Archive | August 2010


It’s been a rough day.

I woke up this morning with a headache–which is and of itself is unusual.  I get headaches frequently, but very rarely wake up with one.  I took some Advil, and then took the dogs for a walk.  When we got home, I still had a couple of hours before class started, so I laid back down, hoping that a little more sleep would make my headache go away.

Not only did it not go away, but when I woke up again, class had already started.  And by the time I would have been able to catch the bus to campus or walk there (I’m being realistic about how fast I move, here) it would have been over.

Even though it was just one of the institute classes, not one I had to pay for, I’m still really mad at myself for missing it.  I realized, later on that I could have driven to campus and parked in a pay lot–in fact that’s probably exactly what I would have done had it been one of my college classes.

This stupid headache hasn’t gone away–and it’s made me tired and irritable all day.

My other goal for today was to figure out my online class.

So, here’s the thing–I had signed up for what I thought was an online math class.  I was getting anxious that I hadn’t received any information about how to access my class–math is not one of my strong suites, and I didn’t want to fall behind.  I thought that maybe I needed to pay tuition first, but  I took care of that yesterday, and the website was showing I was all paid up.

I finally decided that I needed to get as much information as possible before I called the help desk, so I started digging deeper into this class, finding out stuff like who my professor is, and, oh, wait, what’s this?

It’s not an online class, it’s a second block class.  Which means I’ll be going to a classroom and meeting with him face to face, but not until the middle of October.

Yeah…I’m feeling really smart right now.  I have no idea why I thought it was an online class.

I’ve spent a good part of the day studying–more than I strictly feel that I need to.  Still, it will be good to get in the habit, right?  Part of the reason I struggled with college the first time around is the fact that I didn’t study.

One Week

My calendar tells me that it’s been less than a week since I went back to school.  That can’t be right.

Last week was insane, to say the least.  Every day was filled with some sort of stress, mostly of my own creation, but others…well, for instance, Wednesday morning, I was awakened when my sister called me to tell me she didn’t need surgery.

I hadn’t known that she might have needed surgery–so, okay…

After realizing I needed a change in attitude, and after trying very hard to change said attitude, things have gotten much easier. I’m getting back into the swing of student life, and, have found out a few little things that make my life much easier–like I don’t need a parking permit to park on campus on Saturdays–which is nice, because my Saturday class starts at 8am, but the buses don’t start running until 8:30.

An odd thing has happened, too.  All of a sudden, when I have stuff to do, I’m aware of the time when I don’t have anything to do.  My days now have a purpose, but once that purpose is fulfilled, or before it is time to start that purpose, I’ve become bored and restless.

Maybe that means that I’m ready to start looking for a job again.

I’m still anxious when I’m on campus.  I had dismissed the notion of getting Lulu certified as a service dog so she could come to school with me, but today, as my Isaiah class filled out, I began to revisit the idea.

I hate to think that I’ve fallen so far from the person I was, but I have.  I know I need to be around people, as annoying as they are, to be healthy and happy.

It doesn’t make the transition from being a hermit any easier, though.

Seth and Penny

This is a Plinky post answering the question “What is your earliest memory?”

My earliest memories come courtesy of the teenagers who lived kitty-corner to my family when I was a small child. At the time, my family lived in a community too small to be called a town–perhaps even, too small to be called a village.

There was a post office, but the nearest place to buy gas or groceries was a half hour away. Rather than load a three and four year old into the car to go shopping, Seth and Penny from across the street would watch us when Mom needed to go to town to run errands.

Honestly, I don’t remember which of these two memories happened first, so I’m going to include them both.

One, Penny, my sister and I were in the front yard of our house. Penny and my sister were talking about dreams, and, being three, I didn’t know what a dream was, so I asked.

Penny answered “A dream is what you see when you close your eyes.” So I closed my eyes. I didn’t see anything, so I made something up. I said that I dreamed I was a dancer.

The other memory comes from Seth. Our house was built in the 1940s, and had been added on at least once by the time my family lived there (it had, incidentally, been built by my Grandfather, and it was the house my Mom grew up in too. My sister and I used to fight over who was going to live in the house when we grew up.) As part of the add-ons, there was a rather awkward basement, where the TV would go to live during summer months. Once, when Seth was watching us, he told us “There’s a ghost in the basement, and if you go downstairs, it’s going to get you!”

