The House of Flying Monkeys

… but they seemed so normal…

Archive for the ‘Education’


At a crossroads…

The path less taken… there it is.  Overgrown, hard to walk, more work.

Is it worth it?

Hard to say, impossible to know.  Feeling mixed.  Not sure of anything… but the hurt.  It’s still there.  The gaping emptiness where so many that I’ve loved are no longer.  I never knew emptiness could cause pain, but the space hurts.  I never needed extra space.  I needed them.  Need them.  But that I do not have, I have the hurt, and the hurt is still there.

And I consider those paths.  With the hurt of that emptiness throbbing inside of me.  Wondering which way to go.

Which is my path?  What is my way?

Easy or hard.  Or both.

Choices.

Easy or hard.  Or both.

Light or dark. Right or wrong.  Black or white.

Nothing is ever that easy.

Nothing.

…looking to the future…

from a place straight out of my past.  And wherever and whatever it may be is still unfolding, still becoming.  But I feel the itch of the ink on my ankle these days.  No, not the star.  The heart, and the butt.  The one that tells me repeatedly that putting your heart into anything simply isn’t enough.  Yeah, that one.  It’s itching.  Like it’s trying to tell me something.  Like it’s reminding me that I have to put my butt on the line too.

In order to have a future.

But first I’ve got to finish the dream.  I’ve got to decide where, how, what.  And I’m building a network… which is very hard work yo?  But necessary… oh so necessary.  Busy all the time – planning, plotting, mapping.  I just want to scream at kids who don’t understand that worthwhile futures don’t just happen by accident, outcomes don’t just make themselves be.

The life you get is the result of all the things that happen to you while you’re planning another life that you won’t likely end up with.  God laughs at us when we plan.  Or not.  Sometimes it all works out.

Sometimes.

Feeling very disjointed.  Possibly this isn’t making total sense, but it does to me.  All you need to know is that I’m possibly evolving some more.  In ways I don’t yet fully understand… so how can you?  What are my dreams?  Is it too late to have them?  Is it too late to finally decide to live a different life?  Is it too late to change the path?

So. Many. Questions.  And no answers.  But I’m working on it.  As I plot, and plan, and stew, and fume.

This won’t happen by accident.

Unless it does.  While I’m planning another path.

Hard Decisions… I can haz?

And I can make too.  But for the record, we’re not talking thin vs. thick crust.  Although thin always wins out, always.  And in boxers vs briefs, after a whole first marriage of boxers now the second time around it’s briefs FTW.  Likewise, in the battle over paper vs. plastic, it’s plastic, although I’d feel less guilt if I went with paper but those plastic bags get recycled for several lifetimes so maybe that balances out?  And in the most important decision – Godzilla vs. Mothra – everybody with two braincells knows it’s Godzilla.  Because, really, what other choice is there?  It has to be Giant Radioactive Lizard FTW!!!  But these aren’t the decisions I’m making.  Sadly enough.  Although I wish so much they were.

So. Much.

No, this decision is much harder.  With an additional six month commitment attached.  And I’m struggling.  Boy am I struggling.  Like a fat kid in the Kitchen, with a slice of cake on one side, and a pile of vegetables on the other.  And although that might not seem like a tough decision, the missing fact is that the fat kid’s Mom told him right before she left that she raised him to make good decisions… oh, and that the cake might or might not have been accidentally sprayed with bug spray.

Just like that.

But the decision for me isn’t cake.  Or vegetables.  Or boxers.  Or briefs.  It’s far harder.  It’s school.  You see I am currently 30 hours away from Graduation.  30 hours.  10 classes.  And the original plan was for me to finish in two semesters, Summer and Fall, going full-out 15 hours each.  Ambitious? Yes.  Aggressive?  Yes.  Doable?  Yes… that is if having a life wasn’t a real priority, and it’s not really so yes, it was doable.

Until.

Until last week.  Until my world fell apart.  Until the other reason why I embarked on this crazy midlife education adventure left me for good.

Until.

