Category Archives: Breaking News

A Real, Live Sooner

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It is done. I AM AN OU STUDENT. I have a schedule and a fancy binder.

Following my advisement today, I enrolled in two classes. What I got…well, it’s not optimal. I had wanted two online classes, to go with the two on-campus classes I’m enrolled in at my current school. Since Robert is still working on getting back home more, I didn’t feel like having to drive to OU numerous times a week was a wise idea.

Well, I was able to get one online class, but the other that I needed is full. I don’t really have the option of not taking this class, as it’s a prerequisite for, oh, all the other Anthropology classes. So, for now, I am enrolled in an on-campus class, M-W-F. While I’m there on Mondays I will also attend the lab for my online Geology course.

At the suggestion of my advisor, I did contact the instructor of the online class to see if he’d make an exception and let me in. I don’t know if that’s at all within the realm of possibility. There may be a waiting list and I have no grounds to assume he’ll allow this. I really hope he does, though, because, if so, I will only have to drive to OU once a week…and my two local classes are going to be easy, so I’ll have plenty of time to maintain my sparkling 4.0. Or just pass. I’m good with just passing.

In either event, I am on my way.

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Humans Only

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I think we are petless.

Last Tuesday our cat, Grace, ran out the door and we haven’t seen her since. Being that she was raised as an indoor-only cat, she had no collar or tags. She has gone out a few times before and stayed out two or three days, but during those times I have sighted her around the property before she actually deigned to come back in the house. This time, I have seen hide nor hair of her and it’s been six days, not two or three. Tomorrow I will call the local shelter and see if she’s been turned in; however, she is not friendly to strangers and I can’t imagine anyone could get close enough to her to catch her.

I am left with mixed emotions. I am an advocate for animals. I love animals. This was an animal which I committed to care for and I’ve failed in that. As annoying as she’d become, I didn’t wish anything bad to happen to her. No animal deserves an untimely death or mistreatment. I don’t feel like I have any right to hope for or root for another living being’s demise. I was prepared to let her live out the rest of her natural life with us, taking care of her despite her foibles, because it was the right thing to do.

On the other hand, I am now faced with the prospect of being pet-free for the first time in twenty-two years. Since I got my dog when I was 15 I have always had at least one pet at all times; usually more. Besides the obvious hair and poop issues, having pets it also a logistical nightmare for people who travel as much as we do. It adds stress to a situation (getting ready to go on a trip) that already causes me a lot of anxiety.

There’s another thing – the anxiety I just mentioned? It really kicks in when a pet becomes ill. It’s very upsetting to me, not to mention dealing with the prospect of obtaining veterinary care when it’s sometimes not in the budget.

What I’m getting at is, after more than two decades, I am tired. I am tired of hair everywhere, “presents” on the floor every morning, the stress, the worry. I had thirteen – THIRTEEN – guinea pigs at one time, folks. It took me two hours just to clean all the cages. I spent thousands (yes, thousands) of dollars on vet care for them, ferrying them back and forth from where we live to an exotics vet in Guthrie (110 miles ONE. WAY.). I spent countless hours doing nursing care on sick guineas at home and had genuine anxiety and a legitimate grieving process when each was sick and subsequently died. It still hurts my heart to think of Cosmo, our cat who went missing a year ago, and, not only that, I still have never gotten over the death of my dog, Baby, over ten years ago.

I’m officially exhausted.

I’m exhausted from both an emotional and a practical standpoint. I am ready to not have to clean up barfed-up hairballs and crap from the floor and to not have a fine coating of hair on everything I own. I am ready to prepare for a trip and only have to worry about packing clothing and stopping the mail; maybe getting my brother-in-law to stop by just once while we’re gone to check on the house. I feel like I’ve given all the concern and affection and time that I can muster to pets and I don’t have any left. When having pets ceases to be a joy and becomes drudgery, it’s time to stop having pets.

