Category: Central Washington.

Trying to find my rhythm.

You know the quickest way to kill a conversation? Tell someone you’re getting your masters in Theatre Studies.

I went to fitness yoga on Tuesday, thinking that it’d be good to clear my head and get out of the house. Although, it only stressed me out more, since I ended up losing three hours of reading time. Anyway, somehow in a class of about 40 people, I chose the part of the room where all the guys also decided to set up their mats. So, a couple of the guys were commenting on how all the men in the room were grouped together and it would probably end up the smelly corner, and I commented “lucky me.” It led to my talking to the guy next to me for a minute and here’s how the conversation went:

*we’d been talking about yoga and other stuff*

guy: so why’d you move to washington?
me: to go to school here.
guy: undergrad? what’s your major?
me: no, i’m actually getting my MA in theatre studies.
guy: *blank stare*

end of conversation.

Seriously. You tell people that you’re interested in theatre studies and they don’t get it, they don’t care and they drop the conversation. It’s actually quite funny. It’s okay, because I GET it. I CARE and I find it interesting.

It’s technically the end of week two of classes. I still love it. I can’t quite pinpoint *what* I love, which irritates me, but the classes and discussions are awesome. I wish we had longer class time. For instance, our history class is an hour and twenty minutes, but we talked with our instructor for an hour after class. We continued the discussion, talked about what we want from the class and program and she eased our fears of being behind and/or inadequate. She is already a favorite of mine. She’s very down to earth and realistic about class and theatre. I love it.

This week (and next week) I have been desperately trying to find my rhythm. Now that I know the work load of grad school, I need to find a strategy to keep from becoming overwhelmed. Mondays are super rough. I’m on campus from 8:30am-10:00pm, when I get home I’m so tired and hungry, that reading just isn’t a reality. Tuesdays are catch-up day, but I can’t do four classes worth of assignments, so I really need to be constantly working ahead. Then it’s back to long Wednesdays, not quite as long as Monday, but still tiring. I think my strategy will be spending Thursday/Friday on Mondays work, then Saturday/Sunday on Wednesdays assignments.

The weather drastically changed this week. It’s been highs of the 50s and 60s. Is it too soon for me to be seriously cold? How am I going to manage actual cold? Oh my. I need to find time to go to Yakima and I need to go before there’s snow on the pass. Apparently the first snow of the season already fell this week. I also need to decide if I went to get snow tires or tire chains… I’m leaning towards chains, since they’re cheaper and I guess required for driving I-90 back to Seattle. I’m not planning on driving outside of Ellensburg in the snow, but you never know.

So much to write about…

One of my fellow grad students is taking his children’s theatre class to see a show at the Seattle Children’s Theatre and offered to let any of us tag along if we’re interested. I’m definitely going to go!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E55doJrYJ7M]

I also found out that my winter break will actually be a break. We won’t have lessons to plan, materials to prepare or books to read for our own classes. That’s exciting to hear. I’m looking forward to seeing all my friends and family. There are things I miss about Florida (the beach, dunkin’ donuts, I’m sure I’ll miss warm weather by december) and lots of people that I miss… but I’m not homesick and I’m thankful for that. It’d be much harder to focus on school if I were homesick all the time.

Oh! This week I volunteered to be a student representative on the Graduate Council. I’m really happy about this opportunity. It’ll be great for my resume, I’ll get an inside look at how the graduate department functions and hopefully have a say for my own theatre department and fellow grad students. My first meeting is next week.

I truly believe that the two years I spent out of school have helped me improve as a student dramatically. I needed the break and I needed to miss school. Now, I’m ready to be back and ready to be the student I know I am. Sometimes I wonder, who is that person? I’m talking out in class, offering ideas, suggestions and leading discussions. I’m asking questions. I’m volunteering for committees. I’m putting myself out there… and most importantly working really really hard to not procrastinate and instead, work ahead. I’m going to succeed with flying colors in grad school and I’ll get into whatever PhD program meets my needs.

