Thursday, July 31, 2008
check: final staff meeting. had an "exit interview" where we talked about what worked and didn't work. final check-ins otherwise. I will miss working with these people. we do have the final wrap-up tomorrow with all of the students, so will get to see everyone.
check: prep for interpeting tomorrow - as much as I could. the plan/script/outline - whatever - from the key presenter never showed up. maybe we will get it today. we are also (I am interpreting the completion ceremony and celebration with two other interpreters) hoping to be able to preview the students' video presentation (thanks to family, friends, and some other things) before tonight since we will be interpreting it. hopefully we will get those two pieces of information by this afternoon. (and I'm still thinking how to get from here in the dorm over to the student center where the celebration is held in my all black nice interpreting suit in 101 degrees without melting ... not a huge deal ... only half a mile from here, but it will be hot. think I'll wear a light shirt and carry the shell and jacket)
check: box of heavy notebook and a few other things ready to ship home (will walk to the UPS store tomorrow morning, which is right next to a coffee shop) and about 2/3 of my stuff packed. and I have the shuttle phone number so I can confirm my return trip saturday morning.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Something I will absolutely not miss from here at all is the smell. I won't even attempt to describe the name sign for this town (for those who don't know: a "name sign" is how people, towns, countries, sometimes businesses, are referred to in American Sign Language and usually relate in some way to the personality or some characteristic of the person) -- but it fits. And the smell? Surrounding this small town are some cattle ranches and some Con-Agra slaughterhouses. When the wind blows in particular directions (I think up from the south, but don't quote me), the one or the other of the smells waft in. On particularly "pleasant" days, the winds will bring them both on.
I have to admit that, while I would never go out of my way to seek out the smell of cow dung, it is not as gruesome as the other one. When I was growing up, we had family who had a large cattle ranch outside of a very small town in eastern Oregon and my family went often to the state fair ... so the smell of cow dung is not foreign nor something that makes me queasy. But the slaughterhouse smell or the smell of the two combined. Gross!
I will not miss that smell.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Nothing much to report other than the above and the earlier post about the death of a friend.
Talked with my partner today and found out that a friend of ours died unexpectedly this morning. Someone I hadn't seen for a couple years; I think my partner had seen her more recently than I. One of those "I should have called" when I was thinking about her a month ago situations and it's too late now. A reminder to keep in contact with friends because we don't know what's around the corner. I also found out a couple days ago that another friend and his wife are expecting a baby in early 2009. Birth and death - inevitable, part of the cycle - yet an "out of the blue" death touches that place where I don't want to live in fear that each moment may be the last, yet at the same time living with the reality that each moment may truly be the last. Balancing knowing it and not fearing it and living fully and well. And keeping in touch with friends, not letting them slip away, making time for at least a phone call, a cup of tea.
Thinking. Feeling. A loss.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Walked a new route to find a different Mexican food restaurant - which I did. It was pretty good. It was just me and my book and a margarita on the rocks. And a tall glass of ice water. I ordered a Enchilada de Jaica (crab, creamy white sauce inside along with a tomatillo sauce) -- tasty, filling, no conversation, no work, reading the continuing adventures of Jennifer Egan's Charlotte in Look At Me.
Now I'm back in the dorm. Have tallied my scores for the section I graded and added my partner's scores for the section he graded. All that's left is writing up the feedback that is not already on their transcripts.
Oh - and the good news: my Blackberry battery showed up today. Only ten days after it was delivered to campus - -but at least I have it. My battery has been making it through a day. And the truly strange thing is that I charged it up overnight on Friday and just tonight have had to plug it in again. I used it the same amount I have every other day -- who knows. It still works and I have the new one I paid for. I also already told the manager for the job to just send another form to my home, where it will be safely waiting for me when I arrive next weekend. There is nothing personal on the form (that I know of) should it resurface here in Greeley. If someone else wants to fill out the authorization for drug screening for this company, be my guest!
Now I must return to writing out the feedback, here in Greeley, CO, where it is now a cool 80 degrees. (It did truly feel cool when I was out walking in it; the difference between 95 and 80 is significant.)
the Student Community Center
picture (wonky as it is) by Dot Hearn
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Time is moving quickly and slowly at the same time. This is the longest I have been anywhere like this and what was unfamiliar is becoming familiar and it feels like so long since I've been home and yet - it seems like this week may be over soon and then. I will be home.
I will see what it feels like at the end of the day tomorrow. A large homework assignment will be waiting for me to pick up in the lobby at 8:45 tomorrow morning. And then the real fun begins: grading. The students have a guest presenter all morning tomorrow and then their ethics class (with my roommate) in the afternoon -- so all of us skills specialists can spend the day grading.
There was what appeared to be a storm brewing earlier today - but it never hit here. What we did get out of it was some awesome looking skies and rainbows. The pictures in this post were taken from my 16th floor dorm windows. Some beautiful and amazing skies today and even some double rainbows. (Even with the clouds the temperature climbed into the upper 90s.)
