Day One, Part Two

2
January 21, 2009

Had my first Spanish class tonight.  It wasn’t too bad.  I was able to quickly review vocab beforehand and, though by no means proficient, I was able to hold my own.  Looking over the curriculum, there’s nothing I didn’t already study all those years ago.  If I can just finish catching up with my classmates, I’ll be in really good shape I think.  The professor is fun, offering up encouragement and understanding when we make mistakes.  Despite this, he’s no pushover.  From the very beginning of class he was challenging us to use what we’ve learned so far in the past.  We had to answer his questions with complete sentences, and then ask specified questions of our classmates who in turn were also expected to answer properly.  I’m feeling cautious enthusiasm.

In somewhat-related news, it looks like I may be able to blog more regularly this semester than in the past.  I have about 2.5 hours between classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays; if nothing else, I should be able to blog then as long as there is a computer available in the library.

Won’t that make a change?

Day One

4
January 20, 2009

The semester has begun:

Intro. to Interviewing and Counseling is a skills class with far less emphasis on lectures.  She won’t be going over the chapter readings unless we have questions.  We are expected to read the chapters and bring the knowledge gained from them into our practice in class.  We began today by getting to know the person next to us, interviewing them.  After a few minutes, we introduced this person to the class, telling as much as we could remember about the person and their goals.  It was a great exercise and a fun way to break the ice.  We’ll be role-playing a lot, and she told us to have ideas about what sort of problems we want our characters to have; we won’t be the same client with the same problem each time.  This will give me a chance to flex my old acting muscles, and to get creative.  We won’t be critiquing the client, only the student playing the counselor.

My only gripe?  I missed the inauguration today because of this class.  I’ll have to watch it online.  It won’t be the same, but at least I’ll see it.

Behavior Modification is also going to be very hands-on.  In addition to the readings we will be taking on a project to work on.  It can be a behavior of our own, of a friend or family member, or a pet.  The (human) subject is to be made aware of the project and must agree to it.  It could be helping them to stop smoking, stop complaining, any (single) behavior we choose.  The project has to be run past the professor first, too, in order to assure it’s ethical.  Everything must be planned and documented.  We must report the outcome, whether we were successful or not.  If we weren’t successful, though, we have to explain why, where we went wrong.  That’s farther along in the semester, however, not now.

Both of these classes are going to be challenging and fun.  They are not the sort of classes that you can just skate through; I’ll actually have to do some work.  I like the subjects, of course, so that will make it easier.

Tomorrow: Elementary Spanish II.

Dodging

1
January 19, 2009

I was feeling low yesterday, so Randy took me shopping to cheer me up.  Circuit City is liquidating; we began our trip there.  We bought a few video games and the most perfect camera bag for my needs.  If you follow the link, it shows the bag in black.  Mouseover over “khaki” to see what mine looks like.  It’s thoroughly me.  My old bag only held my camera and  CF cards; there was no room for additional lenses.  It also didn’t have a strap, and was completely wrong.  It had been a quick fix at the time, but desperately needed replacing.

Chalk that off the list.

We also bought a few books and some new workout clothes from Target; my old ones don’t really fit anymore.  We were looking for a CD/DVD tower that matches the one we recently bought there, but it seems they no longer carry it.  I searched all over their website.  Realizing I was going to have to find some other solution for our burgeoning collection of games and movies, I cast around for other options.  I hate having the cases visible… I want them all put neatly away out of sight.  If you saw the rest of my house you would understand the irony of that, but that’s the way it is.  I looked everywhere but everything they offered was either too large, or displayed the cases.  I liked the apothecary-style storage units but they only stored audio, not DVDs.  I needed to think outside the box.  Here’s what I came up with.  It’s 2 antique-looking suitcase storage units.  They weren’t made for holding audio/video, but are big enough to handle the overflow.  The short wood-and-bamboo fronted tower will be on one side of the mission-style TV stand, and I’ll stack these on the other.  It’ll have the nice, sort of eclectic look that I like.

On the school front:

Classes start tomorrow and I’m still missing the texts for 2 classes.  This has me more than a little nervous.  One of them is for Spanish.  I’m already starting a semester behind the rest of my classmates.  I studied Spanish before, however that was 7 or 8 years ago.  I’ve borrowed a copy of the text from a friend; she’ll be in the class with me.  Looking it over, though, I can see that the teaching methods are very different from what I’m used to, and that has me anxious.  It’s organized in such a way that vocab isn’t built upon in a more traditional manner.  It’s situational, conversational.  I feel the urge to dig out my old text to refresh my memory rather than using this one.  I might, but I still need to familiarize myself with this text, the one I’ll be using for the rest of the semester.  I also need to read the first chapter of my Intro. to Interviewing and Counseling text.  I know this professor- she’s my advisor- and I know that she prefers that we come to class prepared in this way.  I’ve got 25 pages to read tonight, or at least to make a start on.  We won’t cover the whole chapter tomorrow.  As for Human Geography, he has posted the syllabus and expectations online, but nothing more so far.  It promises to be interesting, but challenging.

