28 June 2010

:( so now what?

Well, all the teaching positions have been filled, and not by me... which begs the question... what does one do after having been so focused on a thing, training for it, hoping and praying for it, and then being denied that thing?  Well, if you're psycho and unbalanced, I imagine that you do all manner of not okay sorts of things, and while I may very occasionally entertain such notions (really, who doesn't from time to time?) I'm certainly not the type to do them.

But the question still remains: what the hell do I do now... See, I'm broke... I have to teach as many classes as I do each session (more than the full-timers) just to make ends meet... and now I'm facing the necessity of a new car... a new computer... the large-ish hole in my kitchen ceiling (okay, not really a hole, but an unsightly mess all the same...) the scary downstairs bathroom... you know, all the stuff that adult-type people need to take care of.. Only, there's no extra fundage.... I'm in no danger of losing my home, as I know a lot of people are, so yes, I know that in that respect I'm blessed and I should just shut the hell up... But I feel a bit betrayed... I mean, I've been an adjunct for 10 years, and I love teaching... But I'm not sure I can keep doing it (not because they don't want me there, but because I'm in my mid-30s now, and I'm feeling the need for a bit more stability...)  So what do I do now?

Where's that Prince Charming Disney promised me as a kid?  I could really use him right about now...

Okay, yes I know, I am a strong, independent woman, a feminist, and I need no man (on offense guys! I do like you, and you are handy to have around. :)) but I will be the first to admit--I suck at the whole money thing... I just don't get it...

So, I need a plan.  I'm sure I'll come up with a plan, I just hope I come up with a plan that allows me to sleep (the 8-class session comes to mind as a HUGE mistake.  but it was fun!) I've been doing research, pondering the various tracks I could take starting with an MA in English Literature.  You know what I've discovered?  I'm qualified to teach... and do research... and that's something I'm good at... so, you know, surely there's something out there.  I actually have two friends both looking into getting their paralegal certifications, and I have a cousin who's a paralegal, so I'm thinking I might pick her brain.  Because as I understand it, paralegals, in addition to their other duties, do research... but then there's that whole office thing... gives me the heebie-jeebies...

And I'm applying to a few online colleges and tutoring companies. That should at least take the edge off the financial situation... and who knows, maybe the jewelry thing will really take off!  (I have a new shop name, btw--Definitive Designs by R.Wilson... kinda cool, huh?  A friend came up with it!)  I'm still making earrings and bracelets, I'm working on some lanyard ideas, and I just bought some polymer clay!  I can't wait to play!!!! (ooh! I rhymed!  maybe I'll be a poet!  okay yeah, not really... :))

So I'll keep you posted.  Thanks for reading my wallow in self-pity.  I promise I'll get it over it soon....


18 June 2010

What have I been working on?

Well, mostly, I've been working on school. What with four classes, I'm a bit busy at the moment.  But when I'm not doing that, I am still making jewelry.  Still haven't sold any from the Artfire shop, but jewelry making is something of a reprieve from real-world work for me, plus it's fun!  I haven't made any more contest pieces, but I have entered the Art with Heart Cycle 2 contest, and the kit looks great! I should get the kit sometime next week.  I've made a number of key chains in the last few weeks. Those were fun.  Actually, I made the first of the key chains ages ago, but they didn't work out to well.  At least, not yet. I'm not quire ready to give up on that idea--key chain bracelets.  You know, to make things easier when your hands are full. So when that fell through (or, more properly, fell apart), I made the first of the more traditional key chains I've been working on.

[caption id="attachment_59" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="The first of the "real" key chains. This is mine, with a Chinese dragon focal. "][/caption]

I've been using it for a while now, and it seems to be working out fairly well. For the next batch, I started out just trying to make something nifty, then remembered I had the animals from my nephew's necklace left over, so I started what my friends are calling the "Safari Collection." I've already managed to sell two, both to friends...

[caption id="attachment_82" align="aligncenter" width="470" caption="On the left, Loving Giraffes, in the center, the Lion!, and on the right, a pretty keychain I made with a fancy jasper nugget, and the Oraphant. "][/caption]

I've also been making lanyards, which has been a LOT of trial and error.  he first was actually one of my very first projects as a beader, and admittedly, it wasn't very good.  Hadn't ever used thread, didn't know how to make a necklace without a clasp, it was heavy, and the silly thing kept coming apart.  I remade that one a few months ago with actual chain (bright copper, very cool looking, totally impractical) and it actually FELL apart in the middle of the hallway at SPC (managed to find all the beads, though... go me!) By that time a friend had requested a lanyard, and I had already been using thread for bead-weaving, so I much more comfortable with it.  And really, for lanyards, it works SO much better than anything else...

