February 16, 2019

Treading the waters........

Happy Belated Valentine's Day ~ a holiday that is highly over-rated 
and downright cruel to some.....

You know how I can tell that we are fully into the semester?  You guessed it ~ I rarely have any real "down" time.  Even if I am relaxing for an hour or so, my thoughts keep drifting to all that I have to get done.  I have a paper due in 10 days that I haven't started yet.  Why?  Because I was too busy studying for the writing assignment we had to do in class last Thursday, and I have a ton of reading to do for Tuesday.  There's no class on Thursday, but we are required to turn in our thesis statements and list of sources by 4:30pm.   So, I will have to be satisfied by what I've read today and start on that tomorrow afternoon, because I am working Monday - Thursday next week.  

Because I have very little interest in politics and government, the readings are laborious and have little information that holds my interest.  I find that after 30 minutes my mind starts to wander, and I have the overwhelming urge to go do something else.  And although I realize that forcing myself to continue is not conducive to retaining it, I do it anyway, or I don't get it done in time.  So, I have to write notes so that I can refer back to the "relevant" info ~ even though I discover that what I consider relevant and what our instructor considers relevant don't always match.  She is doing a better job of giving us that information ~ in lists ~ of what she wants us to know.   The problem is, I just don't find it interesting.  The colonization of Central America is very much like the colonization of any other country.  The natives are enslaved, or killed (either by force or disease), their land taken away from them, etc., etc.  Goods and valuable metals are sent back to the "Mother Country" to enrich the monarchy or to fund European wars.  Social classes are developed in line with the invaders country of origin, and of course, further beats down any attempt of the indigenous people to rise up and threaten the colonizers.  Ho, hum, same ol, same ol.  It's really quite embarrassing to be European in the America's, considering what was done to the original inhabitants, although of course, I didn't personally DO anything, I still am profiting by my heritage.  Which, I discovered with my participation in 23 & Me is European.  Sigh.

3 1/2 months to go.  
Work has had it's moments too ~ we have a lady who wants to have some major dental work done, and there were some issues with the insurance, namely we didn't file the preauthorization correctly, which required me to call and spend hours on the phone trying to sort out.  Then she decides she can't wait any longer and then the Dr. changes the treatment plan, which basically threw out all the work I had put in on the aforementioned claim out the window.  Or down the toilet.  Pick your analogy.  On Thursday she came in and we were discussing the change in treatment amongst ourselves, and she thought we were making fun of her (because later she heard laughter, totally unrelated to her) ~ which we weren't, but we shouldn't have been doing that where she could hear it.   Stupid, stupid.  I feel really bad about it, but there's no use in trying to explain it to her.  But if we are filing the claim, we need to understand the issues.  Still.  Ugh.  I'm sure we're going to hear about that next week.  She has not been an easy person to deal with in the first place.  She already accused me of lying to her to our office manager, she's on the outs with one of my other co-workers, but now she wants me to call her instead of the other person.  Knots tied up in knots.  Maybe I can call in sick next week........

And now because we need something funny to lighten the mood...

Enjoy your weekend, and don't forget to floss!
Love, 365

February 9, 2019

The Good & Bad in all of us......

Bing images...

I've been watching The Story of God with Morgan Freeman ~ it's a series on Netflix that Romeo stumbled on recently.  The second episode deals with evil, posing the question on whether or not evil exists.....which I found very interesting.  I immediately agreed that evil exists.  Don't we see it every day?  Mass shootings, serial killers, and of course the lesser evils that FB posts constantly of animal abuse and cruelty; included in this I place indifference ~ for example an elderly man trips and falls and no one approaches to help.  Interestingly, In Hiduism, it is believed that good and evil exists naturally as an integral part of creation itself.  Not all evil is attributed to man ~ it can be caused by demons, gods and deities (interesting distinction, I thought they were the same thing).  Buddists believe that we all live with the good and evil inside of all of us ~ a duality that must be fought daily.  