Now, I don’t know if Seth didn’t want to go in the basement, or if he was just messing with us, or if he really believed that our basement was haunted. What I do know, is for a long time after we were told that, my sister and I were both afraid to go downstairs by ourselves. Even after the TV moved downstairs for the summer, we were afraid to go in one of the two basement bedrooms–because it had hunting bows hanging on the wall, and we thought the ghost would shoot us.

Powered by Plinky

A change in attitude

Over the past couple of days, my family has helped me realize that I’m looking at this whole going back to school thing the wrong way–rather than focusing on how much I don’t fit in, I need to be extremely grateful for this opportunity I have to be going back.

This last year or so…well, I’ve been living in a way that wouldn’t be good for anybody.  I’ve been sitting home alone, only leaving the house enough to for the dogs to take care of their needs, and to buy groceries.   Rather than fight my agoraphobia, I’ve been feeding it.  So, it’s no wonder that all of a sudden I’m stressed and disoriented being around hundreds of other people.

So, from here on out, I’m going to try to minimize my discomfiture, and focus, at least when talking about school, the more positive aspects.

I had my first class from UVU today (the classes that will get me on campus the other four days of the week are being taught by LDS Institute) –I was so late in registering, that the only way I could get into my classes was to take them on the weekend.

This was the class I was most worried about, English 1010.  It’s a course that is required of everyone,  and when I took (and failed) it at USU, it was full of jocks and people (like me) who were just out of high school.

Fortunately for me, most little 18 year olds aren’t going to be taking a class, even a required class that is only once a week, and ends at 6:30 on a Friday.  There were a few, but for everyone fresh out of high school, there was somebody over the age of 25–including a woman who was brave enough to admit that her children were teenagers.

I left that class today feeling much more confident both in my abilities as a writer, and about going back to school in general.

And it didn’t hurt that I finally managed to locate the Jamba Juice that I spotted on the campus tour, and promptly forgot where it was.   Finding the Jamba Juice may or may not have been my unofficial goal for the week…

Don’t worry, Mom, I know that I can’t afford either the money or the calories that come with having a smoothie even once a week.  And while the Jamba Juice is located in the same building as my two on-campus classes, it was closed by the time I got out of class, and I don’t know if it’ll be open for my class tomorrow.

Speaking of my class tomorrow–who in their right mind takes an Art History class at 8am on a Saturday?

Oh, that’s right, someone who didn’t get registered soon enough to take it at a more decent hour.   I seriously hope I’ll be able to stay awake.

Huh. I thought feelings of despair weren’t supposed to kick in until right before finals.

Until I was 21, everything I did was because my sister did it first.  She taught me how to talk–my first words were “Hi Sister!”, and she taught me how to read.

I got my first tricycle after Sis had hers for a year, and the same goes for my first bicycle.  My whole life, I’d watch her do something, like learn multiplication tables, or learn to drive, or get her first job, and a year later, I’d do the same.  It wasn’t until she got married at the age of 21, and, the next year, at the age of 21 I went on a mission that our paths diverged to any real degree.

I don’t know if that has anything to do with anything, but I’m blaming it on being so lost and depressed these past two days.

I mean, really, Sis, the least you could have done was taken a few classes at UVU so you could then show me the ropes, right?

Yesterday and today have been awful.   I think I knew they would be, but was hoping that I’d get right back into the swing of things.  As it stands, I’m self-conscious about my age, and am hating being around all the other students, and am so lost as to where I’m supposed to be.

And that’s just from my institute classes.  My “actual” classes start tomorrow–and the one tomorrow is the one I’m really worried about–English 1010, Introduction to Writing.

So, here’s the thing, it’s not the writing thing that scares me–I love to write, (obviously) and, as long as I do the work I shouldn’t have any problem with it.

I should know, this is at least the third time I’ve taken this particular class.

I didn’t do the work when I took it at USU, and so, failed it.  I took it at the for-profit school I went to and passed with flying colors–but those credits won’t transfer.

What I’m worried about is this is a required class.  And I know it’s going to be filled with the little 18-year-olds that I’m so anxious about being around as it is.

It doesn’t help that I have only a vague idea of where the building I need to go to is located, and the way you’d normally get there is blocked by construction.

So–is that true of all college campuses?  Is there always construction?  There was when I was at Utah State, and now it’s followed me to Utah Valley.


I hope things get easier as I get used to my schedule, and when the “week of welcome” is over–I hate all the noise and confusion and people trying to get you to sign up for stuff that may or may not be pertinent to your success as a student.