I like Joanna Newsom's music. To be honest, I haven't found anyone else among my group of friends who likes her "Appalachian-meets-avant-garde take on folk music." If you hate the music, hit the mute button. The video is worth it even if you want to (as one friend said) poke your ears with a sharp instrument rather than listen to her voice. I like her and realize she's not for everyone. Give it a try, though, you might be surprised.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
So my roommate and I walked up there about noon, walked around for a couple hours looking at things. Some of it is the same types of things we have at home at our parks art fairs, some of it unique. Some really nice things. My favorites were an artist who uses recycled/found materials and makes some nice art pieces from them. Reasonably priced, but not reasonable to bring home on the plane. There was another artist who had a wide variety of clocks; some of them were funny, some had an old fashioned feel. There was one jewelry artist whose work was very alive and personal; mostly silver with some very nice stones - not the ones you can buy from the wholesale jewelry catalogues and resell cheap; but thoughtful and well-crafted.
We got a bite to eat and something cool to drink, followed by frozen treats. Mine was a bowl of shaved ice with some coconut flavoring added. The coconut was nice; but the true reason I picked it was because it was clear. I didn't want to end up with blue raspberry or cranberry syrup dribbled down the front of my cream colored linen shirt! I was already planning to do laundry today - but having baked in red or blue syrup in linen was not something I wanted to deal with.
It was about 80 degrees when we left and 90 when we returned four hours later and the (I think) cicadas are buzzing in the trees.
I looked up our route on Google maps and it was 2.2 miles one way and about 45 minutes to walk! Woo hoo! My roommate also has a pedometer because she tries to get in 10,000 steps in a day. Our walk up to the park and back met the 10,000 steps! Below is our route.
View Larger Map
Friday, July 25, 2008
On August 10th, we will participate in the five mile (that's correct: miles not "k") Providence Bridge Pedal Bridge Stride in Portland, where we will walk over both the Fremont and Steele bridges.
On September 21st we will participate in the 5k walk in the local Race For the Cure.
And on October 5th we will participate in the Portland Marathon in the 10k "Mayor's Walk."
After that - who knows! One thing we do know for sure, we will be looking for rain gear so we can continue our outdoor workouts as long as we can. A little rain won't be a problem, it's getting into winter with the wet and cold that is an unknown. Of course, in Portland, we tend to only have a total of about two weeks of "severe" weather (stop laughing - remember, everything is relative), which is scattered over a couple months. I'm not counting the numerous "severe weather warnings" which turn out to be nothing; only the near freezing or below with wind and ice/snow days.
A group of us from the program I'm working with and from the other program under this center went out for dinner tonight. It was tasty and good conversation. We were sitting outside in the cool (~80 degrees) air with a breeze. About halfway through the meal the servers started removing the table umbrellas because the breeze was becoming a wind and the umbrellas can topple the entire table. We haven't seen any rain or thunderstorms yet, but it could happen. It may not because it has cooled down to about 75 now. Although there might still be enough heat in all the cement... we'll see!
Oh: update on the mail. I received a call from someone who is apparently the lead RA (I forget his exact title). He and another RA talked with the mail people, they have checked everywhere, including another dorm/hall and the mail area - nothing. No sign of my package or my envelope with the form for the employer. I sent an email to the manager of the company and told her to please resend the form to my home and I will deal with it as soon as I get back. It was mailed on either 7/10 or 7/11 and I should have had it long ago. I called the guy here back and actually managed to catch him in the office. He apologized, but what could they do. I explained for the fifth time, at least, that there were *two* pieces of mail missing (each time my message gets passed on to the supervisor or someone, it ends up being A package): I said the one could be replaced but will delay the start of the job. I said the second was an item I already paid for with shipping costs and not as easily replaced. He said his next person up will be in on Monday and they'll see what they can do. ughghg! I expect the mobile phone battery will show up after I'm back in Portland and when I don't really need it any more (hopefully my phone will return to normal when I get back; it's a little better the last couple days, but still runs out faster than it should).
And as for the job - all I can hope is that there is some reason the universe is delaying the start. I have no idea what or why - but there is nothing to be done about it.
Tomorrow I decided to not go to Boulder with a small group. I thought I would - but decided I'd rather stay here, do some laundry, explore Greeley a little more (there seems to be a beautiful park with a river through it a ways away ... will have to figure out how to get there on the bus and what times: bus service is extremely limited here), also maybe try to get to an area where there appear to be some excellent restaurants and stuff. We'll see. I am just not feeling like spending several hours in the car and walking around a little town which seems to be to be an awful lot like Ashland (at first I thought Corvallis, but after I saw some pictures and read more about it, it seems A Lot like Ashland).
For Sunday, the students in our program have planned a BBQ and staff are invited. Have to figure out what to take for that but that is no big deal and doesn't start until 4:00.
I want (and need) to take it easy this weekend. Relax. Hang out. Do some leisurely walking. Not haul the cart full of videos and a 3" notebook and a box of office supplies and my lunch and water and and and ... behind me.
Ahhhh - the weekend!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Still no mail. A new RA at the desk today - but she did immediately contact her supervisor who called while I was taping students and left me a message. Grrr. Then it was after 5:00 when I was done, so she was already out of the office. Tomorrow I don't have to be over at the staff room until our noon meeting (yay - the first time since I've been here that I actually get to sleep in), so maybe I will be able to talk to the mail person in the morning.
