Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pretty in Pink

Hardly looks like a Mountain of Laundry up there, huh?  Well, today was one of those days when I needed to step away from the dishes and the homework and the laundry and...well...put on a vintage pink gown and take Viv out for a spin. I'm sure everyone does this now and then. 

Otherwise, mostly the same ol' same ol' 'round these parts.  I've hit that portion of the semester where I'm fairly certain that school is trying to kill me.  By the looks of my syllabi,  this feeling should subside shortly following finals (unless school really does kill me).  Of course, that's when I'll have to study for and take the GRE.  No biggie.  It's just my future.

The kids are well and fine.  I keep feeding them.  They keep coming back.  Emily appears to be thriving in high school. The boy turned eleven on Monday.  Audrey has requested her blog name be changed to Princess Pearl. 

Mark and I will be running the Mother Road Marathon in just over a week.  The training schedule is tapering and I feel like I'm cheating.  This morning's six miles were a piece of cake (the weather could definitely be a factor) and my "long" weekend run is only eight.  I guess I'll make up for all of this slacking next Sunday.

So back to studying.  Viv is safely tucked away in the garage and the dress has been carefully returned to the Closet of Eternal Joy and Happiness, where they will be at the ready when I need them again.

...which could very well be tomorrow.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Reality Check

At 4 a.m., my eyes popped wide open and my heart was racing. I hadn't had a nightmare. There was no thunderstorm. The cat had not delivered to me yet another sacrificial chipmunk. What had happened? I woke up in reality.

So much of my life is spent comfortably suspended in my everything-is-gonna-work-out-just-fine world, that I have forgotten, more or less, how to handle the real stuff.

So just for kicks, let's catch up on the back story...Divorced Mom of three sets out to create a new and improved life for herself and her children. An increasingly circuitous journey, two years to a degree have birthed the need for a year's internship, which now potentially calls for yet another year to complete grad school. Divorced Mom is surviving on student loans and tenacity, both of which are in short supply at this time. The 14 year old mini-van that takes her on the 140 mile round-trip four times weekly is showing signs of age and wear (much like its owner). And all the while, Divorced Mom is descending into the depths of challenging senior year which will require pulling from next years allotment of tenacity and an unknown source of cashola.

So, back to this morning's reality bite: School is getting pretty intense...just as it should right about now, I suppose. The professors are preparing us to apply for those coveted internships (without which, we cannot become dietitians) and the reality that 50% of my class will be left with a degree but no avenue by which to become an R.D. I'll be honest, I sit in my senior seminar class and look around, placing imaginary pluses and minuses over my classmates' heads, making assumptions as to who will get accepted into a program and who won't, hoping those doing the same see a "+" hovering above me. This internship stuff is a really big deal.

Oh, hey, did I mention that these cost money? The two in the KC area (accepting a total of 24 grads from across the U.S.) each run about 8K. Add to that living expenses...sigh. Reality.

So I keep telling myself that I wouldn't have started this journey were I unable to finish it. And deep down I know it will all work out absolutely fabulously. But at this very second, while I'm unsure how I'll pay the bills through the end of the year -- let alone next year -- I'm in a self-pity panic.

I suppose I should go buy someone a cup of coffee.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bet Your Bottom Dollar

Today while I waited in line to pay for my coffee refill, I noticed something I've never before seen at the shop. The gal behind me was also getting a refill. Odd? Well, most of the students are ordering toasty bagels and/or fancy-schmancy frozen coffee drinks (which is precisely why there is a line for me to stand in before I can pay $1 for my cuppa.) Anyhow, I don't know quite what it was that made me do it, but when it was my turn at the register, I paid for her refill too. I don't watch Oprah. I haven't read Pay It Forward. I suppose it just seemed like a fun little social experiment to run at that moment.

And you know what...as moved as this co-ed was by my action ("That's the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me!"), the buzz I got from paying a whopping dollar for her coffee was far more intense than that of the joe I bought for myself.

And then I felt like I had cheated.

What was intentioned as a kind gesture toward a stranger ended up making me feel really good. Now, I hope she felt a warm fuzzy or two throughout the day because of it and will do something of the like, though I'm guessing that her emotions were more along the lines bewilderment than the joy that I experienced.

And without going into my obsessive tendencies and how I might keep buying coffee after coffee for unknowing bystanders until the high isn't enough and then it becomes a need, not a want and the purchases get bigger and more dramatic all to feed my addiction....oh wait, I'm living on student loans. Never mind. I won't be paying for anybody's tank of gas but my own for quite some time.

Anyway...you should try it. Make a total stranger's day. I betcha a dollar you'll like it too.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Don't Stop Me Now

Since that post where I wrote, "I'm a senior!" and "I'm a senior!", I've given a lot of thought to the fact that I'm a senior.

There's a (little bitty, albeit occasionally loud) piece of me that seems intrinsically uncomfortable with the notion of my own success. I didn't realize this until just recently, as the light at the end of that long educational tunnel is becoming brighter every day. I'm well aware that the only thing stopping me from getting that handsome piece of parchment is me. And I don't want to do that, yet I have a skosh of doubt within myself that its the right thing to do -- to become successful, that is. It almost seems to go against the very nature of me to finally do something the right way. To get the degree. To secure the internship. To get the job. To give my kids the lessons and vacations and childhoods that they deserve. To allow myself comfort and security...and maybe even a new car (well, not a "new" car, but one with less than 150,000 miles and fewer coffee stains might be nice).

So today on my drive home from classes, I was scolding myself over this when into my head popped the Queen song, Don't Stop Me Now. And while I wanted to dedicate it to the financial aid department (oh, please increase my loan eligibility!), I decided that the real someone who needs to hear the message is me. (Alright, I just looked at the lyrics and the song as a whole isn't really applicable, but I'm sticking with the "Don't stop me now" part, as well as the "La da da da da"s, and if you really want to call me Mr. Fahrenheit, that would be a little weird, but not completely out of line.)

So tonight as I attempted to embrace my inevitable triumph, I passed by the fridge (ok, I was considering sneaking a spoonful or two of ice cream. Geez. Lay off, will ya?), I noticed a magnet that my I-don't-see-nearly-often-enough friend Scooter Hollie gave me earlier this summer. She said she spied it and couldn't help but think of me. It states, "The world is full of people who will go their whole lives and not actually live one day. She did not intend on being one of them." And in teeny print, "when faith in myself was so strong, I believed I could move mountains." And this kinda punched me in the gut. I mean, my friends can see it in me. Why am I running from it?

Happily ever after...here I come.

And as for those mountains...relocation services have been secured. Expect movement any day now.