|She wished for a horse|
Friday, December 30, 2011
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Also, after I slammed HP in the last post, I got good news about my poor laptop. It’s on its way to me with a new motherboard, a new battery, and a new power cable. I’m pretty hopeful this means my hard drive is unharmed. It was on the truck in Nashville this morning and should be delivered to my house TOMORROW!!
I tracked my dreary textbook about psychometric theory from South Carolina to Hebron, Kentucky (a little less than three hours from here), and it was transferred into the hands of the US Postal Service. Dear God, I may never see it! The post office delivers the wrong mail to us all the time. They must deliver our mail to the wrong addresses sometimes too. Hopefully it was handed off as a priority package, but the web site doesn’t say. Perhaps it was taped to the backs of a battalion of snails. In the meantime, I’m still waiting for Dr. Kaplan to get off break, Chapter 3 is underway, I’m making corrections and edits to Chapter 2, I have to take recertification training on the appropriate ways to deal with human subjects in research, and I’ll research Dr. Cockroach’s instrument assessments.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
HP is F’ing me. My service agreement says 2-day shipping to get my laptop to them, 2-day shipping return. They have 3 days to make a repair or replace the thing. They tell you that you’ll be without your laptop for a week if anything happens. Are you kidding? What it REALLY means is they have 2 days to send me an empty box. I pack and return the box and it should arrive to them in 2 days. I returned the laptop the same day it arrived at my door. They just got it yesterday; thanks to Fed-Ex and the holiday, it took 8 days. The estimated return date on my order is now January 5th. So in reality – I am without my laptop 18 days!
I got all bummed out last night, gave up early, and went to bed. Someone was watching the football game and munching chips and dip in bed, and slurping down Big Red. Someone can eat like that because he’s an exercise addict. I set the alarm and tossed and turned for 30 minutes or so – normally I’m asleep when my head touches a pillow. Sometime in the night, I woke up with blood in my mouth and all over the pillow. Geeze Louise!! I have no idea what happened. The bandage was still intact so I must have bumped my wound somehow. It looks no different this morning but now it’s sore as heck. I’m going to be 70 years old and still have this giant bandage on my mouth. Hmmm…maybe I should just put a giant bandage over my whole mouth then nobody would expect me to eat or talk ever again. There’s always a silver lining when we look for one. Perhaps I could defend my dissertation in sign language, assuming I finish it before I’m so old that my brain changes to pudding.
Monday, December 26, 2011
|celing is insulated - no floor in the attic above|
|First floor half bath - needs some decorating.|
|Our screened porch rescreened, very nice! Can you say, "office outside"?|
|our lovely new floor|
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
One of the most dramatic changes in me resulted from the requirement to submit a reflection statement at the end of every week of every class throughout the entire program. The statement was personal and not graded. The assignment required the student to state something of significance that he learned from the discussions that week, discuss why it was important, and describe how he could apply the information to his personal or professional life. The minimum required length was 100 words. You can’t imagine how difficult these reflection assignments were for me at the beginning of the program! It took me hours to write a short paragraph that I thought was not an embarrassment to post.
Why was that? I’ve always lived life like I was in a car, speeding down the highway with no rear-view mirror or windows except for the front windshield. My approach to education was the same. I focused on collecting information that may or may not be useful with the assumption that all assigned content was relevant. Writing reflection statements forced me to be discriminating, to really consider importance and implications of the information. Metaphorically, I learned that my car has mirrors and more than one window. As a result, I’ve started paying more attention to everything going on in the world, and to my own experiences too. I've become much more reflective in my personal life.
I used to think that people who had meaningful lives had something I was born without and couldn’t have. I’ve learned that I can’t live passively and wait for meaning to present itself. People find meaning through the way they interpret their experiences and by embracing their circumstances and the things they value. If I don’t look for meaning, I’ll never find it.
Friday, December 9, 2011
For some reason, since he told me this story, I’ve been thinking about a lady who attended doctoral residencies with me. This last time we were together, she told me about her son. When he was 8 years old, he was hit by a car while crossing the street with his older brother. He was in a coma for a month, and survived to be severely disabled. They have other children and went bankrupt trying to care for him at home. They ended up putting him in a facility where he has been for more than 15 years. His quality of life is extremely poor, and she says he shows no awareness when they visit. With tears in her eyes, she told me that when he was in a coma, they prayed for the wrong outcome (that he would live).
