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Date:2015-05-19 17:36
Subject:A Day in the Life: May 2015
Security:Public

Hello to anyone who's still on livejournal!

Obviously I'm still engaging in my unfortunate once-a-year posting habits, but I was telling my sister how I wanted to get back on the horse with posting again, and she suggested I upload a photographic Day in the Life that we both did at the beginning of this month. Which is a good idea, because not only is it a handy route back into blogging on lj, but it also serves as a window into what my life looks like now. So here is what I did on Saturday, May 2, 2015. I hope you enjoy. And I'll try to stop by and comment every so often, regardless of how much I end up posting myself.

Picnics, Family, and Washington D.C.Collapse )

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Date:2014-06-27 23:14
Subject:The mysterious blogger returns!
Security:Public

It seems like every time I post here, I begin with "it's been almost a year since I last wrote" and a lot of catching up has to be done. Luckily not much has actually changed between the last update and this one. :) My long-term subbing job at the elementary school finished in November, and I went back to daily subbing- this time in both counties instead of just one. The elementary schoolers were incredibly sweet, intelligent, thoughtful kids, and at a good age for me to teach if I were ever to do the primary grades- old enough to reason well and hold a less child-like conversation, but young enough to have that innocence and trust still. I do think I am not quite meant for the younger kids, though. We enjoyed each other a lot, but it took me a good four weeks to just get my bearings, figuring out what happens in a day and how things are supposed to go. I have no elementary-level training, and although apparently I'm good at covering that up, it's uncomfortable for me- and probably unfair to the students too, to have someone who doesn't specialize in teaching them. I am still signed up to sub there on a daily basis when needed, but was happy to move on to the "big kids," the teenagers I really feel I have a niche with.

I am still truly enjoying being a substitute teacher. I'm considering doing it for one more year while I take classes to renew my teaching certification, and then campaigning more actively for a full-time position. The only thing I don't enjoy about subbing is the reactions I get from other people (acquaintances, mostly) now that I've been doing it for two and a half years. People have started to ask me "what I'm doing these days" and expecting that I'll say I've moved on to a full-time position, and although they are very polite and supportive and don't say this outright, I am still sensing a bit of confusion- or even disappointment- when I tell people that I'm still subbing. (It's part of why I play up how much I enjoy it when I tell people about my job- the enthusiasm isn't disingenuous, but it's my way of putting it in a more positive light for people who might be critical.) It frustrates me when people try and subtly question whether I'm looking for a full-time position, or worst of all, talk about "getting me a real job." Excuse me, subbing is a real job, and though on paper I'm overqualified for it, in reality my teaching experience is the whole reason I do this job so well. It's that teaching experience that allows me to come into an unfamiliar classroom and actually teach the class, not just oversee them and stop them from murdering each other. And even if I was overqualified, so what? It's my choice to work a job that I enjoy. So I get very sensitive about other people's opinions on that.

I also worry that people are secretly wondering whether I can't get a full-time teaching job for some reason. I do have applications in, and it's true that no offers have been forthcoming, but I also could be campaigning a lot harder for a job in either of the counties where I work, or broadening my application field even further than it already is and not just hedging my bets on few counties. It's the fact that I am content where I am that makes me less motivated to do this. I keep reminding myself that what's important is where I want to go, not what other people's imagined five-year plan is for me. So I can get a full-time job at my own pace, and it shouldn't matter when other people want me to do it. But I do worry about people thinking less of me sometimes.

Anyway, that's the general summary of my work life. In other news, I'm still serving as worship coordinator at my church, and still living with my friend Caitlin. Right now she has been in China for the past week and will be there until Thursday, so it's been just me and the cat for quite a few days. The house feels really different without her there. It's odd, because I'm such a loner that when she's home, we actually spend a lot of time apart; I need a lot of space to myself, and besides, I tend to seclude myself in my room because it's the only way I can be sure to get things done. (Especially since this particular friend's tastes in TV so closely align with my own that I tend to fall in love with practically everything she shows me, so if I spent more time with her, I would end up getting sucked into a TV vortex and I really WOULDN'T get anything done!) So I enjoy having the house to myself, but at the same time, it feels so weird without her that right now I really miss the company. I think that's just a roommate-situation thing; I don't feel weird in an empty apartment when I'm living on my own. It's just different when you're used to someone else being around and they're not. It also probably means I need to get out and hang out with other people more. ;)

At the moment, though, I am in a different place- dog-sitting for a woman who lives nearby (and also happened to be one of my coworkers at the elementary school). She has an adorable Maltese, who is the sweetest. For a little less than a week I'll spend evenings and the earlier part of the mornings with him, and then the rest of the morning and afternoon at my own house. Again, it's funny; though I'm alone in this house right now too, I don't feel as weird as when I'm at my actual house without my roommate. You'd think I'd feel out of place because it's not MY house. Go figure...

I'm very comfy right now. This family lives in a very nice place (when I told my sister who I was dog-sitting for this week, she said, "Oh, the rich-people house?"- and it's true, their house is really nice), and I've enjoyed getting things done. Earlier I ate dinner while the TV was playing an opera, and I felt super classy. :) Now I'm curled up on the couch with a cup of tea and the dog sleeping nearby. I'll have to go to bed soon- it's 11:00 at night!

