Friday, June 27, 2008

The Extended Role of a Teacher

As a teacher, everyone knows you're expected to teach the basic subjects: reading, math, language arts, science, PE, and the arts. However, in reality you're expected to do a whole lot more. On the first day of one of my new summer classes, we all brainstormed about our extended role as a teacher. I wanted to type up this list both because I think it's interesting to think about all the different roles a person can hold at the same time, and because I am both intimidated and amused by the various 'identities' I'll be holding in a few short months. So, without further ado, here's the list:

role model
extra funds providor
encourager of dreams
hygeine educator
administer of band-aids
teacher of respect
teacher of social skills
party planner
present maker
homework helper/tutor
settler of upset parents
actor and entertainer
Extracurricular activity supporter
helper of self discovery
teacher of self confidence
provider of emotional support
helper of grieving
sounding board
resource finder
teacher of responsibility
play directgor
emergency food provider
yard duty
teacher of critical thinkers
community involver
event coordinator
risk taker
parental figure in the classroom
interior decorator
provider of emotional vocabulary

My favorite of these is magician. My friend Daniel offered up this one, explaining that, "as teachers, we often have to make something out of nothing, or a lot out of a little, magically meeting the needs of our students without the time, funding, or resources that we realistically need to do our jobs."

Even with all this, I'm excited for the fall. I dreamed about the first day of school last night (already?) and bought a couple of things for the classroom today (the dollar tree is amazing and has a whole teacher section!)


On a separate note, I'm getting nice and settled into Campbell now, and enjoying my new home more and more. I'm hoping to check out a farmer's market tomorrow morning and go to the recycling center to finally get rid of the rest of our moving boxes. Ed took off for Pennsylvania Wednesday, which was a little sad, but I'm excited for him and his new students. Of course, now I'm all alone in a new city. I'm thinking about trying to find some kind of hikers group, since the running still isn't happening. I've done some searching without a lot of success, but hopefully I'll find something. After watching the last season of six feet under, with one of the opening scenes featuring a cougar attack as the method of death, I'm not too keen on treking those trails alone :P Too bad I can't join a running club.....

Any other ideas for meeting people? As much as I'm enjoying my leisurely days of reading and watching movies (and cleaning) it'd be nice to be a bit more social:)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Breaking her in

So far, I have been loving my new bike. I really miss running, but I'm really enjoying the freedom of my new ride and being outside enjoying the fresh air again. However, there are a number of goals I've now set for myself for this summer, in relation to bike riding. Any advice you experienced bikers can bige me on how to achieve these goals would be greatly appreciated :)

Bike Goals:
1. Keeping balanced- this one seems like a no brainer, but after almost falling multiple times, I'm realizing that I sort of suck in the balance department. I'm thinking core strength will help with this?
2. Taking one (or both) hands off the steering wheel- This goes along with balance. Obviously, if I ever want to ride in traffic, I'll need to be able to lift at least one hand to make traffic signals. Right now any attempts to free up a hand leave me tipsy.
3. Standing while Pedaling- I see people do this, and it looks effective for hills and the like, but, again, I end up almost falling over...
4. Embracing hills- Right now, both up and downhills cause problems. On serious uphills I lose momentum and have to jump off before I fall. Downhills freak me out because I'm afraid of losing control.
5. Getting up to doing 20 or so miles a day- I did a bit over 10 yesterday with relative ease, but would like to do some significant mileage so that I'm getting really good workouts.
6. Not getting the sore butt- Seriously...any advice here? This grown up hard bike seat isn't too comfy, and I"m wondering if this is something that will improve with time, or if I need a seat pad thing or something....

Even with all these goals, I'm still enjoying just getting out there. I've ridden sunday, monday, and tuesday, for a collective total of around 24 miles over the 3 days. Monday was the most exciting, as Ed and I went to Nisene after my super long class day (8:30-5:30). He ran while I did my first real trail with the bike. It was total firetrails, which should have been easy, but I almost flew off at one point after hitting a dip in the trail. Seriously, I was very close to ending up 50 ft down a ravine. On a firetrail. I need to practice this biking thing a lot more!

Anyways, let me know any bike advice you all out there might have :D

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Touring the Apartment

We finally have internet at our place, thank goodness :)

Though, with no internet and no cable (we're not going to get it for a few weeks since, who really needs tv anyways? Especially when you have the whole Six Feet Under series on loan to you :) ) we've really been able to focus on getting the apartment ready for my family's arrival on thursday. I've also been enjoying reading the book In a Sunburned Country which is about traveling in Australia- a very funny account.

