Posts tagged ‘coursera’

Make ’em Laugh

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

I had my first improv class tonight at the Comedy Shrine, and I loved it, as I knew I would. I was a little nervous, sure, but I knew this is what I wanted to do. I thought I’d be a little better at it than I was, but I did pretty well for a newbie, and I had an absolute blast. I wish I could do this every day! I think the teacher summed it up best when he said: “This is your chance to play.” (I get to play!!)

I’ve always known that I was a performer — from my wonderfully nasty imitation of Cinderella’s stepmother in grade school to clarinet and vocal solos and musical theater as an adult — but I never pursued it.  Part of it was not being able to find my niche, but part of it was believing what I’d always heard: artists are broke, they have to sell their soul to get anywhere, they are naturally gifted/super beautiful (a lot more talented than I could ever be),  etc etc

But I am meant to be involved in something creative, and I’m pretty sure performing is part of it.  I love being on that stage.  I love those lights.  I love the audience.  I love forgetting about the rest of the world and getting lost in that moment.  I want all of those things.

I’m already looking forward to next week.  I’m already working on my character development homework — right now I’m working on cheerleader, an over-emotional child, an under-emotional teen, and nerd or hippie girl — and I just spent a whole 10 minutes gabbing excitedly to Brian about everything from the awkward story game to my favorites: the  hitchhiker and freeze tag games.  And we have a fantastic group,  We still are a bit awkward, but we are already starting to gel.  I really like how our teacher described improv as a team.  We build on each other’s strengths and we bail each other out in time’s of weakness.

The happiness and fulfillment I’m feeling this evening make me think I may want to stick with my Coursera guitar class afterall. (I was feeling over-committed — as usual.)   Should I be crazy and fill every weekday evening with organized fun?  Classes up the wazoo?  Right now it sounds like an awesome idea. . . . but maybe I want to sleep on it first . . .   Sweet dreams!

Smorgasbord Time!

"Abstract Radial" courtesy of Simon Howden /

“Abstract Radial” courtesy of Simon Howden /

It’s been a long time since I last posted — if I’m trying to post every day, which I am — so, this is the time when I spit out everything and attempt to make it organized, so that it doesn’t come out like (_insert disgusting analogy here__).


Yeah, I’m totally a fair-weather fan.  I don’t even attempt to hide it anymore.  And I’m fairly disgusted with certain Chicago sports. But, Go Blackhawks!  How awesome are they?  (I have no TV pretty much, except for 3 channels, but I’m getting a basic idea of what’s happening in the game from the triangle of the slow internet score updates, my neighbor’s anguished/excited cries out back, and Brian’s occasional texts.)

Hay House

I overdosed.  Yes, (raised hand) I admit it.  I knew it was crazy to try to listen to ALL of those videos, but I tried anyway.  And it all ended up blending into a crazy mish-mosh, so that if people asked me what I learned for the day, I couldn’t tell them anything with certainty.  HOWEVER, I did enjoy the videos I listening to, and I feel I internalized some great ideas, that I may or may not remember right away if you were to on-the-spot ask me about them. (But, give me time — they will likely come up in future posts.)   If nothing else, I know this: Meditation!  Self-love!  Gratitude!  Service!  And I am now trying to limit myself to two or three videos a day, instead of 9-10!  (Today I listened to two on finances.)  Tomorrow will be a little tough because 5 of them look interesting . . .

School of Metaphysics

I am really enjoying my Wednesday class.  It’s funny; I go in cycles between being really excited and being anxious.  Now I’m more excited.  Tomorrow will be interesting because we’re having a “beautify the space” day, and I’ve found that I’m tight with time and helping lately, so this is not something I’m super excited about, even though I know it will be good for me (which is funny because I’ve been looking for volunteer activities.  I suppose looking is not the same as doing.)

