Sunday, January 31, 2010

Assorted Thoughts

I don't really have the time or desire or even need to write a whole post about one topic. It's getting near Nyquil & sleep time. Here are some things that've been occupying my thoughts during this past week:

In one day of driving, I was flipped off by one lady, and then graciously surrendered a sweet parking spot at Target by another lady. You never know who's driving next to you!

I signed up to do the Cowtown 10K. I was initially pumped about it. However, I inexplicably injured my ankle last week. It's better now, but now I'm facing another round of this allergy/cold mashup. My eagerly-made training schedule has been derailed again, and I worry I won't be ready for the run.

Last week was a great week at school. Yes, I had a student tell me that the chunk of glass in my ring looked like crystal meth. Yes, I had another student tell me to shut up. But, I got to teach a lesson, assist with a lab, and give a test.

I did my taxes! I can't wait to get my refund! As much as I want to spend it on silly things, I should probably save it because...

I've only got 3 months left on Blitzen's lease. Chances are, I'll need some cash for a down payment on another car. I don't want to lease again, I'd rather buy. I want something that's more "grown-up," without being boring. And that has Sirius.

Monday, January 18, 2010

We're Running Barefoot, You and I

This evening, I was sitting at a stoplight on my way home. I was staring at the truck in front of me. I was admiring the tread pattern in its tires, and how it tessellated. What song should then start on my radio, but Tessellate, by Tokyo Police Club! Was it coincidence, quantum physics, God, or all three? Enjoy.

A good sign!

I noticed this little guy this morning. He was beaming up at me from the parking area at my apartments. "How could it not be a good day now?" I thought. It was a good day, indeed. I had an awesome run and did errands in the morning. I spent the afternoon relaxing and laughing with my sweetness. And now, I am going about preparing for tomorrow in a leisurely pace. I hope you had a great MLK day and have a wonderful tomorrow, too!

Book Review: Girls of Riyadh

I just finished Girls of Riyadh this evening. It is the first novel from 25-year old Rajaa Alsanea. The book's fifty chapters are written as email installments, sent out weekly from a mysterious author to subscribers around Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Middle East. (A sort of Gulf "Gossip Girl," perhaps?) The book focuses on the lives of four young, upper-class Saudi women. Girls apparently created as big of a scandal in the Arab world as the fictional emails do in the book!

This book was fascinating. Though fictionalized, the author's accounts are kept as realistic as possible. The revelation of the usually-secluded lives of women there adds considerable intrigue. I felt as if I were reading private information! Not only that, but the culture and value systems are so different from the ones with which I am familiar.

For instance, marriages are arranged by [hopefully] well-meaning family members. Before signing the marriage contract, the couple are allowed to meet in person only once. It is no wonder that the trendy engagement gifts, then, are cellphones!

I highly recommend this book. It is fascinating, and enlightening. It is filled with everything from verses of the Qur'an to lyrics of Saudi pop songs. The characters are engaging and likable. Although I may be far from them geographically and culturally, I was able to see the universal nature of the human experience shine through. We all want to be successful, happy, and loved. These girls are no different.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mexican Butthead

This week at school (Tuesday, to be precise), I got to do my first pull-out tutoring with a small group of students. For three class periods, 6-8 kids came to me from their science teachers.

We did some re-teaching of energy transformations, by making and discussing a foldable (whose template I designed, by the way!). I quickly learned that, if I showed them my example first, they would use my ideas for the illustrations, instead of thinking of their own.

Then we played Jeopardy. The winning teams got their choice of Hot Cheetos (which the kids inexplicably love- blarg!), Kit Kats, or Reese's. I shouldn't have been surprised that there were some who didn't even know what Jeopardy was. I had the template to make the game into a Promethean Board activity. However, with a small group circled around a table, I opted for the "analog" version: a grid of different-colored index cards with the questions on the back. (I felt vindicated when a student said it was "cooler.")

Making sure that we had "team agreement" for an answered question was a great way for the kids to catch their errors. It was an opportunity for one to pipe up, "Wait, wouldn't it be this?" to his/her peers.

