Monday, December 31, 2007

Say Goodbye to 2007

Another year has reached an end and we are fast approaching the eighth year of a new century. As each year passes I am continually surprised I am seeing it come in, and just a little sad to see one more year go away, although some years I can look back on and say good riddance with a joyous scuff of the shoes on my feet.

So what kind of year has this one been for moi? It has been a good one with a lot of changes, i.e. school (again), a new house, a happy smile or three, tai chi, and so many small things that when counted or looked back upon they make a pretty good sized mountain of just plain pure goodness. Am I sad to see this year go? No, not so much, because with all of the goodness and wonderful friends I have made over 2007, I can only look forward to 2008 with much joy and anticipation.

Resolutions? Not really "resolutions" per se, but good goals I would like to reach. Such as good grades in school, happy decisions, seeing friends more often, and taking care of my new little house. I'd also like to begin driving again, slated for June of this year, and I'd also like to have my electric wheels back so I can get out of my beautiful little new house independently. (I seriously miss that part of my independence and freedom.)

This year I am not going to put down goals such as 'lose weight' or 'stay more positive' because each and every time I make those goals for myself I end up sabotaging them either consciously or subconsciously. This year I just want to be more healthy and enjoy the life I have, whether or not all of the days are good or bad, it doesn't matter, just as long as something good was discovered therein.

It is also my fondest wish and desire for each and every one who reads this little blog has the best year ahead of them possible! God bless each and every one of you continuous readers as well as potential readers!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Note

Technical difficulties. Be back tomorrow.

Monday, December 17, 2007

And They Say Dogs and Cats Can't Be...Friends?

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Christmas Approaches and This Made Me Think Today

DYNAMIS, Secret War, December 18, 2007, Tuesday
Posted by: "Dynamis" dynamis@dynamispublications.org orthodoxdynamis
Sun Dec 16, 2007 5:32 am (PST)
____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2007 Nativity Fast Martyrs Sebastian & Zoe of Rome & CompanionsKellia: Exodus 17:8-16 Epistle: Hebrews 9:8-10, 15-23 Gospel: St. Mark 10:2-12Foreshadows ~ II * Secret War: Exodus 17:8-16 LXX, especially vs. 16:"For with a secret hand the Lord wages war upon Amalek to all generations. " God is waging a covert war against the forces of evil using His invincible weapon, the Cross, as He did when He brought Israel through the Red Sea, provided water in the desert by having Moses strike a rock, and formed Moses' arms in a cruciform during the battle against Amalek at Rephidim (vs. 8).Historically, the Amalekites whom Israel battled at Rephidim were a marauding, warlike tribe that constantly attacked Israel in their fatigue (Deut. 25:17). Amalek's ancestry traces from "a concubine of Eliphaz, the son of Esau" (Gen 36:12). Balaam, the prophetic son of Beor, declared that "Amalek is the first among the nations, yet his seed shall perish" (Num. 24:20). In Moses' final words to Israel, he directed the People to "blot out the name of Amalek" (Deut. 25:19). Samuel, Saul, and David fought against the Amalekites. In the reign of King Hezekiah (729-686 BC), men of Simeon are said to have defeated the last of them (1 Chron. 4:43).The present account of Israel's first encounter with this nagging enemy followed an important miracle in the arid Sinai desert, a region devoid of water resources: Just a few days after God's People saw their Egyptian taskmasters drowned in the sea, they ran out of water. The Lord guided Moses to "the rock at Horeb" that he was to strike with "the rod with which [he had] struck the Nile," and water came out for the People to drink (Ex. 17:5,6). Let all these events serve us in our life in Christ as we journey toward the Promised land of His Kingdom.Follow these steps as they apply to us: God freed us from an Egyptian-like bondage to sin and death by our passage through the Baptismal Red Sea with the sign of the Cross. Now He is leading us through this barren world toward the Promised land, where He promises, "Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst" (Jn. 7: 14). Moses struck the rock, which yielded water. That Rock was Christ (1 Cor. 10:4), as St. Paul says. Since Christ our Rock was struck on the Cross, He brings forth living water to us.After God gave water from the Rock, Amalek, who foreshadows the forces of evil at war against us, came to fight. This is why St. Augustine identifies Amalek with "that most proud spirit...to things above" who "receives a greater power of domination, unless one avoids the secret snares he is laying." When that evil spirit is openly raging through a sinful people he "is like Amalek - he denies the passage to the land of promise. He then must be overcome by the Cross of Christ, which was prefigured by the extended hands of Moses."Again, it is the victorious Christ Who defeats the forces of evil by the power of His Cross. During His wilderness fast, the Lord Jesus directly confronted the Devil, the head of the forces of evil. Similarly, during the whole of His ministry, He met demons who cried out to Him and against Him, injuring, sickening, and driving God's People to madness. The Lord exerted His authority against the evil spirits, silencing and casting them out (Mk. 9:17-27; Mt. 12:22-29). In this conquest of sin and death, the Lord Jesus exposed the vulnerability of the dark powers.His decisive defeat over the evil powers came on the Cross, which was foreshadowed on Israel's battlefield with Amalek, as we have said. On a hill, overlooking the struggle, Moses stretched out his two arms, forming himself in the identical position as would the Lord Jesus centuries later on the Cross. Thus, as Moses stood in a cruciform, God defeated Amalek and foreshadowed the conquest of sin and death at the Cross by our crucified Savior, Jesus Christ.O Christ our God, Who didst stretch out Thine arms on the hard wood of the Cross for our salvation, ever assist us by the power of Thy Cross to defeat every assault of the enemy.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Settling Into Home

Finals are-almost-over. I have to finish one math test (yes, I know, but a girl does need some rest occasionally) and life will progress as close to normal as possible. Normal, as usual, is a relative term in most cases and here is no exception.

Since the quarter is over and I can actually sit and do some thinking and, thank God, some writing. This means also that The News will return to fiction and poetry and will be open once more to submissions at the beginning of the year.

Besides being open to fiction and poetry, as well as my own creative endeavors, there will be pieces of news that may or may not be fit to print and so much more. This time the loose form will be fun and not so strict as to make me, your happy Editor, go insane with even more horrible deadlines than what is required for school and such. Of course, the more personal matters will be on The Personal Side which will be a little easier to control. The blog over on LJ will continue to be personal and will also hold things that should not be published on TPS, as in "friends' only" posts. As everyone has come to realize, my life is an open book (more or less) and sometimes quite funny, and sometimes quite serious.

Everything has a time and a place, and I am feeling more confident about The News than I have in many a week, or perhaps many a month. Good things are going to happen with The News, my own writing projects, and school. It will take quite a lot of work, of course, but it will all be worth it in the end.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

An Addition to the Blogging House

Hello all, there is a lot going on, true, but there are changes happening every day. Since I am trying very hard to get The News back to what it was originally conceived of: publishing some of my own work as well as the work of others, I am opening up a new Blog called The Personal Side which will also be cross-posted to my LJ over on Livejournal.

I am warning all of the readers of The News there may be more personal information about my boring life and every day happenings than you could possibly want to know. (No, I am not going to be talking about my sex life or anything over there, but it could get...personal, thus the name means something.) Unless, of course, I find another place to host The News, but I don't believe that will happen.

The picture has nothing to do with the post, I just liked it.

funny pictures
moar funny pictures
I am getting to the point where school work and deadlines are about ready to drive me insane. Right now, at this particular point, I feel as if I don't care. I don't care the last two things of Real Estate Law is due. I don't care I only have until Midnight tonight to get the paper in for Criminal Law. I don't care I have a test for Criminal Law tomorrow, also before Midnight. After today and tomorrow I am going to blog, play games, and be a total laze, except for the house cleaning, of course. I is a tired.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Something Cute to Boost the Spirit

Still undergoing finals. EVERYTHING must be finished by Midnight tomorrow, Wednesday 12/12. I am past feeling over-whelmed to a category of nerves I haven't felt since my senior year in college the first time 'round. I never expected to be feeling that particular way again. It is surprising, and, somehow, quite acceptable. So, I leave you with something cute.

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Friday, December 07, 2007

Some Funny, Some Not-So-Funny

Finals are almost over. Final projects are almost over. Still feeling somewhat over-whelmed, but managing to do deep breathing exercises and still able to move forward. Everything is supposed to be over Wednesday of next week. Once that is over I am going to do absolutely nothing for one entire day and may just keep my pjs on the entire time! I deserve it.

OK, so here is the funny. It really did make me laugh out loud.


funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Thursday, December 06, 2007

In My Own Little Corner

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I'm Amazed and Almost Haunted

< a href=''>

Sunday, December 02, 2007

TMNT?

