Because all experiences are valuable.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Foam and Fury

Beyond what is beautiful there is a silent ocean
grey green hands of ambidexterity
they can tide me over, capture me, distinguish which of me will
drown while another survives, wilted but
immaculately sheathed in salt crust
the exact size and shape of a tsunami.

Sea turtles make me long for the islands
of my childhood, there is an exact rhythm of waves
a harmony fit for symphonic reproduction,
what it feels like to walk to where a coconut just fell, and
had you been there a second before, you
would have been sorry.
But now she scrapes and digs, scrapes and digs with her
arms like cactus leaves perfectly adapted to this and only this
one chore.
To deposit these eggs, on this beach, to the care of this ocean,
this world, and my eyes because I was here
at just the right moment, deposited
in foam and fury
by God.

- Sylace

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Only Thing

I know I have been posting less lately. Some of that is school and studying for sure. Some of it is the recent crafty mode I have been in. I just figure it's rather boring. I'm not making anything particularly new and exciting. I read a blog called Diary of a Craft Room Transformation, and she makes the most beautiful things, and also posts instructional videos of just incredible things. So I don't think mine are really worth reading about, other than for those who are interested in my life in general. I made Guy and Reid new throw blankets. They have had the same polarfleece fuzzy ones for a long time. They get kinda thin and not cozy anymore, and I notice over a long time they pick up odors as well.

Guy's favorite shirt the Uncle from Monopoly on it, so when I saw the Monopoly fabric I just wanted to make him one of those tied edge throws. I used black for the back. They are double warm because of two layers.

I took this in the parking lot when he took me to get my car, so you can't see it really well, but the fleece is the same green as the Monopoly board.

Reid's is musical notes. I think you can figure that out, ha ha ha.
With a red backing, because his school colors are red and black.
Though I wasn't as happy with the quality of the red fleece from Hobby Lobby. It had an odd "hand" to it. That means how it feels and drapes to your hand. But the blanket came out cute.

I am really struggling in my personal life right now. I wish I could share things here, because that would be a good outlet. But I can't.

I'm so disappointed in myself that I haven't finished my Grandmother's estate paperwork and closed it out. Technically it isn't until February that a year has passed since I was appointed executrix, which is a common benchmark for finishing up. I just know I could be finished by now, and I haven't done it. IDK, maybe I will discover I can't finish until next year's taxes are done. Which I can file the estate taxes after the first of the year. Maybe I would be screwing up if I didn't wait, so this is a blessing. Things seem to work that way for me.

I remember something I learned in child development about how a child masters new motor skills, and the corresponding reaction in his verbal skills. There is a scientific and psychological time in developing any new skill, when other skills already mastered actually regress, as the mind and body focus on mastering the new one. This year Reid had mastered a lot of complicated and technical rolls and triplets on his tenor drums, but he has struggled with marching well while carrying the drums. They are heavy and ungainly, and throw one's balance off tremendously, as well as blocking the thighs motion to some extent. As he made some leaps in marching ability, he was disgusted with finding his triplets and speed taking a nosedive. I tried to explain to him the concept above, but he is pretty dismissive of my PollyAnna attitude that there is a reasonable explanation for most things, and that Positive Mental Attitude will usually see you through the rough time when you not only haven't gotten the new skill, but seem to be losing your others. My optimism is probably annoying, so I back off. He is a teenager after all. ;-)

But my optimism and pushing through and PMA doesn't seem to be helping me in other areas, so maybe he is right. I just don't know what else to do. I really am doing incredibly well in school. I scored a 112 on that big Chemistry test. (I actually think the idea of "extra credit" is a good one, because sometimes you know important stuff that just isn't on the test proper. It gives you a chance to show more of what you know). After a 101 on my first statistics test and a 100 on my first Anatomy test, and a 100 on my Anatomy Lab test, I think I can say I'm doing well. My relationship with the boys is going great. It is so wonderful to have Guy here now, and he is making incredible grades at Gainesville State University. I think Reid's grades are fine for the level of instruction he is receiving and the amount of Drumline he has. He just did really well on a history test. A high SAT or ACT score is more important, I think. Reid made a 27 one month into Freshman year without knowing any of the science on the ACT yet. We all know that after you actually get into college, no one cares what your high school grades were. My high school Chemistry teacher was by far the worst teacher I ever had, convincing me that I could not do Chemistry. Well now we can see that is not the case at all. I love Chemistry....even when I get confused, because it challenges me. But I'm losing touch with friends and dear ones to me. I don't know what to do about my personal life. It makes me cry that I can't figure it out. I'm crying right now. I miss my friends in Arkansas that knew and valued me. I love my new friends here, and my old friends here that are new again with moving back, but I don't get to see them much.

