Thursday, April 30, 2009

You Never Know

One of things I hear many people say in school is this, "When will I ever use this skill in my real life?" As in why do I have to take this class that seems to be a waste of time and just another hoop to jump through. While I can relate, to some degree there are things you learn in life that you just never know when you will use them.

I can't remember her name. I can tell you she was lean. She wore old fashioned A lined, past the knee length skirts and feminine blouses. I seem to recall long hair, worn up in bun sometimes. She wasn't the nicest teacher, but not the worst I had either. I suppose I could un-earth my old Jr. High School yearbook and try to find her. But here's the thing, I use those 7th grade typing skills she drilled into us, everyday of my life. And, I'm thankful to have them.

First thing this morning, I sat down to check my e mails, catch up on Facebook, look up a class I need to take for work. I thought of this woman, who so long ago in a chilly, high ceiling room, full of wiggly 12 and 13 year olds taught me where to place my fingers on a keyboard (typewriter then!) and let them fly. Now, while I'm no typing ace, I still can pull down 55 to 60 wpm (words per minute) when tested. Not too bad for a skill I was taught a long time ago. More than 30 years to be almost exact, ha!

So, some days when I'm struggling with learning the chemical formula for cyanide or acetone I will remember her. I will be thankful I can still take in new information and commit it to memory, because truly if I can come back 30 some thirty years plus from today and recall it for a useful purpose, well kudos to Professor Steve Powell and myself as well.

You never know.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Inside Out, Upside Down, and Back Around

Have you purchased Trader Joe's cat scratcher for your kitty? They must make the best cat nip known to catdome. When I bring this home, our cats go absolutely nutters. They drool. They scratch. They chase one another off of the scratch box. Get a tad bit possessive. If by mistake I leave the plastic bag of cat nip out, open, where they can reach it - well, things happen.

Like today for instance. I arrived home, unloaded the groceries. On my last trip out to the car Jack was already in my trunk crying for the scratch box. It was lying there last to be brought inside the house.

Once inside, I opened up the box and sprinkled out some cap nip. They all came running. Jack, Tuna, and last but not least Toupee. We have three cat scratchers, but of course the new one is the most popular. He who acts the boldest wins the prize. Of course, Jack shared but she does think she is entitled to everything first and most often.

About a half an hour later, I was sitting in the living room eating lunch and I could hear strange rustling. I got up to investigate. JackJack is lying sideways absolutely covered in cat nip. She pulled the plastic bag of cat nip off of the breakfast bar and had now spread it all over the floor. She was in heaven. Bits of cat nip in the empty Trader bags. Bits of cat nip all over a 3 foot radius from where it came down. She is rolling in it, playing in it, and basically just loving life in it.

Reminiscent of when she knocked over the sugar canister and played in a half pound of sugar all day. At least this will be easy to vacuum right up. No sticky flooring and three very happy cats.

Smog Check

Sometimes, it's the little things in life that make you happy. I had to get my car smogged so I could register it this week.
In California, it was truly a royal pain in the ass. Really. Any mechanic could charge whatever price he deemed appropriate, and then pretty much tell you your car needed xyz work done before you would pass the smog test. I think last time I went through this process it cost me $48 bucks, a significant amount of time, and an argument about what work did or didn't need to be done. The work was to the tune of $240 some dollars. It was a pain to take care of.
In Snohomish County, Washington there are smog check stations. The cost is $15 bucks. I drove in handed Kirk my registration paper work, he hooked up my car, and 15 minutes later the test was complete. Car passed. Paper work complete. It was truly a most pleasant experience.
I mailed in my smog test and paperwork and my car is up to date. It's the little things, it is.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

That's Just Not Right

I am sitting here in the college computer lab, printing out the answer keys my professor has provided. I get up to walk over to the printer to pick up my paperwork, and low and behold - I think, "Man, I know I'm tired but now I'm seeing double." "I'm officially starting to really lose it." Why, because there are two very young boys sitting side by side at two separate computers. And for a moment I wasn't sure if I had looked wrong, or was just loosing my marbles. No, not completely. Finally it hits me, duh, they identical twins who should not be allowed to travel in a pair around old ladies who are trying to pass chemistry. It's that simple. At least I figured it out before they left the lab. I began to think it was one more link in the crazy chain I've been wearing. Man, can you say sleep? Tutor? And seven more weeks to go. Wish me luck. Wish April luck.
I've decided if I am really serious, I'd best start forgoing tv, baseball watching, and all forms of life other than homework, tutoring center, class, work, sleeping, and eating. I know it sounds rash but if I really want to pass this class, it feels like that is what it's going to take. It's the kind of behavior that got me on the dean's list before. Now, while I realize that is unlikely event this quarter - I still need to pass and pass with a B average. And side by side, identical twins just don't help.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Goodbye Ms. JuJu, Say Hello to Texas

