Wednesday, December 28, 2011


This is just ONE of the many buildings I had classes in this past semester.  And things are not so green and fresh looking as they did when I first arrived here.  But I snapped this photo with my phone for posterity's sake.

I was going to post individual assessments of my classes as the semester went, but….  I was working my butt off, so never got around to that.  I could go on about the interesting bits, like when I would rush from work to class, making a brief stop at the library to print out homework, didn’t notice my laptop bag hit my rolling desk chair, and fell flat on my ass when I decided to sit 2 feet off from where the chair apparently decided to be.  But none of you actually want to read THAT kind of thing, now do you?  No, I didn’t think so.  But none the less, posting this at the end of semester makes for a fuller, more well rounded experience that’s easier to recap.  This is in no particular order mind you.


A tough class.  That’s for damn sure.  Not that the course work is that difficult all around.  Just stressful squeezing in writing multiple speeches, performing said speeches, learning the statistics and facts about communication, remembering to take the quizzes on those said facts online, and only having ONE class per week to accomplish all of this.  That’s really the only part that made it that difficult.  Organizing all of that into a very short few sessions, where most of my classes were two days a week worth of opportunities to turn things in and remind us what was coming up.  I admittedly missed one or two things.  They just fell through the cracks.  Honestly it was the only class I had to turn in one assignment for half credit and missed another one completely.  But even so, I still received a solid B. 


Eeeeep.  I THOUGHT I had signed up for Japanese Karate.  NOT Korean Karate.  BIG difference.  My previous martial arts experience has all come from Japan.  There is a much different approach to fighting styles between the two.  Mainly, it is seen in formality, ceremony, but most of all….  Keeping feet PLANTED and lower center of balance.  Tae Kwon Do?  You do a lot of hopping around and…  It was a challenge.  But I like a challenge.  And I appreciated the workout.  And believe me, I felt it.

My instructor LOVED me, and she asked me one day after class, “I can’t remember, did you say you have children?”  “No, ma’am.”  “Well I REALLY hope you do one day, you’re going to make a fantastic mother.”  My friend Ken suggested that maybe it was keen talent for a right hook and kick to the groin that made her think so.  But call me a tootsie pop, I suppose I’ll never know that answer.

Overall grade.  A+


I was overwhelmed by how much amazing information was presented in this course.  The instructor was SUPER helpful and sweet, and within the first couple of classes I realized I had to shut up so that others could speak up.  …I’m told I have that problem sometimes.  …I’m also told I have a dry sense of humor.

I wasn’t sure if I would be able to pull off the grade I wanted.  There was A LOT of reading material I just wasn’t going to have the time for.  I bought all the books.  Downloaded all the files.  Finding time?  Another story.  I was very upset for a while.  It had been SO long since I was in school.  Back in the day I was an EXPERT at faking my way through it.  I HAD to be.  Skim the material, pick out a few key sentences, read the back cover synopsis… evaluate what the professor said, tie it together and repeat it back and hope no one is the wiser.  ….Just like riding a bike.

Once I figured out that I can still do this, the semester went SO much easier.  In ALL of my classes.

For a final project I had to do an interview, read (pretend to read, I’ll get around to it eventually jut because it is something of interest,) a novel about experiences of Iraqi Women, as an example of how to present and conduct oral histories, and write a term paper that was…  well, 10 pages long.  At 2 in the morning, night before it was due, I sat in the library staring at a computer screen and a stack of books, with bloodshot eyes.  …So don’t act as if I didn’t do ANY work by cheating out of a little reading.  :P  There was plenty still accomplished, believe you me.

Overall grade.  A


This class.  SO much I can say about it.  One of my favorite teachers thus far.  I’m not sure what I can say I took away from it though, as a great deal of the lesson plans were on things I already had extensive knowledge of.  Honestly, I think the only reason I enjoyed the class so much is because at times I felt like I was helping to teach it.  I felt involved, affirmed, and confident.  The things I knew were reinforced in such a way that forced me to look at it again with new eyes.  Like sexist advertising.  Or the eco system.  …But mostly sexist ads.

We had an entire unit on the objectification of women (and men too at times) that blew my mind when I realized, though I KNEW about it going on, I wasn’t paying attention to when I saw it.  One of the classes, we were asked to bring in various ads we found in magazines and such from home.

I don’t do magazines.  BUT I DO do youtube.  :)  I am a youtube warrior!  I emailed myself this (and a few other links) and then pulled up the videos on the class projection system.  And let me tell ya, seeing this commercial 3 feet tall?  Adds new perspective.

But again, even with this class I had to fake it a bit.  We had TWO novels to read for a final project.  I bought one of them, and then realized that I got enough out of the class discussions and googling a few facts and watching a couple of interviews with the authors on youtube, to pass with flying colors.  …yay.

Overall grade.  A


English.  The reason I’m here.  I loved this class.  But it wasn’t without its challenges either.  Many don’t realize, but English was my WORST subject in high school.  Hate it.  All those rules, and correcting grammar, and piles of reading.  Okay.  I should probably clarify at this juncture, as I’m likely giving the wrong impression.  I didn’t and don’t hate reading.  In my past I hated being constantly told what I HAD to read, and told I had to like it.  That’s changed, and I do enjoy all reading now, and did PLENTY this semester.  I just didn’t have time for it all.  But as for English in general, through my constant scribbling before coming back to school, I’ve learned a few things.  I taught myself grammar rules, via the internet, and learned a thing or two about spelling tips.

The piece de resistance in the whole semester for English?  The memoirs project, hands down.  I mean, hell, like I don’t journal enough…  It was a shoe in.  But more than that…  the students in my class, and instructor liked it so much that it was shared with her editing class, and used as part of their project as well.  I loved that class, and there is no doubt that it boosted my confidence in my writing tenfold.

I left the semester in that class with encouragement to submit my class writings to magazines and to complete a full memoirs as well.
Overall grade.  A


This was the ONE class I had every confidence that I was going to be FINE in.  MAN was I wrong.  “Simple,” I was told.  “All you do is watch slides, go to a couple performances, and take a quiz or two,” they said.  And “they” were right.  If you have ANY teacher BUT mine.

I hated this class.  The professor made us write an essay about poetry, (which I’m not opposed to doing, though I don’t like poetry necessarily.)  The professor made us write this analytical essay on poetry HE WROTE.  …wait what?  Then we performed a poem.  Also not a huge fan, but I can do it, and even volunteered to do so for forensics.  …Again, a poem HE wrote.  Then for our midterm, we had to perform TWO poems…  …he wrote.  (GETTING ANGRY.)

We wasted SO many days on the rules of how to write a paper and why HIS style of writing is better than other styles, but never covered ANY of the information the papers were suppose to be about aside from watching some Native American Dance.  Once in person, and another time, a video.  (Which was AWFUL!  If you know ANYTHING about Native American culture, you would weep for this documentary.  It was complete with flying eagle footage paired with fake screeches and the dances were performed on a stage with fake trees and shrubs and odd lighting effects.)  We spent 3 full classes doing nothing but watching videos of past students give the same type of performances that we were expected to, again wasting time, ONE class doing nothing but participating in an interview he was conducting as to WHY current students want to BE students, and another class doing nothing but being placated as to “understanding” how “hard” this all is and that he understands learning is “hard.”  This is where my brain holds itself hostage.  He illustrates how learning something new is hard for him too, by telling us how he is learning to play the piano so he can play a song for his girlfriend.  And then wastes 10 minutes of class attempting to play the piece.  …REALLY!!!!?  The next essay I wrote, asked us to use and explain a term I have NEVER heard before.  (Again, never discussed any of the material in class, just how to write the paper.)  I have been force fed visual art since I could hold a crayon.  I’m not saying there can’t be something out there about art that I haven’t heard of, but I’m saying, it is unlikely.  So I researched the term.  Googled it.  Looked high and low.  (I have an entire shelf of art books.)  Nothing.  The only place I found the term, was in the reading material he assigned.  Again, reading material HE WROTE!!!

Okay…  some of you are aware of my unholy temper when something upsets me to this extent.  I have this odd ability, I’m told, to write the most polite, “go F*@$ yourself” papers/letters/etc… any have ever encountered.  Diplomatic, but sharp.

I’m actually quite surprised that I managed to resist as long as I did.  Even down to essay number four, I managed to hold my temper enough to simply refuse to use the term he made up, and willingly took the lower score in refusal to play his game any further.  It was bad enough that this was supposed to be a freshman class, and we were being graded on a master’s level.  Even I, with my years of experience freelance writing, felt like a white belt put into a black belt competition, and the black belts were fighting dirty.  I was being graded on skills I hadn’t had the instruction  on yet. 

