Recently in Grad School Category

June 20, 2006

Running toward the light...

Tonight, my final assignment is due, a short paper comparing national vs. local evaluation tools (and the standards therein) used for Technology Facilitators. After this, all I have to do is upload my Program Manual and I'm d.o.n.e. Like "stick a fork in me" done. And I'm so ready.

When I started this journey to my licensure last January, I had no idea how grueling it would be to try to work full time and go to grad school full time and be 2 parents full time and try to have a life ... that's too much to squeeze into days that are too short. But for the past year and a half I've done it. No regrets. Not many anyway. I only wish I had been able to squeeze in more of a life. As it is, I really only feel as if I'm enjoying mySELF a) when Tim is in town or b) when I am visiting him. Yes, we stay connected via the computer whenever I am not here at work but ... it can't compare.

I don't know. He may be perfectly happy with this arrangement but, for me, I enjoy our companionship tooo much when we are together to be able to enjoy much when we are apart. Even simple things that were once a chore for me, like going to the mall or going to the movies - with him, it's something to look forward to. The thought of going to the movies (or anywhere) by myself is miserable. I wanted to go see Over the Hedge but I couldn't bring myself to go alone (and by alone, I meant with the kids). Yes, the kids and I went to movies together before he came along but I forgot what it was like to go with someone that sees the same things I do, someone with whom the experience is an enjoyable event, not an overwhelming headache. I'm outnumbered without him. He's on my side. I like that.

What on earth brought this on? Dunno. It's been a month and a half since he came down and so much has happened ... I've gotten sick twice, school ended, I've finished a whole class, I've done all my district and state reports at work, I've finished Tech Ventures and begun teaching summer academy ... and when I climb into bed at night, I turn and have no one to remind me that tomorrow will be better. It's been so long, the t-shirt doesn't even smell like him anymore.

Eh ... just complaining, I guess. I'll see him this weekend (w00t! IRL at Richmond! I've been waiting a year for this Saturday!!! I can't believe I get to share this with him and his Dad) and next week, he comes down for a good visit over the 4th. Just what I need to start my summer vacation off right. Before I start my internship, that is.

Ok, so I'm not really done. But I'm close.

March 26, 2006

Research paper woes...

... when you tell a class that grades are up on a research paper and that students are free to revise and resubmit, it would be really REALLY nice if you let those students that should resubmit know just what the hell was wrong with their paper in the first place?!?!

When I get a 7 out of 10 (a C in my book, oh HELL no ...), I need to know what I did wrong. My peer review was positive and by the rubric I didn't miss any points so a 7 is baffling to me.

My grade right now is a 97 but COME ON ... this is post-post-graduate work here, people. You should know that we aren't in this for kicks, that at this level every point matters. I take these classes while working full time in my chosen field with the intention of using everything that I learn in the classroom. If I've messed up, or missed something integral to a project, I need to know what it is!

Yeah, I'm being a point junkie but this isn't a game to me. I gave up valuable time with my kids and my sweetheart to write that frackin' paper and I expect some professional courtesy.

A polite, inquisitive email has been sent ... I'm biting my tongue and frustrated beyone belief that I have to spent my last 9 credit hours with this professor. grrr ...

To top it off, I sent in my multimedia project (a movie, actually) via dropbox last week and NOW she says (in the same email) that people should email their projects via snail mail if they are having trouble getting them to her. I had no problem uploading mine ... but how am I supposed to know if she had trouble recieving it if she doesn't TELL ME!!! GAH!!!

Lord, help me get this degree so that I can go take her job in 5 years and spare others this frustration ...

January 3, 2006

Happiest New Year

Something tells me that this year is going to be excellent. No, it's not a palindrome year, though 2002 was pretty good - and totally satisfied my OCD at least until 2112. The year also doesn't have my lucky number in it, although the numbers DO add up to my lucky 8 - but, no, that's not it either. Nope, today I'm working off a high from the last couple of weeks, (which was way better than yours, btw), and a whole bundle of hope.

First off, it's been forever since I've posted but I've been BUSY, really, and taking the time to straighten out my head would take the buzz off the whole experience. Now that it's mostly over, I can breathe and think and reflect and ruminate and talk waaaaay too much about what's been going on in my head. Ready? Yeah, it's going to be a long one.

Though I got out of school on the 10th, my vacation didn't start until the 16th. That last week of school was quite a bit of fun ... kids sneaking up on me to give me presents, reading 'How the Grinch stole Christmas' 13 times (and loving it every time), snacking all day that last day of school on brownies and popcorn and cookies and kisses until I thought I would puke and getting NOTHING done and leaving it all behind ... what a blast.

