Friday 5 for August 31, 2012 – Uncreative

  1. What was in yesterday’s mail?
    I have done quite a bit to opt out of credit card advertisements, so even my junk mail is minimal. I can’t remember specifically what was in yesterday’s mail, but I can say that there was probably and alumnae newsletter from both high school and undergrad, and probably a purchase from either eBay or Amazon, where I tend to do most of my shopping anymore – so many deals!
  2. What are the most fun and least fun items on your to-do list for the weekend?
    Actually, I’ve started using my whiteboard in my office as my Super Mad Scientist board, then taking photos of it with my iPad so I can carry it with me. Here’s what I needed to accomplish for the weekend:

    I hate making phone calls, and I’ve been putting those off for ages, so that’s the least fun. The post office was tedious, but I was getting money back, so that was probably the most fun.
  3. What are you running out of?
    I just stocked up on the sulfur soap I’m using for my skin (6 bars!), and I bought a ton of foundation with my last inventory order, so I’m good on both of those. I am actually running low on my shampoo and conditioner, so I’ll need to stock up on that, too.
  4. What gives you peace?
    Honestly, reading fiction gives me peace. It gives me a chance to turn off the part of my brain that is so twitchy to my reality and turn on the part of my brain to enjoy theoretical or alternate reality. I crave books that I can escape into like that.
  5. What are the best and worst things about YouTube?
    I’m really into the Nerdist Channel on YouTube right now, so having a specific channel (like in TV) that I can go to and find content that is in my interests and plays whenever I want or need it to is awesome.
    I also really like that there is a medium available for people to be creative and have a place to put it out there for “critique” as it were that wasn’t available when I was in my super-productive creative age.
    So, but the other side of that coin, one of the major things I don’t like about YouTube is the sheer plethora of abject crap that is stored forever within their servers. But, that said, you can’t eliminate the bad without negatively affecting the good, so I’m okay with taking YouTube as it is.


In Which the Universe is Clearly Looking Out for Me

So, my school tenure is drawing to a close, and this semester is the last one I have before I can start adding alphabet soup to the end of my name. I will not wax poetic about it now, I will save that for the end of the semester.

What I will tell is about how this semester almost ended up being the one that killed me, though.

The reality is that sorting out whether or not my Business Law class counted or not pretty much destroyed my weekend. There were tears, folks. The ugly kind that result in snot bubbles in noses.

In short, when I was given the list of classes that CSU would accept and count towards my degree, the (utterly useless) BLW class that I took as an undergrad was not included on that list. So, in the true spirit of really enjoying and wanting to learn the material, I took it again at the graduate level.

In a moment of panic, not remembering whether or not it had been counted (it had been about a year since I looked at the list of required courses to graduate), I started down the rabbit hole that became “usually students don’t take BLW as one of their electives,” which then led to the utterly ineffective meeting with the business graduate advisor who said, “No, you can’t take this course twice if you had it in undergrad, but talk to the head of the Accounting department, who is in charge of the Business Law curriculum” which led to the most unprofessional conversation I’ve had with a faculty member in my entire educational career.

I don’t know what I found more insulting: that the head of the Accounting department trashed my graduate program over the Accounting program no less than three times in the course of the conversation, that he let me stand in the doorway a good five minutes before addressing me so he could look on his computer, that he was utterly unhelpful, or that he insulted my memory because I couldn’t remember a class I took 6 years ago as an undergrad, or that I couldn’t remember the name of the Accounting 601 professor I had three years ago (trust me, that class was wholly unmemorable).

I uncharacteristically burst into tears as soon as I left his office.

So, I left that meeting with no resolution, but the name and an introductory email to the Academic Dean in the hopes that I could maybe get it resolved before the 31st (the last day to drop an extra class without having to pay a portion of the fee for the class).

Through the whole weekend, I was seeing twelve weeks of class for four nights a week, which really was the lesser of all scheduling evils. It would take a lot of discipline on my part to keep it together and be able to have a semblance of a life, but ultimately, I was going to make the best of it, and maybe learn a few lessons.

I almost didn’t call the Dean today, thinking there was more than likely no hope to have BLW count. But I knew that if I didn’t, I would always wonder.

So I sucked it up and called him, thinking I’d have to make a physical appointment for tomorrow. But, I actually got him on the phone, and I explained that the head of the Accounting department had emailed him on Friday about my situation, and would there be any way to get the class to count. I was surprised at how kind the Dean was, especially after dealing with that codger in Accounting.

After saying again that yes, I had already taken the class in undergrad, but didn’t realize that even though it wasn’t on my course sheet, it was apparently being counted, he said that he would get back to me.

I only had to wait 20 minutes. He said it would count, just make sure I had the 9 elective hours total to graduate.

I thanked him profusely, hung up the phone, and almost started crying again. I dropped the second class I had picked up.