I just wish it had happened with a happier ending. I’m sorry, Grace.

College Drama: Resolved

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It was called to my attention that I had never updated following my last post about the kerfuffle at the university. Someone on Facebook asked me the following day “What did you have to do?” to which my answer was, “Talk to someone who actually knew what they were doing.”

Basically what I did was go back the next day and see my advocate in the Educational Opportunity Center. He is there to help me with whatever I need and I told him it was a positive insult that I should have to test in English and Reading after scoring near-perfect on the ACT. He told me I didn’t have to take the whole test, just the Math. I still didn’t think that was necessary – it was patently clear that I could do basic math but not algebra or above, and that I should be in zero-level Math – but I found it more important to get myself accepted than to argue. I felt I could live with taking the doofus Math test if it meant getting past this particular hurdle. So I took it – and tested at “post-high school” level. And if someone can explain to me how I can test at post-high school level when the ACT is (allegedly) high school or post-high school level and I bombed it, I’d be most obliged.

Anyway. The next step was to go talk to people in three different departments and let them look at my paperwork, my scores, etc., and tell them why I am deficient in Math. They were all very nice and very impressed with my scores, and all said that they couldn’t see me having any problems. The final lady I talked to advised me against taking a full load (I hadn’t planned on it; there’s no way, with three kids and having to do most of the work myself). She thought three classes would be a good place to start and I agreed.

From there it was on to make my appointment to come back for enrollment and class selection (June 9th), and there we had it. I was accepted. They asked me if I wanted an official letter and I said yes. It came the other day and you’d better believe I’m going to keep it, thank you very much. I can see it, framed, on the wall of my office years down the road.

And so, ladies and gents, off we go into the wild blue yonder. What will happen? I don’t know. Maybe this won’t work out how I’m currently planning. Maybe it will. Is it insane for me to pursue this course of study at this particular time in my life? Perhaps. But I’ll never know if I can do it until I try. I have the means, I have the support and I am more motivated than I’ve been maybe in my entire life. I have decided I want to do something and I’m actually following through. Even when it didn’t go as smoothly getting started as I’d expected, I followed through. The quote that has kept me going through this beginning process has been, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I made that step and now the journey has begun. I’m thrilled to see where it takes me.

Tomorrow Never Knows

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There are times in your life, just before the wave breaks over your head, when you have a brief, precognitive moment; something that tells you you won’t like what’s about to happen. That happened to me this morning when my dad called my mobile phone. My dad doesn’t call that phone. He calls the house and leaves a message. Still, if he’d only called my cell phone and not the house first it mightn’t have raised an alarm. But the house phone had rung….Robert was in another room and I was too lazy to jump up and check it, assuming it would just be some telemarketer. It stopped ringing and then….then my iPhone buzzed in my hand. “Mom & Dad”, the readout proclaimed. And that’s when it happened. This, I understood in a flash of utter clarity, was not going to be good. This phone call could not possibly encompass anything I wanted to hear.

And then Dad asked me if I was sitting down.

My mom had a heart attack.

She’s in the ICU. They’ve put in a(nother) stint. She’ll be there two or three days. He didn’t have any more info, and I didn’t ask. I’d gone into crisis mode, where I just listen and say, “Okay….okay” into the phone like I’m taking someone’s pizza order.

So now I wait. What I really want to do is go to that hospital right now and tell them to fix my mommy and fix her good and that this had better not happen again. Because I’m not ready. I don’t want things to change. I don’t want the stage of life where you’re always waiting for that next phone call; that next crisis, until finally the phone calls don’t come anymore and you wish you had them back.

Robert says that if they caught the heart attack and fixed the problem with the stint then everything should be fine. I hope he’s right. I know it could’ve been a lot worse. And I hope that we’re all sitting in my parents’ living room in a couple weeks laughing and wondering what we were ever worried about. But you can’t make any assumptions; can never quite breathe a sigh of relief until it’s well past and so, for now, I wonder about our new reality. I worry and I wait. It’s all I can do.