Coursera Art Course

I’ve been wanting to explore art for forever, but it’s been one of my blockages, which relates to letting myself “play,” as Cindy, my coach tells me.  She told me to take 2 minutes a day to play.  That was yesterday.  I still haven’t “played” yet.  Sometimes I wish I could just make myself into a 3-year-old again.  Anyway, the course is really fascinating. The audio lectures about the artists are a little long for me, but everything else is intriguing: the fantastical artists themselves, their work, the various materials one can use for art, the various lines and shades and textures and other-art-terms-that-I can’t-remember-but-was-awed-by, etc.  I’m supposed to create a couple of art projects. One is supposed to be an introduction to me.  I thought it would be fun to use some collage maybe and possibly some colored pencils.  (I’m not going to have the really awesome fancypants materials that the instructor was showing us, but I’ll make do!)  And I thought it would be neat to incorporate something having to do with dreams and my true self, since that’s what I’ve been interested in lately.  So, we’ll see.  If I get it done — I mean, WHEN I get it done — I’ll post it on here.


I am starting a new student on Monday.  It will be for 3 weeks, and it is a summer make-up Level 2 Spanish course.  I’m both excited and terrified.  I already have some ideas, but I can feel the old anxiety settling in.  Sigh.

Job Stuff

And speaking of job-related stuff. . .  yeah, I’m still thinking about where I’m headed next.  All the time.  Money and job.  Those thoughts are my constant companions.  It’s good that I’m still tutoring, so I don’t feel like I’m completely aimlessly floating.  There is aim!  Sigh.  BUT, I’m meeting with the director of the School of Metaphysics tomorrow to hopefully get some insight from her about it.  I’m really nervous all my blockaging forces will come kicking and screaming out at her in a ferocious and scary way, but it can’t hurt to see what happens! . . .  Right?

And that’s going to have to be it for now.  Blackhawks are in double overtime right now.  Yeesh. . . yawn . . . Bed time.

Wait. Wait — (for those of you who came to this page because of the “strawberry” or “gardening” search terms I threw in there) Here it is: Strawberries from your garden are the most delicious thing ever. Well, anyway, they are amazing. That is all. 😀

"Red Strawberry"  courtesy of criminalatt /

“Red Strawberry” courtesy of criminalatt /

Worth the wait, right?  


For the first time in my school career, I am being a slacker.

I’ve always gotten A’s and B’s, and my B’s were usually one percentage point away from an A, anyway.  Yes, I was one of those students.  But instead of scorning me, you should pity me, truly because most of my youth was wasted away on hours upon hours of homework, when the rest of the “slacker” types were doing just enough to get by and actually having a life in the meantime.

So, anyway, I’m still taking this course “Think Again: How to Reason and Argue.”  It’s through Coursera, and it’s absolutely free and completely over the Internet, which is totally awesome.  My goal has been to finish the course and get the certificate/credit for passing.  No A’s or B’s necessary.  Just enough to get the certificate.

Well, today I decided it was time to take the 2nd quiz.  You have an option of 4 different versions of the quiz to take (2A, 2B, 2C, and 2D), and whichever is the highest score is the grade you get to keep.  That Quiz 2 was a killer.  It was on truth tables and Venn diagram conclusions based on “some” and “all” and “none” and “some not”, etc etc, and I thought my brain was going to fry out like my poor, old, overheated hair dryer.  (Ok, maybe that was an odd analogy, sorry.)

Well, I took the quiz 2A and got a 13 out of 30.  I was concerned.  Usually I at least got half right on the activities, and this was an actual quiz.  What was I going to do?  Well, maybe I’ll do well enough on the other quizzes, and it won’t matter that I failed this one?  So, I went and checked on the forums where they talked about what was needed to pass, and then I went to the class logistics page and found it: 70% needed on each quiz to pass.  Crap.  Well, maybe I could figure out what I did wrong by looking at the answers.  (They give an explanation when you go back to check what you got write and wrong.)  But that was no help because they don’t actually give you the right answer: they just give you a paragraph-long explanation of why your answer is wrong.

So, I decided I might have figured out enough to try a 2nd attempt at the quiz.  I took Quiz 2B, felt a little more confident, and checked my score: 17 out of 30.  Better, but not enough.  Now I was panicking a bit.