Before I sign off, here's a photo of me I took this week for a Day in the Life photographic challenge (which I probably won't get submitted in time for the deadline, but may post here for you guys). As you can probably tell from the workout clothes and the pointe shoes in my hand, I was in the middle of practicing dance when I took this photo. Excuse the weird expression on my face, and I'll try not to bore you with my insecurities about how tiny I am. This is just as a reference so you can see what I look like after all this time. :)

100_9024

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Date:2013-09-21 09:46
Subject:Hello, hello again
Security:Public
Mood:creative

It's been almost a year since my last post! I don't know how I got out of the habit of blogging. I guess my life got strange and unpredictable, and for a while I felt like I had nothing to say (and then, for another period of time, I had so much to say that it felt overwhelming to post!). So let me see if I can make this update as succinct as possible, while still telling you everything there is to know about what I've been up to!

What I've Been Doing

I've been substitute teaching now since February of 2012, and in the biggest surprise plot twist ever...I love it. It's not what I'd want to do for the rest of my life- I do want my own full-time classroom again eventually- but in a lot of ways it's super fun. You think of subs as getting a lot of backtalk and such from students, but the kids in the county where I've been working are ridiculously sweet, and my teaching experience really helps (kids can tell when you know what you're doing). I've subbed at every secondary school in the county except for one, and every grade from 6th-12th. It doesn't pay much, but after having such a difficult year of full-time teaching right after grad school, I've learned that I prize being happy at my job over making more money. My full-time teaching was salaried, but the environment was way too challenging for me as a first-year teacher, and I was miserable. I may be slightly overqualified for this job, but I'm happy doing it, and that matters a lot more to me.

In October 2012 I moved out of my parents' house and in with a friend of mine from high school. She's a good landlady, and we're having a fun time together. I'm such an introvert, but it is nice to have someone around to talk to every once in a while. :)

What I'm Doing Now

For the past month, and through the beginning of November, I am working at a job that's a bit different for me. I got hired to sub in a 2nd county in addition to the one I was currently employed in, and accepted a long-term subbing job in a 4th-grade classroom. Elementary school is a bit far outside my comfort zone, but it's enjoyable so far; the little kids are sweet, and I'm finally getting my sea legs in terms of the curriculum, which is different from what I'm used to as a secondary teacher. I can't wait to get back into classrooms with the bigger kids, but I am getting attached to these little guys. I can imagine my last day in this school will be really hard.

I got elected to my church council as the worship coordinator, and though it's a huge responsibility and I've been struggling a lot to figure out how to do the job, it's a pretty cool opportunity. My dad was the minister at this church for 25 years, so I feel a bit like I'm picking up where he left off. Although "minister" is definitely not a job I'd ever want to have.

I'm currently engaged in a quest to learn to speak the Irish language, so my family has had to put up with me constantly talking their ear off about it. I haven't mastered too much of it yet, but it's really fun! Learning new languages is like a puzzle. After I get fairly proficient in this I'm going to refresh my Spanish and German, and then maybe do another language that I don't know yet. ;)

At this very moment, I'm on a long weekend with my parents in Staunton, Virginia, where the American Shakespeare Theatre (and its authentic replica of the Blackfriars Theatre) is. It's one of my favorite places- a little quaint town with a great classical theater. We're having an awesome time.

And I can't write any more, because we're about to go do some sightseeing! Please drop me a note if you're still on lj and let me know how you're doing. I've been reading my friendslist every so often, but I'd like to chat with you anyway. And it will give me the motivation to keep posting on a semi-regular basis. <3

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Date:2012-10-23 07:51
Subject:Fifth time's the charm!
Security:Public
Mood:accomplished

Last night I went to the Potomac Library, got there with 20 minutes to spare, and successfully took the library page assessment exercise! So that's a weight off my shoulders now. As predicted, I finished in about ten minutes, and it seemed pretty easy. I'll call for my scores on Thursday, and then I get put on a waiting list for the 3 libraries I listed as my most preferred locations. When they have an opening, they'll call me!

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Date:2012-10-18 15:27
Subject:In which the universe conspires to keep me from getting a second job
Security:Public
Mood: cranky

As you might remember from an earlier entry a while back, I am in the process of getting a second job to supplement my income from subbing in Frederick County. (The subbing is still profitable- I'm working almost every day this school year- but it's not a huge amount of money, and I'm really living paycheck to paycheck right now, scraping together enough money each month to pay my bills. So a supplementary job would be really useful.) The one I'm most interested in is the ongoing opening for library pages to shelve books and such at the various public libraries in the county. I already spend a lot of time at the library, so it wouldn't be inconvenient at all to spend evenings and weekends working someplace I already love to go to. :)

In order to qualify for the library page positions, I have to complete a 20-minute assessment exercise, to prove that I can alphabetize, order numbers, and organize titles according to library systems. It's a very easy exam- I could probably finish it in 10 minutes and get 100% on it. That is, I could if I could make it to the assessment exercises they hold in the afternoons and evenings around the county. And believe, me, I have been trying. Let me break this adventure down for you.

ATTEMPT 1: SEPTEMBER 26, WHITE OAK BRANCH
I call ahead of time (the Monday before) to confirm the time and necessary materials for the assessment. They ask me to call back later in the week, because the person running it might be indisposed and need to cancel. Sure enough, this one ends up being cancelled. Not a problem, I think; there's another one tomorrow. I'll just make that one.

ATTEMPT 2: SEPTEMBER 27, KENSINGTON BRANCH
I almost made it to this one- it turns out I ended up less than 5 minutes away, and would have gotten there if my directions were correct. Unwisely, I had put the name of the library instead of the address into Google Maps, and it got confused and directed me to an address on Kensington Boulevard, which dead ends in a row of houses. Already cutting it too close to time, and with no idea how to get to the library from there since I don't know the DC-adjacent suburbs terribly well, I turned around and came back home. Fail.

