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kcaleece

KCAleece Begins Her Uphill Climb

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Whew. Okay! I'm legit excited for this challenge for a couple of reasons:

1) I feel like, out of the last 15-ish months of complete "life sucks and everything is stressful and atrocious all the time", we've finally evened out. It's not getting better - yet - but it's finally not getting worse. Stopping the free fall is, in and of itself, a reason to celebrate at this point!!! But we can't get complicit - it's time to start pushing a little bit back up that hill we've tumbled so far down (hence my challenge title).
2) I love that it lines up so beautifully with the start of December! I just have really always enjoyed a nice clean deadline (or starting date!) like that - it's why I adore New Year's Resolutions too.
3) My husband ran a half-marathon on Saturday and I am JEALOUS. Which means I'm feeling super motivated to get back on that particular horse! Even though I'm still back at the "run a mile without stopping" level, it's just a different level of the same thing. No shame in starting at the bottom.

4) My next shot at the Spanish Praxis is coming up fast and I need to at least score better than I did last year, even if it's another fail. I'm starving for some kind of win.

 

I'm kinda going back to my older challenge setup though because I think part of the reason I didn't update as much on the last challenge was my attempt at "cutting down" the stuff I needed to post and track (knowing that things like grad school were "normal responsibilities anyway"). While that's kinda true, it did keep me further away than I'd like to be and it certainly didn't make me more productive, so back to listing (many) things I go!

 

Quest One: Running

Task: Run...at least once a week. I'd like twice, but I'm trying to start small. Also I'm going to run/walk the same route every time, and my goal is to eventually run to at least the second turn which is at about 0.6 miles (it's a 1.2 mile route). I haven't actually run this route in months, so I'm not sure if that'll be hard or easy to start with...my bet is tough though because, well, I haven't run in months and I was barely running then...
 

Quest Two: Diet

Task: You can't outrun a bad diet. I know because I've tried. More than once. What can I say, sometimes it takes a bit of time to get good sense through my head. I'm going to focus on three things, which might be a lot but hopefully is manageable: 1. keep my beer consumption low. It's starting to creep back up. No more than 6 beers every two weeks - that'll help with the finances too, because beer is freaking expensive. 2. try at least 2 new veggie recipes (tweaks on old recipes that weren't amazing totally count). 3. as painful as it'll be, start lowering mac and cheese consumption. *wince* That's my comfort food kryptonite, and I've been eating frightening amounts of it since about July. Going to start off with no more than 2 (full-size, which hold a LOT so don't be too impressed) bowls a week and hopefully cut down to just 1 by the end of the challenge.

 

Quest Three: Spanish

Task: Well, I should probably start by figuring out when the next Praxis exam is taking place. I know it's the end of November because it's always the end of November, but I should really figure out a more precise date and time. In the meanwhile, I'm taking on 3 tasks that are admittedly quite hefty, but I am desperate for some points on this damn test: 1. at least 1 video every day. Some of them are as short as 6 minutes, so there really can't be that much of an excuse. 2. at least 1 Lang-8 post every other day, aiming for around 150 words or more and slowly adding in the time and no tools components too. 3. Finish reading Sofía already. Geez. (4. If speaking practice happens, great. It'll be informal with my husband, primarily or possibly entirely.)

 

Quest Four: Grad School

Task: Don't turn anything in late. Preferably don't turn in cruddy work done at the last minute in desperation. This professor sucks at grading in a timely manner though, so I can't rely on that feedback to know how well I'm doing. (Seriously, it's week 7 of a 12 week class that has minimum 2 assignments a week and sometimes as many as 5 - and she hasn't even posted a single grade yet.)

