Tuesday, June 28, 2011

This is what procrastinating looks like...

Questions this week were provided Chelsea. Thanks for hosting each week! :)

1. What’s the recipe for your favorite drink? (Smoothie, alchoholic, coffee, whatever.)

If it's 7am, then it's coffee with hazelnut creamer and Splenda. If it's the rest of the morning/early afternoon, it's ice cold water with two lemons. If it's 2:30, then it's a Dt. Mt. Dew. If it's 7pm and I'm eating dinner, then it's a nice big glass of pinot noir. :)

2. What kind of razor do you use?

The kind with the big block of soap. I can't remember what it's called. Sometimes I feel guilty because they're expensive to refill, but I don't care. I love 'em.

3. Who is your favorite Sesame Street character?

I'm going to be typical here and say Elmo. His voice cracks me up!

4. What makes the perfect salad? (Lettuce type, toppings, dressing, etc.)

Basically a chef salad. I started thinking of all the ingredients and then thought, wait! That salad has a name... haha!

5. What was your favorite subject in school?

My favorite subject was always any language arts or English class. Always. :)

6. What’s your favorite summer tradition?

I don't really have any traditions that we just have to do every summer... besides grilling out, lounging by the pool, boating whenever possible...

7. Do you suffer from season allergies? How do you combat them?

Not usually, but this year I did! It sucked! I didn't know what to do to "combat" them, so I just rolled with it. I hate taking medicine.

8. How often do you have to charge your cell phone?

Every night. It has to charge for my "sleep cycle app" to work properly.

9. Do you have a bucket list?

Well, yeah! Don't we all? Even if it's indirectly?

10. Do you have any desire to go back to school?

Yup. That's why I'm doing it. ;)

Speaking of school. I'm supposed to be writing a unit lesson plan for ELL students right now. Not blogging. Catch ya later!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Checkin' in!

Hey guys! How ya doin??

I have been reading your posts, I swear! So far everyone has been having a great summer and I am so jealous! ;)

This is my last week for the first mini session of classes, but it is also the time where I have three classes at once. Holy, mother of ... (expletive) this is intense and I must have been ca-raaaz-y to do this to myself.

Actually, up until today I was feeling okay.

Boring, busy and lame, because I do nothing but study, but, ok in general.

All my classes were clearing solid A's and things were looking good. Then I get a paper back today that is worth 10% of my grade... I got a 90%. Which, I know. I know. It's a good grade, but according to her grading scale it's a B.

According to the rubric I did not apply my research findings to specific teaching context. Oh, and she also was super picky about things like contractions in the paper. I didn't realize that using the word "we're" and "they're" in a grad paper was frowned upon. Oops. Now that I think about it, that does make sense and probably made my writing look very sloppy.

Hopefully between the rest of the assignments due this week and the final on Thursday I can keep my A, which is 93% or better.

On the bright side I have made a new friend! Finally, in my third semester of grad school I have found a girl that I really connect with and have began to hang out with more. "Hanging out" right now is study groups and preparing for presentations, but that's okay!

Well, I'm going to get back to studying. I have a huge project due on Wednesday and I have to ace it if I want to keep my A. :)

Hope everyone is having a great week! I've missed you all!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Oai-deki-te ureshii-desu!

Hey guys! Anyone know what my title says? Bonus points if you do...

I'm taking a quick study break because I just have to share this story with you all!

As most of you know I am completely switching gears and have begun a career in education and am working on my Master's of Science in Teaching - Elementary Ed. at Drake University, here in Des Moines. My endorsement areas when I am all said and done will be in Special Education (my primary focus), ESL, Reading and Middle School. Currently I am in my first ESL class and I am loving it!

One of the big class assignments in almost every class is to teach a chapter of the book to the rest of the class in a group. I'm a little sick of this assignment because it's been done so many times so I am so excited when groups switch things up and incorporate great activities. The group that went today was working on the Writing chapter which focuses on how an ELL student learns to write in English.

Right away the group started with an activity. This is perfect for me because it really grabs my attention and gets me thinking.

