The other night I made coconut-crusted tofu with a sweet chili sauce. A few years ago I would never have thought I’d be saying this, but I actually really like tofu now and I’m learning to cook it in different ways that make it pretty darn delicious. But the coconut-crusted tofu was not delicious. And it took a lot of work and left a pretty big mess. I won’t be making it again. But I digress as the purpose of this little anecdote was not to talk about my cooking failures but to say this….I was watching Jeopardy while cooking, as is my customary activity, and there was a category in it which was something like “Poet’s Words” and one clue in it was ” John Keats wrote ‘Beauty is a [ ]'” and I yelled out, “What is a fleeting thing!” but the answer was actually “joy forever”. The very next clue was “Emily Dickinson wrote ‘[ ] is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul'” and I said, “What is loneliness!” but the answer was “hope”.
This might be quite indicative of my current mindset. I think I need to work on being more of an optimist.
Alex Trebek makes $10 million a year. Can you believe it?! What a cush gig he has.
I’ve been receiving a lot of bullshit subscribers lately and I finally figured out why. MailChimp, again the website which hosts my subscriber list, changed the sign-up form to where there is no confirmation e-mail (called double opt-in) which helps stop robot subscribers. They sent me an e-mail notifying me of this way back in early October but I didn’t understand their fancy “double opt-in” jargon, so as I’m known to do, I simply ignored the e-mail only choosing to find out what exactly it meant when it started negatively effecting me. I should probably get out of the habit of doing this.
Anyway, after having all these annoying fake subscribers I finally decided to figure out why. And I got to the bottom of it and I fixed it. And I gotta say, since I am not computer-savvy at all, I’m pretty darn pleased with myself at having figured out what was going on.
So, so long, fake subscribers. To you I wave good-bye and give you a friendly middle-finger salute.
I started taking an on-line technical writing course, an early Christmas present from my folks. I went to Wikipedia just now and cut and pasted a definition of technical writing here but then I deleted it because it was quite boring. I don’t want to bore people, so if you don’t know what it is, just look it up, k?
The technical writing course claims to be a beginner’s course but I don’t believe them. I think I might be in a bit over my head but I’m going to do my best to plow through it and do well. At the end, after being assessed by the teachers of the course, I’ll have a certification that I can put on my resume. Which might mean that I can finally get those jerks at UpWork to accept my profile and start looking for freelance writing jobs on their website. I have no illusions that one course will start getting me all sorts of jobs, there are so many other things I need to learn that are becoming apparent as I study, but it’s a start.
Also, you know what I just noticed? In that nice little Wikipedia definition that I just cut and pasted and then deleted it says “technical writers must be proficient with computers”. It also talks about using diagramming programs and creating and formatting documents. I got frustrated just trying to format a simple IDP (individual development plan) for work the other day.
I might have kind of screwed myself here.
Optimism, Leah, optimism.
This will be my new motto.
*Warning* The following paragraphs will not be amusing it all. I’m talking about work. To many of you it will be kind of dry stuff. But I’m feeling kind of dry today so it goes with my mood. If you want to read funny stuff, leave now and come back tomorrow. I promise I’ll have my humor back.
I haven’t written much about work lately. It’s going pretty good, even though it’s not what I want to do with my life and the uniforms are freaking awful (think burger-flippin’ at McDonald’s uniforms). Daycare centers here are quite a bit different than in America. Despite costing a bit less (my new friends who have kids and have lived in both Austin and Auckland as well told me this), they offer much more than American daycare centers. For starters, the money you pay includes food; morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea. I think this is pretty rare back in the States. And also, the documentation and curriculum is at a much higher standard. We are required to do monthly learning stories for each child. This means I have to observe the twelve children assigned to me and either catch organic moments that occur or create moments through planned activities. These learning moments, organic and orchestrated, have to coincide with the interest and individual learning plans for each child. So, if little Joey is interested in manipulating and building then I can’t just take pictures of him playing “pirates” and talk about his developing imagination because it has nothing to do with my learning goals for him. Each learning story is written up on a website which the entire teaching staff and all parents have access to and must be accompanied by pictures and links to Te Whariki (NZ curriculum standards). We also have to come up with daily activities which incorporate our chosen emergent learning. Emergent learning is what the teachers have noticed the children, as a group, are interested in and is what must be incorporated into each activity. It changes every three months. Before I started working there the emergent learning was “Animals Around The World”, when I started working there it was “Art”, and we just changed it to “Imaginative Play”.
The materials for the classroom are pretty limited. And since there are three teachers in each classroom, they get depleted quite quickly. This means when I find, or come up with an original, activity, there often aren’t the materials to actually make it happen. So on Sunday, after deciding on three activities to do, I went to a dollar store nearby and bought WAY to much stuff. But I don’t feel bad about it because it’s for a good cause….making wee’uns happy.
My activity this week was making magic wands, which actually took up all three days so I didn’t need to do my other activities. I thought this would be good because several of my children’s individual learning plans include developing the imagination so I figured I could get a few learning stories out of them playing with the wands they made.
Here is the wand I made Sunday night as an example for the kids…..
I thought it was pretty cool. I’m not used to working with such young children so there were a few hiccups in the activity…..They were completely unable to wrap the wooden dowel themselves so I found myself having to quickly wrap them (according to the color each kid wanted) while they glued stuff onto the construction paper shape. And often, while I was focusing on doing that I’d look up to see one child had glued about a gazillion jewels on their paper (those cost me MY OWN MONEY kid!!) which not only ran through the little sparkly things quite quickly but also made it way too heavy for the shape to stay glued on the stick.
But you know what? The kids freaking LOVED THEM. It tickled me pink to see them running around the playground waving their wands about.
And on Wednesday afternoon I took just a small group of ten children out to the playground to play and a few of them brought their wands. And this one little girl who is incredibly shy with the other children (she is fine with adults though and is super cuddly if not exactly talkative) was running around with another girl pretending to turn her into a baby. The other girl was crawling around on all fours and my shy little cutie was giggling and smiling in a way I’d never seen before.
I sat there in the sun and watched them play and thought, “This is my favorite moment this week.”
So I don’t care that I spent too much money. Hearing her laugh like that while actually playing with other kids was awesome.
Alright…this post is getting quite long and might not be too entertaining so I’ll leave y’all with a few Christmas present ideas for me. Just in case you feel like cheering me up.
I’m pretty easy to shop for.
In case you feel pressured, don’t. I’m just kidding about getting me gifts.
Love you all.