Done, Done, Onto the Next One...

I'm not sure who snuck onto this blog at the beginning of the semester and had a huge meltdown about what the future held.  That person obviously didn't understand that like everything else, if you put the work into it and not worry about what you don't know, things may just go your way. 

THIS chick, yours truly, who would never have a meltdown over stupid things (shut up), read that just like the rest of you. Laughed, and wished that person luck.  Because it was obvious that she needed it. 

Turns out, she didn't. 

Grades were posted this morning for the first semester:  4.0 baby. 

I'm not even going to pretend that I knew it mid-semester.  Hipster turned out to be my worst nightmare when it came to understanding what he wanted from us. He rarely answered emails when we had questions, and out of 20 people, there were always 10 different recollections of what the assignment was.  The syllabus was abandoned halfway through the semester and the final was a presentation on an article that no one knew how to apply to modern times, but I found my way though.  While it wasn't brain surgery, and I'm far from the first person to work and go to school, I have to say I'm proud.

I'm in no way going to rest on my laurels and think that it's easy street from here on out.  I am, however, going to gloat for a few minutes because all of those tears were for naught. 

And I'll publicly say it: 

My husband was right:  I got this.

(did you see that, babe?  Read it again, because you know you don't hear it often. Hee. By the way, giving credit where it's due, thank you for you. I got this because of you.)

Onward.  6 credits down. Only 114 more to go.  2 classes this spring, July & August off, back in September.  Slowly but surely.

So, thanks to all of you for the support.  I can't promise a 4.0 every semester (because: math, eventually), I can hope that I'll still be able to swing something good. 

And maybe graduate before I'm eligible for Social Security. 



As you walk on by...

So...hey....and all that stuff.  I know, I started school, I got fed up with the world and then I disappeared.  It's not intentional. I've just been plugging along and writing for my classes, which I'm beginning to think that these profs are in cahoots.  In the past week, I've written close to a dozen pages in essays between the two, and I have about 25 more between them to get through before the semester is up in the middle of April.

Write write write.

On top of that, my handsome husband gifted me 2 beautifully bound journals for my birthday earlier this month, and I have a million things I'm jotting down there as well.  Someone said "that's it? That's all he got for you for your birthday?"  Uh. YEAH. The dude knows the way to my heart isn't through jewelry. It's blank pages with endless possibilities.  Ok, and maybe a pretty, sparkly thing from time to time, but seriously.  Between those journals and a gift from a dear friend at Christmas, I've plenty of places to put my thoughts as of late.  Just not here, obviously.  Oops.

Regarding school; if you'll allow me to brag for a hot second, I'm doing well so far with mid-term grades at 96% and 117%.  Don't ask me how we get above 100%, but I'm not going to argue either.  So, I think I'm handling this college thing fine.  Of course, these are English and Lit courses, which I love, so I'm under no delusion that I'll be skating through the next 15 years before I graduate.  Absolutely not.  In fact, look for me to be hiding under my desk, wailing when it's time to tackle my math completion.

117% accurate

For now, however, I will take what I can get in the way of a nice grade for the semester and move on.  I can register next week for my summer and fall classes, and if all goes well, I could potentially have 18 credits for my first calendar year of college.  

Maybe this won't take me forever?  Hmmmm.  

In any event, I just wanted to appear so you wouldn't forget about me and to let you know that I've started a second blog.  Not to cheat on you, lovies, but because I had to.  It's actually an assignment for my English class, but I figured once the semester is over I'll likely keep it up so I can have all of my essays and creative writing stuffs (once I get to actually focus on my minor) in one place.  

Feel free to stop by if you want to see me pretend I'm smart and say things like "it's a complete subjugation of an independent spirit" and then wonder who said those things when the Professor points out what an insightful observation that was.  (True story. That phrase was used as an "excellent example of descriptive writing" in my LIT class and it took me about 15 minutes to realize he was talking about me.)

One thing about that blog though:  at this point, it's for looking only.  Until I can figure out what my Professor is looking for, and if comments from the outside world are welcome, please refrain from posting there for now.  

It will be open for comments after the semester, however, and I'll welcome your words with open arms. For now though, look but don't type.  All bets are off after April 20.  I'm fair game. 

Of course, feel free to leave adoration or criticism (but mostly adoration because, really:  me) here. This blog is never closed for comments.  


The one where I likely piss everyone off.

There are days I just want the world to shut up.

I don't want to hear about people in the media who lie. Hell, half the time I don't want to hear the media, period.  They're more problem than solution on most occasions.  Oh, and that goes farther than Brian Williams making up a story.  I'm looking at you, entire Fox News Network.