So, I decided I was going to go back and enter all “a”s, then all “b”s, then all “c”s, “d”s, and “e”s until I actually had an answer key, and THEN go back and enter all the correct answers to get the explanation for the correct answers.  Well, I can now say that after all that time going back and forth multiple times, tracking down all 30 of those answers, I got absolutely nowhere.  Even the correct answers were confusing.   So, I went back to the forums, hoping someone would have asked questions about the quiz. That was useless because a lot of people were answering their own questions: “Oh, now I get it!” While I was thinking: “But, I still don’t!”  I checked back in the “Notes” forum pages.  Couldn’t find anything.  Someone suggested to google truth tables, but the information I found was either what I already knew or something we hadn’t learned in class.  I finally gave up and went back to the actual lessons, but I found those were just about as helpful as Google had been.

. . .  And now that I’m typing this, I’m thinking I don’t seem to be a slacker; more of a crazy, obsessed lunatic. . .

But, finally I was about ready to throw in the towel.  I was going to take that last quiz.  I was going to take it and pass — or fail it and quit.  Because if I didn’t get at least 70% on this quiz, I couldn’t possibly pass the class.  And I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go through all the work without credit for the course.  (The course was getting tougher, and I wanted some recognition, darn it!)  I was ready to post a dramatic goodbye entry on one of the forums. “It’s been fun guys, but I keep failing your Quiz 2, and I don’t want to look at another truth table as long as I live!  It’s been nice taking your class.  Good bye. . . forever. . .”

But of course, as all good stories do, this one also has a happy ending.  I got a 21 out of 30 on the last quiz. 70%. — just enough to pass.  And I’m DONE with Quiz 2.  I may be a slacker, but at least I’m not quittin’!

On Schedule

"Scheduling A Meeting In Diary" courtesy of Stuart Miles /

“Scheduling A Meeting In Diary” courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Today I finally kept pretty close to my planned schedule for my teaching winter break (still doing some tutoring here and there): writing, ACT prep, Coursera classwork, creativity time, cleaning/schoolwork). I’ve somewhat followed it throughout break — when holiday activities didn’t interfere, but today I’m pretty satisfied with my work.  (This whole schedule thing may sound crazy, but I’ve found that I have to have some structure to my day, or I completely fall apart, getting nothing accomplished and then mercilessly berating myself — and I can be pretty harsh. :-/)

Beginning side note: I can’t believe how quickly I adapted to getting more than enough sleep. My body is right now telling me it’s time for bed, when last night I went to bed around midnight. I’m like: “Hey, it’s only 9:15!” My body is all like: “Um, yeah. Gotta make up for only getting 7 or so hours of sleep last night!”

Didn’t follow my schedule exactly, but this is what happened:

7:05 Hit Snooze Button

7:14 Hit Snooze Button

7:23 Re-set alarm for 7:55

7:55 Laid in bed for a minute, and then crawled out of bed.

8:00-8:30 Phone conference with Cindy

8:30-10:00 Finished book 13 Reasons Why (book club book)

10:00-1:30 Writing/ACT Prep: Math/Argument Class (2 weeks behind, but I’m hanging in there!)

1:30-2:30 Phone conversations & miscellaneous

2:30-4:00 Writing at library

4:20-5:00 Mall Walk

5:00-6:00 Dinner (lentils w/barbeque sauce; spinach, kale, and Gorgonzola salad) /Multiple failed attempts to reprogram the car garage door opener

6:00 Big Bang reruns & struggle with the scanner

7:00 – 8:00 Got scanning done (with A LOT of help from Brian) and successfully uploaded my September teaching picture to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Wyzant. (I’m keeping my same picture for WordPress because it makes me look all glowy and mysterious.)

8:00-10:00 Organized documents from office/ organized papers from work/worked on this blog/watched episodes of Battlestar Galactica

10:00 – Still working on blog /going to bed/beginning Gods Behaving Badly (book club book)

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