Because I know you’re bored at work

Okay, you’re probably too busy to be bored, but still.  I know you’d prefer not to be there.  So I’ve come up with 5 fun things to do instead of revising your syllabus/setting up your classroom/entering data/going to meetings/answering the phone/whatever you typically do at work.

  1. Lament your inadequacies as you admire Marisa Lynch‘s ingenuity, creativity, and thriftiness.  (Courtesy of Coreen)
  2. Enter some contests.  Winning the lottery isn’t the only way to brighten up your life.
  3. Marvel at the photographs and life of Katie Sokolor.  Warning: You can get lost in her archives forever.  (Courtesy of cousin Peggie)
  4. Educate yourself.  You can’t really go wrong, but this was the very first talk my brother introduced me to, so it has a special place in my heart.
  5. Help make a movie.  It works best on Google Chrome, but I still enjoyed it on Firefox.  (Courtesy of Eric)

And if you’re still procrastinating, make sure you watch the video in the post below.  Those girls are incredible.

And to my HHS friends: I miss you like crazy!

Feel free to share other time sinks cool websites in the comment section!

August 31, 2010 at 2:27 pm 2 comments

Jumping Jack Flash!

Forget dance classes.  If have daughters, I’m signing them up for this shit.  Cuz it’s amazing.

Thanks, Mom, for the link!

August 30, 2010 at 1:50 pm 1 comment

Me, Me, Me, Me, Me

I think everyone who reads this blog knows me pretty well, so I don’t feel too bad writing a post that’s basically just a bunch of random updates about my life and job search.  Hope you don’t mind, cuz here it goes:

As you might imagine, I’ve been fielding a lot of questions lately that sound a lot like this: “Oh, so you’re not teaching any more… So what are you going to do?”  Ugh.  This is a completely fair question, but I still dread it.  It’s embarrassing to not have a set plan after pretty much the entire summer has passed, but I don’t.

I do, however, have some ideas floating through my head, though, so I’ll share those.  You’ll notice that I’m completely ADD.

  1. I still like the idea of writing of course.  Unfortunately, I haven’t done much with it this summer.  Actually, my efforts here verge on pathetic.  I’ve been keeping up pretty well with 30 Days, but other than that, I’ve barely written anything since the beginning of the summer.  I have some leads I need to follow up on, but mostly I just need to shut up, sit down, and write more.
  2. I’ve always wanted to live abroad, but was never especially interested in teaching English in another country, so I couldn’t figure out what else I could do to get myself a Visa.  Then, when I was in Rhode Island earlier this summer, my friend told me that her husband is in the process of applying to join the Foreign Services.  Since then I’ve become sort of obsessed with the idea, but it’s actually really hard to get into.  I’ve registered to take the exam (technically, I think I’ve applied to register), and will find out if I made it into the October slot (they give the exam 3x a year) at the end of August or beginning of September.  If I do get to test in October, I’ll really have to study hard because many of the sample questions stumped me, and I’m usually a pretty good test taker.  The exam has a multiple choice (government/ culture/ history/ economics/ statistics/ management/ communications/ etc. + grammar/ writing… guess which part I’m feeling good about) and an essay.  If you pass the multiple choice section, they grade your essay.  If you pass the essay, you get invited to submit a personal narrative.  If they like that, you can go in for an oral assessment.  If that goes well, you apply for your medical and security clearance.  And then you’ve got a final review.  And if you get through all of that, you get put on a list to be contacted if any jobs come up–no guarantees.  You can only stay on the list for 18 months; if you don’t get a job, you can start the whole process over.   It’s exhausting just thinking about it.  The entire thing takes quite a while (the testing/interviewing stuff alone takes a year, I think), so this is something that’s going to stay in the back of my mind for now.  I’m going to start the process fully recognizing that nothing will come out of it for a long time, or maybe at all.  Still though, I’m enthusiastic about the possibilities.
  3. For a few years I’ve really wanted to learn how to use Photoshop.  Then I saw this husband and wife web design team, and I totally fell in love with the idea of working with Eric on something similar.  He’d code; I’d do graphics.  Is this a feasible dream?  I have no idea.  But it sounds really cool.  I talked to E about taking a class at VCU, and he was very supportive.  But then I realized that they offer an Introduction to Photoshop course at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.  I’m sure it’s not as comprehensive, but for $170, it’s certainly sounds like a good place to start.  So I was all set to sign up for that, and then yesterday Groupon had a deal for $95 at the VAC for $39, reducing my $170 class to $114.  Not bad, right?  I start on September 13, and I’m really excited!
  4. On our way home from Lynchburg last weekend, Eric and I discussed my interests and talents, and realized that I really enjoy planning and organizing.  Lesson planning was one of my favorite things about teaching and I really threw myself into creating cool plans/units/projects/etc.  Like many brides, I got really into the whole wedding planning thing too.  My first article sold was a plan for a day in DC with tweens (it still says “publishing scheduled” otherwise I’d share it with you).  From this conversation, I realized that I might like event planning–corporate or social events, but probably not wedding planning in particular.  My mom was a very successful meeting planner when she lived in California, so she has lots of background information of the field.  I happened to mention this idea to my friend Hannah on Sunday night, and the very next day I got an email from her explaining that her husband’s brother’s girlfriend (what a chain) is the event coordinator at Lemaire restaurant at the Jefferson Hotel AND she just gave her two weeks notice AND she’s partially responsible for finding her replacement.  Is that kismet or what?  I’m meeting with her on Saturday, and even if the only thing that comes out of it is some insight into the profession, I think it will be a very good thing.