There's a lot going on all the time that I just can't figure out. I pray, and I meditate, and I try and try again. Reid said PMA isn't the answer to all things. It's just the only thing that I have.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sensitive Creature

Laying there I can touch my own cold fingers.
Where is your memory, body,
of the ninety four degrees hot hot hot
it was so short ago?
How can you be so insensate, you sensitive creature.
So delicate...
No real memory of feeling faint
I'm cold now.
It is seventy-four and were the sun shining
this would be delightful
yet in the dark
you complain to me.
Strange naked thing
to be so defenseless and yet need such a terrifically small
parameter of change.
I wonder at my design, your design, our body
shared together
getting a blanket.

Mirror Imaging for Transfer

Okay so I said I'd explain how to do the mirror image in Microsoft Word, so that transfers can be printed and ironed on...

once you're in Word, go to the Insert tab up top, and go to the far right to the wonky A labeled WordArt.

Drop that menu down and pick something to play around with. There are limited choices, but you'll see that once you pick one, you can change the font, size, color and outline color. Pick something, then type a word or phrase in. Select a cool font, and the size and click ok. It will appear on your page in a blue outlined box. If you right click on that, you can either edit the text without going back, or select Format WordArt all the way at the bottom. This is where you can change the color of the fill in, or outline. If it is one that has two colors shaded together and you want to change the second one but don't see how that works...OR if you want to make it two colors...click on Fill Effects next to the fill in color.

Play around with that for a bit just to see what you can do. Now to Mirror it...

Now click the Page Layout tab back at the top bar.  Far right is Rotate. Drop down menu had Flip Horizontal. Click that and it will flip!  

For clip art, it was a lot harder, so I recommend going ahead and flipping your clipart with windows photo gallery or Paint, before inserting. Then you don't have to worry about mirroring the picture or art.

It is really fun to play with. Hard to believe that has always been there and I never knew it!! Have fun!

Kinda Sweet, Kinda Scary!

I have spent the last few hours having so much fun!!! First Guy and Reid and I went to see the movie "Easy A."

As far as I could tell, the reviews have been positive. Reid, Guy and I all give the movie two thumbs up each.
For 80's teen movies fan, it is especially good, even using a few scenes from some of the biggies like Say Anything and Pretty in Pink. Guy says Emma Stone is insanely hot. We laughed a lot. And it's even smart and literate.

Oh, that sparks a confession. I have watched the first two episodes of the new show Wildcats. About the college cheerleading squad supposedly set in Memphis. Stars the same girl that was in this movie as the best friend...Ali Michalka. Did I get that right? Too lazy to look it up.

After that I spent a couple of hours making these!!!

There are four of us that share opposite sides of a lab table in chemistry. Me and my lab partner, Stephanie, and then Abby and Melissa. The first lab, our professor suggested it might be a good idea to have aprons. Last week he kicked out half the class for not heeding his instructions to have completely closed shoes and long pants. I thought it would be fun to make sure we were well prepared for this week, when we will boil a lot of stuff to sublimate, and evaporate, and condense it again, etc etc. Here's a closeup of mine;

I had to learn a completely new method of using my Microsoft Word. I never knew it had a function called WordArt. Combined with rhinestone crossbone cupcakes, and Hanes iron on transfer paper I printed at home, I created these. Tomorrow I will give more specific instructions about how to mirror the print so you can iron it on. I had to do some investigating to figure it out. But the Hanes transfer paper was a dream to use. Worked exactly like it said. I can't wait to crack my professor up with these. I took morale boosting cookies to the class before exam on Friday... well, no one can say I don't make life interesting! Hahahahahaha

I'll let you know how I did on the test as soon as I find out. Have an awesome Sunday!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A little Kitchen Chemistry

....Been studying like crazy for my Chemistry test on Friday. We are never assigned any homework or problems to do, so it has been hard to assess if I really understand anything  in such a manner that I can apply it to a test situation.

