Friday, September 30, 2011

ten reasons why i'm in college

1. Because I can be.
2. Because I see and hear and learn things I've never even thought about.
3. Because it makes me feel smarter than I was before.
4. Because it makes me feel stronger than I was before.
5. Because it makes me feel.
6. Because it didn't occur to me to go when I was 19.
7. Because I like learning.
8. Because I'm not a quitter.
9. Because I only have 1.6 semesters until I have earned my degree.
10. Because I'm not too old.

Yes. I'm feeling a bit touchy. Really annoys, irritates, gripes, hurts me when somebody questions me when I ask for the student discount. Stop raising your eyebrows questioningly and give me the discount. And don't ask if I'm the oldest kid in my class. Because I might be old(er), but you're rude or mean or at the very least on my list of people I'd punch in the face if I were that type of person.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

two other things about yesterday

1. While driving on the freeway yesterday afternoon, a van driving in the lane next to me had a blowout. Big ole' loud explosion right next to my door. I was certain the van had hit me and in that instant, thought:

--What the hell?
--What just hit my car?
--When does the spinning begin?
--This is it for me. I'm done.

Yes, that's a lot of thoughts for a split second. But that's just how I am. Cat quick in the brain.

Luckily for us all, it was just a blowout on some other vehicle. No apparent debris flying into the recently painted side of the little car. No spin out on the 201 ramp onto I-15 at 60 mph.

Yes. All good.


2. During dinner last night, I thought I saw something with black on it dash by the door, but as usual, I didn't have on my glasses, so I couldn't tell what it was.

Let's just say that usually when that happens, that seeing something dashing or scurrying by without being able to register it accurately in my brain, it always--always--turns out to be a mouse.

In fact, I said to Jack and Jr, "I think I just saw a big black mouse on the deck." And they made fun of me for thinking Gus's nose was a mouse.

But see, now I'm thinkin' that was no mouse. It was no dog.

It was one of those freakishly big frightening raccoons. Probably checking out the spilled dog food stain on the deck.

Crap. I'm not going to be able to go out back anymore. Such a waste of a good garden.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

hunting skills in that little guy

In case you need to know, my least favorite creatures are:

1. Mice
2. Grasshoppers

Okay. At least those are my least favorite creatures that I might encounter in my life. Around my house. Or in my gardens.

And snails. But I'm not afraid of snails. I just don't like them eating my flowers.

So far in his short life around here, Gus has brought me a dead mouse that he caught (or found, not sure because it was dead and I certainly didn't need to get close enough to examine it), and just last weekend, he dragged a huge grasshopper onto the deck and played with it for an hour.

Now we can add another creature to the list: raccoons.

Three of them. Trying to get into my attic.

Earlier tonight, we heard Gus and Jo making crazy barking sounds out back. Jack went out to see if the neighbor was teasing them--quietly sneaked over to the side of the house to check out all of the commotion, and while peering over the fence into the front yard, suddenly something BIG and hissing jumped off the side of the house into the front yard, right in front of him, leaving the other two--yes two big furry hissing things--attached to the bricks up under the eaves.

By this time, Jr joined the fray--after much scurrying about locating flashlights and sticks--because you know, we're all stick-wielding raccoon killers or maybe raccoon pokers, right? Actually he had already called the police to ask them to send out the animal control or wildlife services or whoever it is who is brave enough to coax three raccoons into a trap and away from my attic.

Jack tried to get a photo so we'd have something to post on the blog, or maybe he just wanted a photo, but of course, the flash on the camera wasn't working. And then, before the cop showed up and before Jr figured out he could just get in his car and turn on the lights, well, by then they were already gone.

When he arrived, the cop was a little disappointed because he'd missed his first chance to use his pepper spray on raccoons.

And like the spider who still lives in the window, I had these crazy mixed feelings--I mean I certainly don't want hissing raccoons living in my attic or around my yard, even if they aren't rodents, but still, pepper spray?

