Sunday, July 31, 2005

I'm changing the name of this blog to "America's cutest dog pictures"

So Richard and Dan aren't the only one who have been appreciating the abundance of cute Watson photos. My dad emailed today and said "You have good dog pix. I love dogs too." To prove it he included this photo of himself (circa 1954??) with a dog named Trixie. Quite the classic American photo, and I'm always amazed at how much my dad's childhood photos look just EXACTLY like he does today.

I am now accepting submissions of Cute Dog Photos from my readers. Extra points if they involve said reader as a cute kid. (Richard, do I have permission to put up the chihuahua picture??)

If you are lacking my email address, you can send it here!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Someone really doesn't like nail guns...

And his name is Watson. Fleeing the sounds of construction on the room downstairs, he has given up all pretense that the board at the top of the stairs actually keeps him out. He's particularly good at burrowing into unexpected places such as the back of my closet. Apparently my bed doesn't provide the same comfort as a solid layer of paper bags stuffed with junk like hangers and computer accessories. See for yourself. Because you can never have too many Watson pictures.

While Watson was making himself at home in my closet, Nancy took me out to Hunan Gourmet for lunch. Well, she drove me there and attempted to pay, but we instead got treated by two of my English students who work there! They're awfully sweet and the most dedicated students in the class, and it was fun to see them at work. Nancy was impressed and says I'm a celebrity now. ESOL teachers, next, on VH1's "The fabulous life of.. " Right.

My fortune cookie provided this wisdom today:
"Some men dream of fortunes, others dream of cookies."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Thanks, Mr. Amateur Photographer!

So we're too stuck in the 20th century to have the time or the inclination or the bandwidth to upload any of our pictures yet. However, I've discovered this fabulous web site which consists of some guy's ongoing "photo essay" of Juneau, from which I selected a couple of shots of stuff that I could actually have taken (except that they're much better than any of my pictures... vive l'internet!). Feel free to peruse the site yourselves, except that there's about a gazillion photos, most of which are of places I have yet to see. However, a brief sampling, complete with this man's enjoyably dorky comments:

This photo was taken from the downtown Juneau side of the channel... somewhere down there in that mess of buildings on Douglas Island is my house!

Yep, that's it alright.

And just to give you an idea of the scale of the insanely large cruise ships that dock RIGHT downtown and dwarf most of the buildings around them. This shot looks like it was taken from the parking garage (the top floor of which is the public library... go figure).

Okay, now you can pretend like I've actually posted pictures. If you want you can Photoshop me and Richard into them.

Love, K

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Highlights of the past few days. No jokes, I promise.

1) The "Grammarama Conference" we had on Friday. Because if I've learned anything from the Simpsons, it's that adding -rama to the end of something boring adds instant excitement. I did get to teach a very successful lesson about the difference between the simple past and the past progressive - with skits and everything. I know you all wish you were there...

2) The tapas party at our trainer's house followed by a drink out with some of the gang. During which time we finally gave up all pretense at moral superiority and started into some serious gossip about those classmates not present. We were proud of ourselves for holding out as long as we did, nearly 2 weeks!

3) All the comment activity on the blog! I didn't even have to fall back on making fun of any more states, as suggested by certain troublemakers. (See KT's post on Idaho and Dan's equally inflammatory post about Louisiana for the success of such a strategy at garnering comments.)

4) Singing with M and R yesterday! (and also with NB and JPK and other such entertaining personalities...) Who knew so many people cared about Jeremiah Ingalls. R and I want mob caps (thanks KT, who educated me as to the proper name for those frilly colonial hats) like the Jeremiah Ingalls Society singers!

5) Watson keeping me company while I read in bed this afternoon, my antidote for the past 6 days of non-stop action. (see Dan's blog again for pictures...) Someday I'll finish rereading the 5th Harry Potter so I can start on the 6th book which is sitting downstairs mocking me every time I walk by. Stupid intensive course!