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Just Because I am Tired

Last night was a small birthday celebration for Sniffles. I'm too tired to write it up again, although I must admit I am almost deliriously happy, so go here for a gushng post of pure happiness. Now I resta little more before more projects and maybe, if all goes well, some knitting before the night is through.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Evel Has Died

evel knievel

Evel Knievel has died at age 69.

I remember watching him jump on television in the '70s. This makes me sad. Part of the happy part of my childhood has passed away.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Beyond Squeeeee!

It has been a while since I have updated. True. It hasn't been because of classes or medical issues (thank God), but because WE HAVE MOVED!

Yes, that's right! We have moved from the old place into a new place. A three bedroom place with a single bath, plus the obligatory kitchen and living room. It is warm and tiled in every single room which makes for a much easier wheelchair movement. When I am on my crutches I am a bit nervous, but I don't believe anyone could possibly blame me for that; even Hubby is a little on the nervous side when I am up on my crutches.

The kitchen is my favorite room currently. It has the Internet connection up and running and the sink doesn't have any cabitnets directly beneath it so there is ample room for me to get my legs and the wheelchair beneath so I can wash dishes no matter how badly my legs are tired or my body is not cooperating.

I tried to take a picture of the sink, but it didn't come through. However, here you can see just how much the animals are relaxed because Cappa and Jo were lying on the same rug and not trying to kill each other!

Cappa and Jo

Plus, the frige has a wonderful ice and water dispenser!

Home1

And the kitchen table is still serving as the primary study area, as you can plainly see.

School3

We are warm, safe, and actually heading toward major happiness thinks I.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

News!

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Lots going on so will have to catch you up later.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Santas in Australia shouldn't say "ho, ho, ho"?

"SYDNEY (AFP) - Santas in Australia's largest city have been told not to use Father Christmas's traditional "ho ho ho" greeting because it may be offensive to women, it was reported Thursday."

I know this is silly, and the article talks about just how silly it is and it makes me smile in its pure stupidity.

Go on, read it for yourself. I am SO glad some people see it as stupid. If it happens here in America I believe I will protest!

LOL!


Also, today begins the Nativity Fast for us Orthodox Christians. I am not sure what I am going to do just yet as an addition since I keep poultry due to my health. I love this time of year!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Just listen....

I debate....

The winter building begins on January 2nd. I have registered for classes. All of them are on-line this on-coming quarter for me. One of the said courses I have signed on for is college algebra. Now I am debating said math course. I am smart, not overly smart mind you, but smart and I am feeling far more confident about anything numberish than I have ever felt in my life, but Should I really tempt fate and do a college algebra course course on-line?

Any suggestions or comments you have on said subject would be most appreciated.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Merry Christmas


christmas cottage
Originally uploaded by hahwriter
I have noticed a trend in the past couple of years. People don't say "Merry Christmas" any more, really. They say, "Happy Holidays" because they don't want to offend anyone who may not be a Christian by wishing them "Merry Christmas". This makes absolutely no sense when you think about it, because Christmas is a Christian holiday.

In the early Church the festival of the Sun was held on December 25th, and as countries, villages, and people became Christians, they gave up the celebration of the Sun Festival, so, the early Church decided this would be a good day to celebrate the Nativity of Christ. The Son of God. The play on words was quite intentional.

You need to understand, too, this was the early unified Church before the Roman Catholics branched away from the Orthodox faith, and have remainded separate from it for these past many centuries.

No one "took over" the Sun festival or banned it or anything of that nature. It was exactly the date of nine months past the time of the Annunciation and was as good a date as any. This isn't unheard of, though, in history, and where people are concerned. We enjoy celebrating birthdays. I know of stories where older people have not known when their birthday was, so the family gets together and decides when would be a good time for it, and from that moment on, they celebrate that person's birthday on that date. It is a sign of love.

Why is it so hard to acknowledge the same thing happened in Christianity for Christ? Our traditions and our faith are strong, how much more logical it is to want to celebrate the Christ's birthday than to "force" a people to celebrate it against their will?

A lot of atrocities have indeed happened under the banner of Christianity. There isn't any way to get away from that, but, sadly, it has been under the Roman Catholic banner, the Church of the West, rather than the Orthodox Church, the Church of the East. Even though this truth cannot be denied, nor should it be, it isn't a reason not to wish someone a very Merry Christmas.

Trying to take Christ out of Christmas is like taking flour or meal or water from the baking of bread! If the main ingredient isn't there, it isn't bread, and without Christ it isn't Christmas.

I am a firm believer in not offending anyone. But what should I do when people are offending me by trying to take away one of the most beautiful holidays, a Christian holiday, celebrating Christ's birth and making it a pagan holiday of just buying presents and having an excuse to drink too much?

So, this year I will be wishing people a very Merry Christmas as well as every year to come. I believe it is time we take back one of the most beautiful times of the year if you are a Christian. Presents are wonderful-we exchange gifts because of what Christ did for us: He gave the greatest gift of all-His life so we would know how we can live.

Christmas is a remembrance of hope. Besides, doesn't it sound so much more musical to say Merry Christmas rather than Happy Holidays?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Tai Chi and Yarn Therapy Make for a Happier Me

Yesterday was Saturday. Saturday is tai chi day. To my happiness I actually stood for part of tai chi and am planning to stand more. Even though I had to sit down to finish out the session, I can honestly say the way I sat on the edge of my seat and did the movements was much better. Smoother. More effective. A couple of times Just Bill came by and gave me a reassuring rub on the back which was just what was needed to let go of a lot of the stress that has been plaguing me recently.

"Lady Lin" helped me a lot during yesterday's tai chi session. She kept moving and showing me things I needed to keep and moved me into proper position a couple of times. In those moments of tai chi, everything seemed outside. Far away. I knew the problems were there, of course, but they didn't matter while learning and trying to learn the tai chi movements. It was a nice, warm place to rest in the middle of a storm with friends.

After breakfast Hubby and I went on our normal rounds of Georgetown and then to Stone's Throw.

I had yarn therapy.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The picture says it all...sort of.

lolcats and funny pictures
moar funny pictures
Well, a lot has changed in the past few days. My wheelchair has died. Dead. I am at home now doing as much homework as possible over the Internet and walking a good deal. Luckily there is a manual wheelchair I can actually sit in and relax and get out in with LOTS of help. I can't budge the manual at all.

Sullivan is working with me as much as they can possibly do and I must say I am getting close to adoring the teachers there. They are going beyond the call of duty for me to get my work and receive it. I am blessed to be going to school there, which is really amazing since I would have preferred to have gone somewhere else initially. It is a good thing God is in control, because I would have otherwise screwed up.

Tomorrow I go see more doctors and a person at a wheelchair clinic. I am hoping, though I probably shouldn't, that I can get a loaner from them until my permanent chair comes in.

Oh, and the writing project has 50 words on it. Yes, I know, it isn't very much, but there really has been a lot more on my mind of late than the story I began.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Feeling the Need

As most everyone knows, November usually means NaNoWriMo which boils down to writing 50,000 words in a month and having the first draft of a novel to work on, revise, and then submit somewhere. Since school is in my life now, as well as holidays and Church, and, well, just life in general, there is no way I can actually do NaNoWriMo this year, and give it an honest shot.

Recently I went roaming around in the most recent issue of Romantic Times Magazine I saw something about 70 Days of Sweat which is remarkably similar, except you have a few extra days to get the thing finished. Seventy days.

Of course, I can finish Trai. He needs to get finished. However, at the same time as needing to finish Trai, I need to begin something different. Something that can be written on easily and finished as quickly as possible just because I need to be able to look back on my work and say I have accomplished something other than school work.

It is insane to say, but I am seriously considering beginning something very similiar to 70 Days of Sweat. Maybe I could call it 90 Days of Determination. It sounds good doesn't it? So, when would be the beginning date?

How about Monday, November 5th?

OK, let's say it begins on November 5th and ends on January 5th.

Goal: To have no less than 60, 000 words done. A first draft. By January 5th.

I already have a notebook in my bag because it was an automatic purchase for November. Now I am feeling a little bit more like I can accomplish something.

Now comes to hard part for me, because I get caught up in everything else except writing sometimes: I will post a word count every day until January 5th.

If I miss a day, well, I'll just have to make it up. I know I am going to miss some days because life happens and there are quite famous monkeys with wrenches seeking to derail everything we plan.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Remembering and Thanksgiving

Thirty-some-odd hours ago, I was wheel-less. My electric wheelchair decided didn't go on Tuesday evening. It powered up, came on, but...no va. It just didn't go. So, off it went to the doctor yesterday, which meant I missed school and was on my feet quite a lot. Yes, there is a lot of soreness today, but yours truly is stronger than she used to be, just not as strong as she would like to be.

