22 February 2020

Weekender

I was talking with a friend yesterday about work-life balance. He said that his boss had made a remark that my friend did not appear to have that. I disagreed. But that may have something to do with my own definition of the term.

I don't have a 9 - 5 job. I don't clock in, do my time, and clock out. I don't have a job that doesn't include evening events, stuff that I need to bring home, or summer vacations. But I am okay with that because most official work days, I can step out and run a quick errand. I can take a long lunch to connect with a friend and flex my time to stay late. So, yes, there are weekends like this one where I will probably put in 10 - 12 hours of time on things for work and not use that time to rest and recharge or do whatever I might want, but I won't feel guilty later this week for taking some time out. To me, this is balance. I work when I need to work...and when I need to rest, I do that, too. If those events don't fit in a defined Monday - Friday box, so be it. I'm okay with having insomnia and working from 1 - 3 in the morning and then sleeping a bit and going to the office at 8 instead of 6.

https://twitter.com/science_goddess/status/9503612996

While the tweet from this date referred to a Monday instead of a weekend, it is a good reminder that this time of year is busy with prepping for spring events. I am not working on seven different presentations this time around, but I am working on things for the college class I am teaching and a 2-hour study session for our school board for Thursday evening. I am meeting with the carpenter both days to wrap up some work on the community-based data story. I also took myself out to lunch today, am enjoying Hockey Night in Canada on the tv, and have a lovely bottle of bourbon waiting to keep me company when I wrap up a few more tasks. Balance? I gots it.


Just a reminder that I am selecting a tweet from a list provided each day by On This Day as a prompt to get back into blogging.  You can see my full list of tweets posted on this day, or start seeing your own by following that account. 

21 February 2020

Two Truths, No Lie

List of all of today's tweets

Today we have another double feature. Two truths.

The scenario in the first tweet happened when I was a first year teacher in New Mexico. At the time, I taught 9th grade science at the largest junior high in the state. We had 1200 8th and 9th graders...and our science department of 8 people had only $1000 to spend for the entire year. I learned to scavenge early for substitutions, and this was no exception. I needed ethanol for classroom labs, but there was no money to buy the lab grade stuff. So, my principal signed a PO for the liquor store and off I went. I hid the bottle in the very back of a locked cabinet, but I always lived in fear that someone would see it and think I was drinking on the job or that it would roll out and crash on the floor. Somehow I didn't get in trouble.

The second one is something I blogged about back in 2005. And it is a story I still tell. I wonder if that student has followed the news on Ebola in the succeeding years.

While the #scienceconfessions is not particularly active, it's still around if you want to have a look.

20 February 2020

If Only

This tweet from nine years ago is just as true today:

https://twitter.com/science_goddess/status/39430823773999104

Seems like every item these days is a project with its own mini-list. I like being busy, but it's getting a little ridiculous.

One of the reasons I picked this tweet to feature today is that it spawned one of my most favourite replies. It still makes me laugh.

https://twitter.com/DebbyK/status/39431880147345408

I think this is very good advice. If only I could put it into practice.


Just a reminder that I am selecting a tweet from a list provided each day by On This Day as a prompt to get back into blogging.  You can see my full list of tweets posted on this day, or start seeing your own by following that account.

19 February 2020

See Also: Generally Satisfied

Years ago, I saw an article that was reporting survey results about the sex lives of Americans. (Do I have your attention now?) I don't remember the various options on the scale that was used, but a certain percentage of people were reported as being "generally satisfied" about their love lives. A friend and I looked at this and wondered "Who the hell just wants to be generally satisfied? Was it good for you? Oh, you know, I was generally satisfied."

The phrase has stuck with me and I thought of it as the title for today's post because this was the tweet from today that called to me:

https://twitter.com/science_goddess/status/9361766514

I find myself pleasantly exhausted this evening, just as I was 10 years ago on this date. I do not recall the specifics of what happened at this moment a decade ago, but tonight, I am enjoying the completion of my second college class. There are five two-hour sessions for this course (you can follow along here) and it is a delight to spend time with teachers-to-be talking about effective data use. Prepping for class is a lot of work added into my already overflowing schedule, but the students are so enthusiastic, idealistic, and energetic that it doesn't matter that we meet after I've already had a 9-hour day at the office. I smiled all the way home, generally satisfied and once more, pleasantly exhausted.

