icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
It's official. Three-quarters of my job has officially ended.

The tutoring center's open till Saturday, but just to box things up. I filled my car with textbooks bound to another center last night. No students remain.

I stayed up till dawn playing on the internet. I have my first weekend off in I don't know how long. (I worked weekends.) Am picking up hours in another tutoring center already, so the fear and pressure of job loss is gone. Your prayers and good wishes (and laughter over the disappearing furniture) are much appreciated and I think the reason why I've been so level (and amused).

As dawn painted the sky ... I found two lost ficlets from last summer:

Feel Your Way
John Sheppard is caught between his conscience, his duty, and his career.
"They're gonna waste me, Teyla. They're gonna waste my time."

Elizabeth Weir, System Lord
Rewatching SG-1's "New Order," I thought no... Elizabeth would be a savvy, gutsy, and creative negotiator.
After defeating of Anubis with a now-dead weapons platform, the new leader of Stargate command negotiates with the System Lords. "Enslaving millions of people, slaughtering innocents, yes, that's what the Stargate program is all about."

ETA: grrr... didn't post to LJ.

ETA2: Aha! Figured out why my posts stopped crossposting to LJ.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Writing is recovering. Miss it so much. Knitting is no replacement.

Also, this sweater I knitted is waaaay too big. But the OAR (overly ambitious rug) turned out well.

No more furniture has mysteriously disappeared from my office. However, the tutors are disappearing left and right. I'm covering for the admin while she's out of town, and I've discovered that I enjoyed doing admin because I liked my boss. She made us feel valued. Now she's quit and gone back to Korea. I miss her. And the admin work is ... meh.

The ghost writing project, well, someone else is taking over. It wasn't moving forward, so I'm pleased that they see a story there. But lots of other stuff came up in our email and... I have too much other stuff to be able to deal with it head on right now. Later.

Lastly, I have tremendous respect for Peter Dinklege.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
I walked into the office to find five of our seven tutoring desks gone.

Bear in mind that in 2010 the center had five or six tutors working every Saturday. Four during the weekdays. Once my boss' son graduated, we no longer had a contact in his high school. Lately it's dwindled to no more than two tutors on weekends, and they only work six hours.

Me: "What happened to the desks?"
Admin: "They've been sent up to the new center in Ellicott City."
Me: "Uh-huh."


Admin: "We're transferring these two new students to the [center office]."
Me: "Really?" Giving away business. "We're closing, aren't we?"
Admin: "Ooooh, I don't have a poker face. Yes. But please don't tell anyone. We're not supposed to talk about it yet."

Like no one else is going to notice all the missing desks.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Am feeling vexed at the moment. So, like Musak, I am giving you this amusing video:


We value your call... please continue to hold....
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Should I really be applying for a master's in teaching?

- What I really want is an MFA in writing, followed by teaching freshman comp.

But in all practicality, I'm seeing how the adjunct professor world works, and I can't become a "Beltway warrior," teaching at one college in the morning and another at night. I won't live in my car. I also need healthcare. Adjunct professors have all the job security and benefits of temps. I wouldn't want to go the route of a Ph.d in English which is what it would require to teach tenure track at a larger college. I don't care about literature the way I care about writing.

- What I really want is to throw practicality to the wind and dive into a Ph.d. in Tibetan studies and Buddhism at UVA.

But in terms of work, there's nothing I can do with it, or rather, nothing I can do with it that will pay the bills. Unless I were willing to relocate to where any scrapings of work might be. Which I'm not.

Today I had a very hard session at tutoring, so I know I'm feeling down. I'm also aware that I'm on the rag and thus very emotional.

I can take high school attitude. But I can't deal with learning disabilities, especially kids who have IAPs whose parents never told us. Today I was asked to help a learning disabled kid review for a test tomorrow, a test for a class where he knew nothing at all about subject, and had never once opened his textbook, largely because his reading level doesn't enable him to fully comprehend the textbook. Yet the only way we found out he might have an IAP (thus a learning disability) is a comment he dropped to another tutor, "Oh, I don't do homework. I go to the learning center where the teacher helps me." Which I learned, by the way, several hours after the session.


