Sunday, December 16, 2018

Life Happens

Hello peeps. Anybody still here? Hi Mom. Anyone else?

Well I'm nearing my final semester at Tarleton, and let me tell you, these past few semesters have been hard. I decided I wasn't going to stress over grades, then I stressed over them anyway. I told myself that after finals were over I was going to wait a number of days and not keep checking back, but I kept checking back. I did get all As again this semester, but I wasn't sure that was going to happen. I was only really sure that I was not going to fail.

I wasn't able to move out of the rundown shanty I've been occupying for the past six years, so I'm spending another winter huddled in front of the heater while I'm at home or bundled up. Waking up every so often worried about if my kids are warm enough because my home retains no heat whatsoever. Hopefully we'll be able to move in the spring. I am looking for a nice two to three bedroom, but will probably need to settle for a fixer-upper. As long as it isn't crawling with bugs and rodents and has a yard that's easy to maintain, retains heat and cold at least somewhat it'll be better than what I have now. Hopefully this place doesn't fall down around our ears before we're able to feasibly move.

Christmas is just around the corner. I'm about finished shopping. I have like one more person to buy for and I have very little idea what I'll get her. I was going to get my sister something, but she's fixing to move and said it would be best to wait until after New Years. Guess it doesn't really matter when you give a gift anyway. It's not as if I grew up celebrating Christmas, or that I do it out of any sort of religious obligation. It's more like an excuse to buy stuff for people I like. So a late Christmas present is better than none I guess. There was a long time when I couldn't afford to get anything for anyone because I was barely paying the bills. I was able to scrape by because I saved my tax refund every year and made sure that lasted until next tax season. I eliminated my car payment by paying off my auto, then I switched my insurance to liability from full-coverage. I haven't had an accident since, so I'm cool. If only full-coverage covered car repairs it might have been worth paying the extra though, because car repairs have been expensive this year.

Having trouble deciding who to invite to my graduation. There are a few people I want to invite, but I doubt they'd be able to make it. Some have no transportation, others live in other states. I know I want my girls there, which may mean I have to give one of my tickets to their father to make certain they'll be able to attend. That's half my tickets. Of the remaining 4, I could ask my two friends who live in town and maybe the one who lives in Missouri would be able to come down for a visit, but I don't know since she has like 10 kids or something. Now that I'm writing this down here, I expect that you'll say you want to come mom. I'm pretty sure I would rather give the ticket to someone else, no offense. Not that I don't love you, or appreciate the fact that you did your best to raise me. I just don't like dealing with you, or Dad, or most of my family. I'd like to invite my sister, but pretty sure she'd need a ride here and back. The other ones live too far away. I might invite some of the kids I've met through work over the years, but I don't exactly know how many of them count as "friends" although a couple of my older co-workers have helped me out by reading my papers and giving me feedback, and I appreciate that. If I had unlimited tickets, mom would get an invite which she probably wouldn't cash in on. I only have eight tickets which means I have to be picky about who I invite. I should only invite people I know will come, people I like, and people who have been supportive of me throughout the years. That narrows the list considerably. But while I stress over who I will invite to watch me walk the stage, others have bigger problems tonight.

I am glad I am going to get to graduate (actually, I'm not quite there yet, but barring failure in any of my upcoming 4 classes I will). I am worried about letting an opportunity slip by unnoticed. I hope I can find a way to get a job in journalism or something similar. I know a lot of those kinds of jobs require experience, and a lot of the ones that hire newbies are in New York. I can't move, so I may be stuck getting a non-writing job for a publisher or magazine until I can prove myself. Not really sure how I'd do that though.

I did finish one more thing from my bucket list. I finished reading Invisible Man. I actually had to do that one for class, and I wrote a 12 page paper on it, which got 100% of the points allotted for it and a nice little note from the teacher saying I should consider going to grad school. Started a book for fun called "Ready Player One" it's pretty interesting so far. Other than reading and watching TV, haven't been doing much of anything since finals besides work. I get home from work and I'm just so tired and I don't feel like doing anything. I sleep until the last possible moment before I have to get ready, so I feel like I'm not getting much done right now except bringing home a paycheck.