And now I’m really struggling with focus and I’m really worrying about the idea of 15 hours of classes.  I’m no longer feeling invincible.  I’m feeling very human.  And I’m feeling stuck in a decision I didn’t want to make.  You see, I know the vegetables are best for me.  And I know I should eat them fast, get it over with, and move forward.  But I don’t know whether I can.

I just don’t know.

So right now I’m going to eat the vegetables, not the cake, but I’m going to eat them slower.  Stretch them out.  And that makes me hate vegetables even worse than before.  Have you ever eaten the same Rutabaga – one bite at a time – over the space of a year?

Ugh.

I just want the vegetables gone.  That’s what’s in my head and my heart.  I just want this school thing to end.  Give me the paper, tell me I did good, then let’s forget I was ever here.  That’s what I’m feeling.  But I’m also pragmatic enough to think that if I start the original plan and then fall apart I’ll have to retake those classes that I bombed in.  And my GPA is sacred… I’ve worked so hard to repair it… I will be eaten up with teh failures if I don’t finish with a 3.5.  Go ahead, laugh at me, but I am literally having nightmares at the thought of getting a C.

Seriously.

So with that thought looming in my head, I’m likely going to scale back and slow down a little bit this summer.  In order to allow myself to deal with what has happened.  Because if I don’t it will not turn out well.  Not well at all.  I need time.  Time is my best friend.  But I have to be patient enough to allow time to pass.

Newsflash: I am not a patient person.

And that slow down means that I’ll be adding on a full Semester in the Spring.  And I won’t graduate until May, 2013.  Can I just say that here, honestly, that I really don’t want that.  But I don’t see many choices.

I need choices.

But I don’t see them.  I see this.  Loss.  Failure.  Missing her all of the time.  Psst… these are not good choices.  These are far worse than those vegetables.  These are the cake.  Frosted with buttercream and the possible hint of DDT.  Oh so attractive on the outside.  But it will kill you.

Maybe.

So please hold my hand as I make this decision.  Because there’s no way to go backward once it’s made.  I hope I choose correctly.  But I’ve learned in the last ten days that there are no sure bets.  No way other than the passage of time to know you’re doing the right thing.  It’s all guesswork.  All part of a celestial game of Darts, where you’re blindfolded and you pitch the dart, but only after you’ve been spun around about a million times.  All you can do is hope for the best.

I’m hoping… as I make this decision.

I hope.

 

Moving on…

And truly, sometimes it feels like I’ve become an expert at that…

PS- this is not of the good.

So, yeah, today is a day of transition… another transition… and the first step in my next career move.  And, not that it’s going to be at all surprising to any of you, I’m possessing some very mixed emotions about this decision.  Very mixed.  Okay, actually mixed so much that I’m trying to figure out if someone has covertly installed a Kitchenaid in my brain… not that this would be surprising either… right?

Yeah, right, I knew every one of you would agree on that.

But, regardless of my mixed feelings and emotions, today is my last day as IZEA’s Oldest Living Intern.  As of Monday AM I move back into the real world of permanent employment complete with TPS Reports, health benefits, a full-time schedule… oh, and a nifty red Stapler, but only if I’m really lucky.  And, according to my hubby, the added bonus of no commute to Orlando.

Yeah, no more commute to O-town… which also means no more lunches at cool places downtown like Pine Twenty 2, no more kind words from Milton down at Siegel’s, no more walks in the sunshine around Eola or happy hours at Lizzie’s… and no more hanging out and working with some of the most creative, brilliant, and extremely entertaining people in the world at IZEA.

Somehow the eastern ‘burbs of L-town aren’t the same… not even if you through in Lakeside Village.  There’s nothing in Lakeland other than LPR that even touches my favorite Burger on organic Lettuce with Gruyere and those amazing fries.  Oh… those fries.  I could write poetry to the ambrosial taste of the fries at Pine Twenty 2.  Really.  And their organic Pesto.  That too.

Wow.

