I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance…

by moving to Washington state. It’s always exciting to save money and this week I got my adjusted car insurance premium. By moving to Washington my car insurance premium was literally cut in half. It’s fabulous.

Car insurance aside, this week has been pretty decent. My Monday night class went well. I was nervous and apparently it showed, but overall I feel good about the whole process. I’m glad I decided to take the initiative and teach the class. The students seemed okay about the movie choice. It was probably a little too long and maybe too artsy for the students, but I still feel like it was important for them to see the movie and learn about the federal theatre project. I also decided to go ahead and take this upcoming Monday’s class. We’re going to see the theatre departments production of Stop Kiss and I’ve asked the director to introduce the play, as well as do a talk back session after the show. Yay! I don’t have to do a lecture, but I DO have to design a quiz. I’m going to see the production tomorrow night, that way I can enjoy it before babysitting my class.

I also kicked butt in my history class this week. I did some extra reading and research before class and it paid off, I was totally prepared. It really is the best feeling.

On the other hand, I’m feeling stressed about my upcoming projects in all my classes. I’ve been working steadily trying to get ahead, but I don’t feel like I’m making much progress. I’m also lacking specific, clear, scholarly ideas. I talked to my mom for a while on the phone brainstorming ideas, and it helped, but I’m still feeling overwhelmed. I also made her brain hurt, haha. I guess now she knows how my head feels times four projects. I know the once I have a specific focus for my various projects, it will be a weight lifted off my shoulders. I just need to talk to my teachers and hope they’ll help me brainstorm.

 

I lost one of my new gloves this week. I’m totally bummed. Not both of them, just one. Now I can pretend I’m Michael Jackson. Ugh. Maybe I’ll start a new trend and wear one black one (I lost the other black one) and one pink one. Mix and match. It’s not the end of the world, they were only $.75, but still! C’est la vie.

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Now I’m off to enjoy my brainless book and curl up in my newly made bed! I put my feather bed on my bed today, so now I’m going to be super warm and comfy. Ahh, awesome. πŸ™‚

Things to remember:

I teach my first class tonight. I’m nervous, excited, scared, ready to take on the challenge!

* * *

These are kind of cheesy and cliche, but I like the overall messages:

Did you say it? ‘I love you. I don’t ever want to live without you. You changed my life.’ Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around; Drink it in ’cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow.
– Grey’s Anatomy

 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yetHqWODp0]

[spring ahead] fall behind!

Daylight saving: I loved that extra hour of sleep this morning. I’m not so much a fan of the sun setting at 4:45pm. I don’t think the lack of daylight will affect me much when it comes to walking home in the dark, thankfully. I just hope the shorter days don’t drive me crazy. I tend to be operated by the sun, as C would say.

Today I took a much needed trip to Yakima. One of the best things about living in Ellensburg is driving is almost optional and even when you do have to get in the car, it takes all of five minutes to get anywhere. On the flip side of that, as someone who enjoys driving, it makes me a bit stir crazy not to any spend time on the road. Plus, one of my favorite things about driving is listening to mix cds! Anyway, since I have a little time this week, the roads are clear and I had a need to go to Yakima, I decided to make a trip. Hooray! It was great.

Side story:
In my history class we were discussing whether or not people from the middle ages would question the established belief systems (religion) and our teacher pointed out that in order to have thoughts against the established ideas, you need time to think. The people from the middle ages didn’t have time to think, their lives were too structured with work and such, not to mention they were somewhat isolated. Anyway, my point is, my teacher was trying to point out that for us to come up with ideas for papers and projects, we need to give ourselves time to think. As I was driving to Yakima, I started thinking about mock MA thesis topics and the ideas started to flow. I do a lot of thinking as I drive, it helps me clear my head. Once I got to the stores, I wrote my ideas down in my notebook. Now onto the next step: researching them further and brainstorming with my teachers and my mom. I’m just happy that my thoughts have started to come together.

 

Upcoming plans:

We were given one of our final projects for the quarter on Wednesday. It’s called the Mock MA Thesis exercise. It is a brilliant exercise and I’m really glad we’re doing it. Basically, we pick a thesis topic, do the research, and everything that is involved with writing a thesis, EXCEPT the actual writing of it. We will be able to figure out if our topic is feasible or if we need to think about doing something else.

