Wednesday, November 30, 2016

She Used to Be Mine

"What does not kill me makes me stronger." So says Nietzsche. And Kelly Clarkson. And countless others. 

I don't know quite how I feel about that. The jury is still out.
What does not kill us makes us...something. Survivors, at least. 

Does it leave us unchanged? Certainly not. Stronger? Better? Sometimes. 
And sometimes sadder. And weaker. And emptier. 

But always different. Altered. Transformed. Never quite the same. 

All of us are changed every day by what we experience ourselves; by what we see others experience. It is impossible to get through this life without change. Without adjusting...adapting.

Sometimes change is good. It can mean growth and metamorphosis. Sometimes change is less positive: dark and confusing.
Almost never is change easy, though. 

And sometimes we long for the person we used to be. A person we remember. But is no longer who we are.

There are things about my old self that I miss. I have thought a lot about it lately. A friend sent me this song a few weeks ago and it perfectly sums up how I have been feeling.

I miss her. That girl who used to be mine. She had fortitude, and hope. Bravery, and determination. Strength. Steadiness. Tenacity. She looked forward with anticipation. Expected the future to bring good things.

She was confident. And proud. And believed in her ability to conquer the world. One day at a time. She could take a hit. And she always got back up.

She is not me. And maybe she's still in there somewhere. Maybe she's gathering strength. Maybe she's the phoenix waiting to rise from the ashes. Maybe.

Or maybe she's gone. Replaced by someone older, perhaps wiser. Or perhaps just tired and a little bit defeated. 

One thing is for sure. I do miss her. And maybe if I'm lucky, I'll get to meet her again. 

The fact that someone wrote these lyrics. And a friend who is struggling with her own difficulties thought of me when she heard me courage to keep going. To try to reclaim what I can. And to make the best of what remains.

Because I know that, even without the girl that I knew, I am still not alone.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What if...

I won't lie. I am sad. And worried. Worried that hate and divisiveness are ruining our society, our nation. I am sad that intolerance is being ignored, accepted and-worst of all-embraced.

I am sad because I feel small. And helpless against forces so much stronger, larger and more widespread than my tiny sphere of influence. The momentum alone of these powerful forces makes them feel immutable. Unstoppable. 

I am weak. I cannot fight against them alone and hope to emerge victorious. My voice is tiny. Insignificant amidst a cacophony of fear and hate. My reach is inadequate. My ideas: modest. Uncultivated.

But I cannot live in fear. I refuse to live in antipathy. And I can't help but wonder what could be possible. What if.

What if we could be as critical with our own thoughts and beliefs as we are with those of others?

What if we could admit that biases and prejudices and discrimination exist? And seek to collapse the institutions that perpetrate them. But first to examine ourselves: our own thoughts and behaviors. And to break down our own misconceptions.

What if we had the difficult conversations that need to be had? About equality. And privilege. And wealth. And opportunities. 

What if we did it without getting defensive? Without blaming. Without evading accountability. With only a desire to mend and repair.

What if instead of building walls we built bridges? Of understanding. Of acceptance. Of cooperation. Of genuine unselfish concern.

What if we truly felt responsible for taking care of the people around us? All people. 

What if we showed them respect and validation and understanding?

What if we accepted that people have not lived our lives? Had our experiences. And we seek to understand them instead of insulting them based on our own limited observations.

What if each of in capacity and authority...irrelevant in the general scheme of things...what if we sought to make the world a better place? 

Not the whole world. It's too overwhelming to think of. 
Too tremendous a task to fathom.

No. Not the whole world. Just ours. The tiny one we inhabit. The few people we come in contact with. The limited circle we interact with.

What if we make the changes in ourselves that we want to see around us?

What if we loved? What if we cared?

Can we change the world? I don't know.

But what if we can.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Daughter Dearest

21 years ago today, everything changed for me. A beautiful, enchanting creature came into my life and I suddenly became responsible for someone other than myself.

I was only 21 at the time. I had no idea what I was doing. I still don't. 

