Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Drumroll please.....the decision is !!!!!!

Last night, I checked my email for at least the 200th time of the day.  Behold!!  There, in my inbox, sat the dreaded email that has been keeping me waiting all these weeks.

With great dread, I opened it.  The first sentence took my breath away.  At last, after all these years of sleepless nights and funless weekends, the board accepted my work.  So after reading the email, I read through it again...and again....just to be sure I wasn’t missing anything important.  After almost 24 hours to take it in, it’s still hard to believe!!  Getting here has taken nearly 4 years.  I lived long enough to see it happen! 


Next comes defending my work.  This will happen sometime in the next 2-3 weeks.  I submitted a PowerPoint to my chairman this evening, and emailed my committee asking for convenient dates and times from them.  Dr. Chairman will tell me if anything important is left out, but more than likely he’ll have suggestions to leave slides out.  That’s OK.  I hate to talk.  Talking less is easier than talking more. 

So, life is good...and what in the world will I do with myself now??  Oh yeah - get ready for the wolves.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

springing free (in my dreams)

I should be working....but I don’t want to.  I’ve been obsessively checking email the past two days.  The watched pot never boils - apparently it’s true.  My rejection notice is keeping me waiting, waiting, waiting.  While waiting, I’m supposed to be finishing up a Powerpoint for my defense.  It’s started....about 15 slides into it.....I don’t want to work anymore.  If I were a dog, I’d be all snarly and growling.  Probably somebody would get bitten.  Good thing I’m not a dog because nobody would want me.  Man’s worst friend....that would be me.
On a happier note, Erin and I visited Sarah Sunday.  She gave me some lovely fresh eggs laid by her hens who are constantly doing chicken things....such as hunting for bugs to eat, clucking, crowing, and being all cranky.  She has a hen setting on a nest lately.  There will likely be some chicks soon.  

The eggs are sort of like Easter eggs.  They are shades of blue, green, and brown because her exotic hens lay colored eggs.  When Emily first saw them in our refrigerator (she didn’t see me bring them home from Sarah’s house and they were in a carton from a commercial dairy), she shrieked, thinking they were old and rotten.  I got a chuckle out of that.  She’s real paranoid about getting sick from eating food that could be old or spoiled.
Sarah also has calves.  So sweet, and so hungry.   She and Erin fed them.  It seems sad to take the babies away from their mothers so quickly, but this is done because the mamma’s milk is sold and not wasted on babies, or perhaps the farmers are in a hurry to slaughter the mothers.  We should use cloning technology to grow meat in factory settings so we don’t have to slaughter so many live animals.  Someone is a major carnivore and disagrees with my thinking.  If meat was outlawed, I’d be OK with that.  I bet Someone would eat less meat if it were grown in a factory.  

So, OK, enough of this time-waste and back to the Powerpoint.  But first, I'm changing the photo on my blog to spring.  It's SPRING here.  My cherry and apple trees are blooming.  The lilac is smelling like heaven.  The dogwoods are sublime.  The two bicycles given to me for my work anniversary are here; packaged and delivered in two very small boxes.  "Some assembly required" doubt.  Another job for Wonder Woman (in all her free time).          

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

tell-tale hole in the ground

I started to write a post yesterday but the bombing in Boston made my post seem very shallow and unimportant. I used to feel sorry for people who live in the Middle East because violence seems to be an everyday thing over there. It’s time to feel sorry for my own part of the world. It makes me mad that we can’t stop these insane things from happening, and that I share this world with evil people. Why do so many people want to take their revenge on innocents?  Probably it’s because our soldiers are all over the world trying to “protect” innocent people.  Our world is becoming more dangerous, or maybe the media is becoming more effective at making me think so.

My first husband (H1) was fascinated with weapons and explosives. When he was about 12, he was messing around with black powder that blew up in his face and burnt him. Fortunately, he recovered completely. He learned a valuable lesson about handling gunpowder from that accident, which was a good thing because as an adult, he reloaded his own ammunition to save money.

H1’s father has a huge farm where we oftentimes used to go. We camped there; H1 hunted there, we cut firewood there, and sometimes we just went because it was someplace to go get away from the world. It was (and still is) way out, miles from civilization. One beautiful, sunny summer afternoon, we parked on top of a ridge and walked down a rocky road into a low, uncut pasture. We had no plans (that I was aware of).  H1 sat down to smoke and I wandered off into the field to do nothing more than look for animal tracks and pick daisies. About an hour went by and I was paying little attention to H1, but looked over and saw he was busy with something. I couldn’t see exactly what he was doing because the weeds were too tall. I started to walk back toward him and when I was about 30 yards away, he jumped up and yelled “RUN”!!! I stood there, bewildered. I’d never seen the man run before!  No kidding!!  He took off up the hill, running as hard as he could. He looked back and saw me standing there. “Run! Dammit run!” With that, I dropped my flowers and started up the hill after him, not knowing what I was running from. Seconds later, KABOOM! The concussion shifted the ground under my feet or perhaps it just knocked me off balance. I stumbled in the loose rocks but kept running.  Dirt, rocks, and grass rained down on my head and fell into my shirt collar. When I got to the top of the hill where H1 was standing, he was grinning ear to ear, but I still didn't understand what had happened.  My ears were ringing and I was too shook up to think straight.  H1 jumped into the car, so I did the same.

