Monday, June 19, 2006

You have got to be kidding...

It's been a little while since I've written. I've been busy, though, so I have an excuse.

Here's what has unfolded in my life:

(1) My brother and I found an AMAZING apartment out in the Medical Center area. We will be living right across from Hermann Park and the Zoo in a 2-bedroom/2-bathroom LOFT apartment. That's right, ladies and germs, we have a loft. The second floor is a spacious office area, and the 20-foot wall facing out has a giant warehouse-style window in it. It. Is. Beautiful. And it is only $1310/month. YES. I am paying $665/mo. to live in a beautiful apartment in a great neighborhood. Score.

(2) I will be lead-teaching (as in, teaching by myself, as opposed to some corps members who will be getting co-teaching experience only) two classes each day (as opposed to some corps members who will be doing only one) for 67 minutes per class (as opposed to some corps members who will get about 25 to 40 minutes at any given time). So I have a pretty sweet but also pretty scary assignment. It means I will get plenty of practice, at the very least. And it means I'll be tired but more ready for the four-classes-in-five-periods schedule I'll have in the fall.

(3) I have written five lesson plans--and rewritten one--and am all prepared for my first day of classes, which was supposed to be to be today, but...















So I think that's one of the funniest things I've heard or experienced in a long time. Quite literally, we're all dressed up with no where to go. They're probably going to hold classes for us (training stuff like we've been doing and would have done between teaching at our school sites), but they're not sure yet if they will be here at Moody Towers, somewhere else on the UofH campus, or at the school sites that aren't flooded.

I'm actually really glad that I have an extra day to prepare. I stayed up late-ish last night to get paperwork done (see above, about lesson plans), so I'm more tired than I'd like to be going into my first day of teaching.

Okay. I'm tired, and I have to pee, so I'm going to get going. :) Everybody have a laugh about this whole deal.

current music: "Switch," Will Smith

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

round two

I got the English AND theatre positions!

Also, totally independently of that, I got a pep in my step about TFA today. We observed classrooms, and I saw a teacher and a group of students with no motivation to work hard and learn. The teacher and many of the students spent a lot of the time in the classroom arguing and talking about unrelated things... And, though I know it will be a challenge, I felt invigorated. I thought, 'These are the real deal. These are real kids, and they really need me. I can't wait to get in here and work with them.' Then we did rehearsals for parts of our lessons, and I was nervous and embarrassed at first, but being there in the moment, I felt like I always do on stage: ready, confident, and engaged.

So I'm utterly excited. It was all that High Talk and Paperwork crap, without any of the Real stuff. The people.

I'm still going to reserve the right to hate the paperwork, though. :)

current music: Ani Difrano, Imperfectly

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

potentially arbitrary binaries

So tomorrow I observe the kids I'll be teaching.

TOMORROW I observe the KIDS I'll be TEACHING.

In case you missed it the first two times:

Holy. Oh wow.

The last two days, we've had Institute classes. They have all been ostensibly well-organized seminars meant to get us ready for this crash course in teaching. They all have fancy acronyms and numbers to denote sequence and a slew of other crazy things. And, honestly, the organization system is damned near ingenious (if wasteful and tree-slaughtering)...but it fails when they don't tell us what's going on. And, while TFA is generally very good at hand-holding, I think they've missed a few steps.

Either that, or we're all shellshocked and incapable of taking in information, to the point that we've forgotten it was even given to us in the first place. It's entirely possible.

But it's taken me until now to figure out what all the little acronyms MIGHT mean, much less where to put all the pages that have said acronyms on them.

I also have a complaint about the food. Not enough of it at breakfast and lunch, and CERTAINLY not enough protein and whole grains. I NEED BRAIN FOOD, PEOPLE.

But I want to be clear: overall, it's not bad. I'm almost enjoying myself some of the time. (This is not just negativity; even the people who are uber-spirited say that Institute can be sometimes almost enjoyable.)