Need to write. Not just here. Need to write stuff that has a chance of being published. Need to get my work out there.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

All in All

I did get one response to my last post. My mom begged me not to stop blogging, presumably because it would keep her from spying on me through my blog. She obviously doesn't see it as such. However, the blog is open for anyone to view, so I can hardly object.

My life has been going along pretty much the same as always. My oldest daughter now has a job at the same establishment where I work. We don't always work together because she can only work nights and I have to watch her sisters every Mon and Tues night and every other weekend.

I'm currently taking a class with one of the same professors I had before who I'd had problems with at the beginning of the semester I took him. So far, he has shown the same type of behavior (late to class, etc) that was so annoying the first time around, but thankfully I have not angered him so far this semester. I remember all too well the humiliation I suffered at his hands and do not wish to repeat that experience.

Our first response paper is due Thursday in class, which means not only reading it before class, but also formulating a response. The section in question is at least 20 or 30 pages (I'm thinking much more, but I'd have to look). I also have two essays due next week which I'll have to work on this weekend, and I need to get at least one of my vehicles into the shop for service. If that weren't enough on my plate, I need to find time to do some general housekeeping and lawn maintenance which has been sadly neglected for far too long.

I also have to read the short story for my Intro to lit class, and probably get to school early Thursday to watch some videos about the American Revolution (I'm not 100% sure if she wanted us to watch episodes 2,3, and 4, or sections of episode 1 that were labeled 2, 3, and 4. I have completed watching the 1st episode (they're all about an hour) but I have to watch on a school computer which limits when I can watch them.

I applied for graduation, but I'm not sure who to invite. I know certain members of my family would be unable to attend because of distance, but they are the members I'd want most to invite. Perhaps my younger sister could attend if I was able to provide transportation, but if I'm unable, then she couldn't come either. I thought about inviting certain of my co-workers, but I'm also unsure how many of them would be able to attend (even if they'd like to), some have no transportation, others may have scheduling conflicts or have to work, others may just not want to come. I only get 8 tickets and I know for sure I want my girls there. Since my girls will be attending, I suppose I should probably invite their father as well, since it might occur during his time, and it would be useful to have someone in the audience with them when I walk the stage (not that I want him there, but it may cause trouble if I refuse to invite him). I could invite my childhood friend, but I'm unsure of her ability to attend because she has children of her own who often suffer from various maladies which may prevent her from coming. There is one person in particular I would like to invite, but who I am sure would turn down my invitation for one reason or another (I'm sure there would be a very viable excuse). I'd hate to invite someone and have others get upset because I didn't invite them. Of course, if I decide not to invite my parents they are likely to get upset, but I can deal with their disapproval since I've been getting it all my life in one way or another.

If only there were an unlimited amount of tickets and I could invite everyone to attend. Sadly, however, there are a finite number of seats and more students graduating than just me, which is why they have the strict limit of seats per student I am sure.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Nobody Cares

Sometimes it seems to me that the more you care about what people think, the less they care that you care. It's like maybe a karmic response to being too wrapped up in yourself. I keep writing this blog and I'll check it periodically to see if anyone still visits and reads what I write but the views keep going down. It's like the universe is trying to tell me "Nobody cares!" I was told something similar by my sister once about my Facebook statuses. She said I was putting too much drama on FB and to please stop as I was embarrassing my family. Granted I did use FB as kind of an outlet for a while. I took that whole "What's on your mind?" question on the status bar too seriously. Of course I can't erase what happened in the past. There's little I can do to change the minds of people who have decided to dislike me, and if I post things which people don't get or agree with I can expect that they'll probably stop looking at my posts. All this took time to understand. My usage of social media didn't really take off until I had left the confines of my relationship (for reasons best known only to myself and a few trusted friends), so I was really just a babe learning what it was all about.

Yes, I did have a MySpace account back in the day, but I hardly even remember what I used it for. I joined FB shortly before the birth of my third child and mostly used it to play games at first. I would occasionally post family pics and the like, but rarely posted anything about personal issues at all. Friendships have never really come easily for me. When I was a child, there were kids I'd meet once and never see again. I'd talk to people and we'd get along and promise to keep in touch and, even if I did try to write them, they hardly ever wrote back. I had a few friends that came by my house when I was living smack dab in the middle of town. The only one around my age was one of two sisters who visited from time to time until, one day, my dad decided that some money had come up missing and one of the girls was the culprit. I was the one who had to tell them they weren't allowed to come over any more the next time they came knocking at the door.