I’m really gonna’ miss all this.  You have no idea.  Here I felt like I was finally in my element.  Here I finally felt like I had found my space.  But being here just wasn’t practical.  Damn, I hate even typing that.  It’s, like, nearly the worst thing in the world.  Be practical.  Who in the sweet merciful hills of Hell wants to be that?  I’ve practically made a life skill of being impractical.  My avocation as it were.  And that’s why I am stating unequivocally that practicality is a bitch.  It’s just so… so… adult?  Yeah, I guess that’s the word… adult.  And being an adult?  Not my favoritest thing in the world.  Not at all.

Are you surprised?  Should you be?  No, and no.

But for now I’m being practical.  Inordinately so.  And I’m doing what’s best for us.  While I finish school.  But after that’s done?  I’m full-on chasing this dream.  I’m going back to excitement, cutting edge, amazing cool stuff… on a daily basis… this is what I do.  This is how I live.  This is me.  The pixilated, 140 character, oversharing, totally wired Me… the one I started moving into in 2006.  The one I like.

So thanks to IZEA for helping me realize that potential, for helping me to finish drawing up the blueprint for this dream of mine.  This backward move is how I think I’ll change myself from a Dreamer into a Doer… because this is my future.  I know that now.  But, because I can occasionally be practical, I’m going back to the past so I can better pave my road to the future.  Because this future is where I want to be.  So Social Media world, you better not forget me… because I’m not really gone… I’m just temporarily changing directions in order to be able to make a change in my life for the better.  It may not make sense right now, when I’m standing here holding the road map upside down, but it will eventually.  You’ll see.  Trust me.

The future’s just up ahead… life moves in a circle… I’m still here… and I’ll be back.

 

Florida Politics and Rain – more related than you think…

You know, since I moved back down here in ’09 I’ve really disengaged from local and state politics. Oh, of course, Florida always feels like home to me, but I was never engaged down here like I’ve been when I lived other places. The Missy I am in other places is different here, especially now. Maybe because it always seems like I’m in the minority and I have to listen to constant babble and idiocy over my beliefs. Or maybe it’s because I’ve got too much going on to get in-depth with the issues and I filter to ensure that I’m aware but not too aware. Or maybe I’m just lazy.

Maybe.

But this week that might have started shifting a little. This week I’m doing some research and starting to engage. Not that this will make even a bit of difference. After all, the Florida State House is just as predictably red as the rest of the south… that Southern Strategy bidness worked like a charm, yo. And no matter what I say I’ll just be just another small, quiet voice of reason, lost entirely in the clatter of idiocy and hypocrisy, that’s laced with just a splash of self-serving blather. However, regardless of how pointless this exercise might be, to that noisy maelstrom I want to add this thought. When did politics as usual become a live action version of Grand Theft Everything State and Federal – Old White Guy edition? I mean, I know that the election of “that scary black man to the Presidency” did cement the Rethuglican deal to turn the old confederacy into the new party of racist jackwagonry, but instead of giving us statesmen and women, it appears that we ended up with nothing better than white collar Criminals, for sale to the highest corporate bidder who tucks a $100 in their garter belt.

Er, yeah. Ick.

Yeah, what I see today is the same as what I’ve seen since 2000 and “the stolen election”. A howl of outrage, a shout of “we have better ideas”, and then… then… then…

Nothing.

Nothing other than politics as usual, with fraud and misappropriation thrown in for funsies. Or, in other words, $crew you and gimme my 51%, oh and a tax break for the big guy who paid the bills to get me here, kthxcyabai. I’m disgusted. And quit with the pious moralizing and culture war bullshit because that’s all nothing more than bread and circuses thrown out to distract the uneducated masses while the political and cultural elites rape and pillage the state/country/planet. Seriously, does anybody think that restricting birth control is a surefire vote-getter for John Boehner? Or abortion restrictions did a huge amount for JD Alexander? No. It’s nothing but street cred. Talking the talk, while you’re taking the till. But they have to play that game in order to stay in office. In order to keep earning. In order to hang onto their 51%. At both the national and state levels they’ve got to patronize those pious and god-fearing constituencies who still think women have no place working outside of the home in order to keep the votes coming in. And those constituencies are notoriously hypocritical themselves. People who secretly love their p0rn and cheat regularly on their wives but sure as hell don’t want gays getting to do anything perverted like get married. Or their daughters being able to control their lives and their own sexuality.