 

Quest Five: Misc. Odds and Ends

Task: Part of this quest is frankly to ignore this quest. I keep on thinking of dozens of things to put here and I can't spread myself that thin. There's only so many hours in a day, you know? So I will choose up to five of these things (no more! but maybe less):
get the next set of outgrown baby clothes put away

finish skirt hem by hand

begin felt board teaching tools

begin Spanish alphabet fabric flash cards for toddler

clean out 1 bag of too small/old/unwanted clothes from closet

complete weekly manicures/face mask

work on at least 2 lessons to post on Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) since first one must be posted for free

make will-be-2-year-old's birthday cake/decorations more fancy than just random Mickey Mouse stuff found online/at WalMart (party is November 9th!)

clean out garage to fit cars in before winter really hits

buy and plant tulip bulbs before it's too late

paint bathroom

figure out way to make living room more attractive/welcoming before the birthday party

post ads for tutoring services

try another tailor since we need one and the last one was only mediocre

go thrift shopping for cold weather clothes for me and toddler - may or may not include need to buy shoes, especially boots

work on personal research projects for grad school topics
making apple butter and apple cider caramels and/or also other requested traditionally seasonal food items

and/or anything else that pops up along the way

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14 hours ago, Xena said:

Yay running!

Yay indeed! I got out for my first run yesterday (partly due to schedule and partly due to being angry at work and wanting something better than eating my feelings) and it was pretty excellent :)

 

14 hours ago, Kestrel Grey said:

mmmmm mac and cheese... everyone's kryptonite!

 

I don't think we have the Praxis exam here, do you know what it is equivalent to in DELE?

Y7uHi-.gif

The Praxis exam is very specific to teachers - even in the States, you'd never take it if you didn't work in education. It's like a "high B2" is what I always say. Every time you take the test, it's slightly different and the individual sections (reading, listening, speaking, writing) can be as high as C1. So like if they know the listening section on a particular version of the test is a C1, they might make another section a little easier than normal without dropping it below an overall B2. I hope that makes sense, it's a very secretive process and how you get your exact score is a closely guarded secret! Not even the state knows, just the one organization that actually runs the test. You need a 165 overall to pass and last year I scored a 152. (The average score is around a 160 - the foreign language exams are well-known for being the most difficult - and I'd only been formally studying for six months at that point.) 

 

Challenge Update:

Quest One: Running

I went running yesterday! And I was so proud of myself - I made it 0.85 miles before I had to stop!! (well, with one very short break in there for traffic, but it was like a single car so barely any time at all). But I'm also well aware of the "first time back" phenomenon, where me not running for a while seems to work like the world's longest taper and my first run back is always waaaaay better than the subsequent ones, so I'm not changing my goal just yet.
 

Quest Two: Diet

Well, I did eat mac and cheese for lunch yesterday because it was already made and I was running a bit late in the morning. It was only about half a bowl's worth though, so I don't feel *too* bad about it. I supplemented it with a hard boiled egg and carrot sticks at least? 

 

Quest Three: Spanish

So far I have:
1. listened to two videos, though I listened to the same video twice and still feel like I need a third listen (once was in the car so I was distracted by, you know, driving; the second was this morning and I'm feeling quite sick - fever, bad cough, the works - so I was having a hard time focusing).
2. posted on Lang-8 once (yesterday)
3. read up to page 89 in Sofía (total: 104 pages)

 

Quest Four: Grad School

Module 7 is due tomorrow and includes:
3 readings (1 done, 1 started)
4 videos (not started)
3 discussion posts (1 done)
Language variation quiz

Find 5 texts for my corpus (not started)

This is where I'm most concerned, because it's all due at 11pm tomorrow and I'm working 14 hour days today and tomorrow (contractually required - it's parent-teacher conferences)...not sure where I'll find time for it all!

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6 hours ago, kcaleece said:

"first time back" phenomenon, where me not running for a while seems to work like the world's longest taper and my first run back is always waaaaay better than the subsequent ones,

 

For me the whole first week back sucks and then it gets better. Great job knocking out a first run!

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I really like your goals and I'm so glad the freefall of suck has diminished to stable levels.  :D  How did your grad school assignments go last week? I just finished my Master's less than a year ago, and the whole experience is still very fresh. I'm happy to offer all the cheerleading and support I can. It feels so freaking good when it's over.