Decided to take it into my own hands (always good). Did all the odd problems at the end of the chapters (because I can check my answers in the back of the book). The good part? Actually, I made a lot of errors. But I kept redoing each one until I got the answer in the back.
And I didn't erase my original mistaken one, I circled the point at which I made an error and went wrong. This way I can also review my common mistakes. One big mistake I found was transcribing numbers incorrectly from one step to the next. So I will be extra careful about that on the test. Picked up Reid after Drumline and we had Johnny's New York Pizza. This is my favorite down here in the ATL, by far. Just not a fan of Chicago style, sorry. Too thick and gooey.

I cannot eat dairy products, (I get my pizza cheeseless), but a few weeks ago, Kroger had cream cheese on sale, AND buy one get one free. Well who could pass that up? I see so many good looking recipes that call for cream cheese, and Reid and Guy both love cheesecake. So I got two blocks of cream cheese for like $1.99. I know, right??

Sure enough a recipe came along...on my facebook sidebar no less!! Clicked on it, saved it, made it!

Mini Cheesecakes
2 8oz blocks cream cheese, softened
1cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
about 16 vanilla wafers, or other plain type cookie that is small and round
     (I bought a new box of vanilla wafers for this and it was a waste of money)

Beat cream cheese and sugar till fluffy and smooth. Add vanilla, stir by hand. Add eggs, one at a time, beating with mixer till fluffy and to me it just looked pretty. That's not scientific is it?

Put a vanilla wafer inside each cup of the muffin tin. I used the paper liners, I think you kinda need to, but you could test it and see if they were fine if you didn't use paper liners. Fill each cup almost all the way to the top. They don't puff over. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Take them out. The centers will fall and de-puff rapidly. Don't worry, that makes the well for the topping. Cool, then add topping in the well, like cherry or strawberry pie filling. Pop in refrig until nice and cool and firm like cheesecake.

I decided to test and see if cocoa could be added to make chocolate ones. Sometimes chocolate, being acidic, will ruin a recipe if it wasn't intended to be added. That's why we add baking soda, not powder to choc chip cookies! So I added about 1/4c cocoa to about a fourth of the batter. It got stiffer because of the added dry ingredient, but they baked just the same. Oh! I added about two tablespoons more sugar to the batter fourth to counteract the lack of sugar in the cocoa powder. You could totally layer these and make black and white ones, maybe using an Oreo on the bottom. I used an oatmeal cookie on the bottom of my chocolate ones. Don't worry if the cookie doesn't cover the whole bottom. I added chocolate chips to the top of mine instead of the strawberries.

Reid declared that he...um, never mind...it was a sexual food comment. LOL gotta love teenage boys.
But that is high marks for these. So darn simple. Will definitely add to my most used file, especially whenever I see cream cheese on sale!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Anybody got a McDunceCap??

Back to my old haunts, you know, the places we used to go together...you and me little hamburger...we had a good thing going didn't we? Could we try again?

Yes, yes, yes, it's true. I admit it. I'm back to my old 2-3 happy meal a week habit. Life's just too stressful. I need the drugs. I'm weak.

At least the whole thing, tiny coke and all, is only five hundred calories. I can't explain it, it's just right for me. BUT! Tonight, the horror show I was forced to endure at the McD's!!! OY!

I know you think I'm probably going to complain about the service or something, but no. I was subjected to....THIS!!



Well, what little girl wouldn't want to play with this? And really, the smock is the most delightful element, don't you agree?

The sheer genius doesn't end there. Guess what else this lovely creature does? The dead black eyes open and close!!! Oh yes. You can't even see the molded plastic shower cap on the back of her head. LOL, currently Guy is spinning her head around a la the Exorcist.

But wait, there's more! The name of America's Sweetheart, here?


Lalalala, picture the little girl playing with this gem (suspend disbelief, just pretend). "Mommy, mommy, I love my toy, isn't she cute?"     "That's great honey, where did Daddy take you for dinner?"   "Hmmm, I can't remember..we had hamburgers!"  "Oh, well, what's her name?"   "Wendy!!"