Our beloved friend Julie is outta here. Done with the snow and a rear wheel drive truck last winter and now in the looking for work category she decided it was time to leave the Pacific NW behind her.

Who can blame her, when she loves the sun and warmer temperatures. And hates the snow, or being stuck at home for a good week last December. She figures that while she's not originally from Texas, it must be home. It's the third time she's returned to that big ol'state. Job prospects look much improved when compared to Washington and costs of living (at least for homes) are about half the price they are here.

We will miss Julie. Friday after work Porter at Scuttlebutt. Scheming up another White Trash party for the summer (she does have the very best sense of humor). Just hanging out and playing silly board games and laughing. Oh, and who can forget the Palin/Biden debate. Needless to say, one more mention of "Mavrick" by Mrs. Palin and Julie and April would have had to miss work the next day due to a well planned drinking game.

Julie is kind. She is funny. She knows how to find a good bargain and practically anything on the web. She is up on her politics, but not a jerk when discussing it. She can cook up some mean southern food. She has a soft spot for cats (she is mom to Jack Jack's sister, Lilly) and took in Paris who otherwise was going to end up in a shelter. She's my girl's best friend, and for that I'm thankful. She can spin a tale or a job description on a resume like the best wizard I know. She's amazingly creative. A computer addict. She gardens. She is well read and likes the same off the mainstream films as I. She is even a licensed ordained minster, Rev. JuJu Glen we call her. She is to be the officiate at our "commitment" ceremony. She's vowed to us she will be back to perform it!

Did I mention, we will miss her greatly? We will and we wish her the very best of luck and fortune. Salado is lucky to have her.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Little Bit Of This and That, But Nothing Major

It's hard for me to focus. It's even more difficult when I am trying to learn all these new concepts, especially since they all revolve around chemistry. I find myself drained. Tired. In Need of Some Major Downtime, that I frankly do not have time to take. I doubt my ability to complete this course with a B (needed to get me into the nursing program). I doubt my strength to be able to carry on for however much longer it will take me to complete this rigorous program. Truly, I doubt.

But, I also know I am one of strongest, most resilient people I know. I have overcome many things that I thought would cause me to collapse, and did not. People who nearly did me in, and I was able to walk away from them (not just ex's) before I caved. I know I am smarter than I ever dreamed possible - or was lead to believe growing up. I know that I have to find a new way to earn a living, and frankly nursing seems like a similar path as massage. People, kindness, pain, healing all interwoven. I hope I am right. I hope the struggle of no free time, living like a starving student, and feeling like I am neglecting the one I love are worth it.

Often, I have dreamt about having a studio filled with light. Windows all around, green and water somewhere in the view. Cats, dogs, and birds wander in freely while I work. One side holds my computer and desk...it's where I write. The other side has easels, full of paintings. Some finished, some in progress, and some only light pencil outlines but all painted by me. The room is like me. It's mine. It's messy, but I know exactly where everything is (most of the time)! It's loaded with supplies. It's amass with happiness. It's my creative side run amok, it's where I get to just be.

So, can you see me working 3 days a week supporting myself and our family and using the other 3 days to let my inspiration loose? I can. I hope somehow the vision I have for tomorrow is able to come to fruition. Just for all those naysayers, and me and my doubts as well.

She's Got Legs

Lucky Girl! The latest of JayCee Lee.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

United States of Tara...or the 4 different selves we all need now and again.

Have you watched this new show? First episode I wasn't so sure, by the second one I was hooked. I don't know what it says about me, but I really like this program. Thanks Showtime!

