Friday, October 31, 2008

Mama Guilt

Today is Halloween and I'm in class today. My youngest daughter wasn't very happy that I wouldn't be able to attend her party at school. We did have the conversation about how lucky we have been that I have been able to attend almost (if not all) of her school functions since there are many mommies who can't because of their work schedules. Still, she still whined, "Can Daddy come to my party?" Thankfully, Daddy is stepping up to the plate (as he always does) and making baby girl happy, but that leaves me here, dealing with mama guilt. I know my kids will have to deal with disappointment in life and I know that I can't be all things to all people all the time, but the realization of these facts does not lessen the feelings of guilt.

I seriously considered skipping class today. What is more important: reviewing notes on communication theory or being a part of an event that is the highlight of my kid's month? My professor won't give me a big smile and hug when I walk into her classroom, but I would get that in my daughter's kindergarten class.

In the end, responsibility brought me to campus (I had my broadcast team's video and they wouldn't be able to work without it), but the whole shenanigan reminded me that freelancing after graduation might be the right path after all.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

You think COLLEGE is hard....

This came from a e-mail that is frequently forwarded on the internet. I checked out it's authenticity and it is real. One of the educators from back-in-the-day that helped write this test mentioned his students' inability to pass the it. He described how many of them were blushing and had elementary-like answers for many of the questions. Make me feel better; we're just as "dumb" now as we were back then!


This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina, Kansas, USA . It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, KS - 1895
Grammar (Time, one hour)
1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of "lie," "play," and "run."
5. Define case; illustrate each case.
6. What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.
7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time,1 hour 15 minutes)
1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?3. If a load of wheat weighs 3,942 lbs., what is it worth at50 cts/bushel, deducting 1,050 lbs. for tare?
4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find the cost of 6,720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20per metre?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods?10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)
1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn,and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800,1849, 1865.

Orthography (Time, one hour) [<>
1. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography,etymology, syllabication
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi,dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell,rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane , vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)
1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas ?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America.
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco.
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
7. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.


Man, this makes me feel much better about those comprehensive finals that I have coming up!!!

I Wish I Was a Coffee Drinker

I'm. So. Tired. So very tired. I've pretty much been sleepwalking since the beginning of October. Plus, my tiredness had given birth to a Red Bull addiction. I wish I could stand the taste of coffee; it would be a much cheaper addiction to maintain.

Last night, it dawned on me that I only have like a month and a half of school left. If I can hang on for 49 DAYS, I'll be okay!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hanging On think I might be able to survive....

Friday, October 24, 2008


I get by with a little help from my friends....and my advisor.

Today, after getting out of class early, a classmate and I were discussing an upcoming career fair with my advisor. One conversation lead to another and soon he and I were talking about freelance writing. Long before I went back to school, I had been doing a bit a freelancing here and there. I have read several books about the subject and I still follow blogs on freelancing regularly. Still, I have a multitude of questions that nag me and he was kind enough to let me vocally weigh the pros and cons with him. We also discussed other career options given my circumstances. I appreciated his honesty and practicality. He didn't try to sell me the overused American favorite of, "You can do anything that you want to do!" or, "You can be anything you want to be!" But he did say one thing that stuck with me: "(Freelancing) is what I envisioned for you."

My husband has encouraged my writing over the years and friends or family members have often sent kudos my way. Yet, it is easy to shrug off their compliments. It's hard to trust the words of loved ones. They might be a little biased, after all.

So, to hear that my professor--a person who knows my writing style well and who knows the writing world well--"envisions" a future for me in freelancing....well, that makes all the difference. When we were discussing the nagging questions about the field, I mentioned to him that I wasn't sure that "my fragile ego could handle all the rejections." He laughed and agreed that rejections are a big part of the experience. But, somehow knowing that he understands what the job takes and believes that I am up for the task makes me more willing to open up to the possibility of rejection in the first place.

Today, I left with a peaceful feeling; a feeling that I'm finally headed in the right direction. The past year has been a difficult refinement of myself, and I almost feel as if I am coming back full circle. I've explored a variety of career options, learned new skills and learned a whole lot more about myself in the process. But I've got to give credit where credit is due: my advisor has been an invaluable resource throughout this experience and I'm grateful for his help.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

There's No Such Thing As Perfect

Ever had a professor who doesn't seem to believe in perfect? I think I have one. Whenever I make an 'A' on a paper, it inevitably comes back as a 98 or 96 or something 90-ish but there are never any markings on the paper indicating the reason behind the grade.

It's quite confusing--if there are no mistakes, shouldn't I get 100%? If there are mistakes, shouldn't the red ink pen politely point them out so that I can learn and grow? Maybe it comes down to the simple fact that my professor believes that no one is capable of perfection...and I guess I would have to agree with her.

(But I'd still take a 100.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

To Facebook or Not to Facebook?

That's the question...anyone have the answer?

The dilemma: how to keep up with fellow students after college.

Anyone in the working world knows that networking is very important. What if the guy that sits next to you in Biology finds a cure for cancer? What if a girl from your group project someday owns her own company...that you want to work for? How do you stay in touch with these people who are chock full of potential? On top of that, it might be nice just to stay in touch with people that have become your friends, right?