I do know that there has been nothing more difficult, magnificent, complex, agonizing, rewarding, daunting or awe-inspiring than these years.

I know that I became the person I am through trying to navigate the often tumultuous, sometimes placid, always challenging waters of parenthood.

Half a lifetime ago, I became a person who learned to:

* Be a safe place at a time when I never felt more vulnerable

* Hold back my own choked sobs while desperately trying to soothe another  

* Put the needs of someone else so far ahead, that hers became mine

* Feign knowledge. And patience. And strength.

* Calm fears with a serenity I seldom felt

* Feel every heartache, every victory, every anguish of someone else more keenly than I felt my own

* Long for the right words to say, but make due with all the wrong ones

* Know that giving up was never an option, even when it's all I wanted to do

And because of it all my life is richer. Fuller. More miraculous and amazing than I ever imagined was possible.

I got someone who loves me for my insufficiencies, my weaknesses, my failings. Who believes in me as much as I believe in her.

Happy birthday, Fantasia. Happy birthday to the girl who changed my world. 

No gift I could offer could compare to what you have given to me. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Those Who Love

Life is fleeting. Death, a certainty. Each of us is but a single one of hundreds of billions who have lived, are living, or will someday live on Earth. 

Knowing this, then, is there anything we can really do to leave the world a better place? 

To make it greater than it would have been without us? 

To truly have an influence that makes a difference? 

I believe we can. And I think we do it through the way we love. Through a commitment to care. To nurture. To comfort. To provide rescue, relief and reprieve. To serve without judging. To give freely and generously with no expectation of return. 

This alone, like the flapping of a butterfly's wings or a stone dropped in a pond, creates the breath of a breeze; ripples that reverberate beyond what we can measure. 

This is how the world is changed.

My oldest daughter lost her beautiful Gramma 'Rina last month. It was too soon. She was far too young. Her time on Earth cut tragically short. There was surely more she had to give. To do. To be. People left to touch. Journeys left to travel.

But while she lived, she loved with her whole heart. With a ferocity far greater than her tiny stature. With a zeal and a power that almost overwhelmed. She loved and she gave. She brought laughter and light to all who knew her. 

She inspired. She elevated. She transformed.

She left behind family and friends who are shocked and shaken, despaired and anguished. Sisters, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and more who will feel the void she left each and every day. 

My daughter is one of those people. I am one of those people.

But I will take comfort in the fact that Marina made a difference. In my life and in the lives of countless others.

She lived. She loved. And the world was changed.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

That Excited/Scared Feeling

That glimmer up ahead? It's the light. The kind of light they all talk about. No, not the go-into-the-light-Carol-Anne creepy kind. The good kind. The kind that makes you think that maybe you ARE actually in a tunnel, albeit a long one, and it's not a cave after all. That kind of light. 

The kind that, even though it is just a glimmer, feels brighter and sweeter and warmer than you ever thought possible. 

The kind that appears after the storm of life-changing fears. And challenges. And monumental failures. And successes that still felt like failures. And learning things about yourself that you would have been perfectly content to never know. 
Some things that amazed you. And some that were so ugly they made you shudder. 

The kind that twinkles after dark, sleepless nights and anxiety ridden days. After knowing you cannot possibly get through another year of making dinner and mortgage payments out of nothing at all.

After you forever bid a heartbreaking farewell to the dream of one day being a stay-at-home part-time author/part-time Pilates instructor/cookie baking/immaculate-house-having wonder woman. And delve into the nightmare where the burden of supporting your children financially and helping them with homework and getting them where they need to go and still having the energy to be their mommy becomes just a little too onerous to carry. 

The kind of light that sparkles after you spent so much time second, third, and fifteenth-guessing yourself. And thinking maybe you should have just sucked it up and taken 18 credits this summer and graduated in August. Even while acknowledging that it probably would have {literally} killed you dead. And may not have even made a difference.

