Thursday, January 29, 2009

Snow in the South

This post was written on Thursday, but the weather and Blogger conspired to keep me from uploading it. Arg!

I know this wouldn't impress anyone up North, but snow is a big deal here in the South. I took the dogs out yesterday at 4;30 AM and it was raining cats and dogs. Two and a half hours later, this is what I woke up to.

Actually, the entire roadway was 2 or 3 inches deep in snow when I first got up, but I sure wasn't going outside before I had even started my coffee.

Today, I had my first big Anatomy exam. When I was on campus on Tuesday, about half of the class was absent. Many of them had been iced in at home. There was some concern about whether the campus was going to be open today. In the end, they just delayed all classes for an hour.

I just knew that some number of students were going to show up and not remember the exam. Sure enough, at least three had a stricken look when they entered and saw the test papers being passed out!

The garden has taken a hit with the weather too.

Oh, the snow covered beds are just fine, but the lettuce I had growing under this row cover has probably frozen beyond recovery. I tried to peek at them, but the fabric cover was frozen stiff too!

I think I did okay on the test. At least I knew it was coming! {Update: I got 106 points out of 100! Not sure how, since there was no extra credit. Something about a "curve?"}

But Studly seems to have given me his nasty cold. So I will sit at home for the next few days, feeling miserable, and working on Math and Physical Science assignments!

And enjoying the last little pockets of snow hidden in the shadows.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Trying to find Balance

That elusive Balance. Not too much of one thing, and enough of the others. I am working on it. I have gotten over the worst of the panic attacks about school, and have gotten down to the business of learning.

Everyday, I feel a bit more in control of my To Do list. I am managing to study a bit, then sweep up enough dog hair to build another dog.

Then I take a test or submit a homework exercise online, and go run some laundry. Everyday gets a bit better, a little bit easier.

Of course, dinner keeps sneaking up on me. Where do the hours go when I'm studying?!?

Oh, and the pictures of the dogs? Well, it was time to fill the dog food bin with forty pounds of kibble. It is always a big deal for the dogs because they get to snarfle the kibble that falls onto the floor or won't fit into the bin.

Recently, however, Nick has decided that sticking his whole head into the food stream is THE BEST! He eats as much as he can get while the bin is filling. Sassy usually gets in there too, but this time Nick blocked her, until the food was bouncing off of his head and within her reach!

Good time, good times!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Radio silence

Sorry to be so quite these days! That is so not like me. But you see, learning how to learn again is a full time job for this little brain of mine.

I have never taken online courses before, and now I am taking three. Plus the Anatomy class I take at the school campus twice a week. I thought I understood the calendar feature of the college website. Alas, wrong again. I logged on yesterday morning to find that I had a science lab due that day and one due tomorrow.


I set about reviewing how to make this ^%&$^# calendar function work and wrote it all down on my new school assignment book.

Here is February:

Each notation is something due. An exam, an assignment, a lab report or a term paper. Not just "Will you please read chapter 4 and take notes," but "Do this big *ss lab for which you don't have a ruler that does millimeters, format it into a file, attach it to an email, and send it to me, your lofty professor who is reclining at the pool somewhere sunny while you sweat in the freezing cold."

Yup. That about sums it up.

Needless to say, yesterday, instead of calmly preparing for my anatomy lecture and lab on biochemistry, I ran around unwashed, in my long john pajamas, measuring cr*p with a quilting ruler, converting centimeters to millimeters (don't you dare laugh at me, Marmy!) and trying to get stuff done before the professor with the tan and a pina colada refused to accept it.

I threw some clothes on over the long johns to help Studly drop off and then collect the Tahoe at the car dealership, where it had some recall items and other things fixed. And they want $700 to replace the ruined tire rim. I don't think so!

My husband is very patient with me, but I doubt he is amused by the even less than normally bad housekeeping and cooking.

He's also very amusing!

I WILL get my act together one of these days. But, I don't see any letup to the frantic studying until... umm... May!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Out with a bang!

Well, Practically Grown's visit has come and gone. There was lots of sleeping and resting on her part. I saw a lot of this,

as she played some software games that won't run on her computer at home.

There was also some of this:

Easting. Those of you who know us IRL know that we like to eat.

