Wednesday, April 27, 2011

End-of-Semester Rant

As it comes to the end of the school year, there’s no relief from excuses from students who suddenly are shocked to learn that, GASP, it’s almost the end of the school year.

Exhibit A
Me: “Have you started working on your multimedia project yet?”
Student: “No. I think we’re going to wait until the last week.”
Me: “Um…yeah, that’s now. It’s due next week.”
Student: “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! You can’t drop that bombshell on me!”
Me: “It’s been in the syllabus since the beginning of the semester.”

Exhibit B
Student: “I want to change the topic of my paper.”
Me: “Okay. Why?”
Student: “Well, since you surprised us with this assignment…”
Me: “It wasn’t a surprise. You knew about it the first day of class.”

Exhibit C
Student: “What are we doing in class today?”
Me: “Um…haven’t you checked the syllabus?”
Student: “No. I don’t even have a binder for this class.”
Me: “That might be a problem.”

Not to say that I’m not full of excuses myself with my class work. I have a horrible case of senioritis, which will only double, I’m sure, this summer with my remaining two classes (don’t get excited; I still have my dissertation to complete, but, yes, the end is ALMOST in sight, lol).

Exhibit A (e-mail)
Me: “Here’s my final paper. Please let me know when you receive it.”
Professor: “I have it am looking forward to reading it. Did you understand the corrections I made to your draft?”
Me: “Yes, I did. Thank you!”
Little does she know that I totally ignored those corrections…whoops…

Exhibit B
Friend, also in school: “I really don’t want to do any more work now.”
Me: “Me, either. I realized that if I don’t do my final project for my IT class, I still have a B in the class. That’s hard to pass up.”

Good news for me (unless I don’t finish all my coursework in time!) is that my semester ends May 3, thank God. I’m sick of this. Bad news for my students is that theirs goes on for another three weeks.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How to avoid getting arrested in the airport – don’t take my advice

I somehow made it through the past two months. One student conference, four research conferences, nine hours of classes (still working on that one), the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, the Junior Auxiliary Writing Contest, etc, etc. It. Is. OVER.

San Antonio was actually pretty awesome. I’ll have to post some pictures of my one-woman trip, but, for the moment, let’s focus on the airport.

After presenting my research and visiting the Alamo with my coworker and two students, my coworker drove me to the airport. I had no luggage to check; I had only the backpack. I packed light – after all, I was literally only gone from my house 49 hours and 30 minutes.

As I took off all my jewelry, shoes, etc. for the metal detector, Security Dude No. 1 said, “No, you go there.”

Through the full body scanner. The abhorrence of modest people everywhere and the frenzy of the media.

I just eyed Security Dude and kept walking toward the normal, NICE metal detector. Security Dude held his hand up. “NO,” he said more firmly. “You go THERE.”

I glared at him, rolled my eyes, and stormed off to the woman near the full body detector. Furious at having being chosen (note: the guy in front of me AND the guy behind me were also chosen for this, ahem, security measure). Furious that I hadn’t considered this beforehand and written on my stomach in a Sharpie marker, “Are you enjoying the view?” which, yes, had been my plan.

So I stormed in the full body detector. “You have to hold your hands up,” Security Woman said. Gritting my teeth, I pulled my hands up, my body slumped over in defiance. To which dude behind me starts laughing. Security Woman said, “Ma’am, you have to put your foot there.” I slammed my bare foot down and glared off to the side. “Now, don’t move.” The guy behind me echoed her, saying, “That’s right, don’t move.”

Yeah, I moved. And I might have said, “Apparently, I look like a terrorist.” Loudly. Okay, take away the “might have.” I did say it.

Security Woman, probably as hacked with me as I was with her (though that’s doubtful), tells me to just leave. Apparently they saw all they needed to see. So I storm over to the plastic bins area to put on all my jewelry and shoes. The guy in front of me joked, “You’re the common denominator. I got chosen, you got chosen, and the guy behind you got chosen. So you’re the problem.”

“I guess so,” I replied. “After all, I do look like a terrorist.”

The guy laughed. “Well, I’m from San Antonio, so I look like everyone else here. You’re the one who looks different.”

“Yeah, like a terrorist.”

For those of you counting, yes, that’s saying the “t” word three times in an airport with security guards.

Oh, my hissy fit continued.

So the bins are stacking up by this point because, NO, I’m NOT moving. Had I gone through the metal detector, I would have already put my jewelry and shoes back on and been on my way. HOWEVER, since they forced me to go through the don’t-worry-you-don’t-have-to-take-your-clothes-off-we-can-see-everything-anyway insulting device, I was taking longer than usual. Purposefully.

“Everybody needs to move over to the table to put your things back on,” Security Woman said. “Please move to the table. The bins are stacking up.”

No kidding. That’s what happens when you send three people in a row through the scanner. DEAL WITH IT.

The bins started piling up, and I was still putting on my earrings. I appeared calm, collected, and patient. But I was not.