The Final came up, and it was in the form of an essay.  Again.  We were to write about the difference between “learned” artistic ability, and “natural talent.”  To discuss if art is something you’re born with or taught.  Which is better… etc…  I saw my opportunity.  I took my chances, and decided that integrity was more important to me than a grade.  I followed the “rules,” so to speak as far as what the essay was to be about.  The intro included a thesis, and a preview.  The first paragraph discussed “learned” art.  The second paragraph discussed “natural” talent.  The third paragraph discussed how neither one is more valid than the other, or more pointedly, LESS important.  I included examples, such as Igor Stravinsky’s, “Rite of Spring,” to illustrate how art can be both, learned and innate.  How Stravinsky composed something that broke all the rules, and was the pivot point for MASSIVE controversy.  People either loved his new sound, or hated it.  …Then, after all that build up, I let loose the words of war.  I made the statement that writing is an art form, and supported, much like Stravinsky, just because a specific format isn’t followed, or deviated from, DOES NOT make the new format less influential or valid.  Just because ONE man may disagree with it, does not make that person the ultimate authority figure, but merely one small opinion, and I then followed with statements that artistic integrity was something to be far more valued than acceptance.  I backed him into a corner, arguing against everything he had “taught” us in the past few months.  I knew it was a risk.  One I could pay for dearly.  He would either be outraged with my audacity, or realize that my point was valid.

…..I got a perfect score.  Breaking all of his “rules.”

Class score A-


So...  I Made the Dean's list.  Something I NEVER, in my youth, thought possible.  Really, I wasn't even really sure what the "Dean's list" was.  I had to ask.  But I'm excited for it.  And have realized if I keep this up... well, I can go anywhere.  If I decided to transfer schools, and do some adventurous far off learning...  well, that is a door I'm opening for myself.  Honestly, there is less holding me back here every day.  But that is for another time.  :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Lost: One mind....

I had an unexpectedly good day yesterday.  I got a forty dollar refund.  I ended up ahead of schedule on one assignment.  I had food in my stomach.  I finally found the time to not only schedule the doctor appointment, but found my schedule next week will accommodate the actual appointment itself.  I even had a *gasp* semi pleasant conversation with my mother.  So why am I up at 4 in the morning writing this?

…….I know I bitch a bit.  And I’m sure that translates to a “Crying wolf” opinion of me at times.  I’m okay with that for now.  I can’t help if I’m vocal and need to vent, though frustrated at times if that venting is failed to be taken the slightest bit seriously.  There are times I feel a bit bi-polar with voicing the good and bad, because I can be rather passionate about both.  For example: today was a good day.  A series of small wins, that I’m sure plenty would take as, “wow she must be leading a very good life right now.”  And tomorrow’s status updates may read to the contrary, and have my followers thinking, WTF happened?

There are some problems here.  More than a few.  Take my relationship with my mother.  It’s not always been a pleasant one.  …rarely been a pleasant one.  About a month ago, I was informed that there is a (very small) chance that I may have cervical cancer.  But enough of a concern to start referrals to specialists and start further testing.  That’s fine.  I’m too overwhelmed with other things to really process that.  Or at least I was, until a conversation with my mother that ended in her saying, “well you didn’t want kids anyway.”   ……um…  Don’t really have a response for that.  Or a good reason for the baby outfits I have stored up in boxes in a closet for “someday” if that's the case.... 

Okay…  so, this leads to my next current “issue.”  Work.  When transferring to this location, I was supposed to be part time, roughly 24 hours a week.  They began scheduling me 5 days a week roughly 28 to 32 hours, and made a comment on hiring additional help of, “I don’t think we need another fulltime position.  Maybe just a part time.”  To which I can agree, IF….  It wasn’t for the next statement.  I tried to talk to them about my schedule.  I am working 5 days a week, have school two of those nights, and school all day the other two days a week.  Remember what I said about needing further testing and doctor appointments?  And when am I going to squeeze that in?

I tried to explain this to work but before I could explain my reasons WHY I could only work 4 days a week instead of five.  He explained that they can't afford to cut my hours, that they need me to be there.  ...but...  you just said we're slow enough that we don't need to hire a full time position and only a part time...  ...oh.  Enter angry Aimee.  I got the additional response of “Well, you aren’t going to get any sympathy from me, because I went to school and worked at the same time.”  

  • ·         Is that why you still have a job that requires you to wear a plastic name tag?
  • ·         Awww… that’s so cute.  Did you get gold stars and everything?
  • ·         And were you a divorced 30 year old woman trying to support herself without outside help or support?
  • ·         Are you implying I’m a lesser person than you for recognizing and accepting my limits?
  • ·         You’re welcome, for training your staff and carrying all of the work for my section of the department since the grand opening.

But instead, I composed myself and told him WHY I needed the one day off from both school and work per week.  (though I really didn’t want to have to tell my MALE boss that I may have cervical cancer.)

He accepted my request and claimed that he would try to accommodate my schedule request, but continued to give me gruff about needing off for an upcoming school function as I was 2 days past deadline for requesting it off (but still roughly three weeks prior to the function) and, “weekends are really hard to give (me) off because the other cake decorator needs every Saturday morning off.”  …I’ve heard this rant before.  So… you hired someone for cakes, that can’t work on the busiest day of the week and expect me to be there EVERY Saturday alone?  What makes my education a lower priority than her church activities?  Don’t misunderstand.  I’m happy this person is active in their church…  but why do I have to sacrifice for it.  That was the COMPANY’S decision.  NOT mine.

So let’s fast forward.  I have an upcoming day that I’ve been very much looking forward to.  A proverbial light at the end of my stressful tunnel, if you will.  A mini vacation.  A way of celebrating after finals, and a break from this hectic schedule that has me SO stressed and overwrought that I have experienced actual hallucinations for lack of sleep, and odd memory lapses, where I’ve done things and don’t remember doing them.  …at all.  Like writing on friends’ facebook walls, or buying food/things I don’t remember.  Or asking someone to do a project with me for school…  I really feel like I’ve lost my mind.  The hallucinations, I didn’t mind.  Sure, it was an annoyance when I kept trying to reach for the glass of water on my desk that didn’t exist…  but a new and intriguing/fun experience.  Not remembering full conversations or missing an hour from my recollection?  Not so fun.  Just scary.  But in a couple of weeks the semester will be done, and it will be Christmas.  The point at which all the students leave, and the town will get quiet, work will be slow, no more assignments…  a vacation in itself, and the perfect time for me to take a day to myself.  That light at the end of the tunnel.  …Or so I thought.

I put the date in for December 26th.  The day after Christmas.  A Monday.  So let me recap.  That means Christmas Eve lands on a Saturday.  Remember what I said about Saturdays?  I will be handling Christmas Eve alone.  We’re only open a half day, more or less, and it would be pointless to have the other decorator come in after her church stuffs.  But I don’t mind.  Until they denied my vacation time for the day after Christmas.  I can work Christmas eve, by myself, rushing to get all of the holiday orders completed, but the other cake decorator can’t handle the day AFTER the holiday?  Compile this on top of my other frustrations, and the fact that I already paid for the hotel…  I’m not a happy camper.  I REALLY needed this bit of hope to carry me through this rough patch.

So.  Today at work, I will be making it clear to them that they can either lose me for the one day, or they can lose me for the entire week.  I have had enough, and will quit, leaving them dry for the duration.  Their choice.

So, with all that said…  if you could please click on a sponsor, just to the side of the screen there….  Yup that’s it.  Every four clicks earns me about a dollar.  (You don’t have to sign up for anything.  Just close the sponsor ads after they pop up.)  And don’t “over click.”  They track for “scamming.”  Just a few clicks each visit will do.  But it REALLY does help me out.  With enough clicks, I can quit, concentrate on school and my writing, and maybe start enjoying my time here.  Thanks in advance.  Wish me luck.

PS... I promise to explain more of my class experiences later this week.  Including events such as, girls taking pictures of my underwear, and if grades were stars, at least I could wish on them as they fell...  :D  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lack of Time, or There's a Reason this Rant is Short.

(remember to click a sponsor please....  pretty please?  I'd like to put myself through college with writing rather than stripping.)     

           It’s just one of those moments that I need to rant for a bit.  I should be reading right now.  Like 200 pages worth of reading, but can’t seem to convince myself to pick up the damned book.  Not that it isn’t good.  I just haven’t had time and I’ve been getting discouraged when I DO have time.

                I realize why I came back to school, and understand the importance in being here, and yes I’m enjoying the challenge of it at times….  But then, some of the challenge is in all of the wrong places.  For example, I seem to understand all of the information the teachers are giving us, but don’t seem to understand the 50 different formats that they want us to respond through.  I understand WWII but don’t understand how to insert and utilize “footnotes” when composing my response….   I understand art, but don’t understand why we are being taught Plato in an art class….  I know how to write an persuasive essay, but don’t understand why you are making me dumb down my writing style to a generic high school level.