ATTEMPT 3: OCTOBER 17, DAMASCUS BRANCH
The next assessment opportunity wasn't until yesterday- October 17. I left an hour before the assessment began (or so I thought), even though it only takes 22 minutes to drive to Damascus. Based on traffic and such, I arrived at the library at 6:30 for what I thought was a 7:00 exam and asked the lady at the desk where I would need to go when it was time. Then I went and wandered in the stacks for a while while I waited. That was what I was doing when the librarian from the desk came back up to me. "You're here for the library page assessment, right?" she asked. When I said yes, she told me, "They've already started. It starts at 6:30." I maintained that this was NOT what the website said, but when we went and checked, it turned out the site DID say 6:30 after all (and the lady did check her records and found that the time had never been changed; apparently it had always said that). I could have sworn up and down that when I went on the website the day before to check the branch and the time and to get directions, it had said 7:00, but apparently my brain had just lost communication with my eyes and I had hallucinated that. They can't let you in after the assessment has already started, so I resigned myself to making a fourth attempt the next day (today).

ATTEMPT 4: OCTOBER 18, CHEVY CHASE BRANCH
So it was that today I set out to try AGAIN. The exam was at 2. I left at 12:45 for what is only a 37-minute drive. (You'd think that with all this extra time I'm leaving when I go to these things, it would account for any delays or whatever, but apparently not.) For those of you who don't know, Chevy Chase is pretty much on the border between Maryland and Washington, D.C.; this will become very important later. As I drove down Connecticut Avenue, I was looking for the road that the directions wanted me to make a u-turn on, but I couldn't find a sign for it.

The roundabout was the first sign that I had gone wrong. You see, I had noticed when I was getting the directions to this branch earlier in the day that it is practically right around the corner from the National Cathedral, my all-time favorite place in D.C. (The Cathedral is only 15 minutes away from the library.) For fun, I had looked up the directions from the library to the Cathedral, and happened to notice that the first instruction mentioned a roundabout. It's important to know that my directions to the library did not involve a roundabout, so when I came to it on my way to the library, that was my first signal that I'd gone too far. But in my stubborn way, I thought I'd go just a bit further, to see if maybe it was one of the next streets down. I continued on until the neighborhood started to look suspiciously like the neighborhoods in northwest D.C. that surround the Cathedral and the Van Ness district. When I started seeing Metro stations and such, I knew for sure that I had crossed over into D.C.

Luckily I still had a little time before the assessment began, so I found a place to turn around and went back up Connecticut Avenue. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a building that said "Chevy Chase Library" on it. I was excited- I had found it, and with 10 minutes to spare! So I pulled into a residential side street, did one of my better street parking jobs, and walked over to the library- where no one seemed to know what I was talking about when I mentioned a library page assessment exercise. It finally came out that there are, unbelievably, TWO Chevy Chase libraries- one in D.C., one in Maryland, but both about 5 minutes apart on Connecticut Avenue. I had pulled into the wrong branch.

By this time it was too late to make the assessment at the right branch, so I turned around and went all the way back home. I may have been vaguely muttering expletives the whole time.

Attempt #5 will be this Monday, at 5:00, at the Potomac branch. I'm considering just going straight over from work and camping out there until someone gives me this freaking test. It should not be this hard to get a second job, let me tell you.

And now I'm going to go watch a History Channel documentary on Halloween (yes, that's my Halloween movie this year; I still haven't mustered up the courage to actually rent a scary movie for the holiday). Hope your lives are filled with as much craziness as mine, but with less frustration!

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Date:2012-09-26 08:49
Subject:Some (brief, hopefully) thoughts on "Elementary" & Sherlock Holmes
Security:Public
Mood:geeky

Like many people, especially those of us who are fans of the BBC Sherlock, I've been dubious for a long time about America's modern-day remake (called Elementary- which, first of all, how does that title even make sense in a modern-day adaptation? But I'm just nitpicking there). The controversy is that, instead of John Watson being a man, the character is played by a woman- Lucy Liu, specifically. While she is lovely and very talented, and Jonny Lee Miller (who plays Sherlock) will also undoubtedly be very good, the fact is that changing the characters to opposite genders changes their dynamic. I wish it weren't so- I would love to see more platonic guy-girl relationships on TV- but on a broadcast channel, with the characters being the two leads (necessitating that the writers raise the stakes in their relationship to maintain interest from other viewers), I just don't see it happening. That's the main issue surrounding this series for a lot of Sherlock Holmes fans.

But recently, I read this article on the BUST Magazine online blog (which I used to contribute to, yay!). It's an interesting article- very general, makes all the usual points- but the way the show was described made me realize that I have a different problem with its premise, that has less to do with gender roles and more with the relationship dynamics in general. I've reposted my comment to the article (which is worth reading before you read this, by the way) below, and I'll elaborate on it afterward.

Huh, it's interesting to read this because I've had such mixed feelings about the premise of this show- and still do; in fact, I think they're more mixed now that I've read this. :) First of all, I trust the "no plans to make Liu and Miller love interests" claim for about as long as it takes me to say it aloud; I don't think network TV can resist, to be honest. But while I am intrigued, the Sherlock Holmes geek in me finds the tweaking of even the platonic relationship between these two to be strange. Having Watson be "a sobriety counselor who must stay with [Holmes] on his road to recovery" sort of defeats the whole charm of the friendship for me. Because in the stories- as in pretty much every other incarnation since they were published- Watson doesn't HAVE to stay with Holmes for any reason at all. In fact, he would have been safer to cut his ties and run while he didn't have any attachment. But for whatever reason, he does stay. Just like nothing causes their meeting other than their mutual need for someone to share an apartment with, nothing causes them to stay friends other than compatibility and a slight usefulness and fascination with each other. Introducing this more formulaic way of bringing them together takes some of the magic away, in my opinion.