Morgan Freeman narrates The Story of God and does not limit himself to Christianity.  He travels the world to ask religious leaders and followers for answers to the question he poses at the beginning of each episode.  If nothing else, it is an education of the myriad of practices over the globe.  Some are recognizable (to Americans) and some are exotic, beautiful, or strange and incomprehensible.   Curiosity takes me to strange and wonderful places.   
I did hear back from our grad student instructor.  I thought she took the criticism rather well ~ she did say she appreciated the feedback, that she would be careful to explain in a "more linear way" and that class would become easier as we get further into it.   So, time will tell.  If I could though, I would switch to the Medieval traveler class.  Life is ever filled with disappointments and regrets....haha.

And now for some lighter thoughts.....

Have a wonderful weekend!
Love, 365

February 2, 2019

Mixed emotions.....


There are a number of issues I have for this final semester.  My goal is nearing its end.  I am nearly done.  Although I have sometimes had the feeling of "what the hell am I doing?" before, it is particularly poignant at this stage of the game.  

I expected to feel done with it all, but am committed.  It's like a marathon that was fun, exciting, painful, and horrifying and now you see the finish line and for some awful reason your feet don't want to move anymore.  Frozen in place.
Many of my professors have demonstrated total organization.  Each class has it's own agenda, power point, readings and explanations.  Last semester our professor was the best example of this.  Although obvious that she has been teaching this class for years, I appreciated her power point presentations, and the mini break when she would show us clips of Monty Python's Holy Grail.  She knows what she is doing, because she's been doing it for years.  

My current instructor is a graduate student.  She obviously knows her stuff.  But her class is disorganized at best.  She will start to make a point and then rush on into another before finishing the first one.  I missed class on Thursday when we were to have the first of 5 in class writing assignments.  (Most of my co-workers have been sick the past week and shared).  I offered to send her the assignment in an email and she agreed (which she didn't have to do).  And in the email I sent her this: I want to take a moment to admit to you that I am having a little bit of trouble in class.  I am not familiar with Central America, and so the terms and theories you put forth are unfamiliar to me.  It is so much easier to grasp the ideas when you explain them thoroughly.  Your enthusiasm gets the better of you, and sometimes you don't finish your thoughts before you move on to something else.  Anything you could do to help would be so appreciated!  And that is the problem in a nutshell.  She throws out terms, many times in Spanish without explaining what they are.  She was discussing 3 points of what the Spanish were doing and moved on to another subject before mentioning what the third point was.  And I have yet to discover what she thinks are the important points in the reading assignments.  

Plus, I'm tired of all this.  I don't want her to spoon feed it to me, but I do expect that after 3 weeks I would have a feel for what she wants to concentrate on (is it the political? the history? the dates and people?).  Yeah, the truth is I really don't want to work that hard to figure her out.  

Last Tuesday I stayed after class to ask her a few questions.  Another student was there with me.  And when we left, I asked her if she was as frustrated as I am with her lectures, which she emphatically agreed were chaotic.  
But I will get through this.
I haven't had her reply to my email yet.  And it's possible she won't take criticism well.  I get it, she's a graduate student who hasn't taught that many classes.  But it's my last class.  The time to speak up is now or never.

Now I'm wishing I had taken the other class even though it would have led to a loss of work hours, and eating lunch at my desk every day.  But, it's too late now, we're nearly a month into it.  So, it's true that "I didn't come this far to only come this far".   

Love, 365

January 25, 2019

Misk ~ ell ~ aneous

Racquetball peeps....

As I scrutinize this picture I realize one person is missing ~ while trying to return a particularly difficult shot, she hit her mouth with her racket, resulting in the extraction of one of her front teeth and having a bridge done.  If you don't want to injure (or lose!) a body part, stick to riding the stationary bike, haha.  And one of those ladies overdid it in a tournament this past weekend and had to play left handed (resulting in some hilarious shots).  When someone has a birthday, we go all out.  This past Wednesday it was my turn ~ we had shrimp & cocktail sauce, pizza, cake, jalapeno poppers, deviled eggs, and of course, wine.  It was great, even though I left early to study for the dreaded map test.

