Friday, May 13, 2011

I'm lonely because I'm too tired to go out. I can't sleep because I'm lonely. It's not a great way to be. My dad is coming up tomorrow to see me "graduate" from the teaching credential program. It should be a really nice day. But I have to do some laundry or something. And I sure hope he and my mentor teacher get a chance to meet.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Well, I had a really great week and a half enjoying the benefits of having exercised for six weeks, and then I had to ruin it with my emotions. So now I'm back to nothing. I haven't really exercised in about a month (except that bike ride in Folsom). Walking does not count, even if it is for two miles. Agh. I just can't even start anymore. I get up and think, "This time, maybe I can!" And then I don't. Mostly because it's raining. Big deal? I guess it is to my morning self. And I'm just too woozy in the morning to handle yoga.

Someday I will have a job where I won't have to do more of my job when I get home. I can have work be done at work, and then I can use my non-committal time to do things for myself. Like exercise. And cook fancy meals, which I already do because it's my form of procrastination. "Sorry I didn't work on my teacher research project. I had to cook dinner for two hours, and then eat it, and then it was bedtime."

Overall I am finally starting to feel okay with my progress as a student teacher. By okay, I mean not freaking out over a competency test that I was a year late in completing. Because that's done and it was good. And the Solo and Ensemble festival was amazing. I helped to run it yesterday because my mentor teacher was in charge of it. I "hired" a team of helpers to set up, make the event flow, and clean up after. It was a crazy day, but I think I'm finally starting to see my future. I can run an event. I can help to facilitate real musical growth, and not just by teaching.

I sure wish I had the capacity to start exercising again, though. Even so little as it being sunny outside could help with that. Letting the days get longer...go, earth, go.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

1,059 miles

There are things I should be doing, but I can't do them. I don't know why. This week has been fantastic, but hardly revitalizing. I had the week off from school for President's Week and I decided to do some traveling and get some things done. See people. Take a break from thinking and worrying. And it worked! Kind of.

I went down on Sunday. I stayed at my mom's house in Placerville and hung out with them. I brought all of my perishables--why let them go bad in the fridge? And why spend money on food on the road when I already had some? So those lasted me, um, about two days. I was tired as hell, but I spent some nice quality time with my mom. Also did on Monday, because I was waiting for contact from my camp (didn't get any). Max Brown did the complete tune-up on my bike. Then I went to Rocklin, remembered how much I absolutely hate Rocklin and Roseville, to visit my sister Megan.

The reason I hate those towns is that there is so much stuff to buy, but nothing to do. Your function, if you live there, is to buy things and play with your things, and then buy more things. I hate it. But my sister lives there (with creepy roommates who don't talk to me). We went to an arcade, which was really fun but unnecessarily expensive. Then we watched Grey's Anatomy, which is a show I hate because it's such a downer and the women characters whine too much, but Megan wanted to watch it. I don't really consider watching TV with someone quality time, but it's okay because we did have some good, honest moments.

On Tuesday I made plans to have dinner with my camp director (my boss for the summer). I also had my first filling ever. Weird! I can still kind of feel where the shot of Novocaine was. It looks really good, but now that one tooth is way whiter than all the ones around it. Not that anyone's looking back there in my mouth...I couldn't find anything else to do in Auburn so I went down to Folsom so I could practice riding my bike. I went on the trail Max and I went on on my birthday. It was hard to go so fast at first. The trail came to a fork, and I turned right. It was mostly uphill, which was hard. A half mile in, I turned around and kept going after the fork. I went for 3 miles. I definitely broke through a wall of some kind. I turned around, 3 miles back. Then I biked back to my car. I don't know what that distance was, but I would guess my total distance was at least 8 miles. I felt like a rock star. I had some food in my car, and I gave myself a picnic in the parking lot. I also stretched my legs a lot. (Though that's hard to do in jeans.)

I spent the rest of the day wandering around old town Folsom. I looked at all of the things in all of the stores, but didn't bring my wallet because I didn't want to buy anything. It was awesome. Then I went to see where the place was where my boss wanted to meet me. Turns out it was on the other side of town, in this huge place with a Borders, Old Navy, Ross, Marshall's...lots of stores. I had about two hours to kill so I went into Borders and found some CSET and RICA study guides, and read a little bit about what those tests are about. They seem tough. But if I can pass those, I can get a multi-subject elementary credential.