Have I mentioned that I don’t feel ready for school yet?  After our shopping spree yesterday I pointed out to Randy that I now have enough distractions to ensure that I don’t do one bit of homework all semester!  He frowned at that, and I think he briefly considered returning it all.  But the sales at Circuit City were final, and it was those purchases which are most likely to cause the damage to my GPA.  Hah!  Foiled him.

Guess that’s it.  Those are the things I’ve been up to, and the things going through my ever-crazed brain.

I’ll go find something totally useless and unproductive to do now.  It’s better than doing what I ought to do, hands down.

Taking Care of Self

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January 17, 2009

I’ve been stressing out quite a bit, and for quite some time.  My old heart trouble has been acting up again, with that fluttering that travels from my chest up my throat and that hitch in my breathing that I can’t stop and I can’t control.  Except that it isn’t gentle anymore; and it’s a little scary.

At some point, I really need to see a cardiologist.

Anyway, I know I need to calm my mind in addition to finding a way to exercise safely; effective stress management is a must.   To that end, I’ve bought beginner’s Yoga and beginner’s T’ai Chi DVDs to supplement my Qui gong practice.  Which would be more helpful if I actually practiced it once in awhile, otherwise it’s rather pointless.  I’ve been studying T’ai Chi tonight.  I’m watching the DVD first before attempting anything myself.  It’s really beautiful, very serene.

I’m off to meditate in motion.

No Blood Required

8
January 15, 2009

By the time I toppled into bed last night, I had been up for something like 40 hours. I came here to post before going to bed. I stared blearily at the page, face as pale and my eyes as red as any of Meyer’s Volturi vampire’s after a meal. I stared and I stared, but nothing happened. I’m not sure what I expected to happen. What? Great wit and wisdom would pour forth? You know, I think I really did think that would happen.

Tells you how tired I was.

Anyway, I went to bed, slept for 11 hours and am now human again, at least in part. I’m still pale, but that’s my normal state of being; there’s nothing remotely vampiric about it.

I worked really hard on that application. I wrote, rewrote and wrote some more. I’m not happy with one of the essays in particular but I ran out of time. So be it. I met with Sharon (PTK advisor and faculty member who nominated me for this scholarship) to go over everything before submitting. We ran into a snag when we tried to upload the financial info as .pdf to submit online. We think we’ve figured out the problem and are in the process of trying again. No big deal, though. The work is done. I came home, sat on the sofa and relaxed.

For about 30 minutes, at which point Sharon emailed me another scholarship she wants me to apply for!

At least this one is simple.  It doesn’t seem like it’s going to require a copy of my father’s death certificate, as the last one did. I swear, by the time I was done with that one I was surprised they didn’t require a DNA sample, too.

I think I’ll go to work now.  It’s a much happier place than sitting here, filling out yet more forms.

And it’s only just beginning, isn’t it?

*sigh*

They Say It’ll Be Worth It

2
January 14, 2009

I’m writing the essays and autobiography for my scholarship application.  I’ll be dropping it off at 4:30 this afternoon, and then the darn thing will be out of my hands.  And hurray for that!  Way too stressful, if you ask me.  It won’t really be done then, though.  The foundation wants a timeline regarding when my transfer applications will be out and when I expect to hear back.  They want it soon.  Because they insist that they need to know, I’ve stated that I’ll get my applications out at the end of the month.

This month.

Yeah, what was I thinking?

The semester starts in a few days, and I have not yet begun to relax.  I still have to obtain the textbooks that weren’t available yet.  And I have to refresh my Spanish before my Elementary Spanish II begins; it’s been 8 years since I studied it.

Blah.

That’s right, I haven’t told you what I’m studying this semester:

  • Behavior Modification
  • Intro. to Interviewing and Counseling
  • Elementary Spanish II
  • Human Geography- Culture



I’m feeling distinctly grumpy now.  Guess I’ll go finish that application.  At this point I don’t even care whether or not I get one of their scholarships.

Finishing the application process feels like reward enough for me.

Driving with Darwin

2
January 13, 2009

At a family dinner tonight the subject of GPS units came up.  Dad has 2 and offered to loan one to Mom for an upcoming trip.  The need to update them in order to make sure that they remain accurate was being discussed.

“Keep them up to date and they’re fine.  They’re not going to make people drive over a cliff or anything.” Dad remarked.

“No.  That’s just natural selection.” my brother noted.

Sending Me a Signal

7
January 11, 2009

A coworker who has been struggling with his faith shared that lately it seems that all of the books he’s had to pick are spiritually based.  His Higher Power, he says, is obviously sending him a message.

Lately all the books I’ve picked have been about murder, true crime stories and how to get around the law.

What’s my Higher Power trying to tell me?

Here’s One For You

5
January 9, 2009

Somebody ordered Why You Shouldn’t Eat Your Boogers and Other Useless and Gross Information About Your Body.

I would have thought that was self-evident.  And as long as we’re talking about things that we shouldn’t do, how about:

How to Fossilize Your Hamster.

Um, how does someone come up with the idea of doing this to his pet?  Do you think he just woke up one morning after listening to the hamster wheel all night and thought “I know what I’ll do.  I’ll fossilize the darn thing.  Then I can have both the rodent and uninterrupted sleep.”

Bad day to be a hamster.