Mini Painting Project

I have recently loved thrifting for already-painted canvases. There´s all kind of potential when you imagine just how you might add your own concoction but let some of the details from the original painting still show through.

Thanks for Sarah Mikan for donating these mini-canvases to my creative stockpile : ).

Also thanks to Irma Duran for humoring my artistic whims and joining me for this painting experiment.


Grad School: Top Ten

(Please keep in mind these satirical ratings are generated from the writer’s experience and are in no way binding to all graduate students.)

Top Ten Reasons Grad School = Living the Higher Education Dream

10. You get to write papers to your heart’s content… like this morning, I wrote 3 papers: a reflection regarding 8 hours of class yesterday, a response concerning the longest article ever written by man loaded with teacher jargon and acronyms, as well as a 7-page journal article critique about using Spanish-English cognates embedded within context clue instruction. (Did you have to re-read that last part? Yeah, sorry, that was a hint of teacher jargon.)

9. Make new friends! The bonding is only beginning as a headache sets in on Monday and the syllabus clearly states that by Friday (yes, 5 days from today) you will have completed a 10 page research paper, will have memorized a list of 200 acronyms (so you are one step closer to a fluency certificate in nerdy teacher language), and will have given three 10 minute presentations embellished with extensive Power Points (don’t forget the visuals and custom animations). Bonding continues as you daily cheer each other on and persevere together.

8. More student loans!! Hurray!

7. Become a better teacher and be loaded with ideas for the coming school year. I couldn’t sleep last night because I was so excited about some of the new visions I have for the 2012-2013 school year.

6. Thankful for professors who care directly about your PD and indirectly about your students. (Oops, allow me to translate: PD = Professional Development… those darn acronyms are sneaking into my every day speaking and writing skills…)

5. Resources – articles galore, education current news, websites, blogs… I feel more than updated about any possible bilingual education issue. Many thanks Education Week, NABE (translation: National Association for Bilingual Educators), and  IAMME (acronym for the Illinois Association for Multilingual Multicultural Education). And I am forever endebted to the ERIC (Education Resources Information Center) database for all my researching needs.

4. Using verbs like concerningregardingembellished, and generated, as already used in this blog post. Writing constant research papers seems to be forcing my written vocabulary choice to grow exponentially (as well as my brain cells, lol). Does using more Tier 2 words make me a nerd? (Tier 2 being teacher-speak for words beyond the basic interpersonal communication skills (BICS), but not yet approaching the cognitive academic language proficiency (CALPs) vocabulary. Um, yes, if I said that to you in person, I probably would have used the acronyms instead of the word-by-word phrases. Let me push my glasses up my nose; they seem to be slipping.)

3. Speaking of growing brain cells, mental workouts are another pro. I can’t help but compare the grad-school-required-mental-production with a kettlebells class I go to. (Not sure what kettlebells are? Check this out.) Summary: Think about a ball-shaped weight with a big handle. You swing the weight in every which direction while maintaining control with your core muscles… It never fails that I can hardly go up/down the stairs the next day — physically or mentally, lol.

2. Don’t forget that raise when I turn in a copy of my degree. Oh yes, keep your eye on the $$ goals. #1 goal now and after grad school is to pay off school debt ASAP! (oh shoot, one more acronym thrown your way… hopefully you already are familiar with that one ; )).

1. The privilege of continuing a life of learning. It most definitely is a privilege, and I’m certainly not taking it for granted!

***Follow-up on #8: Dripping with sarcasm.

***Follow-up on #4: You’re right, I don’t wear glasses. Not yet anyway. And when I do, I might just need a nerdy pair to suit this post’s nerdy confessions.

Art + Party = Arty

So here’s the idea:

In order to attract our many artistically-inclined college friends, acquaintances, and contacts to all be together in one place, why not attract them with what we all want most:

  • new ideas
  • the prospect of a new professional connection
  • potentially selling a piece
  • and most of all: catching up with people we haven’t seen in months, maybe years?

So we (my friend Sarah and I) did just that.

We invited anyone artistic (and not : )) that we could think of with the allure of “Bring your own art, whether on a canvas or in a delicious food or with your musical instrument.” It worked! We had about 25 people crammed into Sarah’s living room and kitchen at one point, as well as about 20 pieces of art from all mediums and many different food treats up for indulgence.

(Note: To see an image more closely, click on it.)

Sarah and I are already planning our next art party for August. Any ideas for what else we could do to be even more artistically inviting?

Spring Breaks of the Past

I realized this year that it is the first Spring Break since high school that I didn’t turn it into a big trip. I’ll take you through my mental reminisce:

Spring Break 2011

Road Trip: Playa Soraya and to Río Celeste

Adventurous Friends: Katie Zobro and Lisa Hartman

Read about it: Here and here

Yes, it's as gorgeous as it looks. Only even better in real life.

Here we are -- fresh and crispy from the beach hiking to Río Celeste.

Spring Break 2010

Bus Trip to Panama

To Keep Me Company: my very bestest friend Tricia

Read about it: Here and here and here and about the artwork here and about running into other Judson friends here

I checked ''Panama Canal'' off my list of places to go.

While hiking along the beach, we found this weird sphere that had washed on shore. We later found out it was used in the Panama version of the TV show Survivor.

Spring Break 2009

Bus Trip to Playa Montezuma

Friends: Kim VanArtsdalen and Trish

Read about it: Here 

Oh yes, I get that tan... only after 4 straight days in the equatorial sun. LtoR Kim, Trish, Kate

Spring Break 2008

Chicago Experience

Organization: Sonshine Gospel Ministries

Check out their ministry: Here

We went to class every morning to learn about the history of Chicago, and then we had assignments around the city based on what we learned.

We stayed in a house in South Chicago in a neighborhood covered in graffiti.

Spring Break 2007

San José, Costa Rica

Organization: A whole bunch of them…

Here's our team... I know you're thinking, ''That's a dorky sweater, Kate.'' Don't worry, my current sense of fashion agrees with you.

I think this is the moment when I fell in love with the rainforest.

Spring Break 2006

Nassau, Bahamas

Organization: Adventure Learning Center

Check out their ministry: here

We visited orphanages and worked at the Adventure Learning Center with students all week.

We painted houses that overlooked the Atlantis resort. Many families could not afford to even think about going to Atlantis for a day.

Spring Break 2005

Dublin, Ireland


We worked in schools most of the week, putting on plays and answering kids' questions about being Americans.

Ireland is very green and very cold in March.

And while I didn’t go anywhere this year, I accomplished a lot of graduate homework. : ) Besides, it’s fun to imagine where I might go next year…

Trish’s Wedding

For those of you who followed my Costa Rica blog, you will remember my best friend Trish just married our Costa Rican friend Albin Contreras Mata in December. Here’s a photo of Trish and all the ladies (L to R: Kate, Sarah, Amy, Melissa, Trish, Hannah, Brittany, Rachel) in Cincinnati on a freezing cold, windy day… We’re a lot colder than we look : ). The only unfortunate thing about the photo is that you can’t see our sparkly gold platform heels… not kidding, we really wore them. Trish, do you have any group photos with our shoes showing?

And for anyone interested in reading more about Costa Rica, Trish started a new blog that you can read here. Sarah (pictured above, second from the left) also just moved to Costa Rica and you can read her blog here.