I'm thinking Gus and Jo did a great job scaring them away.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

because you need to know

I'm giving out a quick update:

1. Spider is still living in the window.
2. My computer is having typing difficulties that may or may not be related to my idea to clip the cat's nails the other day while holding my computer on my lap. I'll be turning over the compy to see what falls out from under the keys.
3. I'm sitting in my recycled rocker/recliner. $15 at a recent yardsale--it's a lazyboy and it's beautiful florally with those cool metal stud/brad thingies. Okay so it's reclining mechanism isn't quite right so you have to make sure you don't put your hand under the handle or it could get crushed into the floor...but still, it's a great rocker and so comfee. If that's a word.
4. Shoulder rehab is coming along nicely. Recent visits to therapy have included a reminder from the therapist that this process will take three months or 12 weeks, whichever I prefer. Also enjoyed the day that I said I was ready for her tortures and she announced, "Let the games begin."
5. For Lisa, at the same yardsale, I discovered a terrific Stevie Nicks-ish dress. I think I need you to hook me up with some lyrics.
6. I did not drive to class tonight because my teacher is out of town and sent a sub. See I'm thinkin' that if he can't be there, neither can I, right?

There's probably more, but really, how much can you stand all at once.

Oh, just one more. In case you are not a regular reader of my daughter's blog, you should really click on over there because it's got a pretty great post up right here. Really. It will make you smile and maybe even laugh out loud. And you know you need that, right?

You're welcome.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

is this a huge mistake?

This guy--or girl--took up residence a couple of months ago in the window outside of the office. His or her web catches all kinds of bugs, so that's good right? I've been inclined to let him or her be.

Jack pointed out though that if he is a she, we just might see hundreds of little baby spidees, small enough to set up homes inside of the office.

But still, I'm not sure I can go out there and tear down his or her home.

I mean, it isn't like he or she is a mouse.

Monday, September 19, 2011

enough with the weeping

I'm trying to just remember how great the past few days have been. Hoping Jessie will post photos since I forgot to take my camera.

But then I came home to JoJo who was thrilled to see me and Gus who seems to have forgotten who I am but might remember in a couple of hours or so.

And then Jack finished up the dishes and took out the garbage as soon as I came into the house.

And I had all of the ingredients for chicken rollups, and I found baby-sized creampuffs in the freezer.

And while assembling the rollups, I looked out the kitchen window and spotted this:

California poppies.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

this isn't california it's heaven

I got the email from Delta today that says I can check in for my flight home tomorrow.

Just as I had to stop myself from thinking about coming here until the day before I got on the plane, I've been trying to not think about how I will not be here forever.

Not that I don't want to go home. Lots of greatness there.

But here (in no particular order):

1. Every morning my door opens and a little face pokes in and says, "Gramma, you awake?" Followed by a full contact hug of arms around my neck with soft cheeks next to mine and kisses good morning and snuggling and giggling under the covers.

2. Plenty of time to finish my homework. I know, really? Homework while on vacation? Yep.

3. Naps. Everyday with at least one or two little girls sitting on or next to me. Totally satisfying.

4. I read a book. Not a textbook--The Help. I don't remember the last novel I read. I laid on the couch and in my bed and read. Started it yesterday afternoon and finished it this morning. I'd forgotten how much I like reading for pleasure.

5. Food without cooking or cleaning up. I haven't cooked or done dishes at all. Sorry about that Jessie. But it has been pretty sweet.

6. Hours and hours watching my daughter and her family interact. Could not be better.

Friday, September 16, 2011

this california thing

Been here almost a day and a half. Exhausted. Don't know how Jessie does these things:

Keeps up with three busy girls--kindergarten, pre-school, naps, shopping, eating, playgroup, celebrating a birthday, oh and sleeping.

All of those seem to involve driving on freeways.

Okay, maybe not all. Like the sleeping part or the kindergarten part or some of the other parts.

But the celebrating a birthday part--definitely included driving on the freeway. By me. With Breanne and Janey.