The truth is that sometimes I wonder what the fuck I'm doing here. I mean, really. I never wanted to be a teacher. Not really. Maybe, one day, I'd like to teach in a university. Sometimes, when I really think about the faces of the kids--and, especially, when I think about the theatre kids I might (still not sure) get to teach--I get excited about talking to them and imparting knowledge. But I've never really gotten stoked about how much work it might be just to get some of them to read fluently or write a simple topic sentence. I'm not excited about saying, "TOPIC SENTENCE, SUPPORTING STATEMENT, SUPPORTING DETAILS, SECOND SUPPORTING STATEMENT, SUPPORTING DETAILS..." ad nauseum.

Yeah, I admit it. I want to talk about Shakespeare and poetry and theatre and theory and all that. I don't want to teach kids to read.

But...I do. It's just...I don't know sometimes if this is me. I don't know sometimes if there is a me. When I think about leaving here and not doing this, what do I think of doing instead? Going back to Dallas, honestly.

WHAT?! That's not at all what I want to do, not truly. It's what I want to do because it's my comfort zone: the main stressors in my life are no longer there, since my parents live in Groves, and TFA lives in Houston (heh). Dallas has Cameron, Dallas has all the places I already know, Dallas has the IRC, Dallas has theatre people I know, Dallas has ease.

And I'm a lazy person. We talk so much about working hard and setting goals and earning successes in order to gain intelligence and self-confidence in Teach for America...and it's made me realize something really nasty about myself: I never did that. At least, not in any way that I recognize. Okay, no, I've done that...but not in many times when I should have. The times in my life when I really stretched myself...I can count them on one hand:
(1) planning Artvocacy / the women's program (but not for the whole time, since I started slacking and shirking toward the end when I was tired and afraid of doing outreach)
(2) writing my play (but not the whole time, since I never busted it to cut another fifteen pages during the rehearsals for the show...and I still haven't done them, or sent the plays out to theatres)
(3) playing Adela in The House of Bernarda Alba
(4) working hard against bad relationship judgment patterns (still working on that, and it's HARD, and sometimes I can't look at it anymore, but I'm still doing it)

I've done a lot of impressive things in my life, but most of them were really easy for me. We read about theories of intelligence in TFA: theories of "malleable" and "fixed" intelligence. The idea is that people who believe that intelligence is a fixed, inherent trait believe they cannot ever get more intelligent, so they don't try. They see success on assignments as more important than the learning process because success gives them "proof" of their intelligence; therefore, they don't try things they think they might fail at because the process does not appeal to them as much as the possibility of a loss deters them. "Malleable" intelligence theory? People who believe that intelligence is only the product of hard work--and so it can be increased--will search out challenges and see merit in the process more than in the end. They see challenges as necessary to their growth as a person.

I've always believed in fixed intelligence, I guess, without even knowing it. It's not that I've just plopped this theory down on top of my beliefs and tried to make it fit like a bad Christmas sweater. It's that, when I read about these theories, I nearly gasped and had to hold back tears of embarrassment. Yes, I have always believed I am just inherently it doesn't matter about working hard to achieve something, especially if I think I might fail and look stupid.

Of course, I "know" that's not true: look at all I've learned emotionally in the last two years! I even point to that as a reason to be proud--and I am proud of it. (In fact, those things on the list above are the ONLY things I'm truly proud of. The rest of my "achievements" are only trophies for others to be impressed by, for me to compete with others; I use them when I feel stupid to make others tell me how great I am or to make them feel like I have one-up on them.) But the truth is that I'm still not internalizing what I know about my emotional growth in terms of my intellectual and creative possibilities. I've almost never actually challenged myself as an academic or an artist...because if I did: (1) I might fail and look stupid; and (2) I might have to admit that my intelligence's quantity is in flux, or even in question.