I’m going to try and blog a bit more consistently, but like I said, the beginning of the week is rough.

Happy [almost] Friday!

Don’t forget to be awesome!

… Like my parents, who mailed my all my binders full of plays and papers, as well as a box of clothes and a box of miscellaneous stuff to complete my apartment. I now have curtains for my bedroom and office, just need curtains for the living room. Charlie also says thank you for sending his scratching post. He definitely prefers scratching vertically, not horizontally.

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Also, on the AWESOME list is kc. She sent me a totally sweet FSU decal, to hopefully attract the attention of FSU boy and to help compensate for the loss of my FSU license plate. πŸ™‚

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This made my Saturday!

I pretty much spent my weekend doing homework. Friday night, read and organized my apartment. Saturday, I got my WA drivers license and read all afternoon. Then today, I cleaned my apartment, did laundry, grocery shopped for the week, finished reading and made a seating chart for 220 people. Talk about fun, man, oh man.

I see a trend developing with grad school — I will be reading in every free moment I have, for the rest of my academic career. Although, I do think I figured out my strategy for success. I’m underlining and taking notes in the margins of the readings, to help me remember the questions I have for in-class discussions and I make funny comments to amuse myself. Ha. I actually enjoy the reading assignments, they’re interesting and provoke lots of questions. I’m looking forward to classes tomorrow, because I love class discussions. It’s neat that all my classes seem to bleed into each other. It’s less like having four separate classes, and more like one giant class spread over multiple sessions. For instance, a question I posed from one of my readings for research methods, I answered myself when I did the reading for history.

Anyway, one person described grad school as finals week, every week. I need to be constantly working ahead, if I want to stay afloat. None of the dreaded P-word… (shh! procrastination!) I have to give up my old ways. If I can work diligently on Tuesday, there’s a nature hike I want to go to, but Mondays I’m on campus all day and then Wednesday is another rough day, which leaves Tuesday as the only time to do reading. I hope I can get things done in time for the hike.

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Okay. Time to unwind and get some sleep before my very very long monday. Yahoo.

I survived!

I made the right decision. I’m very happy with the program here at CWU and I feel like it is the perfect place for me. The whole program focuses on preparing (and over preparing) students for a PhD program, so that when we get there, we aren’t overwhelmed. I have a lot of work on my plate already and I’m a little (or a lot) stressed about what is required of me. BUT all of my professors are supportive, educated and want us to succeed. I feel like I might not have the tools I need now, but by the end of the quarter I will have all the tools I need to succeed. There is a plan in place to help us transition from undergrad to grad level work. I’m going to be okay.

In other news, apparently graduate students read about 1500 pages a week. No, that’s not a typo. Ahh. I am the SLOWEST reader ALIVE. I need to figure out a strategy and ASAP.

I wrote down all the due dates in my planner last night and it looks like a massacre. Something’s due almost every day. Yikes.

More to come later, I just wanted to tell everyone that I’m alive, happy and so thankful to be back in school!

Happy Fall!

Fall officially starts today, how exciting! I’m happy that I get to experience seasons up here. The leaves are already starting to change and fall off the trees. To celebrate the season change, I roasted marshmallows and made s’mores in downtown Ellensburg.

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The s’more making was actually part of an event called The Bite of the Burg.

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All the local business in downtown Ellensburg came out onto the sideways and offered samples, coupons and information about the area services and businesses. I really enjoyed the event and even had a free smoothie sample from D&M.

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Aside from Bite of the Burg this afternoon, I accomplished a lot off my to-do list, but sadly didn’t get to enjoy my last day of freedom. I started the day by making my schedule, it both stressed me out and eased my mind to see the blocks of free time. Then I got showered and dressed up and went to the DMV, only to get the Nazi lady (someone else referred to her as that, but I rather agree) who unsympathetically told me that there was nothing she could do for me without a passport. Ugh. From there, I went and met the teacher who I’m assisting. I’m scared, excited and trying to be as confident as I can possibly be. After that, I came home packed up stuff for dad, took them to the post office, picked up my packages and went to the Bite of the Burg.