During dinner, my friend (the one I was crushing on for about a year) called me. "Did you know there was no Eureka Symphony tonight?...I showed up...I feel like an asshole!...What do you do for lunch at your school, would you like me to bring some in for you?" He probably talked to me for about 5 minutes before I could tell him that I was in a meeting and out of town. I realized on my way back how much I talked about him to the people I was with--just how I appreciated his friendship so much, that he made me a delicious lunch and delivered it to me at my school, and how he called me after I decided to stop playing with the brass band. I really love that person. Not in a weird way, either. I just have an overwhelming appreciation for our friendship.

The next day I spent working at the Girl Scout council office in Sac. That place is awesome! I spent a good amount of time putting some of the CIT work schedule together. (About 6 hours, I think.) After that I went to Auburn to meet with my good friend Megan. (Different person than my sister Megan.) We talked for quite awhile in Starbucks. We went to go bowling, but didn't know it was league night. So then we thought about seeing a movie...looked at things playing in Auburn and Roseville and couldn't find anything we really wanted to see. So then we decided to go for some $3 margaritas at Chevy's. Perfect! They weren't very alcoholic at all. That's okay. (What kind of weird town are you in when you can't even find a bar to drink at? Stupid Roseville!)

On Thursday I started my trip to the Bay Area. My plan was to meet one of the other assistant camp directors in Berkeley, and then hang out with my sister Janet in San Francisco. I also left earlier than I'd expected to evade driving in the crazy snowstorm that was coming. About an hour into my trip, my friend in Berkeley called and said she had to work that night and forgot about it until just then. I said that's okay, we'll just meet tomorrow. So then I had to get a hold of Janet and figure out what her schedule was. I was about in Fairfield when I felt like I was severely lacking in protein, so I stopped at a Safeway for awhile. I was waiting for Janet to text me back, and drinking some coffee, when an older gentleman started talking to me. He gave me a Jehovah's Witness pamphlet which I politely rejected. We had a really engaging conversation for about an hour after that. We talked about the environment, consumption, and open-mindedness in people.

Eventually I got a text from Janet and left the Fairfield Safeway. I met her on a street in Oakland in the fancy part of town where her school is. She showed me around her incredibly fancy school campus and I went in the library and read about sociology for music teachers for a few hours. Then I found a book called "Which 'Aesthetics' Do You Mean?" and read half of it. Amazing. I found the explanation for how I experience the world, and it's called Aesthetics.

After Janet's classes were over, we took the BART to her place in San Francisco. (I left my car parked on the fancy Oakland street because my bike and a violin belonging to HSU were in there, and I did not want my car broken into, or spend an hour searching for parking in the city.) We didn't go out or anything, which I was completely okay with because I was tired. We just hung out with her roommates, drank some Great White which had been sitting in my fridge for months (so I brought it with me on my trip), and watched Pee-Wee's Playhouse. Janet's roommate has an adorable orange kitten. The cutest little thing in the freaking world. I played with her...that was nice to see a kitten after not seeing my cat for 5 days.

I woke up on Friday with my throat extremely irritated. I drank all the water left in my bottle. It wasn't a good sign, though. I dressed and packed up, and made my own way back to the BART. I contemplated people, particularly city people and how they looked vs. how I looked. I couldn't really figure it out. My bright turquoise backpack may have given me away as an out-of-towner. Or the fact that my jacket was brown and not black. Or the fact that nothing I was wearing was black. I ate the rest of my blueberries and some of my almonds. I walked back from the station to my van. It was completely unscathed. Good call, me. Then I learned that my friend in Berkeley was only about 7 minutes away from where I was parked.

I met up with her and it was so nice to catch up! We talked about camp, both as people and as assistant camp directors. I had only expected to be there for one or two hours, but we were on such a roll that I stayed for four hours. She even skipped her class to keep working. It was unexpectedly beautiful outside, especially after how dreary it was in the city, before I went underground to the BART station. By the end, my feet were numb. When I left at 2:30 I could feel I was going downhill fast. And I forgot about the toll on the bridge. So I stopped in a town called Crockett, literally feet before the bridge, that I never knew existed, so I could pull some cash from the ATM. I took $20 out and paid the toll like a good person who plans.