Do you suppose it’s selfish to pray for an outcome? Is it arrogance that makes us think God is in control and we can persuade Him to make things go the way we want them to? Maybe the truth is that everything is random and nobody, not even God, has any control over anything.
The weekend is nearly here. More work ahead for me to FINALLY finish a draft of Chapter 2 and start Chapter 3. I have industrial program directors from three technical colleges lined up who said they will send my survey links to their employed students and alumni, with no guarantee that alumni emails are still current. Sounds good enough to me…I hope (pray?) it’s good enough for my chairman and committee. My girls promised to do some decorating for Christmas this weekend. We look like the Scrooge residence in our neighborhood right now. I also better get out there on the Internet and get Christmas shopping done too. The Season will be come and gone in a flash!
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
|life is good|
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
I’ve been reading Tony’s blog and trying to learn about the psycho stuff he writes about. He’s a successful author and who better to take hints from than somebody who’s successful? I was never interested in his sort of stuff until recently, and it seems my dissertation is more suited to a DM in organizational psychology than a DM in information systems and technology. That happened out of my sheer ignorance. I became interested in near miss incidents because I loved listening to the safety and environmental managers talk about accident investigations and dumb things people do that cause accidents. That was long ago and now that I know more…I believe it’s wrong to blame the victims when we should be blaming the system that enables and sometimes even facilitates people to make mistakes. But of course, there are plenty of dumb-asses in the world, no doubt about it.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
It was a nice holiday. We went to my in-laws’ house for dinner on Thanksgiving. It’s crazy on holidays – lots of people and tons of food - but it’s nice to see everyone. My husband’s family is very close. I feel really lucky that the families of both my husbands are all very nice people. Sarah and Desmond came down for a quick visit. We went out to dinner and to see the Festival of Trees (Christmas trees). That was lovely but I am not ready to think about Christmas. It’ll be here before we know it though. At the moment, we have no place to put up a Christmas tree. The workers will be back on Monday and will hopefully finish up the floors so I can move stuff back into the closets and put some of the furniture back in place.
I don’t believe I’ve ever had Thanksgiving with my mother. If I did, I was too young to remember. We rarely visited my dad but one of the times we went up there was over Thanksgiving. We went to his wife’s parents’ house for dinner. His wife was mad that my grandmother didn’t pack nice clothes for us to wear. Her parents lived on a large farm and I didn’t understand why it was important for us to wear good clothes to visit the country. In fact, I hated dressing up because I was not allowed to get my good clothes dirty. I liked her parents’ barn though, because it was always full of cats and kittens.
Here is a photo of what my family might have looked like. My grandmother told me this was taken on Easter, but my folks were already split up and gone. We are dressed up so we must have been going to church, or perhaps we were just back from church. It doesn’t seem likely that we went to church together, so maybe this was no more than a visit situation and photo opportunity.
|my imaginary family|
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
The home improvements are well underway. We’ve had a monsoon here all day and rain for the past few days. I haven’t been outside to take pictures. The screened porch is now reinforced and rescreened. The little deck was torn down and built back – bigger, better, and higher off the ground. We really like it! I’ll get some photos when the weather improves.
|The new floor is lighter...I hope it'll go OK with the woodwork.|
|Dining room soon to be my new office room and computer room|
|Gracie...trying to be a good dog|
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
|Great grandfather holding little brother|
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
|Our newest mess-maker...about to create another|
Friday, November 4, 2011
Also this week, I did some of the final paperwork for my grandfather’s estate. Two more small details (assuming this last bit was done correctly) and it will all be over. When my grandmother died, my grandfather was unable to get out much so I did the legwork to settle her estate for him. When I walked out of the bank on the last detail, it kind of hit me that that was the last thing I would ever do for her. My grandfather has been gone for 16 months, but doing his paperwork seems to keep him in the present. It’s funny that I grew up with this man – I lived in his house (he was my father), but I hardly knew him at all until the very end. He talked more in the last months of his life than he did in all the other years I knew him combined. He was a man of very few words.
|Pop with my brothers and me|
Also, I have to get Chapter 2 of my dissertation cranked out by the end of next weekend. That’s a commitment I put on myself. I submitted Chapter 1 to my chairman for review. He returned it with NO corrections at all. That's good news, or does it just mean he barely read it? I know I'm not that good! He said it was rock solid and to submit it to my committee for review. The man on my committee said he won’t review anything until the proposal is complete. The woman on my committee said she will review it and give me feedback by the end of the weekend. I wish I had more women on my committee.
