Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Beginning 2008

Hi there, my three loyal readers!

Sorry for my long absence, I have not had much time/been in the mood to blog lately but I though I should fill you in on my corner of the world before the semester gets crazy and I cannot keep up with anything. I have a lot to say that I have been storing up so I apologize in advance for the really, really long post.

First, to follow up on my last post, check this out, upper right hand corner:

Caption: Presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton gets a kiss from a supporter as Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa takes their photo after her speech at California State University Northridge, Thursday January, 17, 2008, in Northridge CA. (Hans Gutknecht/LA Daily News)

It was so exciting and fun and thrilling. Also tiring, 5 ½ hours on bleachers waiting for Senator Clinton to arrive with stage lights glaring down on you is really tough. And you know what? Even if you are not a Hillary fan, it is still really cool to be a part of the political action. There is even footage from the event on TMZ. Wish I could send you the link but I can't figure out the html to make it work.

So, that is that adventure. If you will indulge me, lets jump back in time so I can share what I did during winter break.

I had the chance to do some cooking and baking. From Vive La Vegan I have cooked the Lemon-Herb Tofu (p.65 and in the oven right now), Three-Bean Curry Tomato Soup (p.79), Roasted Tomato Bean Stew (p.78), and the Chipotle Corn Black Bean Soup (p. 74). All have been yummy and all way too much food if I were on my own. When I am out in my own place, I will have to invest in some Tupperware to freeze portions of these dishes for later use.

From Vegan With a Vengeance, I have baked Sparkling Ginger Cookies (p.192), Crunchy Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Cookies (p.199), Buttery Lemon Cutout Cookies (p.201), Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies (p205), and Raspberry-Chocolate Chip Blondie Bars (p.210).

See, I had this brilliant idea that I would bake and put together Christmas baskets since for the first year ever, I have more couple friends that single friends. I am not sure how I feel about that BTW… Any who, I think that I got good reviews on all the goodies although I was not happy with the blondie bars. I need to try that one again with the correct dish size. I don’t think it baked all the way through. Still, I have two baskets left to deliver, although I think I would need to rebake the goodies as I do not know if they are still good. All the recipes make a lot of goodies. The only one I would not retry is the Lemony cutout cookies, I could barely roll them out and I followed directions. Although the feedback I got was positive, I though they were rather gross and wouldn’t inflict them on anyone.

I also made a double batch of Red Velvet cupcakes for a pot luck that didn’t happen due to a power outage in December at the University that cancelled the event and Mint Chocolate Chip cupcakes for the rescheduled event in January. Both from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World (VCTOW).

Sorry, I have no pictures. I thought I had at least taken pictures of the Mint Chocolate Cupcakes at least but apparently not. The cupcakes were yummy and eaten up quickly. Here is a gratuitous Cupcake picture to tide you over.

In school news, I got the grades I expected but worse that I had wanted to get last semester. Does that make sense? I also discovered that even if I got straight A’s from here on out, I will not be able to graduate with honors. I just can’t get to the GPA that is required. Ah well.

I got a new boss at the Union in the beginning of December and let me tell you, she is awesome. We have the same sense of humor, the same response to what is going on and even though I am her employee, in many ways she treats me like an equal, which, as great as my previous boss was – I never got the same feeling. She is really trying to bring the department together as a team and to make our processes as smooth and collaborative as possible. She has us each meeting and networking on campus at least one person a month. Pretty cool, even when I think – ‘gee, I have the time for this.’ I have one more week to meet with someone. Thank goodness I have to do outreach for my other job and can combine these efforts.

We are a better team already. We have expanded the team to include the 3 graduate assistants and we meet once a week to share and trouble shoot and check in with everyone. The GA’s also are going to meet for a coffee half hour, on the clock, to form our own support group to discuss the challenges that we face as para-professional staff and graduate students as well. Organized by me so we have not met yet. Next week I think we will start.

I also am now going to be supervising two undergraduate workers. One is still to be hired but I helped streamline the job description and get the interview questions over to HR for approval before we start posting. I will be involved in the job search. I like the job search stuff, I did several last semester and over the summer.