The move was surprisingly easy (well, as easy as moving two people's apartments into one can be) and was mad much better by backing the u haul the night before with the help of Ed's brother and his girlfriend and by the help given by two of Ed's friends moving in on Sunday. Also, I really started to appreciated the fact that we had a downstairs apartment (I previously wasn't sold on the idea), which made moving so so much easier. We only had to move things about 20 feet from the U haul to the inside of the apartment :)

What made this whole move difficult was the fact that we couldn't get the key until 3pm. This could have worked okay, except that we bought a beautiful mattress that was going to be delivered between 8 and 11. We called the mattress people around 8 sunday morning to make sure that they were going to call us an hour before they arrived (like the paperwork said) only to have them tell us that actually they were about an hour out right now. We quickly finished loading up the rest of the stuff into my car and with Ed in the Uhaul made our way to Campbell.

I got there before Ed since he had to drive slowly over the 17 (a notoriously dangerous and windy highway connecting Santa Cruz to the East Bay) and luckily, we were both there about 10 minutes before the mattress people. However, the Uhaul was pretty full, and we still had a futon, table, kitchen wine rack thing/table, two bookcases, and my papasan chair. We decided the best option was to have Ed hop the fence of our new patio, and to lift the mattress and box spring over the wall and into the patio to store it until we got to go inside.

Having done this, we figured we might as well make use of Ed's position over the wall. I unloaded my car, passing things over the wall, and even got some things out of the Uhaul to pass over as well. A group of three older women were watching this whole process, somewhat suspiciously. But, since we were putting things in and not taking things out, we couldn't have seemed too harmful. Afterwards I talked to them and introduced myself, just to make sure they didn't think I was too shady :) The people living at this complex have, so far, been really nice and friendly. There are lots of young couples here and young families, as well as a number of older individuals living alone. We've been reassured by almost everyone we've talked to that this is a very peaceful, safe, and quiet place to live, which is music to my ears!

The first night, our goal was to get three rooms functional- the kitchen, the bedroom, and the living room.

Our kitchen was full of boxes as the start, but we soon had all the dishes in sensible spots (I had so many pretty dishes that we decided Ed's more batchloresque tableware would stay in its box...totally Ed's decision though!) and the kitchen was ready to be used, though we didn't have any food yet!

After some hard work, we had our living room furniture assembled and ready to use. We got some really good chinese food from a place nearby and watched an episode of Six Feet Under in comfort, enjoying our new couch

Still lacking anything readily edible in the morning, we walked to the mini mart right outside our complex and bought milk, butter, jam, and honey and, with the bisquick we brought with us, I made us a lovely breakfast of biscuits. It was a good way to break in the kitchen!

Our big challenge from the beginning has been the office. Not only do Ed and I have a ridiculous amount of books, all of whose boxes were originally placed in the office, but we also had a desk delivered monday that came ready to be built in 66 easy steps :P. When we first got here, the office looked like this:

Now, it looks like this:

A pretty great improvment! THe desk was a beast to put together, but looks great and will be so nice to have. With the futon in there too, we can both work in here at the same time (I usually work on a couch or bed, so the futon will be perfect). We still have some boxes of files and books that don't have a home (we're in need of another bookcase) but overall, its' pretty much put together.

Now, our living room feels very homey. We finally got around to decorations last night, putting up posters and pictures, filling the entertainment center with meaningful momentos, and making it a cozy place to relax. It's a very cost-plus living room, with the couch, chair, and coffee table from there :)

This is one of my favorite decorations in the apartment- a poster of nisene marks, where we had our first run/date, with a photo of John Muir woods on one side, and a photo of big basin on the other :) We have a map of the nisene trails up on our hallways wall.

Our bedroom, though still a little sparse, is beautiful :) The poster is from a japanese seasons exhibit at the van gogh museum in amsterdam. And our bed- well, it is amazing! Good sleep is very important to both of us, so we splurged a little on a high quality bed, and, compared to the rock of dorm beds, it is amazing. Not in the photo, but important, are the two bookcases we put in here for my books. While picking them up in Mountain View (for $10 a piece!) we ran into Norbert, who I hadn't seen since Dick Collins. I didn't recognize him at first, since it was so unexpected (he lives next to the person we were buying the bookcases from!) but it was really great to talk to him. He was getting ready to tackle Diablo, and hopefully had a great race in the steamy weather.

We have this amazing Korean chest of drawers in the bedroom that Ed's parents got when they lived in Okinawa. Above it we have out tribute to our amazing Valentines day, with a trail map of Mt. Tam, the letter from Mountain Home in welcoming us, and the menu from our dinner that night :)

Overall, we couldn't be happier living in our new place. I can't think of a single thing I would want to change about our apartment or location. My family arrives in a few hours, and I'm excited to be able to play host to them. I'm making tandoori chicken, with naan and basmati rice, with samosas for appetizers and homemade vanilla and coffee ice cream for dessert!

