December 07, 2013
This has me laughing so hard, and if it has me laughing hard, you know I'm gonna share it.
The little specks of dirt aside, it looks like yer ordinary pink yarn, doesn’t it? You're right, it is ordinary pink yarn only, here’s the rub: It’s frozen! Through and through. Hard as a rock. I could bash it with a hammer and the hammer would bounce right off it.
See, I’m using a plastic bin to collect rain water for next year’s garden and I wanted to tie some mesh fabric over the bin to keep out skeeters, leaves and such-like. I took the (crappy, expendable, acrylic) yarn outside to use a piece to tie the fabric in place…and forgot about it. (Truth is, I suck at cleaning up after projects. Once the fun part is done, I wander off. Squirrel!) Then the rainy season blew in, soaking the yarn, followed by some record-breaking cold and, if you took high-school science, you know what happened next.
Proof, otherwise known as "Still Life With Yarn and Heavy Rock:"
November 27, 2013
Happy Thanksgiving to anyone who is out there!
What I thought I was getting into: A Mickey Mouse certification program like the kind offered by those fly-by-night, here one day, gone the next, usually-being-hunted-down-by-the-Feds-for-fraud technical schools. More importantly, a program that I would breeze through because of my writing and research skills.
What I actually got into: Grad school. Okay, not technically-technically, but you have to have a baccalaureate to get into the program and there’s no breezing. None. People are dropping like flies. Lost two more on Tuesday. And those writing and research skills? They aren’t doing bupkus, or so the “C” I got on my mid-terms tells me.
It doesn’t help that in homework exercises you can make literally NO mistakes, the reasoning being that if you were working in a real law firm, that mistake could cost your attorney the case and get your typo-making ass canned. To wit, this week on a legal memorandum, I wrote Affirmative Response (singular) instead of Affirmative Responses (plural). Only mistake. Dropped an entire grade level. [Insert here whistling sound of bomb dropping out of the sky and exploding.]
Final exams come up in a couple of weeks. Shoot me now.
October 03, 2013
One week of paralegal class down and, as I predicted, I’m the old fart in the class. Or the only one with gray hair, which isn’t quite the same thing but close.
Day 1 was overwhelming. 50 students. Multiple concepts about the Constitution, federal government, state governments and judicial system being thrown at you pell-mell. The room got hot and stuffy (or I had a doozy of a hot flash; same diff’). The chairs were the kind we had in grade school: wooden, hard, with a small flat surface on one side to write on, and let’s just say I’m a little bigger than I was in grade school. Thank God the chairs were anchored because I almost took mine with me every time I stood up. And, worst of all, no one talked to anyone and for an extrovert, that’s torture.
Day 2, much better. True, it was in another room which helped but the other thing that made a difference? Your friend and mine—knitting. I only knitted for five minutes before class but (1) it helped keep me from getting twitchy and (2) by the end of class I had talked to a bunch of muggles and knitters alike—including the teacher—about the socks on the needles. Boo-yah!
Day 3 and the first week down. Spending the day at the law library tomorrow. Man, these people do NOT waste time!
September 26, 2013
My oncologist is kind but blunt. Stunningly blunt. For example, my cancer medication—which I will take for seven years—has caused a lot of aggro with my thumbs (all joints from head to toe, actually) to the point where I have trouble opening or undoing anything, even after cortisone injections in each one. His response: “You have to understand. I’m an oncologist. What I care about is protecting you from cancer. If I were in your shoes and I had to choose between the medication and my thumbs, I would have my thumbs cut off rather than stop taking the medication.” This is almost verbatim.
And this: “’Remission’ means you were in remission at the time the mammogram and MRI were taken and were found to be clear. That is all it means. You could already have cancer again by now.” Also almost verbatim.
While his words left me feeling a little shell-shocked, and while what he said is true, it is also true that at this moment, I'm still alive and so, on a purely practical level, now what? I had had to quit my job because the treatment went so badly so, as I neared the end of treatment, I wondered, how was this old gal going to go about finding a new job?
The one thought that came galloping into my head, fully formed and inarguable, was—I didn’t want to go back into IT. I love computers and software. I find them fun, interesting, challenging and, after 25+ years in the biz, still a little magical. But my last two jobs had been unfulfilling and frustrating. Plus, to move ahead in my IT specialty, I would have to be the kind of techie who keeps servers, software and various network connections in the home. I am the kind of techie who keeps cats, books, crossword puzzles, and yarn in the home. I do not have servers.
My next thought was, then I’ll retire. I had a tête-à-tête with my financial advisor, we brought a budget kicking and screaming into the light, and I retired. Which is merely a fancy word for “unemployed” because I’m not getting any governmental or retiree benefits. I’m just…not working.
All of which lasted about a nanosecond because then—whoosh!—I decided to become a paralegal. I realized my passions—reading, research and writing—all come into play in the paralegal field. Plus, ironically, my IT experience would give me a head-start on the technical aspects of legal research and analysis. So, next Tuesday I start the nine-month paralegal-certification program at the University of Washington. Here, my books for the first three months. Two things give me pause. (1) This tiny pile cost $350. (The red book—$103. Used.) (2) The second spiral-bound book? It’s entire reason for existence is to explain the first-spiral bound book. That's just not right.
September 24, 2013
Warning: If you're afraid of clowns, do not look at the finished striped socks. They scream bulbous red noses, grease paint and tiny cars.
Despite their extreme mis-matchedness—they’re not even in the same color families--I’m warming to them. It’s a trip to look down and see this:
I have yet to surrender the bigger greenhouse to the cats but the small greenhouse/kitty-condo continues to metamorphose. I added a towel to a higher shelf and His Highness approves.
Better yet, they don’t have to squash together the way they do on top of the microwave. This…
As of my last posting, the larger greenhouse was still in its packaging but this past weekend I had a miniscule barn-raising with the help of friend Devorah:
Do I know what to do with a greenhouse? Haven’t the foggiest. When She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named (otherwise referred to as Poo-Poo Head) and I set one up many years ago, it was an unmitigated disaster. And the more I read about them, the stupider they seem. They demand large amounts of equipment, electricity and finicky TLC for a modicum of fresh veggies! You have to keep things not too humid, not too dry; not too cold, not too hot; not too sunny, not too shady; not too airy, not too stagnant. And, apparently, God help you if bugs establish a foothold.
I’m well aware this is a particularly cheap-o one with no bells and whistles and I’m sure I’ll lose interest rapidly but yesterday I stood inside it, snug, dry and warm, while rain pitter-pattered all around. Greenhouse, my sweet patootie. It’s really just a grown-up playhouse.
(P.S. There is now a plant or two inside, a tomato that seems determined to keep producing on through the fall, some lettuce and a tray of hollyhock seeds.