First there is Tara. 30 something, probably almost 40. Two teens. Daughter is oldest, doing typical rebellion stuff. Son, is younger, gay and in high school. Both have some redeeming value despite the fact they inhabit teenage bodies. Tara lives in a typical suburban neighborhood. Track home. Drives a cute kiwi green VW Bug. Character is blessed with amazing artistic talent. Not to mention she is married to Max, John Corbett in real life. Hunka-hunka!!

Her life appears to be representative of most of the middle class women I know except for one thing. When stressed, anxious, uncomfortable, etc...she slips into various personalities. Each of whom has definite personality and character attributes. Theme of show as of late is trying to uncover the reason this disorder was triggered in the first place. Trying to recall the horrific event that brought about this way of coping. So far, one college rape - by two men, does not win the prize. Turns out she was "T" at the time of said incident.

But here is my point-don't we all call on certain characteristics in awkward times to get by? Really, don't you have that voice you pull out of nowhere that makes a lasting impression? Indeed said receiver has no doubt you are NOT MESSING AROUND about this point. Or you put on your "super wife" cape and yes, clean the house, do the shopping, cook the meal, have the entire family of 23 over for Easter dinner, and look amazing while doing it? I mean, in a way I think we are all Tara's, we just manage to incorporate our "selves" a little more smoothly. God knows it would be impossible to wear the "super wife" cape everyday, but now and again it is possible.

A quick review of Tara's alters:
Alice: wow, she is the 50's mom on steroids. Perfect hair, ironed apron and dress, panty hose, heels, and can cook and clean like a robot. Even her speech is perfect. Tone and all. She's even learning french. Cannot relate to teenage daughter, but gets along well with son. Wants Tara to get pregnant.

Buck: Is a man who looks like the worst lesbian, trucker, red neck you can imagine. Smokes, drinks, scratches, likes to watch porn and wrestling. Effectively kicked the ass of creepy boyfriend who once belonged to teen age daughter. It was amazing. What every mom dreams of being able to do, but would never!

"T": Probably the toughest character for me to like. She's a teenager with the whale tale, stupid hair and attitude to go with it. Obnoxious, and wayyyyyyyyy overtly sexual. She's the one who would get a tattoo, seduce son's boyfriend, and make out with strangers when alter is present. One of the ladies who is bound to get that lovely "rode hard and put away wet"look somewhere down the line - if this is who Tara really was.

And lastly, the newest alter to appear:

Gimmie. Gimmie appears to be that pure primal that lies somewhere in all of us. Words fail this character. Grunts, moans, and general animalistic sounds emit from Gimmie. Picture Toni Collette hunkered down, knees bent, hair in flight covered by very minimal fabric. First time view of Gimmie was with a plastic poncho and second time covered in a sheet (Tara tried to tell her wacky sister she didn't do well with massage). Gimmie is the one who would knock down an attacker and do him more harm than he could ever dream of doing to us. The one who relies on the base instincts of who we are to make a point. Gimmie is the one who pissed all over her idiot father as he slept on her sofa sleeper. After all , he wanted her kids to move in with him and his wife.
What secret parts of yourself do you employ to get through? Have there been good or bad consequences of using these non-conformist parts of your personality? Do you even think it's possible to relate to this character on United States of Tara? Or, is it just me? Again!
Stories of my own "unusual" selves to come...but no surprises here. So far, I am still just the one and only me.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Aunties Are Pleased To Announce

The arrival of baby girl Jaycee Lee Stephens. She arrived Wednesday, April 7th. Weighing in at 6.8 pounds. Just a little bit, and oh so cute. Congrats to my brother Jeff and his wife, Cristlyn.

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Do You Have Them?

Those smarts that came with you when you were born. You could look at a math problem and instantly your brain went, "Oh yeah, I get it, easy peasy." Did the problem in two snaps and moved on to the next one? Okay, well if you did, lucky you. I won't hate you, but I might envy you and hope you'll be a generous lab partner.

I don't have that kind of brain. Damn. I have the brain that can remember what you wore to a wedding five years ago. Who your date was, what they did for a living, and most likely what we were served to eat at said function.

I can remember how to find my way somewhere, even if I've only ever been there once before - 90% of the time. Not only that but I can usually figure out a better way or another route to get there easier the next time. I have an inner compass that has seldom failed me. In fact probably only twice in the last 20 years or more.