(ok, I'm not a marketer. Apparently, neither was the guy behind the choice of this doll and name)
Unless this was a case of brilliant sabotage against Wendy's, because no one wants to be associated with this nightmare.

Then I went to drink my little juice box with a full day's vitamin C, and added calcium! But after the trauma of the doll, this was kinda horrifying as well. Is Ronald high?

As if clowns aren't creepy enough?? Oh, look!

Ronald McDonald is slamdunking the apple, like it is a basketball.

No comment.

And then, the final straw. (fast food humor).....

As you can see, this is slightly more than a third of a child hamburger. (ah...Manna)


Someone exposed this cucumber to radioactive material, I have no doubt. This is NOT a regulation McDonald's pickle.

Well, there's only one thing left to do.
Yep, I'm gonna sue....

Friday, September 10, 2010

Closer to Fine

This day has been very dramatic. Obviously it is not over. I know this is my personal blog and I should probably use my opportunity to "spill it," but I don't think it would help anyone. That really is the point of this blog, that all experiences are valuable. I've been accused lately in "the real world" of being a person who hyper-analyzes everything. I'd like to address that a bit.

I'm just going to say what I think is true. One thing I do indeed "do" a lot, is self-scrutinize. I'm always looking for what is wrong with me, and therefore what I can improve. Is that bad? Guy tells me it isn't bad, but that he thinks I should maybe be a lot more forgiving of myself, or even unconcerned about being "better" all the time. Not that everyone shouldn't want to be better, but I think he means because it causes nervous anxiety in me. Some percentage of that is "stop worrying what others think, Mom." But more of it is, "stop worrying so much about what you think of yourself, Mom, and how deficient you think you are." This is great advice. But then he will get mad at me and tell me I give the worst directions in the world. Which just isn't true. I give really good directions. People tell me that, really! Generally, Reid will always side with Guy, no matter what, but on this one...I'm pretty sure he would side with me that Guy is the worst direction follower. Either way, I guess neither one of us should worry about it...not feel bad to be bad at whatever we are bad at and just move on.
Ha ha which I can see the truth in.

Something I used to spend a lot of time doing was analyzing or even hyper-analyzing what I thought other people might be thinking, or moreso, what I thought their motivations were. But in the last few months, since starting to read all the books I've mentioned here on the blog, and indeed, writing the bog, I spend very little time thinking about what other people are thinking or why. It has made a significant change in the way I interact, I guess. Now some people think I am being selfish or self-absorbed. On one hand, I can see that as a valid viewpoint from their side, because I am not spending all the time worrying about their thoughts as I used to. That can come as a real shock. Maybe people have literally no idea how much of my thought processes used to be taken up with thinking about "them." There have always been a lot of people who wanted a lot of attention or focus from me, or more accurately wanted my attention when they wanted it.
Believe me, this is not limited to a few people. I'm not even complaining. I used to really get my identity from being the person others depended on. I was part and parcel of that equation.

But now...I HAVE to put myself and my school first. Indeed, my boys come very very near the top. But this...in three years, Reid will be gone to college. I know Jason will be there financially to help Reid, and I would think Reid would get some scholarships or something with his musicianship. He can play his djembe on the street if he has to, and would probably love that. Guy gets the maximum of state grants and federal grants, at least right now, and he has proved very successful at living on his own. When the generous amount of alimony I have been awarded, and even graciously given, is done...I have to be ready to support myself and make my life until it is done. My boys even know this. Reid sent me a great job text on my lab grade. They like to see me doing so well.

I just feel caught in a "Catch-22." When I hyper-focused on others, I was accused of stepping over boundaries, misjudging, assuming, ascribing thoughts to people, categorizing, being co-dependent, being a doormat, expecting people to meet my views of them, and on and on... now that I focus much more on myself...I am being accused of being selfish, self-obsessed, uncaring, myopic, abandoning, hard, unfeeling, etc etc etc. People who liked me before the way I was, maybe don't like me as much now. People who thought I was a doormat before, like me better now. Really, I don't think any of the above words are accurate. My genuine feeling is that it is me whom others simply can't understand...and they are also assuming about me, categorizing, judging, etc, or being selfish, uncaring etc.