I don't want to hear Kanye running his mouth about anything because he's not an authority on anything but being an ass hole.

I don't want to hear about a Kardashian or anyone else who is "famous" for doing nothing but creating drama and spending tons of money on just being a ridiculous person.  As an aside, we shouldn't even know what a Kardashian, or a Snookie or any one of those "famous" people are.  Be a great actor, find a cure for cancer, write a fantastic book.  Do something great and stop trotting around the world with your tits out and "accidentally" release a sex tape because you're so damned insecure about being insignificant that you force your uninteresting self upon the rest of the world.  Oh, and world?  This goes for 99.9% of the "reality" TV out there.  Watch it for your own entertainment.  No one is saying you have to quit, universe knows I have a few guilty pleasures, but can we stop acting like these people are actually living in 100% reality?  The only reality they're living is one where the cameras edit everything but the drama and fluff.

I don't care what the talking heads on the morning chat circuit have to say about whatever the hell "current event" they manage to blabber on about for an hour every day, and "experts" who feel they need to add to the noise by falling over themselves to deliver the first report on whatever they feel is news.

I could not care less that a shitty movie based off of a shitty book is everywhere this weekend, and that people think it's romantic when it's essentially a study in abuse.  It will make more this weekend than I believe most small countries budget for education in a year.

I don't care whether Madonna showed up at the Grammy awards looking like something that should pop out of a kid's jack in the box or if Uma Thurman wore no makeup.  Why is this important? Why do we care?

I especially don't want to hear about the sheer assholery of the Governor of Kansas, or this jackass from Illinois. Not because they're not actual news stories, but I just get tired of banging my head against the desk and screaming what in the actual fuck?!

I understand that resolving my dilemma is a fairly easy one.  "But Tonya," you say, "just don't pay attention.  Oh, and by the way, aren't you actually contributing to all of the noise you're so vehemently opposing in this very post?"

The answer to the first is that we all need information. It's the part where we're forced to shift through the shit to find the basics of what you actually need to know is utterly overwhelming.  When you do find what you need to know, you have to dig deeper to see if someone is feeding you more shit or if the shit you've found that you need is actually what you need.

The answer to the second is yes.  However, it's unlikely anyone but the 4 people loyal to this blog are going to even bother, so I'm a small blip on the radar at this point.

There are days I want to go back to when we only got our information from newspapers and the nightly news on TV and our gossip from Mrs. Kravitz (look it up, kids).  Yes.  The internet is an awesome thing. It connects, it entertains, it helps people make a difference.  But the background noise gets to be ridiculous, and those are the days I just want to make the world quiet down.  Even if it's only for an hour.

Don't tell me that the idea isn't delicious...


Thoughts from a 40 year old freshman: The first week

You guys.  I did it!!  I actually did it.  I finished my first week of college, and you know what? I came out relatively unscathed.  I drank a bottle of wine last night to celebrate this accomplishment.  I need  14 more bottles to get me through the semester.

Hey, everyone should have a goal, right?

On Monday afternoon, I left work with a hug and well wishes from my boss and drove out to campus for my first class:  English 121.  I left super early because I couldn't focus on anything anyway, and I wasn't sure where I was going to park given I hadn't had time to go secure a parking pass.  So I arrived outside of the building approximately 55 minutes prior to when I needed to be there and scored a metered spot right outside of the door.

I spent the next 20 minutes talking to my husband while watching the infants students wander between buildings wearing nothing but leggings and sweatshirts in 10 degree weather.

Yes.  Yes. Yes.  A million times:  YES

After poking fun, Adam politely reminded me that I should probably drop the "get off my lawn" mentality and get into the building so I wasn't late after arriving 55 minutes early.  I agreed, got out of the car (bundled up in a scarf, mittens, hat and ski jacket for my 10 step walk to the front door) and headed in.  I found my way to the 4th floor and waited for the class ahead to disburse.  When it did, I headed in with the other infants students and waited for the professor to arrive.  

After I walked in, I caught a few surprised looks that I chose a student chair and didn't head up to the front of the class. Especially after the instructor walked in.  

My man can't be more than 30.  

Deep breath.  

So Professor walks up to the front of the room in red jeans and black converse shoes and American Eagle fitted tee and his infinity scarf and introduces himself while I glance at the rest of the class and realize that I could be every one of their mothers.  We then do a writing exercise/introduction thing.  After we've written our answers, we read them aloud.  The question was "What gives you anxiety about your writing."