Not being able to move from one room to another without major pain and such slowness I envied the lovely turtle, it reminded me of just how much freedom I actually have now compared to what it used to be. It was a hard reminder, though good. Sadly, like many people, I had become so used to doing things I had forgotten what it was like not to be able to do the simplest thing without assistance. It was horrible! Tears came and went throughout the entire day, and there wasn't one single place in my house I could rest comfortably except the bed in the bedroom.

Tears fell on my friends, my dogs, my cat, and there was quite a bit of snuffling for Hubby. He said he was glad to see I could walk. I am glad he was glad, but there just wasn't any way I could explain how much pain there was. Walking is important, but, now, I am realizing freedom is more important. Being able to be a productive human being is marvelous. Yesterday I was not productive. I couldn't even knit, which again sent me into tears.

Today it is almost as if nothing changed. The hallways at school ring with laughter and people are greeting me calmly or joyously, or just ignoring me like they do most everyone else. Very few people here actually know my wheels weren't working and I had to miss school because I couldn't physically get around. Even the ones who do know don't really comprehend the tragedy that was yesterday.

Yes, I used the one word rarely spoken by me. Tragedy. Yesterday was a tragedy in the simple fact that life was not lived. Life was something that just happened. I breathed. I ate. I drank. I hurt. I didn't enjoy. No matter what I tried to do to make things better for myself, even if it was just to read a book, it all just fell through. It was as if I was trapped, imprisoned within myself. There was once a time when I used to feel like this all the time. Each day was something I dreaded. Each day I woke wondering what else I wasn't going to be able to do and tried very hard to force myself not to want to do anything. It was a sad way to be.

How long did I live this way? I don't know. I remember the pain and wondering if dying would really be such a bad thing. When did things change for the better? When it was firmly established I was going to live and there was a way to help for the pain to be manageable. It took a long time. Now I must admit that life is better. Actually, life is good and I am living it. How sad that previous time was for me and I am glad yesterday was only a short revisiting so that I could actually remember and be glad for how things are now. I am thankful things are not like that on a consistent basis any more.

Life is good. I am a happy individual with a real life. And I need my wheels. I am thankful for my wheels. I am thankful for everything currently around me and in me. So, yesterday wasn't a horror in the fact that it helped me remember; it was a blessing in that it helped me appreciate everything I have now; and it was a tragedy that it had to happen for me to realize just how much I am truly blessed with now.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I did it! I did it!

lolrabbit-funny-pictures
Have you ever had one of those days where something clicks into place in your psyche, actually, in the very depths of hope itself? I have just had one of those experiences. Previous to this experience I was much like the little bunny above counting in preparation for hide-and-go-seek with my criminal law quiz.

Today I found out that most people have extremely low scores. Myself included, but not because of studying. It is a hard course to begin with, and adding in the fact we are taking it as an on-line course just helps to explain how everything can completely get out of control.

A few moments ago I took a quiz independently of my study group. There was much trepidation. I got an 85%! I can do this, people! I can do this!

Can't I?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Did H.G. Wells actually have it right?

evolutionPA_468x186

Go. Click on the link above and go read this. It made me laugh. Did the guy just read The Time Machine and make up some sort of something to make himself look good? What do you all think?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rainy and Cold in Lex


tired kitteh
Originally uploaded by hahwriter
Yes, it is raining here in Lexington. Quite chilly, too. And the wind is blowing. It is a very cold wind. Hubby is heading out for his check-up at about four, which means I will be coming home to an human-less house for the first time in quite a while. This is one reason why this picture reminds me of my house and me: I'd love to be home right now, safe and warm and surrounded by my dogs and kitty cat, but I bet I won't cook once I get there. Today has been one of those draining sort of days.

Tai chi has kept me going, though, and a few other qigong techniques I've learned over time. Physically I could be doing better. Emotionally? Well, I think I just am beginning the winter blahs just a little earlier than normal. It is probably because I am out and about with people. At the same time, one aspect of the winter blahs hasn't hit yet, and I don't expect it to really: the anxiety of not having anything to do. Yeah, that one is TOTALLY covered this year. Who knows, when the rain stops and all of the winter clothes are unpacked (including some socks) the winter blahs may only be the "winter hinderance" than anything else.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

what are you doing?

Twitter is a service that asks, "what are you doing?"
Here's my latest update:

mountainlaurel: How does this wrk?

So, what are you doing?
http://twitter.com/i/ce54b817849e71823833bdcef2805f689b9d7b68

- mountainlaurel (via Twitter)

"Twitter is on its way to becoming the next killer app."
- TIME Magazine

"It's one of the fastest-growing phenomena on the Internet."
- New York Times

"Suddenly, it seems as though all the world's a-twitter."
- Newsweek

Quite accurate

funny cat pictures & lolcats - 5 more minutes. This was me earlier this morning. All I really wanted to do was to just lay quietly wrapped up in the blankets with Hubby on one side of me and Chewie on the other, all nice and warm and let the heavy rain keep me fast asleep. If it couldn't keep me fully asleep, I knew I could remain relaxed and quite content.

Currently at school. Currently quite tired with still loads of work to be done. Tomorrow is yet another day and more homework, but I have come to the decision this is now my life and, despite occasional grumbles, it is indeed one enjoyed.

Last night I frogged (unraveled) the sock I was working on and started over. Now I have a nicely begun project that continues to give me encouragement to finish it, and the other one. A "pair" of socks means two. I know my brain knows this, and my head, and I seriously don't want to be one of those knitters that wears different socks because they want to use up their yarn (which, of course, gives you reason to purchase more) and get bored of one particular color and simply don't go on to finish the second sock. The A part of my personality demands things finished. Complete. To the best of my ability. Socks are going to be the true testing ground for my knitting determination. Another added incentive is the fact I really need some socks. My feet are getting colder as the days progress and the temperatures drop. A pair of socks could come in quite handy right now, as well as in the future.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Addicted


Start Running
Originally uploaded by hahwriter
I am addicted to Disapproving Rabbits. There isn't any possible way for me to have a house rabbit at my place because of my loverly dorgs and kitty-Cappa, but there are moments when I would sincerely love to have a soft, fuzzy bunny to cuddle with. Do bunnies cuddle well or am I just hoping, wishing they do?

Every day I go to my favorite rabbit page and sit and smile. Even when the day is horrible there is something about seeing all the disapproval present that makes the day not quite so bad. This photo is of today's disapproving rabbit, and how can I not smile? This little cutie is giving the world the perfect look, and, if I was, say another rabbit, or even a cat, I might just run myself! I can also remember my own pet rabbits and how they could leave a nice bruise or three from kicking when someone new or different picked them up.

So, I give you bunnies today. I thought it was appropriate since it is Monday.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sorry. Couldn't Resist.......

loltiger - sry I skare u. I not rly goan eet u.
more funny pictures

Taking a Moment

Life has a tendency to get quite full. Remember the description in Purple Thread? Today, right now, is one of those "bloated" days I was talking about. Everything is due at school. Life is too full. This time, however, I am going to inhale deeply and exhale slowly. One way of releasing all of this is by just simply taking time to do something fun. Like Blog.

Why am I doing this now, when so much is ahead of me calling for my attention in ten thousand different directions? Because there are ten thousand different directions my head is being pulled, as well as my time and energy. It has been so difficult to sit down and decide on one specific thing to focus my concentration toward. So, I am breathing and taking time to just be here, in the Now. And, joy of joys, I can actually see what needs to be done most (criminal law) and the things that can be left alone for a little while (legal writing) and those things that need to be taken home with me (math).

This is quite surprising. I mean, everything has a path. Finding the path to the one of the better answers is the difficult thing. Tai chi, knitting, and spinning, along with a double helping of prayer, has indeed begun to teach me something about myself and how to handle...all this...stuff. And, it makes me smile.

People have said over and over again that if you can just give yourself a few minutes throughout the day just for yourself, everything is a little better. When I can remember to do this, things actually do get better. Things become more clear, paths are more easily chosen. Yep, I'm doing this more often.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Purple Thread


Image004
Originally uploaded by hahwriter
Spinning has begun teaching me about life.

I am new at spinning and not so new at living, or so it feels sometimes.

I look back over my life and see many horrible things, many "rough" patches that would have been far better not to have experienced. This time, I am not just talking about the death of my parents and family members, but about how hard handling the pain and the confusion of the pain and just trying to live and not just exist while in the midst of the pain itself.

In learning to spin I am making what is called "slub yarn." Yarn that is sometimes extremely thin in spots, or sections; or perhaps quite thick. As with all things you learn, there are also sections that are absolutely perfect. This is a lot like life.

