Tuesday, 30 September 2008

I am woman, hear me roar!

I love these cool, crisp fall days. I love that it is sunny and beautiful without a cloud in the sky and yet you still need some kind of jacket to keep warm. This is my kind of weather.

I thought that when I logged on here and started typing that I would figure out what to write about. I was trying to avoid writing about work but it is the main thing that is on my mind right now. Since I am interpreting within a program, I spend a lot of my time here.

I can't really give you too much information of course, since I've got that whole confidentiality thing going on in my code of ethics. I can say that I had a meeting yesterday to discuss the challenges that I have been facing in the classroom and that since my meeting, I am feeling much better.

One of the main problems that I have been having is that I am constantly needing to set boundaries and am finding myself exhausted and drained at the end of the day. I am feeling a little like I am having the life and energy sucked out of me during the course of the day. Being the typical Canadian female, I of course think that this is my fault/responsibility/problem/issue (pick a word, any word - they all fit). I think that I need to be more empathetic, more compassionate, more understanding, more easy going, more flexible. To counter this and make it all that much more difficult and awkward, I also think I need to be more firm, more appropriate, more professional, more strict and less approachable.

The meeting I had yesterday was with someone that I am able to talk with freely about all of this. I still went into it tentatively. I barely had to say anything when the other person involved in the meeting backed me up. I hadn't realized that I was trying to keep myself afloat without any support until this woman tossed me a life jacket. She told me that I am not the first person to have the exact same problems with this student and that she has my back. She described the student as high maintenance, demanding and needy without a clear understanding of boundaries. Now I am generally not a fan of labels but when the shoe fits someone else's foot and gives me some space to breathe - it's hard not to jump on board with those labels.

We went over the parameters of my job together so that we were on the same page as far as my responsibilities go and then we discussed strategies for dealing with the situation. She offered to speak to the student about boundaries and appropriate behaviour and I declined the offer. I think it is best if I do it myself. If things don't change after that, then she will sit down with the student and discuss the situation.

This is going to be a challenge for me. I don't have these kinds of discussions well. There is also a small part of me that is looking forward to finally being..... wow, there isn't a word for what I want to say that I can think of that isn't negative. The ones that come to mind are all negative labels for a strong woman. What would we call a man who had firm boundaries and didn't put up with bs? A man. Hmmmm....ok so here's my sentence then. There is also a small part of me that is looking forward to finally being a strong woman.

And there you have it.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Delicious and Zack Morris (note the 'and' in there)

I could so easily write another post about work right now. I am going to try and avoid doing that today. It would just be me venting and ranting again and I think we've had enough of that. I am generally a fan of compassion and empathy and finding the positive and so I need to live that so that when I preach it, I'm not a total hypocrite.

Again though, I seem to be struggling with finding something else to write about.

I heard about a website yesterday Delicious.com . It is a social bookmarking site. It allows you to create a page with all your favourite and bookmarked websites so that you can access them from any computer. I am going to create an account today. I am often using different computers in random computer labs at various schools and wish that I had access to my 'favourite' list. There are different blogs and websites that I check regularly but I can't find them when I am not at home. This site is perfect for those moments. It also gives you the opportunity to share your favourite sites with other people. Check it out at the link above and if you join, let me know and we can share bookmarks!

And from way out in left field, I looked up Mark Paul Gosselaar on IMDb yesterday and Oh My Dog, does he ever look different. Here's a link to him on IMDb if you are remotely curious to see what Zack Morris looks like all grown up. For those not in the know, Mark Paul Gosselaar was the main guy on Saved by the Bell.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

A challenging situation

So more issues to do with work....the same work that I wanted to vent about yesterday and today is posing an entirely new set of challenges. I think that it is interesting that this particular job is pushing my buttons...and very different buttons at that.

Yesterday was about me needing to set firm boundaries and being uncomfortable with that. Today the student is fighting with another student and I am in the situation of having to interpret different parts of the fight (mostly they are writing back and forth) and also the student is wanting to talk to me about the fight and get validation from me.

I am not engaging and instead am letting the student know that speaking to a counselor is an option. I am sure that there is some great way to handle this situation but I certainly don't know what it is. My job definition is to interpret and that's it but I am not a smock-wearing machine (sorry, that will only make sense to the other interpreters reading this). There is a fine line for being involved without actually getting involved.

I can see what has happened between these two students and yet without some kind of mediation, I don't think that either of them will be able to understand what happened. One day they were getting along and the next they weren't. They each think the other one is the cause of their problem. The truth is that they are each the cause of their own problem.

But then, it is always easier to blame someone else than it is to look at your own behaviour.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Rant / No Rant

I am in a ranting mood right now. What sucks the most about that is that this is not the venue for being able to rant about work things. I feel like writing a rant and yet, ethically I can't. Dumb ethics.