No one on the site has debated me about this, so of course I'm bringing it here to get other opinions. :P Does this strike anyone else as a slight turn-off? For me, the beauty of the Holmes and Watson friendship- whether it's two guys or a guy and a girl- is that Watson willingly lets himself be drawn into this web, for no reason other than his platonic attraction to Sherlock. They're both loners, they're introduced by a friend, and they move in together. The partnership starts from there, not from any circumstance in which Watson is required to follow Holmes around. The stories don't even use the convention of "Watson is swept up into a case with Holmes and then decides he wants to keep hanging around with him," which would be so easy. Look at the BBC Sherlock as an example. Yeah, Watson does get swept up in a case with Holmes- but he's already living with him when that happens. In some sense, he's already committed to the friendship, at least as flatmates. Something has already drawn them together by choice, before the danger and adventure cement that bond.

What I said in the reposted comment is true- some of the magic is lost for me if, even just initially, it's Watson's job to stay with Holmes. I'm sure they can weave a strong friendship from that beginning, but I don't know if it would be the same for me. There's something organic about the way it's presented in the original stories and the BBC version (as well as the recent films, although those don't start from the beginning of the canon) that is a lot more intriguing for me. I'd prefer that over something where either one of them originally enters into the relationship on a part-time basis.

The only consequence of me talking so much about my feelings on this is that now I feel like I have to watch the pilot, just so that I have concrete thoughts on the matter to come back with. :P I really don't feel any animosity toward this series, despite having issues with the premise and the gender of the leads. I don't think it will be a bad show. It's just that, maybe, it's not for me.

What about you? If anyone has watched it, tell me how it is!

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Date:2012-09-24 22:42
Subject:After a dry spell, a massive pile of information!
Security:Public
Mood: chipper

One might make the point that, if I can't remember off the top of my head what the last entry I posted was about, then it might be too long since I've posted an entry. So here, I'm making an effort at updating! :)

The haircut I got in the last entry is...well, it's still a good haircut, but it's rebelling. My bangs do NOT want to stay in the new style; within 3 days they had rejected it and returned to their original position. They're better now, but I still sometimes battle to get them to sit the way I want them to, and of course the style looked more polished when the hairstylist had straightened it and filled it with hair product to within an inch of its life. I should probably get it touched up soon, but I kind of don't even have the spare money for a haircut right now.

Which is not to say that job stuff isn't going well. First month back after summer vacation (during which teachers don't get paid, unless they work summer school or something, in case you weren't aware) was always going to be rough, even though I had a pretty good summer money-wise. (The New Orleans trip I took in July was partially paid for by the Lutheran church since I was volunteering for them, and I got a travel stipend while there as well; that was my only big potential expense of the summer.) I'm actually getting a heck of a lot of work this year as a substitute teacher- I've worked every day this school year except the first 3 days of the year and last Thursday. I can feel that this part-time job may become more lucrative for me, although probably in the long-term rather than the short (meaning, this county seems to hire full-time teachers quite a bit from the highly-qualified subs, so my full-time prospects for next year are looking a bit more optimistic). I'm starting to sub multiple times for the same teachers, I'm doing professional development at the Board of Education next week, and I helped out in a media center last week and the library technician said she'd get me training for that as well so I could do it more often. I really like this job, and I'm glad to see it panning out so well.

I had a very tempting opportunity to work as a paraeducator in another county (found for me by a dear friend of mine who I'm moving in with next month- hi Caitlin, if you're reading this). Unfortunately, while the pay was awesome, the hours were slightly fewer, and I also didn't want to put the relationship I have with my current school system on hold to start over again with a new one. I've grown really fond of the district I'm working in now. It's good to be at a job where I'm genuinely happy- you guys know that my first job in teaching was not a success, to say the least, so having this one turn out so nicely is a relief!

Speaking of jobs and libraries, as I was earlier, I've applied for an as-needed position as a library page (that person who shelves books) at the public libraries in my community. I'm going in on Thursday for the assessment exercise that proves I can alphabetize and such, and then I'll be put on a waiting list and contacted by specific libraries if and when they have an opening. I really want this as a side job; it wouldn't be any more than 19 hours a week, and it would actually be a great way to decompress from my primary job. Teaching involves a lot of being in charge and outgoing; you have to lead a bunch of young people and be in control of everything. It's a profession I love, but it's also difficult in a lot of ways for someone who tends on the introverted side of the spectrum. (My performing experience undoubtedly helps a lot in this way.) I would benefit a lot from going from a teaching job during the day to an evening job where my primary responsibility is putting books on shelves. I already go to the library to wind down, so being paid to spend time there would be ideal. I hope I get the position!

Um...other news? I went to the National Book Festival on Saturday. The only person whose presentation I saw in full was Lois Lowry's, and hers was the one I was determined not to miss (the friends I was with had to put up with me planning our entire afternoon around her talk). The Giver is one of those books that changed my life as a kid; I already loved reading, but it- and Lord of the Flies, which I read 2 years later- were two of the first books that got me interested in what literature means, rather than just what literature is. And of course, you have to be interested in the meaning of stories in order to teach English, so it had huge implications on my life choices as well. She gave a really interesting presentation- it'll be up on the Library of Congress website if you want to see it- and the questions asked by the audience were good too. I didn't get to do as much at the Bookfest as last year (partially because I was only there for one of the two days this time, and partially because I spent more time milling about with my friends than focusing on the events) but I still enjoyed myself. The opportunity in both years to see so many amazing authors in the flesh is incredible.