That’s God’s business, not ours. Which I think falls under the same heading as the aforementioned infidelity and p0rn, oh, and birth control. Which, by the way, he’ll take up with all of us later. We can be sure of that.

But in the meantime, although these aren’t things that should be tying up the amount of airtime they’re currently getting, they are. Even though these are all non-issues that they’re using to keep us from seeing that they’re doing nothing else but giving the store away and holding onto their 51%.

But it’s that kind of garbage that’s what’s happening every day here in Florida, and everywhere else that’s turned red. We’re awash in a sea of distraction, while they use the tide and foam to hide what they’re really doing. In Florida alone the aforementioned Alexander has tried to repay campaign donations by outsourcing prisons, tried to steal funds from public schools to pay for new buildings at “for profit” charters, and is currently holding USF and the current students/faculty/staff of USFP hostage in his latest attempt at strong-arm robbery getting his own personal state university right here in Polk County. A county, I must add, that will not contribute much to the student body of his University because our public schools are struggling mightily against overwhelming odds created by poverty that is aided and abetted by poor or no education.

Now if you’re reading this and looking for answers, sorry but I’m fresh out. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea that for 8 long years while Crawford’s Village Idiot was in charge Eric Kantor & John Boehner didn’t even know how to pronounce the words “we’ve got to cut the deficit and pay for increases by cutting someplace else”. And neither did anybody in the Florida State House while that Idiot’s other brother Darryl did the same thing down here.

And, no, they sure as hell did not. Fact check me… I welcome it. After all, I’m not crazy, or making stuff up here. I’m a Democrat. We don’t have to. You guys do it for us.

What I can offer is this. A simple idea, straight from that Bible you keep trying to hit me over the head with. The parable of the Widow’s Mite. You might or might not remember it. What with being so righteous and all. But the point is that each gives as they can… and that’s what our tax code used to look like. Before we decided that Jesus was a closet racist who wore Armani and drove a Range Rover. Put it back to those standards. Fairness. $5000 a year might not pay for JD Alexander’s dry cleaning bill, but around here that would go a long way. Oh, and while you’re reviewing that Bible, how about considering adopting a more intelligent moral code. Judge not, lest ye be judged. In other words, live the life you want for you and your family inside your house. And stay the Hell out of mine!!! Preach your religion, teach your own particular blend of holy righteous garbage, but don’t ram your overly simplistic viewpoint of right, wrong, and the world as you prefer it (white, male, and overly polite) down my throat. And in exchange for that? I’ll try to remember not to paint a pentagram on your yard or sacrifice my pet goat Fluffy in your Begonias.

Thanks.

Oh, and about those Begonias? I see Jesus is doing a good job of saving them. Aren’t you lucky you found his card? Now pay him a living wage and quit wondering whether he’s legal. He, and his entire family, are the reason you aren’t currently paying $10 for a Tomato and $20 for a head of Lettuce.

Something to keep in mind when you’re enjoying a Cobb Salad down at the Yacht Club.

I’m not asking for a lot here. Just a government that doesn’t make a frequent practice of urinating on my back and telling me it’s raining. FYI I have lots of weather apps and I can check that shiz out. No, if you’ll just do your jobs and remember that you serve me, and not that big money corporation down the road who paid for your roadsigns, then we’ll be cool. But today, as you’re misspending my money, giving sweetheart deals to people who could give a damn less about the quality of life in Florida except for when they come down in the Winter to play Polo and socialize, you are so totally not doing anything for me.  You might also keep in mind that your friend the corporation isn’t going to be the one who’s pouring your tea when you’re back in town having lunch, after you privatize all the jobs and kill the industries you purport to love so much. That’ll be me, or someone like me, because your job creators took the money and created more jobs in Shanghai. So, if you keep up your current shenanigans and I end up being your Waitress? You might ought to worry.

A lot.