Friday, July 22, 2005

In defense of Juneau

I feel compelled to add a brief postscript to yesterday's post, just so you don't think it's all flea bites and torrential downpours 'round these parts. Okay, there's lots of the former. And and lots of the latter. But there are also days like today... Juneau decided to throw us a completely unexpected beautiful day (presumably to spite me for my complaining), and there is NOTHING in the whole world like a beautiful day in Juneau. Everything is incredibly bright and shiny and technicolor... frankly, it kind of hurts your eyes after all that rain. But it's a good pain. The mountains are insanely green and the sky and the water are intensely blue and the air is all clear and breezy and the sun is hot and the wind is cool and you can go walking through the little twisty streets past the funny little brightly colored houses with gorgeous overgrown gardens all clustered together on the mountainsides and also go hiking around old mining trails when Richard gets off work, and it's all pretty indescribable. So there. Now back to my regularly scheduled grousing about living in a rainforest. Love, K

Thursday, July 21, 2005

and the girl on the street is as light on her feet as sunlight bouncing off chrome...

If given the choice, would you rather have:

(a.) adult version mutated chicken pox?
(b.) poison ivy/oak/sumac?

or

(c.) fleas?

It was a little unclear for a while there which one we had (well, more so Richard than me)... but we finally determined, for better or for worse, that Chez K&R is infested with (c.), courtesy of the squirrel family that lived in the rafters this spring. Yes yes yes, we know it'll make a terrific story someday. Yes yes yes, we'll probably laugh about it once we leave Alaska. Once R stops being massively allergic, that is, and we finally get rid of the little suckers -- which we can't quite seem to do, in spite of powerful toxins, compulsive vacuuming, and my brilliant idea to seal half my clothes in garbage bags and stuff them in the freezer -- before learning that they can live for weeks without food and are immune to cold. Heh. I asked Richard if we could get a cat to lure all the fleas to it and then foist it off on some unsuspecting child or hobo, but he said absolutely not.

So our life may not be as amazing as Lauren's, but we like it. Well, except for the vermin and pestilence. And I wouldn't complain if we got more than one non-rainy day per week. And it might be nice if our days off actually coincided so we could actually, you know, go hiking or something. But apart from that, R and I can't complain. We've been settling into our jobs... I've been getting very cozy with my old friend PastPerfect Museum Software, and preparing for Juneau Explorer's Week (ooh ooh, panning for gold with small children), and learning very fast how to maneuver the phones and help the front-desk volunteers when they have crises, since the summer office assistant is half-quitting-half-getting-fired on August 1st and the regular receptionist will be on vacation for the whole beginning of August. That leaves the Director (busy with her own important responsibilities) and the Curator of Collections (busy with her own important responsibilities) and the Curator of Public Programs (busy with her own important responsibilities) and... me. Ulp. As for Richard, he's been making out like a bandit with his employee discount, and his paycheck has already been donated to such worthy causes as 6 cd's from Amazon. So he's not exactly MAKING money... but at least he's not losing it, right? Either way, he's pretty smug because he's now beating me again in our marathon game of Nerts. The score is 977 to 983 and our playing cards are getting extremely dog-eared.

We've somehow managed to get invited to two social gatherings since arriving (both by my co-workers, who are currently providing the closest thing to a social life we have here), and I think I can safely say that between the two of them, we've managed to mingle with every 20something and 30something in town. We went to a festival of short films by local amateurs the other night; the guy who put together the evening told us before the films started that "Some of them will make you laugh out loud, and some of them will make you wish you'd stayed home tonight and not wasted your time." Which was right about on the money. It was fun, though, and we got to see the short film that our sort-of-friend Scott made when he climbed some crazy mountain in Nepal. (And J and M will be pleased to learn that we took out "Napoleon Dynamite" from the library, which R had never seen in spite of being deathly sick of it already from all his students quoting it incessantly this past year, and he loved it... he can quote it now at a rate that would put even Matt to shame. Success!) (On the subject of movies and libraries, can I just take this opportunity to add that 1. the Douglas Public Library is possibly my favorite place in Juneau, and 2. Sandy, I reserved Le voyage de Chihiro from said wonderful library and I'm FINALLY going to watch it, just to make my Miyazaki experience more complete!)