Other than that, the visit was pretty low key. Mostly it was a chance for her to kick back and relax (while her mother slaves away at schoolwork!)

This morning, however, provided the excitement of the visit. We had to get up at 4:30 o'dark in the morning to drive to the airport, an hour and a half away. We left in total darkness, with Studly driving and Practically in the front seat. I was relegated to the back so Practically wouldn't get car sick. Since I couldn't hear the conversation going on, I did what any mother would do, and went back to sleep!

About a quarter of a mile from the airport exit, there was a very loud *BANG* as the front tire went flat. In the darkness, a large block of wood lurked in the center lane of the freeway for unsuspecting travellers like... well, us!

We pulled over to the side of the freeway as the sun was rising. Then we realized that another car ahead of us had just pulled over too!

This poor guy hit the block and blew both left tires! Since cars only have one spare, at best, this guy needed a flatbed truck to tow him off of the freeway!

We called the auto club and the airline to say that Practically wasn't going to make her flight.

As we waited for the guy to come change the tire in racing traffic, we finally could see what we had hit. And we watched two other cars hit it and many others narrowly miss it. It was like watching HD television! In real time! You could even smell the tire smoke!

Our knight in shining tow truck finally arrived,

and proceeded to change the offending tire with his legs sticking out into the lanes of traffic, idiots zooming by ignorant of the law that says you must pull to the next lane over when approaching a breakdown like this! He's braver than I am, which is why he is changing the tire and not us!

The tire seems fine, but the rim got bent all to heck! This is the INSIDE of the tire!

And yes, this is the same car from this tire disaster! I'm being to think this car is cursed.

So, we eventually got back on the road, but Practically Grown missed her flight by 10 minutes. Unfortunately, the next flight to her connection point was 5 hours later! She had to stay, since it is too far to make the drive back home. We were not happy.

But, after a quiet time on the (boring) farm in the dead of winter, all it took was a lengthy drive into the Big city to stir up a little excitement! Come back soon, Practically Grown! We'll have some more fun, okay?!?

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Let me start be saying that this morning I woke up to 17 degree weather! And windy!! And today was my first day at school!

Yes, yes, I had to go to school this morning. In the cold. And the wind. (Now everybody say, "Awww, poor baby!")

I got to school and had to park in the lower parking lot. Then I walked uphill, into the wind. Did I mention it was really cold this morning?? It was somewhere between snot-mask-frozen-on-your-face, and "I think my fingers are snapping off one at a time and littering the sidewalk."

Class was okay. But I did have a couple of "I'm so screwed" moments. Like when the professor said this was a "weed-out" class, and some of us won't survive or when I realized that my first exam is in two weeks. It will cover the first two chapters. It took me a week to get through the first chapter, and the second chapter is chemistry! Shoot!!

Also, I am the oldest student in the class, most of the others are already EMTs or LPNs and no doubt know a ton of anatomy stuff, and I think I may be older than the teacher!

Immediately after the lecture, it was time for the lab session. I think the teacher will be pretty laid back, just like the lecturer.

So we had our first lab, in which we had to calculate limb length as it relates to body height. I was significantly taller than the other girls in my group, but proportionally, I had the shortest arms. So, either all the younger girls are mutants with long arms, or they are so young that they haven't finish growing into their limbs. Like German Shepherds.

I met Practically Grown for a bit of lunch and then headed home. I had been gone for about 5 hours, and in that time, the water pipes in the house had nearly frozen. Just a dribble coming through.

In my online classes, I am batting 0 for 3. Log-ons weren't allowed until 3 PM. One of the classes is having trouble with the website, so I can't log in until tomorrow (maybe.) Another class requires a software package that I don't have. I thought it was online, not something I had to buy. The third class... yeah... I got the wrong book. *Sigh* I think they may have changed texts and I got one from last semester. I wish I could have logged in before I was on campus, so I would have known this WHILE I WAS IN THE BOOKSTORE!

Going back tomorrow to stand in the line at the bookstore.

Photo by kalebdf.

And that, my friends, was my first day at school. Bet you are glad you are NOT me!