99% of the class answers:  "spelling is horrid", "I tend to use run on sentences", "my thought process isn't always clear" and so on.  
I answer:  "I typically don't have anxiety about my writing. I understand that some will like it and others may not, but that's fine".

99% of the class thinks:  "wow, this chick is not only old, but she's cocky"
Professor smirks.  I'm not sure what this means.  

Deep breath. 

We continue on with the syllabus and we were out in about 40 minutes. I drive over to the bookstore to pick up my textbook and buy a tee shirt so I'm officially official and then set about on the drive home.  Where I had time to think about everything and completely freak the fuck out so by the time I arrive at home, I'm in the middle of a slight panic attack,  By slight, I mean full on tears.  

I get to the back door and am greeted by my husband, who is so proud and all smiles. "Hi College!!" is how he greets me, eager to hear about the class since I was acting like a normal human being not 25 minutes earlier when I called to let him know I was on the road.  

Ha.  Fooled him.  

I, in turn, throw myself into his arms and cry for 5 minutes gasping out things like "entire syllabuses" and "25 pages of essays between 2 classes by April!" and "peer review and they're all children and...and...what am I doing, this is going to take me a dozen years and I'm worried about not having my time next Christmas when I should be leaving work to come home and do what I need to do and not have to worry about school..."  you know, the usual way I approach things.  Big picture that completely overwhelms.  

You're laughing.  Is that not normal?

My motto, ladies and gentlemen...

So, St. Husband puts his arms around me and is likely rolling his eyes behind my back for 5 minutes before he pulls me away from him, looks at his watch and says: "You have 1 hour. You can use this hour to do whatever you want in the way of freaking out. You can cry, you can talk to me, you can sulk, you can sit quietly, you can do whatever you want. However, at exactly 8:01 you are going to tell me what your plan is.Are you bailing and this isn't for you? That's fine. Are you going to slow down and take it piece by piece and continue on for the next however many years it's going to take? That's fine too. The choice is yours and I will love you either way. Just know that we're not doing this every week, so figure it out now."

It's like this guy has been with me for 20 years or something. Weird.

For the next hour, I cried, I talked, I cried some more. The dog looked at me like "why is your face leaking, mom?". I did dishes, I thought.  At 8:01, I logged into my LIT class, posted my introduction and read the first chapter.

We have liftoff.

My classes are Monday and Wednesday, so I went back yesterday and all was fine both in person and online.  Actually, that's a lie.  I had to submit a short essay and I think I knocked it out of the park.  Let's hope that Professor thinks the same.

14 weeks left for this semester and then I'll only be 114 credits away from graduation!!!  (I'm trying to not worry about the math class that's going to stand between me and a diploma. That's another story for another day so we're not even going to discuss it right now.  Right?  RIGHT?)


A Public Service Message from the Handbasket...

You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming, provided that it doesn't involve a Kardashian.


In Defense of the Turkey

Alright.  This is going to get me a lot of nay-saying.  I'm prepared to be called a Grinch, no fun, non-holiday loving individual.   I understand that I may be in the minority, but when has that ever bothered me?

Oh, wait, that's right...


We all know that last Friday was Halloween.  Even though it was snowing in parts, kiddies bundled up and parents bundled up and followed behind so the little ghosts and ghouls could stock up on enough sugar to last until next Halloween.

Oh, and super cool aunts went out too, even if it was only for a block.  Yes, that's a raincoat over a puffy coat over a sweater and the super cool headband and matching gloves only added to the ensemble.   Don't judge unless you're judging my beauty and awesome skill at dressing myself.
Too sexy for your candy.
If you're wondering why Adam let me go into public looking like Rainbow Brite's less stylish sister, he wasn't present.  He was sitting in 32 degrees of wind and sleet and a few snowflakes to watch the Chiefs win their playoff game.  He wouldn't have been able to judge though, because he came home looking like a camouflaged teddy bear.  I wish I would have snapped a picture. 

In any event, it was freezing, but we soldiered on.  As nasty as it was, I was hoping that the night wouldn't end, if only for 1 reason: the next day was November 1.  

I can remember a time growing up when we actually had holidays.  One at a time, I mean.  When stores didn't have Halloween items out for sale in July and the Easter Bunny didn't arrive on Valentine's day and we actually had Thanksgiving.  

