Monday, January 29, 2007

February First

It marks the day I WILL actually move into an apartment again. A lot of you may recall my decision to not go with the last apartment... Well, times change, and I got really sick of commuting. And I mean it. I really got sick. So I'm moving to the other end of Alexandria, closer to Old Town, closer to the Mount Vernon Bike path, the waterfront, all that. I'm actually pretty happy about it at the moment. It's an extremely small apartment. But, it'll work. I'll be there for a while, so no more complaining about moving, or driving.

I think it's a good choice for now. Quality of life will sky-rocket! I'll have my stuff that I haven't seen in a few years. It will be my own stuff everywhere I look.

I'll write more later. Just too tired at the moment. Gotta get ready for tomorrow.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

From one end of Alexandria to the other.

Well, I'm really not enjoying this whole commuting thing. I just can't do it anymore. It's physically demanding, and really putting a lot of stress on the system. I know people do this everyday of their lives, for years. They may even drive more hours. I just can't do it anymore. It's taking away so much of my life, and I'm just wrecked. I'm not even driving it everyday. I stay at friends houses that are closer in. One friend's house is only about 10 minutes away. Hardly a commute at all! Everyone has been so helpful, but I just need my own space, my own area to enjoy. Time to do the things I like to do and not feeling worn out.

I think part of the reason I've felt that way was because I was sick this week. Not feeling good at all, the stress from the people I work with. It's just all too much. It's not like I have an office job where I can just close the door and work during the day, and then leave for a nice leisurely lunch. I interact with people all day long (which I like a lot). It just takes a lot.

So, I decided on Monday that I would start looking again for apartments. Just on a whim. But the more I looked, the more I realized that there was a lot open for me. There were lots of spaces that were unappealing (great private apartment in family home... NO thanks.. been there, done that). However, I found many spaces that I thought I would be able to live in and wouldn't cost me an arm and a leg. So I have investigated a few, and I think I may move into one of them.

The space is a studio, not my first choice, but it's close to a lot of things that I like. For instance, the waterfront in Alexandria, Old Town, and the Mount Vernon bike path. It's in my range, and I think I could actually still save a bundle. So I might go again and look at it on Monday and put my application in. It's pretty basic, but has nice wood floors, good light (on the third floor). Seems quite. Has a separate area for dining, a separate kitchen, and one bigger living area. Small bathroom, and a huge closet.

We'll see. I hope it works out. I just want to be able to do the things I like. I've put about 10,000 miles on my car in the last few months. And it wasn't even to go on a trip anywhere. Just to get to and from work. That's just sad.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

addicted to coughing

Admit it, there is something good about coughing, you're getting something out of your system. And for a brief moment you may not even be breathing, but it's kind of euphoric. You have a sharp pain in your ribcage, but once it's released it feels kind of good. It seems sad that I think that coughing, and on the verge of having bronchitis might be fun. But today I think it was kind of helpful. Students responded to me better when they realized that I was wheezing. They were helpful and considerate. I'm no dumby! Come to school sick and you'll be taken care of. People will ask you how you are, offer you advice and often feel bad for you. It's a Pavlov thing, conditioning and all. I guess I must look pretty sick too.. Which isn't so nice, but oh well. Nothing I can do about that at this point. All I can hope for is some decent sleep.

And just like any day, it will be unpredictable tomorrow. No classes....again, I'm getting sick of this, actually. Just when I think I'm getting on a roll, we get a broomstick jammed into our bicycle wheel and go over our handle bars. I hate the unpredictability of working where I do, but I enjoy the teaching I'm doing. The students I'm working with as well. It's so unfortunate that this school program has a leader that doesn't want to lead, but dictate. There is no real reason for us not to have classes tomorrow, and she might actually think she's doing us a favor. In all actuality, she's not. It's putting us all behind, and giving us a bad reputation.

Like anything else, I need to roll with it. That's the theme of this year, my friends. I have finally learned to roll with it. I guess that's what I learned from my experience in Egypt. You just have to let life take it's course. You'll get derailed, and there will be an extreme amount of imbalance in most cases, but go with it. I think I'm finally getting the hang of it all this time.

So, yes, I'm on drugs right now, and I may seem a little flighty with this post, but it's all good. I will have only a few more days of this coughing binge and it will be back to normal, unless bronchitis rears it's ugly head, in which case I will curse this post.