Then by the end of winter quarter (march-april) we will need to have settled on a thesis topic and start researching. I’ve been sort of stressed out not knowing what my summer will consist of, but I now know that I’ll be doing all my thesis research. There are grants available to us if we need to travel to do research, which would be incredible! Part of me wants to pick a topic that will force me to travel someplace awesome. Who knows! I also realized this week that I need to start the PhD application process over the summer. I want to retake the GRE, get my writing samples together, narrow down program options, write statements of purpose, and maybe even visit the schools. I don’t need to worry about finding things to do this summer, because clearly, I have A LOT to do.

Once school’s back in session, next fall, I need to have all my research done so I can work on writing my thesis part-time. You know, in the middle of taking classes and teaching. Life is going to be busy!

 

πŸ™‚

Hope everyone else had a great fall back today, too. Happy November!

 

IB, is that you?!

This past week has been hell. It almost feels like I’m back in IB, except I’m a better and more dedicated student now, than I was then. Yay. πŸ™‚ I haven’t blogged in a week because I’ve literally been working all day, every day. No time for blogging… not even time for sleeping. Thankfully, this next week my classes have been canceled to give us a chance to recoup and get ahead on the research projects that are looming over our heads.

School related news:

I spent all of last weekend working on a presentation for my history class. The teacher said that I brought awesome materials to class and did a great job on my presentation. Hooray! It was a success. πŸ™‚

Another big stress this past week related to one of the classes where I’m the GTA (graduate teaching assistant). The class had their first exam, which meant I had the pleasure of grading the exams, including an essay question. I had a lot of anxiety about the grading, but having tackled it, I feel so much better about it. It was a great learning/growing experience. Hopefully by grading other students work, I’ll end up improving my own writing.

I’m also solo-teaching my first class on Monday. It’s for the large (225 students!) theatre appreciation class. I’m going to show Cradle Will Rock (the movie) and give a short lecture and quiz. Wish me luck!

In other news…

The big excitement from last weekend was the super awesome mail that I got! My parents mailed me curtains for my living room, which they made… and a bunch of butter grits!

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THEN, A mailed me super awesome french souvenirs, including finger-less gloves, ear muffs, two fabulous Parisian scarves and FRAISES! These ridiculous strawberry gummy candies.

Both packages were definitely the highlight of my work-filled weekend.

My darling son started my day off with pulling down the curtains. AGAIN. This time I had to go and buy new wall anchors in order to rehang the rods. Despite his troublesome streak, he’s still ridiculously cute.

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We apparently had snow this morning, but since I didn’t see it and it didn’t stick (ha! I’m picking up northern terms!), it doesn’t count. Instead I had to dress for cold, wet weather… here I am all bundled up. I’ve found a purpose for hats. Keeping my head warm and dry in the winter.

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The other day as I was walking home and talking to mom on the phone, I looked at the mountains that surround Ellensburg to realize they were covered in snow! It was the most absolutely, beautiful sight. Sadly, I didn’t take any pictures and it had melted by the next day. Instead, I have pictures of fall!

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Funnies:

– Charlie loves to sit on the stove as I cook. I can’t seem to keep him away from it… well the other day he learned his lesson. He stuck his face near the hot burner and singed his whiskers! They had curly-ques at the end of them.

-This is mainly for my friends… If you don’t follow textsfromlastnight, then you won’t get this… but I’ve definitely debated how to use my iphone while wearing gloves, therefore I loved this text.

(248): I know ur sleeping, sorry for waking you but i just saw a girl with mittens on using her nose to control her ipod touch
– A finally, a police blotter:

A person reported that their contractor was acting very strange, seeming agitated and was reportedly peeling his skin off his body saying β€œthey’re bugs, they’re bugs,” on Mowich Lane in Cle Elum.

Until next time… πŸ™‚

going, going, going.

The reality of how much work I have to do in the next month hit me this week. As a result, I feel like I need to devote every second to reading or working on my projects. That doesn’t leave much room for sanity or even communicating with friends.

Ugh.