18 February 2020

Don't Drink and Data

https://twitter.com/science_goddess/status/568108505468502016

I have often used this tweet in presentations, including last week when I taught my first-ever college class. It always gets a chuckle, and it is useful for starting a conversation about data-driven vs. data-informed. I am a proponent of the latter. Data are useful for shining a light in dark corners, for supporting or persuading (for better or worse), but letting them "drive" puts them as the arbiters of decisions...and I can't accept that. I know that many would point out the automated, invisible, data-driven decisions made on my behalf (and for my convenience) on an ongoing basis. It is true that I am not immune. But in education, where we are supporting the very best development we can of the next generation, the human element—in all of its glorious imperfection—is a welcome companion as we make choices.


Just a reminder that I am selecting a tweet from a list provided each day by On This Day as a prompt to get back into blogging.  You can see my full list of tweets posted on this day, or start seeing your own by following that account.

17 February 2020

Time and Time Again

In a couple of weeks, it will be 21 years since my adopted father passed away. His death was sudden and unexpected. Grief was sharp and cruel. It has dulled over the years, of course, but there have been many times when I wished I could ask him questions or tell him news.

My birthmother's passing was different. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor in January2009 and slipped away slowly until the end in November of that year.

https://twitter.com/science_goddess/status/1220748036

Grief was different this time. For the first almost-30 years of my life, I didn't know her...and there was a different sort of grief in that. Then, we reunited (a mere week after my adopted father died) and for 10 years, we got to be together. Losing her a second time was not as hard. Not because it wasn't awful or that I don't miss her, but because I got to have the one thing everyone wishes for: More time. I had lost her once and then I got more time. I got to have nearly a decade...when most people would be happy with just one day more with a loved one they've lost. I understand what a tremendous gift that was.

The tweet from today references the trip I made after her first surgery. I had not been to Canada in a bit. My passport was expired. I knew that being a Canadian citizen, they would have to let me into the country...but I wasn't sure I would be allowed back into the US. (Spoiler alert: I was!) While I was staying with my stepsister and her family in Calgary, I got the passport renewal process started.

Even in February, my birthmother was starting to lose herself. A lifelong elementary teacher and principal...and one of the most honest people you'd ever meet...started telling the most wild tales. She told her doctors about the baby bats that would come sit on her fingers and how she would wrap them in little pink and blue blankets. She told the surgeon that when she had last visited me, we had gone to Grace Hospital in Seattle and had some bone marrow preserved. She was so earnest about this that the surgeon believed her. He was excited, because since we had some genetic similarity, there might be something there that would be useful in treating her. I had to burst everyone's bubble after I arrived and tell them that not only was that not true, but Grace Hospital only exists on the tv show Grey's Anatomy.

But regardless of how hard any of that was, I wouldn't change a thing if it meant that I hadn't had that second chance and gift of time with her.

16 February 2020

Attagirl

Today is one of those days where there's nothing super-special on the list of tweets from this date. But I picked this one just because it's a reminder that as much as I detest diplomacy, I have to admit that my years working for the state education agency helped hone that skill to a sharp point.

https://twitter.com/science_goddess/status/9190257412

Is it a function of adulthood? One of leadership? Or just something we start in Kindergarten in terms of what it means to get along with others?

I have to admit that as I get older, I am getting a lot more clarity on which hills I am willing to die on and what (and who) are not worth fighting for. Diplomacy is still a tool that gets regular use by me, but I also feel like my current job has developed an even broader range of skills toward getting goals accomplished. Will be interesting to see what I add to the toolbelt in my 50s.

15 February 2020

Freud Would Be So Proud

I do so love a good pencil.

https://twitter.com/science_goddess/status/832061560918929408

https://twitter.com/science_goddess/status/9160956492

Specifically, I love a Blackwing pencil that has been sharpened to a long point. I have used all sorts of pencils over the years. When I was a classroom teacher, I always kept one tucked behind my ear. I have given them away to several people over the years, creating a little wave of pencil addicts. This includes the first tweet from this date that is shown above. After finding another pencil nerd, I not only gave him a Blackwing, but at the next meeting he brought his favourite pencil to share with me. In terms of the second tweet, all I can say is that I am still a paper and pencil planner. Even this week, I had some scratch paper for capturing all the ideas from a brain dump about getting ready for an upcoming school board meeting. Some people are "oral processors," but I just need a quiet space and a place to write down and look at mine.