My roommate had dental surgery early this morning and is doing quite well, it seems, tonight. We went out for a short walk to pick up dinner (about a mile round trip). We made it back to the dorm just in time. The wind had picked up sharply and it was just starting to rain as we approached the dorm. Within minutes we were treated to a Greeley thunderstorm, complete with lightning which looked like it was just outside our 16th floor window.
We commented that we have grown used to ignoring weather warnings at home. There were several times last winter we had "severe hazardous weather" warnings which never materialized. So, although we had seen the little extreme weather warning rolling across the bottom of the TV screen, we didn't think a lot about it, except that we did take our lightweight rain coats when we walked to Qdoba. We ended up not really needing the coats - but would of if it had taken even two minutes longer to make our meals.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
The first piece of mail I was expecting was a simple envelope with a one-page tri-copy form inside. At first I thought maybe the sender didn't get it out as soon as she expected (I was guessing it was probably mailed July 11th or 14th), so I wasn't going to get concerned unless I didn't have it by the end of last week.
The second item was a new battery for my Blackberry, because, for some odd reason ("altitude" has been given as an answer, without an explanation) my phone battery is not working well. This is a new battery, less than three months old. At home it would hold a charge, *with frequent use* for two to three days. Here, I noticed pretty quickly that, despite being charged fully at night, it was down to the blinking red and yellow sliver of a battery by the end of my work day the next day. Weird! I couldn't remember the name of the company I bought it from, so I decided to just order a new one and have it sent here. That is my connection to the agencies and individuals for my work and my phone. There is not an electronic store near here, so I decided it would be more efficient to just have one shipped. I ordered that either the night of 7/11 or on 7/12. It was shipped on 7/15. I found out on Monday that there is a delivery confirmation of it arriving here on 7/18. Okay, I thought ... the weekend. It's summer. I know there are many camps and such here at the university so it will be a little slower (I've been told that at least four times by the RAs in the dorm). But now it is Wednesday.
I also confirmed that the envelope with the form which is required for a job back at home, was mailed on either 7/10 or 7/11. Now it is 7/23 and no form. No battery. My opinion: no excuse. Unfortunately, I don't know who else to go to. I will try to find out from the program coordinator if there is another contact she has. This is really ridiculous now... especially the envelope. I would expect the mail room staff to have gotten the battery here by now - since I know it was on campus last Friday. Grrrrr. I hope it all gets here before I leave. Luckily, pages are slow now and I'm not using the phone part much, so the Blackberry is holding the charge until I get back to my room. But if I make a call, it runs out quicker.
And, while annoying, my roommate has it worse. Not the mail, but her tooth. She had a tooth break on our trip to the mountains last weekend. It had been hurting and she was hoping to wait until she got home to her own dentist to take care of whatever was wrong. That didn't happen and now she has to have what is left dug out because it broke off under the gumline and it is now infected. She goes in at 7:00 tomorrow morning. I'd rather be out $20 for a battery and delay starting the job because I have to do the form after I get home than to go to a strange dentist in a strange town. Eeek.
Then there is another staff person whose husband was here with her the first week. (They had to stay in a hotel - which was fine - because we can't have guests/family staying with us in the dorms.) He left on Sunday and, on the drive home to Texas, he hit - and killed - a cow. He is fine, the dog is fine, the truck? Not so fine. But he did get someone to drive him to Texas, where he got his other truck and will go back to pick up the damaged one.
Another staff person's 10-year-old dog (I think it's a Schnoodle), was recently diagnosed with diabetes. She is also staying in a nearby hotel, because we can't have animals in the dorms, either. Last Friday the dog's blood sugar shot way up (380-400 when it should be 80-130) and she had to take it to the vet. The blood sugar has come down a little and she really likes the vet here .... but it's another thing to deal with. Then on Saturday at the mountain park, she went walking up the tundra trail with the dog. She missed the signs (it was small and low) with a picture of a person and a dog with the red circle with a line through it ... she got fined $125 for taking the dog up the trail.
Comparatively, my losses or delays are small in comparison. It still irks me; but I'll accept them if they can't be found. When I talked to the RA last night he asked if I was the person who had given him the confirmation number. I said "no," but I can provide you with one if it will help. He said it wouldn't. Apparently I am not alone in lost mail. I didn't go tonight because there was a slightly tense situation with one student and I didn't want to get any more irritated than I already was. I have been promised a couple of times that there will be a note on my door if any mail comes. Every day I get off the elevator and peer to my left to see if there is a sticky note with my name. But nothing so far.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Tonight I went out on my own to a Japanese restaurant I found in the (finally discovered) phone book. I didn't try the sushi, but did have the salmon and tempura, with a side of edamame. Mmmm, I had missed the edamame. They served theirs cold, but it works when it's 95 degrees outside and the beans aren't frozen. I waited until about 6:00 to go out and the temperature dropped to 94. I walked just over a mile to the restaurant. Ate. Paid and left. Then walked back a different way, about 1.5 miles and picked up a McFlurry about half a mile from the campus. I figured there would still be some ice cream (or at least a shake-like substance) by the time I got back to the dorm. Which was just about right.