The kind that beams brilliantly when you land the perfect job. After a two and a half month long application process. Which gave you plenty of time to go from confidence to humility to certainty to self-doubt to worry to complacency a million times over. After two nerve-wracking interviews almost a month apart. {The second one, in front of a panel, being the one where you may or may not have compared yourself to the Karate Kid.}

That kind of light. 

Where your future, which is unquestionably still fuzzy, becomes just a little less blurry. A little more defined. 

And for a minute you get to take a deep breath. Knowing that while you're not quite sure working full-time in the summer while your children run lord-of-the-flies-style wild at home is going to be at least know that you won't run out of milk, and toilet paper, and laundry detergent. 

Knowing that this job, teaching a student success course, will be challenging and different. But also awesome and rewarding. And that because of the things {both marvelous and unattractive} that you have learned about yourself in your life thus far, you know that you can pull it off. And maybe even be great.

Which leaves you feeling overwhelmed with gratitude and super enthusiastic and maybe a tiny bit anxious. 

Which was articulated brilliantly by Oscar Choi (played by the always fabulous Own Wilson) in the immortal film Armageddon:

  I got that "excited/scared" feeling. Like 98% excited, 2% scared.
 Or maybe it's more - It could be two - it could be 98% scared, 2% excited but that's what makes it so intense, it's so - confused. I can't really figure it out. 

I can't quite figure it out either. But whichever it is...3, 2, 1...liftoff.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Growing Pains

I'm not a big fan of the memes. (And still not 100% sure how to pronounce it...mee-mees? mems? may-mays?) They are too-oft repeated, misspell words, reek of supposed-to-be-inspiring cheesiness or just aren't as funny as they think they are. 

Sometimes all of the above. 

But every now and then, I come across one that resonates. And has the power to stop me in my tracks. (And unless your name is both Ben AND Jerry, that takes some doing. Let me tell you.) 

Like this one:

This one made me stop my scrolling. Past recipes I will never attempt. Past workout clips I couldn't attempt if I wanted to. Past "please copy and paste this status"es I will never understand. Past politics I don't want to see. Past pictures of friends I do want to see. Past sad things. Past funny things. Past all of it. Simply stop. And reflect.

Because this is me. This is the me of the last two years. 


Under monumental stress. Under feelings of failure. Under mountains of sadness and hopelessness I have no right to feel. Under unshed tears. Under the crushing weight of very real fear. Under an unwillingness to relinquish control over circumstances I have absolutely no control over. 


And it does indeed feel dark. And lonely. And, admittedly, a little silly. And self-indulgent. Because I know that I am blessed. With so, SO very much. I know. But knowing and feeling are so different. And I can't get my heart to line up with my head. 

And I've been trying. I really have. Trying to find the happiness and gratitude that I know I should feel. Trying to look for bright sides and silver linings and tender mercies. But still ultimately feeling very, very buried. 

But chances are that I am not. I am not buried and forgotten. 
Chances are that darkness is not an inevitability. That buried is not my final destination. 
Chances are that I am supposed to BE more. To bask in light. To grow and maybe even thrive. 

And it's hard. This becoming. This growing. And it hurts like hell. order to grow into something glorious and useful, a seed has to first spend some time in the deep dark soil. It has to wallow in seemingly endless deluges of water. And ultimately, it has to rip apart. Split completely open.

That can't feel very good either. 

But it submits. 

Because it knows that it is destined to be so much more than just a seed. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Boys Will Be (Gross, Weird, Violent) Boys

In his defense, the kid DOES have a point.

After a lifetime (okay, okay. I exaggerate...only HALF a lifetime) of finding chapstick, lipgloss, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, Barbie shoes, and more chapstick in the washer (if I'm lucky) or dryer (yes, usually here.) I have spent the last few years finding decidedly different objects in the laundry. Rocks, cars, candy, bits of asphalt, Legos, handfuls of dandelions. 
Oh, and here's a new one...tampons. Well, technically just the applicators. (Yes, unused ones. Don't be disgusting.) 