I drove for about 3 hours, and the sun was in my eyes, and my throat was bugging me incessantly so I stopped in Windsor. I knew there was a Starbucks there somewhere. I found one and asked for a smoothie. I needed sustenance, and to stop being in motion for a bit, and for the sun to go away. The world was feeling very intense at the moment.

I knew my cheapest place for gas would be the Safeway in Willits, so I stopped again when I got there. By this time it was snowing a little bit on me. I reached for my debit card in my wallet. No card. Checked my pockets, jacket, pants. Nothing. (I'd left it in the ATM four hours before!) I didn't have the energy to freak out, so I just paid for gas with the $11 cash I had left and hoped it was enough to get me to Arcata. And that my van could retain enough heat so I wouldn't be dying of intense cold-ness by the end.

And you know what? It sucked. It was 3.5 hours of pure torture. Snow, cold, an hour of the gas light shining in my dashboard. Feeling like I might throw up or pass out most of the time. Wondering what friend could pick me up and bring me home if somehow my car couldn't make it all the way. (I thought about one friend a lot. That guy friend, of course. I wondered what the extent of his caring for me was.)

Much to my pleasant surprise, I made it. I actually made back alive. With my entire car. The shock of the cold air to my system when I opened my car door made me intensely nauseous. I didn't throw up because there was nothing in there. My house was freezing and my cat yelled at me. I turned the heater on, brought in my backpack and computer, took off my pants and didn't bother searching for other pajama pants, and went to bed. I was super sick. I slept for 12 hours straight.

Right now I still feel kind of raw in my throat, and dizzy and weird. But I'm feeling better now. I just wish the trip didn't have to end like that. Other than those last 7 hours, it was a really nice trip. I have to do some stuff to make up for my complete lack of doing stuff this week. That's unfortunate. I was really planning on being some kind of productive. Really, though, how could I? I feel like I'm behind in a few different places. But I need to consider what my mentor teacher says. I'm really not behind. I'm really on it, and responsible, and I'm way too hard on myself. It's just that I know I can do better. Few and far between are the occasions where I really put in 100%, come up short of what was expected, and feel okay with that.

Tomorrow, I don't know what I'm doing. I have to be ready.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Last week was weird. Sooo weird. I didn't observe on Monday because the vocal/general teacher was sick. Then on Tuesday, my mentor teacher called me in the morning telling me her sons were sick, and I needed to sub that day. That was a really tough day. The beginners were really distracted in their sectionals, and that was tough to deal with. My mentor teacher came back in time for jazz combo at the end, so that was nice. It was an exhausting day.

On Wednesday, my mentor teacher came in a bit later than me. Wednesday is a pretty slow day, only concert/intermediate bands and the low brass sectional. She and her husband had worked out a deal for watching the kids 50/50. Naturally she had to leave as I was teaching the sectional, and nothing got done there. (Only 4 kids. How is every single one so unfocused?)

I also, sorry to say this on the internet, started my period on Wednesday. Because of the stress involved in subbing and the intensity of this credential program, I was an emotional wreck when I got home. I was in an excruciating amount of pain, and instead of prepping for Thursday's world music class, cried on the floor of my living room for 2 hours. (I laid a blanket out first. I now call it my crying blanket.) I sipped tea with the hope that something warm in my belly would make the pain go away, but that just made me nauseous. I went to bed at 8:30 thinking even if I woke up super early to prep for my class, I at least wouldn't be crazy tired because I'd have gotten over 8 hours of sleep.

Somewhere around 1:30am I woke up to the booming soundtrack of a psychological thriller movie from the 70's. My upstairs neighbors put it on and I could hear it through my ceiling. It was very loud. My other neighbor, the one next door to the people directly above me, apparently thought so too because it turned off about 10 minutes later. At this point I would like to mention that I am a very light sleeper, and also probably have insomnia. And I was so angry that they woke me up, I couldn't go back to sleep for at least 2 1/2 more hours. Seriously. Who the fuck does that?