And here I am at the computer, posting to my blog. Wondering if anyone is reading it. If my partner is checking in once in a while to see what's up. We haven't talked much on the phone because we're both busy with what we're doing. She is getting ready for a show which opens next week, teaching, and seeing clients ... and painting. I will post a link to her blog with a couple of pictures from the upcoming show. Me : busy with mentoring/teaching and grading and caught up in the little things like trying to figure out what happened to an important document a part-time employer sent me 11 days ago which should have been here by now, and where is the blackberry battery I ordered and was shipped on the 15th and arrived here on the 18th but it's not in my hands. Those little things of daily life. So we email more than we talk on the phone because we don't have to be on the same schedule for that.
I also had the unique experience last night of seeing a couple of my partner's paintings for the first time. Completed paintings which I had not seen in various stages and re-dos and "honey, what do you think about this" questions. It gave me the opportunity to see them with fresh eyes; as a newcomer to the viewing. It was nice. I must admit, and she already knows, that sometimes I can't look at the twenty-fifth alteration of someone's navel or right hand without wanting to flee from the room. I know it's the process, but sometimes I really like something at one stage and then come home at the end of my work-day to discover that what *I* liked is gone and it is halfway a new painting. It's hers and she can do what she wants; but I have learned to not get too attached to one version .... unless it's the one hanging in the gallery. Perhaps that sometimes blocks my ability to see them in general. So, it was a real treat to see the finished painting and go, wow.
I am definitely into the routine here and I still like all the people I am working with. And I will be glad to get home. And glad to be, at least for a little while, 'cold' because it is only 75-80 degrees.
Monday, July 21, 2008
and grading some more
grading and in-depth feedback on the students' rough drafts of their professional development plans (PDPs).
hopefully, the final drafts will go easier. should, we won't be giving them feedback because they will be done with the program.
I wanted to go for a swim tonight, but the grading took much longer than I expected. Maybe tomorrow night.
interesting how a person's body can adapt to temperature shifts. I've been here almost two weeks and I do notice that I am starting to get somewhat used to temperatures consistently over 90; often around 95. I was inside the building where we present our lectures all afternoon (grading). When I left at 5:00 it was about 95 outside. It was hot - but not the searing hot that 95 felt like last week. I could actually walk from that building to the dorm without sweating or drawing hot air into my lungs.
from the UNC website
Sunday, July 20, 2008
She is also a poet and artist and is outspoken on attempts to silence or limit artists (as well as other social and political movements, I'm sure). I believe it doesn't matter where the attempts at censure are occurring or whether it is writing/art/film/theater/radio/etc, it affects us all. As cliche as it has become, there is still truth in the "when they came for [insert marginalized or oppressed group] .... and when they came for me, there was no one left."
Juliana is smart, funny, serious, dedicated, and talented.
Enjoy. And check out some of her other work.
Started by a walk to get some breakfast. A break from the routine of super healthy breakfast cereal high in fiber with fresh blueberries and a little banana sliced on top, and soy milk poured over everything. My roommate and I had a craving for pancakes and an eggy breakfast, so we walked to a restaurant about half a mile away.
They are now closed on Sundays; which is not what I read.
We walked up the road further, where we saw a Village Inn Pancake House last week when we were looking for something else. This was nearly 11:00 am (I slept in! Yay!) and it was already 85 degrees outside. I wore Birkes, since it was only half a mile.
Instead it was a mile each way.
But the temperature was climbing over 90, the Birkes kept my feet cool, and we got our pancakes.
And I did laundry.
And downloaded more pictures from my camera.
And wrote my blog for the day.
And I spent more time looking into airfare options to Oaxaca for the writing workshop I will be attending in December.
And put away my laundry.
Think I will see what's on TV; there must be an episode of Law and Order or one of the CSIs on somewhere. After I watch the video of the source material for our skills lab tomorrow, of course.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
We drove up to Estes Park (the town at the base) and from there on into the Rocky Mountain national park. Just after the main entrance, we took the one way dirt road through the park. It was beautiful. We stopped at one wayside to get out and wander a little, walked down to a waterfall and stream.
I'm not sure of the altitude at this point, but it was a significant number of feet higher than Greeley. My increased walking at home, especially the hills and Mt. Tabor stairs, came in handy. On the walk back up my legs and almost all of me was fine with this climb, even with the additional altitude. By the time I reached the parking lot, though, my lungs were not too happy. They hurt quite a bit for a minute - not too long, but long enough to know I needed to be a little cautious and not flip into super-woman mode. I did opt later to not go far up the trail on the tundra at the top; one of the rules of avoiding altitude sickness that I was told was to not push oneself too much. So I decided to just do a short distance up the tundra because passing out or throwing up would not be fun. *smile.