[caption id="attachment_83" align="aligncenter" width="342" caption="The top images are the lanyards I created for a friend, and the bottom are mine--on the left, the frog focal, and on the right, the flowers..."][/caption]

Since those lanyards, I've made a few more, and I'm actually designing one for my best friend now (who just got a new job, go Ame's!), and I have a plan I want to try for my other BF--Sara the nurse.

I've also been working on some earrings, and hope to get pics made and have the pieces posted on my Artfire page.  And I'm in the middle of an African Helix bracelet.  I found a tutorial for it from Auntie's Beads designer Karla Schafer (here). Here's some pics:

[caption id="attachment_84" align="aligncenter" width="339" caption="On the left, the current bracelet in progress (you have to build it on a pencil or dowel); on the right, a completed bracelet I made for my sis-in-law..."][/caption]

I love this stitch.  It's kind of a pain in the butt to work, since you have to build the bracelet on a wooden dowel (I used Karla's suggestion to use a pencil, and I've since marked out the inches on the pencil, so I can more easily control how long the finished product is.  A full bracelet, though, takes the whole pencil.) And, you have to pull each stitch WAAAAAAAAAAAAY tight, so when I get to finishing off the bracelet, I'm going to try wrapping my index finger in medical tape, to protect it from the thread (yeah, I got thread cuts... in fact, I had to stop working on it to let my finger heal up, and then got sidetracked by homework... :() I've also tried a pair of earrings, and I'm going to continue that effort, since the first pair ended up being completely different lengths (that's why I scored inches on the pencil...)

So there ya have it--the major projects I've been working on... School's out in  about a month, so I'm hoping to have more time to work on some things. I have a lot of ideas floating around inside my head, and they tend to not leave me alone until I get them created. Very annoying....

Have a great day!


09 June 2010

Art With Heart Viewer's Choice Contest!!!!!

Hey there!  Please vote for my piece in the Art With Heart Viewer's Choice Contest!  There are a lot of gorgeous entries, and I'm a bit humbled by the company I get to keep... but hey!  You're reading my blog, so vote for me!!! :)

The voting page is here, and my piece is number 17. I've included more pics below.  Voting ends on June 16th!

[gallery columns="4"]



02 June 2010

Welcome to the wonderful exciting world of online classes....

For the first time ever, I'm teaching an online class... I've been teaching for years, and I love it, and I use technology wherever I can in my classroom (cuz I love that too...) but this summer is the FIRST time I've ever taught online.  Wait, I take that back.  There was that one time, a few years ago, teaching for a spin-off of Phoenix.  The "environment," if it could really be called that, was all email.  It was hideous.  So hideous I don't even have that mess on my resume.... So, really, this summer is my FIRST time teaching an online course in a real, honest-to-goodness academic online environment (SPC uses Angel...)

So, this online class.  I knew it was going to be a lot of work.  What I did NOT know was exactly HOW MUCH work we were talkin'... I consider myself a rather good teacher, and I really enjoy my work--this is my passion.  And in a F2F class, I have no problem making a TOTAL fool of myself if necessary (I think it stems from starting out in a preschool...) And I honestly think that my F2F students really get a lot of info that they need, but that I don't always realize I'm giving them--you know, like what not to do, where to focus their efforts, etc--usually simply by the WAY I say things, my tone of voice, my expression and gestures. Lo and behold, the first set of essays from my online class, not exactly what I was expecting.  And all because they didn't get all those unconscious verbal cues.  So I've spent much of the last week trying to revise guidelines to be that much more specific, and addressing questions from my students (they're wonderfully forbearing with me). I've never had to think so much in a class as I have this session (admittedly, teaching my first online class in an accelerated session, probably not my best idea), but I'm actually finding that I'm becoming a better teacher.

Will I continue teaching online classes? Well, yes, mainly because that's where academia is moving, and I don't want to be left behind.  But will I ever leave the classroom? That big echo-y room where I am the QUEEN?  Hells no.... I love it too much!  And I'm getting used to teaching online, getting more used to using all the tools Angel has that I've been able to ignore up to this point. And I'm actually having fun! (yes, I have an odd sense of fun).

I'll keep you posted on my progress!