I also realize that just starting out again, I have to get all of these cruddy “basic” classes out of the way that, let’s face it, are just “review” for the fresh out of high school students.  And to ease the non-traditionals in.  I have to have patience.  But meanwhile it feels like I came here to find knowledge and inspiration do something great with my life, and thus far, all it’s REALLY done is inspire and frustrate me, simply for the fact that I don’t have enough time to accomplish half of the things it’s inspired me for.

Example: With all I’ve reviewed and the new angles I’ve learned to utilize to look at politics and history, as well as the applications from my Individual and Society class, I have a GREAT short story I REALLY think would be successful and hard hitting.  …….And with the exception of my ONE blog post, (aside from this 10 minute jaunt) I have Zilch down on paper.  For SO long, before coming here, I lacked inspiration to write.  I wanted to want to.  I had ideas to use.  But I didn’t have that special “fire” to move my pen to.  That PASSION behind the words that kept me interested enough to know that my readers would be interested as well.

But worse, I’m falling behind.  I have SO much reading to get done, essays, performances, speeches….  And now work has increased the number of hours that they need me.  …clean clothes may become a problem, though I did have a friend offer by way of casual conversation last night to come do my laundry for me after hearing my predicament.  (Thanks Ken.)  :P

The good news is, at least I LIKE this job for the moment.  I’m a fracking ROCK STAR there.  Now that I’m actually working IN the bakery department I’m respected, looked up to, and basically running the show until the supervisor gets things a little more underway.  I have every faith she’s going to be a great supervisor BTW.  Right now, we’re just in the set up phase, but it made me realize all the more, “I could do this.”  I could TOTALLY open my own bakery, have it be a smashing success, and hardly break a sweat over it.  I have the organizational, inventory, and routine skills, down!

The issue is really just TIME.  Speaking of which, time to read, and get to writing that paragraph or so before morning.  Goodnight all!

Sunday, November 6, 2011


(remember to click a sponsor please....  pretty please?  I'd like to put myself through college with writing rather than stripping.)

I’ve been trying to work on several posts, mostly about school, and decided to split what I had to say into categories of my experiences in each class.  Those will follow soon, I promise.  The bit I will be ranting about my World of the Arts course will be extensive, I assure you.  But right now, I need to take a break from the whole school topic and talk about just life in general and how much can be summed up in just my experiences as they relate to "Yesterday."

There are a couple of friends I haven’t seen in quite some time.  And my voice is actually feeling a bit rough today after all the talking necessary in catching up with each other.  There are some people in life that no matter how long you go without seeing one another, you can just pick right back up where you left off.  I find this to be rare.  Most people, having moved so many times and experienced the distance makes the heart grow…  well, in different directions at least…  I realize that when you have a friend or two that keep that same bond you shared no matter the interruption in the time space continuum, they are to be cherished.  But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let’s start with what led IN to yesterday.

Extra excited about getting to see my friends Torin and Heather and not wanting to let anything get in the way, I prepared by getting a jump on my chores the evening before—namely, a midterm essay and laundry.  I must have the WORST luck in the world when it comes to dryers.  Because after having the broken dryer in my old apartment, the two in my new apartment building are each broken in different ways.  The one on the left heats up but doesn’t spin, and the one on the right spins but doesn’t really heat up.  So I washed my clothes and then proceeded to hang them around my apartment to dry, flipping and rotating them as needed through the night so they would dry evenly and with as few wrinkles as possible.  While tending to this I was also working on my essay and falling asleep between paragraphs, and waking to bizarre nightmares that I no longer remember the details of.  I finally uploaded the homework at five in the morning, and turned out the lights allowing a total of about 3 and a half hours of actual sleep.  I got up, ready to meet with my friends and do some hiking in the Kettle Moraine.

It is beautiful up there.  Exactly how my mind envisioned it.  NOT exactly how my legs envisioned it.  Somehow, the signals never conflicted and thinking about how beautiful the hills would be kept the enthusiasm for the experience SO high that I never thought twice about how tedious CLIMBING those hills could be.  The embarrassing part was the repeated action of getting passed by retired senior couples out for an afternoon stroll.  I give them credit for their amazing pace and stamina.  I definitely need to up the gym hours.  The exercise was well worth it, of course; all three and a half miles were charming, peaceful, and full of autumnal leaf-crunching goodness.  The weather was clear and perfect, and our packed lunches were a fantastic touch.

From One Park to Another.

After the State Park, it was time to get ready for Dog Park.  A new musical show that I had several of my closest friends in or involved with.  I met up with two of these friends before the show for some dinner and relaxation.  (And of course to change and freshen up after sweating down the trails.)  Having to be at theater plenty early to don their doggy makeup I was made welcome to stay at their place to follow them after a while.  A truly awesome gesture.  But something odd happened just a few moments after they left.

Maybe it was the lack of sleep.  Maybe the physical exertion.  Maybe the tall glass of soda I just drank.  Maybe a combination of all.  But I doubt it.  Settling in, with Netflix to keep me company for the next hour, I suddenly couldn’t breathe.  Oh, air was plenty accessible.  I wasn’t congested.  I just felt like all of the oxygen had been sucked out of the room.  Like I was forced into the vacuum of space and there was nothing left to supply my lungs.  And that’s when I realized my throat felt funny.  A thudding was present.  Was I having a heart attack?  Did I have a blood clot?  A stroke?  I was alone…  should I call someone for help?  My mind was reeling.  Until I realized…  I’ve had this before.  Something about this was vaguely familiar.  Decades ago familiar, and albeit rare.  To help me cope with my parent’s car accident and all of the stresses and responsibilities it left me as a teen ager, I had been put on an antidepressant.  One of the side effects of that medication was “panic attacks.”

All at once I knew what was wrong, why it was happening, and what to do.  I immediately calmed my mind, lowered the volume on the TV and went to work on meditation and controlled breathing exercises.  It’s amazing how we can tune out our own feelings on something to such a point that we don’t realize just how badly a situation is affecting us until too late.  It took about ten minutes for it to pass—typical of a panic attack even with the meditation, but the meditation helped me cope until it waned.

I knew what was bothering me.  …him.  As vague as that is, and as much as I try to not allow social situations trouble me or obstruct me from the things I want, it was clear, now more than ever, just how much this person still affects me, and now in a very ultimately negative way.  I didn’t want to see him.  That was not going to stop me from seeing my other friends…  But I didn’t want to see him.  More so, I didn’t want him to see me.  I didn’t want yet another instance of my good intentions being used against me.  Past experience has proven that no matter what I do, in his eyes EVERYTHING I ever do, is about him.  Every time I allowed him to rant to me, and every kind word I ever spoke to him in friendship, made me “obsessed” and “crazy.”  Every time I tried to be polite, I was “childish” or “immature.”  Every time we crossed paths, despite the small community in which we lived and more than 40 mutual friends and similar interests, I was “stalking” him.  I knew there was potential of my audacious act in supporting my other friends to be translated once again to me “stalking” him.  And apparently that was enough to induce a heart rate that thumped in my neck so hard that it felt as though I was choking on a live hummingbird.

At any rate, the show was very cute, and the ending pulled on my heartstrings to such an extent that (embarrassing as it is to admit) brought a tear to my eye.  Honestly, I was afraid that would be seen, and spur another panic attack for how THAT would be translated and misconstrued.

I left the theater thinking about a great SWELL of different things.  What’s happened in the past.  What’s happened recently.  Friendships.  Long distance friendships.  Falling outs.  Doctor visits.  School.  The Deer I almost hit in the middle of town on my way to the theater...  And I felt an unbelievable need for a drink.  I hugged Amber and Jeremiah goodbye in case they couldn’t make it out to Elkhorn and headed to karaoke for a night of camaraderie and support of my friends, assured a safe ride to, and a warm bed at, Daisy’s.

The most obscure Karaoke experience ever.

I was apparently not the only one having a bit on their mind that night.  Fortunately this helped me “blend” a bit as I went with the intentions of cutting loose all that was weighing me down.


I succeeded.

No, I was not passed out from alcohol.  See the bunny ears I'm holding up?  After feeling badly about thwarting a friends attempt at giving them to me by NOT being asleep....  I had to make amends by performing the act myself.  But due to daylight savings it is now 3 in the morning, after an unexpectedly emotionally draining day, which followed a strenuous 3 mile nature hike, which was accomplished on 3 hours of sleep.  But sleep came easier than I think it would have otherwise, and thankfully dreamless for the most part.  Again, I’m not sure just what nightmares I’ve been having lately, but it seems accurate to say that it usually involves getting stabbed or cut by a knife for some reason.  I’ll translate them better when I get in enough sleep to actually remember.  For now, sleep is calling once again.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

First Two Weeks of College.

Boy what a busy couple weeks it was.  And it left me with all the more certainty that having a full time position while doing school, is likely not going to work for me.  Maybe once upon a time I was able to shift around multiple jobs, theater, and family.  But for the moment, I just can’t juggle like I used to.  Come to think of it, in high school when I was at my busiest, what suffered most were my grades as I never had the time or concentration for homework.  I don’t want that happening here.  I have too much riding on this gamble.  But maybe I'm being a little unfair as I was also finishing with my moving endeavors this last couple weeks.