Friday, October 28, 2011
One day when she was around five years old, I was in my room tidying up and she came running in with a look on her face like she’d seen a ghost. “What’s wrong?” I asked. Horrified, she shook her head as if the words wouldn’t come out. She grabbed my hand, pulled me into the playroom, and blurted, “Space aliens.” I’m thinking…space aliens? I looked around the room and saw nothing unusual. I ask, “Where?” She said, “They were all over, but now they’re gone.” I asked her where she was when she saw them. She walked over to the dolls in the floor and sat down. “I was just playing with my dolls like this and they sparkled all around me.” “Well, looks like they’re gone now.” I said, unable to imagine what she could have seen that reminded her of sparkling space aliens. Sarah reached for her doll and exclaimed, “There they are!!!” She leapt up, ran to me, and clung tightly.
For a brief second, I saw what she was talking about. She was wearing a bracelet that reflected the sunlight coming through the window. It made patterns of bright light on the ceiling and walls. The poor little girl was terrified by this phenomenon. I smiled at her, took her bracelet, and showed her what she was seeing. We experimented with my ring and watch to make more sparkles on the walls and ceiling. It's nature to fear the unknown. It must be TV and movies that make little children imagine scary creatures from outer space.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
What set me off was bad news. After all that shit I did to my face, I’m going to have to be cut on anyway. That pisses me off. The dermatologist was ready to pull out the chainsaw right on the spot (not really, he said the initial biopsy will require a needle and scalpel)…might as well do it right from the start and just cut off my whole face with a chainsaw.
I was the doc’s last victim of the day ( 4:30 appt – he walked into the torture chamber at 7:30 - punctuality is not his thing). He shook my hand, told me he was exhausted from the long day and running two 10K’s over the weekend. I didn’t feel good about him cutting on my face in that state – I prefer him to be no more than the usual state of tired if he’s putting a knife into my face. I suggested we put it off a month. That gives me plenty of time to stew and worry over it, and who knows, maybe something horrific will happen before then and having my face mutilated will be the least of my worries. (I always try to look on the bright side of things). As I left, he told me I can’t wish it away. He also told me he survived melanoma on his leg at age 36 and 5 years ago he had a radical prostatectomy. Hmmmmm…. should I have congratulated him?…but I just remarked that he’s a lucky man who’s been through a lot. What do you say to something like that? His point was that I'm a whiney puss, suck it up, and deal with it. Yeah – I’ll do that next month.
Everything else that has me in a shitty mood involves my chronic disorganization and procrastination in every facet of my life. I never learn. I don’t want a gravestone, but if I had one, my epitaph should state “She never learned shit”. I want to be cremated and have my ashes thrown somewhere…I don’t care where as long as it isn’t on concrete or pavement. And don’t put my ashes in a F’ing urn - I want to be free and loose.
When things get bad at work, I reflect on Erin’s picture; it hangs beside my phone. She drew it when she was 5 or 6 years old. As shitty as things are lately, they could be much worse (remind myself). Maybe in some cases, the lady is better off letting go of the rope.
|Drawn by Erin long ago|
Friday, October 21, 2011
In my box were rhinestones, gumball machine trinkets, Cracker Jack toys, bits of colored broken glass, pretty rocks, beads, buckeyes, tiny pinecones, acorns, and Indian arrow heads. I had feathers from blue jays, cardinals, gold finch, and pigeons. There were a few dead butterflies, some sea shells, and a pressed four-leaf clover. I kept two little dogs and a fish that I carved from sticks. Also, I’d saved some Canadian coins, a Japanese coin with a hole in the middle, and some pennies that trains ran over and flattened. I hid my matches and some candles in the box too.
