101 Update – April 2013

April was a flurry of job searching and books and not much else.

– Applied to a giant bevy of foodservice jobs (goal #85)

– Found new music, donated more rice, read a lot of trash and a few good books, volunteered more Judo hours, folded cranes, watched tv, learned more Korean, and handed out allergy packages (people kept handing them back after using one tissue! Need to find a way to prevent that…).

Since we’re already halfway through May, I won’t add things for that. But hint, hint; I think I’ll finish more goals this month than any month so far! 🙂

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Music – Us

So I’ve been working on Goal 75 lately…

I’d never heard of these singers til tonight-when their mashup of “Call Me Maybe” (of all things) caught my eye. For those of you who aren’t in the U.S. right now, that song plays on nearly all the radio stations and most of the stores. It passed beyond annoying half a year ago and now borders on hair-pullingly painful. Us’ version is actually tolerable. But “I Will Wait For You” (an original) is just lovely. Enjoy!

101 Update – March 2013

March! What happened? Because I certainly wasn’t posting here very often… 😉

– Updated previous posts with goal progress.

– Donated more rice, prayed on Terri’s Day for all those facing difficult end-of-life decisions, read a lot of trash and a few good books, volunteered more Judo hours, folded cranes, watched tv, found a Korean tutor

In April I want to conquer the laundry, finish university classes well, fold more cranes, start handing out allergy packages, get the iPod and the henna hair, and learn some more Korean.

Justice Hall – Laurie R. King

Hullo again! It’s been a while since I last posted, and I’ve been hard at work on my 101 books goal (nearly halfway done in under 3 months-perhaps it should have been 1001 books instead…). Here’s my latest Goodreads review:

I am of necessity an advocate for total immersion.

In books, that is.

This one was hard to read. I figured out a big surprise a little too early, for one thing-maybe I’d read too much of the description to be in doubt of the happy ending. For another, SPOILERS that “happy ending” involved a murder. Terry Pratchett’s version of the rough music, dressed up as justice. It was justice, stripped of mercy-it even echoed the major theme of Justice Hall and its ceiling’s roots in Amos. Tied up all the loose ends quite neatly by giving a murderer the death he’d given his victim and preventing him from killing again. That didn’t really matter. I just can’t see that as a good thing, a thing the men who did it should have done. For a third difficulty, how do you experience justice subverted to produce murder and not hate the situation that forced it on you? I came very near hating this book, because it gave me a taste of what trench warfare and execution of innocents might have felt like. Reading the boy’s diary, knowing what would be at the end? That was not a good half hour. END SPOILERS

I didn’t like the author’s lesbian/feminist preaching back when she introduced it early in the series, I didn’t like it here, and I really didn’t like the squishy theology. I didn’t like being forced while in a safe place to inhabit all the emotions of a horrible, helpless one.

Despite all this, I read to the end and gave it 4 stars for good story-telling.

Score: one for immersion.

101 Update – February 2013

February has been a bit disappointing this year. What happened:

– Completed #36 Have a birthday party (murder mystery with butterbeer!)

– Added new goals, prayed for North Korea, read a lot of trash and a few good books and lots of good articles, donated more rice, bought ingredients for allergy bags, received things necessary for iPod and henna tattoos, volunteered more Judo hours, folded cranes, watched tv, tried green tea ice cream with my cute little sis and her awesome roommate, and avoided a research paper and other homework. Really really hard.

In March I want to find help for any future research projects, conquer the laundry, finish up the TEFL course, fold more cranes, start handing out allergy packages, get the tattoo and the iPod, and learn some more Korean (some friends from church want to help-yay!).

1 week

Not much more than 1 week after posting the last goal, and I’m changing it. There’s that procrastinating waffler I know!

New Goal #84: Finish a research class.

As I may have mentioned once or twice before, I think formal research papers are the most evil homeworkian invention on the planet. They’re boring to read and even more boring to write. I simply can’t do this one in time to pass the class it’s being written for, so I’m having to drop this class and take another one. Over the summer. After the day I was supposed to graduate-no diploma until fall. Not fun-and that’s before you count the whole needing help thing.

