Friday, October 14, 2011

The Countdown Has Begun!

T-3 days and counting!

Yesterday, I was able to log into my classroom for the first time and print out the syllabus and have a look around.  I wouldn't say I'm the most tech-savvy person on the planet, but I can usually figure out what I'm doing and this on-line setup doesn't look too bad.  Over the weekend, I'll be working on the WSRO--Walden Student Readiness Orientation so when class starts Monday, I should be ready to go.

Can I make a confession?

I'm a wee bit nervous.  What on earth am I doing?!

Do I really have it in me to devote the next 96 weeks (yes, I did the math) to school plus work?  Yes, I did it before--I worked on my Associates degree while working full time in an office, but I was a good 20 years younger and I actually physically went to a school.  This is all on-line.  When I'm physically accountable to someone, I most always come through.  This is different...yes, there is accountability, but it's different and I'm not sure how it's going to go.  My optimist side, which, admittedly, is bigger than my pessimist side, says I can do it, but there's still that voice from the pessimist asking if I've really got what it takes.  I believe I do, so I guess only time will tell.

I have plenty of people cheering me family and friends and co-workers, so I guess I'm accountable to them as well.  Their encouragement will do a lot to keep me going.  I really have only two problems. One is funding.  I'm looking into scholarships, but I'm also resigning myself to the fact that I'll need to get student loans.  The entire cost of my education is estimated around $25,000 (that's the BA & the Teaching Certification).  Not exactly chump change but not as bad as the loans some people are taking out to finance their education.  I'd hate to tell you the amount my sister had to take out to get her BA & MA.

My other problem is the cat.  Meet Willow.

That's my Kaplan Scholarships book she's laying on.  She also likes to lay on my laptop and/or the exact spot I need to put my keyboard so I can type.  Right now, in fact, she's laying on my laptop so I have my wireless keyboard is in my lap so I can type this.  When I started spreading out my papers to organize my SRO syllabus and checklist, she had to sit right in the middle of them.  She's going to be a problem.  Well, we'll work it out.  It may mean doing the bulk of my homework from the dining room table, but at least it'll get done.

Okay, enough bellyaching.  I need to get to the gym, the store, have lunch, then a little SRO before going to work.  Enjoy your day!

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Hello?      Hello?     Hello?      Hello?

Is anybody there?

I'm still here, I promise!

Yeah, it has been a while since I've updated this blog.  Truth be told, I've focused so much of my attention to my other blog, A(nother) Year in Reviews and on the other things going on in my life (job, working out, writing) that this blog has kinda (okay, for sure) fallen to the wayside.  But I have plans to rectify that situation.  For starters, I'm adding something to the Things Keeping Me Busy list.  That list consists of:
  1. Job
  2. Working Out (I've lost 100 lb since May 2010!  I've got 40 or so more to go, so keep cheering for me.)
  3. The "other" blog
  4. Writing (NaNoWriMo is coming up!)
  5. "Time Wasters," namely games from Big Fish and on Facebook...Zynga, you make some great games but they sure do make time disappear!

So I'm going to work on reducing the amount of time I spend on #5 and replace it with a new #5, namely...

            Working on my Bachelor's degree.

Yep, I'm going back to college, specifically Walden University Online (since I don't live in Minneapolis, it kinda has to be online). I've finally figured out what I want to do with my life.  I've always been told I'd make a great teacher, and I enjoy English so why don't I finally get off my lazy duff and go back to school so I can become an English teacher which is something I've secretly wanted to do for, oh, maybe twenty years now? Plus, I feel I have a God-given directive to teach, an instruction I received when I was agonizing over whether or not I should teach Sunday School (let's just say God made it pretty clear that He wanted me to do it...if you ask nicely, I'll give you my testimony someday.)

HIPPA laws prevent me from giving any kind of detail about the residents at the nursing home where I work, so I really can't talk about the things that go on there except in very general detail, and what fun is that?  And though I know you'll cheer me on, how much blogging can I do regarding my work outs?  Some, but not much.  I can blog about my NaNo progress, but that's only one month out of twelve...what about the other eleven months?  And do you really want me to blog about the games I'm playing?  If you want that kind of fun, log on and start playing.

So college blogging it least, I'm going to attempt it.  Like many other adults, I'm going back to school to finish my degree and change my career path.  Let's hope you find this journey as interesting and exciting as I hope I will!  