I'm also going to get to show off the amazing graduation present Ed got for me:

I was so totally suprised (to be honest, it didn't cross my mind that he would get me anything!) and am so excited to relearn bike riding. I did a few loops around the parking lot, which was really fun, but I also almost fell off the bike :P. Definitely need to work on my balance! He got me a mountain bike, so we can hit the trails together. I'm also thinking that I can use the bike to help him run, by biking along side of him. That way, we can do long runs together even if I can't run them :)

Well, I've got to go do some more house things before the family arrives. Signing off with all smiles in Campbell :)

Friday, June 06, 2008

Starting to Breathe

Today was my last day of student teaching.


The next time I'm in a classroom with children I will be the real teacher, and the only teacher in there. It's a pretty powerful thought.

It was a great last day, as we spent the whole time at the pool. The kids were watched by a team of lifeguards, so I just got to enjoy sitting outside, occassionally going over to check in with some of my kids, and enjoy the sunshine. Then we had lunch together, played some water balloon games, and had watermellon. The class gave me a basket of teacher goodies (glue sticks, tape, stickers, etc.) and a really nice book with a letter from each student. This was a very challenging placement, and I'm glad to be finished, but I will miss the kids. No matter how tough a bunch, you can't help but fall for them.

Now that that's over, the Big Move has moved into priority.

(Ed on our new patio)

Ed helped me with packing tonight (after he finished most of his this afternoon) and I can now say that I am pretty much packed. The only things still in need are the ones that I'll need the next day and a bit, or things that we don't have good boxes for (i.e. my printer) that will just go in a car. We're picking the U-haul up at 2:30 tomorrow afternoon and will be loading all afternoon and evening, with it hopefully all done by the time we have dinner (or maybe just go to bed).

We can't move in until 3:30 sunday, so we'll be getting up early and going to various places in South Bay to pick up some more things (our bed, bookcases we're buying from someone off craigslist, some furniture-including a futon couch and my papasan chair from my best friend, and a kitchen table from Ed's friend). Hopefully everything will fit in the uhaul, otherwise, we'll have to unload some stuff and leave one of us behind to babysit while the other goes to pick up things. Luckily, Ed's brother is currently in town and has a truck, so if worse comes to worse and we run out of room, we might be able to get some of that stuff monday.

While Santa Cruz has been a fun (and beautiful) place to live, I'm really excited to be moving to Campbell and get the adult phase of my life started. I couldn't be happier :)

Outside out new apartment

Sunday, June 01, 2008

My last run (yes run!) in Nisene Marks

(a picture from a run in Nisene that Ed and I did last October)

I'm officially moving a week from today, and it's suddenly sinking in that the running spots I've had the good fortune of getting to know this past year (mostly over the summer and fall) will now be an extra 40 minutes away and will not be so accessible once I move. With that in mind, I suggested to Ed that we take one final jaunt in Nisene Marks, the place of all my long training runs and Ed and my first date (a lovely 7 mile run...such an awesome first date).

I initally told him this would be strictly a hike, no running at all. I haven't run for almost a month now, and that had seemed to be a good thing. However, as I started getting ready, I thought that it would be nice to test out my body a bit on some soft relatively flat trails. See if that elliptical had strengthened my cardio system at all and made my muscles any stronger. We planned to do a small loop and explore a couple smal trails that were new, as well as some old favorites. I popped 2 ibprofen before we left, filled up some water, and we were off.

Back in the old days, I'd always park outside the park entrance and run in to save on the $6 entrance fee. However, the first three miles into the park are boring firetrails, so we opted to drive in and enjoy a mostly singletrack run.

With the pain reliever in my system (and a knee brace on, to help with whatever that might help with) I actually did okay. I had moments where I felt like a runner and like myself again. I can really tell that I'm in much better shape than on my last run (where I burst into tears because I was so frustrated with how out of shape I had become) so that was really exciting. It reassures me that he elliptical is doing something and that as long as I keep being active, I will be able to go back to running when the leg pain goes away and not be starting totally from scratch.

The leg is already a bit more sore, which confirms that lots of running still isn't good for me right now, but I've gotten a number of sheets of exercises from the PT that I"m supposed to do for 6 weeks that I'll be focusing on, and I'll keep doing the elliptical, and maybe good things will happen.

For now, I'm just glad I got to feel like a runner again for a little while :)