Friday, February 24, 2012

go all the way all the time, even with types

things they are a-changing.

i want to be out at work but i don't know how, or why it's important to me, just that i'm fenced in and fighting with a narrow, traditionalized bastion of public sector employees and it hurts. with one very notable exception:

i want to know how to act around my new boss. he seems too kind to be true, consistently impressed with my work and my attitude, and i don't know how to handle that. he also asks questions, takes an interest, looks at me and gives me life advice that has a way of sticking in my brain. he listens when i tell him little things about myself. he makes me feel safe, a feeling like hiding under a bird's wing in the middle of a thunderstorm.

does he see himself in me? his life, will that be mine in ten years?

i've never worked for someone who really wanted to know me as an individual. consequently i've never tried to show my soi-disant, my inner thoughts and feelings, while working. no one wants to be that person who floods out intimate details to everyone in earshot. i've learned that lesson that queer girls know so well; sit down, shut up, cross your legs, fix your coworkers with your huge brown eyes and don't smile.

i know (because he told me) that he only treats me in such a kind way because a little love and attention go a long way toward increasing my productivity, and a little encouragement lets my prodigious mind race far and deep into problems, chasing down solutions and charting results. a little human sympathy is apparently the secret to making me work until my brain melts out my ears and pulls on the heartstrings of my loyalty.

it's a trade that i'm pleased with. the problem is that he still only knows my at-work self. usually when i'm trading for human contact, i'm doing so on my terms, and the major cruxes of my life have been exposed as a sort of roadmap. the person knows not to go certain places with me (hunger, high school, sharps) and that my soul has been stamped with some very specific practices (karate, kendo, horses, queer life, university, lyon). in short, he completely lacks the context to counsel me.

i need to give that context, not because i expect him to care at all, but because i need his advice to stay applicable to my life in order to keep getting my end of the trade and to keep my at-work performance at its current, all time energy high. the trade has begun and i don't think it can be stopped at this point.

six weeks in and it feels like a completely different workplace. what if i hadn't been tapped? what does this say about me?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How deep is that river?

I am still reeling from the weekend. 

What a perfect, perfect wedding! Even the parts that weren't smooth were bumpy and awkward and hilarious in the way that only that kind of love and celebration can create.

There's nothing like standing on a perfect North Carolina beach and watching one of your oldest and closest and most tangled-up friends get married. Nothing, except running off and drinking the night away with the rest of your closest friends, postulating about the heteronormative paradigm, speaking French in short bursts, flirting with long-haired bridesmaids, successfully slow-dancing with your boyperson, and generally bursting with goodness. 

If we can all be blessed with a send-off like that one, with the intensity of affection that pervaded the entire weekend, we're going to grow up just fine.

Monday, September 12, 2011

it's only once a year, so.

Happy birthday happy!

This morning: started work (orientation was slightly boring and slightly hilarious, which bodes pretty well for actual training)
This afternoon: almost had to tutor at the last minute, but was saved by email (yay!)
clearing the way for this evening: birthday kata and birthday dinner.

also: sweet birthday cards from B's grandmothers (both of whom share my name) and a pretty wristwatch with a solar-charging battery from my mom. love.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Today we have news!

And the news is ... I'm officially employed! I start at the full-time gig on Monday (after being vetted, assessed, panel interviewed, drug tested, background checked, and educationally verified), and I finish my training at the learning center today, so either Friday or next week I start tutoring solo. 

And I called four barns to arrange walkthroughs. 

Feeling pretty good about myself right now. Sure, there's definitely a lot of obstacles and tasks ahead of me (including: finding a small animal vet, getting additional vaccines for Pepsi, finding a way to trailer, creating an entirely new budget plan, making a new exercise routine, and making friends), but this is an excellent step in the right direction. 

And not to brag ... but did I mention I'll be making about 75% more with these two jobs than I was at my previous two?

Yep, that's going to make that whole "horse" thing a LOT more sustainable.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A totally unexpected post about math.

Yesterday was my first day at "work" (really just paperwork and review of materials) at Huntington Learning Center in Glen Allen. Training basically consisted of my supervisor handing me four humongous binders with lesson plans and teachers' notes for each section of the SAT (reading, writing, math) plus a vocab section, and instructing me to read them. So I spent four and a half hours doing that.