There are parts of our life where we are pulled so thin we are in danger of breaking and never being able to mend ourselves back together. Sometimes our lives are so full, so bloated with things to do or work to complete, we can't see how we've come past the thin section. The sections that are absolutely perfect surprise us, but only in hindsight, because we can't see we have had perfect sections until the thin or thick parts hit as we wind the yarn of our lives back onto the spindle of time to create more yarn and we see them and we wonder, perhaps only sometimes, perhaps a lot, why we hadn't noticed them before.

My faith teaches me that the Theotokos, the Virgin Mary, spun. We have an icon on the Holy Doors at Church that shows the Annunciation when the Angel Gabriel comes to tell her she can be with child. She is sitting quietly with a spindle and a long piece of beautiful blue thread. Startled by the appearance of the angel, the spindle is unwound some, but it is still one beautiful strand of consistent thread. The Theotokos tells the Angel Gabriel, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." (Luke 1:26 - 38) And Christ enters her womb.

She accepts. She is not forced.

You can't force the yarn into perfection. It just moves into it's shape and consistency with all of the wonder of every fiber falling perfectly into place. The Theotokos was human, just like me, but she was willing to let all of the fibers of her Soul, her mind, her body, and her heart fall into that perfect unison so that Christ could be born of her.

My fibers aren't perfectly falling into place. I still let life pull me so taut, so thin, I am in danger of breaking and never mending. I still let life fill me up until I am just one single blob of imperfect fibers trying very hard to spin into perfection. I still can't see all of the times when my life is in perfection, order, stretching out before me until they are past me. But I am trying. And, the more I try, the more I see the dangers, the pitfalls and the sorrows ahead, and know, through faith and love and steadfastness I will get through them. My one hope is that I don't hurt the people I love while getting through them.

Spinning has begun teaching me about life. Perhaps, by the time my yarn is in a perfect section, I will be able to see life a little differently, and thus keep all of the fibers running through and making the most beautiful of thread.

Maybe Jesse Stuart had it right in his novel The Thread that Runs So True when he tells stories of his life and how every single thread means something to someone, and when it is all woven, it shows us a tapestry of our lives. Isn't that such a wonderful legacy to leave behind and to create?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Brain Knows When it is Time to Take a Break

My brain has decided there has been enough studying for one day. Despite every effort and self-encouragement technique I have used on myself, I simply have not been able to settle down to do more studying. This isn't helping me. I need to finish up assignments so there won't be any homework left for the weekend, which, in its turn, takes away time spent with Hubby. Besides, I'd love to just sit and spin for a while.

Ah, spinning. It encourages me in ways I didn't quite expect. Last night while watching television I couldn't keep my hands off of the beautiful purple wool that was beginning to turn into beautiful purple yarn. Before it was time to go to bed there was an obvious difference in the product at the beginning of the entire spinning experiment, and the yarn I put down in order to go to bed. It was a better product, even though there were still lumps here and there and a few thin places. Lucky for me I can see when this is beginning to happen now, and if I can catch it early there is even a chance of correcting the problem with adding just a little more wool. Even if it isn't perfect yarn, the hat the yarn will make is going to be absolutely splendid and much loved.

Since the spinning experiment is going so well there is the possibility of combining different colors of wool so the yarn made will be different. My own creation. It may not be different, but each time I have said, "I would like this color mixed with this color--now where do I find it?" there hasn't been a place to locate such color combinations. Now there is: Me. This is a giggly thought on my part. Absolutely joyous!

See what I mean about the brain knowing when it is time to concentrate on other matters for a little while? It would be nice just to sit and spin for about thirty minutes before having to go to work or doing more homework. Is there a way to transport some yarn and a set of knitting needles? If I am extra careful perhaps I can transport the sock yarn, needles, and pattern with me. Surely socks wouldn't take up so much room they couldn't be placed in my school bag.... Hmmm, this means thinking and arranging. Who knows, next week may see me transporting yarn to school and some quiet time just to knit amid the craziness of studying almost relentlessly!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Spinning a New Tail

This past weekend was a wonderful experiment in something new for me. Spinning. No, not spinning around in circles until you fall down giggling in self amusement, but the kind where you take wool and turn it into yarn or thread.

The wool I chose for my first attempt is of a vibrant purple. It is almost a royal purple. The thread, string it makes is just as vibrant and eye-catching as the wool itself. The idea I had, when I picked this particular wool for my first time spinning was to knit a warm winter hat for myself and I wanted something that made me smile.

Beth, of Stone's Throw Artisans in Georgetown, gave me a quick demonstration with a drop spindle. It was amazing to watch as thread seemed to magically fall from her hands. Perfect thread with no bumps or lumps. It was amazing to watch. Beth concluded with, "And that's it. You'll do fine!"

So, yesterday I took her simple instructions and tried. It isn't perfect like Beth's. There are lumps and thin spots, but watching the thread magically appear as the whirl spins there is a different sort of peace than knitting gives. It is peaceful. Quiet. The quiet like a peaceful prayer. Perhaps this is why I chose, quite spontaneously, to begin my spinning experiment at the Church festival this Sunday. Was it only just yesterday?

The first ten minutes had me spinning. The thread and string forming. It called to people. A friend, a very manly man at that, sat down and tried his hand at spinning. He is from Ethiopia and he told me how they would sit and make their yarn and thread out of cotton. He was excited at seeing something that reminded him of his own culture and people. Kids appeared and stood off about five feet because they were afraid of "bothering" me or making the thread not appear. Although I encouraged them, they still remained five feet away, their eyes wide and, after a few minutes, they began smiling broadly with each time I paused to wind the new thread around the pole of the spindle.

Even our priest came up to where I was sitting to watch me at our labors and others came forward to tell me of icons they had seen of the Theotokos, The Virgin Mary, with a spindle, just like the one I was using (the same type of spindle) and that they had never seen anyone using one before. Lucky for me I had researched spindles and spinning quite a lot before I decided to try my hand at it, and was able to tell them that the drop spindle is one of the oldest forms of spinning tools in the world and that it is in almost every culture that has textiles. It is just a natural progress of need and figuring out how to provide that need.

In nearly every culture that has a spindle and produces thread, the spider is a representative and usually stories follow of how people learned to spin and knit from a spider. I have a horrible fear of the creatures naturally, but Saturday, during tai chi, I did a movement, and there was a spider dangling from my left hand on a virtually invisible silk thread. Normally I would have screamed and flailed frantically to get it away from me, but the thread was so calm and still and the spider didn't move (I think it was the spider not moving that made me less afraid) that caused me to just relax. I gave my hand a good shake to remove the spider and went into the next movement. It was still there as my hand came up into a ward off position. It wasn't swaying or bobbing with my movement (maybe I was doing something else right?). It was perfectly still, dangling from my hand. For a moment my mind stilled even further and suddenly I accepted the spider and managed to get it free from my hand in some type of peace.

If I was one to believe in omens I would call the spider an omen. One of peace and stillness. These are two traits quite useful in spinning, or knitting, or living.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Ahh, the Sweet Goop of Returning to Higher Education, and Other Things

Yesterday was not the most pleasant of days as Hubby and I had a delicious bout of virus-ness. While I was able to stay home from school and actually rest in order for my body to attempt to heal up, he was forced to go on to work in order to pay the bills. Today I have made it back to school, which is good as I had a math test make up to do, and I am feeling quite tired, but not so nauseous. Hubby has returned to work even though I asked, almost pleaded with him to remain home so he could get some rest and get firmly over this creeping crud. Hubby is a very strong man physically, plus he is stubborn beyond belief. Hopefully this stuff will have worked out of his system by this weekend. (There is a lot going on this weekend.)

On more pleasant notes, however, I discovered a writing prompt that made me actually sit for a moment and think about it. (It would be nice to be able to write about it, but legal writing class and a paper due in it keeps my mind firmly on legal writing issues at the moment.) So, I thought I would pass it along to you, Dear Readers, for your perusal as well as perhaps prompting your own creativity. A genie just pops into the room where you are and offers you three wishes. What do you ask for? You may send them to me to post here, or you can post at the Writer's Digest site itself. I would really like to know what you came up with.

As I said earlier, there was a math test I missed yesterday because of the ickiness. I had nightmares about it for a good portion of last night and it was first thing on my mind this morning when I woke up. When I got to school I actually had to wait on my instructor to finish a call before asking for the test. She smiled at me in this pleased, almost surprised sort of way, and agreed. If she had not agreed, as my brain was trying to tell me, I would have pleaded! After taking the exam I feel more confident. I believe I actually did quite well, especially since we were permitted one sheet of handwritten notes to have with us during the exam. Since we are beginning to use formulas you can imagine what was pretty much on my sheet. I only needed the sheet twice!