All of these theories I'm hearing from TFA are, of course, reductive, and I know that, but I'm concerned about how they seem mutually exclusive: aren't people born with varying degrees of possibility? We're not truly blank slates, I don't think. Some people are more gifted in some things than other people. I think I am more genuinely talented (which seems to me to imply an inherent, essential quality, rather than a gained one) than some people, especially with words and performance/charisma.

But I'm not sure if my beliefs about talent and inherent capabilities are just something I WANT to believe or if they are indeed true.

But I know I sure never had to work the way so many around me have had to work. Writing papers? Piffle! Always been easy. I don't remember a single lesson about writing that's given me any real trouble, especially when it comes to digesting simple guidelines. So what's that about?

And how do I tell myself it's important that I work hard, despite feeling like my "natural gifts" will get me farther than other people's hard work so why bother? How do I instill a work ethic when I feel like there have been almost no times when the standards were high enough for me to have to try harder but not so high that I didn't find a way to get out?

Is this an opportunity? Is my impulse to quit TFA out of fear of failure and looking stupid rather than out of a genuine dislike for the work? Is this my chance to rise to a challenge and prove to myself that, not only can I help 100 kids work hard and up their intelligence and capability, I can work hard and actually increase my intelligence and capability?

Do I hate this job, or do I just not want to look dumb?

current music: Fiona Apple

Monday, June 12, 2006

already behind--aren't we always?

Okay, so I just finished my first day of Institute, which wasn't the first day overall, since we had Induction for four days before that. I've just been so...tired and harried and busy that I couldn't get around to writing about it. I'm barely up to doing it now; I just figure that the Exhausted Now is better than the "Rested" Never.

I guess I can sum up my feelings about the whole thing (and this takes some doing--and I only just STARTED to figure out this tentative "summary" this evening while I sat through Opening Ceremonies) as:
I hope that one day I deserve this job.

I have to get to bed. Dammit.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006



So yesterday might have been one of the most frustrating days I've ever experienced. Ever. I talked to Cam on the phone from around 8:40 to 10:00 last night, and I told him in gory, hurried, crazed detail what all happened yesterday, so I'm not in the mood to recap it (which is good, I think, since that means I got it out of my system for the most part, and it was doing me NO good in there), but suffice it to say I cried more than three times yesterday out of sheer frustration, anger, and anxiety/fear. No good, no good.

But then I got to the hotel, and I laid in bed, and I talked to Cameron--talked at him for about an hour, and then I was capable of real conversation after that--and then I curled up and went to sleep. And it was nice. The bed was comfy, it wasn't too hot or cold, and, though I had to get up at the ungodly hour of 5:30 (okay, okay, I snoozed 'til 6:10), on the whole I had a good night in a hotel, which is always questionable. (Though I was annoyed when, after I made a point of getting online to turn off my facebook text messaging so no one's midnight internet-social-club trollings would wake me up via cell phone, my text message song played at MIDNIGHT...and it was my own dear brother. Don't you worry; I'll sacrifice him later.)

And then today! I got up around 6:10, took a long shower, plucked my CRAZYOUTOFCONTROL eyebrows back to a nice curve-and-veer, put on a bit of makeup, made a half-assed attempt at blowdrying this ridiculously thick hair, grabbed a yogurt cup, some tea, and a cup of cereal, and drove out to the middle school. I sat in the car for a few minutes getting my bearings together--stifling fear that these would be hard-nosed, scary people

[Oh, hey, more good news! I just had to stop typing mid-sentence because I got a phone call from my doctor (they were part of the scary-awfulness of yesterday) letting me know they figured out THEIR snafu and can actually get me the ABSOLUTELY VITAL medicine for my stomach so I don't have to go without it! Yea! Three cheers for no gut pain because of a technical mix-up!]

Um, what was I saying? Oh, right, so I sat in the car until 7:45 stifling fears that I would meet people who were scary and mean (really, I spend most of my life trying to remember that most people aren't actually scary and mean; they're just people), and then I got my papers together and went in.