Are you sure you want more tea? I think you’d prefer the Lemonade? We make it fresh, all day, every day.

Say, that sure is a nice suit you’re wearing… too bad about all that rain on the back of it.

Hate that for you. Really.

Yeah.

…back to class…

So, I’m trying to make an effort to write something, anything, at least 4 times a week.  One of my many “Live better” resolutions for this year.  Apparently another was to watch more TV and not get on my Treadmill… who knew that would be successful.  Damn you Downton Abbey!

Anyway, tonight is my first class of the New Year – Business Law.  And, despite the plethora of Lawyers in my family, I can freely state, with no hesitation, that I would rather be flogged in Munn Park every Tuesday night for the next 5 months than take this class.

Yeah.

But, despite that strong dislike, I’m going.  I have to have the damned thing for graduation.  It’s required.  From this point everything I take will be.  So no fun and distracting basketweaving anymore, we’re down to serious shiz.  I hate this part.

Yeah, I admitted it.  I hate this part.  Even if I do have a pretty good grasp of what I’ll be learning.  I don’t really feel it.  But I just want to get done… so I’m doing it.  Grumbling, kicking, and howling… but doing.

BTW… did you notice? Yeah, oxford commas rock.  Heh.

Yes, indeed I should be an English major.  But I’m not.  Because I have this amazing facility for Accounting.  Which I hate.  Oxford Commas are so cool they’re a song.  Not Accounting.  Nobody’s singing about straight line depreciation.

Not yet anyway.  And if a song comes out about it, somebody owes me royalties.

But, regardless of this blather, I’m off to this ridiculous class in Business Law.  Which I am worried sick about.  Because I really don’t want my GPA f’d up, and I think it has the potential to do exactly that.

Hold my hand on this one.  More than my participles might be dangling afterward.

Yikes.

 

Back on that same damned Horse!

Because, after all, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger… right?  Right?

Cough, cough, or cray-zay-zay, cough, snort.

Yeah, that’s what I thought too.

But, yeah, today marks the beginning of a new semester, which I started on 5 hours of sleep.  The beginning of my “live better in ’12” resolution, which I began by oversleeping and putting treadmill time off until this evening.

Not a roaring start.

But I’m also resolving to do better tomorrow.  We’ll see how that works out.  Because so far today appears to be a Monday.  Yay.

But, there is the refrigerator, stocked with healthy food from grocerying last night.  And I threw away the last of the Chex Mix last night… over half a bag.  This morning my Green Monster Smoothie (made with Spinach for a change) is yummy.  And there’s a box of Blueberries calling my name in the office right now.  So, at this point I’m calling a draw.

Some good, some bad – isn’t that the sign of a well-balanced life?

Oh, and I also threw away half of a Heath Bar that I found in the car, and I didn’t get coffee this morning either.

Sleepy doesn’t begin to tell the story.

But if good intentions do indeed pave the road to Hell then I might be close to finishing 6 wide lanes with no tolls and lots of rest stops.

Need a ride?

Yeah, I thought so.

Anyway, here’s to new beginnings.  Here’s to not doing my two ten page term papers on the same long night, right before they’re due.  Here’s to having a better plan.  For today, and tomorrow.

Here’s to me.

Yay.

Now, can I take a nap?

All is calm, all is bright…

Yes… yes it is.  Right now anyway.  As I sit in my Living Room, wearing a Christmas tee and my Mickey Mouse Christmas PJ Bottoms, sipping on today’s first cup of coffee, and admiring the sparkly glow emanating from our Christmas Tree.

Yes, the Weiners finally got the tree up.  Be amazed.

And, let me tell you kids, it’s gorgeous!  Thank you Ergel Farms for growing the perfect specimen.  Which we hunted down in your extremely picked over land and chopped down ourselves.

I like doing that… feels nice knowing my tree is a Florida tree… and of course I’m buying local and helping a Florida farmer by buying from him and not some random guy in North Carolina.

Nice.

But that’s not the entire point of this post.  Although it does make a nice sidenote. No, the point is that sitting and reflecting this morning is nice.  Comforting.  Needed.