 

Hopefully your weekend was productive and restful, the greatest of oxymorons ...  :D 

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Whew! So sorry for a lack of updates, but I have a very good reason. Namely, absolutely nothing happened. You know how when you're really stressed and overworked and people scold you about how it's going to eventually catch up to you (but never actually do anything to help you? No? Is that part just my experience?) Well, it caught up to me. I woke up on the 24th with a 102.7 degree fever that eventually turned out to be...pneumonia! Yup, my right lung basically said fuck this mess and signed out for the last week. I'm not actually back on my feet quite yet, but the stroooooong meds the doctor gave me - seriously, these pills came with 7 full pages of warning and side effects! - are at least also kicking in fast. I can sit up for decent periods of time and do some really simple tasks like gather dirty laundry from the bathrooms. Trying to put myself back on track for a gradual return to responsibilities by the end of the week!

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On 10/27/2019 at 11:12 PM, SkyGirl said:

I really like your goals and I'm so glad the freefall of suck has diminished to stable levels.  :D  How did your grad school assignments go last week? I just finished my Master's less than a year ago, and the whole experience is still very fresh. I'm happy to offer all the cheerleading and support I can. It feels so freaking good when it's over.

 

Hopefully your weekend was productive and restful, the greatest of oxymorons ...  :D 

 

Thanks! I'm super glad that I'm finally getting that MA (I've been working for 8 years already, it was starting to feel like it was never going to happen! Thankfully this program is highly unusual and exactly what I didn't know I wanted until I found it hahaha) but it is a ton of work! My first semester wasn't so bad but I've had the same professor for the two semesters after that one and she is much more of a stereotypical grad school professor - "here's your work for the week, I expect it'll take you about 12-15 hours, no excuses. E-mail me if you have problems. Kthxbai." But she's also the director of the whole program, so I want to stay on her good side! I'm only taking 3-6 hours a semester since I'm also working full-time, chronically ill, trying to earn my Spanish license, and have a toddler at home, so I still have a lot of classes ahead of me...

 

On that note, grad school is exactly where I'm trying to catch up first, so let me leave my quick list here for now. I didn't even start this list until today but I know I'm not about to get any extensions so I just have to push as best as I can.

MAFLT work due tomorrow

2 professor videos - done

2 readings - 1 done

2 student videos - not done

2 website reviews - done

3 discussion posts - 2 done

Text Analysis Worksheets - not started, looks like there might be 2?
Text Analysis Exercises/Quizzes - not started, looks like there might be 4?

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That IS a lot of work, and it sounds like you have plenty going on outside of school too. It's frustrating when your progress through grad school is so slow, but you're doing amazing. And everyone gets through at their own pace.  :)  I wish your professor were more empathetic.

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On 11/1/2019 at 11:04 PM, SkyGirl said:

That IS a lot of work, and it sounds like you have plenty going on outside of school too. It's frustrating when your progress through grad school is so slow, but you're doing amazing. And everyone gets through at their own pace.  :)  I wish your professor were more empathetic.

 

On 11/2/2019 at 7:27 PM, Xena said:

Hope you were able to catch up on the work!

 

Thanks guys! I got my grad school work done for last Thursday and now I'm behind the 8-ball again for this week, oh joy...

 

I genuinely think it's the pneumonia meds, honestly. They're messing with my sleep, mood, and taste buds (all known side effects listed in the warnings). I've started spiraling into a giant ball of anxiety and grumpiness that I'm struggling to manage without snapping too horribly badly at anyone. Thankfully my last pill should be Wednesday and I'm hoping it'll drop out of my system reasonably quickly...maybe by the weekend?

 

Challenge Update:

Quest One: Running

Just the one run still, but I'm forgiving it so far due to my illness. My goal is to get back out again sometime this week!
 

Quest Two: Diet

Already at one bowl of mac by the end of the day today (ate half last night for dinner and brought the other half for lunch today).

 

Quest Three: Spanish

I've fallen way behind here and this will be a MASSIVE push!!! I've watched no new videos, posted nothing on Lang-8, and haven't read any more in Sophía...yet.

