Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"See You In September" (or, My Rise to Power)

I am so excited that School is about to start because for the first time, I'm not going into it as a student. I'm going to be on the other side. The side with the power, baby.

As I mentioned in a past post, I'm going to start teaching (adjunctly) at the Boston University Academy this fall. We had our "New Faculty Orientation" exercises yesterday, and it was awesome, and not just because they had pizza. For some reason, as I'd been planning my lessons, I always thought of myself as a "messenger of education," just following the setup of the course as it had been in the past. It was only this morning that I realized that I actually am in charge of this class! I get to make the rules, and even better, the consequences for the rules!

Let's face it, I'm not the type of lady who's going to bang on desks with a meter stick or assign detentions Richard-Vernon-Style, but I've already made one pretty awesome decision: I'm going to dock participation points for students that text during lab tours (because seriously, it's just rude to be texting when you're supposed to be paying attention to this professor who has taken time out of their crazy schedule to show you their lab). I don't think it's too harsh, do you?

At any rate, this year teaching is going to be a great experience. I think I'm going to do all of the stereotypical high-school teacher things like chaperone the school dances and cheer on my kids in their fencing (yes, I said fencing... this is a pretty swanky school!) matches and school plays. (I do kind of wish I were married though, just so I could have a steady date for all of the aforementioned fencing matches and school plays, and so I could be anything other than "Miss Wink".) And I'm probably also going to do that thing where I'm a new teacher so I have to be pretty strict and intense the first year to gain the respect of my students and the other, more seasoned teachers. Hmm... maybe I'm going to need someone to rein me in so I don't get too power-hungry and start to look like this:

Though I definitely know how I'm going to come dressed to school on Halloween now.

Rock You Like a... Tropical Storm?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have survived the first stage of the East Coast Apocalypse. Well, not really. The Earth and its surrounding air have been doing crazy things for millions of years. It would be pretty self-centered to assume that one tiny earthquake and one pretty lackluster* "hurricane" meant the end of the world. That said, it has been a pretty crazy couple of weeks, and I have to say, that without my incredible roommates, I probably would have died (of boredom).

As the hurricane-turned-tropical-storm hit us late Saturday night into Sunday, the Stake Presidency (think Regional Managers for Mormons) cancelled church, leaving us all at risk for a terrible case of cabin fever. So the four of us ventured into the rain on Saturday night and bought provisions for the storm: bottled water, fixings for "Hurricane Tacos", and coloring books (an essential part of any emergency preparedness kit). On Sunday, three of us decided to take up Storm Chasing and walked around The Town to check out storm drains and falling-down trees. Obviously, we all got struck by lightning and now have hurricane-related superpowers**.

The rest of the day was spent watching Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" (and realizing how creepy it seems when you're not a small child), dabbling in different forms of baked goods (Apple Fritters*** and two different varieties of focaccia), taking another walk, and of course, lots of coloring. Then Lindsay and I went to a game night with some people in the ward at which Cranky Alex made an appearance during Catchphrase. The game night deteriorated into Hippie Guitar Circle and then we got the heck out of Dodge.

So that's the story of Crazy Weather Week. I guess it's not the best story in the world, but it wasn't the best crazy weather in the world either.

*Okay, I'll admit that the hurricane wasn't lackluster for everyone. Some people did die, and lots of people were flooded and without power, but considering every news report and weather channel was treating the onslaught of Irene like it was going to be the next Katrina or something, it was kind of a letdown when Boston just had a lot of wind.

**Like the ability to show up non-dramatically, do nothing for a day, and inconvenience a lot of people for no good reason.

***Whenever I've read the Exodus story in the Bible, I've always wondered what manna was like. I think manna was apple fritters. It's delicious... until the next day and then it's soggy and gross.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"You're so vain; you probably think this [blog] is about you."

You know, some people have a lot of nerve. There. Now that I've said that to all of the Warren Beattys of the world, I give you, as promised, a post about marshmallows.

I don't know what it is about the marshmallow. Usually I try to be sensible, even with my junk food, picking things with nuts for protein, or chocolate for calcium (whatever helps me sleep at night, right?), but I can't resist marshmallows! They have no nutritional value; they're essentially all sugar; and yet...

Who can resist those open arms?  Or that sailor suit?
The Egyptians used the marshmallow plant for its medicinal properties, and even though there is nothing resembling a plant in the modern-day marshmallow, I still think they're pretty darn wonderful. Nothing makes a warm summer night better than does the sweet gooey goodness of a toasted marshmallow as you sit outside by the soft glow of a fire, and the romance lasts until the winter, as I snuggle up on the couch and watch my marshmallows melt in a steamy cup of cocoa. Of course, springtime comes and I'm betrayed by the Marshmallow Peep, an abomination if there ever was one.

Burn in Hades, you sugar-coated nightmare
I don't presume to think I'm unique in my affection for the confection, and there are a lot of places in my culinary world where one might put marshmallows that I've left marshmallow-free (Sweet Potato Casserole, the "Fluffernutter," to name a few) up until this point, so maybe I should take some more chances. Show those marshmallows I mean business. Like "Pumpkin Spiced Whoopie Pies with Ginger Cream"? I could totally step out of my marshmallow-comfort zone for that one.