I know you're thinking: Geez lady! Check the pockets once in a while, why don't you? To which I would tell you: I do. Every single time I do laundry. But I am, at this point, convinced that there is a secret invisible-to-moms pocket...maybe even portal, in all kids clothing. This portal is used to hide items that will undoubtedly cause destruction to clothing. And also to suck up socks. One from each pair.

Why? you ask. Why tampon applicators? Well, this is the very same question I posed to my 6-year old son. Why? 

His reply? They look like bullets.

I found that I have no words for this. But this is often the case when you have a son after fourteen years of all daughters. There are just no words. And there are a few select things I've dealt with over the last few years that I have never dealt with before as a mother. And I've dealt with a lot.

For example:

  • Having a child that pees in places that are not the toilet. Like the floor. Or the trash can. Or the grass. Or the bushes. Or the driveway. Or my shoes.
  • Having a child that asks me regularly, "Can I punch you in the face?" Followed by, "Just kidding mom. I love you. I'll ask dad if I can punch him."
  • Having a child who likes to lick things that aren't food. The walls. The table. Grocery store carts. His sister's feet. The more it grosses me out, the funnier he thinks it is.
  • Having a child who is obsessed with boogers. He picks them. He wipes them on walls and counters and hand towels and sisters. He even tried to feed one to his dad. So. Gross. (But better him than me. That's what I always say.)
  • Having a kid who pantses (depants? unpants?) his friends at recess. In kindergartenI gotta admit, after the multiple meltdowns of getting him to preschool last year this one was not even on my radar. I was so worried about him just being ok and not sad. Turns out that not only is he not sad, he likes showing people underwear. His own. Other people's. He's equal opportunity that way. He also likes to call people "terrible words about private body parts that we do not talk about in school" (according to his teacher.) I never thought I'd be so relieved to hear that my kid called someone else a butthole. I know. Not a nice word. But I've heard worse from him. Judge me if you must.
  • Having a child who thinks he's a ninja. Always. He wants to get dressed like a ninja. Eat like a ninja. Go to bed like a ninja. Get in the car like a ninja. I'm pretty sure real ninjas don't kick and punch when they are doing these things. But he does.
  • Having a child who wants me to do literally everything for him. Get him dressed. Get him undressed. Brush his teeth. Dish up his plate. Buckle his seatbelt. Turn on the TV. All things he is quite capable of doing himself. He even went through a phase where he would engage the childlock on his car door. Because he didn't want to open it and get out himself. He wanted mommy to do it. It's like having a second tiny husband.
  • Having a child who sleeps with his hand down his pants. (See second tiny husband above.)
  • Having a child who puts holes in his jeans like they were made of paper. PAPER! I was warned about this one, but seriously, it's insane. He has put holes in at least 8 pairs of jeans since school started. Always in the left knee. That must be his ninja-kick leg.
It's new and it's different. It requires a little getting used to. BUT, on the flipside I also have a child who cries only when he's tired or hungry. Doesn't go batsh&*# crazy when I brush his hair. And wants to snuggle me all the time.

I'll take it.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

On Being Lucky

I found a penny on my way into work Monday morning. I almost never pick up pennies that I see on the ground. Because it's not really worth the effort. (What? Bending is hard.) But I thought, What the heck? I could use all the luck I can find. Not because I'm superstitious. Just because I'm desperate. Desperate for luck. So I did. I reached down and picked it up. 

And guess what? Not only was it lying there face up (the lucky side) BUT it also happened to have my birth year on it (EXTRA lucky!!)
I know what you're thinking. Your birth year? Did they even have pennies when you were born? Didn't people just use pretty rocks and woolly mammoth fur balls for currency then? While it's very funny of you to think that, it's not very nice. Shame on you.

I brought it into work with me and set it on my desk thinking, this is going to be a stellar day of luck for me. And guess what? It wasn't. It was just a regular, ordinary busy-at-work-suffocating-on-homework-not-enough-time-for-children-I-can't-believe-my-house-is-so-disgusting day. As per usual.