I spent Friday night packing for a trip to visit my boyfriend's family, waking up bright and early Saturday morning to pack up the car with presents and treats and clothes and everything my little 'Yota could hold. Traveling with my kids is always a treat, nothing I would recommend if you value your sanity but something I'm pretty used to. We plugged in the MP3 player, cranked up the holiday tunes, and took 2 hours to get out of town ... GAH!! Once we hit the highway and the kids got into their own zones, it was much better.

Almost 3 hours later, I was on the phone with Tim, letting him know we were 'almost' there, that we had gotten some funky directions and were coming in the back way, apparently. He, very graciously, teased me as he told me how to get to his house from where I was and I think I made him (and myself) proud by actually making it there from where I was.

I have to interject that, though he calls where he lives a pit, I would give my eye teeth to live there. Something about the rolling hills and curvy roads really does it for me ... and every time I drive up to the farm, I get the same odd feeling of 'coming home' that I got the first time I went there. The fact that I feel more comfortable there than almost anyplace else just blows my mind. I just wish the little matter of about 170 miles wasn't between here and there but that's neither here nor there right now. We've made it work for quite a while now so I'm not complaining about the distance ... much ... ok, maybe a little today, but we'll get to that later.

Our 5 days up there was excellent ... we did presents, church (YES! I went to CHURCH!! And I liked it! Who woulda thunk it? More about that later ... ), shopping, gaming and general lazing around. It was very nice spending time with his parents, both of whom make me feel welcome in their home, which means the world to me. I realize that putting us up (or 'putting up with us') for 5 days is an enormous pain in the ass but they never let on that it is. I don't think I can ever explain this right ... let me just say that my family is very different than his and, frankly, I like his better.

The only drawback was my son's insistence on being his obstinate 13 year old self ... but this too shall pass.

Right?? Please tell me I'm right?!

We celebrated his 14th birthday while up there, taking him to see King King and out to dinner at Olive Garden. We also took the opportunity of being in the Richmond area to swing by Sam Ash and pick out my daughter's Christmas Present . It totally surprised her, which was very cool! Having Tim there to help pick up everything she needed was perfect ... I'm not sure I could have done that myself and, since he plays and knows a bit about guitars, it worked out perfectly. It also gives the two of them something other than monkeys in common - though having monkeys in common is nothing to sneeze at.

Coming home was a bit of a let down ... facing much of my Christmas shopping and very little time was a bit daunting. We were ready for Christmas at my Mom's, though ... or so I thought ...

Can I just say that I pray every day for strength and patience when dealing with my mom? I don't think I'm strong enough to get into it tonight, trying with all my might to hold onto the sweetness of the last week, but I will revisit our visit later ... once the meds kick in.

Planning as I was for Tim to come down on Tuesday, I was pleasantly surprised (and totally jazzed) when he said on Monday that he wanted to come down a day early. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I squealed *yes* and began preparing as best as I could. I'm not nearly as neurotic as I was when we first started dating about the house being spotless because, as he said himself, he's not coming to see the house, he's coming to see me ... but I still had some basic housework to take care of.

We exchanged presents when he got here Monday night and I have to say, my sucky Christmas was totally saved.
He got me exactly what I wanted/needed ... TOYS, an excellent book about the history of punk, hummer feeders, and Space Ghost DVDs. How someone that has known me for less than 2 years can understand me better than someone that gave birth to me is totally beyond me. I'm a lucky girl, what can I say?

What followed was a great week, a ton of laughs, plenty of junk food *oof* and a gradual relaxation into us that we both needed. Usually our visits are short, jam packed with errands, but this time we actually had a couple of days with nothing to do. Heaven ...

Today, I came back down to earth. I left a home this morning and came back to a house ... empty, quiet, boring ...
I'm getting sad ... I didn't realize how hard this would be, really. I started this post with the intention of slipping into a big ball of cheese and I find myself slowly sinking into melancholia. Yes, I know it will pass so I'm just riding this one out, grateful to have the memories of the past week to wrap around me as I adjust to life alone again. I haven't even tried to go into the bedroom yet.

More later when I've stabilized. Something about an Uberlist and more about the holidays, our church visits and some resolutions to come. Tired now.

December 10, 2005

*Insert sigh of relief here*

Stick a fork in me, I'm done.

Just turned in my final exam (only 1.5 hours late, but who's counting?) and boy is my brain tired!

This was a busy week, full of final projects and papers and this 'thinkpiece' of an exam. Excellent classes, both of them ... very practical work, especially the end projects. Going into my final project, I had a 99 in my Planning for Technology class. In my Intro to IT class, I had all A's and 2 or 3 A+'s, including two of my 4 final projects. Now I just have to wait for those last two grades to be posted.

Oh, I know I have A's, I just like to see it.

Yes, I'm a grades junkie. If I feel I'm not doing well, I'll just give up and withdraw rather than get a bad grade. If I get a point or two off of a project, I will resubmit. I don't know how I got this way. I was terrible in high school and just did what I had to do to get out of college the first time.

