*gen - tiffany

"Queso" is Spanish for "evil agorophobic cat".

Wow, hello! Long time, no talk, etc. I do have a half-written post around here somewhere, but first I am in desperate need of advice. *g*

This afternoon I was supposed to leave for Texas. Since it's too long a drive for one shot, I usually split it in half and stay in Jackson. No biggie. I brought my cat with me on the last trip at Christmas. Queso wasn't thrilled, though he eventually settled down. To prepare for this trip, I've had his carrier out on the floor for a few days, and he seemed fine. (It's one of those soft-sided Sherpa duffels.) Well, I put him in the carrier then did my last few prep things before leaving. Guess I forgot to zip it completely shut, because Queso somehow escaped, and all hell broke loose. First, he hid under the bed and hissed when I tried to approach. I finally managed to coax him out of the bedroom and shut the door tight, but he continued to hiss and even thrash out in defensive motions if I got close. Cat treats don't work. At one point I actually got to pick him up and was this close to getting him in the carrier -- and of course he escaped again and nearly attacked me. I opened a container of soft food and added some prescription benadryl that the vet gave me for the last trip. That made Queso sleepy, but he still hisses if I touch him.

UGH. After an hour of this, I gave up on leaving today. It sucks and really screws up some family commitments, but such is life. I was hoping to somehow coax him back in the carrier tomorrow, but now I'm rethinking the whole thing. If he's this freaked out about getting in the carrier, then an 800-mile road trip with my parents' hyper pets on the other end might be too much. (It took him several days to calm down and acclimate at Christmas.) I've left him home dozens of times when I flew, but always with a neighbor checking on him and never longer than 8 days. Problem is, I don't know how long I'll be gone this trip; I'd planned for as long as two weeks. Last weekend my upstairs neighbor told me she'd be happy to check on my cat while I'm gone, and I'm waiting for her to get home so I can ask. He's been fine before, and I'm sure he'll be fine again. But I'm still wary and DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO! GAH! Any advice would be dearly appreciated!
*gen - tiffany

你好! 여보세요! olá! مرحبا

Last day of school! And I need to start planning my summer. Each year, my district offers tons of staff development classes, most of which are unappetizing. But this time I'm very intrigued by four introductory foreign-language courses. They're scheduled for Monday-Thursday of the first two weeks in June, from 9am-2pm daily. I'd earn five PDUs, and upon completion I get a year's subscription to Rosetta Stone Online. And it's all free!

I really, really want to take Arabic, which seems fascinating. Same with Chinese. BUT the classes are being held way across the county; I don't want to spend an extra hour on the road and at least $7 in gas each day. I could take Portuguese or Korean classes much closer to home, thus saving me time and money. I do really want to learn those languages -- but I just want to learn Arabic and/or Chinese even more. What'cha think?

Which language should I take?

Arabic
20(34.5%)
Chinese
17(29.3%)
Korean
5(8.6%)
Portuguese
9(15.5%)
Screw it. Sleep in and enjoy the days off!
7(12.1%)
*gen - tiffany

Things making me happy today...

1. We got the scores back for the state standardized test, and my students KICKED BUTT. In fact, out of 91 students, only 8 failed the test -- and 23 went from failing last year to passing this year. Mind you, I've been teaching remedial reading to the "borderline" kids, so this is a pretty big deal. YAY! Only problem is that I basically proved that the school doesn't need a remedial reading teacher next year, thus justifying their decision to eliminate my position and sending me to another school. *g*

2. On Tuesday I visited the new high school, and it was AMAZING. Everyone was SO friendly and helpful. The campus is newish and gorgeous. I'll be teaching 10th grade World Lit and 11th grade American Lit, and the visit eased my concerns about adjusting to HS after fifteen years of teaching MS. The school is also more diverse than I'd expected (the demographics are almost a microcosm of the U.S. itself), which is good after having spent my whole career in Title 1 schools. I still have a lot of prep to do this summer, and I'll definitely need support next year, but I'm feeling great about the transition. Plus, I think it'll be fun to experience the world of high school football and yearbook and such!

3. It's pouring down rain today, which always puts me in a good mood. My mother liked the tank top sweater I made her, though of course she mentioned it was a bit too big. ;) Happy Mother's Day to those celebrating it!

4. Parks & Rec is coming back next fall! I adore that show to itty bitty pieces. I was skeptical about the season finale, but damned if Amy Poehler didn't sell it while making me a bit teary in the process. I love that in one interview, Mike Schur compared it to season 3 of FNL. And I love that in another interview, they followed up on Andy's list of places to live with this question for Schur: "Also, if given the choice: Winterfell or New Caprica?" Awesome!

5. And, I swear, I'm getting addicted to Scandal. It's not the best show out there, but it's so much fun to watch. Glad to hear that it's also coming back in the fall!
*gen - tiffany

A big shakeup

1. Thanks to a complicated series of events, I'll be teaching high school next year. Wow. Never done that before, and I haven't a clue how to teach it! On Tuesday, I'm heading up to the school to meet some new colleagues, observe, and get a feel for it. I was shocked and quite wary when I got the reassignment, but now I'm starting to get excited. Should be a challenge, and I've been wanting to mix things up. :)

2. Have any of you ever used one of those steam vacuum cleaners that you can rent from the grocery store? I'm stuck with wall-to-wall carpet, and it really needs a cleaning. Hiring those carpet cleaning companies that advertise three rooms for $49 would be easier, but I'm highly suspicious of them tacking on tons of extra costs. Cleaning itself seems like the better option... or is it? [Cue dramatic music.]