So, where do we start?  Well, as tradition would dictate, Monday.  But in the first week of school, Monday was Labor Day.  So, despite my panic thinking I needed to be removed from the work schedule (back in old Lake Geneva) for both Monday AND Thursday for class, I ended up laughing at myself for remembering schools still adhere to “holidays” and there would be no class.  (I say “still” adhere, because I’m willing to bank on that changing one day if things are allowed to continue to progress as they have been.)  So, the only day I needed removed from my work schedule before my move to Whitewater was Thursday.  I only had two days left.  Monday and Friday.  Two little shifts to get through.  Until I arrived at work on Monday (Labor Day) and was informed that “two” was now “one”.  ONE little shift to get through.  Why?  Because a coworker decided of her own volition to go to management and tell them I wanted her to take my Friday shift.  Because that’s okay, I don’t need the money to pay for anything expensive like tuition or anything.  I will just use this as motivation in my school as a reminder as to what I’m working to get away from.  I’m just not suited to working these kinds of low pay jobs with the constant backstabbing and scraping by.  Backstabbing should come at at LEAST a dollar an hour more.  :P

I spoke with management whom, for obvious legal purposes, would not be able to take my hours away midweek without either my permission or a reprimand being involved about what was going on.  The conclusion basically came down to them having taken her false request on good faith.  Something I would have been grateful for if that had been the case.  I couldn’t be angry with management for trying to be nice especially as they THOUGHT they were doing me a favor.  And they were very accommodating in offering for me to still work the shift (now WITH the girl that lied as it was too late to remove her) or even another shift for that day.  I considered it.  And I realized that if I came in that day, I would only be angry looking at the girl that decided she could get away with whatever she wanted.  And seeing as I had things to do and objects to pack…  I decided to take the free time.  Besides, I did not want my last shift there to be an angry one, and allowed Monday to be my last day at that location.  Friday I would dedicate to moving the bulk of my possessions.


Tuesday was my first day of college.  ….no not EVER.  I did try this whole secondary education once before.  It was a catastrophe.  Ask about it and I’ll tell you sometime.  This round?  Looks much more promising.  So I packed my supplies, hopped in the car, and drove to campus (some 40 minutes as I commuted the first week.)  When I arrived, I realize…. There is no parking on the street left, and I don’t have a permit for on campus.  Resulting in my first parking ticket.  :P  Damn.  But as far as the day goes, an acceptable sacrifice.

I arrive in the hallway outside my first class, English, where a bunch of young faces are gathered, staring silently at the dim room, waiting for the teacher.  As if waiting for permission to learn.  I walked in and the other students, after taking a moment for looking rather bewildered that I would just take it upon myself to do such a thing, followed.  The class went smoothly, as I expected, and I felt very excited to be back in this setting.  My hand was raised every five seconds it seemed to contribute something more.  And Next class up?  History.  And oh how I’ve despised history classes in the past.  In fact there has only ever been ONE history teacher that I didn’t want to force feed my textbook to.  And thankfully, this current teacher seems to have the same spirit about her.  I have hope.  Great hope that I won’t be bored this semester.  …Until second week of class that is.  Both my English Class and History Class have left me wanting to cattle prod the other students in motivational efforts.  I keep finding myself biting my tongue and having to hold back so as to give the others a chance to answer.  And of course we can’t move on from the information that I already have a firm understanding of, until the rest of the class shows they comprehend it as well.

But that’s okay.  I’m just happy to be here.  And there’s the BIG difference in comparing now to the last attempt at this whole college thing.  In fact, in the move I uncovered a diary of my first experiences at college round one.  I’d throw a few excerpts in here, but trust me, they are less than appropriate.

I’ve made it a point to stay behind and introduce myself to a few of my professors as I’m an “adult” student.  They all seem to appreciate the gesture and are very accommodating in asking if there are any questions or anything I need help with.  A few have even made a point to express their enjoyment in having an adult in class as adults typically have a more mature approach to education as well as life experience to bring to class.  My history teacher, when I introduced myself responded with sentiments of hoping to get the chance to say hello to me as I was the only adult in that period, but soon followed our exchange with, “you’re a little hard to get a peg on… you can’t have been out of school for TOO long…”  I smiled, thanked her, and responded with my age, which was generously more than half a decade added to her original assumption.  The funny portion to this little tale is that I’m not sure she is any older than I am.  A very young professor, I’m hoping to keep higher energy levels through the semester.

The classes went on.  World of the arts, and Society and Individual, both classes I reserve judgment on but am looking forward to Thursday’s lessons.  Why?  Because class is being replaced for BOTH periods with attendance to a Native American drum circle.  (I approve.)  :D  But my last class of my first day was Karate.  Except it wasn’t.  I had signed up for Karate.  A Japanese based martial art, and though differing greatly from Aikido the discipline in which I hold several belts, it would help to further my understanding I felt as it is a good pairing to Aikido.  What did I ACTUALLY sign up for?  Tae Kwon Do.  A KOREAN martial art discipline.

I had the option of dropping the class of course, but I need every little piece of credit I can grab this semester, lest I fall below the 15 credit average to keep my financial aid and etc….  This class brings me to a whopping 12.5.  :/  I need to stick with it.  And by week two I’m finding I’m actually doing quite well in it.  Not great.  But well.  The homework is a ton of exercising.  Push ups, sit ups, and just about every other ups you can imagine.  Between the constant walking from building to building, this homework, and the heavy workout achieved in the class itself, I think I will be in better shape by the end of this semester than I have been since I was last in college.  And hey!  Maybe I’ll get down to that size 10 again as well.  A girl can dream.

But speaking of walking, bringing us back to where  I left my car the morning of the first day, I DID indeed get a ticket.  Not horrible.  15 bucks.  Which would go up to 22 if not paid before the 14th.  So, by time I had the time to pay it was Friday afternoon.  Past closing for the cashiers office.  So, I did as the back of the ticket recommended and tried to pay online.  But that was a bust.  There actually is NO WAY to pay online….    Why they put nonexistent instructions there I can’t figure out.  Maybe it’s an experiment for the psych dept.  Anyway, next available time I had when they would be open was Tuesday.  So I made certain to leave early for class to hit the office on my way.  I waited five minutes just to get up to the window just to read a sign that says, no credit cards.  ARG!  …okay…  And then the girl at the window explains to me that I’m in the wrong building anyway, that I want the parking building, and gave me directions.  The upside is, I DID eventually make my way over to pay the ticket on time.  But even the parking building didn’t seem to understand the false directions on the back of the ticket for payments online.

In future blogs I will likely elaborate some of the other details, like my first trip grocery shopping, starting work here, and my new apartment and roommate.  But for now, it is late, and I am tired.  Goodnight world.  I hope you are all finding content adventures.  Mine continue with a grin and tummy ache.

Monday, September 5, 2011

And Now for Something Fun.

I love when people think outside the box and manage to put new twists to old favorites.  Rewrites of old Fairy Tales have special appeal for me.  But I couldn't resist sharing this bit I came across this morning.

While researching Pirates and their pets I found this quirky bit of inspiration taken from Popeye the Sailor Man as applied to Blackbeard the Pirate.  This creative version claims that the infamous pirate Blackbeard had an arch nemesis named Popette, whom would call Blackbeard "Blue Toe" for a disfigurement gained after breaking a toe in their first fight.  A fight over the daughter of a man that made his fortunes in the Olive Oil trade.  Another fight supposedly cost Popette an eye to Blackbeard's dagger, and he began consuming Marijuana to ease the pain and took to believing it gave him "super strength."  I have to wonder if this were the case, if parents would be so eager to encourage their children to eat their “spinach” like Popeye.  :D

I especially enjoy the attention to detail they added by including the illustrations.

Sure there's nothing in here that can suggest that ANY of this is true.  But in the legendary world of pirates, filled with tales of gold, mermaids, and fountains of everlasting life...  Is it really any more THAT far fetched?  At very least, it added a smile to my day.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

An Update to the College Process.

I haven’t posted in a bit.  I’d say it’s because I’ve been busy, but then again, when am I not?  But what I’ve been busy with this month is a new project.  Or maybe I should say a new hiccup with an old project.

I’ve been doing this whole “go back to college” experiment.  Because after all, I need something that will help me find a career that will actually, you know, put food in my stomach.  Which this song has me kinda getting the jitters for the career track I’ve chosen.

Yup…  I’m aiming for a B.A. in English with an emphasis on creative writing, and a minor in Psych.  But really, I know what I would be doing with that.  A B.A. will enable me to substitute teach which pays twice what I’m currently earning, or apply to magazines or similar companies as a copy editor, or video game companies as a writer….  OR, I could take a year or two to go to Asia to teach ESL (which would wipe out a great deal of my college debt straight off.  Point is, there actually is PLENTY I could accomplish with a BA in English, and I’m pretty excited to be going this route.