All the coming of age stories I had read growing up had a main character with friends outside of their family. This was something that I was missing out on. Finally, when I was 15 I met a young man who shared my interest of drawing. He also liked to write poetry. He asked me to go to prom with him and I agreed but we said we would go as friends. I asked my dad and he seemed cool with it, but backed out at the last second and said I couldn't go. After I moved to the outskirts of town I lost touch with the young man only to reconnect a few years later. I also met a young woman around the same time who was super outgoing and friendly. She always tried to convince me that I needed to go to school with her. I have maintained a friendship with her, while my friendship with the young man withered when he wanted to be more than just friends and I wasn't interested in that kind of relationship.

Then, after I met my ex, I started going to parties with him and hanging out with more people. The more of his friends I was around, the less I wanted to be around. I didn't really click with any of them and always felt like an outsider whenever we hung out. He would do all the talking and I'd just sort of be on the outside looking in. I never felt like a part of that group, so it was easy to let those friendships I'd forged with the spouses of his friends go by the wayside when we split. Still, I was left without many friends. Hardly anyone knew the real reasons I decided to leave, because I always kept the issues we were having pretty private. I only told this one friend because she guessed it and wouldn't believe any insistence that such was not the case.

Since the dissolution of my marriage, I have told many co-workers and a few of the friends that I stayed in touch with from before the split. Of the people I have told, there are only a few who I'm actually glad I told. When someone knows something about you that you wish they didn't it creates a divide. That is what happened to the few friendships I had retained from before the divorce. The only one friendship which couldn't be touched was the one forged before the relationship began. It was completely out of reach.

So, without many friends outside of work, and work friends only interacting when we worked together, I began to be lonely. In my loneliness, I turned to social media. It became the place where I vented my frustrations, as I would to a close friend. Then it became the source of my depression. Each day I would see posts from others which were either dramatic or happy, but which received much more of a response than anything I posted. All I could think of was how few people cared that I even existed, let alone what I had to say. As I got more into writing, I began to wonder, if no one cares, how can I fulfill my dream of becoming a nobel winning author? Will I always be this nobody who's on the outside looking in?

So perhaps this blog has served its purpose and died, and maybe that's okay. Just like my FB posts, it began innocuously, became way too personal, then evened out to something in between ultra personal and completely abstract.

Friday, August 31, 2018


Well I have officially stalled on the completion of my bucket list. It is possible that I will not have time to worry about completing anything until I am done with school completely. However, once I graduate, I can cross that off the list. I am getting further along in my language studies and probably, once I have more free time, I can read a book in another language.

I will, however, definitely finish Invisible Man, as it turns out to be one of the assigned readings for a class I'm taking this semester. We will all be doing our final projects on it, so I'll have to have it finished soon. Also get to read some Shakespeare. Will be doing my class presentation (for another class) on an essay about one of the Shakespeare plays I'll be reading this semester. A few of the assigned readings are things I've already read. One of the books assigned in a class (this is my third class with this prof) is one I've already read in a previous class with her.

I was hoping to be writing my critical essay on the play "The Importance of being Ernest" by Oscar Wilde, but I have been informed by my professor that another student beat me to the punch. If only I could have gotten my request in sooner. Now I worry that my second choice "A Doll's Tale" has also, similarly, been claimed before I was able to send out my e-mail. School's out until next Tuesday, so that's probably the soonest he'll see my request at which time all other good options will probably also have been snagged. If I can't get one of the plays, hopefully I can get one of the short stories that's good. I haven't read any of them before, but I'm sure they are all worth the read (or they would have no place in a literature class). It's just that we have to present 4 sources for our essay, and there's no telling until you search a certain work how many peer-reviewed articles have been published about it. Worst case senario, I'll have to choose from one of the poems. Probably best to do one by Shakespeare since there's probably more that's been written about his works than anyone else's. Although, I do get the impression that Robert Frost is studied quite a bit.