Eep, this is long. But I just wanted to give my rabid fans something to sink their teeth in since I don't post all too often. We still haven't gone to the glacier or hiked up anything steeper than the Dan Moller Trail (which already kicked my poor wussy butt, in spite of its relative shallow grade) or even really explored the whole town, but someday when R recovers from his leprosy -- er, flea bites -- and we actually have a day off together, that will definitely happen. Or maybe we'll just sit around and listen to Ryan Adams and eat veggie dogs and play cards, which we're pretty good at doing.

Okay, more from me at a future date, when you're not sick of reading my rambles. Love to you all!

More un-funny jokes

Despite my reluctance to water down the quality of this blog with lackluster prose about the mundane events of my TESOL-filled life, I must face the growing demand for more posts. Since my last joke went over so well, I thought I would share my favorite joke from the admittedly unfunny Ha Ha Bonk Book.

Doctor: You need glasses.
Man: But I'm already wearing glasses.
Doctor: In that case, I need glasses!

Oh man, that one just gets me every time. Here's another one that I think Richard really liked. Or maybe Katie. One of those crazy cats.

What did Tarzan say when he saw the elephants come over the hill?
"Here come the elephants!"
What did Jane say when she saw the elephants come over the hill?
"Here come the grapes!" She was colour-blind.

(Clearly a british book.) Hope you enjoyed this hi-larious post, Perhaps I will have more of substance to contribute after I have emerged from Week 2 in TESOL land, having survived mid-term conference, peer breakdowns, and tapas at my trainer's house.

Monday, July 18, 2005

New levels of self-reflection

A joke my trainer told in class today:

Two SIT TESOL certificate candidates are waiting at a bus stop. One of them says to the other, "Look, the bus is coming!" The second one replies, "How do you feel about that?"

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Ok, ok, my program IS a little "intense"

My schedule today, typical of what everyday will be like for me for the next 3.5 weeks.

7:30: get up. hit snooze alarm several times.
8:30: leave the house
8:45: Arrive at school. As usual, I am one of the first people there and the doors are still locked, because the staff hasn't arrived yet. Since when did I become Early/Responsible Girl??
9-11: Team teaching real live ESOL students! I taught my first lesson ever to a class today!
11-12: Feedback from trainer/peers.
12-1: Lunch. Ate quickly, talked about macs and I-pods with Bryant, called my former employer to harass them to send me my COBRA information so that I can renew my dental insurance so that I can arrange to get my wisdom teeth out this summer (this is the 5th time I've asked them to send it, which they were legally required to do within 14 days of my last day.) and called my former landlord to harass him for my $500 security deposit.
1:05: Arrived slightly late after a bitter discussion with suddenly evil landlord.
Until 3:15: Review homework, learn stuff
3:15: "break" during most of which was spent filling out an evaluation form.
3:30-5:00: experience a lesson, "reflect"
5-6: group plan tomorrow's lesson
6-7:30: Observe an evening English class.
7:30: Do some classroom prep for tomorrow (eg. make a sign).
8:30: Home
Now - whenever: Write a 3 page "reflective" paper, write up lesson plan for tomorrow.
Possibly at some point sleep.

OK, flashback to circle time at Homeroom:
Hi: My lesson this morning went super well, I was really relaxed and felt all my supposed skills, honed during years in the trenches at Homeroom, etc, actually come through for me! My trainer said I have "excellent classroom management skills" and my classmate asked me how I stayed so calm. They were talking about ME! I might not actually suck at this whole teacher business!

Lo: My landlord trying to cheat me out of my security deposit. Before I thought he was just bumbling, but now I think it was all an act so that I would trust him. Too bad he's messing with the wrong girls here... I almost feel sorry for him, wait until Andrea and I and our parents are through with him...

Ooh, and another Hi: Coming home after Long Day to a place set for me at the table with a hearty homecooked meal!