The hiccups I’ve experienced along the way?  Not so excited for.  If you read my last post you already know that it was a struggle to get this far.  Between the hell Gateway put me through that had me telling them “thanks for nothing I’m going to go to a real school instead” and my former college being lazy asses and it taking THREE requests over a lengthy time period for them to send out my transcripts…  It’s a miracle I even was accepted to Whitewater to begin with.  So on to the next steps.  The financial aid process went much more smoothly this time, as I expected it to with the Whitewater staff.  It took just one or two communications by email or mail to get all of the paperwork they needed.  I did however get a bit nervous when they told me WHEN the aid would be arriving.  September 1st it would be posted for me to accept or deny.  No sooner.  And then it would be another week or two before I would have access to the funds.

But I needed a place to live, and money for the place, and every apartment is filling and time is of the essence.  I’m really not one for having a “roommate” any more.  Nothing against the friends I’ve had as roommates.  It’s just time for me to be on my own.  Fully on my own.  I’m getting older and I’m VERY ready for my OWN space.

Place number one.  Seville Apartments. 

I went to look at these, and they were perfect.  SOOOO PERFECT!  However, I needed 600 dollars by the next day and there was only one unit left.  …and the manager of the complex (showing me the apartment, and claiming he would be living in the unit right below me) continuously told me that if I wanted the place I would have to “hurry up” and “Jump on the stick.”  ……I don’t know about you, but by the fourth time or so that he said it, I was picking up on a subtle innuendo.  By the fifth I was fairly creeped out.  I really did want that place, but at least the creepy guy made it easier to cope with how impossible it was.  The search continued, and I had to use whatever minutes not working, or at orientation for school or at funerals to find a place to live.  And it wasn’t going well.  Each passing week came up with fewer and fewer results.  Even subletting opportunities were going fast.  BUT, I finally found one.  At long last, my saving grace, I found a place that is clean, decently priced, and right across from campus.  Sure it comes with a roommate, but I’ll take what I can for now, and when summer hits, more will be available for a more “adult” living arrangement.  I was and am thankful just to have a roof.

But that pesky student aid….  My loans still hadn’t come through.  And I needed to sign the lease NOW.  So, in the process of finding that “buffer” for funds between the two weeks, I found in my mail box a letter saying “preapproved” for a line of credit at my bank.  …okay, sure, we all know how these things work.  No one is ever actually preapproved for anything in generic mail.  It’s a gimmick to get you through the door so they can take a peek at your credit and sell you everything else you might “qualify” for.  Sending these things out en mass, is cheaper than actually prescreening each client and only sending them out to those who actually qualify.

But I figured it just may be the answer to my prayers.  So, I took the letter into the bank very next business day.  I filled out all the paper work.  I gave them paystubs.  Reported all stocks and 401k, and so on…  And hey, I actually do qualify!  Yay!  But all that paperwork still has to go to the underwriters.  So turn around (I was told) would be three to five days.  I took a deep breath and thanked them as I didn’t care when I got the cash, so long as I had enough for the deposit for the apartment in time.  (That Sunday, almost a week from then.)  The banker promised me that she would keep on top of my situation and inform me the moment the money was available.  At latest, she claimed, it would be there Friday.

The next morning I met with the student housing office and the girl I was subletting from.  The apartment was a Godsend.  The roommate I would be living with is clean and tidy, and the furniture and living space is appropriate for my needs.  Seeing as I filed all of the paperwork the day before and even set up accounts for automatic payments on the line of credit, the whole nine yards, I signed the lease, paid the 200 in fees up front, and made an arrangement to pay the rent and pick up the keys on Friday.  Moving along to Thursday afternoon, and seeing as I hadn’t heard from the bank yet, I thought I would just give a quick call to see what was going on.

After getting hung up on once, and then put on hold for more than five minutes the second time I got this, “Oh, yeah, I checked on that this morning.  It was declined, you’ll receive a letter in the mail why.”  …Declined?  My preapproved loan?  That had a special low interest that I even qualified for?  And you aren’t even going to tell me what went wrong?  And now I have less than 24 hours to come up with 2100 dollars?  Are you KIDDING ME?

…….Deep breaths.  Don’t panic.  It’s not like you signed a contract or anything.  Oh, wait…  you did.

Friends to the rescue.

I called several of my friends immediately asking for suggestions.  And logged on to the university’s website to see if the financial aid posts were on there as they told me they would be.  And to find out how to get my hands on that cash ASAP!

My friends helped me.  They made calls for me, researched with me, and so much more.  And I even had offers from some to lend me what they could.  I owe big thanks to two friends in particular.  One for monetary help, and the other for driving me all over Whitewater like a crazy person the following day.

Finally, after many phone calls, scraping together every penny I had left, haggling with the property management office, setting up direct deposits for my financial aid refunds, and whatever else I can’t think of that made this simple 24 hours seem to last a week’s worth of activity…  I had a set of keys in my hands and four bags of belongings moved into the apartment.

So, now I sit at home, with a bunch of maxed out credit cards, and only enough cash available for gas to get to whitewater and back until the rest of the funds come through.  And I couldn’t be happier, because the first day of class is day after tomorrow and I only have 2 more shifts at work.  I can see the finish line, and it looks damn good.

(and remember, clicking on one of those sponsor ads to the side there?  Earns me a little pocket change to help with those college expenses too.)  ;)

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Loss of Faith. ...Literally.

I was in a bathroom a couple weeks ago, where a couple of girls that appeared to have an IQ that match their jean’s size, were rambling on, making my brain go... more or less, numb…  when I heard one of them say as they were leaving about how her knees were killing her.  No, “like LITERALLY killing” her.  Please bear in mind that the establishment I was at was the Safe House in Milwaukee (if you don’t know, the Safe House is a cloak-n-dagger espionage themed restaurant.)  With the Safe House ambiance for inspiration, and since my brain kinda works like JD’s on Scrubs sometimes, all kinds of ridiculous images of how a knee would kill a person, came to mind.  I suppose I both love and hate when people misuse the word “literally.”  Love, for the moments of hilarity it can prompt.  Hate, for, well…….  Ignorance and stupidity grate on me.

So, how can one “literally” lose faith?  Well, for me, it has to do with this.

Those that know me fairly well know this symbol as I wear it around my neck.  Or rather wore it around my neck.  I lost it for a bit which is not surprising.  It was the manifestation of what I had been feeling for months.  A struggle and question; have I lost faith?  Turns out, the answer was yes. yes.  And though I did manage to find the pendant (the holy trinity/celitic and wiccan rune of protection) when I did, I thought to myself, perhaps we need a bit of a break from each other.

Now I’m not talking about faith that there’s a God.  I have all the proof that I need that there is.  But my faith in God actually hearing me...  It’s a bit more complex than that, and I’m a bit more bitter.  Please, before I get a bunch of judgments and lectures, allow me to explain e few things that have been going on, and ask yourself, is yelling at me really going to change my mind anyway?  Or will it just do more damage.

I’ve worked hard in my life.  I really, really have.  And I sit back and think on that work sometimes.  Especially when I get hordes of people that know VERY little about me or my experiences telling me that my problem is lack of ambition and attitude.  But again, thanks for passing judgments without knowing any of my past.  All you just accomplished for me is making me think of the INFINITE number of times that I DID keep a positive attitude, faith that things will get better, and worked SOOOOO hard for the things I cared about.  And how none of it mattered.  I still lost my marriage, I still lost my family, I still lost my home, I still got treated like crap by my employer, I still a lot of things.  And a lot more that very few people know about.  But through it all, I tried to keep the philosophy of, when one door slams shut there's an open window.  Maybe now that I'm single, I'll find someone that can give me the emotionally supportive things I need.  Maybe now that my family isn't part of my life, I can be more free to focus on my spirituality without feeling ashamed or have to hide.  I lost my home and a walked away from a bunch of my possessions?  Well that just makes it easier to move and travel and see the world.  After all, another way of saying "freedom" is "nothing left to lose" right?....  Always, finding some kind of silver lining.  Sure, life was not turning out how I had originally expected or wanted it to, but I would make do.  So I find it funny how I keep hearing the line now, "you can do it, it just might not be how you wanted to" where certain things are concerned.

Really???  THANK YOU!  I was SOOO unfamiliar with the concept of sacrifice or compromise.  Thank you for insulting me as deeply as you possibly can, proving that you don't listen to anything I say, and that you know absolutely nothing about me.

Point is, I’ve never been afraid of hard work.  Of keeping the opinion that things will get better if I work hard at it.  They HAD to get better.  If I wasn’t happy with a job, I found another one.  When the marriage became unsalvageable, I did what it took to move on.  Always going the extra mile for friends.  Always working hard for my dollar.  Always finding a way.