For instance, I woke up today at 5:30am, starting off the day by creating a grading rubric and grading exams. I had a meeting and the class where I’m TA from 8-10am. I came home and ate an early lunch, because when you eat breakfast at 5:30am, you get hungry suprisingly early. Then I literally spent the day reading. All day. With the exception of an hour, when I got coffee, gas and sent some mail. I read from 11am till 9pm. I watched Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, as I ate dinner and updated my teaching journal (more homework). And now, here I am at 11pm, feeling like I should return to the books. What the heck is wrong with me?! Is this a symptom of grad school? Ugh. I actually really enjoyed the reading that I did today, it’s just a lot of information to process and keep straight. So I guess it’s good that I am looking forward to the reading assignments, I simply wish I had more time to enjoy them.

In other news, I think my absence from facebook today definitely increased my productivity. I didn’t feel compelled to check my facebook phone app or go to my computer for a “break” and then get distracted for 30 minutes. So that’s a plus. I also left my phone in the other room as I read, so I wouldn’t see any missed calls or texts. On the downside of this, I feel as though I’ve isolated myself. I need to make a concerted effort to do things other than study, every so often. There’s a staged reading on Saturday that I’ll probably go to and I’m waiting for the movie theatre here to get Whip It. I’ll reward myself with a movie, once it’s available.

For now though, I think I’ll read a little more Brockett and get some sleep.

[I apologize if this entry makes no sense. My brain currently feels like jell-o.]

no more facebook… for now.

This week has been rather crappy, for no reason in particular, just little things here and there. I did make a delicious tuna noodle casserole for dinner, which was definitely the high point of today.

Tonight I made the decision that I’m abstaining from facebook until finals are over. As much as I use facebook as a means of keeping in touch with friends and family, I waste way too much time doing absolutely nothing. Therefore, I decided that it must go until I have free time once again. So until December 9th, I’m no longer on fb. No worries though, I will keep updating the blog. πŸ™‚

And now for picture wednesday!

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Here are some student made puppets outside the Tower Theatre.

And signs that it’s definitely fall!

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just another manic monday.

Today kinda sucked, or at least the second half of it did. I can’t really get into the details, but it involves interrupted classes, moving heavy flats, being yelled at for reasons beyond my control, and out of focus projectors. I’m just happy the day is over. The week always gets easier after Monday.

After I finally get home, 8 hours later, I go and check my mail, which is my little excitement of the day. Guess what I find waiting for me? A letter from the University of Maryland. A rejection letter. Ha! So awesome. Thanks for the rejection. If I wasn’t so happy at Central and didn’t feel like is where I’m meant to be, then I might be upset. Instead, I find the letter quite humorous and seriously belated. I never completed the application because of certain fiascoes, so I’m amused that it took them so long to realize I was no longer interested in their program.

Now, I’m going to read a bit and get some sleep so I can put this day behind me.

But a couple pictures first!

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There was a guy standing outside the union yelling to people that they were going to hell because of reasons x, y, and z. FSU used to have these guys all the time, it’s almost a game to watch the students interact with them. I wish I could have stayed and watched. πŸ™‚

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Charlie certainly never got the memo that a watched pot never boils.

december 15th, librarians and washington residents

I booked my flight home! I’ll be returning to the sunshine state on the night of December 15th.

Travel plans are a nightmare! There are so many factors that I had to consider when it came to picking dates and times, like shuttle times, leaving enough time for road construction/snow/winter issues, etc, Charlie arrangements and more. Yikes. I picked my flight, placed a reservation for the shuttle to SeaTac, and made a pet reservation on Southwest. I just need to figure out the details of my return, which are stressing me out even more, since it’s more expensive to come home so close to New Years. Bah-humbug.

I do have to say, I’m in love with Southwest. I called them yesterday to check on pet stuff. First of all, there was a phone wait, so they have a call-back system. You give them your number and name and they call you back when it’s your turn in line. BRILLIANT! Then, I found out that I make the reservation for Charlie, but I don’t have to decide till the day of, whether or not I’ll bring him. So I don’t have to pay anything, till he boards the plane. When I called today, the woman was so nice she even said she wished her friend who lives near Seattle, who is a cat person, could watch Charlie. Everyone is so friendly! Seriously. I love southwest!