14 February 2020

Love at First Bite

Valentine's Day must not have cast much spell over me in the past...at least as far as my public Twitter feed goes. I can think of some private exchanges and celebrations through the years, but nothing that was particularly visible to others.

So, this is the best I can do as my pick of the litter for tweets from this date:

https://twitter.com/science_goddess/status/566760107480850432

My mouth is spending this Valentine's Day alone, too, and I have not made nearly as good of a meal. I have to admit that I enjoy cooking and used to do so much more frequently. I really should get back to doing so.

And maybe I need to tuck away a good tweet or two in my feed for this date so it doesn't feel so desperate in future years!

13 February 2020

It's 100 Day Somewhere

If you have not recently been around a kindergarten classroom, you may not know (or have forgotten) that the 100th day of school is cause for celebration. Counting to 100 is an important skill students learn during their first year and being 100 days smarter is a big milestone.

Today's tweet from this date is timely because our kinders are celebrating today:

https://twitter.com/science_goddess/status/301690299611217920

And yes, there will be 100 Day parties tomorrow followed by Valentine's Day the day after.

If you haven't been involved with 100 Day, then I urge you to find a way to volunteer in a local elementary school where this takes place. I always go and help with center time, when kids are busy counting, colouring, and otherwise demonstrating they can count to 100. It is a joyous time for them. As for me, it's a good reminder that we are most definitely on the downhill slide to summer break. We got this.

12 February 2020

The Song Is You

While I suspect I will devote far more virtual ink this year to blogging about films and their impact on me as opposed to the effects of other art forms, today's tweet is brought to you from the aural realm.

https://twitter.com/science_goddess/status/1203066935

I like a wide variety of music, but I have to admit that over the last few years, I found myself listening almost exclusively to the '40s Junction on Sirius XM. I have it in the car and on at work. In some ways, it feels a little incongruous to be in my newish car, with its heated seats and navigation screen, while the Andrews Sisters tear one up over the airwaves. But with all the craziness at work and in the world at large, there is something comforting in the familiar. It's nice to have Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra keep me company. Fred Astaire is the perfect accompaniment to have on while typing a document. And the Mills Brothers or Ink Spots provide the best possible soundtrack for unwinding on the drive home.

My current favourite song? Stardust. I love the Harry James version, but the one by Hoagy Carmichael (who also wrote the song) is also much appreciated. Have a listen for yourself:

11 February 2020

Just a Small Town Girl

I grew up underneath the Friday Night Lights in west Texas. But I have always retained my Canadian citizenship and these days, I have returned to my roots and quite enjoy watching ice hockey. It's fast, and yes, aggressive, but is also a lot of fun to watch. I like that the venues are relatively small and that a lot of small cities (e.g., Edmonton, Winnepeg) still have their own NHL team. There's a certain intimacy, even amongst all the mayhem. Football feels too problematic and overgrown. Hockey is a better fit for a small town girl.

From today's list of tweets, I have picked two. (A first for this project!) The first is simply a reminder about the joy of watching hockey during the winter Olympics. I am already looking forwards to seeing them again in a couple of years.

https://twitter.com/science_goddess/status/962679246450601984

But the second tweet, also from two years ago, features a connection to one of my favourite data guys on Twitter: Micah Blake McCurdy. He does dataviz for ice hockey. He is also hilarious. I have to admit that I do not understand all of the statistics he shares and how he does what he does, but I try to follow along just the same. His passion and enthusiasm for both hockey and data make me want to emulate that in my own work, albeit in a different direction.
 
https://twitter.com/science_goddess/status/962680876671709185

Who is your inspiration these days?

10 February 2020

Irreverance

I might have been raised to be somewhat churchy, but I have been a non-believer for some time. So, while some might find today's tweet dancing on the line of blasphemy, I still find it amusing. Irreverance, indeed.

https://twitter.com/science_goddess/status/1094659055392481280


09 February 2020

The Story Behind the Story

https://twitter.com/science_goddess/status/167761670431711233

This tweet makes me smile because it reminds me of one of my favourite bits of serendipity I have experienced since moving to this part of the state. I love my new hometown and have written in a previous post about the small scenes that I adore.