All I know it I’m depressed and frustrated.

I really don’t think it was this scary the first time around.

One of several versions of the painting "...

Image via Wikipedia

Twenty-four hours from the time I write this, I’ll officially be back in school.

I’m more than a little freaked out at this process–I’m not looking forward to being surrounded by little 18-year-olds just out of high school.

I’m trying to remain calm, I really am, but the anxiety hit me like a ton of bricks about an hour ago.

Hopefully, I can get this freak-out taken care of today, and tomorrow, I’ll be calm and serene.

Fat chance.

The thing is, I know I have to go.  This isn’t like church, where I have a lifetime to overcome my fears and anxieties, I’m actually paying good money to be surrounded by teenagers.   And, as much as it sucks, getting out and being around people really will help with the anxiety–when I was working, I did get panic attacks, but I didn’t let them overwhelm me, I could excuse myself for a few minutes and go to the bathroom to calm down, but then I had to get back to work.  School should do the same thing, right?

So tomorrow, ready or not, I’m headed to UVU.  For one hour.  Of an LDS Institute class.  Which should make going to my actual college classes a little easier, right?

Administrative note:

WordPress unveiled a new feature called Zementa that’s supposed to make adding pictures and links easier.  I haven’t decided if I like it yet, but I’m trying it out for a bit.

It’s official, I’m not an adventurer.

Even if, in the grand scheme of things, they are small, boring adventures.

Yesterday, about 7:30, I took the dogs out for a walk.  I had been fighting a migraine all day, and was feeling just good enough to take the dogs out long enough to pee, with the plans of  coming right back inside and laying down again.  The dogs had other plans.  Okay, fine.  I’d rather spend an extra ten minutes traipsing around outside than spend an hour scrubbing  my carpet.

Well, while we were out, my roommate left, locking the door behind her.  And my keys, cell phone, and wallet were all inside.

Crap.   Max, Lulu and I were stuck outside.  For three and a half hours.

I considered borrowing a phone and calling Sis to come and rescue me, but I couldn’t remember her number.  Usually, I don’t have to–my phone has at least three ways of calling someone without typing in a number.  I thought about calling my parents at their house, I know THAT number, and having them call Sis to come and rescue me, but I didn’t want to involve the whole family in my drama.

I thought about going to a friend’s apartment, and waiting there–but I still had that stupid migraine, and really needed peace and quiet and darkness.  I didn’t feel like I could burst into someone else’s home, and demand that they wait on me hand and foot because I was stupid enough to leave my house without keys.  Plus, all of my friends in the complex are renters, where as I own my unit, and I wasn’t sure about bringing my dogs into their homes for an extended period of time, no matter how well-trained and recently emptied they are.

Fortunately, my car was open (my security system is driving a 1997 Geo.  It’s a good little car, but it’s not worth stealing, and if I could afford anything worth stealing to keep in my car, I wouldn’t be driving a 1997 Geo.) so I was able to retrieve a few things to make my wait a little more comfortable–like a dish I could use for water for the dogs (again, feeling super-lucky that there are outside spigots on every building in my complex) a toy for Max, and a bottle of water and a book for me.

Even with these little things, I was, understandably in my opinion, pretty upset.  To the point of not only tears, but full-on sobbing.  It wasn’t until I realized that a big part of my headache was because I was upset, that I worked on calming myself down.  And I have to say, the Roommate was extremely lucky she didn’t come home while I was so upset.

Amazingly, I was able to  get myself settled down, and stuck it out for the long haul.  The dogs were just as unhappy about the situation as I was (perhaps more, I stole the doormat to sit on, and made them sit on the hard concrete.)  Lulu kept looking at me, then looking at the door.  When we’d take the time to wander downstairs, rather than running off the way she normally does, she’d run back upstairs to wait by the door.

Just as I was about to give up and spend the night in my car, the Roommate came home.  I’ve never been so happy to see another human being in my life.  Max and Lulu agreed–they’re never slow about going inside after our walks, but last night broke a record, I’m sure.

This morning, I woke up to the power flickering on and off before completely going out.  Which, admittedly, is an odd thing to wake a person up–it was the change in the sound my air purifier makes that awakened me.   I took that opportunity to take the dogs for a long walk, (being very careful to grab my keys) and took that opportunity to make sure it wasn’t just because I was late paying my power bill.  It wasn’t– power outages are fairly common, but they usually only last a minute or two.