The real trouble isn't that I didn't know about his disability (and thus the whole session was completely useless). The real trouble is that learning disabilities put my teeth on edge. I don't want to deal with them, and when I have to, I force myself, but I just hate it. There's a part of me that stands back and thinks, "Oh my god, you are so stupid."

Which, I dunno, maybe I should go for adjunct professor. At least then part of my job would be weeding.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Well, the SAT tutoring business has been hurt by the sequestor. I live in the DC area, and obviously a lot of parents work in fields related to the government. The sequestor has cut their hours.

Case in point, one young student's parents are medical researchers for the NIH. His parents have been moved to part time. They finished up the hours they'd signed him up for and elected not to renew, even though he takes the SSAT magnet school test this coming winter.

Those cuts have hurt the SAT tutoring. As a result, my hours were cut this weekend.

I didn't work today. I won't be working tomorrow. That's 44% of my paycheck this week.

The sequestor could just be ended by Congress. They don't have to do this.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
As of last night:

The snow has begun. Fluffy white covers the ground.

Outside, the bird feeders are filled.

I've re-battery'd the electric candles. The natural gas fireplace is fired up and glowing.

I'd like to get some cleaning and laundry done to reduce the number of attack zones the cats can use (want your cats to get along? Give them nowhere to hide in ambush).

Can't afford a day off work. But I so want one.

The forecast still says 7-13" total.

I may get my (expensive) wish.

As of today:

The snow has begun. Soggy white covers the ground as more comes down ... and melts on contact.

The roads are wet, slushy, will freeze tonight.

The forecast still says 4-6" additional accumulation. As a friend put it: #WeatherChannelUsesDefectiveRulers

Regardless, I get the day off. Expensive or not, it's badly needed.

Now where to begin. Laundry or hair dye?
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
That holiday party: maybe I don't get out much...

... but the er, uh, unpromising office holiday party turned out to be a whole lot of fun.

I admit, I may have spent a good amount of my time flirting with a cute stuffed toy of a coworker.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
For twenty-five years I've managed to avoid the office Christmas party.

No longer.

I'm officially the head tutor at our little tutoring center and that means I have to go.

Now you see, I hate parties. All parties. Not just office parties. I'm not shy, but I get stressed out and overstimulated and worn to a thread by the chatter and interaction. I don't drink, and the high stress level means I can't eat, so I don't even enjoy the food: it tastes like sawdust.

Face it. I'm an introvert. My idea of a good time is home with a good book and a pint of Haagen Dazs.

So. I bought a dress.

I figured if I'm going to this thing, I might as well get some fun out of it. Also, if I paid money I wouldn't bail. You see, I've agreed to go to the office party before but I've never actually made it out the door.

Thus I bought a red dress (this is how it looks on a human body), a little handbag with a sheet music print, and have a kicky cape coat. Then I splurged and bought a garnet necklace to go with the whole thing.

I've manicured my toenails and have red nail polish and lipstick ready to go. (Problem: the lipstick when chewed off leaves my lips a weird red-pink, so I may skip it, I dunno.) This from someone who doesn't wear makeup every day (too lazy).

Naturally, I had in mind a dignified office party with food, stilted small talk, some music, and then we could all go home. (And I could curl up and get some real food because I won't be able to eat.)

I received this email last week:

Hi everyone,
I'm writing on behalf of BlahBlahBlah to let everyone know that
there will be three major contests held during the party.

1. Gang Nam Style dance
2. Limbo
3. Best Dresser

Please let your staff know~!

Thank you.

Er. Fair warning?

I mentioned this to another tutor.

Her: "What criteria are they going to use to judge best dressed?"
Me: "Tiara-?"

I emailed it to mom.

Me: "Gangnam style? Limbo? Are office parties usually like this?"
Mom: "Um. No. But in the 70s they used to not invite the spouses so they could hit on all the women. It could be worse."

I learned that one reason that I had to go is that all the head tutors were getting certificates of some kind and oh, good, I get to combine stage fright, humiliation, and my usual dislike of parties. Goody gumdrops.

Today I got this email:

Hello Michelle,

Hope you can read this mail before you go to the Center today.