Moral
Sketchy landlord: $500
Living with your friend's parents: Priceless

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Juneau in Numbers: A Quick Study

11 - days we've been here
5 - days I HAVEN'T seen a bald eagle
107 - stairs I have to climb to get up the mountain to my job after walking
30 - minutes to work
2 - trails we've hiked
5,000 to 20,000 - number of cruise ship passengers in Juneau on any given day
TOO MUCH - money we've splurged on organic groceries (you can take the girl out of the Pioneer Valley but you can't take the Pioneer Valley out of the girl...)
0 - times we've done laundry since Seattle
9,999,999,999,999 - average number of dirt molecules in any given item of clothing you'll catch us wearing
$100 - amount of money Katie/Richard earns in a week/day
9 - number of books I brought from the contiguous United States, including my Sacred Harp and the 5th Harry Potter in French (973 pages, my friends...)
6 - number of books I have currently checked out of the library
10 - average number of minutes per day I spend reading
1 - day on which neither R nor I is working in the next two and a half weeks
88 - number of points by which I was beating R in our ongoing game of Nerts
20 - number of points by which he is now beating me (zing...)
2.5 - sunny days we've experienced thus far
$7.50 - price of a jar of organic spaghetti sauce (see item #7)
9 - number of trashy Nora Roberts novels we discovered in our living room upon arrival

Don't you feel like you're right here with us? Love, K

Monday, July 11, 2005

The first installment of: "You know you go to a hippie school when..."

Your closing activity for the day is being handed a random object from which you must create an analogy about learning.
My pearl of wisdom: "Like a paperclip, learning helps to organize what you know, and stretches as you add more. And like a paperclip, it can only hold so much."

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Too cool for school

I sat down with every intention to do my homework. Which is when it comes in handy to have a blog, so that I can write this instead. What have I gotten myself into?? After 16 years of counting the days until I would no longer be a student, followed by a year of pointing and laughing at everyone unfortunate enough to still be in school, I have to go to school tomorrow. Of course, I knew I was signing up for a certification course so that I can actually follow through on my promise to move to Ecuador and teach English. And in theory I understand that "course" = school. And that school = getting up early and homework. It's the part where all of those things actually connect that I'm kind of still waiting for.

Ok, ok, here's the part where you all yell at me because I'm whining about a 4 week course while all of you are toiling in coal mines and such. That's why you start your own blog.

In conclusion, blogs are better than school.

PS I promise not to just complain about school. Perhaps soon I will have exciting anecdotes about school. And intellectual questions. Or... just wait a few months for pictures of colonial achitecture, rainforests, tortoises and coups.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Happy Birthday Richard!!

Hey goober, what did you have to move to Alaska for, I always get to spend your birthday with you! I guess Katie will take good care of you this year.

A very special birthday greeting!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Accessioning for five hours makes my head hurt

Greetings, loyal readers! Never fear, your closer-to-the-Arctic-Circle-than-you-are correspondant has returned to cyberspace (hey Cita, remember the Internet? It's back, in dial-up form!) to thrill you all with tales of wrestling with wolves and braving raging blizzards! Translation: cataloguing old maps and teapots and buying groceries at the A&P (which stands for "Alaskan & Proud To Be" up in these here parts). Exciting stuff. I'm going to try to spend my four paltry months in Juneau NOT on the Internet, so I hopefully won't be posting terribly often. But I promise not to abandon this blog (despite my opposition to blogs in the vague and illogical way I have of disliking all technological advances on principle) that's been so good to Rebecca and me throughout our journeys.