I've thought a lot about luck this week. Mostly because Abraham Lincoln's copper profile is still sitting at my desk taunting me. Like, "Hello! What did you expect? Remember how "lucky" I was??"  

When I think of people who are lucky I think of people who seemingly just stumble onto good fortune: great jobs, inheritances, luxury vacations, talent, success, killer deals at Ross. Those kind of people. My name is not usually one that comes to mind. 

Most of the time I feel decidedly unlucky. I feel like no matter how much I struggle or how hard I work or how bad I want it, prosperity and serendipity are just not in the cards for me. Nope. Just disappointment and trials. Seemingly endless trials.

I took my 14-year old to a doctor's appointment yesterday. A doctor's appointment that turned into the discovery of a rare foot-joint dislocation (the doctor said he'd only seen it once before) that turned into a same day surgery that turned into me missing a whole (unpaid) day of work to sit with her in the hospital for seven hours, mostly just waiting. Did I mention that we had JUST had her very last appointment with the orthopedist last week for a patellar dislocation that happened 6 months ago? True story. The girl just can't seem to keep her bones...located.

As I walked out of the grocery store after waiting in an almost eternal line to pick up her prescription, I saw another penny on the ground. I laughed. Like an out loud, complete-with-snorting guffaw. 

And I reflected on the day for just a second. A day I got to spend almost entirely alone with my beautiful 14-year old daughter. We half-watched some TV, laughed at puns (mostly her), worried (mostly me), complained about how hungry we were (both of us), put sticky EKG leads on inappropriate places (me), texted (both), made calls (me), Snapchatted (her) and hung out in comfortable silence for some of the time, too. Oh, she also told me facts about bison. (Bisons? Beeson?) She's like a walking encyclopedia, that one. (An encyclopedia? It's like Wikipedia. Except a book. And written by experts.)

I thought about how lucky I was for that rare day. How lucky I am to have the brilliantly wonderful, gorgeous children I have. How lucky I am that they call me mom. And want me to be with them when they are worried or scared or hurt. How lucky I am to have friends who asked if they could bring dinner, and kept my 6-year old, and drove my husband around. How lucky I am that the surgery went as well as it possibly could have. How lucky I am that my kids are healthy and (mostly) happy. How lucky I am to be their one-and-only-stuck-with-me-forever-whether-they-like-it-or-not mommy.   

So I didn't pick up that penny. Cuz, really...who needs it?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

You Down With DST? Uh...NO!

Yes. Yes it is.

There are undoubtedly things that can be saved. For instance:

A seat at a band concert. Sometimes for an actual person. And sometimes for a mystery person who never shows up. Because you really like your personal space.

Money. You can do this by waiting for a movie to hit the discount theatre. Or by buying Marshmallow Mateys & Dr. Shasta. Or by living somewhere devoid of a Ross. Or a Target. (Note: Do NOT do this by purchasing Little Debbies. Or 1-ply toilet paper.)

Energy. By binge-watching Netflix in bed. Instead of cleaning. Or laundry. Or moving.

Gasoline. By never going anywhere that isn't absolutely necessary (see above). Or isn't at least 20 degrees warmer. 

Shoes. By owning so many pairs, that none of them ever wear out.

Water. By turning off the tap while you brush your teeth. Or showering with Gerard Butler, if he happens to stop by, instead of taking two separate showers.

However, there are also things that cannot be saved. For example:

Candy. Because your children will find it. No matter what. No. Matter. What.

Soda. (see Candy) To paraphrase: No mountain high enough.

Restaurant Leftovers. Because your husband will eat them. Without fail. And insist he did you a favor because "they were going bad."

Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream. (see Restaurant Leftovers)

Daylight. You can call it whatever you want. Daylight cannot be saved. Daylight Saving Time serves absolutely no earthly purpose. Like the Kardashians. But even more insidious. Because I don't lose sleep over the Kardashians. Only my faith in humanity. Which I can afford to lose. 

I cannot, however, afford to lose sleep. 