3. I've had the Kindle Touch for three months now. Much to my surprise, I'm not really liking it as much as I expected. It's not awful or anything, nor do I regret buying it. It's just not as fun and easy as I thought. The touchscreen can be a pain in the neck. Holding it when I curl up in bed is awkward, due to the size and weight. I'm also a bit annoyed that most of the Kindle books on Amazon are more expensive than if I just ordered the paperback and got it shipped with Prime. (And I haven't found many free books that interest me.) Ah, well! Maybe I'll start to like it more this summer, when I'll have more time to play with it.

4. All the promo press for Sherlock has me wanting to watch all of Moffat's old shows. Since my tivo is already booked up for Sunday nights, I went ahead and rewatched Sherlock last night. Great stuff. Maybe this summer I'll tackle Coupling, which I loved back in the day. (Steeeve! Jeffrey!) And this spring has felt rather lonely without getting to watch Doctor Who on Saturdays. Can't wait until it comes back!
*gen - tiffany

Who Knits

TARDIS shawl! Of course I must make that, even though I'm totally not into shawls*. Bonus points for my friend's store having the almost-exclusive colorway!

*Seriously, why have shawls suddenly become sooooo popular? I hardly ever see people wearing them.
*gen - tiffany

Thirty-Seven Hues of Taupe

Maybe my summer project should be to take one of my old fics, run a find/replace on all the character names, and publish it. The smuttier, the better, even though I've never been all that great at smut. Who cares if it's any good? Then I could make a ton of money and never have to worry about whether I'll get laid off from my job (like I am right now. Ugh.)

Not to disparage Fifty Shades of Gray, mind you! I have no idea whether the book is any good. I'm just wildly amused that someone took their novel-length AU fanfic, changed the names, and made a couple million bucks off sales and movie rights. And I'm wildly curious which fic writers will try this next. *g*

Oh, and a very, very important reminder: Parks & Rec is back tonight!
hunger games - baker

Sewing up a storm

Drat. I was attempting to post every day last week, given that it was spring break and I had the time. But I failed last night because I got engrossed in sewing and lost track of time. Ah, well! It was easier than I thought, though. Maybe I'll be back tomorrow with a linkspam, as I need to clean out my bookmarks.

For the heck of it, here are this week's projects. (I just downloaded Instagram. It's kind of amusing so far, though sharing is a bit of a pain due to the lack of a web-based gallery.)

-- A lace bolero to wear with my Old Navy clearance rack dress. I swear, I can't seem to get a photo taken without my boobs looking far more ridiculous than they are in reality. Then again, I'm a 42DD, so I guess this IS reality! Anyway, it's Ysolda Teague's good ol' Liesl pattern, in organic cotton from Blue Sky Alpaca. I love that pattern because it's SO quick to knit -- this one took me a week, and that was while I was still working -- and it's deceptively simple enough for even a newbie knitter.

-- Bunting for my baby toddler now (yikes!) nephew's room. Sis used that 50 states cloth for his nursery, and I recently grabbed some more at the store. When I asked her what to do with it, she suggested bunting. It was surprisingly easy to make, though quite time-consuming. I added the buttonholes and ribbon so she can tie it to some cord once she decides how to drape it around the room. And that's just a small sample: I made 36 of those suckers. ;)

-- A tote bag to take with me to my Sunday knitting group. I picked up the fabric at Jo-Ann while shopping for bunting supplies. The stripes and flowers complement each other quite well. I used the stripes for the lining, with an interior pocket. It's a lot bigger than it looks -- practically the size of a duffel. Quite useful for carrying around my projects.

-- A loaf of challah, just because. I didn't even eat much of it, but challah is so much fun to bake! Happy Passover to those who celebrate. :)
*gen - tiffany

No accounting for taste.

I just watched that new show Scandal, and I rather liked it. Sure, most of the characters were bland, and the writing wasn't uniformly great. But it still sucked me in, especially one particular scene that almost made me want to write fic (though I doubt I ever will). Kerry Washington is fabulous, isn't she? I'm not into soapy melodramas, nor have I ever watched Shonda Rhimes's shows, but this one was fun. It's far from a fandom-type show for me, but I'll stick around for a while.

So I was surprised to find such derision in the online recaps I skimmed after watching. Not that it was great art or anything, but it was enjoyable and had some good elements. Hmm. Why do I always feel a bit embarrassed to like something that everyone else hates? ;) Ah, well. Not everything can be great art -- sometimes you just want to watch something that keeps you entertained for an hour, huh?
*gen - tiffany

The Peabody Awards

Another year, another Peabody awards! I quite like them, in part because they're from UGA, but also because they seem both more highbrow and more accessible. Here's the complete list of winners. I'm thrilled to see some of the programs on there: Homeland, Game of Thrones, CNN Heroes, The Colbert SuperPAC, Treme, and my beloved Parks & Rec. Yay!