Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Work, dreams, house renovations

It's a random collection of stuff today.

If I go to the gym today, I will finish week 7 of the couch to 5K program, which in the almost year since I started it has now changed its name to Run 5K. I am writing this down in hopes it will be accountability for doing it.

I caught an error in percent vs. percentage points in a story on Monday night. Before I spent two years at my job editing financial news, I never would have caught it. Now I not only catch the error, but I get to teach future copy editors to catch that error.

I'm designing pages this week, nothing very exciting, but I'm remembering the challenges of making everything fit just right.

Points two and three remind me that every job and role I've had is important to what I'm doing now. I realize this sounds like a Rascal Flatts song, though maybe only to me since this week I bought tickets to see them in January.

I posted this on Facebook, but I have to share more of the story. I was at home on Tuesday because I'm working nights this week, and there was a knock on my door. There was a guy standing there, and he asked me (1) when I moved into the house and (2) when I was moving out. Apparently, he has had his eye on this house for four years. He gave his number to the last tenants for them to call him when they moved out. Obviously, they didn't, which I'm grateful for. Anyway he told he'd come back in July since my lease is up in August. It is a wonderful house and one of a handful of rentals in this neighborhood, which is the best in town if I you're asking me, but I don't think it would have occurred to me to go knocking on the door to try and rent it. He also said he wanted to rent it and then convince the owner to sell it to him. I was thinking, "You and me both."

Continuing on that point, I have no idea what happens for me after August, and most days I'm really comfortable with that. But in the event I stayed here, I would continue to rent this house. And though I doubt I'd (1) convince my landlord to sell and (2) actually stay here long enough to make it worth the investment, on a daily basis I think about what I would do to it if I owned it. Just this week, I was debating what color I could paint the bathroom (it's currently yellow) that would still look OK with the blue tile or if I'd have to take the tile out. I've already decided on painting the cabinets an off-white or cream and changing the hardware on them, and then painting the kitchen a nice sage green after taking down the wallpaper in the kitchen for this house I'll probably never own! This is another area where pinterest isn't helping.

I had a dream the other night I went on a date (shocking!), and my entire family and current boss were all at the same place. I also woke up that morning to check to see if my car was in my driveway because in my dream it was stolen.

The pictures from my brother's wedding were posted this week, and it's making me dislike my recent haircut even more. In other words, my hair looked great in those photos, and I'm hating it now that it's short again. I guess you only luck out once with getting your hair cut at the mall.

Friday, December 16, 2011

End of semester brain dump

A random list of things that have been going on in my life this week:

It's finals week, and apparently one way students avoid studying is baking. It's been treat overload in the newsroom this week. I even have cookies I need to get out of my house, but there is so much other stuff I don't think anyone would eat them.

I'm starting to feel like I'm on idea overload. I've spent more time on pinterest lately and keep seeing all these things treat/desserts to make. But then I remind myself it would just contribute to the last point. So I'm trying to either pin actual dinner recipes or non-food related things. One of my co-workers said the other day that she had never thought to use it for recipes. I guess I need to follow her to see what she pins because I feel like all I see is food.

Grading is harder than I expected.

Tuesday was my last night working with that combination of students. I was sad to see it come to an end. (And granted, every day this week is the "last," but there is a unique bonding over late nights at the paper.)

But it must be the end of the semester because I've been snapping much quicker than usual. One of those stuffed singing/dancing Christmas trees almost pushed me over the edge.

The TA I worked closest with all semester worked her last shift with me before she graduates today. Another student I'm sad to see go.

Last January, I downloaded the Couch to 5K app on my iPhone. I didn't really start using it until April. But I got distracted by the prospect of moving and then found out I was moving, quit the gym and then moved. I eventually joined a gym here, but struggled to fit it into my routine. Long story but I typically get to week 6, stop going to the gym and have to go back several workouts and work my way back to week 6 and the cycle starts over. On Thursday I finished the last workout of week 6, and I realized I have six workouts left and two weeks left in 2011 to finally finish the program. So that's my goal — finish this workout program before the end of the year.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A picture post

It seems I very rarely post pictures on here anymore, but I have a few to share today.

First of all, I got several birthday cards, and I loved all of them. But there were two I wanted to share.