I watched the Emmys last night, which was both cool and frustrating. I thought it was a solid telecast and enjoyable to watch, but it was difficult because I watch so little current TV these days. I usually am only a regular viewer of whatever show I'm renting on DVD at the moment, which is not normally one that's still on the air; for instance, I am between shows at the moment, but I just finished The Wire, which has been off for several years, and I'll soon be starting the UK version of Life on Mars with John Simm, which has also been done for some time. I consider myself still a fan of Glee (although I can't watch Season 4 because I'm still about 6 episodes behind on Season 3- I'm marathon-watching it on DVD to catch up), The Big Bang Theory (although I haven't regularly watched it since about mid-Season 3), and Suits (of which I've only seen the first two episodes of Season 2 so far). In fact, the only two shows nominated this year that I've really seen any of were The Big Bang Theory and Sherlock, and neither won any major awards. (Sherlock is also the only one I'm up to date on!) For the categories in which neither of those two shows were nominated, I either chose actors/writers/directors I was familiar with and liked, or chose arbitrarily from the options. I'm happy to post my list of Emmy picks if anyone's interested in seeing them. Of the ones I chose, though, only 2 (out of, like, 25 categories) ended up being winners: Claire Danes as Best Supporting Actress in a Drama, and Dame Maggie Smith as Best Lead Actress in a Drama. I've never seen either of their shows (although Downton Abbey is on my list of shows to rent), but I like both of those actors, and they deserve the awards, so I "voted" for them. This all probably means I should watch more TV this coming year and have a better chance of making educated guesses and voting for some winners!

Um, is there anything else you all should know? Probably not. Except OH WAIT, my sister is engaged now! Yep, gingerrose and metamorphage have finally decided after four years to make it official. I get to be maid of honor at the official wedding, but that's still a couple years off; they want to have a backyard ceremony when they're settled and have their own house, which could be a while. In the meantime, they're having a small, family-only civil ceremony sometime this winter. It's very exciting. As I said on facebook and twitter, I've already been calling Noah my brother-in-law for several months as a shorthand when talking to people I don't know well ("my sister's long-term boyfriend/domestic partner" just gets too long to say after a certain point), so it's nice that it will now be official. :)

Should probably go to bed pretty soon! I have an all-day job teaching middle school social studies tomorrow, so I'd better get plenty of rest in preparation for that. :) Please leave comments and let me know how you are! I've been OK about keeping up with reading/skimming my friends list, but not so good at commenting or at remembering what I've read. I know some exciting things have been going on- grad school for at least two of you, an exciting convention weekend for a couple more, and general life stuff for many others. Hope you are well! I will try to be back soon. <3

P.S. If there are any good new shows on TV right now, or any old shows that I should be looking into, let me know! I may be terrible at keeping up with shows that are currently on the air (as the track record I mentioned above suggests), and things I decide I want to rent on DVD often end up going into a big box that I choose from at random and not unearthed for months or years on end, but I do love recommendations and talking about TV. So feel free to tell me what you think is good. :)

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Date:2012-08-25 19:24
Subject:Introducing...my new haircut!
Security:Public
Mood: chipper

I did something this past week that was kind of monumental for me: I got a haircut.

Well, no, getting a haircut wasn't monumental. I do get it cut now and again. ;) But this time I decided I wanted to drastically change my hairstyle in some way. I've worn it the same way- thick bangs, around shoulder-length or a couple inches longer, all one length- pretty much my entire life, and sometimes I can be pretty resistant to change. And a lot of people have insinuated, over the years, that my hairstyle is a defining part of me (or, in my younger years, that it differentiated me from my twin sister). That got ingrained into my mind, so that I felt like people would feel let down if I changed it. And, of course, I didn't know how I personally would feel about a new style.

But I felt like a change needed to be made. So I went to Westminster to visit the hair salon my sister uses, which she has raved about (and which has always given her really awesome-looking styles). My parameters for them were the following:

- nothing semi-permanent like a perm or hair dye. Straightening or using a curling iron is fine because that fades after a few days, but I don't want something (other than a cut, of course) that's going to last weeks or months if I don't like it.
- has to be professional-looking, because I work in the schools.
- doesn't look exactly like my sister's hairstyle. I love her and her hair, but there's a certain age at which you don't really want to match exactly anymore, you know?

This is what she came up with:



I was really satisfied with it! It was drastic enough to signify a change, but not so much that it was overwhelming. The bangs- which I'm going to try and grow out- are already resisting the new style; I'm probably going to have to start pinning them to the side, because they're creeping back to their original position after only a few days. :) For reference, here's a picture from winter 2009 that demonstrates the "before" of my hair:



So that's my new hair! I'll try and come back soon and do more actual posts. I really should be updating more often. :)

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Date:2012-07-07 23:00
Subject:What is this lj you speak of?
Security:Public
Mood: hopeful

So apparently I'm having an off year with lj? I didn't realize how rarely I was posting until just recently. I've probably not been commenting as much on other people's posts as usual, although I have been reading my friendslist sporadically. Mostly from February on I was working as a substitute teacher, which kept me plenty busy; now I'm still on the market for a full-time job (interview on Monday- wish me luck!) but will take the subbing again in the fall if all else fails. I'm sure there's lots of other stuff I could talk about- more about work, my freakouts about politics and social responsibility, the TV I've been watching (OMG Sherlock OMG Glee etc.), or any number of things. But for now, I think I'll let you guys jump-start me back into the world of lj via a meme! I actually found this on tumblr; I don't have a tumblr myself, but I love to bookmark interesting ones and browse them when I feel like wasting some time. (Feel free to leave your tumblr address in the comments and I will bookmark it and gladly use it as a distraction when I should be working on other stuff!) It's 55 questions; choose anywhere from 1-5 (just so I don't have to answer 55 questions at once) and I'll respond in the comments! It's about reading, so you know I'll have lots to say. :P