A very nice security guard showed me where the main office was, and the only even sort of scary-mean person I met was the lady behind the desk who snappishly told me, "Yeah, okay," when I told her who I was and why I was there. Then she, more nicely, told me to sit, so I did. And then the VERY nice principal came and shook my hand, said he'd be a minute, gave me a form to fill out, then showed me a room to sit in to fill it out. He said he'd be back in with someone else ('oh, no, who?') in a few minutes.

So I had to fill out this form that asked me questions about my plans and philosophy for teaching. Then the principal came back in and brought with him another VERY nice woman. And then the three of us talked for about an hour. About forty minutes in, the principal said, "So the thing I need to know the most is if you're going to accept this position."


I told him about what TfA said about theatre, and I gave him the numbers for people to talk to in the Houston regional office. He said he definitely wanted to let them know that he felt it was a good idea to let me do both the theatre and English, but we agreed that I would come on as an English teacher, no matter what.

He asked me to come in later this afternoon, as long as it wasn't an inconvenience, to meet and watch the theatre club kids rehearse!

Of course, when I told my dad, he asked me if we'd talked about money, and, no, we really hadn't, except for the principal's saying that I'd get paid extra for working after school with the theatre club. It doesn't occur to me to talk about money--I guess that's part of why I do so well in the arts and academia; no one expects to get a lot of money there, so it's not a problem that they don't think of it in interviews, etc., ha--but I guess I should bring that up at some point. And I think I'll need to call TfA and let them know how it all went. I wonder if I'll have to go through all the seminars on interviewing now that I've already done the interview and been offered a position.

So, barring just signing the papers, you're reading the words of the next English and possibly theatre teacher in the fifth ward. :)

(I'm glad this part was easy; I'm sure I'll need the energy later!)

current music: Fiona Apple, "Sleep to Dream"

Sunday, June 04, 2006

...this is my head in the middle of the night

This blog will probably not have this much activity in "normal" times (though I'm thinking/fearing that my life will not be "normal" again for a very, very long time...but was it ever, really?).

So I've been reading a bunch of the pre-institute work for TfA, and it makes me terrrrrrribly nervous. I mean, in some ways it's made me feel better--
Bombarded with doubts, Ms. Lora chose to rationalize those comments [voicing disapproval of her choice to become an inner-city teacher with Teach for America] as misguided assumptions based in ignorance, rather than debilitating prejudices based in malice. She knew that most of her loved ones, college friends, mentors, and family just did not think about how stark, and shameful, the achievement gap is in this country. She knew for a fact that none of those people had met the amazing children that were still gathering backpacks and pencils in her room at this very moment. Self-protectively, she resisted the more obvious, and perhaps more likely, scenario that many of her friends, family, and advisors had succumbed to the insidious but subtle social pressure to view children like Ms. Lora's as somehow less capable than the children in better schools.*
--because it's nice to know that I'm doing this with people like Ms. Lora who are as serious about helping and making a difference as I am. But in some ways the reading and preparation has made me feel worse--
Somehow, in this moment, the prospect of being a teacher was making her feel like a child. What will these children be like? What will they think of her? Will she be able to handle it?*
--because there is only a small, cold comfort in knowing that someone else is as terrified as you are. And that comfort isn't really comfort as much as it's a "misery loves company" type of sadism, I think. (Think me harsh if you will, but I think it's true. Empathy is only too devastatingly close to sado-masochism in some acute cases.)

I'm glad that I'm starting to feel more and more prepared, but I'm also afraid of the ways I will fuck up. I was telling Meghan the other day that I recognize some personal traits I'm going to have to work hard against to even be able to function in this environment. For example, I'm going to have to work on my pride. It's an enormous thing, my pride, and it will only get in the way in situations where I'm trying and failing and getting a point across; it's not about me doing something with finesse or getting it right so that I look's about the kids learning and achieving. Which means that I'm going to have to remember how to be less selfish in my diagnosing of problems. Not "what am I doing wrong?" but "what can I do to teach them to do it right?" Similar things, but with an important difference: they are the yardstick, not me.