Maybe now it's because I have something to prove. Every perfect score I get is a giant flip of the bird to everyone that said I would bever be good enough. I don't even care of they know how well I do in school. I know. I'm proving to myself that I am better than they said I was.

I also have more to lose. Every day in school is one step closer to my goal. I don't want to drag my feet, I'm ready to move up, move on.

Why am I so anxious? I don't know. Maybe that's a result of wasting 15 years of my life miserable, stagnant. Maybe because I spent another 5 years waiting for something that, in the end, wasn't nearly what I thought it was. Moving on? Why yes, thanks, I'll have a steaming plate of that.

So, classes are done for the time being. They start again in January. Not even looking at the calendar yet.

Also, it's 5 more days of work until The Break. *EEP!* I'm giddy with anticipation. I have a Tech Ventures thing tomorrow (oops, today) and then I'm all about Christmas and Joy and Love and Peace and SLEEP. We'll head out of town on the 17th to visit T and the 'rents and the cows and (maybe) friends. Visiting T's church on the 18th which I'm really looking forward to. Not to put too much pressure on myself but it's the first time in, oh, 20 years that I've stepped into a church for a service. No worries ... I'll be with my kids and his Dad, watching him and his Mom sing so I'll be in good hands.

Once we come home, it's wall to wall Christmas here ... then T comes down for the rest of vacation. It doesn't get better than that, New Years with the one I love.

In other news ... I've been out of karate for a month now and I've gotten my ass chewed out this week ... I deserved it ... and I will go back, I've just had a rough patch between work and school and bronchitis and ... yeah, Chris, I know, a million reasons not to go. I'll prolly have to put off going back until after New Years. *i can hear it now*

I'm stretching again, though. Lee reminded me that I need it at my age *gee, thanks* and it will help relieve stress, something we have no shortage of around here.

Well, I better get back to baking ... first batch of biscotti is just about done. Making Double Chocolate Pecan and Almond Mandlebrot for tomorrow. Jealous? Oh yeah, you know you are.

December 4, 2005

Making progress

One class down, one to go. I've just sent in my benchmark project, which is pretty impressive if I do say so myself. I still have to finish my other class, including a 3-5 page research paper on the role of women in computer science (I've got to get a catchier title), a 2 page paper summarizing an interview that I am waiting to come in my email (ANY TIME NOW WOULD BE GREAT, REALLY), a professional webpage about yours truly (gag) and a final exam. Then I will be D O N E.

What an emotional semester. I'm ready for it to all be over.

On a happier note, I finished shopping for T's parents today. I also *almost* finished shopping for T ... it's so much easier shopping for people that aren't attached to you at the hip. Yes, you can take that to mean that I haven't shopped for the kids yet. I know, I suck. Honestly, I was out today, all ready to do some shopping since both the boy and the girl went to their father's house this morning. I barely got to Target and started shopping when I got a call that the girl was on her way back to town to come home. All I had time to do was finish up for T's parents and check out before she was there. I feel bad because I was aggravated and I think I made the girl feel really bad, even though I reassured her over and over that it wasn't her fault.

We went to Old Navy afterwards and did some clearance rack shopping (scored a black velour set for me and a couple of shirts for her), then we stopped by Starbucks for a venti Caffe Americano for me (read: pure caffeine with a squirt of hot water) and a venti Hot Chocolate for the girl (read: high test blend of chocolate and sugar that meant I was peeling her off the ceiling for the rest of the afternoon). I had planned on going into Starbucks and staking out a table so I could work on my papers with a caffeine IV until they dropped the girl off, but you know what they say about the best laid plans and all. Yeah, they get fracked by vindictive ex's.

We swung by the Dollar Store afterwards to pick up some paper she needed for school and some candy (which, of course, we were going to wash down with our caffeinated beverages ... what? is that bad?) Then it was back toward the house with a quick swing through Sonic for some chicken salads.

By the time we got home, it was 4 and, umm, yeah, I had wasted the entire day. So here I sit, plugging away, listening to Christmas music non-stop (hey, whatever works) and creating web pages, just hoping to get done. *ack*

November 23, 2005

A good sign

I have today off. It's been forever since I took the day before Thanksgiving off. Actually it's been since I was unemployed since I did this. I was very lucky to be able to take today off. Why did I take today off? Traveling? Cooking? No. Homework. I've got projects to finish and no time to do them. I was all set when I learned I could take the day off to do nothing but hunker down and knock out the rest of my class.

Then Friday I heard it. A LOUD thumping under my car. It sounded to me like the muffler was falling off. It only happened when it was very cold out, though, so I thought maybe something was loose, something that, at normal temperatures, would fit tight but in the cold would shrink a bit and cause air to get out. It was too late Friday afternoon to make it across town so I took it Saturday to my Toyota Dealer ... Greenville Toyota, to be exact, whose praises I will be singing later. After putting it up on the lift, the mechanic motioned for me to come see what he saw.

