Spanish Boot Camp Time (Tiempo de Campamento de Entrenamiento Espanol)*

I recently applied for an entry-level job at a law firm. It was for an intake person and/or receptionist and they wanted someone proficient in Spanish. I can only swear to being at Upper Intermediate level, so I didn’t even get a look-in. I also once got an interview for a paralegal job where, again, they wanted someone proficient in Spanish.

So, I guess I’ve gotta get proficient in Spanish, and fast.

Can someone hook me up with a training montage?

I’ve basically given up on my other languages for the time being (which sucks because October and November were supposed to be Italian and I’m actually leaning towards Italian for my graduate school degree. But once I have a paralegal job, my income should grow faster than it is now, and that will (hopefully!) lead to more money for grad school.

So what am I doing? Finally knuckling down and reading El Ladron del Rayo (The Lightning Thief** in Spanish), both in hard copy and as an audiobook. I’m going to do this until I have finished both and then go on to the next book. This means that I’m going to listen to it several times by the time I finish the hard copy, I expect.

I’m also rewatching El Internado: Las Cumbres every night while I purge weak pokemon from Pokemon Go. El Internado is a TV show from Spain, so it’s in Castilian, which will broaden my ability to cope with accents and usages and things.

I’m also focusing on Duolingo Spanish, rather than Duolingo German/Italian/Chinese, etc.

And I literally just realized that I need to change my phone back from German to Spanish. Pffff.

Why am I doing these things this way? I remember reading something on language development that said that proficient speakers have a sense of what words are likely to be used when discussing a given topic. And so I need as much exposure to the language as it is used as I can to help me build up that sense.

Fortunately, I have a lot of patients who will allow me to practice my Spanish on them. And boy will I practice my Spanish on them.

My goal, of course, is proficiency, especially what is known as CEFR level C2, in which I will be able to have free conversation on advance topics. The law is an advanced topic.

This also means that I will need to find, somewhere, law books in Spanish, because “here’s a list of legal terms; memorize them” is not going to cut it.

This is especially true because rote memorization has never been my strong suit. I need to actually use the information. This is why I didn’t become really proficient in math until I started knitting. I was multiplying and dividing and calculating repeats and increases and recalculating patterns to use other yarn that the yarn that the pattern was designed for.

So I’m going to need to do that in Spanish. Eek. Wish me luck.

*1. My deepest apologies for the lack of tilde on the “n” there. I’m typing on my laptop and haven’t figured out how to get the foreign characters to come out yet.
2. Slightly less deep (but still pretty deep) apologies for the liberal use of Google Translate. This is why I need Spanish Boot Camp.

**W00t! Two Germane Amazon Links for the price of one!

Trigger Thumb Chronicles

I know it’s not really a chronicle, since it’s just an update on something that’s been going on since July, but I liked the sound of the title.

Basically, back in July, I was awakened by a pain in my hand. I didn’t know what it was, so I went back to sleep. When I finally woke up for real, I couldn’t bend my thumb.

Well, I could bend it, but it sort of clicked into place rather than bending smoothly. I did some research and found that the diagnosis closest to what I experienced was trigger finger (or thumb in this case), when the sheath that surrounds the tendon in the finger becomes inflamed and the tendon no longer moves smoothly through the sheath.

I remembered that my mom had something similar happen to her back in the 1980s. She went to a doctor who told her to wear a splint and it’d fix itself. So I got a splint and. Ow. Near as I can figure, the splint presses down on the inflamed spot and makes it hurt worse.

I got some accommodations arranged at work and hoped that it’d go away, since trigger finger in the thumb tends to be self-limiting, which means it goes away on its own.

It hasn’t gone away. So I went to the doctor and they took a few x-rays and it is trigger thumb, just like I thought. I also have mild arthritis in my left hand (probably also my right, but I haven’t had my right hand x-rayed yet). I got some prescription-strength anti-inflammatories and have been instructed to use diclofenac gel twice a day (speaking of which, I’m late for my second dose). If it doesn’t resolve after two weeks, I need to see a hand specialist.