That's right, people used to have this magical holiday in between Halloween and Christmas. It was called  Thanksgiving, and it was magical.  Magical for the sole fact that the entire day is set aside for food.  That's right.  You got up and ate breakfast while you watched Captain Underpants glide up Woodward Avenue (or Kermit tower over the streets of New York if you weren't cool enough to grow up in Michigan).  It didn't stop there, though.  After breakfast, you'd get together with friends and family and eat dinner at noon.  Then you'd have pie.  Then when you were hungry at 4, you ate again.  Then maybe another piece of pie at 9  It was amazing.  You watched football, played cards, gossiped with your cousin, whatever. That was the whole point of the day.  

Oh, and there was a star of the day, the center of attention and of the table:  the turkey.  He was usually the best dressed but he was always full before dinner could even begin.  

This guy:  
I'm too sexy for your table...

Or, wait, you may better recognize him here:

...but apparently not smart enough to not be in this situation

Anyway, during this magical, bygone holiday, you spent time with Mr. Turkey.  You spent time with your crazy Aunt Esmeralda and Uncle Frank.  You watched football (whether you enjoyed it or Grandpa got to the remote control first, it was ALWAYS on.)  

But the best part?  Most everybody got the day off.  Except for a few essential services like hospitals, fire departments and police departments,mostly everything else was closed.  Everyone would take a break before you were up 3 hours before dawn, ready to jump headfirst into the pool of cheerful mayhem that surrounds Christmas.   Sales!  Carols!!  Cookie baking!!!  Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!   

I'm not going to even discuss the absurdity that is the retail store who absolutely can't go one day without the almighty dollar, thus affecting 100 people who have to be at the store to make that money while you holiday in Aspen or whatever people who own multi-million dollar corporations do on a holiday.  When people aren't supposed to be working.  

That's a whole other post for a whole other day.  

My point is, once fall hit, life could pretty much be broken down by events for 4 months:

September - school
October - Halloween
November - Thanksgiving
December - Hanukkah and Christmas

Now?  It's back to school and then into HallowChristmas.  What's missing?  Oh, I don't know, maybe the turkey?  The pumpkin pie?  The FOOTBALL???

I get it. Once Halloween and the vampires and the ghouls and the goblins have all retreated, no one wants to hang around with a turkey.  They're not the brightest.  They get pissy when you try to get near them. Or, if you're Lindsay or Dawn, you just don't like them because they're birds.  (Which, way to be fair and unjudgy, you two.)   I mean, why would you want to hang out with a turkey when the promise of this guy was in your near future, provided you did not pout, cry or act badly at any point the previous 364 days before he came to town?

  Turkey ain't got what I got, baby...

Yep.  It's Santa.  The man with the bag.  That jolly old dude in red who sneaks into your house after dark but don't worry, it's not creepy because he's just swinging by to drop off presents.  The guy who buys your love and you're ok with it because, dude, someone is giving you presents, of course you're ok with it.  Oh, and this guy is good.  I mean, he advertises too.  I mean, right after October 31st, he's slipping into commercials on TV.  They're talking about him on the radio.  Parents are pulling out the "Santa's watching" card and kids are behaving and terrified because there's an old guy who will know if they were mean to their sister or didn't turn in their homework.  This is all fine and good.  I love Christmas more than any other holiday, and it has nothing to do with the commercial side.  I'm guaranteed family time.  I'm guaranteed  to catch up with a friend or two I haven't seen since last Christmas break.  I'm guaranteed at least a bit of a reprieve from work.  I'm guaranteed holiday wishes and raindeer kisses (not really, because: gross) and hearing Bing Crosby and David Bowie sing my favorite song.

I love all of these things, but I love them all starting whatever date that Friday after Thanksgiving is each year.  I know I'm not in the minority here.  If I were, why would there be an online petition to close stores on Thanksgiving.  Why is this even a thing?  Because people stopped wanting to hang out with the yummy turkey and actually celebrate Thanksgiving.  Maybe watch football or gossip with a cousin regarding Aunt Ezzie and Uncle Frank.  Have that second piece of pie and then drift happily off into a tryptophan-induced haze until it's time to eat again.

Why can't we just have one holiday at a time?  When did it become acceptable to have HallowChristmas outside of The Nightmare Before Christmas?  Most importantly, though, when did we stop loving the Turkey?

So, I ask that you take a moment this November after you've given your undying gratitude to a Veteran but before you've trampled someone over an Elsa doll the last Friday in November.  Take a trip to the market or the farm and set a date to hang out with a turkey.  Invite your friends and family and be thankful and kind and eat until you can't eat anymore.

I promise, you won't regret it.  Hey, if it all goes well, maybe we put up a poll to get rid of HalloChristmas and take back the day for our ol' pal the turkey?   Yeah.  I think we may have to do just that.


