Monday, October 05, 2009

Fork in the Road?

I got my renewal papers for my out-of-state architectural license today, and they weren't exactly welcome.

It's not that I mind renewing my license. No, indeed. Just the opposite. The problem wasn't the renewal form, per se, it was the notice that came with it. As I'd read previously in the registration board newsletter, my home state will henceforth be strictly enforcing continuing education requirements, and if you haven't fulfilled yours in the past year, you should go on inactive status and can no longer call yourself or practice as an architect.

I don't want to go on inactive status. I want to keep my license active and current to maintain myself some semblance of marketability. But I haven't been able to gain any continuing ed credits this past year-- it's just too expensive. I mean, here I am, barely scraping by on part time work, and I'm supposed to blow $500 on a one-day conference for a couple of credit hours? That's the typical price for these continuing ed offers I get in the mail.

So I'm stuck. I have till the end of the year to do something about it. Between now and then I could find out how I'd get reactivated, once I put myself on the inactive list. Barring a miracle (like getting a full time job with a lot of Lunch-and-Learn continuing ed sessions where I can fulfill the requirements painlessly and for free), I don't see how it can be avoided.

I see myself heading down a road I don't want to travel. And from here, it looks like a dead end.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Hairy Experience

A couple weeks ago I was substituting in an area junior high school and one of my responsibilities was a study hall. The eighth graders were, um, multitasking at their studies, and besides looking at algebra and geography they had lots of attention left over for chatter and moving around the room. I came back to one boy's desk to get him refocussed on his homework. As I did he piped up, "I really like your glasses! Where did you get them?"

Well, I may be middle-aged in years but I'm young and dumb in public school teaching. Me, I didn't want to seem cold and unfriendly. So I answered him: "At the dollar store."

A little later, same kid calls up to me as I stand at the front of the room: "That's a great skirt you have on? Where did you get it?"

You see how young and dumb I really was, for I took that at face value and answered it, too: "At the Goodwill." I mean, why should I be ashamed to champion reuse and recycling?

Whereat the eighth grader grins impishly, taps his buddy in the seat in front of him, and snerks, "Yeah, I thought so!"

I was alerted to his lack of bona fides now. Awhile later, when I was walking along their row trying to keep things going in the general direction of study, the first kid's buddy pipes up and says, "Hey, I really like your hair! It looks so smooth and shiny! What shampoo do you use?"

All right, that's enough. The glasses I don't really like, they were just the ones I could find that morning that were the right strength. But hey, maybe somebody else might truly like them. The skirt was a classic challis print, not the height of fashion, but a good cut for me. My hair that day, however--! Any references to it being "smooth and shiny" had to be blatant lies. I knew good and well it was a frizzy stack of straw, because I'd had to blow it dry the day before and it was worse than usual. But my hair is naturally wavy, even curly, and what could I do?

Serendipitidous, then, that a few days ago I came across this post on Beauty Tips for Ministers on the trials of coping with naturally curly or wavy hair. In the comments I found a link to a post on the Curly Girls blog, all about how to make the best of your curls. Condition twice if your hair needs it, don't wring out your hair or towel it dry, comb out once but otherwise avoid using brush or comb, apply curl gel or mousse, dry your curls individually at high heat, high speed by laying them in the trough of your blow dryer's big diffuser. Etc., etc.

Hmm, think I, it might be worth taking a shot at that. I waited till today, when I had no summons to come in and teach. That'd give me the extra time.

Okay, hair washed and conditioned twice. Check. Excess water squeezed out only. Check. Combed through, part put in and that's all. Check. Curly hair gel applied. Check. Curls dried individually at high speed and heat in the trough of the blow dryer diffuser?

Not check. Oh so very not check, indeed.

The author of the Curly Girls blog has long hair. Maybe she can get her strands individually into the diffuser. My hair at the moment, however, is chin length. Will you please tell me how I can get any separate strand into that big diffuser? And how can I use the dryer at high heat and speed without it blowing into frizz my entire head of hair?

Maybe she could, but I can't. I reduced the speed to Low and tried a little more, then flipped my head back up. Front was dry-- in all sorts of useless directions, partularly the bangs-- and the back and sides were hanging there flatly in little curvy strands, soon to become frizz.


I've "set" the back and side hair in a scrunchy. I'll take it out when my hair's dry and see how things look then.

And maybe next hair wash I'll try doing everything up to the blowdry point and then just let it airdry, as I was advised by a former hairdresser when I was getting permanents. And take my comb down the basement (where my only shower is) and run it through my hair while it's still hanging upside down, before I even step out onto the bathmat. Just the lag time of going upstairs and getting dressed may have dried some of my hair out too much.

But the blowdryer? Meh. There's a reason I haven't gotten it out for years.

As for those two impudent kids, I chose to be snarky right back. What shampoo did I use? "Same as your mother buys for you!" Not the response most advisable, I now realize. Smart*ss kid doesn't call for smart*ass teacher. No, next time a student asks me personal questions like that, I'm thinking I'll have him look up the meaning of "impertinent" in the classroom dictionary. And make him copy out the entire definition, phonetic markings and all. On the chalkboard. Twenty times.

That'll larn 'im!