Monday, August 29, 2011

the day

okay so i didn't need smelling salts, but i honestly don't understand HOW i will ever sound like an intelligent human being in front of my class.

babble babble babble stutter babble babble nonsense babble fool.

i was hoping to feel better after day one of teaching! i need to be patient. i'm hoping that at some point in the semester, i will actually feel comfortable in front of my class.

oh, just as a side note: my folklore/fairy tale seminar is going to be magical. yes, i am looking forward to reading fairy tales this whole semester. maybe my fairy tale this semester will go something like this:

once upon a time, there was a youngish grad student who was intimidated by everything from teaching freshman english to being around her intelligent grad student peers. in desperation, she fought the urge to crawl into fetal position and cry, but found consolation in a large slice of chocolate fudge cake with vanilla bean ice cream. this youngish grad student's fairy godmother noticed her dilemma, and stole into y.g.s.'s bedroom one night as she was fitfully sleeping. fairy g. placed a powerful enchantment on y.g.s.'s fabulous tweed jacket, so each time she wore it, the jacket would inspire y.g.s. to be confident and smart. this enchantment worked so well that in time y.g.s. overcame her fears and went on to conquer the world of writing and teaching and graduate study life. and there might be something about a knight and a horse, but that's another story for another day. the end.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

highlights and nerves

i started writing this blog post with the intent to report on my week. it started something like this:

this week has been... (backspace). this week has been overwhelming. (backspace). this week has been: (backspace).

finally, i just decided to relate this week to the first day of school times six times seven. you know how the first day is so overwhelming because the professors are handing you a schedule and explaining what you are going to accomplish in the entire semester, and all of the sudden it feels like you have to accomplish everything at once, all in one day, right now. so i've had a week filled with days like that.

i don't know why i'm so nervous to teach. i love teaching. i'm so excited! but then my stomach starts knotting up and i can imagine myself in front of my class forgetting everything i have ever learned, with my students realizing that i'm nothing more than a fake. yikes. but i am excited.

with that said, this week has actually been really great. i think my favorite moment was when one of the program directors brian jackson compared grading papers to triage. because, you know, you shouldn't treat someone for blisters if they have a sucking chest wound. treat the bigger problem first. so every time i feel the need to mark every single misuse of the apostrophe, i'll restrain myself and try to treat the bigger problems. unless, of course, the bigger problem is apostrophes. then i'll happily mark away. my other favorite part was when i got into dr. jill rudy's fairy tale class. i pretty much jumped for joy. i mean, studying essays and fairy tales and teaching little freshmen how to write: how could it get much better?

many thanks to my sister lori for making me homemade bread and chocolate chip cookie dough almond butter (yes, it is as good as it sounds) to help me through the week.

i can't wait to eat at bombay house. (maybe i'll do that to celebrate getting through the first week.)

wish me luck. and pray that i won't need to be revived with smelling salts right before teaching my first class.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

there you go: seattle

i've promised pictures of my seattle trip, and once classes start on monday and i become a ravenous homework beast i probably won't have much time to upload photos. so here is a (very) brief, scatterbrained picture version of my family's trip to the northwest:

cherries. holy cow yum.


strange bear dog


green with water

green with water and feet

how to make the most perfectly toasted marshmallow 101

speed scrabble

card playing, me and mum

cool, local, organic, fantastic, AMAZING food

something tall

the girls and dad



Saturday, August 13, 2011

Zappos challenge

Sorry my lovelies, but the Seattle pictures are still forthcoming. However, I do have a fun game for us to play.
At work tonight, my friend/neighbor/coworker Jessie reminded me of a game we used to play on slow days at the Tuacahn box office: the Zappos ugly shoe challenge.
Here are the rules: basically, browse around at and try to find the UGLIEST shoes you can. The winner gets a congratulatory ecard from me.
Let's play!

Monday, August 8, 2011


i decided what i want to be when i grow up:
a chocolatier.
so naturally, a master's degree in creative writing would point me in the right direction. right?
imagine for a moment a collection of essays about the life of a chocolatier. in other words, the main characters would be me and chocolate. groundbreaking.
would you read that book?

Monday, August 1, 2011

A rose by any other name

Lately, I've been pondering names.

In 1985, the year that I was born, the name Natalie ranked #58 on the list of popular baby names in the United States. Kristina was #57, Victoria #59, and number one was Jessica. In 2010, Natalie rose in the ranks, coming in at #14. In my high school graduating class, there were three Natalies: I sat next to one in English class, one in math class. I am facebook friends with one of them and keep in touch with neither of them.

Natalie Cole, the daughter of Nat King Cole, was a famous singer, songwriter and performer. I'm not a famous performer, but I did have a dog named Nat King Cole.

From the couple of resources I've looked at, the name Natalie comes from the Latin name Natalia, which means "Christmas day," or "born at Christmas." I wasn't born at Christmas, but it is my favorite holiday.

My middle name is Dawn ("the first appearance of light"). Dawn peaked in popularity in 1971 where it ranked number 14, thanks to the hippie generation. In 1985 it came in at #165. My aunt Gloria's middle name is Dawn; thus, I assume I was named after her.

Johansen is Danish. The -en ending indicates a Danish origin, whereas an -on ending would suggest a Swedish origin. Literally, the last name Johansen means son of Johan. the surname of Johan's daughers would have been Johandatter; following the same tradition, then, my surname would be Curtisdatter. Cool. Sadly, the female surnames weren't passed down, because their children would receive their last name from their father, not mother, thus creating an unfortunate lack of -datter names. Maye I'll change my surname to Curtisdatter.

So here I am: Natalie (born at christmas) Dawn (first appearance of light) Johansen (son of Johan). christmas sunrise posterity-of-johan.