Random Ramblings on a Thursday Afternoon...

I can't even begin to pretend that I have been doing a ton of wildly interesting things while avoiding this little piece of internet.  I can't tell you that I've been traveling the globe and meeting new people and finding a cure for cancer and making dreams come true across the country.   In reality, I've been doing what other normal, everyday people do:  work, complain about work, sleep, repeat.

Sure, there have been some fun things in there.   My husband was promoted at work, and is now a Captain.  At work. His rank at home hasn't changed, nor will I salute or call him "Captain" within these walls.  Said promotion has also meant a schedule adjustment for the both of us, as we have never both been a 40 hours schedule since we've been married.  So far, it's going alright?  I guess?.   At least I think it is.  I'm slowly getting used to him hogging the remote sharing the television and he's getting used to me hogging the blankets when we go to bed.  We haven't filed for divorce yet, so I think it's going fairly well.

A few weeks ago, Adam and I escaped to my happy place up north for 4 days of sanity.  The place isn't the same without Grams and Gramps there, but it will always be the place my heart finds peace and my mind settles.  If we could own property up there tomorrow, I wouldn't think twice.  As it's not in the cards right now, we just go when we can, which isn't a lot.  That just makes me appreciate it more when we do get there.

The past 2 weeks have been a bit tougher.  On the 29th of last month, we lost my Uncle Len after an 18 month battle with cancer.  I took the news with mixed feelings.  Sad, of course that he was gone but happy that he wasn't suffering, especially since the past 4 months have been extremely hard on him and my aunt.

Funeral home visits are never easy. Period.  This one was a bit harder given the fact that my entire family was affected as Uncle Len was both on my dad's side of the family and my mom's side.

Go ahead.  Read it again.  I'll wait.

Ok.  I know that many of you are wondering if my family tree branches. I assure you that it does.  This couple in particular, my dearest Aunt Eve and Uncle Len, just happen to have woven the 2 families together before my parents did.  Rather than have you try and figure it out, I'll explain:

First, you have my dad.  His mom, my beloved Grams was one of several children, and Uncle Len was her youngest brother.

Then, there's my mom, and Aunt Evie is her oldest sister.

Youngest brother + Oldest sister = Aunt Eve and Uncle Len.

So, my uncle Len is at the same time a brother-in-law and an uncle to my parents, and an uncle and great uncle to me.  I know. It's confusing, but trust me that there is nothing devious about it.  If you don't get it, it's fine. I was well into high school before I figured out how that particular union worked.  I just spent most of my life thinking that we loved them more than my other aunts and uncles because they were at EVERY family celebration and holiday.

While sitting at the funeral home, I started thinking about how someone's passing really affects a family. I mean, aside from the obvious and that person not being physically present any longer.  (I'm not even going to dip a toe into the metaphysical and spiritual happenings that I believe linger after a physical form is gone.  Suffice it to say that I'm fully on board with the whole "just because you can't see them doesn't mean they're not here" realm of thinking.)

I've talked about traditions before, and I will admit that I'm not one to take change easily.  With each passing family member, things have changed in regards to the way holidays are celebrated.  How conversations will inevitably go. Things that you recall from your childhood will not be repeated and your heart has to come to terms with what your brain already knows.  Uncle Len's sister, my great Aunt Lil has been gone for close to 10 years now, and I still miss stopping by her house on Christmas Eve before heading to my Grandma B's.  Of course, both Grandma and Grandpa B are gone as well, so there's no going to their house either.  I'm not sure either of the residents of either house would be happy if we barged in on Christmas Eve (even if it was to just tell the inhabitants of the Inkster road house that the damn Christmas tree does NOT belong in the window!!).  But, I digress.

While I'm feeling the hit, I know my brother, husband, cousins, uncles and dad are having a hard time adjusting to Uncle Len not being here.  He was a general contractor and taught my brother and my husband pretty much everything they know.   Unc was the foreman on most jobs, the biggest being my brother's complete demolition and rebuild of his home a decade ago.  In fact, the guys had to do their first job with out Unc this weekend when they put a new roof on Aunt La's house.  I'm willing to bet that stepping on that roof without hearing "well, are you ladies going to work today or just stand around?" was a bit harder than normal.

I know I'm rambling.  I just needed to write.  I promise to be back and be more entertaining in the future.  (tomorrow's Friday.  I was recently called out for my lack of Friday posts, and was even guilted into the fact that "it's only once a week, can you at least give us that??" )

Until then,  blogstalkers (if there are any of you left, I can't see past the cobwebs on this site...)