Their activity was a writing activity... in Japanese.

One of the group members came in and said, "Welcome to Japan! We don't have a lot of time so we have to get started!" then he handed out a sheet of paper that look like this:

Then he said:

"Wo toshi wo America jean des"

Uhh, what?

(btw, I'm sure I butchered that sentence... if there is a correct way to spell that. I don't think there is, but phonetically that is how it sounds)

He said to go ahead and use the key to write down that Japanese sentence. We asked him to repeat it a few times. He sighed and said he didn't have all day, but still repeated it slower for us.

Here is what I wrote:

The top line is what I "turned" in. As he walked around to "correct" our work he sighed quite a bit, shook his head, and repeated, "no, no, no!"

After he checked our work he wrote the sentence down on the board the correct way in Japanese, which is the second line on my paper.

He went on to say that in Japan we do not write from left to write - that is just silly! Here we write from right to left and top to bottom! Then he goes, "Everyone knows that!"

We all kind of chuckled, but deep down we knew that this is what some ESL students feel like when they first get here. It's overwhelming and exhausting!

Obviously, the activity was meant to put us in the shoes of an ESL student in America - or well... a JSL student in Japan??? It definitely worked and was very impactful! The little bit of studying I have done of the other languages around the world just amazes me and now I am very interested in Japanese!

If you're wondering, the line in the activity translated into English is, "I am an American."

Also, the line in my header is, "I'm glad to see you!" Which I am! :)

Are you bilingual? Have you tried to learn another language?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


... I am alive. I am still here. I am still reading your posts. Well, skimming your posts.

Intense does not even begin to describe the summer semester. My two classes right now are doing the amount of work each day that would have been done each week if it were a standard semester. So, I'm doing four weeks worth of work each week for TWO classes. Then a new class starts Monday. This is an online class, but I have been forewarned that it is also intense.

Don't think I'm complaining. I am not. I am somewhat nutty and I sort of enjoy a jam packed schedule like this. It helps me keep everything else in check. My priorities are more urgent because I have less time to get them done. Does that make sense?

The only thing I AM going to complain about is my language and literacy class. The instructor has her doctorate and she said in her masters program (which was similar to my program) they didn't study and research articles, case studies, or any data in general so she is having us read TONS of technically written research articles that is chock full of confusing language and hard to understand data. Seriously, it makes my head spin. Or just shut down. Seriously, she wrote on one of my papers "Did you read the article?"

Why, yes. Yes, I did. Did I comprehend it? Nope.

So, anyway. That is what is up with me. I'll be back soon. I promise. In the meantime. Tell me something good that is happening in your life right now. Anything!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

ToT time

It's Ten on Tuesday time! Thank you, Chelsea for hosting. Check out Roots and Rings for more information about participating!

1. What type of phone do you have? Do you like it?
I'm a sucker and got the iPhone almost right after Verizon added it to their lineup of phones. I absolutely love it - I have never been able to do so much with a cell phone. Sometimes the touch screen keyboard bugs me, but it's not something I haven't been able to get over.

2. How old were you when you got your first cell phone?
I was 16. It was really my mom's phone but I had it more than she did. I had that really old Nokia that had the game Snake on it. Remember those?

3. How many cell phones have you owned since your first?
Oh my... I have no clue. Probably 10 or so?

4. How much is your average monthly phone bill?
I pay $110 a month. Is that high? I feel like it's normal, but I'm willing to pay for the bells and whistles ;)

5. When you were a kid/teenager, were you allowed to have a phone in your room?
Yes. I had my own phone line. That's how much I was on the phone...

6. Do you like talking on the phone or do you despise it? Or somewhere in-between?
Back when I was a teenager I loved it and spent HOURS on the phone. Now, I despise it. I hate talking on the phone and would much rather text.

7. Do you text a lot? Is texting/talking while driving illegal where you live? Are you guilty of it anyway?
Yes. Not yet. Yes.
Don't scold me! It will be illegal in July here. Getting the iPhone has been good for this nasty little habit because it's harder to text on it.