We’ve got company… the kids are here and my Dad & Step-Mom have been visiting this week. My quiet little house has been a whirlwind of activity.  And we’ve had the added concern of daily checking in with Mom as she has dealt with Jimmy’s Bypass Surgery. BTW he’s doing great and I thank all of you for your kind words and thoughts during that debacle. According to the Facebook he was  up walking yesterday and he’s off oxygen, so hopefully these are signs that his recovery won’t be an ordeal.

Hopefully.

Then, of course, there was my Graduation.  Something I wasn’t even that interested in truthfully.  Something I’m really glad now that I did.  It really was a big deal.  Neither of my parents finished high school.  Both of their children have now graduated from college.  That’s big.  That’s certainly not the rule in east Tennessee where we come from.  We broke the rule.  Yes, it took a while, but we broke the rule.

I like breaking rules.

But now all that’s over.  And it’s time to just sit still.  Reflect.  Know that this is all good.  Ponder the meanings.  Know the love in your heart.  Say my thanks to whichever G-d is in charge this week for making my life so full.  So blessed.  So charmed.

Thank you.

For the love of family – the people I don’t get to pick out who have to love me regardless.  For the love of friends – the nicest gift that my road back home has given me.  Never say that you can’t go back home… I have, and it’s wonderful.  I can’t think of any place on Earth that I’d rather be than here, with this life and these people.  And my husband.  The second miracle in my life.  The best (albeit occasionally unwilling) Partner I could hope for in this adventure.

It’s nice to take a moment to slow down and see all this,  feel it, and know that this life is something special.  Even if I wonder whether I’m going to wake up one day and find out it was just a glimpse*.

I hope not.

Anyway, thanks to all of you who still read this for continuing to come back.  Thanks for still liking me.  Thanks for understanding when I go a little while between posts.  This wonderful life is crazy, yo? But know that I’ll always come back.  As Michael Silence says “they always come back”.  Yes, yes we do.  Us bloggers.  Not for money or fame.  Just for the love of words.  On a screen.  Well-written.

Words.  So powerful.  And the most powerful of all?

Thank you.

There’s always room for more…

Aggravation that is… since they just keep coming I might as well get bendy and make some room.  Not that I’m getting options on that, right?

Yeah… right.

But today?  Well, today there might or might not be a body in my attic.  Or under my house.  At this point I’m not entirely sure about the exact location.  I just know there’s an odor.  Of something mildly deadish.  And garlicky.  Which is exactly what you want in your house when you’ve got 40 tons of company coming.  And, of course, since I only used glue traps for the Chupacabra all I can conclude is that the odor is related to the dead lightbulb in my hallway and that there might be an electrocuted creature in the attic.

Either that or a dead Vampire perhaps?  Or perhaps the Chupacabra got ahold of a bad clam at his last supper at Olive Garden?  Because, hey, Chupacabras don’t eat good Italian food, right?  They’re eating from the big buffet out back.

And those Glue Traps?  Yeah, I consider those an epic fail.  Since, after all that effort and haranguing from Bob, all we managed to catch was one of the dogs.  And last time I checked Lulu wasn’t able to jump on my countertops and poop.

Yeah.

However, if you need a smile today, picture our Boston Terrier attempting to walk through the house, with one foot covered in rug fuzz so completely that it looked like she had on a tiny dog-sized fuzzy slipper, and the other foot still firmly affixed to the glue trap.

Yeah, um, you might want to swallow your coffee before you read this in the future.  I’ll wait while you go get a paper towel and clean up that mess you just made by snorting coffee at your screen.

Okay, anyway, of course it doesn’t end there, my life of fun and excitement. Because my Stepdad – Jimbob – is having a heart cath done this morning.  Something silly like Angina for TWO MONTHS that he’s been ignoring!!! Yeah, me too, that’s exactly something I’d put off.  After all, it’s not like it can KILL YOU or anything.  Right?

And the three of you who just mentioned my recent random symptoms… shut up.  It’s totally different.

Totally.