However, something that happened just prior to taking the test, and then directly before my math class began, that made me sit quiet for a moment and take issue at what I do as in comparison to what some students do (actually a lot more than I would like to admit, even to myself). A girl in my math class, as well as in my program field, came strolling into the building--and I do mean strolling. She is a very pretty young woman, probably in her early twenties, but she always has an angry, aggravated look on her face which takes away from her beauty. This girl also carries, almost radiates an aloofness and arrogance that keeps many people away from her and she drops it rarely (usually when she is in need of something, like notes). I asked her if she had taken the test and she said, "No, I wasn't here yesterday." She then proceeded past me with determination as if I had stopped her from reaching the finish line of an important race in the Olympics.

This girl, though young and beautiful, does not take higher education seriously. If she can get by with doing the very least she can she is happy and complains when she is challenged, even in the smallest bit. It makes me sad that there are so many students here who do this. Sometimes I think I try so hard because I always have had something to prove, to show that I could keep up somewhere with all of the rest of the "normal" people. Now I am beginning to accept I genuinely enjoy learning, as well as it is a field on which I am just as equal as everyone else. When I see someone so young, who has everything ahead of them practically pissing away their education because they seem lazy and don't want to be bothered with it, I almost get angry, then disappointed, and finally sad because they have so much before them and they just can't see it. Not really. Sometimes, when I see this, I think it is also my age: I am a lot older than this girl, but now I'm not so sure this is the reason a reaction like this makes me feel this way.

Please don't misunderstand: there are a lot of young people here trying their very best to do what they need, to succeed with the best grades possible. They have great outlooks, and high dreams and hopes. However, they are not the norm for the majority of students. Their number is quite small compared to the others who act arrogantly and as if education, school doesn't really matter for their futures and are, basically, forced to go to school by parents, spouses, or because they have children who need things and thus they need an education in order to get the better job to care for them.

It is just sad how some of them act. It also makes me think, what are they going to be like once they get into the work force? Are they going to be the same way? I believe the answer is pretty close to an affirmative. Lord help us all.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Disapproving Rabbit Sort of Day

Tuesday. It is just Tuesday. *sigh* Already it feels like a full week of school for me and I haven't even begun tutoring yet. I start that this evening at five o'clock. Joy. I mean, I love the money and the extra time I have to study when someone doesn't need help. I enjoy the company of the other tutors and the discussions we sometimes get into being all sequestered in one small room as we are (there are just tables designating what area belongs to which subject). But, today, I would love just to be to recline my chair (it it could recline that is) and just rest my eyes for about an hour. Why don't schools, colleges come with nap rooms? Would that be so bad? OK you don't really have to answer that one.

I guess I am just tired with all of the studying I am having to do. I mean, let's face it, places with "accelerated learning" as part of their title or credentials don't let you take too many breaks. You learn to get in there and get it done. So, we go at it (I am not alone in this, there are hundreds of us, probably a couple of thousand at the very least) and we work hard at what we are doing. If it had not been for the things I have learned from tai chi and the book The Healer Within it is pretty fair to say, I think, I wouldn't have made it through yesterday.

I can do this. There are just two more days to my school week and I have Friday, sweet Friday, to relax and, hopefully, sleep.

Today has not been as horrible as yesterday, or as hectic as last week. There have been moments where I could actually look up at a clock and feel a sense of peace rather than anxiety, and my dear friend Sniffles was able to come and have a late lunch with me. Both of us needed it, thinks I. However, once she was gone I began working on math and got it finished for the test tomorrow, made notes for said test, and organized my notebook a little better than it was before.

Cheyenne said I hadn't hit my stride yet this quarter. Perhaps he is right. I feel off, somehow, with everything I need to do. It is as if I haven't been able to prepare for this quarter as I did last quarter. True, there was a lot of stress during my time off. The opportunity to rest was, well, not as readily available as I had hoped it was going to be. Yeah, I need to find that stride and go. I may not be an "jogger" where this educational field is concerned.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Perfect Autumn Sunday

Today was one of those perfect early autumn days when it is warm during the late morning and afternoon hours, and is cool in the morning and evenings. I needed a jacket on the way to Church this morning, but on the way home it felt good to remove it and enjoy the beautiful warmth of the sunshine. Tomorrow is supposed to be the same, perhaps a even a little warmer.

Hubby and I have done very little since coming home from Church. We have relaxed, together, for the first time in several weeks. We both have needed that quiet time. He has played video games and I have knitted. You can't beat days like this.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sizing Up the Mountain

Just who or what is my competition you say? It is this quarter of school. And, I want to make it perfectly clear to you, Dear Readers, as well as to myself, that I do not consider school to be my enemy. Oh no! It is my competition for myself. So, I guess, I am really competing with myself because, well, I am the only one doing these courses and being directly affected by them. Makes sense in a strange sort of way, to me at least.

This first week of classes has been...hectic. Almost beyond hectic. Already I have been close to the point of tears because nothing has worked right or out for an entire day and I seriously considered just finding a quiet room and bursting into tears. I didn't though. I made it through the day without a red nose and damp eyes. I am proud of myself because I did not burst into tears, but held on and stayed strong.

Thankfully the "first week of classes" is almost over and looking ahead I can see the challenges for this quarter are three times worse than last quarter. Class work is harder, actually difficult, and the constraints upon time is, well, difficult to explain to my Hubby or anyone else who isn't currently in school. Getting everything organized, well, we'll talk more about that later.

It looks like a mountain to me, really. Probably because I am quite familiar with them (and I miss them, too). It isn't an impossible climb or hike. It is difficult, though, and will call for all of my skills and knowledge and determination to make it to the top. I will reach the top this quarter, and, with luck and a lot of hard work, there will be an even better GPA than the last quarter.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

In an Almost-Quiet Moment You Can Take a Breather

Yesterday was the first day of classes for this quarter. With all intents and purposes I was planning on writing about it, until I came to the absolute and complete conclusion it would be a much better thing to be as forgotten as possible.

The long and the short of it is: 1) Voc Rehab had mislabeled funds I needed for books to tuition, so there weren't any textbooks with which to go to class with; 2) the family law class is one I need to take later on, preferably in the summer when my mood and body are doing much better; 3) added criminal law class back into the mix, although it is on-line and Louisville screwed up the notation of the proper textbook to be used, so there is a slowdown of what to do and when (hopefully it won't kill me); and 4) it was just an all around busy-work day with academic bureaucracy. I don't believe I have changed floors so many times in such a short span of time than I did yesterday. It is quite possible I was in the elevator more than I was in class or anywhere else in this place!

In re-reading the above it "looks" deceivingly simple. However, I cannot explain how bad a day it was. OK - I could explain just how bad it was because I am leaving out a few details, but it is best I do, I believe, merely because it is easier to go on and not look back. It is best we don't re-visit bad things when a good day is happening. Don't you agree? Thank you.

Today has been a much better day. My first class of the day has turned out to be math. So far so good. The main thing I need to do is just keep up with the homework because my current math teacher is as different from the previous math teacher as...Pepsi and milk. I like Pepsi. Milk...not so much. One good thing, though, is that I am more confident in getting a good grade out of this class than I normally would have thanks to said previous math instructor. Another thing that is making today better is that Voc Rehab and financial planning here at Sullivan have finally come together and I was able to get myself some books to go to class with! Well, actually it is only one book as Mr. W is having to double-check to see which book he wants to use for Real Estate Law. Having textbooks takes a lot of stress off of yours truly. I like to be prepared if assignments are asked of me. Since assignments are already assigned, it is good to have the tools with which to complete them.

Met up with some last-quarter friends today just by chance. It was spectacular to see them! It always amazes me how people end up becoming familiar so that when you don't see them you miss them. Amazingly, they appear to have missed me as well! Yes, I should be quite used to this by now, but I am not, not yet at least.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Putting my Face to the Wind

Change. It happens. Sometimes you encourage it. Sometimes you discourage it. However, it just seems to happen. When things are at their worst, or best change come along and...well...changes it. Usually it is for the better while sometimes it is just "different" and nothing more. It is hard to tell, at the moment, what sort of change is happening with me. I am trying with all my heart, mind, and Soul to go forward with the change and see where it is taking me. Being the logical sort of creature I am, I can't just let change happen. I have to try and map it out and see where it is going so that if, by chance, it isn't a good change, I can hopefully have enough time to make a course correction and let the change keep on happening.

The second quarter for school is beginning tomorrow for me. There are changes I would like to personally make on getting things done around the house for myself as well as for Hubby. I believe they would help us, but, having a very stubborn husband quite used to having his own way, it is sometimes difficult. This leaves me with only one course of action: Changing what I do to help me, for him to see, and then for him to decide what he would like to do either to join me or to change a course of action for himself.