But here's the whole story that goes with this tweet. I went to this place and sat at the bar. I was enjoying a very lovely beer when a man sat down next to me. The man looked like the epitome of who you would expect to see in this area: fleece-covered, big bushy beard, boots. All good. A few minutes after this man arrived, another one did and he sat on the other side of me. This man did not look like who you might expect. He was wearing a dress and carrying a matching pink purse. Also all good. We three sat there for a few minutes and then the first man looked over and made eye contact across my beer with the other man. He said, "Nice earrings!" and received a thank you in return. None of this occurred ironically or sarcastically. I don't know if these two guys knew each other or had seen one another before. But my beer tasted a lot better knowing that I was sitting in a space of inclusion and tolerance. A small beautiful moment that could not fit in a tweet.


Just a reminder that I am selecting a tweet from a list provided each day by On This Day as a prompt to get back into blogging.  You can see my full list of tweets posted on this day, or start seeing your own by following that account.

08 February 2020

Stick a Fork in It

There are thousands and thousands of decisions to make each day, from whether or not we're really going to get out of bed to healthy habits to the words we use. But once in awhile, there is a moment in time where you know you are making a very critical choice. This was one of them for me:

https://twitter.com/science_goddess/status/1189148797

I did not (and still do not) have my EdD, but this particular university was okay with that. It is the one in the little town where I grew up, and while I was excited about the invitation, I knew it would come with a whole host of other questions. Did I want to uproot everything I had known over the last 13 years and head back to Texas? Did I want to teach college? Most importantly, did I want to live in the same town as my adoptive mother? Looking back, the obvious answer to all of the questions was a resounding "Nope." But at the time, my current job situation was tenuous and it was quite seductive to be invited elsewhere. I really wanted to say "Yes" to something, but this just wasn't it.

I've never had any regrets about this. I've never said, "I wish I would have." But that doesn't mean that I don't stop and remember that particular fork in the road and wonder what would have happened.


Today's tweet was selected from a list provided each day by On This Day.  The account shows a user's full history of tweets for the given calendar date. Just a reminder that I'm going to post a tweet a day from a previous year and expand on it a bit as a way to get back in the habit of sharing via a blog. You can see my full list of tweets posted on this day, or start seeing your own by following that account.

07 February 2020

I'd like to buy the world a Snickers

This tweet from today's date is a good reminder to me about this time of year:

https://twitter.com/science_goddess/status/1093638372965343232
I don't know if it's just the doldrums of winter, the sapping of one's energy as you try to get a whole new semester up and running, or that the fresh new car smell that we started the year with has now worn off.

There are some cranky people I don't mind. For example, if an upset parent calls me and the problem is nothing I own, it's okay. I will listen and then try to direct them to a path to solving it. I do not have sympathy, however, for people who are stewing in their own juices. If you failed to make a plan and now you want the rest of the world to feel sorry for you or fix it all while you pout, then you can count me out.

But whatever the situation, I try to take a deep breath and remember that this is the lowest point of the school year for a lot of people—staff, students, and parents alike. I try to give them (and myself) some grace. I hope that wherever you are, you are doing so, too.


06 February 2020

Funny ha-ha or Funny not good?

https://twitter.com/science_goddess/status/431575088899424256

I have to admit that the first time I saw this six years ago, I was amused by the idea Jason posed. (As an aside, I miss his voice on Twitter so very much.) These days, I have a much more serious response. Over time, I have come to realize how many of these silly rules we make in our PLCs, departments, or schools, can be used in some very oppressive ways...how many of them reinforce patriarchal expectations and structures.

I was having breakfast last week with a friend of mine who is gay...and he was talking about how the conversations he has with other gay men are so very different than being in a room full of straight ones. I mentioned that I had recently noticed how much love the pale males in our district have for protocols. Are our social norms so entrenched that straight, white, men are unable to communicate with others without a prescriptive set of expectations?

But back to norms. (Norm!) While I am growing more and more disenchanted with such things, I do have to admit that I keep these reminders with me at all times:


I don't remember where I picked them up—I most certainly did not come up with them myself. I have shared them widely over the last several years. I find that women in particular like them. I think it's because norms are about policing others and these are simply about policing yourself, so to speak. These speak to me.