Then I returned later in the day to witness some tutoring in action. My supervisor had already told me I would be working with one of the most experienced tutors, which was definitely the case -- he was softspoken but effective and obviously knew the subject material backward and forward. While he worked one on one with a student, I followed along in my teacher's manual, watching him effortlessly transition between sections and alternate between explanations and having the student work through problems on her own. It was really impressive how well he communicated with the student.

After their two-hour sessions was over, he asked me if I had any questions or concerns. All the reading and writing material is straightforward and easy to understand, and the Huntington strategies are simple to remember, especially with the teacher's edition in front of you. But it's been a long time since I've done SAT-level math (that's Algebra I and II and Geometry, more or less) so I asked if we could review some of that.

Now let me say, I am not good at textbook math. I've never found it particularly interesting, and the way math was taught to me in high school was as a series of increasingly abstract concepts, making it difficult for visual-learner me to grasp the connection between strings of numbers. I've always been kind of ashamed of this, because I'm an intelligent person (I have a BA from a great public school! I speak two languages! I read books about epidemiology for fun!) and I should be able to read a textbook and intuitively grasp the principle behind the problems. Generally it is not so.

The tutor I was shadowing had a different approach. I've done plenty of basic math in handling the books for the Wine Guild this past year, so I asked if we could skip to functions and (gulp) quadratics. I basically remembered functions, which we renamed "function machines" because you put one set of numbers in and get another set out, which I liked. Then we started graphing stuff, which made my head spin a little bit, so I'm going to look my notes on at that more today. But I remember it making sense at the time!

Oh, and then we talked about circles. I discovered I still know all the formulas for finding area, circumference, etc, but I never had any idea why those rules worked. We talked about a simple one, finding the circumference (2pi*r or pi*d). He explained, with a diagram, that if you imagine the diameter like a string, and you take the string and start wrapping it around the circle, it always goes around 3.1415.... times! No matter what size of circle you have.

I almost fell out of my chair. And then he said, "you're going to learn so much math here."

Voila, the different between memorizing the formula and understanding the concept.

I can't wait to figure the rest of the math out so I can start showing other people how to do it! They sent me home with a workbook ahead of my second shadowing session tonight. So this morning I'm voluntarily doing math homework. Craziness.

Up next: a possible weekend in Charlottesville, the ongoing quest for a new barn, and my birthday.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Coffee for breakfast

Bourdon, my laptop, has finally returned to service after a few dicey weeks in the back of the Apple store. Welcome home, bumblebee!

To celebrate, we're trying out Chrome, the free browser that definitely proves that Google has staged a total takeover of our online lives. I'm distinctly creeped out by having my Gmail, Dashboard, and Youtube accounts all attached to each other ... but the search/navigation bar and the minimalist settings are dangerously seductive.

I still have Safari and Firefox, just in case. You know.

Otherwise, no news. It's September and I'm still trying to adjust to RVA. I'm hoping by October, most of that will be behind me. I'm falling into another two-job scenario (more on that as things move forward, I don't want to jump the gun here), but with potentially significant increases in pay rate and benefits, which pleases me. I'm tired of looking for jobs and I need a source of income, stat.

As far as I'm concerned, the big effort of September will be getting Pepsi relocated to a barn closer to me. I've got a list sitting in my email of barns to check out as soon as I get my financial situation settled down / equine budget established. Having him an hour and a half away is terrible -- we're both cranky, erratic, and stiff when I see him on Sundays, and I'm constantly worried that something will happen to him (although I know the barn owners are taking great care of him as always). I've got too much time on my hands at the moment. 

Final unrelated thought: I let calls go to voicemail when I don't recognize the number, because I want to listen to the message and have time to think about my response.

Monday, August 29, 2011

sit back down where you belong, in the corner of the bar with your high heels on

Oh, Gaga. I've always had a soft spot for your crazy theatrical costumes and your catchy songs, but your VMA performance? In drag as a lean, scrappy butch, sitting on a piano and rendering row upon row of gender-inflexible celebrities dumbstruck? Even better was the catchy, classic-rock throwback vibe of the song itself. It has a very karaoke / get up and dance at the bar feel to it (in the best way).

My little dyke heart melted like butter in the sun.

If you haven't seen it yet, what are you waiting for? Full monologue + song: