Thursday, October 1, 2015

College Life

I made it through my first quarter of college.  I can't believe that the first quarter is already done.  It just seems insane to me.  It went by so fast.  Going back to college has always been a dream but one that I didn't think was ever going to be possible.  I'm so glad that I finally made the decision and dammit, I'm sticking to it.

I'm usually not one to talk to many strangers other than a "hey, how are you" sort of thing.  But something strange happened when I walked into the classroom on the first day.  I finally realized that the only way I'm going to truly succeed is to truly come out of my comfort zone.  And I have.  And I'm not sure I've ever been happier.

I'm making new friends that I really think I'll have even after I graduate.  Most of the other students are not a whole lot older than H.  I just kinda talk to them like I would talk to him.  Seems to be working.  I'm not the class clown, but I do get a lot of laughs.

One of the friends that I made, N, is so much like me that it's a little scary.  She's 4 days older than me so our Pisces natures mesh very well.  Where we are alike, we might as well be the same person.  Where we are different, we are total polar opposites.  This makes for some long and very funny phone conversations - especially when she does her impressions of the other students in her program.

One of my instructors just seemed to click with me right away.  I feel like we could have been friends if she weren't my teacher.  Her teaching style just really works for me and my learning style.  I had her for two classes this quarter and I really learned a lot about myself in her classes.  She welcomed questions (and God knows, I ask A LOT of questions), class discussions and was so patient with me when I asked her about a million times "I'm not sure I'm doing this right.  Could you come take a look?" I will miss Ms. C next quarter.

My other instructor, well, she wasn't my favorite.  I did learn stuff in her class.  This was in clear evidence when we played "Jeopardy" on Tuesday and the team I was on beat the shit out of the other 2 teams.  Clearly, I learned something.  I just didn't like her teaching style.

So the first quarter is done.  I made it not only through the quarter, but I made it with a 4.0 GPA and perfect attendance.  I'm so stoked about the upcoming quarter!!!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Music is therapy

Sometimes I wonder if music is as important to other people as it is to me.   I spend a lot of time sitting on the porch and listening to music.  Being a Pisces, it's just natural for me to listen to music.  I've always got music on in the car.  Sometimes, it's country music and sometimes it's Il Divo or Canadian Tenors or Celtic Woman.  Sometimes, it's 80's music.  Sometimes, it's old Southern hymns that we sang (and still sing) in church.

Country music is my first love.  I love the old country stuff by Dolly Partin, Kenny Rogers, Randy Travis and Crystal Gayle.  But I also love the new stuff like Brad Paisley or Luke Bryan or Lady Antebellum.  I love George Jones and George Strait.  George Strait might be the same age as my mom, but he's still yummy.....  I think I know the words to all of Lorrie Morgan's songs.

I discovered Il Divo about 3 years ago.  I'd been listening to Canadian Tenors and Celtic Woman for a couple of years prior to that and my mom called and said "you HAVE to listen to this."  It was Il Divo singing "Amazing Grace" and I was hooked immediately.  It doesn't hurt that they are VERY easy on the eyes.  I'm working on learning the lyrics to all of their songs but the language barrier makes it little tougher than learning the lyrics to country songs.  They sing in English, French, Spanish and Italian.  Listening to them has reawakened my love of learning other languages.  I already speak Portuguese and some French and some Spanish, but now I'm learning Italian too.  Most of the time, I have no idea what I'm singing, but I have a good time nonetheless.

Tonight, I've been listening to hymns from church from when I was a little girl and a teenager.  There are so many of these hymns that I can hear Granny sing.  I was listening to "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder" and I felt like I was 13 again and watching TV with Granny while she rocked a baby to sleep while singing this song.  Even though she's been gone for 13 years, I can still hear her voice.  These old hymns give me strength sometimes and sometimes, they just make me happy.  Tonight, it's a combination of both.  

When H was little, he was convinced that I knew all the words to every song on the radio.  He didn't realize that it was probably a CD playing.  He told me once "Mommie, you should put out an album."  Bless his heart, he didn't realize that Mommie can't carry a tune in a bucket.  I do take a certain pride in the fact that he's almost 17 and I can still sing him to sleep in the car.  He might be falling asleep as a defense mechanism, but I choose to believe it's because it's as comforting to him as listening to Granny or Mom or Daddy singing is to me.  I've always sung to him and music has always been a part of his life.

I grew up listening to both Mom and Daddy singing and playing the piano.  We are a musical family - my brother sings, plays the piano and was in the band in high school.  My sister has a beautiful voice so do my nieces.  H is in the marching band.  Mom's sisters both have beautiful voices and Daddy's brother was in a real band in the 70's.  Like they had a record and everything!

I hope other people find as much peacefulness, relaxation and happiness in music as I do.  I honestly can't imagine not having an appreciation and true love for music.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Back to School

School starts on Monday.  And not just for H, but for me as well.  I decided after not finding a job for the last 4 months that I would finally go back to college.  After some typical Pisces hiding and mulling over, it actually was a very easy decision.  I've wanted to go back to school to finally get my BS in Nursing since H was a little bitty thing, but money, time and circumstances just never allowed that to happen.  Since I do have such a phenomenal support system in place with family and friends, this is a perfect time.  So I will start my journey to becoming a Clinical Medical Assistant on Monday.  It will take me about 18 months to complete.  I will graduate with my Associate's Degree in Applied Science and will be one step closer to getting my Bachelor's Degree in Nursing.  This is some scary shit but I'm ready.  My projected graduation date is April 2017 - just 2 months before H graduates high school.  

Also, H starts his junior year of high school on Monday.  How I got old enough to have a kid old enough to be a junior in high school is beyond me.  I'm so proud of how much he has matured in the last year.

Even better - new pics of the cats.  Sniper will be 5 next week, Harper is 4, Georgie is 3 and baby Saturn is 15 months old.  I love them more each day even though Saturn has chosen H as her person.  

Harper's pretty little face
Georgie being handsome

Saturn on the curtain rod
Sniper staring at Mama
through the back door

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Family Support System

Sometimes, we don't think about the emotional support system that we have with our family.  I have a huge family and most of them live within about 45 minutes of my apartment.  My sister and cousin live the farthest away in Manhattan (sister) and New Jersey (cousin), but distance doesn't really affect the support they provide - especially with my sister.  This wasn't something that I really thought about until H's dad and I split up in 2010.  It's something that has been on my mind a lot since losing my job in April.

H's dad and I were together for 14 years and when we split up, I got the strongest emotional lifting up from my immediate family and from my best friend.  The first year, in true Pisces form, I pretty much locked myself away to deal with the pain and feelings of failure that I'm sure plague everyone at the end of a long term relationship - whether it be marriage or not.  I am very fortunate that these wonderful people in my life wouldn't allow me to lock myself away for too long at a time.  I am also fortunate that H's dad and I are good friends now, but that took a couple of years to get to this point.

Since I lost my job, all 3 of my parents, my brother and sister, my "big sister-cousins", and various cousins, aunts and uncles have been incredibly supportive.  They know that in my Pisces nature, I will hide away as I usually do when there is something on my mind that I am trying to deal with but don't really know how.  Sometimes, I wish that I didn't feel the need to hide, but as I get older, I know that it's just part of who I am and am learning to accept that.  My family makes sure that I don't hide away for too long.  They text me or call me to check on me, or say "let's go to lunch - my treat" or "come over and let's sew" (that's from my mom).  The lunch invitations are the best.  I'm always game for free food.

I know that it worries them if I don't call or text or communicate in some way with them regularly.  I talk to my mom at least every other day - often way more than that.  Like several times a day.  I talk to my sister almost everyday, whether it be by text or call or Facebook.  Same with my stepmom.  I talk to Daddy about once a week.

I talk to the elder "big sister-cousin" ("D") nearly everyday and to the younger one  at least once a week.  D and I generally talk very late at night after everyone else is asleep.  She doesn't sleep well and I don't have to get up in the mornings so it works well for both of us. She gives me the "shoring up", as we say, that I need when I need it.

I guess what this rambling means is that I am so thankful for my huge, loving, loud and crazy-ass family.  Without them, I think I would be in a heavily padded room with a long list of medications at Holly Hill.

Monday, June 22, 2015


Unemployment just sucks balls.  I was laid off at the end of April and still haven't found a job.  I think  I've sent out about 50 resumes but have only had 2 interviews.  Sigh.....

I think H is really loving me being home.  His dad and I share 50/50 custody so when H is with me, I'm here if he needs me.  I *know* the monsters, I mean cats, are loving it.  Mama doesn't leave the apartment for very long, if at all.  They have become more clingy than they already were.  Sniper follows me everywhere, Harper squeaks when I walk in the room and has tried to claim the laptop as her personal warming station.  Georgie follows me and meows and Saturn is just her normal crazy-ass kitten self.

If I've been sitting on the porch longer than they think is appropriate, one or more of them will start batting at the door to tell me to come in.  Usually, it's Sniper, but sometimes the other 3 will join in.  H will usually come out here with a cat.  He says he's just showing them outside, but I think it's to make sure that I'm still here and haven't left without him knowing.

You know that irrational part  of your brain???  Well, that part of me is absolutely loving being at home.  But the rational part is telling me that since I've made friends with the squirrel that comes to visit, it's probably time to go back to work.

I'm hopeful that I will start getting some calls for interviews soon.  I'm getting a little too comfortable hanging out in my comfy-shorts and t shirts.....

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Happy Father's Day!

Today is Father's Day - you know, the companion to Mother's Day.  H says there needs to be a Kid Day, but I told him that was every day.

I have 2 dads - a Daddy and a Dad.  Daddy is my biological dad and Dad is my stepdad.  Both men are wonderful fathers and they each taught me different things.

Daddy and me
Daddy taught me about fishin', cooking fish, and major tackle box renovations.  He also taught me to drive him down to the  beach when I was 16 and we were both off work for the  day.  Daddy showed me how to parallel park so I could get my driver's license.  We must have parallel parked about 50 times that day and he didn't lose patience.  He taught me about the many things he learned while serving his country in Viet Nam.  "I learned how to do this in the Army" is the phrase that is still heard on a regular basis.  I'm not sure how much of what he said he learned in the Army was actually learned IN the Army or if it was learned through experience and being a NC State Highway Patrolman, but that phrase usually meant that I was either gonna learn something important or it was the beginning of an awesome story.   Daddy taught us all how to swim by throwing us in the shallow end of the  pool and said "swim".  Of course, he was right there beside us, but we did swim.  He attempted to teach us how to dive by standing in the pool, holding our ankles while we stood on the side and said "now jump."  Needless to say, it didn't work, but it was fun anyway.

I am my father's daughter
Some of my most treasured childhood memories are laying in the back of the truck while Daddy drove back from the lake.  I actually got to relive that memory when the family went to the beach for Daddy's 65th birthday a few weeks ago.  It was so fantastic to spend an entire weekend with Daddy and the rest of the  family.  It has been many years since I've done that and H has never done that.  I'm not sure who had more fun fishin' - Daddy, my brother, my niece or H......

Dad and me on his 80th
birthday (4.24.14)
One of the things that Dad taught me was to beware of those indelible mistakes.  He wrote a letter to me when I was in Brazil my senior year of high school reminding me of how much he loved me and to be cautious of those mistakes that I can't take back.  This still sticks with me even as an adult.  He always said that complaining about something or life not being fair was just kinda useless.  He would say "what's this 'fair' shit?  Nobody ever said anything was going to be fair."  He also taught me the importance of the words "just do it."  This could mean a multitude of things but the essence always seemed to be to stop complaining and get on with whatever "it" was that day.  The last thing (literally the last thing - it was just before he went into the nursing home) that Dad taught me was that if I pulled a practical joke on Mommie (the kitchen sink spray nozzle was rubber banded down and she didn't know it and sprayed herself while attempting to wash her hands), I was on my own with that.  But I could sit beside him since Mommie was less likely to get back at me if I was with him.  Dad has Alzheimer's and lives in a nursing home now.  The last time I saw him, he told me that he was a good secret keeper because "I have Alzheimer's so I'm just going to forget it anyway."

Happy Father's Day to both of my beloved dads.  Without them and their influences - and that of my mothers (Mommie and Lisa), I would not be the woman I am today.

I love you Daddy and Dad!!!!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Saturn is 1!

"Mama, there's a fly in the house"
Saturn turned 1 on May 28. She's much smaller than the other 3 and weighs in at a hefty 7.5 pounds.  She's very feisty and is almost as chatty as Sniper.  I thought Georgie ran a lot when he was teeny, but that's NOTHING compared to Saturn.  I swear, all the cat does is run.  She's either chasing the other 3 or she's running for her life from chasing the other 3.  She also likes trying to get in the dryer and the washing machine.  There is no counter that is safe, even though she's not big enough to counter surf with her teeny paws.  She also tries to trip me when I come inside by flopping over on her back right in front of the door.

"If you can do it, so can I"
She and Georgie have come to an understanding.  Saturn chases Georgie and then Georgie bites her.  Harper just kinda lets Saturn run all over her until she's had enough of the kitten shenanigans.  Then she swats Saturn upside the head, Saturn yells and runs off.  Sniper seems to tolerate her the best and tries teaching her manners.  They actually play together a lot.  "Playing" really means that Saturn attempts to attack Sniper, fails, turns a flip, bunny kicks Sniper in the jaw and Sniper tries to put Saturn's whole head in his mouth.  There is usually some hissing and meowing involved, but since it's not typically serious, I don't always intervene.

super comfy on H's lap
Saturn LOVES her human brother.  She sleeps with him in his chair and helps him play video games.  H has taught her how to run up the ladder to his loft bed.  He's working on teaching her how to get down without looking like a wounded gazelle jumping over a fence in the process.  It's not going too well, but they try.  I think she would stay in H's room or with him all the time if he kept a little bowl of kibble on his desk....

little pillow thief
happy babies on Mama's bed
I was worried that they wouldn't get along or there would be trouble when I brought Saturn home.  They've settled in very well and now take up a little more than half of my bed.  Even though I don't usually let them lay on my pillows, Saturn has stolen the pillow that is right beside my head and will swat at anybody who DARES to lay on her pillow.  And yes, that includes me sometimes.  That's when I have to remind her that I am the only one that can open the cans of wet food.

she does a fabulous rug impression
Happy 1st birthday, Saturn!!!  You run a lot, jump up the walls, practice kitten wall bouncing and like to hide behind the blinds (except it doesn't count as hiding if I can see you).  You have become very adept at playing "ooh what's under the covers" at night.  You make your Mama and human brother laugh all the time and you have made us very happy.