I’m almost done, folks. I have one class I’m taking two nights a week from 8:00 – 9:15. It gives me time to work out after work if I want to, to have dinner at home rather than eating out. No fighting traffic to get downtown after work. I can go out to dinner with friends who work downtown before I go to class.

I’m a semester away from having every weeknight free again. One semester away from being able to read something that’s not a textbook on any given evening. One semester away from not having to write a paper, or work on a group project, or study for a test for a long, long time if I so choose.

Feels good, man.

So, Yeah, This is August

So, the second half of the summer was not as exciting as the first, as far as events are concerned, but this happened:

At the beginning of August, Charlie took a nasty spill off of his bike and suffered a mild concussion, some lacerations, and maybe a bruised rib.  He didn’t need stitches, and it wasn’t a major concussion, thank Bob, but his helmet is annihilated, and proof that helmets are a good idea.

They let him leave the hospital in the gown, because the shirt he wore in there was covered in blood. I wanted to take him just like that to the mall to freak people out, but the party pooper said no….

So, I only got out on the bike once this year, but at least I got out. Next summer, I won’t be taking two summer classes, so I’ll have more time.

Earlier this month, the MomZ and the DadZ took the family (including Charlie) on Family Vacation to Western PA to go whitewater rafting on the Youghiogheny river in OhiopyleNational Park. Charlie had not been rafting before, so he had a great time. He and the MomZ want to do the Upper Yogh, which is a Class V. I, on the other hand, do not care for being wet or cold, so I think I’ll just dip my toes in next year.

Not only did I make Charlie prom pose with me, we made the MomZ and the DadZ prom pose, too.  I think I’ve decided that I am going to ruin every photo opportunity with Charlie and I by prom posing in it.

…And I would show you pictures, had the MomZ sent them to any of us. I went digging through her camera and her computer, and there nowhere to be found…as far as I know, they’re in the internet ether. Maybe someday I’ll show you….

Here’s what I will show you, though. A picture of me at Mattress Factory, a gallery of installations. I liked it: I think that it’s awesome that there are two entire buildings devoted to delightfully weird installation pieces. (And that, my friends, is bona fide art criticism: I was an art student!)

You will note that Charlie is specifically absent from this picture. That is because had he been in the picture, one of us would have been trying to put the other into a submission hold because only one of us knows how to drive stick shift and said person had to do so in stop-and-go I-376 traffic across a city which’s downtown highway planning was clearly mocked up by the city planner’s toddler in preschool art class. And said person tends to drive angry in Pittsburgh traffic, so, there would be no “loving couple” pictures that day.

The bag is the Ninja Octopus bag by retropopnamu on Etsy.

Also, since Charlie, Zero and I road-tripped to family vacation together, I did get this one picture of us in the hotel parking lot while eating roadside kettle corn and waiting for the MomZ and the DadZ to get to the hotel.

I clearly like the pink plaid button-down. That thing is comfy. Not incredibly flattering in photos, but comfy.

On Entitled Cats…

I have managed to surround myself with people who are just as silly as me. I consider myself extremely lucky.

Without further ado, I present a legitimate conversation K and I had last night.

K: I sleep in a king-sized bed and I still have no room! This cat!
Me: Give her a firm shove.
K: You never wake a sleeping cat!
Me: I woke a high, sleeping cat not 30 minutes ago.
K: You bitch!!
Me: That was pretty much the reaction I got, yes.
K: I’m calling the APL.
Me: From someone who starves their cat? They’d hardly believe you.
K: It’s true. Bear probably called them twice today.
Me: You let her use the phone? You’re raising her to be entitled.
K: Only in emergencies.

For the record, Bear is a notorious liar about the status of the fullness of her belly. When I was staying with K while she was recovering from minor surgery, Bear conned us into giving her two breakfasts….

Where the Wild Foods Are

Last night, Charlie took me for a turn about his parents’ garden, showing me the beans, and the tomatoes, and the broccoli and the onions. There’s been a small first harvest of green beans, and the tomatoes are coming in, so there will be plenty in the next few weeks.

As we were observing the way things grow, Uncle Rich, my in-laws’ neighbor, waved Charlie and I over and asked if Charlie wanted fruit on his cereal in the morning. He hailed us to get some containers and pick blackberries off if his bushes.

Uncle Rich’s garden is more of a wild delightful snarl of food-bearing plants, rather than the tidy rows that you would see in a Martha Stewart magazine, and I think that for Uncle Rich and Aunt Sue, it’s perfect. To access the berry bushes, Charlie and I had to duck under strings tied up high to keep the deer from jumping in, and push aside heavy vines of Noble Giant spinach that blocked the way.

In the next phase of my life, when I am finished with my MBA, and Charlie and I have our own bit of land carved out, I can’t wait to grow my own eggplant, Noble Giant spinach, heirloom tomatoes, and let the back part of the garden give up to the wild berry bushes. But for now, there’s Uncle Rich’s garden, and a bucket full of bursting ripe blackberries to keep me sated.

Pickin' Berries