Apart from this one prof, most of my classes seem pretty chill so far. In British Lit, we discussed Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit as it relates to Beowulf and other early British Literature. In that class, I'm most nervous about giving my presentation. I dislike public speaking and this is the same Prof that publicly humiliated me when he thought I answered him curtly (I may have, I was a bit upset) a few semesters ago. I am not looking forward to this presentation at all, but hopefully, if I have all my ducks in a row, it'll be okay. The other classes are a Literary Analysis class and a genre studies class about revolution and rebellion. The latter is the class which assigned Invisible Man.

Right now, I'm to read Beowulf over the long weekend and be ready to discuss it further on Tuesday. I've seen the movie adaptation and it seems a little different than that one. Having read the first several pages, I get the impression that Beowulf is extremely self-righteous and pretentious and that this may be what eventually leads to his downfall. I have not finished it as of this writing, though. Right now, I am to the place where he has just defeated Grendel and they are having a feast in his honor.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Kindness of Strangers (and all that jazz)

So I've got a doozy of a tale to tell. It all started with the intention to refrain from spending any more out of my bank account before my birthday in two days. I told myself that I could eek by using what little cash I had on hand to buy the few groceries I'd need to feed the girls until then. As we all know, "best laid plans of mice and men often go awry" and even though I had planned to stay at home this weekend, fate had other plans.

My oldest daughter came to me wanting sushi.

Me: There's no place to buy sushi in town. You'll have to wait until the next time we go out of town.
Her: Are we going out of town this weekend?
Me: No. I plan to stay at home this weekend.
Her: You promised to get us back to school haircuts this weekend and also, I got my school supply lists from my teachers.

So, that is how I ended up planning a trip to Waco on Sunday. Saturday I messed with my car and jump-started it. Then, to be sure it wouldn't die again I left it running for an extra 20 minutes. I put the girls to bed earlier than I usually allow them on weekends. I told them we would be headed out very early in the morning. Fast forward to that morning and no one is ready by the time I wanted to leave. I don't even wake up as early as I'd wanted. Finally we get out the door at around 10 a.m. (I'd wanted to leave at 9 so we'd get there at 10 when they opened.)

Almost to McGregor when I hear a loud pop. I think "What the hell was that?" but there is not a noticeable difference in my cars behavior, so I write it off. Maybe there was something in the road. Nearing McGregor I hear a loud thumping sound and I am sure my engine is about to blow. I go to pull off the road and that is when I notice that the sound changes as I slow down. It is my tire. My tire blew going 70 mph down the road and I didn't notice it at first. How is that possible? My car is very low to the ground, so I attribute the fact that I didn't notice a difference in drivability to this. I pull into DQ (this first business as we come into town. My tire is shot. There is no airing it back up and being on my merry way.

I think about my insurance and roadside assistance and, as a manager from DQ comes out to assess my situation, I look frantically for the number. The number isn't on the insurance card where I'd expected it to be. I look in my purse. I can't find it. The lady is talking about calling her husband. She calls him and convinces him to lend me a donut. She tells him he'd want someone to help her if she was stranded on the side of the road with their kids. He relents. My kids start complaining of hunger right around the time he arrives. I tell them to wait. We're going to have to get this figured out first. Every place in McGregor is closed because it's Sunday, so I must drive 15 miles to Waco on someone else's donut to get the tire fixed.

After he installs the donut it is low on air never having been used before. He tells me to follow him to the station and he'll air it up. I almost protest that I could air it up myself, but I don't. It is his donut, let him feel superior. After he's aired up the donut we're on our way. We have to drive less than 50 mph, which totally kills me, who'd never go more than 5 miles below the speed limit unless I absolutely had no other choice (think torrential rain so blinding you can't see more than two feet ahead). Finally, we arrive at the tire place. It will be one-and-a-half to two hours before they can get it fixed. Luckily, Office Depot is right across the street. We walk there. After buying her school supplies, we cart that whole mess two more blocks to a walk-in salon and get the girl's hair clipped. By the time we get back to the tire place, our tire is fixed and back on the vehicle and all that's left is to pay. All told, I spend about a whole paycheck on a weekend I wasn't supposed to spend anything. Okay.