From there we drove out the other side of the park. We first passed the continental divide and then continued on down to Grand Lake. There we bought lunch and ate at a covered picnic table with a view of the lake and full access to the cooling air blowing off the water. We arrived at the town at the end of their Buffalo BBQ days celebration. I never did discover why it was called the "buffalo" bbq; the only bbq they had was chicken, beef, or pork. I did get the BBQ chicken, which was good and enough food for a couple of meals.
Because continuing in the same direction would take somewhere between three to four hours to get back to Greeley, the drivers decided to go back through the park, which would be about two hours. We didn't have to - well, actually couldn't - take the same dirt road back through the park. We followed the main road. This turned out to be a good thing, as we came across a few elk resting in the sun; later we saw a larger herd of elk.
After that, we drove and drove and drove, finally arriving back in Greeley a little after 7 pm. A little over twelve hours from when we'd left. It was a good day. Nice scenery, wonderful company, and a chance to see new-to-me mountains. The following short video is from the trip home, when we were still in the Rockies. There is the sound of wind through the car window, so if your speakers are turned up high, it might sound kind of awful, unless you like the sound of wind whipping across a microphone!
Something you may notice in the final picture, below, are the brown pine trees. You may notice them in other photos here, or you may have noticed them other places. The damage in the Rocky Mountain national forest park is extensive. Throughout our trip we saw the brown trees scattered all across the landscape. We read in the park's newspaper that this is the result of an infestation of the Mountain Pine Beetle. You can read more about this on the Forest Insect and Disease website's leaflet. The beetles have invaded areas reaching from the western part of Canada, the western ten states of the US and down into Mexico. The website includes a map of their infestation. It was a shock to see so many dead and dying trees. And it made me wonder what the park will look like in five years; in ten years. In the higher regions, there were more infested trees than healthy trees. This new-to-me information explains some tree damage I've seen, which I thought was due to human carelessness, emissions, fires, or other similar occurrences. Which may not be too far off the mark from what I read. One of the surest ways to kill off the beetles is the deep winter cold, which destroys the larva; with the warmer and shorter winters, the larvae are not killed off, grow into beetles, and need to search out new hosts. From what I read, there isn't much that can be done once an area is infested. The forest service is doing what they can - but the extent of the situation is probably not imaginable if a person hasn't seen it. If that person hasn't stood on the edge of an open space and seen miles of pine trees being eaten alive, turning brown and gray and the green fading to scattered oasis where something other than pines can escape the beetles' notice.
Friday, July 18, 2008
The rest of the day was uneventful - which is good. We had a very productive lab with the students. We accomplished a lot and they were participatory and there was great discussion and opportunity for them to practice.
Then tonight some teachers from both programs and our lead instructor and a couple other staff members all went out for dinner. It was nice to get together outside of the work environment, chat, eat and just hang out. I had considered not going because I was tired and was feeling like I might need a little time alone ... but I'm glad I decided to go with the group.
Right now I need to get to bed so that I can get up early to meet the others who are going to the mountains to see animals and have a view from on high.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
now, not even an hour after that experience, it is dark and the streets are dry. not a sign of the earlier rain, which we would ignore entirely at home. "rain" - hardly!
which reminds me of what happened a couple days ago. a local woman asked me if I'd seen the rain that day. I said no, when was it? she told me and said that it never reached the ground, because it was so hot and dry that the raindrops dried before they hit the earth. I just smiled. "rain," indeed.
today was rather uneventful, other than waking up with much difficulty and very slowly. I was absolutely exhausted when the alarm went off and it took me at least 20 minutes to even stir. I did get going and got where I was supposed to be on time. everything went smoothly and it felt good and right to be here, still; and I was so so tired. after our daily lunchtime staff meeting I walked over to the student center and bought a really big iced soy latte to make it through the afternoon. I think it was early enough and I was tired enough that it won't affect my sleep tonight.
I still have to watch the video we will be using in tomorrow's skills lab, but it's only about 20 minutes long. I will make sure to get to bed at a decent time.
and then on Saturday a group of us are going to a 12,000+ feet park in the mountains. which I probably already mentioned. I'll try not to mention it again, until after we get back and then I can talk about the trip and the animals we will probably see - which is the purpose of leaving early in the morning.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
actually, not the converting part. I found several links and approaches, but was not successful. but I was feeling so good about the presentation that I decided to just take my laptop, on which I previously loaded the software to play the specialty videos for a workshop I presented last year; I would use the program/podium laptop for the powerpoint and then switch to my/"the instructor's" laptop for the videos. because of the special formatting, I could not insert the videos into the powerpoint. with a few more hours, I might have been able to track down how to insert this "unrecognized" format into powerpoint, but I didn't need to, so I saved myself that stress.
the presentation actually went pretty well, I feel. overall, I got good feedback, although I do need to find more opportunities to watch formal ASL presentations. feedback from the lead instructor was that I was signing too small and too fast most of the time - and that my conjunctions, because of how I was producing them (along with the small and fast) was not clear for those sitting farther back. that was beneficial feedback and, although I was trying to monitor speed, I was also nervous and was sometimes too fast for the specific audience ... it's a good goal to work on.
a couple hours after the presentation, I collapsed energetically. I still had several hours of work ahead, and I made it through, but all the energy I had in the morning was gone.