Certifiable

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So. It appears we will be driving to California this summer.

That’s right. Two adults. Three children. One mini-van. Three days. And somewhere in the neighborhood of 1500 miles.


Gonna be seein’ a whoooole lotta this pretty soon…..

This all came about rather suddenly. For one reason or another we did not seriously begin trying to find plane tickets to book until this weekend. And, as usually happens for these summer trips, prices had started to climb while availability plummeted. That’s when Robert came up with this idea. He always drives to California for his part of the trip. The kids and I leave first and he motors out to join us around halfway through.

This time, though, we will all leave together and make the drive. Home to Albuquerque, Albuquerque to Flagstaff (with a side trip to the Grand Canyon) and Flagstaff to Atascadero. Then the kids and I will fly home on one-way tickets. Easy peasy, right?

Somehow, I doubt it. You know, considering it’s us.

I’m also, for the record, unconvinced that this will end up being any cheaper than just buying the slightly-more-expensive-than-last-week plane tickets. I plan to keep a record of our expenses. I’d like to say it will be strictly for my own personal edification and that I won’t gloat if I end up being correct, but I’m not making any promises.

On that pesky other hand, there are also some perks to doing it this way. Instead of leaving around the 23rd, we won’t leave until the 30th, a.k.a. payday. Very helpful. We also won’t need a rental car for the first two weeks we are there.

Since we will be leaving later that also pushes our return further into August. I was originally looking at something like the 3rd to come home. Now it’ll be more like the 8th…..which, serendipitously enough, happens to be the day after The Sun Kings have a run of three shows in a row. My early plan is for us to fly out of San Jose or San Francisco on the 8th, but to go up a couple days prior and go to a couple of (or maybe all three!) shows before flying home. This also gives me a little more wiggle room with their July shows rather than my feeling I “have to” go to one show or another because it’s one of only a few chances I have.

And with that the preparations begin. I need to take my van to a Honda dealership for some minor repairs, and it absolutely must be detailed and have the carpets shampooed before I’ll consider spending three days in it. We have our route basically mapped out and even our dining selections made (thank you, Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives). I’ll even start collecting our clothing and other items to take and putting them in a central location as I find them. Oh, and somewhere in there I have to work VBS at church for a week and also make a nice birthday for my sometimes-overlooked middle child.

Yes, June will be an interesting month, not the least of reasons being that I will be trapped in a motor vehicle with my entire family for a minimum total of 24 hours. I plan to blog about my captivity via iPhone. Will we make it out alive? It’s anyone’s guess. Tune in later this month to find out.

Coldhearted Snake

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I’m a reasonable person. I like animals. I like nature. I like both best when they remember their place; their place being, namely, not inside my house. It has become apparent that not only are my wishes not being considered, they are being flagrantly flouted and thrown back in my face.

Now, I know snakes serve a purpose in the environment, and I respect that. I adopt a “live and let live” approach to snakes. I have no desire to seek them out and harm them; nor do I believe in hurting them simply because they had the bad luck to wander across my path. However, I’m a bit irritated about the entire encounter. There was really, truly no need for homeboy to roll up on us like that. We have nothing in the house for him to eat. His fortunes are much more promising in the great outdoors. And yet, there he was, in defiance of nature and everything I have ever hoped or desired for my place of residence.

Also, the dude was a bit of an ingrate. We saved him from Grace, who apparently thought he was some hep new cat toy (Super-Squirmy Scaly String™). Despite this olive branch he still had the nerve to go all bad-ass and draw back like he was going to strike me when I got too close. I was like, “Ooooh, I’m so scared. What are you going to do, flick me to death with your microscopic tongue? Dial it down a notch, chief.”