From Florida, dad’s been helping me try to get a hold of my car title, since I need it for my Washington registration and plates. I had a couple forms that I wasn’t sure was going to work, but since I was already downtown I went to the courthouse to check. Miracle of miracles, the woman at the courthouse was much nicer than the DMV Nazi. While I didn’t have the right papers, the woman did help me get everything started. I now have a temporary license plate and 60 days to get the right papers and my real tags. Hopefully, by Friday I’ll have my passport and I can get my drivers license on Saturday. Oh boy. The whole issue is that I need to get my residency established ASAP, so that by next fall quarter I will have been a resident for at least a year. I hope it all works out.

So now I’m watching my trashy tv shows, printing syllabi and getting mentally prepared for tomorrow.

Wednesday is going to be a looong day. Followed my lots of errands to run on Thursday and probably a crap-ton of reading.

Goodbye life!
Hello grad school!

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Whelmed.

“I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?”
– 10 things I hate about you.

I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed at the moment, really excited and totally happy, but very much overwhelmed. I received my teaching assignments today. In addition to my four graduate classes that I’m taking, I am assisting with two undergrad classes. Which means I need to do the reading assignements for them and obviously go to the undergrad classes. I’ll be setting up the classrooms, in charge of attendence, grading papers and quizzes and posting grades. Also, towards the end of the quarter I’ll teach some of the classes myself. Bascially, I have six classes this semester. Oh my. Monday’s are really gonna suck, since I have a class that starts at 9am and my last class ends at 10:30pm. I have an hour here and there throughout the day, but I don’t know if I’ll have time to go home during the day. The bright side of Monday, will be the rest of the week should just get easier… and I only have one class and an hour of office hours on Fridays. Hooray!

More signs that I’m legit and this isn’t a dream… I received keys to the buildings I’m teaching in today. The graduate students have an office area, three desks and computers to share among the six of us. We also have shelves in our office, so we can leave books and materials, and our own mail boxes!

Now I need to sit down and redo my schedule with my teaching assignments and office hours mixed in, then figure out when (if) I have free time. I want to schedule in some yoga and spinning classes, plus time to run!

I told mom that I’m quite scared and anxious about my ability to teach classes and survive this workload, but so far I’ve been super on top of things and ultra organized. I just need to maintain that level of efficieny and not let myself procrastinate. Also, fake it till I make it!

Last night we had a department welcome BBQ and that was awesome. Everyone was able to meet each other in an informal environment and socialize casually. It made me feel so welcomed and took away some of the stress of meeting so many new people and being thrown into the theatre department here. I thought it was a great idea and I had a lot of fun.

I really like our group of graduate students. We are such a diverse group that I think discussions will be fascinating. We range in age from 21-36, we come from all over the world – Florida, Texas, Utah, Lebanon and Washington, and we have such varied backgrounds in theatre and life experiences. It’s so interesting!

I found out that I need to become a Washington resident, which I had misunderstood. I didn’t plan on switching my license, car plates or registration and now I need to go do all of that. Ugh. The hassle and cost of switching everything aside, I’m quite sad to give up my florida stuff. I don’t know why, I suppose I don’t feel like a Washington resident yet. I’ll be an imposter with the Washington license and tags. Not to mention, I’ll have to give up my FSU tag. I’m totally sad about that. πŸ™ But who knows, maybe I’ll just stay in Washington and I’ll be saving myself hassle down the line.

I checked out two different local coffee shops in the past couple of days, Winegars and D&M. Winegars actually started out as an ice cream shop and just recently started serving coffee. I liked the atmosphere and the coffee, but I think D&M will be my preferred coffee shop. It’s a very green coffee shop, owned by CWU graduates who are highly supportive of the arts and I liked the coffee more! It also reminds me of a cleaner version of the globe. They serve food, all sorts of coffee and tea and have an ecclectic collection of furniture. All of us grad students actually walked there after our meeting this afternoon. It’s pretty awesome that downtown is within walking distance, if you don’t mind a small hike. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll walk down to the Taste of the Burg event on Main street. I think it’s about a 4 mile round trip, and man could I use the exercise. πŸ™‚

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Anyway, my spirit hasn’t been crushed yet… I’m still looking forward to classes starting and I’m embracing this new adventure. But tomorrow is my LAST DAY OF FREEDOM! AHH!

