Thursday, February 26, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today's my birthday...yay!

No big parties - unfortunately I have to work - but I made myself pancakes for breakfast (one of my all time favorite foods!), we rented a movie for tonight, and we'll have pizza, cake, and ice cream later.

Hope everyone else has an awesome day, too!

Monday, February 23, 2009


So I took the Art Hx midterm, which was not too bad except I couldn't for the life of me remember the names of any of the Renaissance Flemish artists and of course there were like half a dozen questions about them and their works of art. Drat.

But the most interesting thing about the test was that I sat there and watched another student cheat her way through the test. She kept her notebook on her desk with her notes sort of sticking out, and when she ran across a question she didn't know the answer to, she just opened her notes, found the answer, then wrote it down. This was obviously not the first time she'd done this. She had the procedure worked out pretty well. Wow. I wanted to poke her and call her a cheater, cheater, punkin' eater.

Okay, so what's the protocol when you witness a cheater? Do you squeal? Do you snitch? Do you become a tattletale? Or do you let it slide? I mean, I and most of the rest of the class at least put some effort into being prepared for the test. It wasn't meant to be an open book test, unless everybody else missed that little announcement. At least I earned the grade I got, whether it turns out to be good or bad.

Isn't there some moral message here? Or is it no big deal? Does her cheating really effect the rest of us in any way? I don't know. All I know is that it irked me for some reason. I've never cheated on a test. I manage to work 40+ hrs per week, go to school full time, and manage a family and still get on the President's List without cheating. Maybe I'm just an uptight old (okay, middle-aged?) lady, but if I can manage to study for the test with everything I've got going on, it shouldn't be that hard for a kid to do the same.

I just wonder if this little episode of cheating is symptomatic of something larger, or if it's all just my imagination? Just wondering.

Just A Few Little Things

1. Today is midterm in Art Hx, so I'm cramming facts about Renaissance art, and trying to remember as much about Raphael, da Vinci, and Michelangelo as possible so I can write an essay about them. I love Renaissance art, I just hope I can cram the details into my widdle head and they don't leak out before I get them on the page.

2. I'm panicked because there isn't enough time in life to complete the academic requirements of 12 credits plus work 40 hours a week and also have a life. I may have to reduce my credits by 6 (I only really need 6 more to graduate, but had to have 12 to receive my scholarships. Drat.) It's not that I'm not interested in Native American Lit and Children's Lit. It's just a matter of expediency and sanity.

3. So far I've been able to stick to my "writing every day" schedule, and I'm excited about my new story idea. I think it has potential. But I'm wondering, have any of you writer people out there ever had ideas that you think are good but that you are maybe slightly apologetic about? Maybe you're embarrassed that others may find the idea goofy, or childish, or unrealistic? Even though you have this fear, do you forge ahead and write it anyway because in your heart you think it works? Maybe it's my nasty self-doubt monster rearing his ugly head again. I think I'll beat him about the noggin until he disappears. I'm going to keep writing this story. I like it.

Well, off I go to my Art hx test. Wish me luck. Hope you all have a lovely Monday!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Where Oh Where Has My Little Phone Gone....

This morning I was scheduled to train a new transcriptionist, which means that I needed to call her. However, when I went upstairs to grab the phone, it was not sitting on the charger where it belongs. As I've discussed in previous posts, we are not, as a family, the tidiest group of people around, so it's really not a surprise to discover that something isn't in its proper place.

I pushed the "find handset" button on the charger. This is a handy little button because without it we probably would have lost the phone ages ago.

I didn't hear any beeping. I went to the bottom of the stairs and listened to see if I could hear it upstairs - no luck. I went to the top of the basement stairs and strained to hear the beeping - nothing.

I pushed the "find handset" button again.

This time I heard a faint beeping right there in the living room. I got closer (warmer - warmer- getting warmer - now colder) until finally I narrowed it down to the loveseat. I could hear the beeping, but all I could see was the cat.