One thing's certain: these summer days are drifting away, and I have yet to enjoy any S'mores. I've got to get on that.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Some Babbling

NOTE: This is going to be unstructured and scattered. If you're looking for amazing writing, read a different post.

I feel like I have to explain myself sometimes, but I also feel like the people to whom I feel the need to explain myself might find my explanations unnecessary or out-of-line, but that doesn't change the fact that I want to say what I want to say...however unstructured and scattered it might be.

You might not be able to tell by these sentences I'm writing, but I like structure. I like rules. I like boundaries. I believe we have roles in life and in relationships and I believe there are rules as to how we should behave in each situation and with each person we encounter. I don't like feeling like I've crossed any lines. Consequently, sometimes I pull back; I avoid the confusion that comes with blurring the lines between the casual and the careless, the friendship and the flirtation. Sometimes this makes me seem cold or unfriendly, but I would much rather be guarded than guilty.

I'm not going to write about the implications of this, even though I know they exist. That wasn't the part that I needed to explain. And I know I promised to go without a depressing post for longer than this, so I'm sorry...I promise my next blogging adventure will be about marshmallows or something.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Three Jobs

I'm a pretty big fan of the show "Gilmore Girls," and as such, I've often pondered which of the beloved eccentric characters I'm the most like. Am I a Rory? A Lorelei? A Sookie? Even a Miss Patty? I never thought that I would be a Kirk.

This is Kirk in a woman of ill-repute.

Why am I a Kirk? For those who don't know Kirk, Kirk has all of the jobs. Seriously. He works everywhere. I too, have all of the jobs...well, not all of the jobs. Currently, I only have three of them, though in 2011 I have had five total. Tax season is sure going to be fun.

Two of my jobs will start in September. The first is an adjunct teaching position at Boston University Academy. I'll be teaching a junior research seminar, and I'm pretty excited about it. Also, I'll be working as a T.A. in my old graduate program (note how I say "old" as if it's been years since I've graduated). It should be pretty fun, and it'll be nice to keep my academic roots firmly planted at BU. In addition to those super-relevant teaching positions, I have a third (less-relevant to my career) job, as there is no overlap on my Venn Diagram of "jobs that look good on my resume" and "jobs that pay for stuff".

As of yesterday, I've been putting on my "9 to 5" airs and working as a receptionist at an office in Newton. For those unfamiliar with the area, to get to Newton from Charlestown, you venture through a magical wardrobe, pass through the seven levels of the candy cane forest, click your heels three times, and then take a forty-five minute bus ride. In other words, the commute sucks. Apart from that, it's a pretty neat gig (and fairly simple, considering everything I know about being a receptionist I learned from watching "The Office") I make the coffee, deliver the mail, and most importantly, answer the phones...all the while sitting at a desk bigger than my bedroom. There's lots of downtime at work since the phones (thankfully) aren't ringing off-the-hook so I can do other things like read, grade papers, and write this blog post.

In short, employment-wise, I'd say my gap year is off to a good start. Even if I do have to be Kirk.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Surprises are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced, and the inconvenience is often considerable."

(The title is a quote from Emma by Jane Austen, spoken by the oh-so-delightful Mr. Knightley.)

I don't believe I care for surprises much either, which is odd because apparently, I am full of them. I'll admit that I am an enigma, but I've always felt that once someone has gotten a glimpse of my personality, all things learned thenceforth should make perfect sense. I had to scold someone recently for continuing to express surprise at aspects of my life experiences (really, at a certain point, one should know better). After further consideration, however, I will admit I have a few surprises and contradictions within myself. Here's just one of them:

I think "On My Own" is the most useless song in all of Les Miserables. Everyone loves it and uses it for their high school musical audition pieces, but I daresay that it should never have existed in the first place. We already know that Eponine is in love with Marius and he's never going to love her back. We don't need another whole song (and the longest solo in the whole show, at that) about it.

I bet you were thinking I was going to write some shocking revelation about myself. I thought about it, but the thing about surprise (and I don't know if this actually a thing or not--I just sort of made it up now) is that it has to be just a little at a time, otherwise you're bound to give someone a heart attack.

And I just really am sick of "On My Own." Seriously. It's too much.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I was watching an episode of "Good Eats" a while ago about Avocados. It was quite interesting. Did you know that the word "avocado" is based on "abogado," the Spanish word for "lawyer," but only because it was as close as the Spaniards could come to correctly pronouncing the native name for the fruit, which actually translates to "testicle?" I digress.

One of the most interesting things I learned in this show about the Avocado was that avocados don't ripen on the tree. They have to be picked and then they have to sit around and then they're fully mature. This kind of struck me in an Institute lesson about maturity and preparedness and such. We don't come out of college or grad school or whatever other "preparatory phase" completely "finished." It takes awhile for us to "ripen" into whomever we're supposed to become.

Anyone who has spoken to me in the past few months knows that I feel like I've been sitting on the shelf rather than being used for my "intended purpose" (whatever that may be). Despite all this, I feel like I've become rather "zen" about the whole thing, that I've learned a lot, and that I've really grown and matured as a person.

In other words, I think I'm ready to be guacamole.