See, we got this great idea to go shopping for Jessie's birthday yesterday afternoon. Jessie gave me simple directions--once you get out of the neighborhood, it's just a couple of turns and you're on the freeway and then it's just ten miles or so to Target. Seemed easy enough, right?

So we got on the freeway--yes, the correct freeway--and headed straight to Target where we picked out a card and party plates, napkins, and hats, candles, and gifts. Breanne picked out an awesome gold flower-shaped ring (about two inches across). Janey picked out a cool Halloween charm bracelet. Together they sniffed through several lotions until we found one they both were sure mom would like--coconut lime scented.

But for some odd reason, Target didn't have the other two necessary gifts--balloons and orange flowers. Because how can you have a birthday party without balloons, and mom loves orange flowers.

So our clerk at Target gave us great directions to the closest store that has balloons and flowers--simple directions really--get on the freeway, take the blahblah exit, go right, then left on blahblah and when you see the McDonald's and the Sizzler, you're there. At Nob Hill.

And amazingly, we followed those directions and we found Nob Hill. Where the help was so so so helpful. They blew up the balloons the girls picked out. And they had a bunch of little orange roses. Perfect, right?

So we got back in the van and headed back to the freeway. On our way home, no problem.

Okay, except for the part where I couldn't remember the name of the exit to Jessie's house. I mean, I think I would have recognized it if I'd seen it. But I didn't see it. So we kept driving. Looking for that exit with the name I didn't remember. I saw other exits that I thought I remembered. But they didn't seem quite right.

I did remember Jessie telling me that it's illegal to text or call on a cell phone while driving. Or something like that. So I was surprised to get a text from her asking if we were okay. I quickly replied yes. Then sent a quick text as I got off the freeway--Exit? Or perhaps it said Exi?t

She sent me the exit name. Not the exit I took. So I attempted to re-enter the freeway. Unfortunately, the entrance was under construction, so I bravely followed the detour signs through a part of some town I've never been in.

By now, Janey was asleep and Breanne was asking how much longer? I honestly told her I didn't know. Possibly not reassuring, but she seemed okay with it.

Eventually, we got back on the freeway and continued north.

When I reached Santa Clara and Sunnyvale, I called Jessie. Yes, while driving. Carefully even with a car full of balloons. But that's when I realized I'd totally missed the exit. Still not sure how. Something about names of other roads on the signs that must have distracted me so I missed the somewhat blah name of the correct exit.

But that whole exit/detour/get back on the freeway thing? Drive back to the correct exit during rush hour traffic, in the merging lane because I was afraid to change lanes while looking through balloons and possibly miss the exit again?

Yeh, Breanne was right, we spent the whole afternoon in the car.

It was a great birthday party though. And today we spent the afternoon at the children's museum. Good times.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

12 hours from now

I'll be at the airport, checked in for my flight to see Jessie on her birthday.

I probably won't sleep tonight.

Friday, September 9, 2011

comin' back

Guess who just danced in the basement?

Yes. Me. !!!

And I even scored higher than Jr on two songs! Not that I'm bragging because he beat me on like four songs.

I think I won because my shoulder is still tight so my moves have to be more controlled.

Or maybe it's because I kind of knocked into him a couple of times. Or something.

Now I gotta go ice it. Sweet.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

maybe you already know this but

If you sue someone and win, the jury can award special damages (economic, out of pocket, loss of wages) or general damages ( pain and sufering) or punative damages (to punish the defendant who knew his product would damage people but made a business decision to go ahead with the program and risk hurting a few people.) Then along the state legislatures who have decided that someone who was injured might deserve some amount of award of damage, but punative damages are too much for one individual so that individual gets say $50K and the remaining 100M goes to the state government.

This pisses me off. Totally.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

new favorite shoes

These feel so good I slept in them last night.

Okay. Not really. But I wanted to.
yes, those are silver toenails--cool, right?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

two things

There were two things that happened during the post-manipulation hours and days that I don't want to forget.