my roommate and I went to the campus cafeteria; my first time there. for dorm food it wasn't too bad, with many selections including healthy options. a little pricey, in my opinion, for college food; I can get better in this area for about the same cost. but it was convenient and it was fine.
after dinner we went to a presentation by one of the instructors in the BA program (where my roommate is teaching; I'm teaching in a different program for the center). the purpose was for a cohort of students to practice interpreting, live, with an audience. one of the students ask me if I would give her feedback and I did so willingly. it was interesting and I gained information about an organization I only knew a little about.
and when I got back to the dorm a few hours later -- I was so tired!
but a good day, overall, and I don't have another presentation until the 25th.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
our first mid-day staff meeting to check in with each other and resolve any problems
more skills labs and more presentations (though not me; my big one is tomorrow)
my first trip to the pool and did it ever feel good! right temperature (cool but not cold); low chemicals and, actually, no chlorine residuals that I noticed. swam about 35 minutes with periodic 1-2 minute rest breaks. swimming is another level of altitude adjustment; walking is becoming pretty normal - the swimming increased breathing complexity - but I did it!
my roommate went for her walk while I swam and picked up a pizza for dinner (we ordered before we each went to our respective daily exercises)
oh - the only "news" for the day is that I mistakenly got mr pibb with my dinner from the Pita Pit last night. it wasn't so much that I got the wrong drink - it was what I wanted. but I overlooked that it was mr pibb XTRA and ignored that it was 8:30 pm when we walked to the place to pick up dinner. and that I'd already made a soy milky coffee (sort of a latte but made with Nescafe clasico, so I can't really call it a latte!) when I came back to the dorm. so: coffee at 5 pm, followed by a swim, followed by a 12 or 16 oz mr pibb xtra and then I thought I would sleep?!?!! I obviously wasn't thinking. I thought I was having some type of nervousness attack, which didn't make sense since I was doing only skills lab today and no presentation. I went to bed about 1-ish, woke up every 60-75 minutes, then went back to sleep, woke up... Sigh. In the "morning" when I actually *had* to get up, I realized about the mr pibb mistake. Yikes.
the little video clip shows the outside of the building where we have our skills lab twice every day. the lectures and headquarters are in a different building (the Michener library; yes, named after the author).
Monday, July 14, 2008
"Little Black Kitty" - as we called it - had other ideas. The cat showed up and then wouldn't go away and we decided to keep it. I checked the Humane Society, Craigslist, the local newspapers, and a couple of other lost & found pet websites for a few weeks but nothing matched. We decided we'd take it to the vet to see if it was chipped and get it checked out. The other thing was that, according to a couple of people we know and we agreed, it seemed that the cat recently had kittens or was pregnant. So that was something else to get checked out, too. After a few weeks of it not leaving and truly taking up residence with us, my step-daughter said the cat's name was Violet. We thought that fit pretty well, although we changed it to Violetta.
This morning I got a call that a woman and her son rode over on bicycles to see if their cat, "Lester," was hanging around. [Correction: the woman came by with a baby stroller; shows you how well I listened to the first message!] Seems that "Lester" is their cat: neutered and all shots done. He ran away or drifted off or something and they did pick him up once before and took him back to their house. He apparently ate and then took off again. Back to us.
We thought we had girl cat with male tendencies. The other people thought they had a boy cat with very female tendencies, or, as they said, a girly boy (not said in a derogatory manner).
I'm not there, but my partner said the two parties have agree to an "open adoption" since Lester has made it clear where his primary home is. They have visitation rights but he lives with us.
My idea a couple weeks ago to name the now-him cat "Mulder" was not as far off as we originally thought. I never would have thought to nor actually named him "Lester" - but that's what he responds to.
We have a gay cat named Lester instead of a potentially pregnant female cat named Violetta. Perhaps another one of those life lessons: careful what you say you will never have because the universe may figure out how to give you exactly that!
Today I was glad I didn't have more, because I nearly ran out of time. I had to minimize some things near the end, but did get it all in. It went fine -- I would have liked "finer" -- but I'm okay with the lecture.
The lab part was great. That is what I really love. Being able to work with the students on mentoring, talking about the work, working to help them explore their own work and the source message and apply all the theory and practice they've been doing.
And I want to say that I am very pleased with my team Skills Specialist. He really helped make today go smoothly. He sent me a text message early this morning. He is very calm, warm, friendly ... I feel our teaching styles are similar and that we worked really well together. He was supportive and encouraging before and after my lecture. I like him and think it was a good pairing.
My feet are sore. I bought new shoes a couple weeks ago, they are extremely comfortable and fit well. I wore them before coming here to break them in and get used to them. But I think my nervousness today and the high temperature made my feet sweat and - ouch. That, too, will fade along with the nervousness. I don't expect I'll be doing a lot of walking tonight!
My second lecture is this Wednesday and then I won't have any more lectures until the 25th. So I will be mainly doing my favorite duty of mentoring and talking about the work ... and the grading/feedback.
Nothing much else happening today. The first day is done and now I can relax a little! Still a lot to do, but this is more what I know and do all the time - and the first days tends to be the worst.