Anyway, one broom and one dustpan later and Mr. Hissy has moved on. But I honestly don’t know if I can adequately express how disturbing I find this. You see, this isn’t the first snake we’ve found in our house. It’s not even the first snake we’ve found in our house this spring. This guy was #2. The first one had the decency to be deceased when we found it (probably thanks to one of the Mighty Feline Hunters, or possibly it took one look at our garbage dump of a house and killed itself in despair). I’m really worried that this is going to become some kind of pattern. Maybe they’ll start coming up out of the plumbing next. Wouldn’t that be charming?

My other theory is that tonight’s snake was a relative of snake #1, come to avenge his death. In which case I guess we can count on seeing him again someday. It’s a shame I don’t speak Parseltongue; perhaps I could’ve discerned a faint Schwarzenegger-esque hiss of “I’ll be back!” as I flung the contents of the dustpan into the stratosphere.

Housekeeping

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Look! I’m back!

I just couldn’t stay away, not from all you lovely people. So I’m going to keep on keeping on. Because I’m a giver that way.

I have made a couple changes. I have moved to WordPress, for two reasons: one, because it’s free (I had to pay yearly for my hosting with the last setup) and two, because I no longer wanted to use Movable Type. It was fairly technical and, being an older version, did not have a lot of the features I would like to have. To add them may have been possible but it would’ve required a level of technical expertise which I do not possess. It also seemed really cumbersome to use and I truly think the format was a contributing factor in why I quit blogging. Every time I wanted to change something I had to go in and tinker with things and type out HTML (at which I’m not very good), and then “rebuild” the entire site to get the changes to take effect. It was time-consuming and frustrating. So WordPress seemed like a good solution. Everyone I know who uses it loves it and it’s very user-friendly, which is good for a non-techie like me.

And now a few housekeeping notes before we resume regularly scheduled (we hope) posting:

1) All my old posts, all the way back to the beginning, have been imported and remain available for reading. However, I am having some formatting issues so I apologize if they are difficult to read (there are no spaces between paragraph breaks). I am going to be working on fixing this but there are a LOT of posts to go through (assuming I can figure out how to fix it to begin with).

2) Pictures were not imported so if you read an old entry that used to have a picture there will be a broken image icon. I am also going to try to replace all of these but, again, major project (not to mention that some of the pictures are probably ones I don’t have on this computer and will have to track down). If anyone happens to find one of these posts with a missing picture it would really help me out a lot if you could give me a heads up by leaving a comment on that post. This will call my attention to it and I’ll make sure to get it fixed.

3) The design. It’s changed, as any readers from way back can see. The previous design was a custom one done especially for use on Movable Type and installed for me by someone who knew what she was actually doing. I couldn’t bring it to WordPress and that’s okay because I didn’t want to. I’d had it a long time and am ready for something new. This current design is a WP design that’s offered to all their users. I don’t love it but I can live with it. It may change at any time, without notice. 🙂 At some point I plan to have someone (a professional….or at least semi-pro) design a custom layout for me. For now we have WP’s offerings.

4) To the left you can see the various widgets I’ve added. There’s a feed of my most recent tweets on Twitter, my blogroll, links to some of my favorite things, and my “Web Wanderings”, which are websites or pages I’ve bookmarked recently on Delicious because I found them fun or interesting – much like my “Timewasters” feature on the former site, only this way is really easy to add stuff to so it will actually be current. These are all a work in progress as I add to them, so keep checking back.

5) One fun feature I have been enjoying is the “Random Post” button. It’s up at the top on the pull-down menu below “Blog Info.” It’ll bring up (wait for it)…..a random post. Good for a larf, or to ease you into a deep slumber if you’ve got insomnia. Could go either way around here.

6) I have this set up to where any posts I make here will post to Facebook, as well. However, if you aren’t on Facebook, or if you are on there but tend to miss a lot, and you like what I have to say, might I suggest subscribing? It costs nothing and WP does not sell or otherwise abuse your email address. (Subscription form in the column to the left.)

I do believe that covers it. Thanks for sticking with me and I hope this is the start of better blogging days.