Now, I'm used to comparing myself to other people, but I'm not used to measuring other people's achievements as the golden rule rather than my own. I will have to work on that.

I will have to work on my personal belief that I can get by with my charm and natural talent. Already I'm learning that I will have to bust it for this, and I'm going to have to keep learning that over and over. I think it will be good for me. To consciously work hard. (For one thing, I know that I work harder than I realize and give myself credit for. That's a problem with my own self-perception that I need to work on. BUT I also have a hard time actually working as hard as I know I should because I know that my low-grade output is better than most people's high-grade, so why bother? Why bother? Because I can do better, so there's no good reason not to. So suck it up and live up to my potential...and I bet the kids I teach will too. If I work, they'll work, right?)

Ooookay. I'm starting to weird myself out with the uber-high level of self-analysis and awareness (though I'm also sort of...excited by it, I'll admit), so I'm going to go ahead and try to get some sleep around the whirring thoughts and fears and hopes in my brain.

I can't wait to have a classroom full of kids.

Oh, my god, I'm going to have a classroom full of kids. What am I thinking?

*Excerpts from Teaching As Leadership: Ms. Lora's Story, by Steven Farr, Copyright © 2006 by Teach for America

It's time for a freak-out...

Okay, so I've got to be in Houston tomorrow night, rather than Wednesday afternoon, like the original plan, because a principal from a middle school in the eastern portion of the part of Houston inside the 610 loop [I'm still not sure/comfortable with how to talk about my work, for personal and legal reasons, so I'm being reeeeeeally vague for now, just to cover my arse.] called me on Friday super-excited about the possibility of my teaching for him, both as English teacher and a theatre(!) teacher...and he wants me to do an interview on Tuesday, June 6, at 8:00 AM.

This is INCREDIBLY exciting, but it also means that I've lost two days of prep time here in Groves. And I needed those two days, because I am the QUEEEEEEEEN of procrastination when it comes to measly little grunt-worky things like paperwork and refilling prescriptions and packing, etc. Boring but necessary stuff like that. So today I have been reading a bunch of shit I haven't finished reading for my pre-institute prep, and I've also gone shopping to get a few more professional-type outfits (who knew I was the queen of all clothing that ISN'T suitable for teaching adolescents?), and now I'm making a packing/to-do list the length of both my arms if you cut one off and sewed it to the end of the other. (Um. Gross. Sorry.)

But then there are snafus to handle too, not just little piddly stuff. And those take time, and they make me VERY VERY nervous when I'm dealing with a ticking clock.

For one thing, TfA is saying that I can't interview for or take the teaching position including the theatre job, only with the English job. They said they are more focused on doing the "academic" portion of the kids' scholastic achievement, and theatre doesn't fall under that category. Now, I've tried not to get my artist's hackles up in my discussions with TfA staff--and I am proud of myself because I think I have mostly succeeded--but I'm going to say it here: Please don't tell a VERY intelligent, VERY academic, VERY motivated playwright/actor that her life's joy and work isn't academic enough to bother with via a major non-profit educational organization's work in an underprivileged school, especially one where there is already a well-loved and vital theatre program filled with kids who depend upon it as a haven and means of expression in their crazy-stressful lives. She will be more than a little put-out by that assertion, and she will definitely take you to the mat on it.

And I have. After talking to a woman in the Houston regional office who was about midway down on the totem pole (a very nice woman, though; they all are, actually), I e-mailed the executive director of the region. I said in that e-mail that I am disturbed by the assertion that theatre is not worthwhile for me to teach in addition to and for less time than an English position. I said that disturbed me for a few reasons, not the least of which follow:
(1) The principal CLEARLY wants me to do this and thinks it's a great idea for me, the students, and the school;
(2) Doesn't hiring one teacher to fill two positions save the district time and money? Isn't that part of TfA's goal, to optimize district/school resources?;
(3) TfA places teachers in visual art classrooms in high schools... What's the difference between visual arts and theatre arts, and since when is visual art more "academic"?;
(4) The school clearly values the importance of the arts in these students' lives and will need to fill that position somehow or lose the program. Why would TfA want them to fill it with a non-TfA teacher when the principal clearly wants a teacher with the TfA background and exuberance, or why would TfA want to leave that position in the air when a highly qualified theatre person like myself could easily slip into it? Most importantly, based on this point, why would TfA want to send the message to the principal and the school that they don't value their theatre program, when it's clearly so important to the school? Wouldn't that make the principal and others feel as though TfA was telling them their priorities are out of whack?

So I'm waiting for a reply to that e-mail, which I wrote much more eloquently than the above list, I promise. And that's driving me nuts because I'm nervous the E.D. won't see it my way; for one thing, I really want to teach a couple of theatre classes, and, for another, I don't want to have to be the bearer of bad news to the middle school principal (though the first woman I talked to said that a TfA rep. would tell him their reasoning if I felt more comfortable with that).

And another thing...I am baffled and freaked out about what happens if my background check applications don't go through before June 12. Will TfA kick me to the curb? I hope not.

Speaking of "will TfA kick me to the curb?" questions...I wasn't able to do any classroom observation because I didn't get the paperwork in time. I hope they won't kick me for that, either. I mean, geez, I've been in classrooms for the last eighteen years of my life; I hope that counts for something.

All the rest of my shit is in line, as long as I can get it all to Houston. And that's where we come back to the piddly, annoying moving stuff. See, I have three different phases of being in Houston in the next six weeks. And then there's this weird phase where I may or may not have an apartment when I finish institute, so that's a fourth... See, it looks like this:

(1) the evening of Monday, June 5, through the afternoon of Wednesday, June 7: I will be staying, by myself, at a Hampton Inn in order to go to an interview with the principal at the middle school early Tuesday morning; at this time, I will need minimal stuff to get by, including all my TfA reading/prep work, nice clothing, toiletries, and a few odds and ends like a cell phone and prescriptions.

(2) the afternoon of Wednesday, June 7, through the morning of Sunday, June 11: I will be staying, with a roommate amidst all the other new corps members, in the Crowne Plaza Hotel Houston-Downtown in order to participate in induction activities for Teach for America-Houston; at this time, I will need a few more things than I did for the days I was by myself, including forms and money orders and booklets. Since I will hop from the first hotel to this one, I suppose I will probably just pack for (1) and (2) together.

(3) the morning of Sunday, June 11, through the evening of Saturday, July 15: I will be staying, with a roommate admist all the other new corps members and support system folks, in a dorm room on the University of Houston campus; at this time, I will need ALL SORTS OF THINGS, but not nearly as much as one would need if one were going to (a) have a lot of free time; (b) move into a new apartment and live there for good; or (c) have a bunch of room, or even more than just ONE room, to live in.

My dilemma, as you may be figuring out, is whether I want to carry everything I need for (1), (2), and (3) with me when I leave for (1); or do I want to bribe a parental unit or my brother to drive up to Houston (only two hours from my parents' home) and bring the extra period (3) stuff on Sunday, June 11? Because, see, I don't want to hold all that shit in my car for a few days while I'm in a hotel room, nor do I want it in my room with me. But I also hate the idea of my parents coming up to help me move in. I hate it for a lot of reasons I won't go into here, though you can maybe guess.

So there's all of that to think about, and, in fact, I need to get back to working on it. I just needed a moment to process it all before I freaked out. I feel a lot better. Thank you.

current music: John Denver, "Take Me Home, Country Road"

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Don't punk out on me.

I am completely, utterly, and totally serious about this, so I want people to reply if they are as well.