And here is how the map test went ~ she gave us a blank map, then asked us to refer to the list of places we were to identify.  The map had so many dots and lines that I could barely recognize the borders of the countries.  In fact, I had to erase and redo a few things when she pointed out that "this is the border of Guatemala".  At the end, it was really just an exercise.  I suspected that this would be the case based on the huge number of places we were to learn/memorize.  Then she threatened to make each of us use the pointer to pick out items, but luckily she quit after picking on a few students.  She said she mentioned the word "test" because she didn't think we would put any effort in if she didn't, and knowing where places are is extremely important.  Humph.  Not sure I agree, but at least now I know that Kingston is the capitol of Jamaica, and I know where Martinique is.  Most of my studying was done on this web site, which was actually kind of fun.  

One thing I noticed about graduate students is that they love to put us in groups to "discuss".  Last year our graduate student instructor asked us to list what we liked and didn't ~ and the majority of people said they hated groups, and he quit doing it ~ but I think he was disappointed, haha.  

I think I need to finish my laundry ~ have a wonderful Friday~

Love, 365

January 23, 2019

Sunday, Sunday.......

Passed away on Friday......

Just like anything we use, it's always a sad day when a useful item quits working.  I had this printer for 9 years....quite a long time for a printer (although when reading reviews, one guy said he had his for 15!).  Of course, as time goes on the ability to update the software goes away, and although it still printed just fine.  My favorite thing about the old printer was the inexpensive after-market ink I had been buying.  Just fine for printing, but not so great for photos.  The photos I printed faded to a much lighter version than they were originally after about 6 months.  And they aren't exposed to sunlight.

So, there's nothing for it but to buy a new one. Instead of $13 bucks for xl black and all 3 colors, now it will cost me almost 40. 

Ha ha, I started this post on Sunday (hence the title) and here it is, Wednesday evening.  I am studying for a "map test".  But, the truth is, I've studied all I'm going to.  Our instructors list is completely ridiculous.  States.  Capitals.  Geographic locations like lakes, ruins, etc.  She gave us a page with stuff on both sides.  I'm tempted to tell her that there is no way to learn/memorize all of that stuff in 10 days.  These are the days where I wish I had an eidetic memory. 

She reminds me of someone who has years of experience using Exel trying to teach someone who's only used it once.  They just don't understand why you're having such a hard time understanding.  She's not good at teaching ~ but, she's a graduate student, so I suppose that's to be expected. 

Love, 365

January 19, 2019

Looking back......

Romeo and I lived in many places between then and now ~ there is one place we truly loved (& hated for other reasons).  We lived in a 2 story duplex for about a year.  Ours was the downstairs unit, and the owners daughter, husband and 2 boys lived upstairs.  It had features you just don't see much of anymore.  The formal living room and dining room were rarely used by us.  We used the smaller living area which could be closed off with beautiful pocket doors inset with glass panes.  Inside this smaller room was a small bookcase and secretary desk.  But the kitchen....oh, my.  It was large, and painted a very cheery pale yellow.  Tons of counter space.  It had an old gas range that had a warming oven.  And a dutch door.  Very handy for when you might burn something, haha.  One bathroom and two bedrooms.  How did we ever manage with one bathroom?  

The cons were the idiots that lived upstairs from us.  The owners daughter could not cook.  Everything was a tv dinner (I know because I was up there to pay rent, etc) and there were always dishes laying around with old food on them.  She didn't know how to cook anything.  Once she wandered by the dutch door while I was frying chicken and was amazed that chicken could be fried at home. I'm not sure she could boil water.   Later, we discovered that both Mom and Dad used drugs ~ because they offered to give me some, which I politely declined.

Due to all the food they left lying around we had roaches.  I hate those ugly creatures.  Did you know they can chew through foil to get at a cake?  Yep.  I had that happen.  So, we cleaned thoroughly, never left anything on the counter (cereal in tupperware and all that) and purchased a trash can with a lid.  A few days later, the woman upstairs came down to ask if we had noticed a huge number of roaches lately.  Apparently I chased them all upstairs :-)

The 2 boys were cute, and they were ~ boys.  Jonathan was the youngest.  He used to run around in his underwear with a towel as his cape.  He would show up at our door (which was usually open, with the screen door preventing bugs ~ and Jonathan ~ from coming in without being invited.  He would stand there and yell "You know what?!" until you finally gave in and asked him "what?".  He was funny and exasperating. 

I wish I had pictures of that kitchen.  It was my dream before I knew I had one....

Love, 365

January 18, 2019

So, you wanna work for me???