I have a picture of the collages I made at home, which are on my dorm room wall now, to upload later. There is "an internal error" which is not letting me upload the picture right now.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
We went to a mall first, but decided instead to visit the park and walk before the temperature rose too much and the park became too crowded.
Then we went to Lake Loveland, where there were a lot of people huddled under Alders and other trees, set up in chairs, protective net tents, or sprawled on towels along the lake, and some people swimming, fishing, jet skiing, or boating. And some others just walking, like us. There was a baseball game somewhere, based on seeing a couple kids in uniforms, though I never spotted the game. There was also a not-in-use theatrical stage and arena seating.
We went back to one of the malls (there were about three mall areas within probably a mile; one of them was an outlet mall), thinking that was the one we wanted. We didn't see any of the stores that one of us had emailed to the group when she found it. I was able to look at the email from her and see that we were not at the same mall. The one right next to where we were (which we had already determined was not the correct one) had a Staples store, so we stopped by there so that one of our members could make copies of his PowerPoint for a lecture. The university center hours are not as convenient during the summer months as during the regular school year, so this was an easier option.
We did find the mall we had intended to visit, the Promenade Shops, and the store one of us wanted, Best Buy, and the restaurant I wanted, PF Chang's, were open. The person was able to buy what she needed at the store. We all had a tasty meal and excellent service from the wait-staff.
And here I am back in my room, with a load of laundry drying in the basement, typing my entry for today. I'm putting off going over my notes for my first lecture tomorrow morning, but will do that at a reasonable hour so I can get enough sleep. All the parts of this process start into full swing with the students in this program.
The writing was a priority for me today, so I wanted to do that first. Later my suitemate and I will probably make a run - well, walk - to the store (waiting for the temperature to drop a little) to restock a couple essentials.
It was a good day, with a few hours away from anything related to work, with good company and somebody else at the wheel.
And a plan for a trip to the mountains next weekend (I can't remember the name of the park), where we will be at 12,000 feet. ! ! ! I will definitely be going home with stronger lungs.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
And we planned a little outing for Saturday.
My roommate and I walked to the mall, which didn't appear to be too far on the map, only about 1.7 miles. The only hitch is that there is a freeway/highway between here and there and there was no sidewalk along the highway. Ooops; it had looked like there was some place from the map, which did tell us to walk that way. Oh well. We walked past a nice old cemetery with some interesting names. We could no longer see where we thought we were going (we did see the roof of some of the mall from our dorm floor; we don't have a printer between us, so we couldn't print out the map). There were a number of cars turning down a street, so we thought maybe tha led to the mall. After a few blocks, there was a "no exit" sign and a school half a block ahead. We keep on walking, planning to walk through the school grounds to, hopefully, get to the mall. I was sure we were going in the right basic direction, but we didn't even have the address with us and I couldn't find it via mobile web.
We asked someone out watering her lawn; she was just visiting and didn't know where it was, except she had passed it on the freeway, somewhere "over there." We did find it just a couple blocks away and discovered we entered the deserted parking lot on the back side of the mall. We found our way to the front, to dinner, to some nice smelly products to help cover up the smell of the stockyards and slaughter houses when the wind blows in certain directions, and found another way back to our dorm. After purchasing a Cold Stone ice cream cone each.
We did find a more direct way back to the university with chocolate melting in our waffle cones and catching the tail-end of the sunset before we were left on minimally lighted streets for the last 15 or 20 minutes. With the meandering path on our walk to the mall and our return back via a different route, we probably walked about 3.2 or so miles.
I updated the PowerPoint for one of my lectures after we got back. Found online what I thought was the TV guide for where we are - which only gave my false hope of catching a Law and Order show. I don't have cable at home and never (and this is a true never) sit down to just watch TV. But I do like L&O, some of the CSI programs, and a couple others; and indulge myself when I'm traveling to catch a program here and there. The mouse had slipped when I put in the time zone and, alas, no Law and Order on. Oh well. I read, did some stretching, did a word puzzle and went to bed.
I remember when I did my initial training as a mentor/facilitator for this group that it seemed overwhelming. It is a slightly different style than how I tend to set up my schedule and plan -- but once I got used to it, I got into the flow and rhythm. I know that will happen here and I need to just sit with it on my own for a little bit to fit all the pieces together in my brain; just one or two things I don't remember exactly where they go - but it is all written down so I know where to find it.
I like my Skills Specialist lab partner and I think we're a good match. He has quite a bit of experience with this program, so I have no worries there. I think all of the Skills Specialist team members are great and there will be some fun in this process. We're planning a little outing tomorrow ... well, one of us is planning it and the rest of us are going along for the ride - literally, since only two of the group have a car. It's almost like a camp for professionals, minus the bugs and tents and palms sticky from sappy trees.
Again, I don't know how much writing I will get done, but that remains to be seen. My third day here and still getting used to the place. I suspect that once I get into the routine of our daily schedule, it may be easier. It also seems that the "OMG, you'll be working most evenings grading and some on weekends" has been remedied, since we do have some time built into our days for grading; there will be a little - but not what I feared from the information I had.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
I'm not intending this to become a travelogue, though there will be updates which may or may not be daily. I arrived in Colorado yesterday near noon and in Greeley by 3 pm. Tomorrow I start at 8 am for the first faculty meeting and that meeting/training continues to Saturday. The actual classes with the students starts next Monday.