Neither can I handle having to wake up children whose tiny little bodies feel like it's an hour earlier than the clock says. BECAUSE IT IS! But who still won't go to bed any earlier because it seems too light outside. BECAUSE IT IS!

I tried to do a little research on how and why it all started. But it was too complex. And taking too long (see Energy.) It was almost as perplexing as the concept itself. I don't get it. I hate it. By some miracle of science & solstices & equinoxes & Earth's rotation & revolution, the days already get longer. ALL BY THEMSELVES! We have more hours of sunlight in the spring and summer than we do in the fall and winter. AUTOMATICALLY! It's amazing. 

And yet. That's somehow not good enough. WHY??? I don't know.

A bill to put an end to DST has been proposed in Utah on multiple occasions. But it never passes. The groups opposed to it? The Utah Farm Bureau. (Because they like waking up when it's darker and colder?) Ski Utah. (Because people ski at 8 o'clock at night? Ever??) And the Utah Golf Association. (Aren't 89% of golfers in bed by 7? Watching reruns of Bonanza?)

The people in favor? Everyone else. Parents. Children. Educators. Regular human beings.

Just another reason to move to Arizona. Or Hawaii.

Spring forward? I don't wanna. You spring forward. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Swimsuit Shopping: The Original Suidical Ideation

Swimsuit catalogs are arriving in the mail. And not a moment too soon. I mean, months and months too soon if you live in Cedar City, Utah. BUT, if Spring Break is coming up and you are planning to make a break for Goodyear, Arizona...not a moment too soon. 

Except for one teensy, weensy thing: 
I hate buying a swimsuit. I hate trying on a swimsuit. I hate wearing a swimsuit. 

I want to say that the last time I felt good in a swimsuit was about...4 children and two decades ago. 

My youngest child is 6. I think I might've finally hit my pre-pregnancy weight when he was...maybe 4. (And that was my pre-pregnancy with HIM weight. Not my pre-childbearing weight.) 
I've been working out pretty regularly for the last 2 years. I am almost to the point where I feel fairly confident about how I look in (most) clothes. Do you know what feeling good in clothes does not translate into? That's right. Feeling good in a swimsuit. 

The first catalog to arrive was Victoria's Secret. This is the suit I want:

OK. That's a lie. I mean, the swimsuit is cute as heck, but let's be honest: I could give a crap about the suit. What I really want? To LOOK like that in a swimsuit. Any swimsuit. I'm not picky.

I was feeling pretty daring last year and thought maybe I could pull off one of those cute high-waisted numbers like this:

Because I think that two inches of my stomach might actually be free of PTBW (Post Traumatic Baby Wounds.) So I ordered one online. I even got it two sizes bigger than what I normally wear. (Because fool me once, China...) And then it arrived. What they didn't tell you? Apparently that model's torso is exactly 6 inches long. From collarbone to navel. Because that gap was more like 18 inches. (And I DEFINITELY have PTBW on that part of my stomach.) Also, that they don't make this swimsuit in regular people sizes. Because an XL fit my 5'6" 104 lb 13-year-old. EXTRA LARGE!

The DownEast catalog came next. And there's some really cute suits in there too. But again, everything looks cute on a 98 lb 20-year-old. I mean, come on...

Women with thighs like this, do NOT buy swimsuit bottoms like this. Oh, you didn't know those were her thighs? You thought those were two loose threads hanging down? Yeah, me too.

I know exactly what you're thinking. I am setting feminism back 80 years by whining and moaning about how I look in a swimsuit.

Because I should be judging myself on how I nurture, and love, and think, and create. Whatever.

I wish I was setting women back 80 years.

Because then we'd all be wearing swimsuits like this:

And I'm pretty sure I could ROCK that look.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Dear School: I Hate Your Stinking Guts

Three weeks. It's not a very long span. Especially when Christmas and New Years take up much of that time. But it seemed like a blissful eternity to have 3 whole weeks off after Fall semester and before starting Spring semester. Three glorious, Netflix-filled, family-snuggling, dinner-making, carefree weeks.

