Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Is this thing working?

We had the opportunity to make a little movie with Tricia's camera while she was here. Although I have not yet been able to make them play on my computer, I learned (from the wonderful Tricia) that Blogger will load it up and you can watch it on the blog.

Here is Cora singing a song she learned after hearing me sing it six or eight times: Aura Lee.


video

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Career path? What career path?

(Me, circa 1979, possibly designing my "girl detective" business cards.)


Today I gave my seventh of nine presentations to incoming firstyear college students about the academic expectations at the institution where I teach - about 10 of these sessions run concurrently and a large percentage of incoming students attend. The two main points of the presentation are the classes they need to take to graduate (aside from their major) and how college will be different from high school.

There are two sets of statistics I like to quote to them. One is that the average college student changes his or her major three times over the course of their undergraduate years. The other is that the average person will have seven discrete changes of career in his or her working life - and two of those probably don't exist at the time you are in college.

They seem to find this discouraging - along with the fact that in college you don't get time in class to do your homework. And, that homework? It isn't crossword puzzles of vocab terms. (Horrifying!)

Anyway, this has set me to thinking back and remembering all the careers I imagined for myself over the years. I'm leaving out "girl detective" - a Nancy Drew inspired choice - and mainly thinking of once I hit high school and through college.

So, my aspirations included: UN translator, marine biologist, oceanologist, bookstore owner, teacher, writer. (Writer: check. But that has hardly been a career. A vocation, yes. Definitely NOT a hobby. ) (Teacher: check - or maybe I get a check-minus for only being part-time? Without that precious published book, it's as far as I am likely to get.)

Career paths actually walked: bookstore clerk and then asst. manager, library services, technical writing, graphic layouts, marketing manager, adjunct professor, and virtual database manager (a new one! also part-time, like the teaching).

But tonight I was especially thinking about "bookstore owner" and I was remembering that I actually spent quite a bit of time, as an undergraduate and shortly after graduating, drawing up layouts of my store, thinking about programs I would have. So, this is back in 1992-1993, and Chris and I were figuring out where the cafe would go, where there would be a space for live performances, making sure there was room in the kids section for kids to actually flop down and look at books, where authors would stand to give their readings. And so on.

Don't get me wrong - I like what I am doing now. I'm pretty happy with my working life (though it could pay more, and hey part time people like health insurance too). But tonight I'm feeling a little sad about dreams gone by or dreams held in abeyance. I am pretty sure I've missed the boat on UN translator - the languages I used to be pretty fluent in are slipping away. But I'm not quite ready to completely close the door on the bookstore dream. Not yet.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Flurry of Activity

That's what we have around here these days! We had lovely guests in town for a week, and I hope soon to be able to post some pictures and even a video from the visit. Once I figure out, you know, how to make it play.

We're getting ready to send Daddy off to ND for the school year, collecting all sorts of kitchen stuff he will need and furniture and trying to think of everything NOW so that we can relax and enjoy our time with him come August. I hope we are all as prepared as we can be when it comes time for him to drive off - we'll see.

I'm getting ready for fall semester and all the wonderful readings and assignments I'll have for my students. I'm also doing some sessions on "Academic Expectations" (the subtitle should be: how college is not like high school and why you should be worried) for orientation days this month.

And I've taken on another part time job working with the mailings to sponsors and donors for a really amazing organization. I'm hoping this work will fit in as well as I believe it will with my schedule.

And I have an artist grant application to complete in the next six days.

So, really, you see, it is all very smooth sailing over here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A brief announcement

I will get the second half of the CA pictures up soon, but in the meantime I've been preoccupied. Chris now has a job for the next academic year, but it is a one-year appointment, less than full-time, and in North Dakota. Cora and I will be staying in the Twin Cities. It is a good move for him careerwise and it could lead to something more - or it could just lead to being able to pay the bills for nine months, which is nothing to sneeze at either.

We're going soon to find him a place to live, and at that point we'll begin to try to explain it to Cora. There will be a lot of changes in store of all of us in the next two months, and a lot to keep us busy. I have a lot of trepidation, despite knowing it is a good decision on many fronts. I feel lucky that so many friends have offered to help us out as they can.

Our new adventure starts in less than two months. Stay tuned.