8. What sort of texting keyboard does your phone have? Touch screen, slide out, or something different? Do you care?
I have a touch screen, and it's sometimes hard to use! :/ I'm sure I could have submitted some pretty funny submissions to damnyouautocorrect.com since getting the iPhone!

9. Look at the last call in your call log – who is it? What were they calling about? Who calls you the most?
My mother. I think she was calling about... nothing? My mother calls the most ;) I don't mind though, I call her just as much!

10. What is the longest phone call you can recall having?
Literally, hours and hours. When I was a teen I was on the phone CONSTANTLY.

That's all I got for today. Remember yesterday's post where I laid out my summer school schedule? Yeah, June is going to be rooooough. I'll try to hang in there and get in at least a few posts a week. :)

Have a happy Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, June 6, 2011

No rest for the weary!

Classes start today!

During the summer semester I am taking 12 credits, which is four classes. This is a lot for a summer semester, but it's staggered quite nicely.

Two classes start today and they meet Monday through Thursday from 9am-4pm throughout the month of June. On June 20th I start a third class that is solely on the web (nice!) and then the 2nd, 3rd and 4th week of July I have a class at our local Area Education Agency that meets from 8-5 on Thursday and Friday.

So, it seems like a lot and people look shocked when I tell them, but it just makes sense!

Starting today is:

Language and Literacy (which I have already been warned is a ton of work)


Teaching English Language Learners (which I have heard nothing about. It's an intro class so it shouldn't be too bad).

Starting June 20th on the web is a special education course called Applied Behavior Analysis and Positive Behavior Supports. I'm really excited for this one because I really like PBS schools and PBS programs. From what I have found so far, focusing on abilities - NOT disabilities - and pointing out what a student did WELL is so much more productive. Also, since it's on the web I feel like I can really work best when I feel the best. Whether that be at 1am or 3pm, it's completely up to me. I like that.

In July I will be taking a Humanities course at the local AEA. There are several people that are in my program at Drake taking the same class, so I'm not worried about not knowing anyone. That's always nice to know for the first day of class.

When you were in college did you take summer courses?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sweet Valley Confidential

I am so thankful I didn't give in to myself and buy this stupid book. I put a request in at the library for it and it took forever to get to me. When it did come in, I practically ran to the library and expected to devour it in less than a day, just like I did when I was kid and reading Sweet Valley Twins.

The opposite happened.

I could barely get through it! This book was TERRIBLE! On Goodreads I am being somewhat nice, but I can't on here. It was so bad!

There were typos and so many facts messed up about the characters in Sweet Valley. The only reason I know the trivia about the characters is from a review I read (trust me, I'm not that obsessed with them), but the typos were pretty obvious. I noticed several. In fact, by the third one I actually looked to see who published this book. Usually, I delight in finding a typo and have never found more than one in a book. Not so with Sweet Valley Confidential.

I appreciated that Francine Pascal made Elizabeth and Jessica into real 27 year olds, but I did not appreciate how far she went. I do not want to know about Elizabeth's orgasms or her nipples. Jessica's dialogue was also a little too much for me. Pascal just through in a "like" in between every other word and decided that sounded like Jessica today. I get that Jessica was supposed to sound immature, but it was too much for me.

This book was total overkill. I wish I could say I liked it, but I (obviously) hated it. I forced myself to finish it and I think I barely, just barely skimmed the last 100 pages just to get it over with.

Don't waste your time. If you were a fan of the Sweet Valley Twins growing up, this book just might make you despise them now.

PS: I am guest posting for Kara over at Chatter. She's getting married TOMORROW, so I filled in for her for a day. Be sure to check it out and send her some quick virtual love before her big day :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Therapy Thursday?

I started writing a Thankful Thursday post, but there is something else going on today that's a little bit more real. I'm still thankful, but instead today, I'm blogging about.... Therapy? Therapy Thursday?

Blogging about this subject is sort of uncomfortable for me, but I'm going to plow through for the sake of growth. I am going to see a therapist today for the first time about some anxiety that I have been feeling for quite some time now.

Growing up my dad has experienced intense moodiness and mood swings. He was never violent towards us, but many times we did not know what to expect when he came home from work. His moods dictated the atmosphere at home all the time. He was diagnosed with depression several years ago and has been on antidepressants ever since, and life has been very good.

I love my dad, and there are many qualities about him that I hope I possess as well, but this quality is not one of them. I don't want to be like that. I don't want to make people uncomfortable or fear me when I come around. I know he doesn't want that either.

This is why I am going to see someone.

I don't feel like I have the extreme mood swings he does, but maybe I do? I know I tend to get snappy sometimes, and I spend a lot of time afterward worrying about it and worrying that my friends will desert me.

I get this fear of being deserted by my friends from an incident in my childhood. I know that is where it is coming from, but I don't really know what to do about it. I know this fear is irrational, and to be completely honest, I have a lot of irrational fears like this one.

Most of my fears are normal, everyday fears but I take it too far. I worry about things too much and it affects my day to day life. I get stressed way too easily and I know that I shouldn't have to live like this.

Several years ago a friend of mine suggested that I should see a therapist and she thought I was depressed and was worried about me. I was really hurt by it and not at all open to it. In fact, I was kind of upset with her. Why did I seem depressed? I didn't see it at all. I felt (and still do) that people should look for natural ways to cure problems like this instead of jumping straight to medication. I don't think I am depressed now, and I don't think I was then either... honestly, I think it's simply anxiety. Which, I know can lead to depression.

I've tried natural cures, like more exercise and more time on hobbies I enjoy, but nothing seems to work. I still get stressed easily and take my fears too far. Blogging used to be my form of therapy, and it really still is a form of it for me, but I hate having to keep my blog anonymous to really let it do it's job as a form of therapy. I have gotten in trouble for blogging about personal issues among friends that were bothering me, so I have instead taken the blog towards a different more positive focus.

Hopefully seeing a therapist will work. I requested a female counselor, because I don't think I would feel comfortable discussing my fears with a male counselor. Maybe it's something simple I need. Maybe she will have some suggestions for things I can do or try to ease these feelings. I have no idea. Maybe medication is what I need? Since it works for my dad, maybe it can work for me too.

How do you feel about seeing a therapist? Would you ever see one if you were having feelings of depression?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Books and Bars - Meeting #1

I've started a book club here in Des Moines with a couple of my friends, and we had our first meeting last night. I cannot believe how nervous I was, but everything went fine!

I've named the book club Books and Bars. I figure why not combine books and our favorite hangouts?

There was only three of us there, but it was perfect for me. Even though I know these girls really well I was still nervous leading the discussion (two glasses of wine did NOT help either, lol). I began to relax a little and I'm really grateful that it was two of my closest friends and a couple of strangers weren't thrown into the mix.

The book we read was Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman and I think it was a perfect book to start out with! We had plenty to discuss and before we knew it two hours had gone by. The three of us learned a little more about each other, which is so exciting when you have known someone for multiple years in a row!

Next month we are reading The Help by Kathrynn Stockett. At first I chose One Day by David Nicholls, but after we got to talking I felt this urge that both of them would love The Help. I loved it so much, that I don't mind re-reading it for the sake of the club. I can't wait to discuss it in a group, I think it's going to give us a TON to talk about.

We are planning on meeting on Thursday, June 30th at 6pm. If you're near the area you should join us! Anyone is welcome!

I am still planning on reading One Day though. After our meeting I made a quick trip to Half Price Books to see if it was there, and it was! For cheap! I have a copy from the library but it's due back today , errr, yesterday and it has holds on it so I can't renew it. From a lot of it's reviews it sounds like one I would like to add to my library, so I'm glad I found it for cheap.

Right now I am reading Sweet Valley Confidential (I'm such a sucker) and I have to say.... I'm not that impressed. I'm hoping I can fly through it today and get started on something new.

What are you reading right now? Do you belong to a book club?