And then this year happened.  And it was an extra bad one.  Starting with my back injury last fall.

An analogy of trust.

Two friends are driving down the road.  The passenger says “Quick, pull over!”  But instead of pulling over the driver demands “why,” first.  Too late, the passenger throws up all over the car.  Don’t make me explain what I’m about to say next.  I don’t want to throw up in your car.  If you trust in me and my intelligence, just take what I’m about to say at face value.

I’ve come to the realization that I’m running out of time to do the things I love in life.  No this isn’t a mid-life crisis or anything resembling.  But I don’t have much time left to enjoy things like camping, or community theater, or hiking.  I’ve in ALL likelihood missed the opportunity to raise a family.  And I KNOW I can’t do the kind of jobs I’ve always worked anymore.  So…  time is against me.  A change was needed.

But change is hard.  And for me?  THIS time?  It seemed damned near impossible.

I explored every route.  I did all of the math.  And even if things worked out none of the options were really my first choice.  They were going to be hard and somewhat confining as far as my personal lifestyle choices go.  But as always I was willing to do what was needed.  Even if that meant joining the Navy.

But, as luck would have it, and though I was in MUCH better shape than many who are accepted…  It would just so happen that because I have dense muscles, and a skinny neck…  I failed the Body Fat Index to qualify.  Well, there goes that option.  But it was a second choice anyway.  What I really wanted to do was THIS.

I wish I could go back to college.

In fact I tried.  Nothing fancy.  I went to the community college paid the application fees, took the tests, selected some classes, and applied for financial aid.  And I waited.  And I didn’t qualify because the divorce was not finalized yet.  (By two weeks.)  So winter came around, and I did all the leg work, made the corrections, and reapplied for the financial aid for THAT semester.  And I QUALIFY!!!!  YAY!!! ….but the school seemed to need more information, which I brought them.  And it was now too late to attend the winter semester.  Then I received a letter requesting special forms and all of my tax information AGAIN…  So, I got the forms, filled them out, brought them back, along with all of my tax information, (bear in mind this has been 8 months of emails, phone calls, trips and letters now and I'm glazing over the details and paraphrasing or this would be just far too long to write)  When I brought them THAT batch of papers, I was told that they closed an hour early that day and I was five minutes too late.  I was also told one of the forms was wrong because I printed it off a government site instead of the school (even though it’s the SAME EXACT form) and turned away.  *sigh.

I was upset to say the least, and wishing I could demand my application fee back.  Eight months!  Going on NINE!  It was insulting.  After seeing some of the “quality” students that attend this school, I was left to wonder how they figured out how to work a doorknob let alone get past financial aid.  It was an added insult to feel that I was somehow not smart enough to get past the reception desk.  I stormed out, "thanking" them for their efforts and telling them that I will be attending a “real” school instead.

It was going to be hard.  I don’t have money to throw around.  I understood that I could acquire a great deal of the credits at Gateway for half the price of a State University.  But if this was how I had to do it, then so be it.  I was willing to compromise.  I started researching UW Whitewater again, filled out the application, wrote the essays, and submitted it with my last 44 dollars.  As I had ONE little question about the application I called the very next morning to make sure I filled it out correctly.  Upon that call, I found out that submissions had been closed out two hours before I sent my application through.  …oh good.  Glad I wasted that.

But there was still hope.  The counselor I was speaking with was very kind and understanding and put me on an exceptions list for transfer students.  So long as I could get my transcripts from my short attempt at attending ILIA, I may still be accepted.  I had to wait until pay day to have the money for the request.  As soon as I had the ten bucks in hand, I had the forms requesting faxed out.  I got a call from the UWW a few weeks later.  They wanted to know if I was still interested as they had not received the information yet.  Not only did the college transcripts not go through, but my high school transcripts failed as well.

I called both places.  The high school assured me that if I made the request, they would have sent them. (FAIL.)  But they agreed to send them again without much fight.  ILIA however, told me that they had a staffing change and my paperwork must have been lost.  I told them that I needed them sent out ASAP and they said they couldn’t do anything unless I re-faxed all of my information, ID card, and such again.  I did the very next day with notations of “urgent please call if questions.”  ONE WEEK LATER I receive an email from them saying that their fax machine printed a line through part of my credit card number and they were unable to send my request unless I provide the payment information.  That same day, I received another contact from UWW claiming that if they do not receive my transcripts by July 15th, they could no longer consider me.  Needless to say, I was NOT very kind in my reply to the request for my credit card information to my former college.

And while all this has been happening around me, I got to sit idly by and listen to friends talk about going to school as if it is the easiest thing in the world for them, or complaining about finals that I wished I could be taking, or telling me that I should just go back "part time" without understanding my situation or why that wasn't a possibility for me.  Naw, that's okay, please continue to make the assumption that I'm not doing that simply because I just "don't want to."  And look, it's not that I begrudge them the good fortune of going to school themselves or that everything is just falling into place so easily for them, but I felt like I was attending engagement parties after getting left at the alter.  It just wasn’t doing well for my disposition.

Sometimes You Only Get One Basket for Your Eggs.

And no…  of course there are SO many more things going on than what I am saying here.  Things got REALLY bad for a while.  Hell, they’re still bad.  SOOOO bad.  But again, just trust me and don’t make me spill everything all over the front seat of your car.  If you’re my friend, you will show some trust that I’m intelligent to know what I’m talking about.  But, I’ll deal with it.  I always do.  And I did at least get one small glimmer of hope.  July 15th, the cut off date…  July 16th, I received in the mail, Welcome to Whitewater.

I can breathe.  For now.  I’m now at the same stage I was at with Gateway.  Getting through the Financial aid process.  But I have more faith in this school’s office.  Though it is crunch time.  If I can’t get it approved in the next three weeks, I will be without a place to live, without money for class, without a job, and the whole process will have been for nothing.  I have everything riding on this one last dice roll.

I can’t bring myself to put the necklace back on.  But I have to have faith.  Faith, that it’s going to work out this time.  As there is no other choice.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Stop Bitching, Dying Doesn't Change the Fact That You Sucked at Life, and A Jack Nicholson Moment.

Okay. Short version of what’s been going on with me at present…

1. I’ve been listening to people bitch about the “quality of people they’ve surrounded themselves with” and betrayals they feel they’ve experienced… blah blah, hyperbolic, blah.

My plain and simple answer? It’s your own damned fault. If you don’t want to be surrounded by coke heads or drunks? Don’t hang out with a bunch of people who have nothing but coke heads for friends. If you want people to care about you? Care about other people. It’s difficult to take bitching about all the horribleness that is your social life seriously when you constantly blow off the people that WOULD help you or care about you. "Making thieves and then punishing them for the crimes...." Really if you're doing this? You’re a selfish idiot, a fraud 99% of the time, and need to wake up. There is a whole world at your fingertips that you are ignoring and then complaining you can’t reach. Just because you’re afraid of what? What the coke heads will think of you for socializing with those “un-cool” cats? Sounds a bit high school to me. But hey, go ahead and continue to sit at the cheerleader’s table. Pretend to have fun with that while the rest of us are genuinely enjoying ourselves.

2. Stop dying please. In the last couple of years I’ve lost…. Damn it, I’ve lost count.

No seriously. I literally lost count after number five or so. And maybe that’s what bothers me most. Cancer, car accidents, meningitis… It’s enough. And more than that, I have several people I care about very much right now that are fighting cancer and other various diseases. But death and I go way back. We’ve been properly acquainted since I was in the fifth grade. And I’m afraid I don’t have much ability to cry anymore.

My family didn’t believe in “crying.” I do. I will never enforce a “don’t cry” policy with any child that comes into my life. I believe it to be cleansing and nourishing. But be it from calloused tear ducts or the constant badgering not to… I just can’t anymore. (Or at least it’s rare.) I recall in my youth while suffering a fresh 2nd degree burn on my leg, my grandmother telling me I was “ugly, when I cried.” When the border collie accidentally bit my thumb, piercing straight through the nail… My uncle told me that if I keep crying I’ll run out of tears. …Maybe that’s true. Maybe I’ve run out of tears by now.

So, the few I have left I’m not wasting on people that, frankly, sucked at life.

Some of you that have been following me and my tales, may know about the woman that has been harassing me at work. (And I’m not the only one.) She is racist, biased against obesity, as well as a few other choice things. I especially loved the rumors she spread that I was sleeping with one of our coworkers. As well as her calling me a Dyke. …And last week she found out she is dying. She likely has a couple of months at most. And people have been watching me for a reaction.

What are they expecting? For me to cheer? I’m not heartless. But nor am I going to mourn her passing. All eyes seem to be on me demanding some reconciliation and for me to “forgive” her. I’m sorry, don’t lecture me on what is acceptable for me to feel about her or what is spiritually acceptable on my part.