Facebook is the obvious answer. Every single college student in my class has a Facebook page. Everyone. I know MySpace is popular in other areas, but in my neck of the woods, Facebook reigns supreme.

The simple answer would seem to be: get a Facebook account. Actually, I have one, but have never set up a page (I did it once just to see what "Facebook" actually was). But, it's not so simple after all.

One, I don't know how I feel about 30-somethings and older being on social networking sites. I know...that sounds biased, but it all started when I overheard a 45-year-old mom of a teenager telling a friend that she was going to post some pictures of an event on her MySpace page. It just sounded...weird. Really? You have a MySpace page??

Two, do I really need another giant time waster? Blogs and email and texting and forums...these things eat my time already.

The only thing I can figure out is to ask for e-mail addresses the old fashioned way (nevermind that the "old fashioned way" when I was in school was to get someone's permanent address). But, e-mails often changed or don't get checked (especially if you're busy on Facebook--lol!).

I don't know....what's your plan to stay in touch? Or do you even plan to stay in touch with your classmates?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Video On Demand Rocks

Homework. Oh yeah...that little thing.

Somehow, when I decided to extend my fall break for a week instead of two days, I managed to forget about a little thing called homework. This morning at 9 a.m. when I was blow-drying my hair when it dawned on me: I have about three projects to finish!

So here I am, blogging on my workstation while watching All the President's Men on my laptop for my Media Ethics class. (I's a hard job watching a young Robert Redford in action, but somebody's got to do it.)

Amazon's Video On Demand service. Can I say, I love this video on demand stuff? First off, finding a movie from the 70s in my part of the world: not an easy task. There are no big chains like Blockbuster out here in "the boondocks" and my local video store has maybe forty new releases (a.k.a "nothing from the seventies"). I'm not a Netflix customer (yet) because I have a hard enough time keeping up with my favorite TV shows that I have recorded on my DVR. Maybe frequent movie nights will become a habit after graduation.

Needless to say, Video On Demand was a lifesaver (or, at least, a homework saver) for me.

You know what this means? I'll probably become an addict. Yep, I'll probably start searching the Video On Demand listings constantly, downloading and saving movies to watch on roadtrips or anywhere I'm likely to be stuck without television or internet (because you can download the movies and store them for up to 30 days before watching...and you don't have to be connected to the internet if you download free Amazon's Unbox software). But if nothing else, it will be great for "research" purposes (insert me flexing quotey fingers and a little "wink wink" on the side). :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Extending Fall Break

Somehow, my two day fall break has turned into an entire week off. It all started when one of my two professors told us that he wouldn't be here this week. I hated the idea of driving to class for half of my classes, but I didn't think I had any other options. After the weekend passed, I had so many things to do/people to see that I decided to take Monday off. My initial plan was to be in class on Wednesday and possibly even drive up on Tuesday to get some things done. Then I discovered that my kids were out of school on Wednesday for their fall break and their Daddy was busy at work, so I had to stay home with them. And I didn't bother to go to school on Tuesday, either. So, in the end, I will have had a week off from school.

I gotta say, it's been really nice. I'm getting caught up at work, I didn't even bother turning on my alarm clock this morning since the kids didn't have to get up for school and I've had time to go on extended lunches with old friends. When I was in the working world, I used to call time off like this "mental health days"--you know, calling in sick when you don't really have a physical illness per se, but just need some time to recoup and rest. They worked then and they are working now!

Monday, October 13, 2008


Gas has now dropped under $3/gallon (at least in my part of the world). I'm so happy I could hug my Honda!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Index Card Update

I had another test this week so I turned to old reliable--my trusty index cards--for studying once again. My young friend promptly made fun of me when she came to class...and then she asked to borrow a few.

Go figure. :)

Friday, October 10, 2008


I'm truly thankful that it's Friday and even more thankful that next week is Fall Break! It was especially hard to drag myself out of bed this morning. Yesterday, my family drove to our state's largest metro area (okay, so there are only two really official "metros" in our state...). We were attending the state fastpitch softball tournament that our school was a part of, and we went a little early to get some much needed fall shopping out of the way. It was a productive and fun trip, but it couldn't have come at a more difficult time for me. I loaded my laptop (TGFL--thank goodness for laptops!), my index cards, a pile of research I had printed off and a textbook into our already full SUV. On the drive up, I studied for a test. It was a very technical-oriented test, so it was difficult to focus between the blare of sports-talk radio, the whining from the backseat ("Are we there yet?") and the motion sickness (not to mention that I have almost zero interest in this particular subject). Luckily--or not so luckily, I'm not sure which--the ballgames were actually running almost two hours behind. While my family was sitting in bleachers with the rest of our small community, I was crammed into the passenger's seat of our vehicle with a laptop and papers scattered throughout finishing a rough draft of my research paper which was also due this morning.

We ended up getting home and in bed somewhere around 1 a.m. I reluctantly set my alarm knowing that I would have to get up early enough to get two children bathed and make sure the oldest finished her homework (she claimed motion sickness prevented her from travel study, too). I was also stressed about the amount of housework that I needed to complete especially considering that I have family visiting this weekend and visitors throughout the next week (immediately followed by out-of-state travel during fall break). Plus, it is busy season for me at work and I have lots of catching up to do.