 

Quest Four: Grad School

Module 9 is due on Thursday and includes:
2 readings
2 videos 
3 discussion posts
5 "Corpus Quests" activities

3 "Corpus Challenge" quizzes

3 articles for Language Features Research Bibliography

 

Quest Five: Misc. Odds and Ends

Completed task: clean out garage to fit cars in before winter really hits
Woohoo! That'll be a huge help - it honestly already has been, despite the fact it's only starting to get cold enough to matter.

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I'm hoping/guessing that once you get through this week, things will be easier. Getting sick really throws a wrench in things!

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Even without the meds, getting over a serious illness like pneumonia takes a chunk out of you.  It's unfortunate you can't take the down time to rest as much as would be ideal but I'm glad to hear you'll feel more like yourself soon.

 

(Remember to have lots of kefir/yogurt/kombucha/probiotic goodness so your gut recovers from the antibiotics quickly)

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On 11/4/2019 at 9:39 PM, Kestrel Grey said:

Even without the meds, getting over a serious illness like pneumonia takes a chunk out of you.  It's unfortunate you can't take the down time to rest as much as would be ideal but I'm glad to hear you'll feel more like yourself soon.

 

(Remember to have lots of kefir/yogurt/kombucha/probiotic goodness so your gut recovers from the antibiotics quickly)

 

That's what my GI doctor scolded me about on Tuesday at my appointment, not eating enough yogurt or taking a probiotic...I have to admit I'm really bad about that one!

 

On 11/4/2019 at 8:08 PM, Xena said:

I'm hoping/guessing that once you get through this week, things will be easier. Getting sick really throws a wrench in things!

 

Dear gods I hope so because this has been a terrible week!

 

What's been going on? Outside of normal stuff like grad school, less normal stuff like recovering from being sick, and random but predictable stuff like my husband having two soccer games so I have to watch the toddler during my normal evening work time (it's the district/city/state championship tournament over the next few weeks), now I'm also in trouble at work. For what might be one of the stupidest reasons - a student was mad that her phone was confiscated for having it out in class. Pretty standard stuff. But her parent decided that it was my fault and yelled at me/admin for twenty minutes about how it was my fault that her student made the decision to bring her phone to class and if I hadn't allowed her to make that bad decision, her phone wouldn't have been confiscated which is what the parent was actually mad about.

 

But what really pissed me off was that admin started agreeing with her and I got an official warning for "insubordination with district policies"! It's not a write-up yet but it's in the digital HR files that I got a warning and everything. What the heck?!?!? It happened yesterday afternoon and I'm still hot under the collar about it. My husband keeps saying I should use it for motivation to pass this damn Spanish test for that license but even if I pass this next test (which I honestly doubt, as I haven't done a good job of preparing for it) I'm still stuck here until at least May. 

 

Challenge Update:

Quest One: Running

Just the one run still, but I'm hoping my husband will watch the toddler tonight (no more soccer games until next week!) so I can go for another run and get some of this anger out.
 

Quest Two: Diet

Still only at one bowl of mac, which feels pretty awesome! I also haven't had any beers this week, so I'm doing pretty well there!

 

Quest Three: Spanish

I've posted on Lang-8 (yesterday) and listened to the first part of a video but haven't had time to finish it yet.

 

Quest Four: Grad School

Module 9 is due on Thursday and includes:
2 readings (1 done)
2 videos  (1 done)
3 discussion posts (1 done)
5 "Corpus Quests" activities

3 "Corpus Challenge" quizzes

3 articles for Language Features Research Bibliography (all done! woohoo!)

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Great work despite everything. 

 

Yeah, any place that will throw an employee under the bus to appease a very wrong customer is not a nice place to work.

 

These are people who believe "To err is human. To blame it on someone else shows management potential. "

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On 11/7/2019 at 10:25 AM, kcaleece said:

Pretty standard stuff. But her parent decided that it was my fault and yelled at me/admin for twenty minutes about how it was my fault that her student made the decision to bring her phone to class and if I hadn't allowed her to make that bad decision, her phone wouldn't have been confiscated which is what the parent was actually mad about.

I'm so confused by parents.  How the actually frick is it your fault that a student had their phone out.  I hate when admin has no backbone.  Sorry you had to go through that.