Dying does not grant you an automatic pardon. I don’t mean to speak ill of the dead or dying, but I feel it belittles the memories of those that made the effort to live genuinely good lives, to treat EVERYONE with the same honors in the end. If you have horrible grades in high school. Chances are you are not going to be rewarded with High Honors at graduation. And if you were… well that’s hardly fair to those that made the extra effort. I’ve lost too many that I truly care about to concern myself with someone that made it her personal mission to see to everyone’s misery. So, I apologize that I refuse to apologize, but I’ve known this woman since I was thirteen years old and I will not hide that I will fail to miss her. Those that will miss her, have my sympathy.

But my suggestion? You never know when disaster will strike. Do yourselves a favor. Live a GOOD life, with GOOD people. Don’t waste time being mean, spiteful, and malicious.

3. Loss doesn’t stop at death.

Is this it? Not to go all Jack Nicholson on your sensitivities, but, “what if this is as good as it gets.”

I’m happy single. For the first time in years, I truly am comfy with being alone. I want my OWN place. My OWN space. I want my things organized the way I want them. So what does that mean? …I’m probably going to end up dating someone soon. I mean, isn’t that how it works? You stop looking, and then BAM, there Mr. Perfect is. ……I hope not.

I’ve look around at all of the potential dating candidates, and as human nature dictates, I compare them to past experiences. And there’s no one that I see that is more compatible with me than my ex husband. Which was a disaster. I made him more miserable than you could ever imagine. And THAT is probably the best relationship I will ever have. So I’m happier now. And so is he. …As logic follows, this really is, as good it’s gonna get. …And despite occasional lapses of being lonely, I really would just rather hold on to this than start dating someone again. Sign me up for the convent, I’m done.

So that’s where I stand today. (In a nutshell more or less.) Like I said, I could elaborate and detail, but I’m keeping it short. Bottom line? Lesson learned? Live today like you’re going to die tomorrow. Life is but the blink of an eye. Don’t take friends for granted, and don’t snub the people who care about you. And make the most of what you have. You may not have a perfect life. It may be as good as it gets. Learn to be happy with it, and move on.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Attitude and Ambition.

Egads it’s been a while since my last post. …And there’s reason for it. I’ve had a lot to say lately. (Don't worry, it's not about politics.) So much I would have loved to have vented about, but ultimately I decided all that info I’m so tempted to purge is basely inflammatory and while it would potentially serve as endearing to a few, it would alienate the many. So, I just have been choking down my recent grievances like rancid cough medicine, and hoping for the best.

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” –Dr. Seuss

I have the feeling that cough medicine isn’t going to stay down by the end of this. Problem is, I really do feel those that may mind DO matter. They are people I care about. Not random strangers and I don't want to wound anyone's pride. I guess I'm going to take that chance and hope they understand that I'm not trying to paint anyone in a bad light.

A few weeks ago I had hit a slump. We all have nostalgic moments. Moments that we think about our own personal pasts, where we’ve been, where we are, and the paths that led us there. Nostalgia is human nature. An innate addressing of the id. A feel good moment that we scroll through our rolodex of grey matter to rely on. But some things have gone pretty disastrously wrong for me in the past. And my nostalgic moments often are at best, bitter sweet.

One night, during this "slump" of mine, a coworker passing through my department asked what was bothering me. And in that conversation he seemed to think that it was a good idea to bestow upon me his infinite wisdom that he has accumulated by the age of… at most he’s 19? 20?

“Have you stopped to think that maybe your problem is your attitude and lack of ambition?”

Really? Yes, I’m SURE that’s it! Lordy, Lordy, I have SEEN THE LIGHT! …Not only does this person not know anything about me, but telling ANYONE that all of their bad luck in life is because of their attitude, is kind of like telling a child “yes, mommy and daddy are getting a divorce because you have been naughty and they don't love you anymore,” or someone that’s been sexually molested that they must have done something wrong to deserve it.

I’m not saying that positive thinking doesn’t have its benefits. I'm saying it has its limits. I try to stay positive. But faith and prayers to the god of your choice is not going to grant you the winning lottery ticket. Positive thinking only goes so far. And I get it, that's where the ambition comes in. The fact that this person was judging me based on where I work and how far I had gotten in that career, my failed marriage, and other things, was irritating to say the least and just added to my negative mood. But the fact that others whom I have known for years and have trusted in the past doing this as well just because they didn't take the time to ask my side of the story? That hurts.

Today’s lesson.

“Normal people scare the living shit out of me. Because Normal people haven’t had enough problems in their life to know how to handle problems when they come up. Something little happens and they just SNAP.” -Christopher Titus.

Yesterday, I had another encounter with this same coworker. He came through the area I was working in, sighing dramatically while pulling the pallet jack behind him and asked me in a lethargic tone, “How are you?”

“I’m doing…” was my curt but polite response. (Hey, I didn't punch him in the nose, that counts as polite at this point.) I just did't seeing a point in sharing my thoughts with him judging by, what turned into a half an hour lecture on my attitude, last time. He waited for me to ask how he was in return, but I didn’t give in to his fishing. His dramatic body language and exasperated tone of voice told all, and I honestly didn't want to hear it after his past behavior. But after a moment or two he must have gone to the land of make-believe because he told me the answers to my unasked questions anyway.

“Yeah, me too.” He frowned. “I’m really annoyed with this place right now.”

Okay, so he was going to tell me all about it whether I asked or not, and I let him. I let him drone on and on about his “problems.” How on Sunday, he volunteered to work. How he didn’t HAVE to be there. How he showed up, ON TIME, despite the fact that he was EXTREMELY hung over. ….um okay, I’m trying to follow where his “problem” is yet. “That should count for SOMETHING,” he told me. ….no, not going out and drinking in the first place because you agreed to come in should count for something, but I gave him a sardonic smile as if saying, please go on. “So I got here, and I bust my ass in the freezer, to help with inventory. Even though I was in the bathroom throwing up for half an hour, I was still here busting my ass.” ….So you took an extra fifteen minutes for your PAID break to throw up because you were irresponsible and drank the night before? “And after I finished my work I was going to ask to go home. But I was talking to Victor before I went, and he told management that I was still drunk because I guess he could smell alcohol on my breath or something. So I got in trouble and management sent me home because he told them that.” ...Yup, I’m sure management just took Victor’s word for it without seeing if such a serious accusation was true or not themselves. You're lucky they didn't send you straight to get a urine test you little punk. “I don’t know what I did to piss him off. I don’t know why he would lie to management about me like that. I thought I could trust him.”

This is where I start laughing. I can’t play the whole, sympathetic ear bit anymore. “Yeah, that’s really interesting, because Victor is probably the ONLY person in this ENTIRE building that I DO trust to be completely fair and unbiased across the board. I’m sorry, but on the scale of problems, if I compare yours to mine, you just basically told me your toilet backed up. It is a problem that was avoidable, you caused yourself, and are now trying to blame others for. …Gee, sounds to ME, like maybe your problem is Lack of Ambition and Attitude.”

His face fell. “I have ambition. I’m going to school.”

Hello Mr. Wall, have you met my forehead lately?

Let me say, I support the notion of continuing education and it can be a GREAT indication of ambition. But I mostly equate it to the same idea of weight loss. Some people are naturally skinny. While others, well… They REALLY have to struggle and work on a diet and exercise routine. Being skinny naturally does not mean that you deserve the same pat on the back as others whom needed hard dedication and will power to be that way. The simple act of showing up to a class does not automatically deem one as "ambitious." I raised an eyebrow at him. “I’m just throwing your own words back to you, sweetie. Words you gave to me, without knowing the FIRST thing about my life.”

He did give a sheepish apology. “Yeah, I can be an ignorant ass sometimes, I own that.” But he then continued to rant about the powers of positive thinking, as if reading cheesy motivational posters off the high school guidance office wall until wanted to smack him. But given the surveillance cameras, I felt handing him his own ass to him verbally would be best. So I told him some of my experiences that supported my point.

My Bad luck, and hardships and, do I taste cough syrup?

(for those of you who know me well enough to know my experiences you need not read all this but instead scroll down to the "Skip to here section." Thanks)

I did not bestow all of the following on this poor lad, for fear that his tiny head may pop. But I let him have the gist of it. Just to get my point across. The rest is just stuff I've wanted the chance to defend myself on or explain to some for a while.

Let's start with my teen years, shall we? How about how as a teen I had to juggle raising my little brothers, going to school, participating in advanced choir, holding down a job, and babysitting as well. Were you thrown into motherhood at age 15 because your parents weren’t around much to raise your little siblings? I was a responsible kid. I wasn't the type that was having sex or go out to party and "accidentally" got pregnant. I should not have had to be a mother! ...But I did what was needed and made the most of it. And I can blame their car accident all I want, but only recently did I realize my mom was pawning my brothers off on me WAY before the accident.