Recently Romeo quit teaching.  The truth is I was a little disappointed because I still ~ despite all the problems with the system, saw that he was good at it.  But the bureaucracy was more than he could put up with.  Even though he doesn't really need a job right now, he's been looking, but his age is a huge factor.  Companies don't really want to hire people after a certain age.  Earlier this week he had a meeting with one of his previous co-workers, who asked him if he was interested in consulting & motivational speaking ~ and set him up to do just that with a construction company next week.

Romeo is excited about it.  And then says to me: "If this is something that grows, you might have a new job!"

I turned to him, with the most sad expression on my face and said "No".

End of story.  Now way, no how, not happening.  I can't do it.  Some couples work together very well.  But after being married for over 30 years, I know that we aren't one of them. I've been reading Straight Up's blog for awhile, and I know they have it right.  But that's just not us.  Oh, we love each other, and have a wonderful time doing lots of things.  Working?  That's not one.  :-)

Love, 365

January 14, 2019

Winter is settling in.....

This isn't my photo (but wow, I wish it were!)...you're looking at a Roadrunner flying!
I think this was taken around Las Cruces ~ I believe those are the Organ Mountains in the background.

Again, not my photo.  Shiprock, New Mexico ~ what an amazing shot!

We have had so much snow this winter ~ a 180 degree move from last winter when all we had were occasional flurries.  And it's been pretty cold too.  Right before Christmas until after New Years we had only a day or two over freezing.  Those of us that prefer warmer temperatures are ready for winter to end ~ which includes me.  Yesterday while at church services many folks didn't even take of their coats.  I thought it was perfectly comfortable, so it surprised me to notice it.  We're used to bright sunny days, so the mostly cloudy and snowy days have increased the number of people at the gym, and decreased the number I see out running on the trails. 

As a woman over 50, I've probably had nearly the same hair style for 10 years?  15?  My hairdresser routinely asks me if we're doing anything different (is she trying to tell me something?).  Every now and then I look for a new hair style to try, and generally give up after three or four months (sometimes sooner).  Once my hair reaches a certain length, it becomes difficult to style to my satisfaction.  And here I am, right now, considering giving up on the whole idea.  Women and our hair ~ smh.  Annoying.  I actually seriously looked at wigs, figuring I could wear one while the dreaded "ugly" stage is past ~ but I decided that was going a bit far. 

You guessed it ~ class starts a week from tomorrow.  On the plus side, it's my last class before graduation.  On the negative side, there's this:
The interesting thing about this one, is the student rated the Professor "Good".  
And this:
Just goes to show you that even after nearly 4 years of college, some students just don't get it about the phone issue, or "dozing off".  For the love of Pete, you just want to shake them until the marbles line up.

There are now six students signed up for the 4:30 class that I was hoping to take instead of the one I'm currently registered for.  I had no idea how many students need to be registered to prevent cancellation, but a quick call to the history department assured me that the class will be held.  So, I will be dropping the above class and taking this class instead.  "South America & the world".  What does that mean?????  I really don't know much about S America, but at this point I don't care.......  Of course I had already ordered my books for the first class, so I will have to return them.  Drat.

Have a great week ~ it was tough going back to work after all the holidays last week.  I'm hoping this week will be a bit easier.

Love, 365

January 6, 2019

Feeling pretty special........

St George Greek Orthodox Church, Albuquerque

The interior of the church....it's fairly small, but has been here in Albuquerque since 1948.
However, the Greek community has been organized for services since 1918.

I've been attending since October, so I thought maybe it was time to post some photos (I liberated these from their website).  It is a lovely small church.  It has been a huge change for me, as I've been outside of the church for 20 years ~ both figuratively and literally.   Plus, the Orthodox church is very different from any protestant church service I've attended.  Everything is different ~ the icons, the service (which is looooong, but more on that in a minute) ~ it has taken this long for me to feel like I know what I'm doing, but keeping up with the hymns is hard.  I have taken the "I'll figure it out eventually" approach.  Sometimes I sneak a peek at what page other people are on, and sometimes I find it immediately.  Today was different, since it was Holy Theophany Sunday, and the father blessed the water ~ I really can't explain much of it, but wow was today's service looooong.  House blessings will commence soon and go through March, and that's one of the things he'll use the water for. But services start at 8 am for Orthros, then the main service starts at 9 am.  I usually go from 9 to 11. 