I’m looking forward to my vacation because it will be the first real vacation in a long time. I’ve always had a job that I had to work around when I go home and this time I literally have no obligations! Maybe my skin will be so used to the cold weather here that I can go sit at the beach with my dunkin donuts coffee and read. That would be ideal. πŸ™‚

I’m also dying to spend time with my family and sister. I miss them, not homesick miss them, but I love them and therefore miss them.

Speaking of, my parents ROCK. They made curtains for my living room this weekend and are mailing them to me along with instant BUTTER GRITS! Ever since moving to the NW, I’ve missed butter grits. How weird of me!

You know how doctors (maybe?) recommend that old people have pets to keep them happy, etc. Well Charlie fulfills that role for me. Despite his wild antics and terrible twos behavior, he keeps me happy. I enjoy coming home to him and having someone to entertain me. That being said, I also LOVE not having a roommate. It’s amazing having so much space and not having to worry about sharing my kitchen, living room, bathroom with anyone else. Ahh, awesome.

I’ve found a bonus to going to the library. πŸ™‚ There’s a cute reference librarian, who I’ve deduced is a first year grad student. I forsee myself having many needs for the reference desk over the next couple quarters. Hehe. I actually went to the library yesterday and there was a different reference librarian who was neither as cute or as nice. Boo. I’ll just have to keep trying!

Other news in my oh-so-exciting life… I went and signed up for renters insurance and switched my car insurance. Apparently Kittitas county has the cheapest insurance rates in Washington AND Florida has some of the highest insurance rates, so hopefully my car insurance will be much cheaper and I love saving money!

After that, I went to the court house and finished the process of becoming a Washington resident. I got my licenses plates. From there I went to autozone and played the girl card and had them put the plates on for me. I probably could have done it myself, but it was easier to have them do it for me and have it done right the first time. Being an adult is so fun. (Sarcasm, sorta?)

So it’s official, I’m now a resident.Β  I have a washington drivers license, voter id, car tags, utility bill, lease, the works. I feel like I’m cheating on Florida. Hah.

One last thing, here’s an interesting NPR story about gender bias in theatre. How women were discriminating against other women. Listen to it. Fascinating.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=105909353

Seattle: weddings, zombies, Iranian theatre and Uggs!

Last week I had the opportunity to go to Seattle to see a performance of, Mysterious Gifts: Theatre of Iran. As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of my fellow grad students is teaching a children’s theatre class and organized the trip as an optional experience for his students.

I decided that I wanted to drive over to Seattle a couple hours early and get some stuff done. First of all, I love driving and it’s almost therapeutic to me. Since I’ve been in Ellensburg, I’ve driven maybe 75 miles, in a month’s time. I was looking forward to the chance to drive on the highway, listen to my mixes and experience the independence of driving in Seattle. I also needed to find some winter boots for myself, since the weather is rapidly changing and my only real close-toed shoes are my converse. I planned my trip, so that I’d have a couple hours in Seattle before meeting up with the rest of my group. I got to Seattle around 2ish, navigated Seattle traffic and parked near the Seattle Center. I’ve decided that this is the key to parking in Seattle. From the Seattle Center you can take the fun monorail to downtown Seattle, which drops you off near all the major department stores and within walking distance of Pike Place Market and the waterfront, so it’s perfect. Anyway, I parked and took the monorail to Nordstroms. I had already done my research and decided that a pair of Ugg boots would be my best bet for winter boots and knew where to go to get them.

I have to say something first. As a Floridan, Ugg boots have a horrible reputation (or at least in my mind). See, the sorority girls at FSU like to wear them with mini-skirts in the hot, humid Florida summer. Ugg boots make no sense. Therefore, when my friends told me that I HAD to get a pair, I scoffed. I couldn’t be caught dead in those silly boots! But as I did some research, I discovered that they are actually great boots that will keep my feet warm in the cold and snow… and as a bonus, the technology/design of the boot helps prevent feet from sweating.