I stop back by the DQ on the way back and give the nice lady back her husband's donut. Then, because the girl's have had a terrible day (having to walk several blocks in the noon-day sun) I buy them all ice cream at DQ. Hey, I've already spent this much.

So, now, my birthday is in two days. How do I justify doing anything for myself. At this point, even the new clothes I need (most of my jeans have holes in the knees) for work seems like spending too much. Yet I have a tradition to uphold. I have to take my oldest daughter out for dinner and probably a movie (I might end up going to the dollar theater) for my birthday, plus I'd like to get myself something or do something (like maybe a manicure or pedicure or get my hair permed). I can't justify it. Maybe I'll figure out something super cheap that I really need, or figure out a way to get something I'd like a lot without spending a lot of money. So much for cutting back. Car troubles, school supplies and haircuts this month, Halloween costumes coming up in a couple of months, Christmas presents after that. Makes me wonder if I'll be able to keep within my means until next semester's tuition is due.

Luckily, I got scheduled a lot of overtime this week, so that means my paycheck will be larger than usual. Maybe not quite enough to offset what I ended up spending that day, but it's a start. To the lady Candice? who trusted me to bring back her husband's donut when she could have just shrugged it off as not her problem, thank you! I couldn't say it enough. If the entire world was made up of people like you, it would be a lot nicer place to live.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Thoughts on Ralph Ellison's Invisable Man

Well, I haven't finished the book yet. I read another chapter today. Yet again I felt myself being drawn in by the main character's struggles. It made me wonder why it takes me so long after I put it down to pick it back up. I think perhaps the simplest explanation is that reading it makes me feel guilty for belonging to the race which was for so long oppressive to anyone whose skin was a different tone than ours. Perhaps also I feel guilty because I belong to a community which harbors racism and I hear things and I say nothing. I never speak up for the oppressed, as I should. I never fight to make a difference in the ways I could now. That makes me think that, if I lived back then, I would not speak up against the terrible injustices that happen to the characters in this book.

I decided that I will be finishing Invisible Man for my August bucket list item. Since it is a book, I will post after I read so much of it. In order to finish it before school starts I will have to read more than one chapter a day. I imagine some days I'll be reading a couple of chapters and some days I will not be reading it. When I read, I'll write a reaction to the chapter without spoiling the events for anyone who wants to read it for themselves. Throughout the following paragraph I will be referring to the protagonist as MC for (Main Character) because it is written in the first person and I am not sure it has given him a name yet.

This chapter was about the University's reaction to MC's mistake. I think their reaction was a bit harsh, considering the mistake was not purposeful. I do understand their reaction though. They've worked to get to a place where they have a mutual understanding that allows them to educate black youth in the same way their white counterparts are being educated, and if what MC did threatened that, then they must feel justified in punishing him. I felt immense sorrow and teared up when he left Dr. Bledsoe and only reached the outside of the building before doubling over. What was done was an injustice, whoever was ultimately to blame. I can't wait to read more. I hope that the book ends with MC triumphing despite all odds, but I have a feeling it is going to end badly.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Best Laid Plans

Well, the plan was to kill two birds with one stone, but I should have given up on getting the back to school shopping done when I learned there weren't any appropriate office supply stores near the place where Gorman Falls is located. I should have, but I didn't.

We picked the closest location we could find, which was in Killeen, a whole hour and fifteen minutes away. We drove to Killeen, did our shopping, which took over an hour, then went to a Japanese restaurant for dinner (the older two adore sushi and wanted it, I told youngest she could order something else, she ordered fried chicken). It took about an hour at the restaurant as well. Now if we'd gotten an earlier start, this plan might have worked out, but as it was we didn't get out of the house until after 3:00. When we finally got to Colorado Bend State Park, it was just about twilight. We saw a trail which was supposed to lead to Gorman Falls, and started down it, but as it started to get dark, we decided to turn back around and go home.

We did get to see quite a few deer (and almost hit one) but didn't get any pics and didn't get to cross anything off the bucket list. I'm pretty beat, had one helluva day.