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(no subject) [Feb. 13th, 2011|06:00 pm]
natty
i'm really kind of sick of people. i'm around people all day at work, and when i get home, the only person i can (usually) stand to be around is tim.

i still also just feel a little disillusioned with friends... i went from the shy one with a few close friends to a more outgoing, confident person with lots of "friends" but how deep were those relationships? since of most of them crumbled when i got a real job and stepped out of the partying scene, i'd say not so deep.

now i'm left mostly with vestiges of high school friends, and again, i feel further and further from them. is it that i'm just getting older, doing different things, working? not staying up late? not going out much? or something deeper?

i suppose it's okay either way. i love what i'm doing at work, and i enjoy what i do when i get home. maybe it's not worth fretting over the fact that i don't get out much... who am i trying to impress anyway?
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philosophy of math [Jan. 17th, 2011|09:33 am]
natty
[music |frankie valli]

i am being distracted from grading by philosophy of math and math education articles...

this one i'm reading right now (Lockhart's Lament by Paul Lockhart) already has me all fired up and i'm less than halfway through. it's unpublished, but a link if you're interested (even reading the first few pages gives the idea): http://www.maa.org/devlin/devlin_03_08.html

this quote in particular is something i wish i could show to my coworker and have him actually understand:

"All this fussing and primping about which “topics” should be taught in what order, or the use
of this notation instead of that notation, or which make and model of calculator to use, for god’s
sake— it’s like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic! Mathematics is the music of reason.
To do mathematics is to engage in an act of discovery and conjecture, intuition and inspiration;
to be in a state of confusion— not because it makes no sense to you, but because you gave it
sense and you still don’t understand what your creation is up to; to have a breakthrough idea; to
be frustrated as an artist; to be awed and overwhelmed by an almost painful beauty; to be alive,
damn it."

i feel extremely lucky to be teaching at all. more than that, i feel really lucky to be teaching where i am, at a school that embraces things like "independent curriculum" and has administrators that get excited when i talk about how the philosophy and history of math were the whole reason i started studying math in the first place. it's a place where i can really diverge from "mainstream math education" (which is pretty much full of shit).

and it's funny. while the above quote would probably deeply trouble my department chair, the next quote very accurately describes my office mate, who is the longest-standing member of our math department:

"Why don’t we want our children to learn to do mathematics? Is it that we don’t trust them,
that we think it’s too hard? We seem to feel that they are capable of making arguments and
coming to their own conclusions about Napoleon, why not about triangles? I think it’s simply
that we as a culture don’t know what mathematics is. The impression we are given is of
something very cold and highly technical, that no one could possibly understand— a self fulfilling
prophesy if there ever was one."

case in point: we are discussing changing geometry books for next year. if there is one place in high school math that it's very possible to implement a different style of teaching, it's geometry. for one, the later courses don't really depend on geometry, so if i fail to teach them one formula or concept, i won't have overbearing calculus teachers (cough cough) breathing down my neck because i didn't teach them the right things. but also, geometry is very visual and intuitive in many ways. it started as conjectures (people used the pythagorean theorem before it was really proven), and it's easy for kids to visually make conjectures about geometry... whereas in algebra, a failure to understand algebra, the abstractions, or what symbols mean could block the possibliity of this happening.

so anyway, our current geometry book blows. seriously. as a new teacher, i clung to it at first, afraid i'd skip something important if i didn't. but over time, i started to realize how much the book sucked and how little the kids were getting an intuitive understanding of geometry. showing them proofs wasn't helping them understand, it was just confusing and stressing them out even more (and this book shows them proofs in chapter two, before they've even seen triangles presented). so i started to deviate, and found that my fourth coworker (a retired 35-year APS math teacher who has not yet been mentioned) agreed with me on everything i left out.

so we talk more and it turns out he knows of a different book that promotes real discovery (fittingly called "discovering geometry"). no book is perfect, but this one sure looks better. instead of just laying out theorems and showing proofs, it has the students go through activities to make conjectures about the situation. they then use these conjectures without proof until the end of the year, when maybe more of them have managed to build up enough of an intuition that proofs even make sense.