Lollapalooza is August 4-6 this year. And the lineup is probably one of the best I've ever seen.

Red Hot Chili Peppers
Kanye West
Manu Chao
Death Cab For Cutie
The Raconteurs
The Flaming Lips
Queens of the Stone Age
The Shins
Ryan Adams
Umphrey's McGee
Sonic Youth
Thievery Corporation
Nickel Creek
Blues Traveler
Broken Social Scene
The New Pornographers
Iron & Wine
Poi Dog Pondering
The Secret Machines
Built To Spill (just added!)
Panic! At the Disco
The Disco Biscuits
Reverend Horton Heat
The Smoking Popes
Andrew Bird
Gnarls Barkley
Lyrics Born
Lady Sovereign
Nada Surf
The Frames
The Hold Steady
The Go! Team
Mates of State
The Redwalls
Mute Math
The Subways
Of Montreal
Blue October
Jeremy Enigk
Living Things
Sound Team
The M's
Hot Chip
The Benevento-Russo Duo
Matt Costa
The New Amsterdams
deadboy & the Elephantmen
The Burden Brothers
What Made Milwaukee Famous
Husky Rescue
The Towers of London
Ohmega Watts
Boy Kill Boy
Jim Noir
The Standard
Be Your Own Pet
Elvis Perkins
Trevor Hall
Katie Todd Band
The Candy Band (Kidz)

It's in Grant Park in Chicago. Now, I'm not sure yet if I will be able to go, but I would like to, and I know people who live in the area. Please do tell me if you would like to go with me. Oh, please please please. Let's do this Roadtrip Nation style; you know, let's act like we're the twenty-somethings we are and just go out and do something we really want to do. Before we have to do all that other stuff first.

What do you say?

from Harper's "Index" recently

Number of dogs that a California clinic trained to diagnose cancer by sniffing patients’ breath: 5[Nicholas Broffman, Pine Street Foundation (San Anselmo, Calif.)]

Percentage of lung- and breast-cancer cases that they accurately detect, respectively: 99, 88[Nicholas Broffman, Pine Street Foundation (San Anselmo, Calif.)]

Percentage of breast-cancer cases that are detectable by mammogram: 85[Carol Lee, Yale School of Medicine (New Haven, Conn.)]

Now, I want to know why there are only five of those dogs trained. And I want to know what the hell they're smelling for. AND, most importantly--based on my serious scientific curiosity--I want to know how a human taught them what to sniff for.

this is a fresh start, this is a new day

I'm thinking I'll begin posting here to keep up with people I miss who might have some inclination to keep up with my...adventures? I'm still trying to get this to look and operate the way I want it to (I'm a little spoiled to my other, private diary site, so anything other than that makes me a little cranky), so do give me suggestions/comments/complaints about the layout of this one if you hate it. [Tangent: I used to use livejournal and may go back there because comfort is pretty high on my list of important elements in a blog site, but I think LJ (and this is just my personal, pissy opinion) is a real pain in the arse and doesn't give you a lot of options...and is full of posers, scenesters, and emo kids complaining about their parents and S.O.'s. (When did I get to be such a cranky pseudo-adult? Make me stop. I don't want to be that person.)]

So I'll be posting here about life after SMU, I guess. For now that begins with Teach for America (my first interview is on TUESDAY!) and includes all sorts of things, like finding an apartment, paying my own bills for the first time in my life, and trying to learn how to keep writing when there's no one giving me a grade for it. Sound exciting? Yeah, to me too, let me tell you.

If you're reading this and I know you IRL, I probably miss you, so tell yourself I do, okay? Say, "Mallory misses you and wishes you could still pop by her little studio apartment on Binkley Ave. in Dallas so that you could sit out on the stoop and complain about things or go to Snookie's and have too many bad martinis...or any of the other things you and I might have done together."

current music: Imogen Heap, "Hide and Seek"