1) Please send a your picture asap for the presentation at the Christmas party.<-- It's because I reported you are the Head Teacher at our center.

2) This is the favor to ask you for me--? Can you write a introduction/complement about M. for me? It doesn't have to be long and you can imagine If you were the Director here........
(Please do not use too fancy(complicated) words.....)

-- The following is an example of an excellent introduction. We are going to use both for the powerpoint and awards presentation, so please be as detailed as possible.

Thank you in advance.

Powerpoint...? When will they show a Powerpoint presentation at a....

...oh, good lord.

They've somehow managed to mate the worst-ever office party with a corporate meeting.

Lucky for all concerned I already bought the dress.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
A sign I'm up too late (on a night I have to be at work at 9am):

Glancing up at the muted TV, I find teenage mutant ninja turtles. And then a penguin with a green-wrapped candy bar in the middle of a windstorm of garbage.

*watches, mute still on*

Am I the only one who finds (cheap) computer animation strange? These penguins look like marshmallows.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Time for the freekibblekat.com quiz. It's cute.

Then, a little practice, and off to work.

Up at 4am ... don't know what to do with myself. The leftover cough from the laryngitis won't go away and sleep schedule is, as usual, whacked.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Friday weather report: Sitting in my little flat, the rain has tapered off. Tornado warnings didn't phase the kitty boys who purred next to me, their eyes half-lidded.

I have things arranged so that I look at the tidiest, most well-decorated corner of the room. A brass music stand. A prim table with lace tablecloth I crocheted myself holding a glass vase with pampas grass plumes. Very pretty. I can ignore the half-finished projects scattered around the rest of the room.

Kiddie report: I had one student make tremendous progress this week. So proud of him. Last Saturday, after a year of public school World History classes, he couldn't even tell me about the river valley civilizations. By last night, he could recap all of world history. Was it enough to pass the test?

His parents want a guarantee. My boss wants a guarantee. He has the general picture, yes. But it's a tough test. Does he know enough detail? I can only say that he's done well, but a week isn't much time to learn the entire history of the world. My boss doesn't like that answer. :/ She's afraid his unrealistic parents (who don't seem to understand he's not in a good school district) will yell at her if they don't get their good score. What he needed most was time management, which was something they can help him with.

And now, fandom report: Ta-da!

I'm pleased to announce that Colls has posted her podfic of...

Title: Collisions podfic! (story here)
Fandom: SGA/SPN crossover
Pairing: Gen, with obligatory slashiness
Rating: PG-13
A/N: Did you know it takes 12,000 words to make a 1,000 word ficlet make sense to two fandoms? Thank you to Rabidfan, Skinscript, Amalthia, Mecurtin, and Wordwitch, who put it through the wringer until it worked for both SGA and SPN fans. Written for the Help Haiti fundraiser and soooooo late. Story sponsored by Somnolentblue who made a donation in exchange for said "ficlet."
Summary: The engine gunned and they caught up, moving alongside the red car long enough for Sam to catch a glimpse of a guy in a bomber jacket and Aviator glasses, his generous mouth in a hard line – until the guy smirked, and cut Dean off at the next turn.

Also, I've posted a new SGA ficlet:

Title: The Scientific Method
Fandom: SGA
Pairing: Rodney/Radek
Rating: PG-13
A/N: Thank you to Rabidfan, IvoryGates, and Sian for the beta help. By way of explanation. I missed the SGA Smooch deadline, and I'm too impatient to wait for a whole week to post. I've starved you guys long enough.
Summary: "Don't do the clock! I hate it when you do the clock!"
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Uh-oh. Greeting the morning from the other side again.

But the spiritual cred on the internets poll has been interesting (on Dreamwidth here) and I've had cats to pet and lace to crochet and old SG-1 eps to watch. Somewhere in there I put a pic in a frame.

It doesn't sound like much. Why did it take five hours?

I still have sandwiches I haven't made, and practice to do. I'm going in early to work and have a lunch with my brother and need to drop off the sandwiches I haven't made yet.

La-la-la, I think I'll watch more SG-1....
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Ah, Wednesday, it must be Paris. Or in this case, my "crush" session.