I can bend it better than I could last week, so maybe it will go away on its own. Or maybe not. We’ll see.

Today’s Gratuitous Amazon Link is for The Rose Code, by Kate Quinn. The Rose Code is about the code breakers at Bletchley Park during World War II. There’s a post World War II mystery involved as well. Just an excellent book.

New Dog, Part II

So. Mila came to me needing a lot of training. Since my dad didn’t want a dog, and she came to me with no respect for personal space, I turned my bedroom into a little studio apartment thing. I don’t keep food or eat my meals in here, but I have an en-suite bathroom and storage space for food, treats, toys, etc., so that she won’t bother my dad.

Mila never had much experience being alone, so once she came to live with me, she’d bark and bark when I left the room. I couldn’t take a leave of absence (if I adopted a human child, yes; for an adopted dog child, not so much), so I had to leave her for a whole work day pretty much right off the bat.

So, since I knew she’d be stressed out and since there’s no point in getting a dog just to leave her in my bedroom alone, I spent more time in my bedroom, and none of my old computers were able to access any of the things I use my computer for — YouTube, WordPress, etc.

So I wasn’t able to commit much time to writing. A blog post takes quite a bit of time to write, and that was time I had to spend away from Mila. Now that I have my nifty new laptop, however, I can write blog posts while not ignoring my dog. In fact, she’s curled up on my ankles right now.

Now for the next big question. Can I do my Gratuitous and/or Germane Amazon Links on this computer? I’ve got my GoodReads page up. Let’s see. Fearless, by Francine Pascal (possibly ghostwritten? Fearless ended up being like a 40-book series). The Fearless series is about a young woman named Gaia who was born without the ability to feel fear. She has experience with a sort of social anxiety, but she doesn’t have any fear for, like, her physical well-being. Knowing this about his daughter, her father made sure she was well schooled in self-defense. I’ve been told that the series sort of falls apart eventually, but the part I’ve read (the first nine books?) are pretty good.

Is the series out of print? Wow. I’ll have to look into that. Well, at least it’s a recommendation. 😎

I, Once Again, Am Not Dead

It’s been a couple of months. I mean, not just “Hey, it’s been a while; how’re you doing\?” sense, but in a “Wow! Things have been pretty rough!” kind of sense

So. In mid-July I ended up in a situation where the only ethical thing I could do was take Mila in on a permanent basis. You might remember Mila, the dog that I had on a part-time basis?

Her original mom couldn’t keep her, and I didn’t know what my dad would do if I took her in, so her original mom rehomed her. That new home didn’t work out, since in July, I get a phone call at work saying, “Your dog is here at the Humane Society.”

You see, when I had her spayed and chipped, they put my contact info on the chip. I didn’t, at that point, know how to take my info off of the chip, so when she ran away from/was dumped by her second person, I became her mom sort of by default.

I mean, I love her to death. She’s my bestest buddy. **However** my dad also forbade me to ever get another dog or cat and he said he’d move out if I did. I cannot afford this house without his financial assistance, and so in my mind, at the time it boiled down to her or my home.

So I told my dad about my info being on her chip and went to the Humane Society to get her. She had no sense of personal space and came back to me pretty reactive, so I cannot in good conscience rehome her at the moment.

My goal is to get her well trained enough to pass the canine good citizen test. Then, no matter what happens, we’ll be good. If my dad eventually puts his foot down and says she has to go, it should be easy to find a new home for her. Or even a fostering situation.

The items are accepting a friendly stranger (still working on that one), Sitting politely for petting (ditto), whether the dog will let someone other than the owner to groom her (I might be able to game this one by having her original mom be the other person?), loose leash walking (sometimes okay, mostly not), walking through a crowd (we go to the Riverwalk often, so she’s good with this one), sit and stay (meh . . . ), coming when called (she’s good with this one), reaction to another dog (erm. . . ), reaction to distractions (ditto), and supervised separation from the owner (I would walk out of sight of the dog while someone else holds her leash).

We’ve got a lot of work to do.