Husbands are like that, though: It takes a while for them to agree with their spouses because they are predisposed to disagree. I think it is something they have in their DNA itself. So, I set my face to the wind and lift my chin ever so slightly and go forward.

I have a good husband.

Friday, September 21, 2007

No, It Wasn't Planned

The hiatus of late was not "planned" nor "expected." It merely occurred. I wish I could say that there was much great and wonderful excitement had by all, but, well, there wasn't. It was a time of sleeping, grumbling over bills that needed paid sans funds, and reading. Oh, and knitting.

About the only productive thing about this hiatus was that the hat for Hubby was finally completed. He took it as soon as it was off the needles and I haven't been able to snag it for a picture yet. But I will. I will! I am quite proud of the little thing.

There is tai chi tomorrow, unless these cramps continue hideously as they currently are. I'll take a muscle relaxer and relax and see how it all goes.

I have missed you all, Dear Readers.

--The Editor

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tidbits

Yes, it has been a while since I have regaled you with tales and thoughts, or just harassed you, Dear Readers. I have been a very bad Editor and I once again apologize. Life is...interesting...when you are a student. Once finals were through I believe I slept for a couple of days, and finals weren't that hard torturous (this time). I think it is just the stress of it all. It weighs on you and when you are tutoring, well, you get everyone else' stress as well and it affects you despite your best efforts to distance yourself.

There is a story I need to tell about tutoring this quarter, but I am preferring not to think about this so much at the moment....

I am almost addicted to Disapproving Rabbits! Every day I go there to get my daily dose of rabbity goodness! I adore rabbits. I really do. They are sweet, soft, and once they know you they know you and if someone else touches them they are very aware it isn't you. Part of me would love to have another rabbit, but I don't believe my canines OR feline would appreciate this very much. They happen to be just a little spoiled. Especially my beautiful golden lab, Chewie.

Chewie has really begun to fill my heart with gladness and joy. He is such a kind, tender soul. Recently Cappa, the Princess Feline of the household, killed a mouse. Chewie was heartbroken! He whimpered. He almost cried. Then he deposited the mouse into my lap for me to "make it all better" I believe, and when I couldn't he was almost beside himself. How can you not love such sweetness, such kindness?!

Have my grades. So far the GPA is 3.75! *happy dance* I didn't do as well as I wanted on the keyboarding final. I know my accuracy was dead on, and my centering was perfect. The table I was supposed to put into the letter was correct. What did I miss, then? Oh, well, I'll try not and think about it overly much. It is already done and there is room for perfection and having the 4.0. If I am not mistaken, this should set me onto the Dean's List. We shall see.

Currently I am applying for scholarships and grants for some more free money. The new wheelchair should be here sometime this month and I need some money to pay on it, plus I need to buy school books for the next quarter. It surprises me how little money I actually need to get everything done that needs to be, but, at the same time, it is quite difficult to come by. This means I have a number of essays to write of varying lengths on different topics and I have those creative projects to finish. Yes, it surprises me how busy I can end up.

-- The Editor

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Slowing down in order to speed up. More commonly known as finals.

Keyboarding 105. Although it would be horrible to sit here and toot my own horn, I am quite positive I have aced my keyboarding final. There wasn't a speed and accuracy test (which is a bummer to me), nor was there APA format which made my life and testing quite easy. All we had to do was a memo and a letter with a table inside it. No problem. I was really expecting something hard. Extremely hard. There wasn't. Therefore I am quite happy.

Since having taken the keyboarding exam this leaves me with a question: How did this one fellow fail the exam? He took it via night class. It isn't that hard to begin with. He said, "I can do 40 words a minute without a problem, but I just wasted $40 on a course because there just wasn't enough time to do everything the teacher wanted on the exam!" Having taken the exam, which is the same for all classes, I am not at all certain how in the world he failed! He has not even tried in class or something. A lot of people in my class were glad to get 40-50 words a minute. Their accuracy was good and although they were slow, the finished product was pretty and neat. So, how did this guy fail the final? Did he even try?

This quarter has come to amaze me really. People that don't really have a problem physically expect more and more things to be handed to them. "Earning" something is a concept they thing will happen later. Not now. Not while they are in a school learning and practicing for the job they are eventually going to have. It isn't just one age of people either. It is an amazing demographic of young and old, and older who expect the grades and class work to be given them in the easiest possible format. They don't want to work.Also, it isn't a sociological/money issue either. Poor students are expecting hand outs just as quickly and readily as those with money. If it isn't a generational thing nor a money thing, why is it here? Have people completely lost their sense of self worth? I mean, come on, let's face it--my self worth has been beaten, battered, bruised, knifed, kicked, you name it, but slowly the belief in myself is returning. It isn't anything I've done or wanted to do. It has just slowly come because this is the type of person I am. And, I also understand that people really need self worth to feel good about themselves and sometimes this self worth is abused by others and causes great harm. However, it doesn't seem right that almost half of the student body of this place should have this attitude. Is it?

It just amazes me. I don't understand this. I sincerely, truly don't understand this aspect of what is happening here at all.

*sigh*

OK, off my soapbox now. This was just an observation that I have been making all along, but today it hit with a major whack when I heard of the people failing the final exam in keyboarding of all things! And quite a number didn't even show up!

Ok. Ok.

The last final I have today is the math final. It begins at 12:30 p.m. and this means I have nothing to do between now and then. (The keyboarding final was finished in 30 minutes so I have been free for an hour already!) Let's see what I can find to keep me amused while the mp3 player charges.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

A quiet moment


Have been reloading the MP3 player for studying and finals' test taking. Ran across this and found myself just sitting. Listening. So I thought I would share.


R. Carlos Nakai - Whippoorwill (From Cahnges).wma

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Finals Are Here! Finals Are Here!

It is difficult for me to accept, believe, comprehend, etc., etc., etc., but finals are here for this quarter.  Classes are over as of today and I am having to waste time between one class and another.  In keyboarding I was informed that I had done all of the timed writings I needed and since I had handed in the very last packet I was free.  My head just didn't know how to think nor did my heart know how to feel. 
 
Earlier, in Introduction to Law, the instructor handed out our finals and said, "This is due Wednesday.  You are free to go."  Same feeling.
 
Between now and math is (now) an hour and a half gap and I am curious to see what we are going to do, if anything.  Since it is math I am sure Ms. Math will have something for us to go over in preparation for the final. 
 
The legal research project, the final project, is done and handed in.
 
After I take a make up math test tomorrow morning I am free to do as I please until Wednesday.
 
I have time to study.  I have time to work on only two projects and let myself feel absolutely relieved about them because I am confident I can do the work and will come out with relatively good grades.
 
I am not panicking.  I am not over worried.  I am at peace.  I've never been at peace before where finals are concerned.
 
Yesterday I had a lot of pressure to finish the legal research final project.  I didn't want to have to try and work on it as well as the rest of the final projects I thought I'd be doing.  It was a good project and I believe I did well on it.  Hopefully I did.  One project, intro to law take-home exam, and two tests and this quarter is completely finished for me.
 
Wow.
 
Oh, and yes, I have already registered for next quarter and have my list of classes already.  I am actually becoming an organized student, as well as a more organized person.  Oddly enough, I had always considered myself organized (and I am compared to my husband), but now there isn't any doubt. 
 
Finals are here and I am ready.  Plus I finally feel like a human being!  The only thing wrong with me today is arthritis in my right shoulder.  With relaxation and some chi breathing, and Advil of course, and I am feeling much better.  So far have only had to take one dose of the painkiller Ultram(tm).  I'm going to make it!  I'm going to make it!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sometimes preparations need Preparation-H

Preparing for the up-coming week. I have homework lined out and almost finished. There are a good number of lunches in the fridge. There are books of the fiction variety to keep me occupied when there isn't studying involved, and I have The Healer Within to keep me moving forward on the path of just simply feeling good. And, thanks to a dear friend, I also now have the prayer book I have been wanting, needing for a while.

Everything "looks" as if it is straightening out and at the same time it all feels like a big pain. Keeping my head on straight and moving forward with the plan I have so carefully laid out for myself (it's the A part of my personality; it shows up at the strangest times), but, at the very same instant, I see all of the math problems flowing ahead of me like a numeric white water rapid and the legal research is right there with it like some gigantic boulder in the middle making a dangerous split in the frothy water.

No, I'm not overwhelmed. Not yet. At least, not now.

My other classes are looming in front of me as well, but not so much as a menacing tower of doom, but more like an annoyance, like when Indiana Jones faces the sword wielding bad guy in Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indy pulls out his gun and just shoots him. That sort of annoyance. I guess, in some ways, this is a positive thing: I am at least feeling somewhat confident again and finally rested enough to feel as if I can actually make it through the next two weeks with some form of sanity.