Instead I will try and shift my attitude by writing about good, nice pleasant things.

Ok, I am feeling at a loss for finding something nice to write about.
Maybe something will come to me. Until then, I think I will go rant in a venue that is much more appropriate and ethical.

Monday, 15 September 2008

School again?

I've got this whole thing about going back to school. I really want to do it and at the same time I don't want to do it at all. I tested the waters last fall by taking a bookkeeping course at Langara and well, I only lasted 3 weeks. I liked being back in school and everything that went with it - I didn't even mind doing the homework - but it turned out that I wasn't too fond of the subject matter.

Numbers - ugh! Why can't there be such a thing as word accounting. I would love to keep track of words...lists and lists of words....not dumb old numbers!

So here, I am again, a year later looking into going back to school...again. There are a couple ways of doing this and they each have their pros and cons. I could take classes locally somewhere through continuing education and pick and choose the things that I would really love to learn. Or, I could do this more formally and actually go back and get my degree in something (English, Psychology, Visual Arts, Media - these are all areas that interest me).

With the first option, I wouldn't get any credit toward a degree but it might be more enjoyable. With the second option I would end up with a degree but it would be more demanding and stressful. I guess what I need to decide is if the stress of getting a degree is worth the degree.

I also need to figure out what my goal is around education. Is my goal to get the degree or to just learn things that I want to learn and have some fun. These are some big questions and I am going to have to do some soul searching to find the answers.

Thursday, 11 September 2008


One of the jobs I have this semester is working in a self paced class. The interpreting I am doing in this class is in shorts bursts and so I have to be ready to interpret at a moment's notice and I have to always have one eye on the student to know if they need me. I like to use the eye I have in the back of my head for that job.

I have found that if I sit with the student at their table then I just become a distraction to them. They get sick of doing their work and then they want to chat. Two days ago I got bombarded with personal questions like "Are you married?" "Why not?" "Do you have a partner?" "Why not?" "Don't you want someone in your life?" "Don't you want to have children?" "Don't you have any responsibilities?" "Why do you always wear black?" "What's wrong with you?"

I avoided answered these questions and tried to guide the student back to their work. The moment there was a pause in the interrogation, I excused myself to the washroom and when I came back I sat down at the computers and then when I made my way back over to the table I claimed that it was too crowded and that I would sit at the next table over.

Subterfuge has just become a part of my job description.

In other news, I got an email from the publishing company about the missing Cooptown books and they are on their way! They shipped the batch in 2 boxes - so one of the boxes arrived and the other is taking a totally different journey to get to me.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

The Weekend to End Breast Cancer

I am so far behind on posting. I have logged in a few times to write something but then sat staring at a blank computer screen without a thought in my head of what to write about. Usually when that happens, I can start with a stream of consciousness (much as I am doing now) and then form it into something postable. Those few times I logged on and stared at a blank screen though, I wasn't feeling inspired to write at all. So instead of writing, I took a month off.

Alright, explanation out of the way (and I know that I really didn't need to give you one - but that's where my stream of consciousness took me) now I can get on with telling you what's going on with me right now.

I registered yesterday to do the Weekend to End Breast Cancer next year. It is a 60km walk over two days in August and it is to raise money for breast cancer research. To even be able to do the walk you need to commit to raising $2000.00 for the event. So I have one year to raise $2000.00. A year ago that would have completely intimidated me but since the wine drive last fall, I have realized that I am totally capable of coming up with creative fundraisers. By the way - the wine drive will be happening again this fall (I will probably make the official announcement in the next couple of weeks) and the money collected will go towards my $2000 entry into the Weekend to End Breast Cancer.

What inspired me to do the event was seeing J-Dub's sister K-Dub do it this year. We went down to see her at the finish line for the speeches and closing ceremony stuff and it was so incredibly inspiring. Plus, you know, I've got that whole charitable million dollar goal thing going on too. I love the idea of being a part of something like that - it's a movement, it's a community, it's life-changing.

My other news of the day is that the Cooptown books have arrived on my doorstep. There was a small problem with the order and I am missing 15 books. I have been in touch with the publishing company and they are trying to figure out what happened. Hopefully it will get worked out without too much trouble and I will have the rest of the books soon.

It was a pretty fun moment opening up the box and finding stacks of Cooptown books inside. I actually googled "Cooptown" today just to see if it would show up and it did! Granted it was on the 3rd page of the google search but still...it was there!

So if you are one of the people who ordered a Cooptown book from me, they are here and ready for pick up or delivery. Send me an email and we can arrange the exchange. I am going to donate a part of the proceeds of the book to my entry fee for the The Walk to End Breast Cancer - from here on out to affectionately be shortened to TWTEBC.

If you haven't ordered a Cooptown book yet but would like to - they are $15 and worth every penny! Let me know if you'd like one.