My best friend from high school is an artist, and she always sends these amazing hand-drawn cards. I think this one might be my favorite she's drawn for me:

And then this was sent to me by my parents. I thought it was pretty funny and kind of perfect. The inside says: Older and wiser, baby. Older and wiser.

While I didn't make it to my sister's for my niece's first birthday, through the wonder of Skype, I got to participate in the family party. This was just before she decided she didn't like getting her hands dirty with icing and cake.

On Saturday, I went over to a friend's house to bake and decorate cookies. We made a lot of cookies!

The friend that hosted us is an artist if you can tell by this tray of cookies.

I also went to a church Christmas party on Sunday night and then spent Sunday catching up on grading. And I couldn't get a picture because it was dark, but I came home from the grocery store on Sunday to find two huge deer just chilling in my front yard.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A birthday

Last week a friend and I were emailing, and she asked if I had plans for my birthday. I kind of played it off and said it was no big deal. But she directly told me I needed to be proactive for my birthday this year since I'm still getting settled here.

I realized she was right, and instead of being passive I took her advice and ended up having a really fun day.

First of all I made cake pops, which I haven't done in a long time (I tried a new combo I'll share later), and I took them with me to work to share with students and co-workers. I sit in the middle of the newsroom during the day, and basically, I gave out cake pops to people that wished me a happy birthday. It was a really fun game to play because I had students that don't really know me come over so they could get one. It just kept me entertained all day. And my co-workers sang happy birthday to me at our afternoon meeting, a little mortifying, but I guess you are supposed to be sung to on your birthday.

After work I went with my small group from church to a service project, and then I had invited them all back to my house for dinner and dessert. I loved hosting in my house, it's perfect for it and I haven't done much of it. And I just felt so blessed that these people I didn't even know a couple of months ago came over to celebrate with me. I told my best friend when we chatted after they left that it was finally starting to click. I really enjoyed this group of people and had a great time hanging out with them, and it was all low key and easy. So I think the community piece is slowly coming together and that really is a gift.

To add to the fun, my friend who wanted to make sure I had birthday plans sent me a cookie cake that I was able to share with my small group.

And of course I was blessed by Facebook messages, emails, cards, text messages and phone calls. It's fun to have lived all these places and have people that I love hearing from on days like my birthday. I'll also be able to drink peppermint mochas from Starbucks all winter long.

Monday, December 5, 2011


When I was back home for the wedding, I was frequently asked if I was still cooking. The answer is yes, but I haven't made anything exciting. Mostly I cook soup, and soon I'll post some recipes. But this post is about work because that is what I'm really enjoying in life right now.

I worked the second half of Thanksgiving week, and I discovered two things: (1) It's much more efficient to do the work yourself, rather than delegating to students and then talking them through it. But (2) it's really boring to be at work without students.

So last week I was glad to see the students again and for things to be more normal at work. I found myself frustrated with having to delegate again, but I love when the newsroom is full and loud. Only students would find a YouTube video of a guy playing Silent Night on a nose flute (at the encouragement of an editor, I'll add).

On Friday, the capstone class, which is the final class seniors take, was making a presentation. This semester, I've worked closely with the majority of the students in that class, so I made a point to be there. They had all dressed up and were on top of their game. I've only known them for a semester, but I was so proud of them.

And while I really enjoy my time with the students, I sometimes feel like I'm just one more person telling them what to do and assume they are sick of me. But on Friday, when I walked in to the presentation, one of the students I work with on a daily basis gave me the handout. In her face I saw that she was excited I was there. At that moment, I thought, this is what it's all about.

I love that this job allows me to do journalism work, in particular community news, which had been missing from my life for a couple of years. But this would just be any other job if it weren't for the students. Working with them, teaching them, cheering for their success is what makes this job so unique.

Yes, there are times I want to strangle certain students or tie them to their chair so they will focus. Or other times I just want them to stop asking me questions. But it just isn't the same without them.

As the semester is coming to an end, I'm realizing there is about to be a major turnover. Some students will graduate, others will come back to work as TAs and there will be a whole new batch to train as copy editors. I'll be sad to see the seniors leave, but the turnover is what keeps this job exciting. In every other job after six months or so I'm begging my boss for a new challenge, but the challenge is built into this job with the change of the semester.

And if you want to read some of the great stuff our students are doing, check out this inspiring story: Kelsi Poe: The girl who fell at Quinton's builds an entirely new life