I continued to work on my apartment yesterday, so here’s a look at the progress. πŸ™‚

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These are postcards from all over and notes that people have written to me… It’s kind of my motivation area. I also found this postcard when I was putting them up:

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While I’m not in Texas at the moment, I think my message to myself was effective. Maybe I should start mailing motivational notes to myself more often. Hah. “Get your life together. <3 me”

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My totally sweet jewelry display area.

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Here’s the latest incarnation of the calendar pages that A made for me back in 2005. They were on display in my Tally bedroom, my St. Pete bedroom and now they’re in Washington.

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And my favorite little bugger, except when he’s flicking the doorstopper to annoy me or trying to climb the window screens. I’m looking forward to his lazy cat days… whenever they finally get here.

Seasons.

I’m not in Florida anymore…

Yesterday the weather started out cloudy and cool, and ended in the 60s with 40 mph winds. This is definitely not Florida weather. While Florida weather swings between flash flood, terrible thunderstorm and super sunny, Ellensburg weather is hot one day, cold the next, calm and clear and then suddenly 45 mph winds. It’s all over the place!

I already decided that my weardrobe needs serious help. I need shoes that aren’t flipflops IMMEDIATELY. Once I figure out what school obligations I have for Monday and Tuesday, I might plan a trip to Yakima to go in search of close-toed shoes. I also need to find some real gloves, ear muffs or preferably one of those ear muff headbands, and more sweaters and jeans. I don’t think the temperature will be so much an issue for me, but the wind is brutal and it’s only 70/80 degrees right now!

Oh! The leaves are starting to change colors and fall off the trees. Hello Fall!

* * *

Today marks the start of several momentous days. In a couple hours, I’m going to have lunch with the other female students from my program. It’ll be the first time we’ve met each other and hung out as a group. I’m excited. Slightly concerned that it’ll be awkward, since I worry about silly things like that. I’m sure it’ll be fine and fun!

Tonight there’s a department BBQ, with all of us new students and I assume our teachers. Again, I hope it’s not awkward. I’m definitely ready for some social interaction. I’m bored in my apartment. I think I’m feeling really antsy because of anxiety and anticipation over classes and meeeting everyone.

This next week is going to be so intense! Woo! πŸ™‚

First Impressions (and a play-by-play).

I love first impressions, or more specifically, looking back on my first impressions of people and places after I’ve become familiar with them. I say this, because I just returned home from my first taste of Ellensburg and Central Washington. I’m so excited about this move. I admit that there was a part of me that feared I’d hate the town and school, and I wouldn’t know what to do with myself, since I’m committed to being there for two years. Thankfully, that doesn’t seem like it’ll be the case. Instead, I’m more concerned with not wanting to leave after I finish my masters. But that’s two years away and I have plenty of time to experience lots between now and then.

I want to write about my trip and thoughts, so that once I’m familiar with everything Ellensburg has to offer, I can remember what I thought of it at first sight.

Day 1:

Flying to Washington from Florida takes an entire day. What an exhausting adventure. Mom and I got to the airport about 6ish in the morning. Our first flight was at 8:30am, we flew to Nashville and actually met up with Ashley, who drove to the airport to hang out for an hour. From Nashville we flew directly to Seattle-Tacoma airport, I need to remember to bring a pillow or one of those weird head U-shaped things next time. From the airport we picked up a rental car and headed towards Ellensburg. The drive reminds me of the drive from Vancouver to Whistler; extremely scenic, surrounded by mountains, water and green trees. One thing that mom noticed, that I failed to notice was the lack of billboards. Maybe Washington has some law against billboards but there weren’t any along the interestate. Also, the speed limit for trucks runs about 5-10 mph slower than that of cars. It’s awesome. Compared to driving from St. Pete to Orlando, it was heaven. No aggressive drivers, no crazy truckers changing lanes erratically and an overall scenic drive.