What do you think? Where is the line between anarchy and oppression masking as civility?

05 February 2020

The State of Things

Last night was the State of the Union address for the US. I didn't watch. I am Canadian by citizenship and therefore do not vote in US elections, but that doesn't mean I don't have opinions. I find the current president quite wretched and the last four years interminable.

I have the 🍑 blocked on Twitter, but I do follow an account that interprets the messages posted.

https://twitter.com/science_goddess/status/828407134748434432

The NarratedPOTUS account is still going strong. I'm including a bonus tweet in today's post, because this one always makes me laugh. And these days, we really need that.


https://twitter.com/NarratedPOTUS/status/950013257653374977


Today's tweet was selected from a list provided each day by On This Day.  The account shows a user's full history of tweets for the given calendar date. Just a reminder that I'm going to post a tweet a day from a previous year and expand on it a bit as a way to get back in the habit of sharing via a blog. You can see my full list of tweets posted on this day, or start seeing your own by following that account.

04 February 2020

Same, Tuesday. Same.

https://twitter.com/science_goddess/status/430698093726539778

Tuesday on this date is only slightly different. This time around, my first meeting is at 7:30 am and the last one ends at 5. I do have space in between, unlike the Tuesday referenced from six years ago; however, I have plenty on my to do list that will fill it.

It is this time of the year that I realize we are starting the downhill trek on a steamroller. We are still doing all of the current year tasks—which is plenty—but we're trying to plan for next year, too. Spring is heavy with testing responsibilities and all of the end of year reporting. We are busy with enrollment, early entrance for kindergarten, and student transfers. Oh, and graduation. And...and...and.

So, I will take a deep breath and hang on by my fingernails to Tuesday.


03 February 2020

Zeitgeist

According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, zeitgeist is a "meaning 'spirit of the age' or 'spirit of the times.' It refers to an invisible agent or force dominating the characteristics of a given epoch in world history." Informally, it means something akin to coincidence...when two (or more) disparate sources are fixed on something similar, but from very different angles.

https://twitter.com/science_goddess/status/1092231213849358336

Zeitgeist is one of my favourite things about being on Twitter. It is uncommon to see the sorts of things pictured above where two consecutive tweets refer to fur (full list of tweets from this day here). They typically give me a secret smile to see...a little signal of the subconscious of my feed. Because of their infrequency, it always feels like finding a lucky penny on the ground: A small brief moment of luck that I want to believe is symbolic of more.

02 February 2020

Heart On for Testing

It's my sixth year in my current role. And by now, I am very familiar with the ebbs and flows of the calendar...the rhythms that are at the heart of the job.

It's February, which means that we are gearing up to test students for identification for our district HiCap program.

https://twitter.com/science_goddess/status/827292913285554176

Students are allowed to have scratch paper, which we collect at the end of a session. Sometimes, there are little jewels like the one shown above (full list of tweets from this day). My assistant and I liked this one so much, she had it embroidered on a bag for me. Who knows? Maybe this kiddo will grow up to take my job!

01 February 2020

The British Are Coming

About a year ago, I made a quick trip to Cranbrook, BC, and back to attend my stepfather's funeral. He was 98 years young and much loved in his community. In fact, his children made sure the services were as quickly planned as possible because they knew the longer they waited...the more people would arrange to attend...and there would not be a venue large enough in town to have it. As it was, several hundred people showed up. It was an incredible experience, not the least of which was spending time with my Canadian family.

https://twitter.com/science_goddess/status/1091454919884922881

We did empty quite a few bottles, including the two I'd brought with me to share.

And then the British contingent showed up. Even with the hasty plans, some of my stepfather's family from across the pond made the journey...and a year later, I am unsure if my liver has still recovered. But it will have to man up, because I will drinking a toast to all of them this evening.


Today's tweet was selected from a list provided each day by On This Day.  The account shows a user's full history of tweets for the given calendar date. Just a reminder that I'm going to post a tweet a day from a previous year and expand on it a bit as a way to get back in the habit of sharing via a blog. You can see my full list of tweets posted on this day, or start seeing your own by following that account.