I seriously contemplated skipping my first class (Fridays are slim class days anyway), but I didn't think I could really get much marked off of my to-do list in an hour and I really needed to be in my other classes. I did, however, arrive late only to find out later that the professor didn't even take roll (I could have missed class!!!).

Ugh--frustration and regret.

On the upside, I managed to make it through the day without falling asleep in class or at the wheel (I credit some of that to my friend, Red Bull energy drink), and now I'm off to finish my housework. And cook supper. And get started on my photography backlog.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Book Tag

Just when you think they've run out of blog tags....they come up with a new one!

My pal, Bethany, has challenged me to the following:

*Grab the nearest book.Open the book to page 56.
*Find the fifth sentence.
*Post the text of the next two to five sentences in your blog along with these instructions.
*Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.
*Tag five other people to do the same.

This will be oh-so-exciting because my book is a textbook: Adobe Illustrator CS3 Revealed! Here's the quote from page 56:

"Using the Character panel, click the up and down arrows in the Kerning text box to experiment with higher and lower kerning values, then change the kerning value to -40."

Gripping, edge-of-your-seat reading material, eh? Just think: you, too, could be reading such interesting stuff every day like me!

(Oh--I'm going to break the rules and not tag anyone else on the grounds that I have already tagged too many people this year and I don't want to annoy any of my cyber pals).

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bailouts & Breastmilk & Squirrels...Oh My!

I mentioned earlier that in my Media Writing class, our latest project was to write scripts for a television broadcast. Our professor is pretty laid back, so she welcomed pretty much any kind of script including purely fake news which my group tackled. So, in light of the fact that it's Friday and this University Mama could use a laugh and a break from reality, here were the topics of our broadcast:

Lead Story: The presidential candidates and their VPs were killed in a tragic motorscooter accident. They were filming an ad dressed as clowns and riding a motorscooter together as a symbol of bipartisan cooperation. Biden--who was driving the scooter--swerved to avoid hitting a squirrel, causing the team to fall off the side of a cliff and crash to the earth below (no word on why they were filming on the edge of a cliff). The accident brought up serious issues about clown impersonation, even prompting professional clowns to release an ad saying, "Clowns are professionals, not a bunch of bozos wearing fake noses and big shoes." People are stunned about the tragedy and wondering where the country is headed only weeks until election day. Hillary Clinton, who was on-location for the filming with her pet squirrel, said that the accident "saddens her."

Other News: Today, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced a newly revised federal bail-out plan to help stimulate the fragile U.S. economy. The plan has been changed to include relief for any Americans who currently owe more than they make, which is almost 90 percent of the country. This is good news for homeowners who borrowed beyond their means and for the banks who loaned to them in the first place. People who suffer from chronic shopping disorder are ecstatic about the decision that will nullify their outstanding credit card debt, according to the N.A.S.S.—the national association of super shoppers. The revised bail-out plan is estimated to cost over 500 trillion dollars and will lead to the ultimate demise of the United States Treasury. However, recent polling shows that 85% of Americans believe the plan is a good solution for the current economic crisis.

The PETA organization recently requested that Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream stop using cow's milk for their product and start using human breastmilk instead. They claimed that milking cows is cruel and that milk supplies can often be hazardous. PETA suggested establishing human dairies which would provide plenty of breast milk for ice cream and provide employment for crack addicts, apparently solving the issues of mistreatment of animals and securing a safe milk supply.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Seperation Anxiety (From My Index Cards)

I had an index card emergency the other day. Yes, you heard right: an index card emergency.

I was preparing to study for a test and realized that I was completely out of index cards. This posed a huge problem for me. How would I study?? I always use index cards to study. I can't just read notes. I can't write out questions and answers on a piece of paper. Know why? I'm weak. I would cheat! I would look at the answer while trying to myself. Pathetic. The only way I can curtail my wandering eyes is to put the answer on the back of an index card.

So, I begin my search. I started with the husband's office. No luck. He suggested the lumber yard, the grocery store or the drug if there were many more businesses to choose from in our tiny town (Have I mentioned that our town is only 12 blocks wide? That should give you some perspective...). The lumber yard was already closed and I had luck at the grocery the last time I was in dire need of index cards. Unfortunately, I think I bought the last pack of cards there six months ago and they hadn't been replaced (guess they aren't a high-demand item around here). I make my final stop at the drug store hoping that in our local pharmacist can save the day for me because the other alternatives are: a) drive 34 miles to get a 70 cent package of cut card stock b) do without.

I nervously approach the counter: "Do you happen to have any index cards?" I ask. The pharmacist calls from behind, "Do you want five by seven, three and a half by two, hinged...." He makes his way over to the eye drop and nasal spray section and retrieves a handful of various index cards. Why didn't I think to look there instead of the school supply section? Silly me.

I was able to continue my test preparation in peace, thank goodness. Thanks to those little index cards, I think I did pretty fair in the end, but who knows how this saga would have ended without them?

(And how in the world do people study without index cards anyway??)