So the ferry. Yes it was beautiful. No I did not get seasick. Yes I saw whales and dolphins. No I did not see glaciers. Richard and I spent three days in the company of such fabulously enjoyable strangers as The Man In The Disney Sweatshirt, The Fitness Family, The Amish Couple, The Baby Next Door, The Awkward English Major, U.S. Forest Service Interpreter Jenny, The Kind Ladies Who Gave Us Their Sugar Snap Peas, The Bartender Who Carded Me And Not Richard Even Though Richard Was Drinking And I Wasn't, and The Adolescents From Hell. Among others. There were a LOT of families with young children on board, which was sometimes cute and sometimes irritating, but definitely a demographic which surprised me. Richard and I spent a lot of time looking at ocean and mountains, a lot of time playing cards (Nerts and Loba, what else???) in the cafeteria, and a fair amount of time napping. Nothing like going to bed at 11:00 pm, waking up to full daylight illuminating your tent, checking your watching, and discovering it's 4:30 in the morning. The ferry stopped in Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, and Sitka on the way up. Richard and I got off in Ketchikan (highest zip code! 99901! a fact which we discovered completely at random one day when we were both bored at work in the fall of 2003, never dreaming we'd one day set foot on Ketchikan's hallowed shores) and in Sitka, which has an extremely rich and very cool Russian history. We have some photos, but I'm holding off on those until I figure out how long it'll take to upload them using our quaint dial-up service.

Some Alaska-related things I have learned in the past few months:

1. Juneau is in the middle of a rainforest. And it is.
2. There are no roads to Juneau... you have to come by plane or boat.
3. When your ferry captain tells everyone on board that they'll have the very unusual opportunity to see northern-dwelling flamingoes as the boat passes by a certain point so they should get their cameras out, you should expect to see a pine tree filled with plastic flamingoes and to hear the crew members laughing their butts off.
4. One good way to make your city incredibly clean and litter free is to build it somewhere that lots of bears live, and then print up lots of pamphlets that warn people of all the terrible things that will happen if bears get into their garbage.

Okay, no more from me for now. Stay tuned for updates on my work at the museum, Richard's new job at the outdoor gear store (yes, it was indeed the first place he wandered into on his first day looking for work... proving yet again that Europe and the lower 48 aren't the only places where everything comes up Richard...), and any other unforeseen adventures we may run into!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Emerging from hibernation with pictures!

After three weeks of action packed traveling across this amazing country of ours followed by several days of fabulous singing, my fundamentally antisocial/lazy nature, shockingly patient over the past month, finally came screeching back and just shut me down on Monday night. I'm easing myself back into life, after 48 hours of strict hibernation, during which my activities were strictly limited to laying in bed reading young adult fiction or watching DVDs, rousing myself from time to time to consume more food or make limited grouchy human contact with the Mahoneys. Tonight I got up the energy to sort through my pictures and update this neglected blog. Tomorrow I may leave the house.

Although the rushed trip back east wasn't quite as satisfying as the meandering southern route with KT at my side, it did feature such photogenic highlights as Yellowstone and Lauren's home in Minneapolis, and the previously mentioned Chicago best day ever. Check out the pictures! BEWARE: don't fall into the descriptionless trap of the slideshow option, as some of you who ignored my previous warning have done. I hereby find myself legally excused from answering questions about my trip whose answers are held in said descriptions.

Monday, July 04, 2005

I almost forgot the pie

My mom wanted me to put up this picture of the pie she made the night of my arrival in Chicago, not having made a pie in a number of years and being very proud of it. It was mighty good, crust from scratch, berries from our yard.

Says the piemaker:

Please note that gooseberries are a regional food found mainly in the Midwest! Thereby justifying the inclusion of this lovely photo in your blog.

Thank you, m'dear.
Mom

Gooseberry Pie

Saturday, July 02, 2005

FIVE MINUTES LEFT!

Is how much more internet access I have at the Juneau Public Library, which is definitely not long enough to post anything more than three sentences. So here they are: Richard and I arrived safe and sound in our GORGEOUS new adopted city last night. Our ferry ride was wonderful (pictures of whales and misty mountains forthcoming); equally wonderful is the fact that I don't have to live out of a suitcase anymore. And I was thinking of you all at PVADS today. Okay, three minutes left... must run... I'll get more internet soon, really!!!!!!!

P.S. Richard says hi.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Home!

Roundtrip in three weeks, two days, and some odd hours and minutes. Arrived safely this afternoon with enough time to make corn pudding for the PVAD.

KT and R: Happy Canada Day and welcome back to US soil!! Love you and will take lots of pictures tomorrow!!

Sleep.