I shoved two of the bins out of the way unceremoniously and loudly and continued putting on my earrings. Then my necklace. Then I took my items and casually walked away.

Actually, I think I took that rather well.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Flyin’ and thrivin’

I’m catching a jet plane tomorrow. Anyone up at 4 a.m., give me a shout out. I’m sure I’ll be bored in the airport.

For the first time since I signed up for this national conference six months ago, I’m actually excited. I’m spending the night with a friend who lives five miles from the airport, which means I get to sleep much later than anticipated. YEA! Also, my coworker, who is arriving later with her family for the conference, told me that she was going to take me to the Alamo and even would drive me to the airport so I don’t have to pay taxi fare. DOUBLE YEA!

God continues to answer prayers. I was so anxious about this trip, but now that I have my boarding pass and have twice confirmed my hotel reservations AND ensured that my dad will call me tomorrow at 5 a.m. to make sure I’m at the airport and didn’t oversleep, I’m feeling more confident. All I need now is a super early check-in time, and I am good to go.

Also, I cannot say enough about how awesome my church family is. Awesome with a capital A. Friends are supporting us, praying for us, ministering to us. Sorry – I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, but my sweet husband is having some health-related issues. We’re going to see a specialist May 5 (which I’m pretty ticked about how far away it is, but I’m learning to deal with it, as I cannot change it), but anyone from our church who reads this blog…THANK YOU. Thank you to my church family, to my friends who are praying and comforting, to everyone.

I am so blessed. I was blessed to have all of you, even those whom I’ve never met before, when Betty was in Chicago undergoing chemo and radiation, and I am blessed now. God is being glorified, even though we are living in uncertainty, even though we don’t know what the future holds. God is above all, and I want to magnify Him in all that I do. Kyle and I have been teaching in Sunday School to turn worry into worship, and that’s what I want to do. Worship, not worry. Praise, not be anxious.

This trip is going to be an adventure. AND, even better, I get to come home and spend a lazy Saturday with the love of my life

and the sweet Chihuahua, Voo.

 And Sunday is Easter, a day of celebration in general, and my parents and grandmother are coming to hear Kyle play in church and to celebrate with us.  

God is so good!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Another edition of Friday quotes

This one is fully collegiate.

Student 1: “How many holes are on a golf course?”
Student 2: “It depends on the size of the course. Either 9 or 12.”

Sports editor, in reference to a basketball game: “She dunked some 3s.” (Think about that one a second, non-sports fans. How do you “dunk” a 3-pointer?)

Student: “I’ve got three girlfriends.  I’m very productive.”

Student: “He’s a little sketch, but can’t we all be?”

Student: “I want my hair to be long and flowing. Like a mermaid’s.”

Student in response to another student’s SUPER ANNOYING ringtone: “We’re just going to keep talking
bad about you to your face until you change that ringtone.”

Student: “And Jane was so mad, she was gloating.”
Me: “Wait, what? Why was she gloating?”
Student: “Because she was so mad.”
Me: “…Do you know what gloating means?”
Student: “It means really mad. Right?”

At a press conference after our coach’s team lost an NCAA women’s basketball game:
Reporter: “What do you think of the other coach?”
Coach: “She’s a good coach. She has a good team.”
Reporter: “Could you elaborate more?”
Coach: “She’s a really good coach.”

Reporter: “What’s next for your team? Where are y’all going?”
Coach: “You really want to ask me that? Okay, do you see where we’re going? There’s nowhere else to go but up. The only place to go is up. That’s the only reason I’m here. That’s the only reason why these kids perform. Up. Write it. Capitalize it. U-P. Highlight it. Put an arrow with it. Bottom line. Point blank. That’s what I said. That’s where we’re going. Write it. Believe that. Our team. Back. Love it.”

Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

University No. 4

Stink. Stank. Stunk.

So let’s review the process of attending an in-state school for one online class to transfer over to an out-of-state school.

1. They can’t find my transcripts.
2. Turns out my transcripts are at the undergrad office, not graduate. But somehow, no one can get them to the graduate office.
3. Due to my sending an application to Univ. No. 4 NINE YEARS AGO, they cannot (for some unknown reason) list me as my married name, which I applied to this online class with.
4. They wanted me to take three vaccinations…for an online class.

Hmm…did I list everything?

At any rate, here’s what has happened in the past week with Univ. No. 4.

Penny MaidenName
111 Green Street
Somewhere in, Mississippi

Dear Ms. MaidenName:

It is a pleasure to inform you that you have been granted regular admission to the Graduate School as a non-degree student.

Hooray! Right? Well, sort of. Let’s count the problems with that statement:

* Maiden Name is still listed.
* Why am I suddenly living in Mississippi?

Ah, wait, here’s where it gets good.

Granted, I was happy to receive admission. Success!! However, the REASON I’m even attending Univ. No. 4 is for in-state tuition. That’s not going to happen if they think I live in Mississippi.

Where did they get the MS address? Well…ahem, when I applied for Super Duper University, I applied using my aunt’s MS address in hopes of getting in-state tuition, which failed. Boo.