Maybe we all are. All the time. Maybe we do our best to be the best we can. Guy tells me others just don't spend much time on this sort of thing at all. I feel like, okay, but this is the set of brain cells and the chemical makeup that my very DNA has given me. The more I am learning about DNA and cellular function, the less I am willing to apologize for who I am. I want to love everyone, I want to take care of everyone....which is why I'm trying to become an RN. But 'Everyone' who wants something from me is NOT going to take care of me in old age, sickness, retirement, etc. I have to do that. I don't want to burden my kids, and I do want to be proud of myself. I don't know what else to say.

IF a person does not wish to be around me, or be my friend, she or he is under NO obligation to do so. I don't think that is selfish. I think it is wise. Thanks for listening, and huge hugs to all.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fall Formal Convocation 2010

I wasn't thrilled late last week to be informed that all full time students were required to attend the Fall Formal Convocation this afternoon in Pearce Auditorium. I don't have class on Thursday, so it was just another round trip 35 minutes to school, and gas for that trip. Also, it cut into my studying time for my first big Anatomy test tomorrow.

But my dear friend and sister, Christin, is having her wedding today out in Arkansas, and I couldn't attend, so being at a convocation seemed fitting. At least I could be in a solemn ceremony, too, with songs and prayers...and think of Mary and Neal as well.

I forget sometimes how inspiring it is to listen to well written academic speeches. I want to ask the professor who wrote and delivered this one if I may have a copy. It was full of fascinating statistics about what it means to be a student at a Women's college. Plus this professor graduated from Agnes Scott College, just like me! I forget how much energy I feel in a room packed full of dynamic and smart women.

The lovely architecture. The stained glass windows. Finding out that Brenau is even older than Agnes Scott...cool! Thinking about all the thousands of years women have been held back and held down.

Thinking about all the millions of women in the world today who don't have basic rights and education.

Pondering on my commitment to myself about what I am doing here. Already I have made some new friends. Already they are teaching me things, and I am teaching them, too. Maybe one thing the older student definitely has is the wisdom not to waste a second. I had two RTC (return to college) friends at Agnes Scott. They were always prepared and always alert. They asked questions I was glad they asked, because I didn't even know to ask them. Their names were Peggy, and French. I don't know what happened to them, but I still remember them vividly. Having tea with Peggy after class...having "boyfriend trouble" discussions with French, who was about sixty when I was 20. She was incredible. I think I'm too kooky to offer much wisdom to my new friends, but then again, I've seen a whole hell of a lot, and been so many amazing places...and survived things...

Here is the faculty. So far, I'm very impressed. I guess I won't get that much chance to know them before I'm off to the nursing buildings across town. But I know the few I have will leave an indelible impression. My "Sharpie" professors. It would not surprise me if I leave an impression on them. That's a bad habit of mine.  :-)

So. thank you Brenau Administration, for forcing me to show up today. It was uplifting. It made me proud to be there in that esteemed company.

Oh, and I made a 100 on that scary Lab Test. Yes, I did. Tomorrow...the more scary Anatomy Test. And no, I don't think tests ever get less scary, really. Not when your future depends on them. Then again, the future depends on every thing one does, or does not do. So I'm going to review my "stuff" one more time, then relax. Take care y'all!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rest Well, Neal, the Lord is thy Shepherd...

I know I have never gone so long between posts before, and I apologize. I will eventually tell more of DragonCon, but this weekend a tragic event occurred. A very dear friend was severely injured in a motorcycle accident, and her beloved newlywed husband of six weeks did not survive. She follows this blog, and I do not wish to add to the pain she is feeling, but the outpouring of love and support for her on Facebook is so touching.

I never saw Neal when he wasn't smiling. I had actually known him very briefly many years ago, and his happy, relaxed nature was what stood out to me. Mary found her soul mate, and Neal found his. I don't understand what God plans for us, but I know he does. And the Holy Mother, as well, whom I call the Goddess.