Am I exaggerating? Let me put it this way; when my mom was supposed to take me to my college orientation, I had to arrange for my friend Victoria to come with so she could watch my brothers for me while I was doing the paperwork and meet and greets.

College was a fiasco. Shortly before I left for (ART) school I was told I would likely go completely blind by time I was forty. But HEY, the good new is it isn't a brain tumor like they were expecting. Yay? ...the better news is the diagnosis has since been rescinded, I'm no longer expected to go completely blind. Just, really bad vision. Anyway, due to this and a plethora of other extenuating circumstances at the time, I decided art school wasn't for me, and I came home.

When I started my adult life. I did have some help. ...But not from my family. My ex husband's family had taken me in, and I will be FOREVER grateful to them. They gave me a home, and a way for my husband and I to save up to start a life together. I had never known kinder people. In the meantime, my own family was shunning and lecturing me.

My husband and I never had much. We struggled every day to make ends meet. I often found myself working three jobs at once. And yet, I would still find a couple of dollars to float my parents, or cosign a loan for them and my brothers. Things they were NEVER able to do for us and likely wouldn't have even if they could. It's hard when the people who shunned you and sold you out come to you for help and you can't say no.

And my adult years wore on to my mid twenties and I was feeling like I was in my mid forties, and My mother was diagnosed with MS. Have you ever had to change one of YOUR parent’s diapers? Or bathe them? Or dress them? I have. Something I don’t wish on ANYONE at ANY age, but ESPECIALLY not by the age I was doing these things. But it's family. (No matter how they had treated me, or talked about me behind my back, or used me, or neglected me, or gone on "family" vacations without me in the past...)

My extended family is nuts. Essentially disowning me because I studied religious practices other than Christianity. (Something I mistakingly disclosed to my mother during one of our closer moments as I was counseling her through something very difficult.) And as a result, though my grandfather raised me for a portion of my youth, I wasn’t allowed to participate in his funeral. Despite before his passing he requested that I sing "our song" at the service. Losing my grandfather was hard enough. Being shunned at the same time? Harder. The hellish phone calls I endured from these people that I used to be close to in the last week of his life? Unbearable. Watching my husband be allowed to participate as a pallbearer but not be allowed myself, wounding. But my husband going to work both the day of the wake AND the funeral picking me up and dropping me off on the way too and from instead of supporting me? ...Absolute Torture.

(And this is where I start to get nervous that I'm going to offend someone. So let me add a disclaimer. I am not trying to or intend to paint my ex in ANY kind of negative light. We are still friends despite the fact that things did not work out between us.)

So moving on to my marriage. How I spent 9 years, working on a relationship that was becoming increasingly obvious that there was nothing I could do to save it by the 5 year mark? I’m sure it was my lack of ambition that kept me trying for that extra 4.

It was difficult to watch friends get houses and start raising families while my marriage was falling apart. And when the house my husband and I struggled to earn and waited for was built in the spot WE picked and given away to his cousin instead of us. ...Nope that didn't hurt at all. But it was just a house. Small beans compared to HALF of what was going on in our relationship. But this is where I draw a line and say you will just have to trust me when I tell you how very hard I was trying to save it.

But in the end the all the thanks I received for my trying to stick with the marriage through thick and thin was being wrongfully accused by family and friends of leaving my husband for another man when I did finally get the courage to do the right thing and bow out gracefully.

And I understand their confusion and the misunderstanding. And I will give this small confession. I was tempted. Two weeks before I was scheduled to move out, permanently leaving, an opportunity arose to be "unfaithful" with someone I admit I was attracted to. ...And of all the nights, for this to happen, this was a TRUE test as something occurred earlier that evening that will remain unmentioned here. But I resisted. Even with the earlier events that evening... I still couldn't go through with it. I couldn't, can't, and WON'T ever "cheat." What I consider the most disrespectful act one could ever commit against their partner. It would not have been fair to myself, my ex, or the third party whom will remain unnamed.

And I should say this as well. The third party involved in this was not aware that I had gone back to my husband after he and I separated the first time. He was not consciously out of bounds, and like a gentleman, apologized after I informed him that I was still married.

Divorce is confusing, and hard, but even harder when a loved one dies. My father in-law regrettably passed mid divorce. As I said, my ex husband's family has been more of a family to me than my own ever was. So, of course I was in attendance. Despite the awkward glances and occasional glares from friends of the family that didn't understand our unique relationship. And the luncheon was hosted by my former church. ...And it was at the end of the luncheon that I was confronted by someone who expressed their displeasure at my choice to leave, and then asked me (in a slightly offensive tone,) why I stopped wearing my wedding ring. I had held it together SOOO well up to that point... I calmly agreed that it was a sad circumstance for he and I to call it quits and pointed out that I was not the first to stop wearing the ring and that my husband had not worn his in near four years. I excused myself to a back room of the church (the same room in which I remembered getting dressed in my wedding gown ironically) to bawl my eyes out in private. …No one knew or needed to know at the time, that I had tried to suggest going home with my husband the night before and was turned away.

I'm not sure why people seem to think that I WANTED a divorce. That's dumb. No one ever WANTS a divorce. That's like saying you WANT a spinal tap. They happen. Sometimes they just HAPPEN. And it wasn't easy. Okay, in one way, it was. It was very civil and friendly. We didn't fight over anything. And we're still good friends. The hard part came in with the side factors. Like, starving for the first 5 months of separation. Begging my parents that if they were going to get me ANYTHING for Christmas at all, to PLEASE let it be just a ten dollar gift card for groceries. What I got was a porcelain penguin music box figurine that played a horribly tinny rendition of “Joy to the World.” … ... ...It was delicious.

My dog, due to separation anxiety from my leaving, killed 20 chickens and my cat (long story) costing me 500 dollars and losing me the dog. (Seeing as I was starving at the time you would figure they would have at least let me have the damn chickens.)

And even after ALL I had done for my family in the past, I still got nothing but lectures about how wrong it is for me to be moving on with my life, and how all my bad luck (Like my dog acting out and my starving) was, “God trying to tell me what I’m doing is wrong.”

After TWO years of my ex and I being separated they STILL couldn’t let it go, to the point that I just can’t speak with ANY of them anymore (including the two not-so-little-anymore boys that I helped raise), apart from maybe once every 6 months or so, if absolutely necessary. My phone conversation last week with my mother warning her she will lose her state assistance if the bill passes, will hopefully count and get me another 6 months of peace.

I’ve tried going back to school. I pass the entrance exams, but can’t afford the tuition. (yes, I've done my research.)

I tried joining the Navy. I weigh too much and have strange physical proportions to pass the body fat requirements for entrance. I may still make it if I diet, but I will look sickly by time I would qualify.



Look, plain and simple? I’m tired, people.




I’ve always tried to do the right thing. Concerning my marriage, my friends, my ethics, my respect of others…. I’ve never shown up to work drunk. Hell, I’ve never even had a speeding ticket. I take responsibility for my life, and the mistakes I have made, but blaming me for things beyond my control or wrongfully accusing me of crimes I never committed is starting to REALLY grate on me.

Grabbing a Plunger Addressing the Issues.

I have a fervent understanding there are others out there MUCH worse off than I. I do not feel that my problems are the end of the world. But complain to me about how much your life sucks just because you were stupid enough to get drunk and come to work while lecturing me? And I'll take your head off. Don't complain to me that your toilet backed up. Deal with it and move on.

As for me...

In addressing Love, (since I covered a great deal of it in this.) To those that would accuse me of being someone who would cheat? Come and get the full story before making that assumption. To those of you who think I just play around with love and don’t know what dedication or real love is, watch THIS. There is no better way of expressing my opinion of love.

I am not a cynic. I still believe in love. I have been in love with several people in my life. Some of whom I have told I loved them. Some of whom, I never got the chance or the courage to. Which is unfortunate.

In addressing attitude and ambition... To those that think I’ve accomplished nothing with my life just because I currently sling crates of apples for a living and didn't finish school? SHUT UP.

Just because I don't have the money to go back to school doesn't mean I'm stupid. In the meantime until I have money, I study language, art, philosophy, literature, science, and math independently. THAT'S "ambition." And next time you need to buy produce, just be happy that there is someone intelligent working hard helping to bring food to your table, instead of condescending to hard working individuals like myself. Assumptions do not become anyone.

But I won't lie. It's hard to keep doing the "right" thing when so many wrongfully accuse or prejudge you based on information they have failed to fully understand. But at least, despite what others may judge me for, I know that I have lived a good life that is honorable and honest.

"I would prefer even to fail with honor than win by cheating." -Sophocles.

…but this is long now. (Told you I had a lot to get off my chest, and I STILL didn’t spill all.) Hopefully some friendships will remain in tact afterwards. I tried to be delicate with some of this information. Bah, who am I kidding, nobody even read this far anyway. It's too long. :P

But for those of you that DID make it; as a cool down I leave you with some levity from Weird Al.