There it was, an inch long rip in the side of my exhaust, and the dangling piece that was once attached to it. Not sure how that happened. All we can figure is that I hit something and I'm thinking it was a piece of tire that bounced up on one of our late night highway drives. Luckily, the car is under warranty and here I sit, on my morning off, waiting for the exhaust on my pretty baby to be replaced.

Which brings me to the singing praises part. Driving across town this morning, I said to my daughter "You know, it would be good customer service if they offered wireless internet access there. In a restaurant it's nice but in a place that you have to sit and wait?? How much happier their customers would be if they could make good use of their time."

And lo and behold, they have it. *angels singing*

And what am I doing with my time? Procrastinating Blogging.

If you build it, they will come. Whether they work or not is another thing.

October 16, 2005

Hand over hand

Made a few steps this week. Looks like I'm coming back into the light.

Went back to karate Wednesday night. We have a new person in the beginner class. I'm uncomfortable with her in the room. I don't know what it is but something about her energy is wrong. Just can't put my finger on it. She's not respectful, is as close as I can come. Anyway, class was good. The first hour was basics because of the new girl. The next two hours was kicks, katas and sparring. Yes, I sparred. I have so much to learn but I think I can learn and that's what's important. I got a few good shots in ... even though they were giving me openings big enough to drive a truck through.

Got back to my school work today. Losing my DSL and my computer for a bit really threw me off. My kinetic energy took a beating and, I'll tell you, it's hard to build up any steam from a standstill. I knocked out a unit tonight and resubmitted a few assignments that weren't up to my standards, with only a few sidetracking computer problems. While I was putting together a webpage for an assignment, I realized that I lost all my fonts so I went font hunting, never a quick proposition for a font-a-holic. Then I realized that I had no way to FTP the page but, luckily, my favorite monkey had it tucked away for me. Once I got that installed, though, I realized I didn't have my FTP specifics for the ECU server ... by this time, it was closer to midnight so I decided I was pretty much done once I finished building the page. I'll get there.

Had our first 2 days of Intel Training for the Tech Ventures program. It was excellent, very productive. I like the other people in the program. One guy is from Worcester, MA (!!) so we talked about different places in Boston that we used to hang around when we were younger. Some people aren't taking it as seriously as I am (but really, who does take things as seriously as I do??) but I get the feeling they will get their come-uppance. Got some exciting news but I'm going to hold it close until I have confirmation. I've probably already jinxed it *throws salt over shoulder and knocks on wood*

I realized this week that an argument can be just that and it can be resolved, that everything is not always my fault and it's ok if I actually speak up when I'm upset about something. It was scary ... for someone that tries to avoid conflict as much as I do, this was paralysing ... as far as arguments go, this was rational and quiet, now that I think about it. It's ok. As a matter of fact, we're better for it.

Was able to fight through a panic attack this week. I felt the fluttering, aching in my arms, pain in my chest and back, white heat in my skull, leaden weight of my ribs squeezing ... and I came through the other side fairly quickly. I've been peckish and snippy since but that's to be expected. Just a little panic-lag. I just cover it up and smile and no one knows the difference. Right??

Went shopping today. Yeah, I know, I HATE to shop ... and today didn't help change my mind. From the BestBuy register that mysteriously shorted out when I was paying to the gaggle of children crawling underneath the dressing room stalls as I was trying on clothes (Lord help me, I almost kicked one) ... from getting a call while I was in the dressing room to tell me that my daughter was being dropped off in front of the store while I stood in my underwear, fighting the urge to play Kick the Urchin to the register at Lowe's Foods breaking down as I was paying ... from the guilt inducing call from my mother as I stood in the frozen food aisle, apparently selfishly thinking of my self and my family when I should have been thinking about her ... it was her birthday today and she made plans to go on a trip with her friends so we planned to go see her tomorrow. The call was to tell me that she didn't go and that she didn't get any sleep the night before and now she was all alone, doing nothing on her birthday and woe is me. And she was all alone on her birthday. Now she knows how it feels.

Yeah ... shopping today was not exactly a pleasant experience. I left the house at noon, several hours after I wanted to (thanks in no small part to the x), and got the dressing room call at 1. Apparently, I'm the 167 hrs/wk. parent and he's the 1 hr./wk. parent. Oh, I don't even want to go there. I was so furious and just thinking now makes my blood start to boil.

A busy week. I feel as though I'm turning a corner, though. I'm praying for patience as this next week approaches. Yes, I, the heathen, am praying. And it's ok. He listens to heathens, too, whether we believe it or not. I'm willing to take that chance.

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