Lo and behold the phone was under the cat. Why he chose to lay directly on the phone when he had the whole loveseat to sleep on, I'll never know. Who understands cats, anyway?!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Yay Me

In keeping with my goal of writing everyday, I managed a whopping 2 pages/4600 words today. Doesn't sound like much, I know, but crammed in between everything else I'm pretty jazzed about it.

For the first time in days I feel good!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Trying Something New

I've been so bogged down recently in worry (about work, about school, about everything, it seems), and nearly wallowing in the dreary emptiness of the doldrums, that I just haven't done any writing at all. Of course, that just makes me more depressed since writing is what I really want to be doing. The more depressed I've been, the more certain I am that I'm not "good enough" to write anything anyway.

However, if I am nothing else, I have always been resilient, so I am going to try something new. "Real" writers always say that you need to put nose to the grindstone and write every day. Okay. I'm going to try that. I had started work on a novel, and I've got 3 chapters done, but it feels very stale to me and I can't find the motivation to go back to it right now. It needs to ferment like a fine wine.

I look back on this academic year and it's almost completely barren of new written material, compared to the 2 previous years where I produced several plays and short stories per year. I need to snap out of this rut.

I've never written anything in the first person before, so I think I'm going to try that point of view. Maybe it will help me shake up my head and find new inspiration. I have an inkling of an idea....if I can force myself to write just a few paragraphs per day, maybe I can start a good habit!

I also want to get back into the habit of blogging every day as well. I've fallen out of the habit for the last few weeks, again because I've lacked motivation and inspiration.

So, despite the fact that sometime this semester I have to write research papers for both an art history class (subject: grafitti as an art form) and a native american literature class (subject: children/parenting in native american culture), I am now determined to get some productive creative writing done as well!

Wish me luck!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day

Well, Valentine's Day is here, and it's no big deal.

I've been with my Valentine for 22 years, and we stopped singling out and celebrating this day many, many years ago. It's not that we aren't still in love, because we are. It just seems silly. Why wait for one specific day to show each other how we feel? We say "I love you" every day. We treat each other to little trinkets, or gifts whenever we feel the whim, just because it makes us both feel good.

I think my biggest pet peeve about Valentine's day (and every other major holiday, for that matter) is that it's turned into another commercialized extravaganza. Buy! Buy! Buy! - spend money, boost the economy! I don't think the economy would survive anymore without the bloated buying involved in Valentines day, Easter, 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and, of course, birthdays. Blech.

I suppose I can see how people just falling in love, or newly in love would be so gaga over Valentines day as an opportunity to express their feelings more tangibly, but for those of us who have been together for eons, it just seems like a waste of money!

But, since I've been slightly grouchy and pessimistic lately due to a seriously chronic case of the blues, I've recently been consciously trying to be less negative. It's been tough. I'm having a hard time seeing the glass half full when it's plainly half empty.

However, in an effort to be upbeat and positive:

Happy Valentine's Day!

Follow this link to read some of the greatest love poems ever written. Hope you have a wonderful day!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Is the Music in You?

I came to the conclusion a long time ago that the music just isn't in me. I think people are either music people and not. My hubby is a music person. He's always singing to himself, making up songs, and is currently learning to play the guitar. Music is just part of his psyche. It's like he's got a continuous life soundtrack playing in his head.

I see people all over the place with ear buds plugged into their head, streaming music into their brains.

I just don't get it. Occasionally I have one of those nasty ear bugs where I get a some jingle or snippet of a song playing a continuous loop in my head, but it's not "music" per se. My inner symphony is silent.

The only exception to this is that I love to sing. I'm a member of the local Chamber Chorale and although I'm not going to be recording albums any time soon, I'm not too bad, either.

But I don't truly understand music. Maybe it's because I'm more of a visual person. I'm more likely to appreciate the depth and complexity of a painting than a piece of music. I would choose reading a book and getting deep into a story over going to a concert. I would buy a movie over a CD.