So I woke up on Thursday having had less than 7 hours of sleep, which might not sound like a big deal, but I had been banking on getting those hours so I could at least feel somewhat like a functioning human being that day. I told my mentor teacher about my terrible night and how physically and emotionally raw I felt. She commented on how frustrating it is that we (women) really have absolutely no control over emotions sometimes. And that times really seemed hard for me right now.

She also told me to wash my hands frequently that day, because she'd got it. We had the beginning band jeopardy game, which was fun, intermediate band, which was exhausting, and world music. My class was really fun, and a little chaotic. It was finally time for my aesthetic experience scavenger hunt!

Then I had class for two hours, then a beer for dinner with other credential candidates I hadn't seen in over a week, and then brass band for two hours. A 13-hour day I really wished I'd had a full night of sleep for. Then I got the e-mail from my mentor teacher--the one saying she was way too sick to work tomorrow, and even though it's a full day, can I handle it all on my own? I said yes, but we'd have to re-schedule world music again because it was just too much to do all at once.

At 11pm, I finally got home and started on the mountain of dishes in my kitchen before working on the practice journals. Suddenly I realized I'd completely forgotten about my VELR (video taped lesson for me and my supervisor to talk about), and I was already a week past the time I was supposed to have it done. I hadn't even tried to acquire a video camera at all. I had to drop what I was doing and lie on my crying blanket for awhile. It never really stopped after that. I went to bed at 1am.

On Friday when I subbed again, it was really for the most part. (The middle school band kids are very focused and sweet, and worked independently really well.) At 4 I dropped off a big folder of stuff that my mentor teacher had dropped off to me in the morning, back to her at her house. We talked about the day and what I got done and how the kids were. Then she said, "Stephanie, I'm concerned about you."

I said, "Really? How come?" She said that I'm doing an excellent job student teaching, but she was worried about me as a person. That when I tell her about how long and intense my emotional episodes are it's really a cause for concern. And then we talked for a really, really long time, and I cried a lot. She said I sounded very depressed, and asked me if I'd ever thought about getting counseling. I said I really wanted to last year--that I knew I really needed help, but I couldn't muster up the time or energy to go to the clinic. "Well, what if I went with you?" she said. "We could go together, and figure out what a good fit might be for you." So we made up a time to meet on Monday, when she doesn't work. I told her how moved I was that she would do this for me. She said I'm worth it. And that going into counseling was one of the best decisions she'd ever made for herself.

And now, on the other side of the weekend, I've been feeling really strange. Like I've been exposed and my energy is leaking out, and my body's trying to make up for it. I've been consistently dizzy since the week began. My brain is at a loss for thoughts and I just sporadically cry in 10-minute episodes. My brain tricked me last weekend. I thought everything was right and good with the world, and then emotions took over.

I'm nervous for tomorrow. Partly because I've never been to counseling and I'll probably cry for most of it. And partly because Task 2 for PACT is due and I've barely even started it. I'm finding it hard to get through because my mind is so tired. I may just try and do it all tonight and submit it in the morning.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Bread of my Dreams

Once again, may I say that I love my mentor teacher, she is my hero in life, and I am the luckiest student teacher ever. And my mom was right when I was 16 and she told me I have a charmed life. I am overwhelmed by the ways I am fortunate. Typing that sentence out made me cry a little bit. Not in a sad way.

I haven't been journaling for the last two weeks. But it's been a really important 2 weeks for me! I'm a different person now.

Here are some things.

  • I got a bike! From a lady off Craigslist! For $60. It's Barbie-shoe purple. (Actually her brunette friend Teresa wears purple, so it's Teresa-shoe purple.) And. I rode it around yesterday and figured out that the brakes really severely need adjustments, as do the cables that make the chain shift to a lower gear. But, I also figured that out all by myself. And I figured out the things I should do to change this. This will happen. I will ride to Freshwater.
  • I substitute-taught last week for the first time. It wasn't so bad! The kids were really nice. (They also knew me already, but whatever.) I will eventually get money for doing this.
  • I've discovered the bread of my dreams. Shut up. It takes me minutes to decide what bread to get every time I buy bread. "Classic Light Bread" is only $3, organic, and the only ingredients are water, whole wheat flour, yeast, salt, and oats. And it is freakin' delicious, and substantial, and chewy.
  • My concert black pants are now comfortable again.
  • I'm arranging "Summertime" by Gershwin for the jazz combo at the school where I'm student teaching. It will be epic and specific to the needs of that group.
  • I got my summer dream job--assistant camp director in charge of all-camp programs and leadership. And they even changed it around so it's built specifically for my strengths. It feels damn good to have skills people want so much they'll change a job description for you.
  • I get financial aid after all. Because my mom was denied for a parent loan. And it's way more than I've ever received before. Suck it, HSU. I am legit. (Why would you think my parents have money if I have two sisters, and a mom, who are all also students?)
The Depot is now playing "Be a Man" from Mulan. Life is good, and everything will be okay, and I love that there is a mentor in my life who believes in me, validates me in my weak moments, and works with me every day at the coolest job in the world, being a music teacher.