I am also on four committees at the union, working on creating the 08-09 budget for the department and planning a day long training for the BOD this Saturday. This is on top of my usual duties, which include paying invoices, requesting checks for the BOD, clerical work, scheduling meetings and managing the turn over on the BOD. Yeah, we have one new member joining us this week, an official resignation of another today and two more people whose status is up in the air. Yay! All my job to manage the revolving personnel.

Speaking of my other job (several paragraphs ago), today was the first day that I taught. I have the same schedule, as last semester so in some ways this is old hat. In other ways, it is a brand new adventure. I am still playing catch up although now that I have done it once, it is a little easier. I wasn’t shaking in front of the class nearly as much as I was at the beginning of last semester. It’s crazy, I have 25 students per class and a waiting list of at least 6 for each class. And everyone showed up today. Man I am hitting the ground running.

I also had my first class on Tuesday night, Performance Studies Seminar. It is going to be a lot of work but very informative. I have to conduct an ethnographic study this semester in a community. I plan on either working with Dress for Success or MEND (Meet Each Need with Dignity). Both are awesome charities and Dress for Success is something I have wanted to get involved with for a couple years now. It will have to depend where they are located, when they operate and who is open to allowing me to participate in their community. I shall let you know how that goes. Also, our first assignment, which is due next Tuesday, is to go to a bar to conduct an ethnographic study. You have to love Graduate School. Now if only I could figure out a way to make cupcakes for a class project…

For my department service department, we met today to divvy up the work that needs to be done. We have two- three performances to publicize and get money for this semester. I fear that I will be screwed because the new TA who shared this assignment is notorious for allowing others to do her work and being real cozy with the instructors. And she is very close with both the head of our department and the advisor for the performance group. She is doing an independent study with the advisor to adapt

“The Barbie Chronicles” as the show for the group to perform this semester. She is going to adapt and direct the show. So guess who will get to take care of all the publicity and logistics for the visiting artists and all events? Yup, lit’ ol’ me. She already tried to say that she would put up the new display case by herself and leave all the flier work to me.

Nuh uh, no way chica. I said I would work on the fliers, yes but I very calmly said that I would like to help on the display as well. I phrased it as two sets of hands are better than one to help her vision come to life and made a decorative suggestion which she likes. She agreed that we should decorate the board together and then started complimenting me on how creative I am and how great a project I created last semester, so detailed, blah blah blah. Yeah, I am proud of my project and am creative but she laid it on a little thick. She is known for this kind of behavior. I hate to be this suspicious but I have to CYA this semester. I am going to start logging the hours I work on this service assignment so that if anyone tries to say I have not worked my max 5 hours each week, I can prove I did. And I know that I can’t say that Chica is not pulling her weight, she is much beloved by the staff involved. I just have to keep in mind and always phrase it as we are both so busy and could really need an extra set of hands. I can’t ever let anyone hear me say that she isn’t doing her job. I just think that the lines between her independent study and this service assignment will conveniently blur.

Oh and the kicker? The advisor is finishing her thesis this semester, trying to graduate with her PhD. So there is a lot that I think will be allowed to slide here. Whoopie.

This will be my last Wednesday night home for a while. The group will met at 7 on Wednesday nights. Ah well, no one else is home. Mi hermano is visiting with the cousins, mom will be out to dinner with a colleague each week and Pops is teaching a night class on Wednesdays this semester. He is going to be so tired but maybe we can figure out a way to carpool so he is not driving home by himself at 10 each week.

I have a Comm Theory class Tomorrow night which is going to be intense. I also am coding responses for a professor on campus for a research project. Paid and a good Curriculum Vitae builder.

I have a lot on my plate this semester, all this and two very intense classes. I really have to be on the top of my game. But I survived last semester, so I know I can do it. So if you don’t hear from me often, all of the above is the reason. Can you say:

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Whoa Becky!

Okay, first I finished my paper I last wrote about on time and got the grade I expected in the class.

Second, I plan on writing more later but in the meantime....

Tomorrow I am vying for one of 56 spots to be on stage with

I kid you not. I promise I will let you all know what happens and why I have this opportunity. So excited!