Having returned from my walk, and finding the lights, and more importantly, the air conditioner and fans, weren’t on, and being unable to fall back asleep, I called Sis because I was bored, and I needed to tell her about my adventure the night before.  She was on her way down for the funeral, but, a while later she called me back saying that between her late start and the traffic, she wasn’t going to make it on time.  So, by chance, would she like to meet me at the Harley store?

Okay, back up a bit–Sis and her family were planning to take a long vacation when the B-I-L got his masters, but somewhere along the way, they decided that the B-I-L needed a motorcycle instead.  And, as part of getting that motorcycle, he’s been taking classes at the Harley dealership that’s about ten miles away from my house.  He liked (his last class was today) getting to class a bit early so he could wander around the showroom and store, and thought Sis and the boys would like to see it too.  Sis, knowing her children, wanted me to come along to help keep an eye on them.  Mostly G.

The Harley store is a-mazing, and it was fun to see all of the beautiful bikes and cool riding gear they had.  It was less fun trying to convince G not to touch anything.  When the Brother-in-Law’s class was on a break, his instructor took us all down to the basement to see the bikes.  And the store mascot, a man dressed like a Sasquatch.  Dave the instructor really didn’t understand G’s intense fear of costumed characters.  Not at first, anyway.

Sis had called Mom and told her that she wasn’t going to make it down in time, and Mom suggested that she meet us up here for a picnic.   So after the store, Sis, G, E and I headed back to my house.

I forgot exactly how destructive a four-year-old can be, especially those whose names start with ‘G’, and how un-baby proof my house is, because my little ones aren’t interested in things like the glass jar on the coffee table that’s full of pens, or finding out how the night-light in the hallway is connected to the wall.

Sis wanted to get E down for a nap, so I was left to entertain G–a child who is not content to be entertained simply by turning on the TV.  At one point, he decided he wanted to take the dogs for a walk, and so off we went.  I had to explain several times that when we take the dogs for a walk, it’s so they can use the potty, and so we need to let them stop when they want to stop.  Still, Max did AWESOME.

Backing up again, both of my nephews are fascinated by Max.  E is, I think, because Max is black and white, and therefore, easier for him to see than Lulu.  For G, I think it’s because he plays when Lulu doesn’t.  It’s more than a little frustrating, because Lulu is so much better with kids than Max.  On our walk, G insisted on holding Max’s leash.

Upon returning from our walk, G rang the doorbell, waking up both E, and my roommate who has apparently developed a head cold.  So, when Mom showed up, we had a hyperactive four-year-old (par for the course, really) a cranky baby who didn’t get a long enough nap, and a house that had been destroyed by the two of them.

We headed off to Nielsen’s Grove,  a beautiful park not far from my house.  After chasing G around, and successfully preventing him fromgoing into the pond to meet the ducks personally, and less successfully preventing him from dumping ice all over his baby brother, Mom decided that she needed to go to Wal-Mart and pick a few things up before she headed home.

Now, I always hate Wal-Mart.  Wal-Mart on a Saturday?  Ten times worse.  Wal-Mart on the Saturday before school starts?  Yeah…

And what Grandma can resist buying toys for her grandsons when she’s at Wal-Mart?

So one soaking baby, one big tantrum, and lots of tears (not all from the children) later, we all got packed up into our respective cars, and headed our separate ways.  Mom commented that G alone is more of handful than Sis and I were, combined.

I seriously love that kid, but I’m glad he doesn’t come home to my house.

Hopefully, my adventuring is done, at least until school starts on Wednesday.  I don’t think I can handle many more days like yesterday and today.

The hidden pitfalls of volunteering

When I was at the aquarium yesterday, I picked up an application to be a volunteer there.  Glancing at the front page, I could tell that it wouldn’t work; the schedules they had all conflict with my school–plus, the aquarium is a good half-hour or more away, depending on traffic.

Still, I’ve been amused by the application–I’ve filled out less-intense applications for jobs.  You know, where they’d actually pay me.   I was also amused by the variety of tasks they trust to volunteers–like husbandry and throwing birthday parties.  Which I guess explains the intense application, you’d be working with small children and delicate, expensive animals.

Even with the whole weirdness of the situation, I was kind of tempted to apply anyway for an education position.  I’m an insufferable know-it-all, I might as well be an official insufferable-know-it-all, right?