Of course, give me a couple weeks and I might be excited about something totally different, but right now this is what I’ve got.  I finally feel like I’m moving forward and it makes me very happy.

Thanks for listening to me ramble on about myself!

August 26, 2010 at 9:03 pm Leave a comment

What motivates you?

Yesterday I was listening to a podcast from Sonia Simone (whom I love) and Chris Garrett for Third Tribe, and was really struck by their opening point.

Chris was talking about motivation, and how it’s really important to know what truly works as your driving force.  He used an example that I’ve heard a few times now, about people claiming that they want a million dollars.  But really no one’s motivated by simply obtaining the money.  What they really want is something that they can get with the money, whether it’s a yacht or the security you get from knowing you can easily pay off your mortgage (or your water bill).

I’ve long been convinced that this makes perfect sense.

However, they went on to discuss the two types of people, people who like Sarah Palin and people who do not.  Oh wait, that wasn’t it.  It was “Towards People” and “Away From People.”

“Towards People” are motivated by a goal.  They’re often competitive with themselves and/or with others.  They want to beat their best time/profit/friend.

“Away From People,” on the other hand, are motivated by avoidance.  They don’t want to screw up or let people down.  They worry about not being able to pay their bills or support their family.  That’s their motivation.

As I was listening to their descriptions, I thought, “oh shit.”  I’m obviously an “Away From Person.”  When I was teaching I was motivated by not boring my students, by not upsetting their parents, by not wanting to feel like a failure.  That’s what motivated me to come up with creative lesson plans.  That’s why I dreaded parent phone calls.  And that’s why I worked stupidly long hours.  I rarely thought about just wanting to be the best teacher, or even the best teacher I could be.  And I can easily think of five (great) teachers who are quite obviously “Towards People.”

Even for this blog, I’m motivated to post by not looking like a quitter, even though sometimes I think I’ve taken on too much for me to handle.

Clearly Sonia and Chris were about to explain how to transform yourself from into a “Towards Person” if you weren’t naturally blessed in that regard.  I haven’t checked, but I imagine there are plenty of self-help seminars on this topic.

But as usual, I was wrong.  It turned out that both Sonia and Chris are “Away From People.”  And they’re both very successful.  Very.

Apparently both types have strengths and weaknesses.  They talked about the benefits of partnering with someone complimentary, but really it’s just most important to understand how you work.  Anyways, it was a really interesting podcast, and it made me feel better about myself in the business world.  I’m not automatically screwed by my motivation-type.  Phew!

What about you?  Are you a “Towards Person” or an “Away From Person”?  How do you know?

August 21, 2010 at 2:48 pm 2 comments

Read this

Sorry it’s been so long!

No excuses.  Just read this, and then tell me what you think.