Better go get ready for the Eureka Symphony concert!


Monday, January 10, 2011

On plans that seem really awesome and doable but don't actually turn out to be

I am now in my second week of student teaching at Freshwater School. It's amazing. I have the best mentor ever. The kids are super nice and there's tons of creative freedom.

The only problem with it is that it's located 8 miles away from my house. I can't walk there. I have to drive.

Here are the alternatives to driving somewhere daily:

1. Take the bus. Except no buses go there.
2. Carpool. I wish. I tried. My mentor also lives in Arcata but she has kids that are stressful to get ready in the morning so I can't ride with her. The other student teacher at that school lives in Samoa, on the opposite side of the school, so that's out.
3. Bike there. Hmm. There's a possibility. Putting aside time to exercise as it gets me to a place I need to be? Count me in! And I'd be so hardcore, biking to work! I probably wouldn't go the whole way. I would probably park in Sunny Brae, after the big giant hills, and proceed up and down the moderate hills to Freshwater. Okay, I thought. This could work.

Or so I thought. Because I don't actually have a bike. I used to. But I didn't use it. So I kind of (stupidly) left it in a place where it could easily be stolen because I figured it wouldn't be such a loss. (I'd gotten it for free from my first roommate.)

But wait, said my smart brain. Maybe I can rent a bike!

My friend said, "Yeah, try the bike library!" I said, "Didn't that close like three years ago?" He said, "I don't think it did!" I said, "Well, I'll try to go there then."

It sure didn't look open to me. It looked like a rusty shed with bike wheels everywhere. Then I went to the bike shop. I said, "Do you guys rent bikes?" The guy said, "Not this time of the year. And we only rent bikes out for tours. Nobody around here rents bikes." And then he decided to condescendingly state that the bikes at that shop run upwards of $390. Thanks for rubbing it in that I shouldn't be there, friend.

That was highly disappointing because I'd spent about two hours walking around, combing the blocks of Arcata trying to find the bike library. (At least that, plus running in the frost at 6am this morning for 15 minutes, means I got the exercise I wanted today?) And just to find that there's no place I can deposit $30 for the use of a bike for 6 months.

Oh wait, I can just buy a bike. Oh wait, no I can't. The whole purpose of not driving was to save on gas. And save the air. But it looks like I lose and am trapped in the cycle of environmental irresponsibility, no pun intended.

Maybe if I'm really lucky I'll find a friend of a friend with a decent bike they're not using. But I'm not getting my hopes up. What a disappointing day indeed.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

As much as I don't want to start 2011 with a blog of hate, I just want to say that I hate the loneliness of breaks. Every day this week I've been waking up, eating breakfast, going somewhere with Internet, eating lunch, texting five or six friends to see if they're in town yet and if they want to hang out, and only getting responses from people who aren't in town yet. Am I really that boring? I've been getting a lot of exercise, though, walking probably at least 3 miles every day for the past few days.

I spent New Years with people in the credential program. I had no idea everyone was so close-knit. I don't know how they found the time and energy to get that way. It was pretty fun, though. I got a free beer at Humbrews just for having a trumpet with me, that was cool. And we danced for about two hours.

I just wish people would call me back when I leave a message asking if they're free to make dinner tonight! I feel like I'm texting and talking to nobody. I only have two days left of my break and I want to see people before I'm forced to only see children every day for 18 weeks.

Wah, grumpy, wah. I think I'll go put that Greek yogurt in the fridge now.