Some people couldn't live without music, I guess I'm just not one of them!

How about you?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Nothing to Fear but. . . .

As I sit here at work typing tedious medical reports, my mind tends to wander. I don't know why, but today it's been cataloguing things I'm afraid of. There's no rhyme or reason to it, that's just where I ended up.

So, after careful consideration, the top 3 things on my Fear List are:

1. Balloons.
2. Spiders.
3. Crowds.

I've been terrified of balloons as long as I can remember, and I have no explanation for it except that my mother is similarly terrified so maybe I absorbed that fear from observing her. Another thing to resent my mother for! I go ballistic when I'm in a room with balloons. I panic when I see kids with balloons, especially if I'm trapped and can't leave. It's a primal fear - fight or flight kinda thing. Of course my first instinct is just to run away!!! My poor kids suffer because they're never allowed to have balloons. They laugh at me because they don't understand. It's an odd fear, I'll admit, but it can't be helped.

Spiders are the most hideous creatures that ever lived on the planet. I know they're good for ecology, blah, blah, blah. Birds eat bugs, too, but they're not creepy and hairy and run fast and show up unexpectedly where you least expect them and then make you scream like a cheerleader in a horror flick about to be chopped to bits with a chainsaw. Spiders do. Unfortunately I hate killing them because they make a crunchy/squishy sound that makes me gag and shudder.

When we lived in Oregon we had spiders in our house that were so big that (including feet) they could straddle the top diameter of a pop can. No kidding. From August through about the beginning of November you could count on encountering at least one a day, but you never knew where you'd find them. You'd be going about your day unsuspecting when - SURPRISE - there's one of those nasty beasties and it makes your heart skip a beat because they're so freaking big they even scare the cats. I was so afraid of them that they'd often infiltrate my dreams and it's amazing what horrible things your unconscious mind can subject you to. More shuddering.

Crowds freak me out because I can't control them. Christmas shopping at a mall or WalMart is the worst. I can't stand to be in the same place with all those people at once. I run out of patience when I can't move or get around people, or just get out of the store and away. I guess it's a form of claustrophobia, or maybe I'm just not fond of people in general?! One or two, or small groups, or even a classroomful I can handle, but more than that and I'm ready to run.

Anyway, that's the summary of my top 3 fears. I've bared my soul (well, at least partially). Anyone else afraid of anything?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Guilty Television Pleasures

I'll admit that I'm a TV-aholic, and since I don't have any other pressing issues to discuss today, for some reason my thoughts are on television.

I never have it running all day long, and I haven't stooped to watching daytime programming, yet, but if I can't find anything else on I always settle on CNN, so I guess technically I'm a new junkie.

Anyway, my favorite programming is usually on HGTV, SciFi, History, Discovery, Food, USA, TLC, and sometimes I watch movies and boxing on HBO and Showtime. There are several shows I like to watch on ABC, CBS, and NBC, too (and Antique Roadshow on PBS).

Aside from my favorite mainstream shows on each of my favorit channels, there are a few shows I like which would probably be considered "guilty pleasures."

Because I have kids, the TV is often tuned to Nickelodeon or Disney. This is where most of my guilty pleasure programming can be found. Reluctantly, I have to admit that I'm a fan of such shows as: Suite Life of Zack and Cody, ICarly, Wizards of Waverly Place, Hannah Montana, and Drake and Josh. If there's nothing else on any other channel (and I don't just turn it off), I've already run thru the half hour CNN news cycle, and it's starting to rerun the same news again, I'll usually settle on children's programming.

But......I think my absolute favorite guilty pleasure show is That 70s Show. It just cracks me up every time and always proves to be an excellent way to escape from the overwhelming stresses of work and school.

I know as guilty pleasures go, those are pretty darn mild and I'm sure you're all just rolling your eyes and thinking how silly.

But what's your guilty TV programming pleasure?