 

 

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14 hours ago, Novaurora said:

I'm so confused by parents.  How the actually frick is it your fault that a student had their phone out.  I hate when admin has no backbone.  Sorry you had to go through that.

 

Right? Like I understand that they're (in my experience) going to side with the parent as much as they can. But seriously, this was a few steps too far. I'm used to being blamed for students' poor decisions, but usually it's at least things I directly supervise like not doing their classwork. This is my first year at this school - which is, frankly, not a good school - but I've been told that parents here are super aggressive and distrust education as a whole so they're basically always spoiling for an argument. 

 

15 hours ago, Elastigirl said:

Ugh, that stinks. And it is also lousy example for the kids. They will never learn to take responsibility for their own actions. Good job with your goals!

 

Oh, schools as a general rule of thumb (again, in my experience) are all lousy examples for kids. Personal accountability is only a thing at the top schools, and even then you can often get away with murder if your parents complain enough. Honestly, if parents don't do their job I would never count on schools to do a very good job of stepping in. I also admit that while I attended a top school as a student, I've never taught in a school above the 40th percentile, so my views are probably a bit biased by that.

 

Challenge Update:

Ugh, I feel like this hasn't been going so well. Last weekend was my son's second birthday so I spent all day in the kitchen cooking for around 20 people (we had it at the house to save money). Then on Sunday he started acting lethargic and a rash popped up. My husband is taking him to the doctor today to confirm but we're pretty sure it's hand, foot, and mouth disease - super fun! I'm just praying I don't get it...adults usually don't, but I'm immune compromised so all bets are off.
 

Quest One: Running

I did get in a second run! Went 1.07 miles and felt like I was dying, hahaha. Still, I'm pretty darn proud of not only getting out, but also going more than a mile! I didn't think I'd get there this challenge :) Thinking about fitting in a third later this week - today is well below freezing but it's supposed to slowly warm up over the next few days which will be nice.
 

Quest Two: Diet

No beers, but I did eat a bowl of mac last night. I also really need to get on the veggie recipe thing...I was going to do something for the party, but ran out of time.

 

Quest Three: Spanish

WAY behind here. I'm like 93% sure I'm going to push off my next test until the February date. I just think taking it in November would be a waste of money at my current preparation level, and February will still get my test scores back in time for 95% of interview season.

 

Quest Four: Grad School

Module 10 is due on Thursday and includes:
2 readings (0 done due to printing issues, but finally resolved that one earlier today)
2 videos  (2 done! yeah!)
4 discussion posts (0 done)
"Explore Your Corpus" task (not started)

5 more articles for Language Features Research Bibliography (0 done)

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Well, the toddler was seen by a doctor at urgent care last night - it's BOTH hand, foot, and mouth disease (on most of his body) and also impetigo (on his face). Good news is he can go back to daycare starting tomorrow as long as he's been on antibiotics for at least 24 hours. Hopefully my parents (who are watching him today) remember to give it to him on time! I should text and remind them...
 

Challenge Update:

Quest One: Running

No third run yet, but my goal is sometime between Thursday and Saturday.
 

Quest Two: Diet

No beers or mac last night!

 

Quest Three: Spanish

Well, I mathed this one out. I'd need 42 videos and 21 posts by the end of the challenge to meet my original goal. So far I have two of both. Sigh. That's a problem. I did, however, read up to page 98 out of 104 in Sofía so that's a win at least! Almost there!

 

Quest Four: Grad School

Module 10 is due on Thursday and includes:
2 readings (1 done)
2 videos  (2 done! yeah!)
4 discussion posts (1 done)
"Explore Your Corpus" task (not started)

5 more articles for Language Features Research Bibliography (0 done)

Got less done here than I wanted last night because urgent care took so long (that was a little over a 3 hour wait! I get that it's a major children's hospital, but still...I should have at least brought more with me than I did) but my parents have agreed to stay a little later than normal tonight after I get home so that should help buy me a little time since the husband isn't going to be home until about 10pm due to that soccer tournament still going on.

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