of course, there is opposition from the first two colleagues i mentioned. they are afraid to let go of control, afraid to let real math happen. they want to stand and lecture and prevent the kids from ever trying anything or making any mistakes. they believe math is just a set of truths, and they have been appointed by god himself to stand and deliver the truths (because god knows the congregation could never understand the truths themselves without a holy priest!)

i say... fuck that. i'm already starting to let it happen. and hell, i have nothing to lose. a grand experiment.

another quote from lockhart's article that pretty much sums up many ideas that have been swirling in my head, stemming from books, articles, TED talks, conversations with my head principal:

"Teaching is not about information. It’s about having an honest intellectual relationship with
your students. It requires no method, no tools, and no training. Just the ability to be real. And if
you can’t be real, then you have no right to inflict yourself upon innocent children.

In particular, you can’t teach teaching. Schools of education are a complete crock. Oh, you
can take classes in early childhood development and whatnot, and you can be trained to use a
blackboard “effectively” and to prepare an organized “lesson plan” (which, by the way, insures
that your lesson will be planned, and therefore false), but you will never be a real teacher if you
are unwilling to be a real person. Teaching means openness and honesty, an ability to share
excitement, and a love of learning. Without these, all the education degrees in the world won’t
help you, and with them they are completely unnecessary.

It’s perfectly simple. Students are not aliens. They respond to beauty and pattern, and are
naturally curious like anyone else. Just talk to them! And more importantly, listen to them!"
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strange place [Dec. 22nd, 2010|12:52 pm]
natty
i feel like i'm in a strange place in life...

most of the friends i had this time last year i haven't seen since... well... about this time last year. the people i spend most of my time with are at work, which means i spend most of my time with 14-18 year old students or 50+ year old colleagues. i'm on a normal adult 8-4 M-F schedule and absolutely refuse to be hung over or tired at work...

which is the main reason i don't think i've seen all those friends. most of them are still in college, and if they work, it's not full time or not the kind of job that they can't show up to hung over. i'm probably generalizing a bit, but it's like... i just don't do the same things they do, at all. i got invited out last night by an old friend that i hadn't heard from in a long time and i was really excited to go... and then the time kept getting pushed back until it was a full hour and a half later than he'd said. by that time, i was getting tired and kind of felt shitty anyway, and thought to myself, "Why should i force myself to go if i don't feel good anyway? and it's way later than i was told" and then when i let him know, he kind of gave me a hard time. it's like... really? what the fuck is up with people my age and never holding deadlines? it bothers me. i invite people over for dinner, and no matter what time i say, they think it's fine to just show up two hours late..... i'm sorry i just can't stay up that late, that's not my schedule.

it makes me wonder what friend really means, anyway. sure i had fun with these people, but were they really my friends? does it matter that i feel like my only real friends are my family, my boyfriend, and my dog?
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and it's still a small world... [Aug. 27th, 2010|06:44 am]
natty
i guess i shouldn't be surprised. it is albuquerque. but i've had some weird small world experiences at work.

like during the interview, when the head of the upper school says, "oh you went to la cueva? my nephew went there..." upon hearing the nephew's name, i realized that i graduated in the same class and was not especially fond of the gentleman in question.

and then during the last interview, a different math teacher said, "my son went there! he graduated in 2006...." and i come to find out that yes, i knew this fellow as well, in fact we were in math classes together. again, not a huge fan.

but the weirdest one was the other day. i have to run a freshman study hall twice a week. mine only has 4 students enrolled, but only two of them showed up. our room was double booked so we were wandering around before finally settling in the library (a journey during which i was mistaken for a student by other staff members TWICE).

so the two who showed up were a bit distracted, and we didn't have much time left anyway. one of the girls is really outgoing and chatty so i just kind of let her be that way and started talking to her.

she mentioned her brother wanting to be a baker, so i said something about how i'd worked at the whole foods bakery.

then she turns to the other kid and she's like "yeah, mr hamze left to be a baker in san francisco!" i asked her who she was talking about, and she said she was talking about her old middle school math teacher. after finding out his first name, i was like "oh my god... i know him." at least i was pretty sure because of the relative unusualness of the name and the part about san francisco...