Yes, my first quarter of being on the Dean's List may not exactly be there, but I am looking at it quite happily because a) I am still alive (I was doubting I would be by this time around Wednesday of last week); b) there is always next quarter to be on the Dean's List and continuing; and c) there really is a lot going for me right now in my personal life, academic life, and writing life. So, I guess you could almost say life is good for me again.

Why am I not saying it completely, confidently and boldly that life is good again? I am not going to tempt fate or the Darkness by being so arrogant. What I am feeling is good. It is positive. And, quite honestly, it is a self-knowledge that doesn't need proclamation for some reason. Everything just feels in balance again and this is enough. I don't need for life to be perfect or that illusive "good" just at this second. These moments don't come often, but when they do, I firmly believe they should be cherished and enjoyed to their depths. They should be experienced with gusto and love, people!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Well, it's kinda like...*sigh*

Yeah, I'm supposed to be studying, preparing for the return to the educational world on Monday, but earlier today I had an interesting thought about music and communication as well as singing. It doesn't make sense now, but it will soon. Promise.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Missing the Group

Humans are definitely social, herd animals. No matter how much we enjoy being alone and having that ever dwindling "me space" or "me time" there are just moments when being part of a group, being part of the crowd is beyond wonderful. A more perfect example couldn't be found than last Saturday in my mind.

Hubby and I went to tai chi in Georgetown like normal. I missed the pre-final meeting because Jaybird said, "If you don't go to tai chi you're going to miss your own birthday cake!" The wife of a tai chi class member made a cake just for me. OK, I thought, missing a cake someone made for you for your birthday isn't a good thing. It just isn't nice. It goes against everything Southern in my being. So, of course I went.

The morning wasn't as hot as it usually has been so tai chi helped to warm the body and settle the mind and spirit...for me. Doing the movements. Letting them flow from one into the other gave me a peace I had been missing for the past several days. Just Bill wasn't there leading us intrepid tai chi-ers(?), but we had instruction and practice and it was good, very good.

At breakfast I ate sparingly because we were heading to my birthday luncheon/early dinner at three o'clock that very afternoon. Talk was happy and chipper and I let myself relax into the buzz and hum. I was a part of what was going on and yet able to separate myself just enough to observe it and drink it in like an over-dry sponge. However, when the time for cake came I was very much in the present and very, very close to happy tears.

When I knew there was going to be a cake for me I expected it to be a sheet cake. When it was unveiled I was flabbergasted: It was a homemade from scratch turtle cheesecake! For me. For my birthday. To share with my friends. With the group that had accepted me down to the core and was celebrating my life with me in a glorious, quiet, gentle, happy fashion.

No matter how much we need space. No matter how much we, as individuals, need time to just settle back into our own skins, being part of the group, welcomed and cared for is what we need to the core of our beings. In the Orthodox Church we say that those people who become monks or nuns and go out into solitude have received a very special gift from God. I didn't understand it at all until this past Saturday because I knew, deep down, I couldn't give up these people nor my study of tai chi or the study of things in general. Why? Because acceptance is precious and should be treasured like the wonderful gift it genuinely is. It is one of the most wonderful gifts we have received from God.

I have found acceptance in two places, in two groups, and I feel very blessed and humbled by this. One place is Church. The other is tai chi class. Some would say they are two totally unrelated groups, kinds of people. I disagree. They are just people. Human beings. We are all living and moving forward and trying to find our way to peace as much as possible here on earth as well as here after. It is a difficult struggle, but we are not struggling alone any more. We have each other and the great strides of one can be appreciated by all, as well as the smallest of steps by the beginner. We can rejoice in all of it, because we are actively walking, traveling on a journey, on an adventure of...living.

Like most people I forget the wonderment of the journey. I let life and living get in the way of Living and seeing how far I have come and actually let myself look forward to the journey that is before me. I let school and bills and other people sidetrack me into small holes here and there, but the journey still goes on and there are little sign posts, rest areas along the way where we stop for a moment and remember where we are, who we are and where we have come from, and, hopefully, where we are going (even if we aren't very sure at times). One of those days, one of those rest areas was, for me, last Saturday.

Sadly, I am probably not going to be able to go to tai chi tomorrow because I need to finish recuperating from this yuck that has tried to swallow. Still, just like the movements of tai chi, they are here with me and, perhaps I am with them. A part of the group.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

About the "class" thing....

Didn't make it to class today. *hangs head in guilt* It appears my body has other ideas about what is needed at the moment, and since I am actually listening to my body for the first time in quite a while, I didn't go to school today. I had a fever on and off all of last night. However, there has been progress: Not only has there been warm Pepsi consumed, there has also been crackers, some cream cheese and crackers; and even some water! I am most excited about the water actually. Also, there hasn't been any episodes of mass evacuation of the intestinal system all day. Still, I have been very tired, weak, and my head hurts. I am hoping the last of this thing is going to be this nagging headache that I am doctoring with Advil and water.

I am not as concerned about classes as I was. Why? Because I want to be able to keep going to school and making good grades. I have been extremely ill for this week, so I need to take care of myself. Yeah, I just may be growing up somewhere. Shocking isn't it.

Hubby has gone to the rpg game. It is Thursday after all. I miss the game and the fellowship it brings, but I need to rest and be as close to a restroom I can use as possible...just in case.

Yeah, it is so great being me sometimes!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sickness and Music - Sometimes a Strange Combination

This has not been the best of weeks for me. Monday was a long and productive day. Tuesday I was sick as a dog due to a nice stomach virus. Today? Still sick with same stomach virus, but, thank God, it is better. Right now about the only thing that is staying put is a nice warm Pepsi.

Since Tuesday (yesterday, can it be only yesterday?!) was one of the worst physical days I have had in a number of weeks, I have been weak and just sleeping. This could possibly be because I have puked/purged/got-rid-of stomach contents in any way possible -- truly not of my choice mind you -- and have felt little worse than dead. Today, after Noon that is, I began feeling a little better. Even tried to eat some baked chicken. Not a bright idea on my part. Therefore, I have sworn off much of the food in a solid fashion and thus have sipped my warm soda and tried to take Advil for a head that feels heavy and pounding.

The Advil appears to be working because I can listen to my current music selection in peace. It is an odd collection of Cowboy Troy, Big and Rich, John Rich, and Big Kenny. Nothing overly serious and has a happy beat. Right now I am listening to "Please Man." The first line makes me smile, "Please man, don't call the police man." It's all about a party that got a little loud, and I almost like their rendition of "Shook Me All Night Long." I would have enjoyed it much more if it had been more rock than country. I should already know Big & Rich don't do things normally. It's in a super country melody and beat, not rock at all. Still, it makes me smile. However, I did remove it from my MP3 player. I need happy for school tomorrow.

Yep, I am heading out to school tomorrow. I just may not be able to make it to six o'clock like normal. Isn't school grand?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sitting Quietly Contemplating Knitting When I Should Be Working on Legal Research

Today has been quite the productive day. I have finished up my Am Jur exercise problems and almost completed all of that dangburned math! The Shephardizing sheet is before my eyes and all I have done for the past 45 minutes has been to look up knitting patterns (and even printed off a couple). Not only that, but I have read knitting blogs and thought seriously about what I was going to purchase with the gift certificate I received for my birthday to Stone's Throw--my local yarn store (LYS to the initiated).

I know I should be working on the Shepardizing problems, and probably will actually *d0* one of them before I leave today, it is just proving something difficult to keep going at the moment. My brain and energy level have practically bottomed out. Food follows yarn in my head like some strange caboose on a very brightly colored train. Yes, I am hungry and I would love to just settle in and pick up my needles and relax for a little while before having to head home to be domestic and finish up the math.

This isn't a new thing for me, though, especially of late. Around five o'clock every afternoon my brain seems to shut down for about an hour. Despite having done chi breathing exercises, some tai chi movements, and potato chip consumption (for the potassium, ahem) the gray cells prefer to shut down for about an hour. While the brain shuts down my hands and eyes want yarn. Lots of soft, brightly colored yarn that absolutely soothes the soul, my soul any way.

Currently on the needles is a hat for Hubby, which is going to require the purchase of more yarn in order to finish it, and a pair of shorts for myself. There is also the capelette I keep threatening to make for myself but never have let it completely take me over.

With the way school is going and all of the consistent movement and alertness required of me, having some down time with yarn relaxes me deep down. If all goes well tomorrow, and it isn't supposed to rain, I may actually attempt to bring some yarn and a set of needles with me for these times. It would be wonderful to be relaxed when heading home of Hubby and the animals so that I don't snip and nip when there isn't any call for it.

It is looking as if every day until finals I am going to be here at school until six or seven o'clock in the evening. It would be good to be able to just sit for a little while, knitting quietly while the rest of the school begins picking up for the evening classes (which is beginning to happen right now).