So I got to Nordstoms and on a mission, went straight to the shoe section. I tried on several pairs, debated back and forth, had my dad price check online from Florida and ended up leaving the store with my new black Uggs and the water proofing spray. Mission accomplished.

After that, I wandered around downtown Seattle, searching for other cold-weather accessories. I really enjoyed my adventure. It was definitely liberating to navigate a true “big” city on my own, both in the car and on foot. I’ve never traveled around a big city on my own. I loved the experience.

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There were anti-scientology protesters. Almost as scary as scientologist themselves, haha.

I headed back to the Seattle center and went in search of a place to read. But before doing that, I went to the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum gift shop looking for t-shirts/postcards. I ended up walking into a wedding photo shoot happening outside the museum. The building itself is so cool structurally, so I can understand using it as a location, but man, it was cold outside! Inside the museum was also really neat! I really want to go back and check it out when I have time. The first Thursday of the month, most of Seattle’s museums are free, so maybe if I have a light Thursday, I’ll go over sometime.

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Inside the EMP/SciFi Museum!

As I was walking back to the Starbucks, I stumbled upon a bunch of zombies. Apparently there was a zombie walk at the Seattle center last Saturday. If you’re not familiar with zombie walks, people dress up as the living dead. Think lots of blood, torn clothes, random appendages, even brains hanging from fishing poles. It was weird. Thankfully, there were harmless and just milling around the center. I’m not really sure the purpose, but it was an interesting slight to say the least.

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I don’t know if you can tell, but these are zombie pictures. I suck at taking sneaky iphone pics. The first picture shows the brain on a fishing pole.

At 5pm, I met up with the group to see Mysterious Gifts. All I can say was that it was incredible. Mind-blowing. The performance incorporates dance, music, puppetry and movement to tell universal stories to audiences of any culture. There is not a single word spoken throughout the hour and a half long performance, and yet the story is perfectly clear to the audience. Driven by music, lights and movement, the story starts with an exploration of traditional Persian dance. Then goes on to tell a story about the conflicts within one’s self, using astonishing physicality and a puppetry. Finally, the performer uses clay and mud to β€œcreate” a person, bending and shaping his creation as he sees fit, only to have the creation magically come to life with a mind of it’s own. Seriously, I was on the edge of my seat. The only real indication that it was a children’s performance, was the intermission after a half hour. I wondered if there were adjustments made to the performance to fit the audience, but I don’t know. They also did a talkback after the show, but it frustrated me. The performers don’t speak English, only Farsi and the kids would ask the translator questions where the performer would responded with elaborate responses and the translator would condense it so much that I’m sure much was lost. I actually used the performance for one of my assignments this past week, but still couldn’t find any more information, probably because it’s all in Farsi and unavailable to me in English.

Anyway, the weekend was a much needed change of scenery and break from all the reading. Unfortunately, my break definitely set me behind for the rest of the weekend.

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Just another day.

Before I get into my trip to Seattle, I have one more thing that relates to the last post… I’ve realized why my mentors told me to pick a school based on the program and ignore where the school is located. Aside from the fact that it’s critical the program matches your interests… It doesn’t matter where the school is, since you’ll have no time to explore the city. Haha. πŸ™‚ I’m glad I’m not in Austin, it’d be a tease to be surrounded by lots of cool sights and activities and have no time to do any of it. I’m glad Ellensburg is rather boring.

I’m tempted to say that I wish I had been more productive today, but instead I’ll be happy with the accomplishments that I did make. I read my history assignments for Monday, I did a quick cleaning of the apartment, which makes me feel so much better, and I hole-punched and organized all my papers. So hooray for me!

We were given our teaching assignments for next quarter. I’ll be team teaching the same classes I’m teaching now. I feel like it’s the best possible arrangement for things, so while I’m terrified to have my own class, I’m happy how things are working out.

I absolutely positively need to book my plane ticket home tomorrow. Ahh! The nightly news scared me that if I don’t do it TOMORROW then I’ll be paying some exorbitant price.

Oh! I made a new ringtone for my phone… “Did you get my message?” by my future husband, JMraz. Now I just need someone to call, so I can hear him croon to me.

I think this weekend I might actually be able to get ahead, or so I hope. πŸ™‚

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