1. Favorite childhood book?
2. What are you reading right now?
3. What books do you have on request at the library?
4. Bad book habit?
5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
6. Do you have an e-reader?
7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
9. Least favourite book you read this year (so far)?
10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
12. What is your reading comfort zone?
13. Can you read on the bus?
14. Favorite place to read?
15. What is your policy on book lending?
16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
18. Not even with text books?
19. What is your favourite language to read in?
20. What makes you love a book?
21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
22. Favorite genre?
23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)?
24. Favourite biography?
25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
26. Favourite cookbook?
27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
28. Favorite reading snack?
29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
35. Favorite Poet?
36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
37. How often have you returned books to the library unread?
38. Favorite fictional character?
39. Favourite fictional villain?
40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
52. Name a book that made you angry.
53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?

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Date:2012-04-18 23:38
Subject:Here, flist, have some hugs!
Security:Public
Mood: hopeful

I know I haven't been around much at all the last couple of months. And up until a few weeks ago, I was reading my friendslist pretty regularly, but I've gotten busy recently and have fallen off the lj wagon a bit. I will, eventually, do a post about my work and my life and all the stuff that's been keeping me busy. But for tonight, I just wanted to come by and say hello.

I wanted to do this because I couldn't help but notice, while skimming my flist tonight, that a lot of you are going through really hard times right now. There seems to be a running theme the last couple of days: of work problems, health problems, family problems. Facebook is actually the same right now; it seems to be a drama-filled and/or depressing time for everyone. I wanted to let you guys know that I'm thinking about you, and that I hope it gets better soon. Do whatever you normally do to feel happy. (I usually make myself a cup of tea, watch blooper reels from films/TV shows on youtube, and listen to Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now," but whatever works for you.) And if you need to vent, you know where to find me. I will try to be around more often.

Much love for you all! <3

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Date:2012-02-26 16:33
Subject:National Protest Against the War on Women
Security:Public
Mood:determined

I don't normally post stuff about political activism here, and I'm not even sure I'll go to this myself. I believe there are different kinds of activism suited for different people, and I don't really consider myself a demonstrating-type activist. But I've been feeling more and more uneasy about the state of the world recently, and especially the stuff going on in our own nation at the moment. Although the restrictions on contraception and reproductive rights aren't immediately relevant to me as a single, non-sexually active woman, they have been worrying me a lot of late. So I thought I'd repost this from a friend's lj, as a signal boost for all the ladies (and gentlemen!) who might be interested. Because it matters what we do to and for women, and everyone- our leaders and our fellow citizens- needs to realize that.

Originally posted by gabrielleabelle at National Protest Against the War on Women

Horrified at the latest encroachments on the rights and freedom of women in the US?

Do charts like this freak you the fuck out? (Source)

Are you pissed off that your access to birth control is under attack? Or that some politicians are trying to enforce vaginal ultrasounds before abortions? Or that Santorum thinks your sex and body are his business? Starting to feel like we've taken a huge step backward in terms of women's advancement?

THEN PROTEST!

I know some people (understandably) don't have a Facebook, and this thing doesn't appear to have an off-FB site, but please take a look-see at THIS.

The deets:

On Saturday, April 28th, there will be a National Protest Against the War on Women.

This protest will be at every state capitol, plus D.C.

This organizing page has the links to each states' page (on the right sidebar, click "see more", and scroll down).

EDIT: They now have an off-FB page. We Are Woman March on Washington compiles all the Facebook groups, events, and pages.

I'm not the organizer of any of these events. I'm just another pissed off woman who's planning to attend.

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Date:2012-02-12 21:35
Subject:TV Thoughts: Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy edition
Security:Public
Mood: amused

I've been watching Noel Fielding's new show Luxury Comedy (through youtube uploads, of course) each week as new episodes come out. Now that I've gotten through episode 3, I think it might be time to share some thoughts on the whole thing.

Warning: If you don"t watch the show, this post probably won"t make a lot of sense. If you do watch it...well, it won"t really make sense anyway.Collapse )

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Date:2012-02-04 21:04
Subject:A few thoughts on my recent TV watching...
Security:Public
Mood:enthralled

...but not any of the shows I said yesterday I'd write about. :P

I have all kinds of different reactions to TV shows when I watch them for the first time. Some shows I'm hooked on pretty much instantly- Skins, for instance, I loved from the end of the very first episode, despite the fact that all the characters in it are raunchy and rebellious and should be unlovable. Some shows take a few episodes to grow on me; I wrote about that happening with The Mighty Boosh, which took 4 episodes for me to really catch on.

And then, there's The Wire.

The rest of this is under a cut in case of spoilersCollapse )

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Date:2012-02-03 12:14
Subject:Things I plan to write about soon
Security:Public
Mood:busy

I keep getting blog ideas. There's about 7 of them hanging out in my head right now, but I never get around to writing them. So here is a list of posts I plan to write in the next couple of weeks (in no particular order):

- a work post, comparing the past to the present and updating you guys on upcoming work possibilities (which should be sorted out by today, yay!)
- my long-awaited summer travel post on Glasgow
- summer travel post on Edinburgh
- summer travel post on the return to London, before flying back to the USA
- a review of Noel Fielding's new show, Luxury Comedy (after I watch episode 2)
- some commentary about Sheldon and Leonard on The Big Bang Theory, that I was thinking about after watching the episode that aired last night
- some thoughts I had about a scene on Glee that I watched ages ago but never posted about

For now, though, back to work!