A lot of familiar faces are here, too. We've been here together since seven this morning. I see the same brain-dead look in their eyes while they force themselves further, onward to evening classes and more homework. Is knitting for a few minutes too much to ask in this day and age? Something to permit the mind to quiet yet keep it occupied so it doesn't become bored and require sleep? No, says I! Not in the least!

So, what is going to be the next major feat of the knitting needles? Why, it could be those socks I've threatened for ages and ages, or the capelette. There are so many things yet left to knit!

Could I really manage to bring the knitting with me tomorrow? I may just go ahead and try....

The Spoon Theory

Many people throughout my life have asked me what it was like to be me, a person with a disability. Even though I told them I hurt somewhere every day and some days were worse than others, they would nod, but it was quite plain to see by the look in their eyes they didn’t get it. It wasn’t them, of course, and it wasn’t me. It is impossible in many respects to explain what it is like to be disabled/handicapped; it is just as impossible to explain what it feels like to be black, Asian, or just plain white.

For many years I didn’t even try to explain it because I had grown quite accustomed to the looks in their eyes when they didn’t get it, and if I attempted to explain it at all it would be only to the people who genuinely seemed interested in wanting to know. These people were usually my closest friends, or those on the border of becoming a close friend. Still, despite their desire to understand, they couldn’t, and they seemed, looked sad because they couldn’t understand.

Recently I made a comment to a friend about feeling tired. He said, “So you’ve run out of spoons for the day?” I didn’t understand what he meant. “I read something that sort of explains to me how you are. I’ll find what I read and send it to you in an e-mail link.

He was good to his word and sent the link to me, and now I am passing it along to you because it does explain what it feels like to have a disability.

This woman has Lupus, which, according to the Arthritis Foundation web page, is lumped in with arthritis. I have rheumatoid arthritis so the fatigue she talks about and how you have to plan and that your back-up plans have back-ups are quite accurate.

So, I pass along the spoon theory. Enjoy

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Taking Time to Breathe

Finals are fast approaching. They are heading toward the populace of Sullivan University like a freight train preparing to run over a number of damsels and heroes alike that are tied to the train tracks no less. Yes, this is probably quite a bit of exaggeration, but, all in all, this is pretty much how it feels to yours truly at the moment.

Everything was under control. It really was. Or, perhaps, I had just convinced myself of this. Either way, I am fighting for control now with every fiber of my being and am actually beginning to make some headway.

Legal research is the problem child, of course. It was under control. It really was. Then someone asked me today if I had worked on my Am.Jur sheet. My response was, "What Am.Jur sheet?" Yeah, you got it. It seems, since I sit so far away at a computer terminal in legal research class, I don't often hear things. Luckily for me I have made some friends who are helping me keep track of everything that has been handed out. Now all I need is the time to do it.

Earlier today I was feeling a little over-whelmed, (OK, a lot over-whelmed) so I just went into my favorite unoccupied classroom and just sat for a few minutes while waiting on my next class. Do you find it odd I have a favorite unoccupied classroom? It shouldn't, and won't once I've described it to you.

It is a corner classroom. Two walls are nothing but glass and look out at the bright sunshine. It is warmer than most of the other classrooms because it has the sun streaming into it, and it is always bright--as long as the sun is shining, of course--and just feels happy. I have taken to going in there every afternoon just prior to math class and sitting for a little while because I find it quite peaceful. Today I did some breathing exercises just before heading out to class and felt the knot between my shoulder blades loosen some. Just what the doctor ordered.

It isn't just me that is feeling the stress of fast approaching finals. Everyone is. Everyone who cares about their grades that is. (I care. I care a lot. I probably care more than I should, but getting good grades helps validate me. I don't know why. It just helps me prove to myself I am smart I guess and can do what I've put my mind to. And, on a totally different front, it is almost like a game to me, a game I love playing and the good grades mean I've won the game. Silly? Probably. Honest? Most definitely.) Friends I've made here are all wondering how they are going to get all of the assignments done and handed in on time as well as locate enough time to study for some finals. Yes, I am right there with them, but my worry doesn't seem to be making my face break out in pimples or my stomach churn like it normally would be doing. I am giving credit to prayer, faith, and a lot of breathing exercises I'm learning and actually practicing. A friend here at Sullivan has asked me to show her some of them, and as soon as we have some spare moments together I will.

So, today I am taking time to breathe and do the things that make me happy deep down inside like LJ and blogging. Hopefully this isn't boring you too much. It is just nice sometimes to sit down and connect, thought to person and communicate.

It seems communicating actually does help you lesson your fears and worries as well as relieve stress. Hopefully one day I'll keep expanding this to verbal communication as well.

Now it is time to attack the homework before work begins.

Hope everyone is having a splendid August day!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Invictus

I have always loved poetry. There have been moments in my life, still are, when the only way something can be explained or shared has been through poetry. Oftentimes I have nodded quietly at a poem I've read because the poet has captured what I have felt, or explained, in words and meter, something I have been unable to explain to others even though I felt it deeply within my Self.

With everything that has been changing in my life recently, good and bad, this poem has been popping up for me. It isn't because it speaks so profoundly about the ability to change one's self and to be a better person while being "unconquerable" in the Soul and thus being true to yourself. It is mainly because of the idea of struggle it speaks of before the affirmation of somehow succeeding in life. This is very real and true for me right now. The struggle.

Life, of course is nothing but struggle. In my youth I struggled and fought with anger and determination, never quiet simplicity of action. Now I long to struggle quietly so that the victories I achieve, even if I am the only one who realizes the happening as a victory, are my own. If I can do this, (current) fight and struggle, quietly the only thing people will see will be the results and the change, not the turmoil and hardship of the fight itself. Right now it isn't necessary people know I am struggling, fighting for something I cannot, as yet, explain to anyone else. Why? Because when people see the fight they take it for granted it seems, but when they see the results of the struggle, they are more apt to notice the change to its core rather than merely on the surface.

Another reason I am trying so hard to struggle silently is because this is affecting more than me now and I am changing for myself more than anyone else.

Isn't it odd how this happaens sometimes? More of the internal struggles you seem to hide in order to keep the peace or happiness all around you, even if you yourself are miserable and sharing the misery would really just make you even more miserable? Maybe it isn't everyone, or some people, maybe it is just me. I'm not sure any more. Still, the internal struggle happens and I change.

Luckily I can say I have given up all I can give up except for my very life now. I am whittled down to my core; the deepest, most inner parts of my core at that. Now the healing hopefully will begin and create for me a shell that is stronger and easier to maneuver through life with.

So, here it is. The poem that has been roaming my mind for ages, especially during times of intensity such as these happen to be for me. I give you Invictus.



Invictus

By

William Ernest Henley. 1849–1903



OUT of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Some Extremely Interesting Things in the News (Some of it is important, too!)

First off, the really important part: Fisher Price recalls toys because of lead paint!

In Finland there is a chocolate loving squirrel that eats the chocolate and makes off with the toy!

And finally, there is a fellow who claims to have proof of real aliens and UFOs. Yeah, I'll believe that one too when he actually convinces me of it. I haven't been able to play the video but the article does make a relatively good start at making a case for him.

On the school front: I have my class schedule for next quarter. The rooms aren't listed, of course, but other than that it is a done deal. The schedule is as follows:

9:00 a.m. = Domestic relations/Family law
10:00 a.m. = College Mathematics
12:00 p.m. = Legal Writing
1:00 p.m. = Real Estate Law

And there is also an online class I'm taking Criminal Law


The criminal law class makes me all a quiver! There was another class I really wanted to take, but it was an evening class and since the world is going to turn cold and dark sooner than I am prepared for it to, Hubby and I decided it would really be best if I didn't go forth and take the evening class. Actually, it was Hubby that kept bringing this back to my attention. This is just how much I wanted to take the class. Which class? Tort law, which is what we think of as "law" really. I believe it is just a fascinating case. Still, I have criminal law and it is being taught by my favorite teacher, so this is still a plus and I'm not going to complain overly much. In the winter quarter, however, my schedule may drop down to just three classes because of the weather and how well I do not do in the colder months. Who knows, this year the winter may be another warm one.

About the only class I am really not happy about is the math class. I was told that Math 100, my current math class, would be the only one I'd have to take. This was before UK decided it wanted to be difficult and not send me my correspondence transcript. Because of them I am having to take another crappy math class! No, I am not particularly pleased about this change of events, but there is little else I can do about it, of course. Except grumble. And I am probably going to grumble about this for a while.

OK, I'm outta here for the moment. There is a poem I am wanting to share with you, but this may have to wait until tomorrow or later on this evening.