My most valued treasure in the box was a used tissue. I was about seven years old one of the times my mother visited. I stood beside her and watched in awe as she meticulously transformed herself in front of the bathroom mirror with a bag of cosmetics – face cream, foundation, powder, blush, eye liner, eye shadow, mascara, eyelash curler, brow powder, and lipstick. I thought she looked like a princess or movie star with her make-up on. My mother painted her lipstick on with a small brush and blotted her lips with a tissue forming a perfect pink kiss print. She dropped it into the trash and left the room. When she had gone downstairs and I was sure nobody would see me, I took the tissue and hid it in my box. Sometimes when I missed my mother very much, I pressed the tissue against my cheek and imagined she was giving me a kiss.
|Mother's father holding me, and Mother|
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Gracie was a very bad dog today. She breached the barrier between upstairs and downstairs this afternoon while she was home alone. She went up into Erin’s room, and got into her jewelry box – Erin left the bottom drawer open. Gracie only destroyed old rubber bracelets, but these happened to be the ones with sentimental value. Gracie is high on Erin’s shit list!
Yesterday afternoon, Gracie chewed into a box of my grandmother’s old dishes. She chewed a glass bowl that was at least 250 years old and it broke into three pieces. It didn’t seem to cut her – I checked her mouth. Later that evening, I glanced over and she had a streak of bright red on her leg. I gasped thinking it was blood. Turns out, it was bright red paint. She’d somehow found a small bottle of red craft paint and chewed it up. We now have red paint on the carpet that we are replacing soon.
Gracie and I came to an understanding. I’m the alpha in this house and she’d better walk the walk or she’s going to be an outside dog. She has figured out the electric fence. She knows the pain and collar that produces it. She’s going to enjoy some of the aspects of outside dog life – more interactions with diverse creatures, diverse scenery, more space to roam, falling asleep in the sun. She has learned to stay well inside the white flags. We want her to be outside when we’re gone, and inside when we’re home. Outside means access to the garage. She was well behaved this evening after our meeting of the minds.
Monday, October 17, 2011
I found this picture of me – if it was taken in August of ’62, I am not yet five years old. My hair has no natural curl at all, so apparently this was taken after my mother visited. My mother insisted on perming my hair when she visited. She came about once or twice a year…it got to the point where I stayed under the bed when she came and refused to come out. I hated perms! I’m sitting on the picket fence in front of my great grandparents’ house in St. Paul, Kentucky. My feet are against one of the many, very large maple trees in the front yard. We used to put pennies on the railroad tracks and let the trains run over them and flatten them.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
At the front gate, I snapped a few photos of the girls, and off they went never to be seen again until midnight, our intended time to leave.
Next, we rode FireHawk – it is out in the open, so I knew what we were in store for. It’s a roller coaster where you ride laying down on your back, moving head first. It’s another one where you are fastened tightly into your seat, and yes…it’s not so great for us claustrophobes, but security is necessary and good in this situation. You sit in a seat, buckle in, and at the very start (before take off) the seats tip back until your head is slightly past parallel. Not a good feeling. In the video, you get an accurate perspective. I was not one with my hands out – I had a death grip on the bars. It was so much fun, we waited 120+ minutes to ride it a second time.
We had an uneventful trek home. We travel a rural highway and must be wary for deer, raccoons, and possums in the road. We saw all of those but fortunately didn’t hit any. I caught a nasty cold yesterday so today I’m staying away from everyone and laying low. I didn’t do any work on my dissertation all weekend. NOT GOOD.
Friday, October 14, 2011
What is the meaning of time? Conceptually, it’s a form of measurement. Personally, it has always been an enemy and a source of frustration. It always seems to pass too fast or too slow, and there’s no way to control it. I’ve spent a lifetime watching a calendar and clock, planning and waiting impatiently.
Control is always temporary and illusive – it’s an imposter! Trying to get control of things is frustrating. Do any of us have real control of anything in our lives? All we really have is here and now, and if we’re lucky, we can have hope for the future. If I lived alone on this planet, would time and control be less important? If we had no means to measure time, would it be less important?
We were rushing out the door this morning – the girls and me off to school and work. I stepped out on the porch and the moon grabbed my attention – I set my crap down, pulled out my shitty phone camera and snapped this photo. It just doesn’t do it justice – the silver white moon seemed huge peeking through the yellow gold leaves of the tulip tree. I asked the girls if they saw the moon – none of them noticed it at all. How did they miss it?