And, in a segway that is both seamless and unnoticeable, I somehow got talked into heading to my parent’s house tomorrow.  I’m still not 100% sure how that happened.

This is the situation–there is a guy I went to high school with–he was in the grade just above mine, who suddenly died of a massive heart-attack last Saturday.  His funeral is this Saturday.  Both Mom and Sis want to go to the funeral–and Mom chastened me when I told her I wasn’t planning on going, until I explained that I don’t think I’ve ever said two words to this guy, and I know I haven’t talked to his wife in the past 11 years.

And I’m still going.

Actually, it’s because G’s been a handful lately (Sis, you should appreciate the careful editing I did of the first word I used) and Mom wants me to help Dad watch he and E while she and Sis are at the funeral.

I don’t know what’s going to happen.  I don’t want to go, but, as I’ve already established, I can’t say ‘no’ to my family.  Which means I’ll end up going and resenting every minute I’m there.  Unless Mom reads this in the mean time, and calls and makes me feel guilty for agreeing to go when I don’t really want to…

Rice Crispies and Turtles

Yesterday, I had a cacophony of bad smells descend on my house–and so, in order to escape, I loaded my two gassy dogs into the car, and drove to my sister’s house.

You know, the one with the 9-month-old who thinks he needs to exclusively eat grown-up food, and thus has very…interesting diapers.

They had been to the aquarium before I got there–I was slightly disappointed, because the aquarium had become the home of a sea turtle since the last time I’d been there.

I really did try to find a text version of that, but… oh well.

Anyway, I was so jealous, I went to the aquarium today, mostly to avoid washing all my clothes that had adsorbed all the bad smells from yesterday–that’s what Fabreeze is for, right?

And I have to say, I don’t think the weights are quite doing their job…

The red is a reflection from something outside the tank.

Anyway, before I went up to Salt Lake yesterday, I felt like I needed to bribe the B-I-L into letting me continue to come to his house, so I did my part to add to the weird smell in my house, by doing some experimenting in the kitchen–and had a resounding success, if I do say so myself.

So…I don’t really measure any of these ingredients, so they’re approximations.   That’s what I love about this recipe–you don’t need to be exact to get amazing results.

The best rice-crispy treats ever

okay, I’m not good at titles.

  • 1 c peanut butter
  • 3/4 c honey
  • 1 Tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tsp cinnamon
  • 5 c crisp rice cereal
  • 1 c trail mix (I bought a mix that had peanuts, almonds, raisins and m&m’s in bulk, and that’s what I used)
  • 3/4 c dried cherries
  • 1/2 c chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine cereal, trail mix, cherries and chocolate chips.  Set aside.

In a heavy sauce pan, combine peanut butter, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Heat over medium heat until everything has melted and blended together.  Carefully pour it into the bowl with the cereal mixture.   Mix well.

Pour mixture into a greased 9×9 pan, and press down firmly.  If desired, drizzle with melted chocolate.

Simple, right?  And they are so rich and decadent.  I love the combination of the dried fruit and chocolate–and I generally dislike mixing fruit and chocolate.

So, enjoy.  And go and check out the turtle at the aquarium.  But bring a child, because it was surprisingly boring without being able to talk to all the kids about the fish.

The End from the beginning

I’ve had a lot on my mind, the past couple of days.  I don’t have an excuse for not writing, except, well I’m not sure how to put what I’ve been thinking about into words.

Everything that’s been going on–from the events in California, to going back to school/not being able to find a job, to a kid I went to high school with dying of a massive heart attack at the age of thirty over the weekend has had me thinking about…well, life, the trials we face or don’t face, and the way things turn out.

I’m coming out of what has been one of the worst years of my life.   Things, from the outset, seem to have been a mess–but if I hadn’t lost my job and spent a more than a year unsuccessfully looking for a new one, I wouldn’t be going back to school.

It’s hard to explain, but I’ve been comforted, lately by the idea that God really does know the end from the beginning.  I don’t know why, for instance, Zeb was called home so young, but I trust that there is a reason for it.  I don’t know why church members in California (and elsewhere) were asked to sacrifice so much in 2008–to the point where two years later, it’s still a dividing issue for wards and families, but I’m beginning to trust that God does.

I don’t know if any of that makes any sense–I feel like I’m rambling.  I’ve had the hardest time writing, and thinking the past couple of days.  Really, not a good thing when school starts a week from tomorrow.

%d bloggers like this: