Journal making and Cambridge too.

Posted: March 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

It’s hard to believe that another week has passed. I mean, I will be leaving for spring break next Thursday!  Last Monday was rough as I had just said goodbye to Matt but then I just threw myself into my work as usual and the week glided by. I gave two instructional sessions last week, one on Cervantes which ended up being really awesome. The other was last Friday which I co-taught with my boss. It was really good for me to see how someone else teaches. I learned that I need to allow myself mistakes. I go into the room trying to have everything rehearsed. This is one reason why I practice a few times before I go “live.” I like to know what the pace is like and what the timing is so that I don’t end up having to rush through anything. I try to control the components that are controllable because there is a large portion of teaching an instructional session that is not. Like, the students and their issues and questions. I can’t possibly know what they will ask me until they ask me. Or if there will be any computers glitches (there will be) or a problem with opening an article (it will happen). So I focus on controlling my portion and leaving the rest up to fate. Well, my boss seemed to be so at ease, like it wasn’t rehearsed and she was comfortable with that. She stumbled over her words a little and she was fine. I tend to freak a little inside when I do this. That’s the perfectionist in me that wants everything to look and feel “put together”. She is also okay with uncomfortable silences and even told the class this which means, she will wait you out. I admit I have a huge problem with waiting out the silence. I ask the students a question and it seems like a million years that I am standing there waiting for someone, anyone to say something. Crickets chirp and then die and I know that it is really only a couple of seconds but it is painful to go through. I need to be more patient with this. Students won’t be compelled to answer anything if they know you will just end up doing it for them if they wait long enough. Another colleague of mine has a method to circumvent this issue. She poses a question and gives them thirty seconds to brainstorm an answer. This alleviates the pressure from her and the students as it is not “on the spot.” I love this idea and plan on using it the next time I can.

Saturday I found myself in a Book Arts class on Bookbinding. Yes, I decided to be brave an attempt the art of journal making. Once I got there and saw what we were making I thought to myself, “Oh, hell no. No one said there would be sewing involved.” Well, there was some sewing, and gluing, and cutting, and measuring and making square knots. All things that are not my strong suit. Thankfully things were not measured out precisely by rulers or anything. In fact at one point I even asked, “Is it supposed to be precise precise or just as close as I can make it?” I managed to not cut myself with scissors. Score. And I only stabbed myself with the sewing needle twice and didn’t even draw blood. Nice. I did find sewing to be really stressful. My thread kept getting tangled up even though it was waxed and a few times knots formed and I had to have the instructor help me out. I also thought there was too much damn thread business and it seemed to wrap itself around everything in my area. At one point the instructor said that book making was like cooking. You could tell the emotions of the person making the book (or food). And I replied, “Well, someone is going to take one look at this and say that is the most panicked, stressed out journal I have ever seen. It looks like it is about to pass out or scream.” I also learned that making a square knot was something most people learned in Girl Scouts. Well, I was in Girl Scouts for about two years and I must have missed that meeting because all I really remember about my troop meetings was how all the girls were snobby bitches and no one would talk to me or sit at my craft table. I did everything alone and cried secretly in the backseat of the car after my mom picked me. You know, thinking about this makes me a little angry and if I ever find a time machine I am going back to one of those meetings and square knotting one of those girls in the face. In the end, I finished the book and left it in the Book Arts Lab over the weekend as it needed to sit under some weight to finish drying. The only heavy thing I have in my apartment is the cat and I’m fairly confident he was not going sit stationary all weekend.

Before attending the class I decided to walk over to the Wang Student Center and purchase my bus tokens for my bus ride on Sunday. As I am an uber-planner, I like to have things done well ahead of time in case there are problems. Well, I put in my three dollars and instead of bus token coming out, a ONE DOLLAR coin arrives. WTF? I super pissed because I just lost two dollars and still have no bus token and I need two of them. After much swearing, I ended up getting my two tokens, losing two dollars, and writing down the phone number off the machine to call and complain. Which I promptly did Monday morning and they are mailing me a refund! “I WANT MY TWO DOLLARS!”