I've two teenage boys I'm tutoring, one in 10th grade, the other in 11th. Both of them have hopeless crushes.

No, not on each other, you slashers.

Today, I even got the batted eyelashes and a sloe-eyed look over the edge of a book. LOL!

Would I resort to using this to make them write more essays? Heck yeah!
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Getting Involved, with a capital Inv, with a lot of projects.

I have a habit of taking on too much. In fandom, this is not such a problem. We're flexible because we know that fic is probably not the center of everyone's lives (though at times it has been!). In RL, the flexibility isn't always there. So I have to tiptoe to avoid pissing people off.

It's starting to pile up though. Stomach's in knots.

* I wanted to paint the prayer room months ago, but it was too cold. Then we had to wait for the new windows. Now my buddy David wants to start it soon, even though the windows aren't done. Says, "Well, we can start with the ceiling." True... I'm supposed to find a team, but I've really only found one person.

* I have a major RL writing project that has kind of put-putted to a stop while I was sick these last two weeks. Now we're meeting tomorrow to lay out the outline.

* I've been asked to teach Tibetan at the temple. The only day that's possible is Sundays, although I work all day, from 9:30-3:30 with no food and no break, so it's going to be really tough to teach again at 6pm. The idea makes me want to cry! I'm also too rusty to really teach this class. So! A real live Tibetan man has been added to help, but I think he should just teach it. The whole "dual Tibetan teacher" thing I can tell already from our meetings just isn't going to work. He has a different goal, different method, and we don't know each other very well so there's a lot of do-see-do and confusion. Our first meeting he also had another writing project he wanted me to do, and he bunnied me, I sketched out five scenes, but I just can't do two big projects at a time. Anyhow, I've asked for help in resolving this. We'll see how that goes -- one of the two I asked is someone who doesn't like me, so it's probably going to go badly.

* The weekly cleaning at the temple is fun, and going well. Get to hang out with my friend Sandra, too. :)

* I had to cancel my regular 10am prayer shift on Thursdays. Just not getting up early enough. Still doing a weekly, but it's now floating around. It means I now miss the weekly reading group, sadly.

* Also on Thursdays I'm making sandwiches for Occupy DC. That's fun. I need to find a cheaper source for the sandwich meats though.

* Mondays I do the temple daily practice. It's not my job, but since Lucia's father passed away, she hasn't been able to do it, so I'd like to find someone to cover for her.

* I'm also doing more Tara prayers for Fukushima since I learned how bad the situation is. I have ideas about how to get more people involved, but the plate is getting kind of full.

* Need to pick up food for the food bank and drop off clothes at Goodwill.

* The birds are enjoying the bird feeders, but the squirrels are enjoying them more. Sigh. I did some research on bird houses, so I'm almost ready to buy one.

* I'm taking a break from the second half of the OAR (overly ambitious rug). It's three quarters done overall. Instead, I'm working on chuba skirts and Tibetan blouses, and a crocheted lace scarf. Have cut out and pinned one muslin full length chuba mock-up, and cut out one silk skirt.

* The decorating project is going well. Just bought baskets with lids to replace the grocery bags that stored my craft supplies. Now everything's still handy, but, it looks uncluttered and nice.

* Also, the new fridge and hot plate have made it so I now eat!

* Next, I need pots and pans and dishes.

* Unfortunately, eating plus lack of exercise ... sigh. Have to start an exercise program. In the past this has only worked if I've built into my regular activities: walking instead of driving, taking the stairs, carrying heavy backpacks everywhere, etc.

* The car needs to go in for its regular check-up. Maybe next paycheck? *wince*

* I'm taking my brother out to lunch, need to call him today. I also need to get him to a doctor. He got punched, his counselors say it's fine, but they're not doctors. They can't diagnose a fracture. He's on Medicaid so I'm not sure what doctors he can go to.

* Six days a week of work has worn rather thin, I admit it, but I need to save money.

* I'm at a standstill on my accumulations of ngundro, sigh. Wanted to finish by May 10th, was on target, but then fell apart. I keep doing other practices on my prayer shifts.

* Really need to pick up more canning jars to store food from the dehydrator. Also -- I'm so behind on grocery shopping.