And then...just like that, it was over. And hell on Earth began in earnest once more. 

Each semester seems to be just a little bit worse than the one before it. 
And this one came with a full-on vengeance. 

I started classes just last Monday. And I think I've cried, if not real tears than at the very least, near-tears (not to be confused with near-beer, although shockingly, even more unsavory) probably about 4 times. And dropped a class. (Don't worry, I replaced it with something only slightly less horrible.)

I know what you're dying to ask. Why? Why, Cyndie? What makes this hellish semester any different than all the other hellish semesters before it? Well, I'll tell you:

The Workload
I'm not a fan of textbooks. Or hugely long supplemental pdf files. As much as I like to read. Textbooks? Well, they're not even on my list. I would rather read the German assembly instructions that come with pressed wood bookshelves. Really and truly. Wirklich und wahrhaftig.

I have been able to get away with skimming, or skipping altogether the textbook reading thus far in my schooling and picked up the info through lectures or slides. Preferably both. But this semester? Not a single lecture. Not a single slide. And every grade based on quiz and test scores. Which are based on obscure facts found in ridiculous, superfluous amounts of readings. In every. Single. Class.

It turns out that, generally speaking, the highest-paid, greatest-credentialed, most-experienced, tenured professors spend infinitely less time and energy teaching their classes than the lowly adjunct staff and assistant professors. 
Ah yes, the American dream. 

Maybe they just went to school for too long and they're sick to death of it. That, I can understand.

The Ex is Back
Remeber that time I broke up with statistics? That was a happy, happy day. I thought I was done with him. At least in my school life. I thought we were finished. I thought he'd leave me alone and go find some other innocent girl to torment.

Nope. Like a stalking, abusive ex-boyfriend or Poltergeist II, he's baaaack.

There is a required class I signed up for this semester called Principles & Applications of Psychological Testing. Which I, foolishly, thought would involve...I don't know...basic principles and real-life applications of psychological testing. Like methodology and ethics and crap. I could not have been more wrong. (I could try. But I would not be successful.)

All statistical formulas. Mostly ones I don't even remember learning.
And did I mention there are no lectures? Only 20 different 30+ problem, 8-page "optional exercises" you can do to prepare for the 5 exams. Oh, and a textbook. The only thing less helpful than a statistics text is a two-year old folding laundry. 

Don't worry, I got to problem #3 on Optional Exercise 1 before I had no idea how to do anything else. And had a complete breakdown.

Then I dropped the class. I will deal with it this summer when I am only taking 3 credits instead of 15.

Worn Down
I'm so close. (In the scheme of things.) The end is (semi) near. I can be done by December. Of THIS year. That's amazing. The end is in sight. And it should be invigorating. 

It is not.

I am tired. I am depleted. I am weary. I miss my life. I don't want to do it anymore. 

Not to mention the loans. And the GRE. And the decisions about graduate school. Utah? Arizona? California? Nevada? North Carolina?
Evening cohort program? Online? Assistantship?? 
Where's Zoltar when you need him? 

To top it off, I just discovered yesterday that when I am finished with the required classes I have left, I will be one credit shy of the necessary credits for a degree. I will have 119 instead of 120. 

One. Freaking. Credit. And there are no one-credit classes for online students. Of course there aren't. 

It would actually be sad if it weren't so funny. Or funny if it weren't so sad. I can't remember which.

So if I am noticeably absent from the blogosphere in the coming months, know that it is because this semester is trying to kill me. 

I am quite sure I saw it positioned around the canyon corner on the desert path where I like to run, sneakily holding on to a rope pulley system, poised to drop an anvil on my head when I zip by.

And just the other day it tried to disguise its mouth to look like a swanky restaurant so that I would walk in unsuspecting and it could eat me alive.

Mean semester. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Star Wars: The Dork Awakens

A (not so terribly) long time ago in a galaxy (not so very) far, far away...