I can remember people's names. People I met once, at summer camp in Santa Barbara 31 years ago a few times. Someone I worked with 23 years ago at FHP. Not only remember their name, but recognize them thousands of miles away from home.
I'm usually know to be a fantastic gift giver because I remember what you said you liked or wanted months prior. It goes into some magical file I have in my head. It is instantly triggered when said gift is magically sitting there in front of me while shopping. I remember that kind of stuff.
Lyrics to songs. Those I can recall so well I usually have a bounty of them running though my brain. I am likely to pop off with said lyrics when you say something that triggers them in my mind. I'm sure it gets annoying. April swears it's funny, thank god.

But, the brain I don't have is the instant math brain. It takes tons of reading, practicing, and effort for me to "get it." I have to do oodles of homework, at a pace close to a snails just to do it right and understand it. I have to do even more in order to pass the exams beset in front of me. It takes much dedication and a diligent attitude.

So, forgive me if I seem a bit flaky my 17 year old lab partner who informed me she is, "Bored during the lectures." She didn't stay to do the work, just filled in the data and was ready to roll. She presumed I didn't read the material. I did, but unlike her brain mine is still trying to grasp the idea of cm to mL. Centimeters to milliliters, any conversion factors as a matter of fact. Especially metric to English and vice versa. Dimensional Analysis. Density findings. Oh lord, isn't there a chip out there I can hack into and just hook up to my brain. It's good for so much useless recall, I'd love to have instant understanding of these concepts - if only for twelve more quarters. Is that too much to ask?

The Two "P" Words of the Day

It started at school this morning. Walking into class, there she was walking briskly in front of me. Obviously, almost late for 8am in class. What did I see? Not the cute jeans, nicely cut velvet burgundy jacket, or cute boots but this...ahhhhhhh, the dreaded pantie lines. Not just bitty ones, but HUGE ones. Like maybe there was a little spandex woven throughout her jeans and all of those fibers found their way to the edge of her pantie line. Damn, even a skinny girl can't get no love. So, another reason I love my boy shorts and those of you who can manage the thong, well more power to ya.

As for the other "P," can you guess? Those of you who know me, and have hung out we with me have heard me belabor the what seems have to become a common practice in our culture. Okay, so if you've done this, all I ask is that you forgive me now...but why do people think it's okay to wear their PJ's in public????? Why I ask, WHY???? Sweats are bad enough, but pajamas? Can't you just be like the rest of us and throw on a comfy t-shirt and jeans??? Oh, did I mention the public wearing of slippers as well. Honestly, these have become two of my biggest pet peeves. I'm sorry it's just more than casual - it screams, "I just don't care!" Ick, ick, ick.
Now, before you think I'm a complete snob know that I just AM NOT. I think of it like this; you know how you feel when you schlep around all day with no makeup on, hair in a pony, and over sized sweat shirt. Okay hold that feeling in your mind.

Now think of how you feel (about yourself) when you do take the time to do your face, put on some decent clothes (even if they are casual), and do your hair. At least wash it and dry it. You feel better, no? You get treated better for sure. People do react to us based on our appearance. They do, they do, they do. And I firmly believe we act differently when we take care of ourselves.
So, maybe it will remain a mystery but I just don't understand the pajama in public thing (of course unless your a kid!). And frankly, I don't think there will ever be a good enough excuse or reason for me to do so.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What the heck???

I wish we had a nanny cam. Or maybe several placed in very specific places in my home. I arrived home from work yesterday to find two very guilty looking furry children sitting on the stairs.

If you are a mom, you know the look. The eyes roll a bit back to one side, and small but slight smile, and a little too much love for you when you walk in the room. And yes, damn straight I do believe my furry children have mastered the same "act" as your unfurry children. And yes, I do give attribute some human attributes to them. I wondered exactly what was up with them.

Here's why. The bird was silent when I walked in the door. This is not normal. I knew something was up, and immediately looked at Jack and Toupe and asked, "Where is Pidge?" As if they'd answer.

I immediately looked down to the carpet and flooring. No bird feather parade in sight, thank goodness. Did they just rip him beak to talons and eat the entirety of him? I'm thinking to myself, "Crap, Jack finally got him."

All of a sudden I can hear this far off squawk. It's the same one I usually hear when I walk in from the garage. Only it's coming from upstairs.