so she starts flipping out like "what? how??" well, i met him at my last job. during the dreaded meeting in santa fe where i had to carpool with my boss, who i really disliked. (luckily she kept the awkward conversation to a minimum... the only really bad part was the, "so, you and tim like, talk?!?") turns out this hamze character had just recently become the head baker for this region of whole foods, and so i met him.

so... i am now a math teacher at bosque who met a former math teacher from bosque while working at whole foods. maybe it's not that big a deal. i guess it just kind of makes me feel strange.

i've also been having weird dreams about people at work. nothing bordering inappropriate or anything ;-) but like the other night, i had this kinda strange dream where a lot of people were hanging out with me who i haven't seen in a while (shannon is the only one i really remember). we were at a bar, and then going to the zoo. but another person who was there is this one senior girl i have in a class. it wasn't totally notable, but i woke up with that feeling that we were somehow connected from being in a dream together. it's an unfounded feeling... the same feeling i had when i had a really kind of hilarious sex dream about coworkers at starbucks and couldn't get myself to look them in the eye the next day... but yes.

and then last night, i had a dream that is also funny in retrospect but kind of stressful. in the dream, my coworker who i've been having mild difficulty with was in my house. well it was my parents house for whatever reason, but i woke up early in the morning and he was there. like living there. the funny part is he was in my older brother's old room... funny because in some ways he reminds me of my older brother. the most aggravating part i think was that he was smoking a cigarette in the dream and i was like "DUDE i would give ANYTHING for a cigarette!" and he just ignored me. lol. anyway, now i have this feeling that i'm already annoyed with him before the day even starts.

sigh. well i better get to school. so glad it's friday! so tiring.
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(no subject) [Jul. 12th, 2010|10:37 am]
natty
so i'm going to teach high school this fall.

i can't really remember what i was like in high school. part of me feels like people still have some core "self" that doesn't change too much, just matures as you get a bit older. but part of me feels a bit like high schoolers, like all children, are alien beings that i don't really understand at all. except high schoolers don't look that much younger than i do.

ha. so yeah. a bit nervous, but i have a month off from work to hopefully psyche myself up.
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(no subject) [Feb. 18th, 2010|11:50 am]
natty
so i went downtown the other night, on mardi gras, to see THE GATHERERRRRS play at burt's. it was really fun because tim came with me, and then 3 of my bakery coworkers showed up too and it was fun to hang out with them outside of work! well i had some drinks before we went, and i had like... 3 or so drinks there... tim and i were the last to leave pretty much, most of my friends and the other bakery people were already gone. i felt fine to drive, but you know. anyway on the way home i was driving up coal and there was a cop parked in the dark on the side of the road who immediately put his lights on when i drove by and i was like oh great.....

i started ot pull to the side of coal, and he said through the speaker "please go to the next street and turn right" so i did. only as i was turning right onto the street did tim say, "whoa, are we being pulled over???" and i was like "yes. yes we are."

i was pretty nervous. i had my license out by the time he got to the car and kind of fumbled a ltitle for the registration, giving him my insurance slip by accident first. he asked me if i'd been drinking and i of course said "no sir". he asked where i was coming from, and i probably stupidly said "from downtown, i just watched my friend's band play". or maybe not so stupidly, actually... if i'd tried to make something up i think it would have looked worse. i was wearing mardi gras beads at the time after all. he then made me follow his finger with my eyes without moving my head, which tim said i did a great job beause my head didn't move at all. he said "hold on a moment" and went back to his car and i was just like... fuck. like picturing if he was like "get out of the car" or any of that shit, and all the horrible things.

but he came back and said "ok, well you were going 41 in a 30, so you have to go to court on this date. sign here and drive safely home ok?"

i feel really lucky... even though ihave to go deal with the ticket now...
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god damn two faced backstabbing cuntfaced bitches [Feb. 8th, 2010|12:58 pm]
natty
just recently finding out that a girl at work has been talking mad shit ever since i got the promotion she wanted. it bothers me because she's someone that a lot of my friends at work thought was kind of weird but i tried to stick up for. i went to her house and watched anime with her for two hours and listened to her talk for another 2 hours when her husband flipped out and left town. i invited her to parties and gatherings to try to help her meet more people here. before i decided to apply for the promotion, i wanted her to get it.