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Date:2012-01-17 11:46
Subject:News, news, news
Security:Public
Mood:awake

I realized a couple of days ago that it's been a while since I've updated here in any substantial way. I have been reading my flist regularly, and commented most of the time, but never got around to writing my own entry. So here are a few bullet points to catch you up:

- My internship in New York is still going on (I'm on the bus back from my long weekend as we speak), and it will be until March 1. I'm actually hoping it ends a month early, though- not because I don't like it (on the contrary, I love it, it's so much fun) but because I'm starting to get callbacks from teaching jobs in Maryland. I have a screening interview with Human Resources on Friday afternoon, and I'm in the process of scheduling a job-specific interview with a middle school. I'd hate to break my agreement and leave the magazine internship early, but the internship is unpaid, and I need money rather badly at this point. Also I really want to be teaching again. So keep your fingers crossed that one of these comes through.

- My parents gave me all 3 seasons of Arrested Development for Christmas this year, even though I've never seen it. (I think they meant to give it to my sister, who loves the show, and got the labels mixed up- but they haven't admitted that and I'm not going to try and force it out of them.) I watched the pilot episode yesterday, and it is really funny. It's such a universally loved show that I felt bad saying I hadn't watched it until now. Once I get more time at home, I'll probably marathon-watch most of it, which will be fun.

- Since I got that on DVD, I took the show out of the running in my list of shows to rent on Netflix. (I keep the names of these shows on Post-It Notes in a box in my desk, and draw a new one at random when I finish whatever I'm currently watching. I'm near the end of Season 3 of The Wire right now.) Recently I've been trying to think of another show to add to the box. I'm considering Fringe because I like Lost so much, but I'm not sure whether to go for it or not. I might add The Big Bang Theory so I can catch up (I'm almost a full season behind). A friend on facebook suggested I add American Horror Story, but that's only just come out on TV, so it'll be a while before it is released on DVD. Plus it's horror, and that's not really my thing. Suggestions are always welcome, since I know you guys are my TV experts here.

- Speaking of horror, I recently had the opportunity to see the first 15 minutes of the movie Zombieland. Now I'm really conflicted as to whether I want to watch it or not. Netflix consistently brings it up as one of my suggested movies in the horror/comedy category, but I never put it on the list because zombies aren't really interesting to me. I also really don't like gore (although I don't mind violence), so initially the movie really put me off. But then the characters were so funny, and I loved that. So I'm still trying to decide whether my love of awkwardly mismatched duos is strong enough to override my discomfort with gore. I watched the trailer and had the sinking feeling I might like the movie, but you never know till you see it.

- Currently, I am the only person in the entire world who has not seen Series 2 of the BBC Sherlock. Everyone is going crazy over the Reichenbach Falls episode that just aired, and I still have yet to see any of the 3 new episodes. The thing is that I want them to be uploaded to youtube before I try to watch them. I know there are places they can be downloaded, but my computer is so old that it can't fight off any viruses if the link turns out to be unsafe, and I would rather watch it on youtube anyway. I'm also at least 5 episodes behind on Glee. I don't know what's happened here.

I can't remember if I had any more bullet points to add, so I'll come back later if I think of more. Hope you are all well!

P.S. Good lord, I think something's happened on the bus ahead of me. There are, like, 5 police cars. What in the world is going on??

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Date:2012-01-01 00:34
Subject:Happy New Year!
Security:Public
Mood: cheerful

Happy New Year to everyone on my flist! May 2012 bring its own rewards and adventures, with a minimum of suffering and frustration (only as much as is good for us). Hope you all are staying safe and celebrating well!

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Date:2011-12-07 10:34
Subject:Brief New York update
Security:Public
Mood: tired

I actually have some downtime before I have to go off for my first day of internship work, so I thought I'd check in. Things have been a little crazy here so far, but after a confusing day yesterday figuring out how to navigate the city, I think I will have a lot more success from here on out.

I took the 4.5-hour Megabus ride from D.C. to New York yesterday morning. It was rainy and slightly humid in both places, which made the city a little bit less charming than it usually is for me. (But it was still very exciting to come through the tunnel and into NYC. That will never not be exciting.) One thing that I didn't factor in when I was packing was that my laptop (especially in its bigger case) makes my suitcase super heavy. I wasn't going to the hostel until a couple of hours after I got there, so that meant I had to drag the thing up and down the streets of New York. I headed first to an Indian restaurant Florence had recommended for a late lunch, but the combination of the heavy suitcase, the humidity, the rain, and my tiredness made me a little worse for wear. I think I burst into the restaurant looking slightly deranged. :)

The food perked me up a little, though, and I set off to 27th Street to locate the building where my internship would be (I always like to do a walk-through of how to get there before I have to do it for real). I found the exact city block where it is, but strangely, couldn't find the entrance itself. I'm pretty sure it's one of those nondescript entrances with the buzzers sandwiched between storefronts, but I couldn't seem to find the specific one. I'm confident I will be able to do so today when I go down there, though.