After checking into the hotel, mom and I drove over to the apartment complex. We could only see the outside of the building, but from what we could see, it’s a nice and clean apartment. I have a second floor, corner apartment. I think it might mean that I have a bit more space than the other apartments. Also, there should be less noise than the other possible apartment locations.

From there, we went down main street in search of food. We ended up at the Ellensburg Pasta Company, which was okay, but not wonderful. Then we wandered around downtown, taking pictures and looking at the local stores. Mom commented that I am moving to Franklin (North Carolina). In some ways, she’s right. Ellensburg is very much a small town, it’s not a city by any means. There seems to be two main roads, Main Street and University Way. You can drive to anything within 5 minutes, which is convenient and should help save on gas. But, unlike Franklin, there are plenty of activities going on, such as Friday art walks, a film festival, winter hopfest, a rodeo, and a lot more. I’m looking forward to experiencing the small town lifestyle. I love North Carolina, it’s my favorite place and I actually wanted to find a grad school there, so Ellensburg seems perfect for me. Plus, I’m thinking that I’m going to have so much school work, that I’m not going to have a lot of time to get bored anyway.

Day 2:

We made an impromptu trip to Roslyn, Wa. It meant a lot to my mom because she used to be a huge Northern Exposure fan and it’s the town where they filmed the show. The town literally consists of a single street with shops on it, but the random trip showed me that there are lots of cool little towns and places to explore all around Ellensburg.

Next on the list of things to do, sign a lease! The apartment I’m renting is very basic. It’s a little on the small side and only has one bathroom, but since it’s just me, it’ll be perfect. The pictures on the website showed this horrible 70’s-tastic carpet, but thankfully, the carpet in the apartment turned out to be plush, brown carpet that I actually really enjoy. One thing I didn’t notice right away, is the fact that none of the apartments have air-conditioning. As a Floridian, it’s impossible to fathom, yet I don’t think it’ll be an issue. Since I’ll be on the second floor, I can leave my windows open and create a nice cross-breeze. I love fresh air and the weather isn’t that hot most of the year, so it should help keep my energy costs down. Also, not to worry, the apartment has central heating for the winter months. ItΒ  will come in handy, since I was told that there is generally a foot of snow on the ground for five months out of the year. Oh my.

Other pluses: The laundry facilities seems clean and like a fun place to meet people. Next door to that, there’s a lounge room with big tv and a fitness room, so I can workout and do laundry. All around the complex there are picnic benches and outdoor grills. I’m really impressed by the apartment managers. It seems like it’s going to be a clean, quiet place to live with staff to take care of whatever issues arise. I’m excited. πŸ™‚

The productivity continued after lunch, with many errands on campus. As I took care of errands, I also explored the campus. CWU reminds me a lot of FSU in that it has pretty brick buildings and green grassy areas, but there are places that are also rather modern. The student union and rec center/gym seemed more like UCF’s. I am very happy and feel like the school will be the perfect place to spend the next two years.

I also accomplished a lot in the afternoon. I went to student employment and filled out the forms for my assistantship. Dropped off a direct deposit form at the cashier’s office, so my financial aid and loan money will go straight into my bank account. Hooray! Then I stopped into the financial aid office to verify that I’d taken care of all possible paperwork. From there, I went to the graduate studies office (which is located on a half-floor, it’s very Harry Potter-esque!). I turned in my employment receipt and double checked with the woman who does all the coordinating for all the grad students, that everything is completed. She looked over my file and said I was on top of everything and gave me some tips for succeeding in grad school. She’s very much all business, but she kept repeating that if there is ANYTHING that I need during my time at CWU, come back and see her. She can help with ANYTHING and ANYTHING can be fixed. I love the supportive environment!