Once the crying was over (and it’d better be over), I decided maybe this was good. I could definitely use some time right now to catch up on other classes-particularly TEFL. I was all set for some local ESL tutoring and really wanted a job this semester in a nursing home, to try out the nutrition field. And since I won’t get a diploma in time to go to South Korea in the fall, I can stick around with my family a bit longer. Watch the situation with North Korea. A friend in the military was of the opinion yesterday that the U.S. and the U.N. might start leaning on the DPRK soon. From what I’m reading in the news and books, it’s hard to think ill of that idea. I am not at all happy with the possibility of another war (particularly one where I might be drafted at the drop of a bill in Congress), but I’m also really not happy that there’s a government in the world today with a track record like this and this and this and this-not to mention the bomb testing that’s probably got everyone official on edge. When a country’s information exchange with the outside world is more tightly controlled than in one-child-policy China, you have to wonder if the stories that do get out are uncommon or just a tiny fraction of a gigantic human rights abuse situation. I’ve never been anywhere near North Korea and haven’t even paid much attention to it before now, so there’s no way I’m getting the whole picture. But what I see is pretty unpleasant. BTW, North Korea was my prayer country last month (see Goal #19).

Oooh, there was a tangent. I really do want to go teach English in South Korea, so I hope with all my selfish heart that the U.S. doesn’t end up at war in the far east in the next few years. But that is the main issue my extended family has brought up in trying to dissuade me from going. Thus and so.

This will hopefully be completed by the end of the summer. A lab at school opened up and sounds very interesting, one in which I won’t have to become the foremost expert on bean-meat patties in the U.S.

Progress: I’ve researched and applied-hopefully hearing back soon. I’m in! and I don’t have to write a single paper 🙂 Done!!!

tired

Sometimes I wonder why certain things are so scary.

Not physical scary. Not like needles or mummies, though those are pretty bad. You have a choice with those: you can run or face them and either way it’s over relatively quickly. No, more slug-like parasite dwelling long-term in the back of your mind scary.

For me, it’s one thing in particular: writing research papers. Every time I try to start a big one, it feels like I’m drowning in acid superglue. I really don’t want to admit that it frightens me so I let it go and go and go until it’s right up to the due date and I have no idea what two-way analysis of variance means.

I pull all-nighters. I drown in fiction and stay away from conscious thought. One of my favourite authors said this (avoidance) was typical elf behavior. It comes up in most of the books I read now, from the superhero to the fairy tale (don’t let my Goodreads deceive you… the serious book phase was entirely school-related and I remember almost nothing, but am instead rather happy to report that “good literature” hasn’t spoiled me for modern YA). It’s been a coping mechanism since high school. I even like it. If I can’t find fiction good enough to distract, I’ll make up my own. I’ve had one story going for probably 10 years-constantly reinventing and editing it in my head.

And yet, the end always comes. Even when a paper is so late that I’m sure the teacher won’t let me turn it in. In a stunning bit of unpremeditated wisdom, I thought I had chosen at last a college major wherein I would not have to write research papers and was thus safe. Aha. Ahahahah. Little did I know the price of attending a university that prides itself on research. Even a simple nutrition major who wants to do nothing in the world so much as to get out of school in one piece and start learning how to teach and be part of a community must needs research. And since said nutrition major wished to take a certain number of P.E. hours in her last semester, the only research class open to her was the one the fewest students had taken before-almost no information was available about it. To think she was excited about being in the kitchen once again! This semester, she is to create the perfect bean-meat hamburger patty. This will take something on the order of 8 weeks, and requires her to eat every Thursday at approximately 4 pm the equivalent of one cold hamburger patty, and rate the permutations thereof on a little sheet of paper. Accustomed to at least a little variety (e.g. cookies) in the lab kitchen, she nearly wept at this turn of events. Then the other shoe dropped.

The paper. Whereby she is supposed to become the foremost expert on beans and ground beef and hamburger patties in the known world.