And just like that, we escaped the crime scene. We were no more than a few miles down the road when we saw a helicopter heading toward the farm. It was state police investigating the explosion. By then, my head was pounding and I regained enough sense to ask him what the hell happened. He had two sticks of dynamite that he buried in the ground and lit the fuses. He was very pleased with the results, but expected to have more time to get away given the length of the fuses. Needless to say, I was furious with him for endangering me without my knowledge. There were few dull moments in those days.

Weeks later, we went back and saw the giant crater left by the explosion. I’m not sure if his dad ever found out it was his son's doing.  The explosion was mentioned in the local news and was attributed to activity at a nearby lime mine.  The farm is still there, but if the crater is still there, it’s probably grown over by grass and weeds.

What happened in Boston yesterday is a tragedy.  I can only begin to imagine the terror of being in or near a blast like that with my family and friends.  It makes me wonder when and where the next time will be.  There will be a next time, no doubt.    

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

'round and 'round we go

I resubmitted my study to the board, so now…a little much-needed breathing space while I wait for my rejection notice.  My chairman asked what I plan to do for my defense. As if it will be accepted this time, and now it’s time to worry about preparing a powerpoint presentation.  It’s time to get ‘er done.  I WISH!!!!!

My alcoholic brother is doing no better…of course not, he’s just circling the drain until he slides on down it. People he thinks are friends are taking advantage of him, stealing from him, lying to him, etc. It’s a sad thing to watch, but there’s nothing to do for him. It’s like he’s lost all ability to say no. Much of the time he’s too impaired to say anything, but even when he’s sober enough to have a conversation with, he’s in a fog. Perhaps helping him move into that house was a big mistake, but I have to think it’s a little safer than living under the bridge…which he has done before. Someone will kill him for whatever cash he has on him if he doesn’t die from drinking and drugs first.  In my mind, he’s already dead.

On a happier note, Emily has decided to start tumbling again. She used to dance and do gymnastics, started both when she was 3 years old, and loved every minute of it.  She was very good at both, which ultimately forced her to choose because a kid just can’t go to public school, be a level -8 gymnast, maintain adequate muscle tone for ballet, and have any time left over for friends or anything fun. She chose dance, and because she was very good at it and had more time, they placed her in all the advanced classes.  She was expected to be at the studio 25+ hours a week (much more than that during summers), and most of her classmates were much older than her. Once she started high school, interest in having fun with friends increased and interest in dance waned. She quit two years ago.

homework before dance class

So it goes, but now she’s tumbling again. Floor and bars were her favorite gymnastics events – she hated beam and vault. She is going to a small gym not far from home that specializes in tumbling for cheerleaders, so they don’t even have beams, vaults, or bars. She’s been to the gym twice this month and she still looks a bit stiff and rusty, but she can do a back tuck again, roundoff into three back handsprings, and layouts. Pretty cool to watch. It’s amazing to see how quickly she’s coming back.  What’s best of all to see is the big smile on her face the whole time. Her coach even mentioned it. We can tell she’s having fun. It reminds me of that 6-year old kid who couldn’t wait for her classes to start.

Friday, April 5, 2013

all work and no play...

It’s been a lot of L-O-N-G nights lately. Get up at 6:15 AM, go to work, come home, sit at my desk, work until 2-3 AM. Repeat. UGH. It makes me very, VERY old…and tired.

Last night, I got about 3 hours of sleep before the alarm jarred me awake this morning. I turned the F’er off and decided to quit my F’ing job. Someone asked me if I intended to go to work. I asked him to wake me up when he finished his shower, and promptly fell back to sleep. Next thing I know, Someone is telling me he’s out of the shower. DAMMIT!! I mumbled that I wanted to sleep ‘til yesterday. He philosophized that I must want to sleep forever since yesterday will never come. Good enough, now shut up and let me sleep. But no, my conscience was awake and felt guilty about all the work piling up lately (and here I am typing a blog post, but honestly, I’m way too brain dead to be productive this afternoon)… so get up, get up, GET UP!!! I told myself. But still I didn’t move. I asked Someone to turn on the overhead light, but forgot I’d replaced two of the four bulbs that burnt out a few days ago. It was like the light of 1,000 suns in my eyes. I groaned, rolled over, and buried my head under the pillow. Then Someone threw a blanket over Gracie’s head which is her most favorite game in the world. She got all excited and there would obviously be no more sleeping. The rest of the day is a blur – like the whole week.

When Someone asked me if I was going to work today…it’s a game we play. Someone works significantly fewer hours than me – he gets way more holidays and what they call personal days, but less vacation. We neither one keep track of each others’ schedules. Many mornings I’ll ask him very casually if he’s going to work (as if it’s something he rarely does). He gets all offended and reminds me he has to work for a living like everyone else. The reality (whether he wants to admit it or not) is that he takes off just about every Friday afternoon or splendid day. His office is 30 minutes away, mine is less than 10 minutes away. On most days when he works, he leaves after me and gets home before me. Whenever I say I’d like to work his hours, he says he’d like to trade paychecks. No thanks.

So perhaps one more long night of hard labor will finish up the revisions to my dissertation. I sent it to Dr. Chairman this morning (at 3 AM) because it’s his job to check it over before I submit it again to the board. He’s become more cooperative and responsive these past weeks, all of my committee has. Maybe it’s a sign the end is near (and I’m not referring to North Korea this time). Tonight I will read through it all looking for extra spaces, orphaned headings, extra blank lines, and any other funky stuff like that. My plan is to be ready to submit to the board done by 10 AM tomorrow, but I have to have my committee’s blessings before I can submit anything.

But first, an 18-minute nap when I get home.