Friday, January 9, 2009

A visit from a daughter

She's here, everyone!! My second and youngest child has come to visit her parents! Actually, she came to visit the dogs, but they let us live in the house too!

Passing through security at the airport.

After collecting her at the airport, it was time for food, and so a stop at Bahama Breeze was in order on our way home.

No, you don't have any food in your teeth!

After I took that picture, she called me a dweeb and I had to put the camera away!

This morning, I got up and had some produce bag sewing to do. After weeks of no orders at all, I got two last night! It took me about two hours to complete them, and then I let the dogs in to wake Practically Grown (the artist formerly know as Not Quite Grown!) We headed out and met Stud Muffin at his office for some Subway sandwich lunch.

Practically and Studly at his place of business.

We puttered around with a few errands, then returned home. The mailman had left a small square box from Christina for me. I cracked it open with curiosity, since I wasn't expecting anything from her. Out popped...

A beaver in the box!! Bwahaha! Christina wants everyone to know she finally found the beaver!!

I think I'll name this beaver...umm... Christina!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

January Works-In-Progress

Before MIL (or any of the other two of you) gets your panties in a bunch, I will update you on some projects.

First up, is planning for the spring garden. I get out my gardening journal (poorly maintained), the seeds I've acquired or forgot to plant last time, and various notes. Then I trash the table with it all and start laying out the next crop.

I'm a poor sketch artist, but there in that book are 6 rectangularish raised beds. I consult my notes on what was planted where last time, check the list for recommended crop rotation, and then say "Screw it!" and plant what I want, where I want!

In real life, there is a small, new orchard behind the raised beds, with apples, pears, and 3 hopelessly scrawny peach trees.

Behind the orchard (sounds better than saying "sticks bearing fruit," don't you think?) I plan to till up some ground and plant corn, some strawberries, and maybe some potatoes. "Plan" is the operative word. Best laid plans and all! I tilled this patch up twice last year, but that's as far as I got! If all goes well, I hope it will look like last year's veggie garden.

On the domestic front, I am knitting myself a pair of socks. I had so much fun knitting Almost Grown's Christmas socks that I wanted a pair for myself.

One sock down, one to go!

And on the subject of socks, even my little big town up north doesn't have much in the way of sock yarn choices. So, I decided to try unravelling a wool sweater I found at the Goodwill for just this purpose. I don't have a before picture, but it was way too small, and a lovely shade of soft green and cream with flecks of blue in the yarn. The sweater hadn't been felted by someone throwing it into the washer and dryer, which would make it impossible to unravel.

I followed this tutorial on what to look for and how to go about unravelling it. I will say this. It is a lot of work, between unpicking the seams, unravelling the yarn, winding into a ball, rewinding it into a skein, washing the yarn, drying it, and then rewinding it into balls.

But. You end up with a ton of yarn that can be used to knit whatever you wish, all for the price of a thrift store sweater, and the pound of flesh it took to do it. Mostly, I wanted to try this method as a way of obtaining nice yarn (not available in my area) at a good price (not possible in my area.) And it works!

Lastly, in the "Keeping it Real" department, all my school textbooks have arrived and I have been getting myself organized for the semester to start next week.

Okay, "getting myself organized" might be a gross over-statement.

Mostly the stuff has taken over the dining room table, and it remain occupied for the duration. Not one of my books is less than 2 inches thick with diagrams and lists of junk really important information that make my teeth ache. My tongue too, if you want to know, from trying to pronounce some of this stuff! That blue box on the table with what looks to be naked people on it?? 300 anatomy flash cards that I am somehow supposed to know, understand and remember!

Good frickin' luck!!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

MIL has sent a message through Stud Muffin that I need to update my blog with a new post. Well, the reason I haven't is that all that work under the house has left me with a stiff neck and shoulder.
Cartoon by

You know, the kind that makes your eyes roll back into head and you suck in your breath sharply. Studly has lovingly said that when I (try to) turn to look at him, I look like Lurch, from the Addams Family.

Photo at

Gee, thanks hon! He can say that because he knows he's not gettin' any nooky tonight!

So, I spent the day sitting in my chair after taking a muscle relaxant. I'm such a drug lightweight, I kinda looked like this.


Oh, and I just took another pill. Wait, what? Did you say something?!?