In 7th period, I saw a student coming towards my room whom the teacher told me she would keep with her. Why was he here? (I later learned that he hadn't even gone to class, but found his way into my room somehow.) This child, let's call him... Ramon. Little Ramon eerily resembles a Mexican version of Butthead (from Beavis and Butthead). He is a constant source of honks, clicks, animal sounds, and other distractions. I panicked for a nanosecond. Then I remembered that everything happens for a reason, so I'd just go with it. To my surprise, he only honked once. He spent the remainder of the time hitting on me: "Miss, you should try out for modeling. Miss, I lost my phone number, can I have yours?" etc. To me, a still very green teacher, this was much more bearable.

I spent the next day attending a funeral and visiting someone in the hospital. When I returned to school on Thursday, I had some pleasant news. Apparently, all the kids were asking about me! The ones who I taught wanted to know when they'd get to go back, and the ones who didn't get to go were jealous! Their teachers even let them use the foldables we'd made on their test.

When I first found out I'd be doing this (small pull-out groups), I was so excited. The other science tutor, for some reason, sneered, "Oh...I'd rather not do that." (Good thing they picked me, and not her!) I think it was just as effective, more relaxed, and more fun for the students than trying to accomplish the same goals in a crowded, noisy class. Mexican Butthead or not, I can't wait to do it again!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Creeped-Out, Let-Down, and Ticked-Off...

...These were the combined states in which I left the gym this evening.

I entered the studio room for my Body Works class about 10 minutes before its scheduled beginning. The only other occupants were the instructor, and 3 other women. Suddenly, a red-haired guy about my age, dressed in blue jeans and a heavy Carhartt jacket, charged into the room. He located the bags used for the kickboxing classes. All the while clutching his giant, styrofoam Whataburger cup, he began kicking and punching the bags. He jumped. He jabbed. He spun. Oh, and did I mention that he was talking to himself the entire time?

While this continued, I stood in complete wonder. What was my instructor's problem? Why wasn't she taking any action? Only when he grabbed a set of weights and began hitting the bags with him did she say, "Excuse me!" At this he dropped the weights, picked up the jacket he'd shed during his "exercise," and left the studio. My instructor decided to tell the people working at the front desk about him. When she returned, she reported that they didn't have the faintest idea who she was talking about!

Class started, and through the studio's glass doors, we saw him bouncing around the rest of the gym. He wandered into a racquetball court. He talked to some of the people lifting weights. He took a brief ride on a rowing machine. And, several times, he came back to the door of the studio, only to place his hand on its handle, then turn, and walk away.

When class [finally] ended, I approached the two guys working the front desk. One is a part-time employee, the other is management of some sort. I asked them if the "creepy red-headed guy" had a membership. They didn't know who I was referring to. I told him about his odd behavior before Body Works. One of them joked, "Oh, him? He's a new employee here!" The other (Mr. Quasi-Manager) attempted to console me with, "Well, there's plenty of guys here, in case you ever need anything."

Ok, I will admit that, being a white, pretty female in my late twenties, I usually have my guard up somewhat around guys. I will also admit that, in the gym, this guard is even higher. For example, I don't like to show a lot of skin when I'm working out. I don't wear jewelry, and have on only what remains of that morning's makeup application. But THIS was flat-out unnerving. I am speaking of not only the strange man's behavior, but also the flippant response I received from the gym staff. This became even more unsettling when I remembered the shooting rampage that a man went on at another location of the same gym, a scant 5 months ago.

So... Do you think I should look for another gym?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Recent Acquisition

This Christmas marked a new acquisition for this treehouse-dweller's collection, a gift of Jesse Sierra Hernandez.

Sofia With Octopus, Pussyhouse Propaganda, 24"x25", spraypaint on birch.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Hooray! It is officially the weekend. After a fantastic day at work, I am off to see my sweetness for the first time in what seems like forever. We are going to La Playa, because I am in the mood for horchata. Of course, this song came to my mind. It seems to match my excited, contented mood well. I hope you all have awesome weekends. :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hey Ken!

I was quoting this video, and Jesse said you would enjoy it. Great to see you and your sweetie last night!