Tomorrow's Friday, and for those of you that Friday actually means something -- I hope you enjoy it! Because we made it through another grueling week.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

This area has more radio stations than anywhere else I've ever lived. They're all completely horrible. I hate them all. And what makes it worse, is that I can't even use my handy-dandy Ipod device to listen to the music I want to. You know, the one that finds a frequency so you can enjoy some music you actually want to hear? Well, it doesn't work. So I guess I'll just have to break down and buy the Ipod accessory that plugs into what used to be the lighter. I'll live, it will be ok, but this area recently got rid of it's only classical station to have another 7o's/80's/whatever station... their tagline even says,"It's like listenting to a bunch of mixed up Ipods." Not my Ipod. I listened to this station on my way home...not the whole way, and they played Heart, Roxette, and umm.... oh, I remember Blondie (I can actually deal with them). But this area needs a good station. I don't know why we don't have one. 99.1 used to be the "alternative" station in the 90's, and then it went more towards really bad rock, and now it's Spanish music! Who knew? Clear Channel has taken all our airwaves over, and we're left with nothing. But I guess that's why we have the Ipod. Thank god.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

just a few things

- Officially no Hillary or Obama (but you all know it's coming soon)

- It's snowing today (but I'm sure I'll have to go down to Alexandria tomorrow anyway because they'll never call off-- not even a delay)

- "Steppin' Stone" by the Monkees (Haven't heard in a while, but today I heard it on the radio and I love it. It's an awesome song. Especially the end... Patty, you know what I'm talk' 'bout... yeah ya do!)

- I just destroyed a painting I half-finished. (But I don't feel bad about it because it sucked. I'm gessoing over it, and starting again.)

- My throat hurts. (It's not good... I know what this means)

- Going down to the NGA this week to enjoy some art (It's so much better when no tourists are there.)

Another Candidate

Bill Richardson is now in the running, we all thought that would happen too (when I lived in NM), and actually I don't thinks that he's half-bad. He came in to New Mexico and changed a lot of things, he has an international background, can speak well, can actually do things. He's actually is pretty diverse and well-rounded, and having lived in a state with him as a governor, I know a little more about him. We were happy for the change, because the loser before him was a horrible Republican that failed everyone, all that guy seemed to want to do is smoke pot and run in marathons and the Iron Man.. that doesn't even make sense. But that is what he was like.... I can't even think of his name right now... governor....Mr... oh, I can't remember Gary? Somebody? We were happy to have Richardson. He's tried to bring more of a stable economy to New Mexico, and with a lot of good ol' boys in that state senate, that might have been hard.... one will get this but the people who live in Albuquerque or New Mexico, but Good for you Bill Richardson............and toss no mas.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

2 more years of growing out my hair

With all the people throwing their hat into the ring, I know for sure we'll end up with someone new in the white house in 2008 (technically 2009). And that is when all this hair-growing will stop (it is a pain by the way). I don't know who I'll vote for, or who I'll listen to the most, but all I know is that it won't be someone with the intials GB. I don't know too much about some of the democratic candidates, are there 5 or 6 now? We all knew Hillary was going for it and Obama too (well I kind of like him). But can it really get any worse?

I've really been upset about politics this past week, and usually I just listen and sigh, and complain like the rest of us, but lately it's been overwhelming, how much disgust I have for the present state of things. The war, the oil, the suffering. And that's not even with in my community, look at what we have going on at home? Education, Jobs, Crime, big business, Environment? It's all a big worry, really.

Each day I try to think about how I can improve what I do on a daily basis, I try to be a positive role model for my students. To try to set an example for both my female and male students (not portraying myself as an object as most of them are taught to see women, even the female students). It's really difficult to see if you have any effect on the minds of these students. It's tough to help them individually realize that they can change now for a better future. They don't realize that they are still able to choose a path or many paths! They think that the path they are on is one that they will stay on. Most of them will repeat the mistakes they've made again and again. Some might even do worse. Some will end up in and out of jail for the rest of their lives.

So is the election the biggest deal in the next 2 years? No, not really, it will make a lot of money for some people, and change a few things, but it probably won't change the lives of the students I teach, or even me, for that matter. What we all do on the smaller scale will. What we do on a daily basis will, how we are, how we see the world now, and what we can do to make it better in our area...wherever that may be.

I think that's my goal. While the bigger stuff in the world bothers me, and I can't tolerate it, I think it's important for me to do what I can with what I got and where I am. Is the Juvenile system working? Not really. Does what I do matter? Yes.

Sounds too much like a hippie talking? Or a bit too peace corps for you? Well, who cares. I'm in a job that I think I'm good at, I have direct contact with kids who for the most part are tossed away by society. They teach me as much as I teach them. And actually the more they know that I'm not intimidated by their lives, choices, or attitudes, the more they open up.