it just so happens that i decided, fairly last minute, to apply for the job. and i got it.

and what does she do? turns around and tells our other coworkers a lot of shit and half-truths about how i drink, how my party was stupid but "it must be a new mexico thing", how i was shirtless at a bar (not true actually), how i don't deserve the job, how she does, blah blah. fucking bitch. then i heard that she had a so-called "hate party" at her house, just coincidentally a few days after we heard about the job, which another coworker overheard her describing as a night to "hang out and talk shit about people at work". invited to her party? a couple other girls and a guy from work who i briefly dated.

he still acts exactly the same to me at work but that's because he's also a fake-ass "nice guy" who just always is nice to everybody and it bugs the living shit out of me. he unfriended me on facebook and it's not that i really give a flying fuck... but seriously, why act so fake? i'd rather you just stop talking to me altogether than act nice at work and attend "hate parties" which i'm sure i was mentioned at and sever your digital ties to me like it even matters...

sigh. the girl's also been talking about how she doesn't want to be bossed around by me, even though bossing peopl;e around is not in my new job description at all. but now i feel like i have to walk on eggshells with her. if i have even the slightest suggestion for her, if i want to change the way things are done in a way that involves me having to tell her the new way to do things, i just know she's going to be a fucking bitch about it.

well anyway. i guess it just sucks because i do tend to trust people. i trust that they are real, honest, and wouldn't waste their time being nice to people that they hate unless they absolutely have to. this is an assumption i've started to make ever since we all left fucking middle school, because i really thought after that people were done with that bullshit.

but this just made me realize that people still can be god damn two faced backstabbing cuntfaced bitches.
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(no subject) [Jan. 20th, 2010|01:48 pm]
natty
[music |bright eyes]

day off.

had weird dreams last night... can't remember too many details, though this one part did involve being in the middle of the desert, and there were train tracks. i was visiting some people who lived there, an asian couple with two white kids and three black ones (?). and the train came to deliver them food and things once a month. the train came and i was helping them unload their food, and they had this crazy stockpile bunker.

but aside from that part, the thing i do remember about the dream is a general feeling of being disapproved of by my family. and myself lashing out to show them that they were wrong.

i guess this reflects kind of how i've felt for a while with my family. like they are tolerating my non-professional job for now, my lack of grad school, but eventually they expect me to "pull it together". and therein lies ageism... it's okay for me, at 23, to be aimlessly working a "normal" job, but if i were older, it wouldn't be as okay. and this is the same reason that someone close to me gave me a drunken rant about how my boyfriend tim is "nice and all, but he just doesn't seem to have any PLANS".

really? so just because he's older than me, it's not okay for him to be working at whole foods, but it's okay for me? or is it not okay for me either, but nobody wants to go so far as to say that?

there's also some educationism. discrimination because of educational background. why does everyone assume that someone without a college degree (or heaven forbid, without a high school one) just isn't as smart? i've long had my naive view of college shattered, thanks in large part to vince's rampant and almost violent cynicism. college is pretty much bullshit. there are smart people there, but there are also tons of idiots who will probably get better grades than many of the truly smart people. and high school, in retrospect, is even worse. i kind of respect someone who saw this much earlier than i did and bucked the whole system.

no, i don't regret going to school and trying, for the most part, to do well according to their rules. but rather than look down i tend to look up to someone who is clearly smart and said "fuck it all" to that bullshit system.

ranting aside...

it's funny how things turn out. i went from pretty much completely believing i was incapable of loving someone else (whatever that meant) and believing i was somehow broken (or just so aware of reality that i couldn't believe in a love story anymore) to... suddenly finding myself completely in love, in a way i've never been before. and its just... surprising.

