8/10/13

And if you pray, well, no one's gonna save you

Wow. I have failed MISERABLY at updating in 2013. My last post was in April! Sheesh. Here goes my attempt at a massive catch-up session...

1. May

I was a last-minute sub for an evening event at the Science Center. It was like summer camp multiplied by infinite more chaos. I dissected a sheep's eyeball for a bunch of kids and then came home and ate a large amount of Pirate's Booty.

I went hiking with my friend Amanda on the Olympic Peninsula. It was hot but very pretty.

I had an orientation session for my grad program. I met some people and learned a little more about what I'll be doing this coming year.

2. June

Work ended. The fifth grade students had a graduation ceremony. Someone from the school hosted a staff/faculty party, and I perfected my bacon chocolate chip cookie recipe and brought them with.

The week after work ended, I started a week-long training session for my summer job with the Science Center. As soon as that was over, Johanna visited for a few days. We ate a lot of food.
Nothing like a cheesy tourist photo.
Then I had a week off. Ah, sweet bliss.

3. July
I didn't do much for July 4th. I went for a run with Matt after not running in ages and regretted it for a week afterwards. We watched the fireworks from our roof. The next day, I was up early to go to a set-up day for my first teaching site for the summer.

Work started! I spent the month teaching science camp lessons at a school in Redmond, WA (where Microsoft is located). It wasn't hard to get there in the morning, but coming home was a nightmare of traffic. I got to know my carpool buddy very well. We spent many a Friday killing time at the nearest Value Village (secondhand store). I bought one cute skirt and regretted not buying the most beautiful teapot ever.

4. August

Which brings us up to now! I'm at our second teaching location in Bothell, WA. The commute home is still bad. There's another Value Village close by, so last night I got two more skirts but didn't buy a set of kitchen canisters which I really regret (lesson still not learned, I guess). I have two more weeks left teaching, and then I have a week off before school starts! I begin classes on September 3rd for Seattle University's Master in Teaching program. I'm super excited, especially after I've had a lot of experience teaching this summer. I'm ready to take it to the next level!

My parents will be visiting from Thursday-Sunday, so I attempted to clean today. I still need to do more, but at least it's not a giant mess in here anymore. I also need to hang art on our walls (we just got frames), but I need to stand on a chair and would rather wait for Matt to do it.

We'll see if I can remember to update one more time before the end of the month (doubtful). Hopefully, I can at least remember to update four more times before the end of the year... yikes, the year will be over before I know it!

P. S. I made another hoop... well, I made two, but I only have a picture of one:

P. P. S. 

4/28/13

Look what you've done

Yeah, yeah, it's no longer February. And it's past March. And April is almost over. I completely failed at my goal of updating once a month. So, as usual, a recap:

What I've Been Doing All This Time

1.March

I worked as usual. Daylight Saving Time kicked in, and sunsets started getting later, which was nice (we have crazy late sunset times in the summer). Unfortunately, that also meant sunrise was later, and I started working two mornings a week at the school. Boo, dark mornings. (It's gotten a lot better since then, though!) Morning care means I wake up at 5:20, get dressed, brew coffee, and take the 5:42 bus over to the school (~40 minute ride). Then I eat breakfast and wait for kids to arrive. When they do, we play games (Mancala is a popular choice), read books, color, and chat. At 8:15, I send them to class and catch the bus home. I eat a little, take a nap, and then wake up, eat some more, and bike back to the school for the afternoon. It's tiring, but at least it's only twice a week.

The weather in March did indeed get warmer, reaching the mid-60s on Easter weekend! As it gets closer to June, the rain will (hopefully) lessen, and eventually we'll be back to normal Seattle summer (two months of amazing weather).

March on top of Queen Anne. This view last summer is partially what made us want to move to this neighborhood.

Kitteh spying on neighbors on a beautiful Easter morning.

View looking southeast-ish from the balcony. This was before the leaves really started coming in on all the trees.

Beautiful cherry blossoms near my work.

But a crazy hailstorm just a few weeks later!

Followed by a small taste of the summer to come.


2. April

Seattle Public Schools had spring break from April 15th to the 19th. I work at an independent school, but we had a break, too. Fortunately, I had work for the week. No, not with that other school I've subbed at before--with the Pacific Science Center!

Last summer I had the opportunity to work as an assistant camps teacher, and I was able to work for the week doing a spring break camp. My camp was for kids grades 4-6, and it was a ton of fun. It was a bit hard to step back into an assistant role after having so much freedom/responsibility at my job, but the lead teacher I worked with was great. I had an interview over Easter weekend in March to be a lead with the Science Center for the summer....

and I got the job! Unfortunately, positions on-site were very limited (as in there were only two openings), so I'll be working off-site this year at some of the other locations they have. Hopefully I have coworkers who are carpooling, as the sites are a bit of a trek by bus. I'm excited to be a lead, though, as it means I can decide what lessons we're going to teach and plan out our whole day instead of just going along with what the lead says (though I'm also hoping to be an exemplary lead who allows the assistant to be involved in both planning and teaching).

Growing up, I always thought I wanted to teach, but when junior year rolled around, I started seeing what it really meant to be a teacher and decided not to follow that route. Now that I'm back in a school, though, I'm seeing that I like it. Even teaching science was fun. And that is why....

I'll be attending Seattle University fall 2013 for the Master in Teaching program!

After two tests and lots of applications steps, I was accepted to this program. It's a one-year cohort program, and it will give me both a master's degree and a teaching certification. It's a major change in my life, but I think it will be for the positive. It's going to be a lot of work, but I'm ready for it.

3. Et cetera

I don't want to make this post too long, but the one last thing I have to share is that I've been hooping, or hoop dancing. Hoop, as in the hula variety, only this is way better than what we did as kids. Did you know the cheap store hoops are too small for adults to learn on because they're super small and light? Adult beginner hoops are heavier, have grippy tape, and are a lot more fun. I got my first hoop (on sale with a DVD!) around my birthday, and I've been loving it. That hoop was a bit heavy for some tricks, though.

But hey, did you know you can easily make your own hoops out of irrigation tubing?
On the left: the first hoop I bought. On the right: the first hoop I made!

A slightly smaller and much lighter hoop with sparkly tape--my motivation to get better!
One of these days, I'll share a video with you, but right now I'm definitely a beginner and sort of look silly. It's insanely fun, though. It's also giving me a great reason to get off the couch and get outside. Make fun of me all you like, family--hooping is awesome!

This entry has gotten crazy long, so it's time I end it before I need to divide it into chapters. Until next time!

2/25/13

Happy birthday to me!

It's gray in Seattle again. Surprise, surprise! Really, though, winter hasn't been that bad. We haven't had ANY snow (minus the one small flurry that didn't stick), and besides the one or two "really cold" (aka 30s) weeks, it's been fairly decent. Apparently this is abnormal for Seattle winter, so I shouldn't get used to it, but compared to the gross east coast sleet/freezing cold/snow that happens every February, I'll take it!

By Friday, March 1st, it looks like the temperature is going to be up in the 50s! Woohoo! Spring is slowly trying to take hold of the city; crocuses have been coming up, and some trees are just barely starting to bud. When I arrived last April, I took pictures of how spring had already arrived already, and my records show that on April 7th, there were definitely blossoms on trees:


It's weird to think that I've been in Seattle for close to a year. As of yesterday, I've officially been done with my AmeriCorps VISTA service for a year. After I finished service, I mostly sat around in Arizona playing videogames and eating pizza, though I did also work with 4-H doing stuff at the county fair for a bit. While Arizona winters were pretty nice, I definitely prefer Seattle overall. Besides, it doesn't really get hotter than 90 in the summers here!

Unlike last February, this February I've stayed employed, though I have made pizza and played videogames. This past week was midwinter break for my school, and due to a lack of interest in the camp my program was going to offer, I thought I was going to have a week without work. Luckily for me, another school that I've worked at offered me a position for the week! They were also on break, but the school's extended day program had full-day care available to families who needed it. The school is VERY different from my usual workplace; I mean, they have chickens that the kids take care of and a giant mud pit they can dig in. Still, the kids were pretty fun, and it was a good week.

Last Monday was also my birthday! I fortunately didn't have to work that day, as it was a national holiday. I can't believe I'm actually 25. I started this blog in January of 2008, when I was 19. Eesh! That was right when I was getting ready to do Bike & Build. Summer 2014 will be the last time I can register as just a rider and not a leader for Bike & Build (assuming they're still okay with people signing up at age 25 and turning 26 before the ride begins). It's not that I'm planning on signing up as a rider again--I just can't believe how fast 25 happened!

I had a pretty nice birthday despite feeling so old. (Someone actually asked me if I have kids last week--yikes!) I contemplated making a cake, but I really didn't want to buy supplies when funds are still so low. On Sunday night, Matt sneakily placed birthday-cake-flavored Oreos in the shopping basket at the grocery store, so we ate those instead. I have to say, they were a pretty good substitute. On Monday, I went to the grocery store and then made bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits from scratch. I also froze some for the rest of the week so I could eat one before work. It was a great idea, but this week I need to eat a little bit healthier!

On Monday night, we went out to sushi at my favorite sushi place in Seattle, Umi Sake House. I found out they give free desserts for your birthday! Unfortunately, they were out of cake, but they did have a delicious ice cream tempura (something I haven't had since the good old days of Tako). Overall, it was a really good night.

I didn't do too much else this past month, though I did make pretzels and cheese dip from scratch for the Super Bowl:


and I've been hanging out with my derpy cat as always:



We'll see where March goes! Hopefully my 25th year is full of all good things.

1/7/13

O (Belated) Holy Night

Whoops! I started a post on Christmas Eve, and I never finished because I wanted to add in more stuff after Christmas. Clearly, that plan didn't work out.

I had started the post out by saying that "after a whirlwind end to November, I'm in a new apartment in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle. It's much quieter up here; the new apartment backs up to a ton of trees, and there aren't any bars nearby that encourage people to shout at 2 am outside my window. There are also a ton of pretty birds in all of those trees. Actually, there's a pretty black and blue jay [a Stellar's Jay, I later learned] on my deck at the moment! I'm surprised the cat didn't jump into the window just now."

We didn't have much furniture as I wrote that post, though we had just gotten our bed delivered that morning. We finally have some furniture, though, like a couch and a bookshelf. It's starting to look like a real apartment instead of just a bunch of empty rooms. There's still plenty more to do, but hopefully we'll be here a while and will have plenty of time to figure it out!

Anyway, on Christmas Eve, Matt and I went to his aunt and uncle's house for dinner, which was great. They had a real Christmas tree, which was fantastic, as all I had was my dinky 12" tree:




I also made the glitter houses pictured.

Christmas day was rather quiet, though Sir Niles did get a few gifts from Matt's aunt and uncle (Fancy Feast, treats, and a new toy). My mom also sent the cat a toy, which he absolutely LOVES. Speaking of the cat, he's in my lap at the moment. I've been keeping the heat turned down fairly low in here, so he's been extra snuggly to keep warm.

New Year's Eve was the next big event, which was pretty average as far as New Year's Eve goes. I made black bean and sweet potato burritos (delicious!) and sugar cookies, which were amazing and didn't last through the night. At midnight, we went to the roof and watched fireworks over the Space Needle, which were much better than they look in these pictures:



I babysat twice over the break, but beyond that I didn't do too much. Going back to work was kind of fun today, since I was starting to get really bored sitting around the apartment all day, but by 6 pm I definitely wanted to be home on the couch with kitteh! That's where I am now, and that's where I plan to stay until dinner at 9.

This year, I want to stick to my goal of updating once a month. I seem to be pretty bad at keeping that resolution, so hopefully 2013 will bring me more luck in remembering to post!

Happy New Year, all!


11/25/12

But my heart is returned to sister winter

1. Thanksgiving is over!

I can't believe it's already the last week of November. Yikes. This time last year, I still worked for 4-H. I can't believe I'm so far removed from that already!

Seattle has officially decided to be Seattle again after a nice, long summer. It has done nothing but rain this month, some of it quite heavy (which is unusual for the city). Fortunately, it's nice and sunny today, and they're predicting it'll stay dry through Tuesday. Phew!

Thanksgiving was good this year. We went out to Matt's aunt and uncle's house for a night and ate so much food. They also gave us a ton of leftovers, which has been wonderful, although today I had to have some soup instead of turkey because I just couldn't eat any more Thanksgiving food. I had three pieces of pie on Thursday alone, so I'll leave it to your imagination how many I ate total.

2. Christmas is coming...

So I put up last year's tree
along with two decorative stockings I found in PA in October (I feel like I was just home for the wedding, too, but that was nearly two months ago!). I tried to make paper snowflakes for hanging over my windows, but I apparently lack all talent in that department and somehow managed to turn my six-pronged snowflakes into four-pronged messes. Oh well, maybe next year.

Seattle is in full-on holiday mode despite the rain, and the Seattle Center (home of the Space Needle) has been celebrating with a bunch of things. Yesterday, my coworker's dance group put on performance in the Seattle Center. It wasn't Christmas-themed, but their gnome costumes looked a lot like elf costumes to the audience, I think. It was mostly for children, but it was still cute.



Alright, hopefully this short post is penance enough for not posting in October. Tomorrow starts a new work week, so I'm off to procrastinate until then!

11/11/12

I'm floating away; I got nothing to say

Oops. Just like last year, I seem to have missed my monthly post in October. I swear I meant to do it, but I just got distracted. Well, October in a nutshell:

1. I went back to Pennsylvania 
for Ben and Amanda's wedding, which was very nice even if the weather wasn't.



2. Halloween!

I tried making cookies this year, but I had a chocolate mishap, so I gave up on decorating and just ate them. I made a unicorn horn from cardboard, glitter, newspaper, and glue. I wore it to my job (which is going great, by the way) on Halloween, where the following conversation took place:

Kindergartner: Your unicorn horn isn't cool.
Me: Yes it is. I'm very cool.
Kindergartner: No, you're not. You're pretty.
Me: ...you can't be pretty and cool?
Kindergartner: No.



Sadly, on Halloween night, I also fell off my bike while making a turn. It wasn't a hard fall, but it was enough to push my already-damaged derailleur hanger into irreparable territory. Fortunately, we were able to order the part online, and Matt fixed it for me. He also replaced my back brakes, which probably were part of the reason I skid in the first place. Tomorrow, I need to replace my front brake pads, as now that I have working back brakes, I can feel a major difference between good and bad brake pads.

3. Niles got even more attention than ever.


Dis my box.

Dis my computer.

Dis my person. I sits on her.
4. And now it's November.
Almost Thanksgiving! I actually don't know yet if I'm making Thanksgiving dinner or not. We're invited to Matt's relatives', but because he has work early on Black Friday, we're not sure if it will work out or not. I should know by tomorrow. It'd be great to spend Thanksgiving with people, but I liked making the meal so much last year that I wouldn't be disappointed if I had to cook! I also discovered today that I can order a heritage breed turkey from Whole Foods, so that's kind of exciting.

Alright, I promise to post once more this month to make up for October's lack of post... hopefully, I'll be posting pictures of Thanksgiving food either way!

9/9/12

Autumn reached for her golden crown

September! Fall! Leaves changing! Pumpkins! Sweaters!

...sort of. This past week, it was in the 80s and 90s in Seattle. Today's in the 60s with tomorrow forecast about the same, and there's a 50-60% chance of rain tonight and tomorrow. After that, though, temperatures are supposed to bounce back to the 70s. Not saying I don't love nice weather (especially because it won't be nice again till next June!), but I'm looking forward to some fall weather. Yes, that does mean more rain in Seattle, but it'll make biking to work less sweaty!

1. Yes, work--a new job.

If you haven't heard yet, I got a part-time job working for an extended day program at an elementary school. I definitely need another position part-time, but this is fun right now. I get to do arts & crafts, play games, read books... it's kind of like being a kid myself, except I have to help keep the kids in order. Fortunately, after a summer with science camp, I'm pretty sure I can handle that. My coworkers have been great so far, so I'm hoping for good things to come!

The job is a bit of a distance, though. It's only 4 miles away, which is not as far as Barnes & Noble Cafe was two years ago (holy cow, two years already?!), but there are some pretty steep hills on the ride (did you know Seattle has hills? I didn't know that until the month before I moved here, whoops).

2. Speaking of the hills...

My poor bike Harvey, who has been with me since Bike & Build 2008, finally decided that his shifters should quit. If you're not familiar with bikes, you can shift up or down to adjust how hard you have to pedal. On hills, especially the steep ones on the way to and from work, this is a useful feature. My bike managed to get stuck on the highest gear, which means the hardest for pedaling, which is not so good for going up hills. I visited an awesome bike shop today, and I have new shifters coming, but that means I'll have to A) pay and B) take the bus to work on Tuesday when I drop it off to get fixed. Good thing I got my Orca card in the mail yesterday!

My boy Harvey in 2008, right after I put him together for the first time (note the crooked handlebars).
3.  My other boy, Niles:


Matt decided to paint a picture of Niles (he's done many). Niles was fascinated.

4. Not much else is happening, but I am happy it's fall!

Pinterest is my new hobby, so I made a fall leaf craft out of wax paper and crayons last weekend:



They look nice, but I wish I had some curtains framing the window. I do want to make more crafts for the fall, but I'm holding out to see if we can renew the lease on this apartment first before I decided to buy a lot of stuff that I might have to schlep.

I made pumpkin soup last week, and it was delicious. I also made curry flatbread with raisins to go with it, and boy am I glad I did. It was delicious! All summer long, I've been making flatbread to go with guacamole, and I've been experimenting with different spice combinations. Curry/raisins was definitely a winner in my book.

I got a pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks on Tuesday (they still had summer decorations out, but good old Facebook told me that pumpkin spice had begun!), but I cannot for the life of me find pumpkin coffee creamer at the closest Safeway. It's getting to the point where I might need to make my own! Salted caramel mocha is available again, too, so at some point I'll have to get one. Mmm, delicious. And then eventually it'll be time for eggnog lattes!

But let's not rush that yet. For now, I'm okay with fall finally arriving.