But, at any rate, apparently the admissions office can’t figure out to use ANY of the information on my application form. Because that would be too easy.

My e-mailed response to the admissions lady:

“Thanks! One quick thing...that's not my address. For Super Duper, I had that address listed for a personal reason, but I live at *address listed here*. That's the address I filled out my application form with, and that's the address I have lived at for 5 years when my husband and I bought the house. I need this corrected asap, however, so I will not have to pay out of state tuition -- which is why I'm taking this course at Univ. No. 4 in the first place. Thank you!!”

Her very smart-aleck response:

“With so many addresses there, it is difficult to tell which is which.”

In the following time, I have applied for the class and been enrolled and charged $765 for a ten-week online class. Thanks, Univ. No. 4.

I can’t wait to graduate.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Life and death

Bet you’re thinking this is going to be something in-depth and thought-provoking. You would be wrong. Today, I want to talk about tomatoes.

Let’s all remember that instead of a green thumb, mine is the color of death, depending on what color you feel death is. I’ve killed quite a few flora in my time: flowers of which I didn’t know their name, nearly killed my azalea plants (and I’m not sure why they are not blooming at this time), corn, rosemary (though I know why now, at least…), and last, but definitely not least, cactus. Yes, I can kill cactus. It’s amazing that the pets I’ve had in my life have lived so long.

This weekend, my mom and dad came in town, and Mom and I headed to Lowe’s. She told me about my dad’s garden and everything he had planted in it, and that conversation made me wonder…could I turn the thumb of death into the thumb of life? Can this summer be THE summer?

So I made a $7 investment of eight organic pots, organic soil (I’m not really big on organics necessarily; I just happened to be in that section, and it was cheap) and a packet of tomato seeds. Which, by the way, I was told later it might have been better to buy the plants. But I really want to see these seeds grow…if they do.

Let’s discuss the inspiration behind this $7 purchase. This weekend Mom and I walked around our backyard, and she said, “What’s that tree over there?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “We planted it about five years ago.”

“Is it a pear tree?”

“I don’t know. I’m sure the tag is still on it.”

Turns out it is a pear tree. But, more shockingly, it has PEARS on it!!! I know, I’m just as shocked as anyone. Without any care, that tree has flourished. So I also bought some tree food as well. It’s time that sweet tree had some care.

I’m really excited about this venture, despite the unfortunate results I’ve had in the past. I have a neighbor who LOVES to garden, so I’m sure her expertise will come in handy when my tomatoes need to be replanted (cause, frankly, one of the reasons I hate gardening is because of bugs in the dirt. Yes, I’m that girl, lol). But if they grow, I will be so happy!

BLT, I’m waiting for you.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Praise God from whom all blessings flow

Waiting on God requires faith. Faith to live by it, faith to act on it, faith to keep looking at the joyful end of it all. ~ Elisabeth Elliot

I’m not a patient person. How impatient am I? I’m too impatient to even give you craftily-worded examples, so you get bullet points.

·         Instead of waiting to hear back on jobs right after college, I called them on a weekly basis.
·         I may send an e-mail, but if I don’t get an instant response and I think I need a response rightthen, I will call, even after sending the e-mail. Like three minutes later.
·         I’m too impatient to think of a third example.

In other words, yes, I’m quite impatient. Waiting is just the worst. Waiting to hear about plans for the evening…about good news…about bad news.

Y’all know I am usually two steps from crazy on any given day. Today, I was teetering on the border, waiting to fall over.Waiting, knowing today might not even be the day we got answers. Waiting, knowing that even when we had the answers, they might not be what we wanted.

I got the e-mail at 12:06 p.m. I didn’t open it until 12:36 p.m.

Betty just called.  She was thrilled, and relieved, to find most of the tumor on her lung was gone.  She said the doctor was happy about it, saying this is good news.  Nothing was mentioned of the other parts of her body, but since the cancer began in the lung, Betty said, it is most likely indicative that the treatment is working on it all.  And, that does make sense.

Her hemoglobin is low, and she must decide between now and next week when she takes her treatment (2 more rounds of chemo) if she will go with a shot or blood transfusion.  The injection tends to stimulate the cancer so right now she is leaning toward the blood transfusion.

She said, twice, "the cancer will come back", but she is thankful for the present.  Her doctor said sometimes it is as long as 3 yrs before it comes back. 

Thank you all for your continued prayer support. 

Even reading it now, I’m stunned into silence by God’s awesome mercy and healing. I’m overwhelmed by this. Betty called me a couple of minutes later, as a matter of fact, to make sure I heard the news.

“When I quit doing chemo, I’m coming up to visit you,” she said. “I want to go to your church. Everyone in your church is so nice. And all of your friends (bloggy and IRL) are so nice – they sent me cards, and they prayed for me. I couldn’t have gotten through this without them.”

May God bless all of you who have prayed for my aunt. I truly do have some remarkable friends. Thank you all for everything.