For dinner mom and I discovered the Palace Cafe and Saloon. It’s weird, because from the outside it looks closed, but inside it’s a cute little bar/restaurant. If you go on a Sunday-Thursday afternoon/night, they have a $5 menu, which is FABULOUS! I had the most delicious burger, fries and corn on the cob!

Day 3:

Seattle!

I discovered that driving in Seattle is super stressful. It took us a bit to figure out the whole parking situation, but ultimately found two hour street parking. More than anything though, why doesn’t anyone talk about the HILLS in Seattle? Seriously, I don’t know why people make a fuss about SanFran’s hills after seeing Seattle’s. I’ll never drive a manual car there, that is, if I knew how to drive a manual.

Anyway, mom and I went to Pike Place market, drank some original Starbucks office, some daily donuts, saw the fish guys and explored the market. I really wanted to buy one of the bouquets of flowers. If dad and I end up at the market, I’ll surely buy one for my new apartment.

After the market, we went to Ballard, to see the locks and salmon. From there we went up to Queen Anne’s park, where you can get an overview of the city. It was an amazing view. There also happened to be a movie filming that day, so we stumbled onto the set of The Details with Tobey Maguire and Kerry Washington. Neat. πŸ™‚

That pretty much concluded our exploration of Seattle. We took the car back to the place and went to the hotel.

Day 4:

We spent the whole day traveling. The only highlight was our luggage didn’t make it onto our plane and arrived at the house about 1am last night. Other than that, it was just a long day of traveling.

I’m glad to be home, but ready to start the road trip part of this adventure. After seeing how gorgeous Washington is, I’m excited to see what the rest of the country looks like!

I also added a link to my flickr account to the right —–>
I’ll update it with pictures from the roadtrip and Ellensburg.

Exhausted, but very happy!

I really want to blog. I really should blog. I’m just way too tired. Today was a fabulous day. Visited Roslyn, Washington. Signed my lease. Love my new apartment, apartment complex and management. Discovered two new restaurants, both cute and quaint with tons of personality. Walked around CWU campus for the first time. Loved the campus and the people. Got everything on my list of things to do accomplished. Everything is in order and all set for when I move here and start school. Ate a delicious dinner consisting of the best burger I’ve ever had (and I don’t like burgers), amazing french fries and juicy corn on the cob. Came back to the hotel and here I am.

I fell in love with Ellensburg and Washington today. πŸ™‚

I posted pictures to flickr, so check them out here. I’ll double post some, hopefully on my next update.

http://www.flickr.com/katecwu

Reading till my head explodes.

In the past week or two I’ve read:

  • Hamlet
  • Othello
  • Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  • A Doll’s House
  • And chapters from my theatre history text books.

I think my head is going to explode with all the information and character stories that are swimming around in my mind. BUT I love it! I’m really loving reading all these plays and even find it fun to read textbooks. I’m trying to cram as much information and call to the surface as much theatre history as I possibly can before school starts. Between work, the trip to Ellensburg, and THE roadtrip, I think I’ll have plenty of time to get through lots of books. I’m actually surprised that I’m having fun reading Shakespeare. I know, I know. In the past, I’ve felt a bit like reading Shakespeare was a chore, but not this time. I really want to read MacBeth next, but I figure that bringing the Scottish play to the theatre is a BAD idea. That one will have to wait till another time. I also want to get A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, maybe A Comedy of Errors… and some other of his classics. Plus, I have a long list of plays to read.

I’m just trying to figure out a way to keep all of these characters, stories, and history straight in my head. That’s my only fear… that I do all this reading and nothing stays. Ack!

I also have 3 (or 4) fun books that I want to read, but will probably wait till the road trip.

  • Best Friends Forever – Jennifer Weiner
  • The Time Travelers Wife – by someone I can’t remember.
  • The Sookie Stackhouse Series…
  • And I want to reread Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone… and maybe the others.

I just feel like I need to get my head in the game and as much as I’d love to read fun, fluffy stuff… it’s probably more beneficial to read school stuff now and save fun stuff till I need a break from school.