it's funny too that i've started to see little flickers of the past in him. like... little things that remind me of past lovers or past objects of my affection, but only in the slightest of ways. and in most ways he's totally different from all of them. but it's like... before now, i was trying to attain something, and everyone was somehow providing various facets of what i wanted, but never the entire thing, and always terribly out of balance. but now, its like all these previous attempts are somehow reflected in the new love, but none of them even compare to it.

i'm not really sure if i can verbalize better than that, but it makes me smile.
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(no subject) [Jan. 12th, 2010|12:45 pm]
natty
things have been a bit crazy the past few weeks. i kind of feel like my life has been turned upside down in the most pleasant of ways.

i kind of want to tell the story...

so i was going to be leaving for LA on christmas. a few days before christmas, i realized that nobody would probably be able to give me a ride to the airport that morning because they'd all be doing christmas stuff. i posted something on facebook asking if anyone would give me a ride. the next day at work, this cool lady i work with (camille) who is my friend on facebook was like, "Hey, so did you ever find a ride?" and i said "nope. but i'll figure something out..." and she says, "well, bonner can take you"

i thought it might just be a joke, and it seemed really out of the blue. bonner, tim bonner, is a guy who works there. he goes by his last name because there are 5 different tims in the store (4 of them in the kitchen) so it gets a bit confusing. i looked down the kitchen and he was at the other end, and he was nodding and looking serious. i started blushing because i couldn't really tell if camille was serious or if it was a joke (the tims are notorious for joking around). camille proceeded to make me get tim's number, which was kind of odd because he didn't know what his number was, so she had to get it from her phone for me. i wrote it on a coffee sleeve in sharpie. i made jokes about drinking beer before the airport and felt a bit uncomfortable about the whole thing, but i walked away from it with a strange smile. later that day at work, i kept thinking about how romantic it would be to hang out on christmas day with basically a total stranger...

turns out, the next day i switched my flight to be with my cousin stef, so i could just get a ride with her to the airport. camille came up to me at work and asked, "so, did you call bonner yet?" and i was like "oh shoot. well i don't need a ride now... do you think i should call him and let him know?" and she was like "oh definitely. i know you don't see it at work much, but bonner is really really smart and a really cool guy. and he's hilarious. and i know he really really wants to hang out with you."

at which point i was blushing, giggling, and hiding behind the giant oven mitts i was wearing at the time. camille walked away and i saw her a few minutes later whispering to another lady in the corner, looking at me and imitating my oven mitt gestures. i knew then that something was going on.

i mustered up the courage to text him on christmas eve and tell him i didn't need a ride but that we should hang out. he told me to call him in the morning. i woke up christmas morning and had a really nice, relaxing, slow morning. i packed for my trip and got everything ready, hung out with elliott, and listened to "in the morning of the magicians" like 50 times. finally, i called him around 10 when i figured it wasn't too insanely early. he answered and we had a really awkward phone conversation druing which i managed to get directions to his house and he told me to come over.

on the way there, i was really nervous. i still had a vague idea that the whole thing might be some big joke, or that he might not really expect me to come, or that he'd be passed out once i got there (he had definitely been drinking...), and the idea of just entering a random house for the first time to see someone i hardly knew was kind of daunting. but i found it, and i went in. he offered me beer and whiskey which i gladly took to ease the nervousness. we ended up just sitting around, drinking and talking, for a while. eventually, we took elliott to hidden park. i brought beers in my jacket and totally dropped one right when we got out of the car, shattering glass everywhere. we proceeded to find a spot in the middle of the park, plop down in the sun, and try not to be noticed as drunk.

at some point in the day, tim asked me how old i thought he was. i made a serious guess: 27. he just laughed at me before telling me he is 33. he pretty much immediately told me that he liked me a lot. he even went so far as to say, "so... i don't get it. you're like super cute, and smart... so what's the catch? why are you even hanging out with somene like me?" i didnt' really know the answer, but by the time we got to the park, i was extremely taken by him and starting to get comfortable around him.

we went back to his house and talked a little to hsi friend who is staying there and watched a movie or something. at some point, he said, "do you want to go lay down for a bit?" and i gladly consented. we went to his room and laid down on his bed and fell asleep in one of the most blissful naps i've ever had.