I proceed to walk upstairs, only I can't seem to find him. I can hear him. Pidge is all the way in the corner of our room, in April's open closet. He's sitting on the pillow that the cats sleep upon. He hears me, then sees me and begins squawking in earnest. He happily steps up on my hand and sits on my shoulder.

Oh the story he told me. God, I wish I spoke bird because I can only imagine what he so passionately told me. He was obviously scared and excited. It was quite a story.

The bird was so quiet the rest of the evening and happy to be on his cage.

Whatever happened I wish the cats would do it again, just to tucker the little bugger out.

It's Official

After living in the Pacific Northwest since Novemeber 0f 2006 I no longer have legs. They now resemble two glow sticks.

I think this means I am now an official Northwesterner. Pics to come...and you'll agree.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Coming Out, Again and Again and Again

One of the hardest things about changing your life mid way through is the challenge you face when catching up all of people who have been it for a long time.

So, before you question me about the mid way through...yes, I'm 47...if this is the half way point, I am quite fine with that. That would put me at about 94 when I leave the face of this planet and that is just dandy with me. Now that I've set that point straight, (pun intended) let me explain myself.

It has not been difficult to tell people about April and I. Everyone who knows me and loves me is happy that I am happy. And truly, happy on most days is an understatement. Our relationship is the bomb. Her love for me has moved me in ways I thought were impossible. It has reached places in my heart that I thought were lost. I am one lucky woman, and say so on a regular basis. It's so awesome to be with someone who "gets you" and still likes and loves you.

So, romantic blessings aside I have found myself unsure of what to say to certain friends. Time has passed. I've moved away. We are more distant. I felt bad, but still just wasn't willing to tell them. And in case you are wondering why a good friend would feel this way, it goes something like this in my head:

"I feel so bad that we never talk, and they don't know about my blog but...I don't want to make them uncomfortable. After all she is a born again christian and pretty staunch in her beliefs. Do I risk loosing the friendship by being judged? Especially when this friend (whom is a representation of many of the situations and friends I've faced) has said derogatory things about women being gay or that they "just don't get it." That's pretty much how it goes for me.

Okay, now forgive me but while I know we are friends we all have our boundaries and limits. Truly, I never stopped wanting to disclose everything, it just seemed easier for both of us if I didn't.

Turns out I am wrong. Over the last several months I have had to re access this situation. Especially with Facebook. I'm on it, I use it. Now, while I have no problem ignoring people who I barely knew in high school it is different with friends. Especially those I have kept at a safe distance for the last several years. I'm quiet sure they wondered what is up with me, since I am not one to keep my love life under wraps. Well, it turns out not only have they wondered what is up with me, but why I've been so distant. Wondering what they did to cause this distance. Nothing, really it's just me trying to keep everyone happy and it backfired.

So, please accept this apology if you were one of the ones I've never sat down and personally told before you read this blog (mostly cousins I think). I just had my reasons and didn't want a possible lecture. And as for those you dear friends who felt like you caused my hesitation just know that I'm so glad you know and love me anyways.

I joke that I'm gay by proxy (I just happened to fall in love with April) but that's not really true. But that is another post entirely.

Lame Blogger

I read enough blogs from Nursing Students to know this; school starts and blog activity is almost nill. While I miss what they have to say and share, I completely understand. For gosh sakes, I'm only a pre-nursing student and yet I find once a quarter begins there goes almost all I hold dear.

For example: Watching the first 15 minutes of the View. Actually taking the time to sit down and have a latte versus sucking it down while on the way to work in the car. Having a clean house without dishes in the sink and shoes spattered all over the downstairs. Reading something fictional. Reading my favorite blogs. Wasting time of Facebook. Taking goofy pictures. Laying on the floor next to April, cat (or cats and bird) entwined intermittently and catching up on the day. Not feeling guilty if I watch a movie. Sleeping in. Going for a drive. Meeting friends for breakfast. Writing...it frees so much room for more thought!!!

It's those simple things I find that seem to fall off the daily map when I'm in class and determined to get great grades. But, at the same time I realize that I miss being on-line and hearing myself think aloud. (aka as writing for me). It has always been a cathartic experience for me and as of late I am lacking in the cathartic department. So, I won't make unrealistic demands of myself - but I will say I'm going to do the best I can to keep at it and blog....Chemistry 120 or no!