Then came the fun part of the day: figuring out the subway. Foolishly, I didn't consult a subway map before embarking on this trip; I wrote down the Google Maps public transit directions, but didn't do more because I assumed that a) the directions were correct, and b) as in D.C., there would be large, conspicuous subway maps at periodic intervals to check if I needed to. After struggling to get my suitcase and myself through the turnstile at the same time, I came to the discovery that neither of those things was true. Well, the Google directions weren't incorrect so much as incomplete. They simply told me to catch the 6 train from 28th St. to 96th St., which you can do- but not from where I was. Instead, I had to take the N/R train (whatever that is) to 42nd St., take the shuttle to Grand Central Station, and pick up the 6 from there. This was, in my opinion, terribly confusing. I had to ask about 6 different people for help (they were very accommodating, thankfully) and finally got where I needed to go.

The hostel is about what I expected. It's clean and has everything it needs, but it's not exactly 5-star accommodation; the beds aren't too comfortable, it's really warm in the room, the doors to both the room and the bathroom are hard to open and close, etc. Still, it's cheap and sufficient and I'm willing to rough it a little bit. Today has been a success so far: I got up in time to have breakfast (they only serve it from 9-10, which is ridiculous considering how on a normal day I start work at 10), found a CVS nearby to get some quick microwaveable food, got hot water for tea at Starbucks, re-located the subway stop I'll be using, and have been chilling out here on the computer since then. In a few minutes I'll get ready to go to work.I don't know at all what to expect, but I'm hoping for the best.

As far as travel updates go, I'm hoping to do my Glasgow post in the next couple of days! Wi-fi is free here, and you can access it (with varying degrees of success) on the Megabus too, so I might be able to do that soon. Stay tuned for more NY posts as well! Maybe with pictures, when it isn't so rainy and dismal!

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Date:2011-12-02 15:20
Subject:The best decisions are logistically complicated decisions. :)
Security:Public
Mood: excited

I have good news, but complicated news! There's been a sudden development in the circumstances of my life this week. Let me explain.

Way back in September, I sent in an application for an internship at BUST Magazine, a popular feminist magazine with its offices in New York City. It's an unpaid internship, and I have no magazine experience, but the job requirements were very much entry-level, and I wanted to do something with the Women's Studies concentration I worked on in college (before I had to ditch it to finish my teaching prerequisites on time). To be completely honest, I applied for the internship on a whim; I liked BUST, I had no other employment to take up my time, and I thought it would be fun to be in NYC for a bit.

Earlier this week, I got an email from them. They had an immediate internship opening, for 3 months, 3 days a week, starting ASAP. If I was interested, they wanted to set up a phone interview. We spoke today, and it turned out that "phone interview" really meant "phone call to talk about the logistics of when you're going to come up and start because you're pretty much already hired." I start Wednesday.

I know that logistically, this will be incredibly complicated. I'll be up there for half of each week (I work Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, which was their suggestion and gives me a built-in day off to enjoy the city, yay!) and I'm not driving myself, which means money will be spent staying in youth hostels (I've compiled a laundry list of cheap and well-recommended ones) and taking the Megabus back and forth. But I'm going into overdrive now to find a retail job to cover the difference that will let me work weekends, and it is only until March 1. If it gets too complicated to do the weekly commute, or if I can't find a retail job down here but something comes up there, I'll look into different options. But I have just enough in my bank account right now to tide me over while I arrange that. As long as the bus and hostels stay cheap for a few weeks, I can figure out the rest.

I'm not really a spontaneous person, but I've noticed that recently, the best decisions I make tend to be the ones that seem ill-advised on the surface. My teaching job in Cambridge was, for all intents and purposes, a smart decision, but it worked out badly. My trip to England was as logistically complicated as this (and for all the same reasons), but it turned out to be an immensely good decision. I've been itching to go to New York for a while now, and also dying for something to do other than sit around the house and fill out applications. Plus, as gingerrose pointed out when I told her I had booked a phone interview, the internship will look awfully good on my resume. So, um, if you're the praying kind, pray for me; if not, send good thoughts my way. If you have any tips on making this whole situation work, I could use those too. Mostly, though, I'm just happy. Something- however ill-advised, however unpaid- has come through!!

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Date:2011-11-25 22:51
Subject:Writer's Block: Black Friday
Security:Public

What's the last thing you bought?


Chicken tenders, fries, and a Coke at a Burger King in middle-of-nowhere Virginia this afternoon. I dislike fast food as a whole, but I was on a nine-hour bus ride back from Tennessee and we were parked at a rest stop, so it was that or convenience store food.

In other news, I'm back from Thanksgiving with my relatives! Actually, I hadn't even mentioned I was leaving, so let me preface that by saying that, instead of my aunt and uncle coming to Maryland for Thanksgiving this year, my parents and I went to spend the holiday with them. We had a lovely time, and just got back earlier this evening.

Hope you guys had an excellent holiday! Soon it'll be time for Christmas cards- look for a post about that in the next couple of days!

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Date:2011-11-14 23:19
Subject:An Awfully Big Adventure: UK Travel Adventure 2011, Part 4
Security:Public
Mood: sleepy

Well, we're at the halfway point of my series of posts chronicling my summer adventures in the UK! This is the last post that takes place in Wales; after this we go to two Scottish cities- one which I liked and one, well, not so much- and then back to London. With the nearly five-month time gap between when this stuff happened and when I'm actually writing about it, it's a good thing I kept such exhaustive notes on each leg of the trip!

I know I always encourage you guys to look at the public facebook albums I've made for each location I post about, but I would especially direct you to the album for today's entry, since I'm particularly proud of the photos that I took in Conwy. "Picturesque" doesn't even begin to describe what this place is like.

Part 1: London, England
Part 2: Cardiff, Wales
Part 3: Hay-on-Wye, Wales

Part 4: Conwy, Wales (June 24-June 26)Collapse )

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