i woke up to stefanie calling me around 430, saying she and her dad were heading toward my house to pick me up for the airport. i don't know exactly why... maybe because they were getting there so early, maybe because of the alcohol, but i didn't get up. i fell back asleep, hoping that my phone would ring again once they got to my house and i could just race back over there.

i woke up about 530. my flight was supposed to leave at 605. i immediately called family as i jumped out of tim's bed, grabbed elliott, and raced back to my house. my uncles were still at my house, even though stef already got taken to the airport. i ran inside, grabbed my shit and put elliott away in about 30 seconds, apologizing the entire time, dazed and confused and slightly embarassed. my uncle carl got me to the airport on time, partly thanks to the flight being delayed, and i got on the plane with stef and proceeded to tell her the whole story. the whole family thought i had gone insane, or AWOL, or was on drugs... a story that managed to spread even to some of my friends before i was able to correct it. i still don't get why nobody called me after the initial call at 430, but anyway.

needless to say, i was kind of blown away by the events of the day. out of nowhere, random guy who i'd had little encounters with but hadn't consciously thought about, this crazy blissful drunken dream of a christmas day...

we texted almost constantly the entire time i was in LA and talked on the phone every day for like at least an hour. completely surprising to me.

he planned to pick me up from the airport when i got back. i was on the phone with him most of the time i was waiting at LAX, and my flight got delayed so i had to wait even longer. when i finally got back to abq, he was waiting at the gate. i was nervous to see him, almost nervous i wouldn't even recognize him... that's how little we'd actually spent time together. he took me to his car, where he had a fifth of jim beam and a pack of camels waiting for me... which sounds kind of lame but i thought was really sweet. i mentioned wanting to smoke like once in LA when i was on the phone, and he remembered what kind i had last time and got them for me. when we got out of the parking garage, the amount he had to pay made me realize he'd been there like a really long time. i felt bad, but he said "well... i was just sitting around all night waiting to come get you anyway, and i didn't want to be late..." we ended up going to gecko's to get drinks with my cousins tracy and brian. as we sat there, i remember looking over and just thinking to myself "wow. he is really cute." like. the first time i really got to look at him. i was slightly embarassed when it was revealed he was the oldest person at the table, even after my cousin tracy swore she must be the oldest, but i didn't really care.

and so it started. fast forward, and basically we've spent time together almost every single day since i got back from LA. i feel like it's crazy, but it's perfect. we have both gone through similar romantic histories, his spread out a bit mroe in time, but essentially the same. we both had a really long term thing that ended, followed by a really short-but-intense and painful experience, followed by random shit that we didn't really care about. when i described to him how i'd started to feel like i was just not meant to have relationships, like i was somehow broken forever and just couldn't do it anymore, he knew exactly what i meant.

and yet here we are, both our minds completely changed. i don't mean for this to sound cheesy and i'm sure what i write can't really convey it, but... i've been completely smitten. the night i got back from LA he asked me to be his girlfriend, something that i would normally recoil from completely, but i honestly was so happy. we said "love" to each other just a few days later. and i really really feel it. we finish each others sentences, but we aren't so similar that it's boring or annoying, either. we've spent just about every night together, talked and cooked and eaten and drank together...... though it's only been a few weeks, i am completely in love.

thus i feel kind of insane.

so anyway... kind of a long story, probably not that entertaining. i guess i just wanted to attempt to capture it in words, maybe help myself remember it down the road.
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(no subject) [Dec. 16th, 2009|01:26 pm]
natty
things have been a little weird lately. i don't know if i want a relationship or what i really want, i'm not sure what i need... just time, maybe?

and i've been slightly sick and a little bit out fo the social loop. but ready to get back in.

last night, i had this moment... i was laying in bed with elliott next to me, i had my arm around him and he was resting his head right next to me. and suddenly i realized that for the first time in a long time i actually felt... like really happy, peaceful, and loving. it was a feeling i hadn't really realized i missed. and i found myself talking to elliott out loud, saying as if i was just discovering love for the first time, "I love you!!!" it was weird.

maybe it's a sign of the ice starting to crack? melt away? i don't know. maybe i just really love my dog. ha
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