  For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.- Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

So many people are praying for Mary, her three children, and Neal's whole family. Also for the friends who were on the motorcycle ride, as well. It is a devastating loss for everyone who know them. Thank you for adding your prayers, too. Which reminds me always, that people are generally kind, and loving, and compassionate. And that's why we are really here.

And thank you to reader Tracy Wilson, who send me a touching note about this. I have to try and carry on with my nursing studies, so that I can be there to help people who have accidents. But it is challenging. Maybe rest would be good for me right now. I hope everyone touched by this can rest as well. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

DragonCon! First reports coming in...

Just a few pictures from the first night of DragonCon. It is going to take some work to adequately describe this phenomenon. But it will have to wait until DragonCon is over!  Imagine somewhere between 30 and 40,000 people roaming between five downtown Atlanta hotels, a huge percentage of them costumed or cosplaying. I probably got my picture taken fifty times last night, more if you count people who didn't ask and just snapped a shot (which is okay at DragonCon, you just get nicer pictures if you ask politely).

Reid posing with a girl in a stunning costume.

This girl was so sweet. She had worked at Disneyworld years ago and played Minnie Mouse. She asked to be photographed with me, and actually loved my costume. I thought hers was adorable, too. In the Steampunk genre, and I loved the idea she had of hanging silver teacups, creamers, etc on her belt. It really was well done.

More to follow!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sinalefa, (or La Poema Del Gato)


I don't think God would mind
if I told you
your craft is an act of creation.
The work of an artisan,
or / man's truest labor-
his finest hour.

No eye
rejects beauty.
No natural thing seeks to raise dirt.
At the last
A man stands upon his
work, his effort,
the bones of his projects
the souls of his hand-worked creations.

This, is enough,
after all.
Stand with pride.

Famous Puerto Rican Kitty of the Spanish Gates. Direct descendant of the cats brought on Spanish ships.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Little Alice

Oh my, how did I get so far behind? I'm just catching up on some of the blogs I read, watching Jamie Lee Curtis stripper dance in "True Lies" (well who doesn't like that? hahaha), and looking at the directions for the vest pattern I'm working on. I'm throwing together some costumes for DragonCon this weekend for myself. I decided to go "all sexy-cute, all the time...", that being cute like popular Halloween costumes, but done with my own special twist. I know I'm doing a Minnie Mouse and a Mad Hatter. My Mad Hatter wears hot pink, neon green, and teal! (Um, and is a girl!). Oh yes, of course there will be pictures after the weekend.

This vest I'm making is green satin with a teal slubbed silk collar. It will tie with hot pink ribbon (saved and free! from a Coach box), and I'm adding rows of brass, but non-functional buttons. I need to google up some mad hatter pics. I love Johnny Depp, but please not that gap-toothed, carrot topped character from the latest Tim Burton iteration. (But I adored the Red Queen in that one, and the sound track is good.)

Good day at school today. I think my anatomy professor is very good. I find him very easy to understand, and I remember what he lectures on. There are professors whose voices or mannerisms just put one to sleep, or somehow what they say just doesn't stay with one. Someone should investigate that! I read a really interesting report once that showed that the truest indicator of whether an aspiring actor would become a big name star was the uniqueness of his or her voice. If the voice was recognizable with no face attached, and instantly so, then the person had a much better chance of hitting it big. Think of all the voice-overs on commercials these days done by stars. Don't you just always know who the voice is? I probably have an advantage, being the movie buff that I am...oh, here is Tom Selleck doing an OJ commercial, and Jeff Bridges just was advertising some sort of car. LOL, here is Jimmy Johnson for Extenze. But he has to show his face.

Let's have some more Alice in Wonderland. Avril really grew up to be lovely. I still find her voice a little annoying, but I like the sentiments expressed in the song, and the scenes from the movie at the end...

So, truly, my Mad Hatter will look nothing like that. However, I am a HUGE Tim Burton fan. Genius!! I just watched the Corpse Bride yesterday while sewing. Which begs the question, what happened to Emily Watson?? Did you ever see The Boxer, with Emily and Daniel Day Lewis? That movie moves me in ways I find hard to even explain.

No class tomorrow, but lots to do, so I'm going to cut out my collar interfacing and go to bed. I wish you could all come to Dragon Con, why exactly aren't you coming? Well, okay, if you say so...