Um...and now that I look at it, I'll work on the layout of this needs some serious help!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Writing Exercises

I met with a group of writer friends and we talked about our various works in progress and our plans for this November’s National Novel Writing Month. We also partook in a couple writing challenges, taking prompts from The Writer's Book of Matches: 1,001 Prompts to Ignite Your Fiction from The Editors of Fresh Boiled Peanuts. The first line of the following two shorts came from that book. We then read our writings out loud. What was interesting was how six people could hear the exact same line and come up with six wildly different stories. Here are the two I wrote:


“You’ll notice my wife doesn’t drink,” Calthrop said, waving a casual hand toward the woman seated in the easy chair. “Wise of her, considering her condition.”

He raised a delicate china cup to his lips, sipping at the hot brew he had liberally doctored with lemon and sugar. Four lumps I counted, and wondered how anyone could tolerate anything that sweet. My cup was empty. I wasn’t thirsty, much to my host’s dismay.

I tried not to breathe too deeply for fear of asphyxiation via lemon furniture polish. Like the room around us, Charles Calthrop was a testament to immaculate fastidiousness. I knew he was a college professor, lecturing in English literature with a specialization in Victorian era poetry. He looked like he belonged in that time. Every hair on his head was ruthlessly in place and his suit jacket revealed exactly one and a quarter inch of crisp white cuff. The crease in his slacks was razor-perfect and I could easily see my reflection in the shine of his shoes.

His wife’s expression never seemed to change. Amanda Winters-Calthrop sat in the Queen Anne chair opposite me, her legs crossed and showing only her lower legs and ankles, her hands folded delicately in her lap. Her face showed the same soft smile it had held when her husband introduced us, her eyes the same far-off, slightly unfocused look behind her tinted glasses. A serene, quiet woman, so different from so many others I’d met in the course of my career. She was obviously content to let her husband command this meeting, even thought she was the reason I was here.

“And what exactly is her condition?” I asked. “Her family is quite worried. They haven’t heard from her in some time, which is why they called me.” In spite of the fact that she was right there in the room with us, I couldn’t help referring to her as if she were absent.

“Are you sure I can’t get you something, Detective? Some water? Or a soft drink? I assume you won’t drink anyting hard while you’re on duty.”

“Water,” I said, giving in. Calthrop would not be comfortable unless I had fully accepted his hospitality. “Water will be fine.”

“Still or aerated?”

“Tap is fine.”

“Very well.” He set his cup down and crossed the room to the wet bar. I turned my attention to his wife, trying to gain her attention, but wasn’t successful. Was she drugged? Is that why she seemed…not quite there?

Calthrop returned with a glass of iced water. A wedge of lemon floated on the top and I could tell he had squeezed some of its juice into the water. I took a drink and set it down. The water tasted bitter, something the lemon juice should have countered.

“Now,” I continued. “Your wife’s family—“

“I will give them a call later this evening,” Calthrop said. “Explain the situation. They’ll understand.”

“Why don’t you tell me and I’ll tell them for you.” The scent of lemon grew stronger and I found myself almost dizzy with it. I shook my head, but that did nothing to clear it.

“I’m afraid that won’t do,” Calthrop said, but I couldn’t hear him. As I sank to the floor, I looked at Amanda. My dying eyes stared as a worm slowly slithered out of her still, soft, dead mouth.


“You want me to believe in God? Fine. I believe he’s one twisted S.O.B.”

The smiles on the faces of the eager missionary Christians on my doorstep never faltered, but their eyes gave away their sudden attack of nerves. Obviously their training had never prepared them for someone like me. I pressed on.

“He’s a loving God, yet He smites those who oppose Him. I’m supposed to love Him and be afraid of Him at the same time. And He impregnates a virgin and then lets the resulting Child die. I’m supposed to believe in someone like that?”

The face of the young man on the left—I silently dubbed him “Lefty”—cleared and he seized the opening. “He sent His Son to die for our sins—“

“Which shows He’s in need of some serious therapy and a healthy dose of medication. Sorry. I’m glad you have something to believe in, but I can’t accept someone who’s so contradictory.”

“But He can do so much for you if only you’d let yourself believe—“

“You already know what I believe,” I said, cutting “Righty” off. “Now believe this: get off my property or I’m calling the cops.”

I closed the door in their faces, ignoring the tract “Lefty” tried to push off on me. I waited a minute, then checked the peek-hole. They were gone.

“Good riddance,” I muttered and returned to my desk so I could finish my sermon for this Sunday.