A sister and brother were born. Their sad, beautiful mother died in childbirth and to protect them from a father who had become an evil lord (and was just evilly whiney prior to that) they were sent to a home in California. They were raised, not as twins, but as siblings who were two years apart. The "Sky" was dropped from their name (for safeguarding purposes and all.) 
Leaving it as merely Walker.

This may or may not have been the fantasy that filled much of my childhood imaginings. I mean, my last name WAS Walker. And my brother and I? Well, the force was strong with us. Let me tell you.

So imagine my surprise when I texted him after seeing The Force Awakens and said: STAR WARS!!!!! And he responded back with: Yep. Star Wars!! 

I should have known by the not-all-caps response. And the two exclamation points instead of four. But I kept pushing: Did you see it?? Did you love it!?
He replied: Yes and I really liked it. But am I allowed to be a little disappointed?

No. No you are not. And I will tell you why. 

Because I didn't love Episode I-III (I know, I know. My true fan rating just went way down.) And I wasn't even super excited for Episode VII. (I mean, Yoda is dead. How awesome could it be?)

But...It. Was. Fabulous. 
And sure, maybe a little (lot) reminiscent of Episode IV. But do you remember what happened with New Coke?? There's a reason they stopped making it. 
A very good reason.

So what did I love about it? Well, kind of everything. (Just ask my husband, whose arm I hit excitedly and repeatedly through the entire movie.) But a few things in particular:

The Old Gang
What can I say? I love them all. 
You can regard your Henry all you want. You can chase your Fugitive. Hijack your President Marshall. You can dig your Indiana Jones. For me? There is just one role that Harrison Ford was born to play. Han Solo. He just was. 
And sure. I sat there just like everyone else trying to figure out just how old Carrie Fisher actually is. But just like I have learned not to judge how people parent, how dirty their house is, or how many pairs of black boots they I continue to get older, I have learned not to judge how people age. I mean, we can't all be Chewie.
C3PO? Just as obnoxious and robotically annoying as ever. (Contented sigh.) 
And, yes, the absence of Yoda was keenly felt by me. But as far as I'm 
concerned, no Yoda at all is still better than computer-animated Yoda.

The Falcon
Am I giving anything away here? Well, too bad if I am. You should have already seen it by now. 
I had a Ford Festiva once. I think it cost me $500. It ran and ran and ran and ran. And ran. It got me from California to Utah and back more times than I can count. 
Did it shake when I went over 50 miles an hour? Like Oola, the Twil'lek slave dancer. 
Did the driver side mirror have to be duct-taped on more than once? You bet your Jabba the Butt it did. 
But it never once broke down on me. Not once in all the years I had it. And I bet if I were to come across it now, half buried in the sands of the distant planet of would still get me across the hyperspace route of the I-15. It may take a little longer than twelve parsecs. But it would get me there. 

The Stormtroopers
When I was a kid, we had one of those tall metal wall heaters in the hallway. I don't remember anymore if it was me or one of my siblings who used to have nightmares about Stormtroopers emerging from it in the night. (I think it was a younger sibling. I mostly had nightmares about how my dad would bogart it every morning while the rest of us would hover nearby shivering.) Regardless of who it was, the truth is...Stormtroopers were scary. And somehow, 30+ years later, they still are. There have been a few small tweaks here and there. But essentially, the uniforms are the same. The blasters the same. They don't need a sleek updated new look. Because a legion of synchronized, marching, anonymous, evil soldiers? Still scary as hell. Which just tells you how awesome the original series was in the first place. 

This far from covers all of the things I loved about the movie. Whiney new bad guy: Loved. Oscar Isaac: Loved more. No Jar Jar: Loved the most. 

But the best things were the things that reminded me of the movies I loved as a young Jedi-wannabe. Light speed. Droids. X-Wing & TIE Fighters. Jedi mind tricks. The score. Oh the score. It gives me goosebumps still. 

I recently saw one review that said that it is ridiculous to bill this movie as a sequel when it is merely a remake.

I have just four words for you, Star Wars-hater guy:

If it ain't broke...