And we are back right where we started, clawing at the superglue. Or closing our eyes and pretending it isn’t there. Well, it’s due (for the third time) in 30 hours.

One of the themes in every single one of those books I’ve devoured is that you don’t run away. Never. And if you do, things invariably get much, much worse. That typical elf behaviour? A child grew up a functional orphan and messed with her own daughter’s head so badly that she was happy to be stolen away as a goblin bride. Superhero? Anorexia, and she didn’t even realize it until it was nearly too late. Fairy tale? Spent a decade with a frog as a best friend, and nearly lost the love of her life.

So this is Goal #84. Nothing else on The List holds the capacity for such sheer terror, or hopefully such a real feeling of accomplishment. It will take until the end of the semester-there are oodles of pieces. See you on the other side, and forgive me if I don’t post as much throughout this process as last month if you please!

f.lux

School has been epically difficult this week, and I haven’t kept up with Goal 61 for the first time so far this year. Which makes today’s article from the Korean Gender Reader even more timely: f.lux is a free program that dims computer lights so it’s easier to go to sleep after a long study session/staring contest with the electronic world. Brilliance! I’m using it tonight and the muted lights are much easier on the eyes than with the normal blue screen. Hope it helps someone else!

83. Spend an afternoon reading outdoors.

I’ve done this before, but it’s a rare day that it’s even possible. We live in a hot, muggy city that nurtures allergies and mosquitos at equal rates but on different days. Miss one, find the other-it’s almost a guarantee. But it’s fun if you can swing it, and I want to be intentional about doing it next time.

Progress: Done! I went to the local library on a Sunday and hung out in the gazebo, dancing barefoot to headphone music from my new iPod and rereading C.S. Lewis. It was so lovely that I went back several times in the next few months. Got through both The Problem of Pain and Mere Christianity. The last time was a bit cold to dance barefoot, but I did it anyway. I even wore the camo skirt with giant hand-embroidered dragon I found at Goodwill and was slightly embarrassed to be seen in, and danced like no one was watching. Took pictures of the flowers. Here are a few of the best:

Book on Bench

Light and Focus

Rain Lily

View

This goal is officially MET!!

Inconvenienced

I had an adventure today.

On a quest to find an ESL class to observe, I went to a certain building mentioned in an email. Come to find out, the classroom didn’t exist. There’s no such thing as 214-I even made a little chant about it and started singing it as I wandered around looking for the right place. There are a lot of buildings on my college campus. Some of them are giants, and some of them are mega-giants. Some of them have tiny nooks and crannies and stairs that go nowhere in particular. I’ve always been a fan of stairs that go nowhere in particular. They’re the thing I remember best about my grandfather’s old house-all those stairs. And the delicate music box unicorn. And the books (oh Nancy Drew how I wanted to meet you!). And the closet full of Barbies. (Yeah, I know, I know, unrealistic expectations and anorexia. But we didn’t have them at home, and they were so pretty…)

*ahem* and now we return you to our regularly scheduled broadcast…

No one knew where to send me-building managers, students at help desks, the library across the square-I had to go all the way off campus to the ESL office to find out what had happened (a 20 minute walk). It was frustrating at first, but then I realized that I must look kinda funny running around with a giant backpack muttering repetitive little ditties to myself and grinning the strained Joker grin with accidental spittle in a corner of my mouth at a rather handsome but disgusted-looking student librarian. And from there I started to enjoy it. So many places that I hadn’t really explored before-a vestibule outside the Ladies’ in that old library used to be a cloakroom, and little spidery legs of halls and a labyrinth of passageways with offices in an old liberal arts building, and then a street mural on the way to the ESL office-and finally, an old man playing a guitar in the alley behind the street mural. He was good. Tired-looking people were gathering over next to him, staring into the distance and petting their dogs. It was a great day for music-clear and bright and not too cold. Really, it was beautiful. At the risk of sounding like an 18th century morality textbook, that was the point at which I remembered this:

“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.”

~GKC, On Running After One’s Hat

In case you were wondering, yes-I did make it to the class. After it was over, but seconds before the last person-the teacher I wanted to talk to-left. Score!