August 9, 2010 at 5:50 pm 4 comments

30 Days to Fix My Life

I’m barely squeezing this out before the end of the month–and it’s way unfinished–but here’s the link to my new blog, 30 Days to Fix My Life.  I’ll keep Rookie Mistakes going because I can write whatever I want here; 30 Days will be my gimmicky focused blog. 

I love that you all stop by here, and I hope you’ll swing by there too, at least to check it out in the very beginning to see if it interests you.  Thanks so much for all of your support!

July 28, 2010 at 2:05 pm Leave a comment

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Hey friends!  I haven’t seen many of you since school let out, so I thought I’d give you a little update on my life.  In the comments, please share yours.  Or we can hang out in person.  That would be cool too.

The Good

[This is the longest list because life is good right now.  Hip hip hooray.]

  1. I (finally) sold my first article.  It was to SEED, this Beta AOL thing that isn’t set up very well (there’s no search option so you have to look through pages and pages of stuff before you find what you want), but it pays way better than most of the other freelance sites I’ve looked into.   I focused my efforts here at the beginning of the summer because of the better pay, and it didn’t start off well.  They had a bunch of “homework help” jobs, and I was like, “sweet, that’ll be easy for me.”  So I wrote articles about punctuation, synonyms and antonyms, homonyms and homophones, and onomatopoeia.  And then I got struck down for being overconfident when every single one of them got rejected (or “not selected” as they put it).  Eff.  So I looked at other sites, some of which pay like $3.37 for articles and I was really feeling sucky.  Oh, but before I got rejected and ran away with my tail between my legs, I submitted two other articles for AOL’s travel site, one about a day in DC with tweens and one about local lingo in Charlottesville.  Imagine my surprise when, earlier this week, I got a an email saying they’d purchased my article about DC to the tune of 50 smackaroos.  $50 isn’t much in the real world, but it’s good for just starting out freelancing on the internet.  If you don’t believe me, try to motivate yourself to write 300 words for $2.24.  It hasn’t been published yet, but be forewarned that I will post a link as soon as it is, and I expect you to click through and marvel at my glory.
  2. Uhh.  Dan Pink commented on my blog.  That made me very, very excited.
  3. There’s so much inspiration on the interwebs!  I know I haven’t been posting anything much on decor for a while, but design blogs still make up the majority of my pleasure reading.  I just discovered Decor Demon (through I Suwannee) and he’s my newest internet crush because he’s so incredibly awesome.  Shininess!  Bright colors!  Graphic wallpaper!  Love.  Anyways, everything he does/posts about floats my boat, but since I’ve been wanting to redo chairs for my dining room, this project made me weak in the knees.  He took flee market finds like this:
    And turned them into this:


    Swoon.  One more fun thing you need to check out:  Catalog Living.  You’ll laugh so hard.  She makes fun of catalog styling and posts gems like this everyday:

    Elaine was not amused by Gary’s passive-aggressive response to her request to “garnish the cocktails.”

  4. I’m working on an exciting new project.  I’ll share by the end of the month.  That’s all I’ll say now, but I wanted to give you a heads up.  Be excited.

The Bad

  1. Why does it cost so much to get women’s clothes dry cleaned?  That pisses me off.  I brought a ton of stuff to the dry cleaner’s the other day, and Eric’s NINE shirts cost something like $20 and change, and my two dresses each cost over $11.  One of them, swear to God, had less fabric to clean than any of Eric’s shirts.  (It’s sleeveless and fairly short.)  Seriously, where do they get off?
  2. That’s all I’ve got.

The Ugly

  1. Last night I had my first school dream nightmare since we got out.  I guess I hadn’t really quit because I was teaching next year, but they’d still given my room away, and I had to travel between rooms on opposite ends of the building.  I was late to my second block, which was standard English 11 (what???), and it had 38 students.  And some of them were like my former smartest students, so that was confusing.  We didn’t have enough books.  Or seats.  I couldn’t get them to settle down.  I woke up in a cold sweat.  (not really)  What could it mean?
  2. I told you, my life is good; I got nothin else.

So, friends, what’s going on in your lives?  Please share.  I seriously love it when you comment.  (almost as much as when Dan Pink comments.  almost.)

July 17, 2010 at 1:18 pm 5 comments

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