On Sunday I ventured to Cambridge to meet my friend Alana, whom I work with. I arrived at the bus station at 1:30p even though the bus was scheduled to arrive at 2p. Like I said, I don’t like to be rushed or surprised at the last minute. Luckily it was pleasant outside and I sat on the bench talking to Matt as I waited. The bus arrived and I was the only one who boarded. At the student center, three other people got on and we all rode to the Riverside station. This was a really quick trip, like 10 minutes so I was there in no time. I was under the impression that you could board the train and pay cash once on. This is what I had planned to do as the train ride was only $2.00. Well, I noticed the turnstiles and I could not get through without a ticket so I walked back to the ticket machine and panicked. I had NO IDEA which of the three freaking ticket options to select. And there is no manual or help feature so there I was hitting all the buttons trying to figure out what I needed to buy; which was cheapest since I wasn’t going very far. I opted for a commuter rail ticket as that is what I thought I was riding. Well, foolish me. It wasn’t and the turnstile would not let me pass. The guard came over and asked if there was something wrong with my card. I told him I had no idea and then said all I needed to do was get to Park Street station. He said I had purchased the wrong ticket and that next time I should select “bus and rapid transit.” Like, how in the hell would I just intuitively know this? He was really nice and let me board the train. I kept thinking the whole time that someone would come along and take my money but no one ever did so I rode the train for 30 cents cheaper as the wrong ticket I purchased was $1.70.

What I learned was the difference between the commuter train and this rapid transit thing. Okay, so the commuter train is what I take from Wellesley to South Station. This is a train train and looks like what you imagine riding on a train would be. Think “Before Sunrise” with Ethan Hawke only not as fabulous since I’ve never encountered him on the train. And we are not in Europe. The rapid transit looks like the subway only above ground and is rickety as hell and squeaky and I thought we might derail and die a few dozen times although no one else seemed phased by it. It was during one these “is the train supposed to bend like that” moments that I realized “This is my life!” This is what I do now, I ride trains and commute places and go to Cambridge and do cool things. It was really a liberating feeling to sort of realize that this is the “new me.” I realize that some of you are thinking, “for the love of all creation, all you are doing is riding a damn train” but for someone like me who grew up in BFE, it IS a big deal. I took my car everywhere. A car equaled freedom for me so to surrender that and take public transit is a bit scary for this cornfield girl. As a slight panic junkie, I had my MTBA map with me and checked and rechecked the stops about a dozen times just to make sure my map matched what the “voice” was saying. I didn’t want to miss my stop although I think that would be highly unlikely. I got off the train fine and Alana was there to meet me inside the train station. If you do not leave through the turnstiles, then boarding another train is a transfer. Meaning, you do not pay again. So theoretically one could ride the trains all day long for $2.00 if you were so inclined. But one would either be really, really into train riding or homeless or insane or maybe all three.

Alana and I boarded another train to Dorchester. Now, for some of you cooler people, you should be thinking right now, “Dorchester? Really? What? Donnie Wahlberg is from there!” And sister, you would be right. Donnie and Mark Wahlberg are from Dorchester so that old NKOTB fan that lives deeply packed away in a tiny corner of my heart was excited. I told Alana this and she too was a NKTOB fan back in the day. We decided that at some point we need to venture out and eat at their new restaurant, Wahlburgers. (Which by the way, has gotten awesome reviews). From the station we walked to an apartment of a friend of Alana’s. We hung out with some other really cool librarians and library students eating falafel, quiche, and other yummies. I even had champagne with grapefruit juice. The apartment was fabulous and seemed like a mansion compared to where I reside. It had all hardwood floors and trim. The bathroom was done up in black and pink tile with one of those old push button toilets. The kitchen was decent size and the living room was circular with these great big windows. The apartment even had its own private balcony. It amazes me what money can get you outside of Wellesley. I wish I had a little more room. Maybe then not everything I own would be covered in cat hair. We ended the trip back in Cambridge where we had some tea at this fabulous establishment called TeaLuxe. I had the raspberry, blackberry, and strawberry herbal tea since it was almost 7p and I am too old to be drinking caffeine that late in the evening. We then wandered around and ended up inside the Harvard Bookstore where I scored an awesome journal made out of an old book. I was so jazzed by this purchase because the process now seems simple to me and I want to actually start making my own journals…for myself and as gifts. So, if you get one of these for Yule this year, you know why. I boarded the train back to Wellesley and arrived at my apartment around 9:45p. Izzy was a little peeved as I had been gone most of the weekend but he quickly forgave me the moment he received more food and our electric blanket was turned on.

All in all it was a fantastic weekend. Amazingly I actually had plans and since I know now how easy it is to get into Cambridge, I see some vintage shopping in my future. In fact, Matt and I plan to switch it up one day while he’s here and go to Cambridge instead of Salem. I know, calm down, it is exciting.

Other than that, the weather is warming up, the sun is shining, I’ve had NO complaints from C-Bob in three weeks and Matt and I will be together next Thursday. Life right now, is pretty good.

Until next time, practice Hangin’ Tough. It looks easy but believe me, it takes mad skillz. For reals.

 

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Comments
  1. Barb Stahura says:

    Loved your story of the train rides….much more fun than hayrides!! 🙂

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