Anyway, of course, because this is my life, the uproar continues… my Dad and Step-mom are on their way down here as I type.  And they left east Tennessee this morning with only transcribed notes on how to find our home but NO GPS or city map!!!

I know, seriously?  Do people still drive without GPS?  How?  Probably explains all those Silver Alerts, right?  Yeah.

At this point I will consider it a roaring success if they find Florida.  And yes, I know that Florida is pretty hard to miss if you’re on I-75… but with the luck I’m having, and given that a damned Black Cat that ran out in front of my Dad last night… well, you just never know.

But, then again, since he’s coming to a house with a dead body somewhere in it, it might be better for him if he gets lost.  Maybe.

So, there’s the week so far.  And that brings up my burning question… does anybody else’s life look like this?  Because I live with a daily dose of crazy that makes most mental health crisis centers look like bastions of sanity.  And I never hear you guys say that your lives are nuts like this.  But mine?

C   to the             RAZY!!!  All.  The.  Time.

So, enjoy your weekend… in your own personal bastion of sanity.  And think of me.  If you hear about someone being Baker-acted near Lake Hollingsworth… don’t be surprised.  I’m needing a vacation… and that might be the only way I get one.

Maybe.

Today is the First Friday of the rest of my Life…

So don’t screw it up?  Yeah, I guess that’s the unwritten sentence in that fortune cookie, right?  But yes, after all the blathering, I am officially a graduate of Polk State.

Cue the applause.

Can you keep a secret?  I don’t feel any different.

No, not really.  I mean, I know my parents are very happy.  Both of them.  This was something they wanted very much.  Both kids with at least some college education.  Now we both have degrees.  And, yes, mine is not yet the coveted BAS, but it’s still a degree.  And for both of them, this is a pretty big deal.

For me it’s more a feeling of “next!”

But I can’t discount how my parents feel.  You see, I was and am a first generation college student.  I am their oldest.  I was supposed to do this a long time ago.

A really long time ago.

But I took a different path.  They were not pleased.  Both of them knew that education was the key to a bright future.  I didn’t get that.  I looked at them both as successes without the education and thought I could do the same.

Listen kids, I was wrong way back then and I would be even more wrong if I made that same choice today.  The degree is the key.

I just wish I’d figured this out sooner.  And today, as I look at this accomplishment, one that I never even considered doing until last year, I just have to wonder what EB would think if he could see me now.    Seven years is a very long time.  A lifetime.  And when I look back at me, the changes are no less than amazing.

I am not me anymore.  I am someone different.  I think I like her.

I think he would be proud.  But I don’t know if I would have ever chosen to do this had my life not changed so abruptly and so permanently.  Losing him was the hardest thing I ever lived through, but it was only after I did that I finally had to find myself.  He spent ten years preparing me to be the adult I never wanted to be.  Then he left and forced me to be her.  But I don’t know if I could have been her without losing him.  That is the dichotomy of my loss… bad comes with not so bad.  It still hurts but you know sometime things we don’t understand happen that actually make us better people.

That which does not kill us will make us stronger.  It didn’t, and it did.  And for that I am thankful.

By the way, did I ever tell you that I ran out of gas 3 times in the first six months after he died.  Er, yeah.

Mumble, mumble, idiot, mumble.

When I say he did everything for me, I’m not kidding.  Seriously.  Everything.  And sometimes he did too much.  Perhaps I would have taken control of my life sooner if he hadn’t.  He made everything too easy.

But I’m not dwelling on the past and the mistakes back there today.  No, today I’m looking back with thanks.  To my parents for never giving up hope.  You’ll see the cap and gown in December, but today you’ll just see this note.  I am finally a Graduate.  To EB.  For giving me shelter as I learned who I was.  And for helping me to find out who I could be when I had to.  And to Bob.  The supporter and cheerleader I need when sometimes I’m not feeling like there’s much to cheer about.  The person who knew me then and knows me now… and loves all the parts of me, no matter what.  He’s pretty smart like that.

Thanks.

All of me appreciates all of you.

Thanks.