Today was really hot, yet I still got in my exercise. Good for me and whew, with the altitude and the minimal shade on the walk back, it was slow going. But, as my walking partner says, my lungs should be pretty strong when I get back home and the killer hils and stairs we've been tackling should be much easier.
Other than this post, I haven't written today. Trying to get settled in, get my account numbers so I can get online, after I purchased the ethernet cord which was after I found the coffee shop. Trying to bring in some food so I don't have to eat out every meal : partly the expense and partly the time and primarily because it's healthier to not!
I'm hoping to get a feel for if the increased structure of this teaching/mentoring job will be a benefit to writing or not. Not the teaching part - but the structure part. I know it's not quite equitable since I'm away from home and, therefore, the added responsibilities of an old cat, a soon-to-be adopted cat (or should I say a new cat who adopted us - it wasn't our plan!), relationship, house, car, etc. But I hope to get a feel for it.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Tomorrow night is the MIO-JAW showing of Ginny Foster's play, Starvation Heights. Well-written and well-directed ... and free. I am disappointed I will be out of town ... but go see it, if you can!
This is a link to a "flash" interview with the playwright, as well as a reminder of time and location.
MrMead's Pupu Platter: 60-Second Interview: Ginny Foster
Monday, July 7, 2008
presents a reading of:
by Alexander Lumiere
Mago Hunt Center (at University of Portland)
What’s in the trunk?
Bouncing between the past and present, Alexander Lumiere’s original play bends gender and time to examine the persistence of family memory.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
We did it, again, because the stairs were growing larger and more impossible the farther away from the first time we climbed them. And we wanted to prove to ourselves we could do it. We counted 285 Mount Tabor steps from the SE 69th street entrance; the ExplorePDX website where I found these pictures says 280, plus a couple of half or partial steps.
How is this related to writing or creativity? By creating breathing space (literally and figuratively), by making the seemingly impossible possible, by having a feeling of accomplishment, for giving the body a counterbalance to the more sedate nature of writing ... by getting out in the world! Bits of nature to detail into a story. Overheard conversations to incorporate into a character. Re-acquainting myself with the moment when the "I don't want to and no way can I..." becomes "this is so cool, look at us...".
Friday, July 4, 2008
This is a new book by local artist, Serena Barton. Her book is called A Joyful Frenzy and is available by mail order on Blurb.com. You can also view a few sample pages online before you buy.
Serena Barton, a native Oregonian, is passionate about making art.. Visual art was her first love as a child. Serena rediscovered her desire to make art after her first trip to Italy. She taught herself to paint and create mixed media work in her forties, earning her the right to insist that it is never too late to delve into what inspires you!
Serena’s business, The Art of Your Life, offers creativity and art workshops and groups, individual art coaching, in addition to counseling. Serena also teaches classes on women and creativity at Portland State University. Serena continues her own visual art career. She has exhibited and sold her work in Portland OR, Seattle WA, Bologna, Italy, and online. Her work has appeared in the art books Renascence , The Diptych Project and in Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Book for Cooks. One of Serena's great joys is to provide an atmosphere where you can discover or rekindle your own creative abilities.
The book combines selections of work by artist Serena Barton. The work includes oil, acrylic, and encaustic paintings, collage, and mixed media pieces. The colorful and evocative work is accompanied by text illuminating the subjects of the paintings and the inspiration behind the work. Barton's work is often called "luminous", "rich", and "juicy."
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
In Foster’s adaptation of the true-crime novel by New York Times best-selling author Gregg Olsen, lady “doctor” Linda Hazzard opens a Northwest sanitarium for the “fasting cure” in the early 1900’s. Her unorthodox treatments, often resulting in death, go unchallenged until “Nanny” --determined to save the two rich young sisters who were once her charges-- arrives from Australia to outwit Linda Hazzard and rescue Dora, the one remaining sister.
For two weeks, from July 8-20, JAW: A Playwrights Festival takes over the Armory, (one block from Powells’ Books). The “Made in Oregon” portion of the festival at the Armory includes three local playwrights, Matt Zrebski (July 8), Hunt Holman (July 10), and Foster (July 9), receiving staged (scripts-in-hand) readings.
Starvation Heights by Ginny Foster
July 9, 7:30 pm, Ellen Bye Studio Theater
Portland Center Stage at the Armory
128 NW Eleventh
... from Portland Community College...
Are you thinking of writing a story about your own life or the life of a person you are caring for? Then don’t miss this one-evening Community Education course:
Telling the Stories of Life: Language, Self, and Narrative
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
6:30 – 8:30pm
Sylvania - SS 102
Writing is therapeutic, reflective, and a restorative process. This class focuses on the use of language and narrative and centered on the self.
Register online or at any PCC Registration Office.
For more information, contact the Gerontology Office at PCC: 503-977-8254 or firstname.lastname@example.org.