours in the library today. This time, I didn't come out crying. Tonight, it was the bookstacks, Dylan Thomas, "Fern Hill," literary critics, and me. I hope I gleaned enough information to suit my professor. But what I hope more than that is that I gleaned enough information to compliment my ideas to write an academically competent composition on a work of literature. It occurred to me not too many days ago that I've never tried to write a "good" paper. I always just try to get it done. Somehow they please professors campus-wide, but I don't think I'm very content with that. I don't feel like I've ever quite formulated a sound thesis and done all I could to prove it. I suppose it is a little too late to accomplish that with this paper. As soon as I reach the eight-page mark, if I do, I'll tack on a conclusion, read it once through for mediocre coherence, and be done with it. That's no way to be. In my ideal mind, I'll strive for successful academic compositions, not just scraping by with last minute spatterings of disjointed words and scholarly sources. Yeah, right. But it sounds good, doesn't it?
Well, it's hard to see anything past this research paper, but those are the things that are getting me through. The glorious move happens Saturday. It's a three-day weekend. Oh, yeah. The Fourth of July would be the cause of that. I forget about holidays. The new week will bring the advent of my second course of the summer, which I hope will allow me much more pleasurely reading. I discovered today that the drama A Raisin in the Sun is in the anthology I obtained from my introduction to English studies course. I plan on finishing Let the Dead Bury Their Dead (it's taken long enough) and then getting into the play. I'm not sure why, but I'm all about some African-American literature. I guess I could actually finish reading Their Eyes Were Watching God, which I never finished because of the end-of-the-semester rush.
Anyway, it's past midnight, and I have a long day ahead of me. Chances are, I won't be blogging for a couple more days. Tomorrow, I write. Friday, I pack. Saturday, I move. Maybe I'll see you after all that. Good night.