First, during the hours immediately post-manipulation, my arm was sleepy. Really sleepy. Before the procedure began, the doc asked me to sign to give him authorization to give me some type of injection during the procedure. I don't remember what type of injection it was--steroids or pain killer or what else I don't know. I just know that there was some weird stuff in that shot. All through the night, as I was waking and dozing fitfully and startling awake and writing in my half-asleep brain, my arm was sleeping. At first, I couldn't even raise it. I had to move it with my other arm. But as the night progressed, my arm seemed to be waking up so that by morning it was awake and functioning properly. But there was this odd period of time in the early morning hours when it felt like it was awake but if I tried to reach towards my face with that hand, I'd smack myself in the face. Literally. The lower part of my arm was uncontrollable, so I'd tighten the muscles all through my arm and squeeze my hand tightly into a fist and as I raised my hand, it would fall, deadweight smack into my face. Happened at least 20 times. The first five or so times were accidental, but then, because I couldn't figure out what was happening, I kept trying to see if I could control it. But I couldn't. So I kept hitting myself in the face. For hours.

The other crazy thing happened during those days when I was taking too much percocet. I think this bit of weirdness confirms the dose was too high. See, even though I was feeling pretty crappy, I was bored. I'm not a fan of daytime tv, or really much tv at all, but the haze in my brain made it almost impossible to concentrate on anything, and if I tried to watch a show or do a crossword puzzle or read a book, I'd find myself very irritated with life in general and the situation I was in in particular. The one saving grace was the cats. I have great cats that enjoy doing the cat thing that includes kneading me, curling up next to me, and then purring loudly, which I think is all part of the way that cats express their feelings of adoration. Millie is my beautiful, big tabbie cat and she was delighted to be out of the basement with me, no dogs in sight, for hours at a time. At one point, I got out my beads and jewelry-making stuff, and after considerable thought (at least it seemed like I thought about it a lot), I decided to make a necklace that included all of the beautiful browns, oranges, corals, blacks, creams--all of the colors of Millie. Yep. A necklace that matches my cat. See, this is what drugs do to your brain.

Friday, September 2, 2011

now, now i get it

This week of school:

Monday--no classes

Tuesday--Intellectual Property & Cyber Law. In Orem, so I made the hour drive through the rush hour/construction that is Utah County (and will be until just right after I graduate). Wandered around the Liberal Arts building until finally located LA208. Found a seat just before the teacher began class. Or, the guy filling in for the teacher began class. Which consisted of the handing out of the syllabus, a brief review (five minutes) of said syllabus. Actual teacher is out of town so class dismissed.

Wednesday--Organizational Behavior. Again, in Orem. Wanted desperately to get into an online version of this class, but since I was 18, then 14, then 12 on the wait list, emailed instructor asking if there was any way to let me in. Received email that said, "I don't see you getting into the class." Day two of driving through rush hour/construction zone. Got there early enough to go to bookstore to pick up books. Longest line I've ever seen (even longer than at Kohl's during December!). Found bookstore employee holding sign that read, "End of Line". Got in line, which moved surprisingly fast. Ten minutes and $508 later, on my way to class. Wandered over to Business building. Realized I must have had the wrong classroom number (there is no WB110 although I copied my schedule from the school website into a Word doc and printed it out the day before, so not sure how that happened). Found a computer lab, logged on and learned that the classroom is actually WB112. Entered hidden WB112, spotted no seats at tables, found an empty chair, instructor pointed out empty seat in middle of row. Climbed over kids and sat down. Spent next hour listening to each student tell his or her preferred name, where he or she grew up, if he or she had lived out of the country for more than six months, what, if any languages he or she spoke, and sharing something that no one knew about him or her. Sixty students. Really? I drove that drive for a 3000 level jr high class? There's a whole other story about how one of the students is Jessie's high school boyfriend, but it's toooo long for even me to post. And there are stories about how we spent the next two hours--learning how to log on to the school/class websites, learning how to write our contact information onto a 4 x 6 card and glue, paste, or as a last resort, staple a head shot of ourselves onto said card for next week so the teacher can learn our names. A 20-minute life history of the teacher. A 15-minute break in the middle of it all. Finally, mercifully, it ended, and I drove home, discouraged yet again that I couldn't get into an online version of this class and save myself the two hour drives down and back. Also, bummed that there doesn't seem to be a way to test out of this class.

Thursday--Family Law. Left work again to make the commute to school. Work is on the northwest corner of the valley. Realized I needed gas while driving along the western mountains. There is a lot of new development out there. No gas stations. Thank you, little car that uses not much gas, for getting me to the 7/11 at I-15 on Bangerter without running out of fuel. Hungry but no time to stop. Not thrilled about making the commute or about attending a Family Law class. Tried throughout school years to avoid Family Law. Seems like there must always be someone sad or angry or both when family law is involved. But it's required. Arrived at school and began search for WB123. Could not find it. Wrong class number again? Began to feel like I am in jr high. Found computer lab and checked for correct class. WB123. Whaa? Wandered around and found class. Slipped into a chair just as instructor began class.

And that is when I realized why I love the law. Why I love to learn about the law. Why I love to go to school.

At the beginning of every semester, I feel a bit apprehensive--Is this too heavy a load? Can I handle the drive and work and family? What am I doing, going to school at my age? And more of that. After a week or so, I settle into a routine, figure out when assignments are due, how much work and time is required, and then plow on through. As I looked at my schedule for this semester and next, I realized that in order to graduate in just two semesters, I needed to take 13 hours. That didn't sound too overwhelming until I realized that I would be driving down on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights. In rush hour and through the construction. After my experiences on Tuesday and Wednesday, I was really beginning to doubt whether I even wanted to go through with this semester.

But then I went to class on Thursday.

My professor is a judge. One of 71 judges in the State who was appointed by the governor, confirmed by the Senate, and has been retained through several elections since. He is a grownup. He doesn't get to bring his biases to his day job. He understands our legal system--how an attorney can argue one side of the law for a client and then two hours later argue the other side of the same issue for a different client. He knows how the legal system was established, he understands constitutional law, and he applies it every day.

I sensed a wisdom in him that I haven't felt from my other instructors. He gave us a bit of his background--he's married, LDS, has five adult children. His four oldest are boys, all married. His oldest son lives in Canada with his husband.

He hears all kinds of court cases and reminded us that he is ethically bound to not discuss cases he is currently hearing. He is one of the people who hear cases and then rule on the cases, writing opinions that become case law. His rulings interpret the laws that our state legislature passes.

This class is why I love school. I am going to learn from this instructor. I will not learn only that he knows the law or that he can write motions or opinions or memorandums. I will learn how to understand and write them myself. This notion of learning is why I have had this vague idea of going on to law school buried in a room in my brain. It is the kind of learning that I imagine occurs in law school and I would love to experience that.

However. He pointed out that law school takes three years. Then he said that all lawyers--all lawyers--need three years of actual lawyer work before they are any good. So, if I finish up this year of school, take the LSAT and get into law school, go for three more years of school, pass the bar, practice for three years--I'll be 60 before I'm a good lawyer. Thinking about that left me feeling a tiny bit sad, but more than sad, it was a practical way to look at it. Is the effort worth the opportunity to work as a lawyer for ten years? Would I be able to even do it for that long?

I'm not sure yet. There's also the part about how you can't work during the first year of law school and the other part about how would I pay for it. So there's that.

But it was a thoughtful discussion. And driving home, I wasn't even bothered when the McDonald's by my school was only accepting cash and I had none, or when the lane I was driving in exited off the freeway, dropping me into an even more chaotic construction zone that also had a McDonald's, which had a nonfunctioning drive-up window. I just parked and went in for a chicken sandwich and some oatmeal raisin cookies to munch on while I drove home and thought about how much I was going to enjoy this class.

I will be driving back to school tonight for a one-hour entrepreneurial lecture class. And during the night, somebody dropped the online organizational business class, so I dropped the Wednesday class and added the online version.

I'm feeling pretty good about school right now.