To sum up: Uh. I'm sure your lists are just as long. But I'm rather in that "waaaah" state.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
My tutoring students, dancing:

My lovely kiddies! (Specifically Isaac, the longer-haired Russky.)
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Late last night I glanced at the computer clock. Wow. Much later than I thought.

Then I checked my bedside clock. Hold it. An hour differe--

--ooooh, noooooo.

Google search confirmed: Daylight Savings. And I had to be at work in a few hours.

Curled up and tried to get some sleep immediately. Two hours later, the phone rings. I'm in the wrong cycle of REM and off-kilter.

It's my boss, calling to remind me about Daylight Savings. About 40 minutes before I was scheduled to get up.

Let's make sure I don't get any sleep, okay?
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Just woke up.

I remember coming home some time around 10pm.

I remember checking the delivery of a cashmere sweater (ah, it's here, just waiting the mailbox -- oh hey, [personal profile] sarka, I got it).

I know I came downstairs thinking I should get some food (today I've had cookies, an apple, and some cheese, yes, that's all day), grabbed beer and almonds for now. Slumped onto the couch, clicked on a recording of Archer (which isn't as funny this season)...

... and blinked awake. At 3am. Some depressing Iranian movie was playing (a man yelled that the war hadn't benefited him, he had his tractor stolen, and didn't even qualify for insurance, then pathetically limped to the door and slammed it ... meanwhile a wife who was a former prostitute had to silently endure her husband marrying a second, younger wife ... wait, why was I staring at this? Iran sounds like a miserable place).

Whoa. Okay. May have been a weee bit tired. It was a long day.

Now, I must find something to eat. Maybe popcorn? Or a salad? Brie? Don't tell me I need real food. I know that.

ETA: Decision: brie. For ease and nutrition. :D And I was so tired, I forgot to kiss the kitties when I came home. (That's remedied and forgiven.)

ETA2: Wait, I remember now. I did eat.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)

Me: "I thought you were held back a year because of your English." (He's supposed to be in 12th grade.)
KoreanTranslator!Kid: "No. I spoke with the counselor. They didn't know why I was held back."
Me: "You should find out. You wouldn't want to be held back because of a typo."
KoreanTranslator!Kid: *laughs and laughs*

KoreanTranlator!Kid may live in this country, but he's not absorbing English. I think it's because he mostly uses Korean with friends, family, entertainment -- pretty much everything and everyone except school. Even at school, all his friends are Korean. I note he's the one that answers in Korean when they speak to him in English.

He's supposed to be in 12th grade, but he was held back this year. He's prepping for another crack at the SAT, but his reading scores are dismal. He works so hard just getting through his schoolwork, he can do little else. He can't do an English immersion because he's the translator for the relatives he lives with (who speak very little English).

ESL-wise, I don't think his method of looking up each and every individual word is the way to go. Shouldn't we be focusing on structures? But he does seem to have basic grammar down. Hmmm....

Really though, there's a marked difference in maturity between him and the 11th graders. He's looking at maybe graduating at the end of this year and doing some community college and transferring to university. That may be the way to go. Montgomery College is a good school.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
You know I'm tired when I glance over at the clock, thinking it's 2am...

... and it's 10 o'clock.

What a week.

The twelfth graders are at their wits' end. As am I. They didn't believe that writing a simple college application essay would take more than an evening.

They bring their college app essays in, and what they've written is either an informative essay (which is not a personal essay), or a creative writing project (which is not an essay and likely to annoy and confuse the busy admissions people), or a sloppy personal explainer on the level of a middle school "what did I do last summer" report (which is neither an essay nor an effective sales pitch), or else they've failed to address the prompt altogether.

Once they start aiming vaguely in the direction of a personal essay, we discover that introspection is not a habit they've developed.

Granted, I find writing a college application essay a struggle. And I'm an adult. After 43+ years I know my strengths and weaknesses, and in vague way know a bit about sales and how to package myself. I also am a good writer.

Teenagers, gosh, I should probably just be grateful for the ones who did start early and understood the point of the essay.

Final note: I hate it when my boss shrieks at me.


icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)

December 2015

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