I'm looking forward to seeing a new administration, but I just don't know how much effect it will have on me. It will give me someone new to watch, and listen to. Watch people make jokes about, but will that person and their cabinet of policy makers make us better as a whole? I don't know.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


ahhhhhhh, it's nice to know I don't really have to do anything if I don't want to. I just could sit and relax. Just not having to drive is a benefit. But I actually do have some work to do. I need to prepare a PowerPoint about Chuck Close and actually formulate a lesson plan for the principal who will be giving me a "formal" evaluation sometime next week. I don't know exactly when, but it could be Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.......... I'm ready, lady, so bring it.

Some of my friends made their way to Thailand this week for a job fair. The problem with all of that is how will I be able to visit them? I know for sure a couple will be in the Philippines, and I already know people in Thailand and China and Singapore. I would love to be able to go visit them next year. But I guess it depends on my situation as well.

I still realize that it is travel that is my obsession. I really am addicted to it. Even when it seems like it's harmful to me, I want to do it. Living in other countries is an adventure like none-other. It's an incredible journey that allows you to soak up the true culture of the region, be it good or bad. I had many bad days in Egypt, but I also had many good ones. And in hindsight it was all worth it. It gives me a broader perspective of the world I live in. I DID learn a lot about myself while I was living in Egypt. I know more now what it truly means to be a flexible and more open person. Which is closer to the person I want to be. Traveling to another country, or even another state puts you in a vulnerable position. You are at the mercy of people who live a certain way, you need to learn, you are the one that needs to be flexible and change your habits to assimilate. Or at least accommodate. And I guess we all do that a little bit each day in our own home or country, but on a different level. A more gentle level.

I often tell my students that you have to try to see other's viewpoints, even if you don't agree with them. You have to try because it will at least teach you something about yourself. It's so hard for them to do that. Being that they are already in a tough position. They protect themselves, and don't really understand why they do it. They live under a blanket of fear, really. So many kids come into the D-home with certain attitudes, and if they're there long enough, you can seem them unwrapping themselves. They reach a comfort level, a certain trust. And then they go, and you hope that they can pull themselves away from their past. But, I know that's not completely realistic. They go back to the same homes, the same way of life, the same school, and the same friends. They don't have the back up or support they need to realize the changes they made when they were in the D-home were worth the time, patience and effort. They fall back into what they were used to.....

Whoa-- sorry that was a tangent.

Ah-- the weekend, it leaves time for the mind to wander and think.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Everything's up to date in KC.........

I just returned from a short trip to KC. A little site-seeing. I went to the Nelson-Atkins Museum, which is actually quite good. It's pretty big and has a variety of stuff. And it's free! I didn't know they had free museums outside of DC! Will I'll be!

Anyway, the goal of my trip was to visualize it as a place I could live happily. And I think it is. It's cheaper, a slower pace. It's friendly and open. Lots of parks. The only problem is the location, but I guess I can get over that. It's about 2 hours away from anywhere I'd want to be in the US.

So I am looking a real estate, and I'm going to see how much I can afford. It's a huge step, and it's really making me nervous to think that I would own a place all by myself.

The one thing I do kind of worry about is a job, a possible business venture, and moving to the middle of the country. HA! Who knew? But I guess one thing is for sure, that I'm really good about surprises, full of them. So full, in fact...

I got an e-mail from a teacher I knew in Egypt. He said they might be hiring for an art teacher at their school..........want to know where? Nepal! I know, it's my dream. I've always wanted to go there, and the school is amazing. So, who knows what will happen now. But if I got to interview for that job and then got hired. Well,. I think you'd have your answer, wouldn't you.

Anyway, 6 more months at my current job, and I can't really complain too much, except for the fact that the drive is horrible. It really makes me feel dead to the world when I get home. There usually is some relief. For instance, I'm staying closer in tomorrow night, and then even next week I will seek solice in some friends. All in all it's going. We have a short week next week. And maybe there will be some snow days here and there. I don't know. At any rate, I have a variety of students at the moment. All levels. That part, I still really really like..

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New day, new school?

I will not have anymore one on one meetings with the it's been said. How strange is that? Although, I'm ok with that. The less I have to see her, the less I have to worry. 6 months and counting..............

Monday, January 01, 2007

new things

new year = new sketchbook

Hopefully I'll fill it with tons of great ideas and information. Of course it will also act as a lesson plan book, documentation of day-to-day ongoings at work, and many other things. So just because I got a new sketchbook, it doesn't really mean that I will be breaking the old habits of writing things down that really have no bearing on my artwork..... or do they?

hummmmmmmmmm........things to wonder about over the course of the year, I suppose.

So for all those canvases I bought, I have 2 half-done paintings to show for it. At least I was ambitious about trying to do it.

I guess one can hope.