My racquetball peeps have been playing on Sunday at 10 am for years.  I asked Denise if there was any way folks might want to start at 11:30, which is the earliest I can get there.  But she said no, she didn't think everyone would go for it.  But today !!!!  she said we are playing at 11:30 now, just for me!  I was so grateful.  I had really missed playing on Sunday.  I'm going to have to put a snack in my car to eat on the way to the gym though.  By the time we were done today I was starving.  It'll be easy to put a protein bar or something like that in the suv during winter, but I'll have to figure out something else when summer gets here.  Maybe I'll find a small cooler to put stuff in.  

Anyway, I hope all of you have a great second week of January.  Personally, I am ready for summer NOW.  

Love, 365

January 5, 2019

Happy New Year!

My sister and me, probably at Easter based on those fancy socks...

I have my suv back....I picked it up on New Years Eve from the mechanic.  So, although I am $1300 dollars poorer, it is wonderful to have my own vehicle back.  It's no fun having to borrow someone else's car, even if it's your husbands.  I still need to save up for the next few months to have my brake work done.

I haven't talked about it yet, but Romeo has made the decision to leave teaching.  There are lots and lots of reasons, not the least of which is that the Albuquerque Public School system keeps trying to close any charter school they can.  He heard that this will be the last year (well, they've been trying to close it for 3 years but apparently this year will bring the axe down).   He gave his notice in November and agreed to stay until the holiday break.  So, he is semi-retired for now, although he wants to find work in marketing again.  It has been most difficult for me.  I see that I may be working longer than I hoped before retirement.  Worst of all, I cancelled our vacation plans for Yosemite.  I just felt that with things up in the air and with money becoming more tight, it was the right thing to do, although I cried when I did it.  

We had an unexpected day off this past Wednesday ~ the roads were so snowy and icy that our bosses decided it was too risky for us to drive in.  I was just getting ready to leave when I received the message, so I didn't know what I was going to do with myself.  It's way too cold to do anything outside.....the high was in the 20's for nearly a week.  I did what any red-blooded American would do ~ I looked for something new on TV.  And found, on Netflix, a show about organizing your home: Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.  I am working on my clothing right now ~ I already have two bags of clothing to get rid of after going through 1/4 of my closet ~ and I don't have that many clothes!  The first episode showed me how organized I already am, I just need to tweak it a bit.  

That's all for today.  I wish you all a wonderful 2019!

Love, 365

December 29, 2018

Oh, home made bread......

This morning's project....

We've been watching the British Baking Show ~ which far surpasses any American version of the same in our opinion ~ and we didn't have any bread, so I decided we needed some home made bread today.  I used to make bread all the time.  The past 5 to 8 years it's something I do only once in awhile.  I used a recipe I've probably only made once or twice.  So, although I used to have loads of confidence in my bread making skills, today I was worried that I "over proofed" it.  Turns out I didn't ~ its hard to see in the picture but the loaf on the left is really tall.  It would make a huge sandwich.  The one on the right is a bit smaller, but both rose much higher in the oven than I thought they would.  

Have you ever wanted to make bread, but felt intimidated by the idea?  I ran across a web site that takes you step by step with great suggestions.  The only thing you might not have is a scale that measures grams.  Everything else is negotiable, but handy.  I'm going to try his white bread recipe on Monday or Tuesday, because it looks awesome.
The "blizzard" sort of fizzled out, but when we first woke up yesterday the wind was blowing fiercely and it did have a blizzard look.  I guess.  I've never been in one before, haha.  But I told the auto shop that I wouldn't be venturing out to pick up my suv until Monday.  Today the roads look pretty clear, but the shop is closed on the weekend.  It's been an emotional roller coaster.  First it's just the stuff I mentioned in my last post, and then there was another "noise" that they attributed to my transmission.  They offered to replace my transmission filter to see if that clears things up ~ at no charge, which was a bit of a surprise.  I finally spoke to them yesterday afternoon and they said that they had replaced the filter and there is no noise on the test drive.  BUT they mentioned how dark the fluid was when they changed it, and asked me about the service I had done a couple of years ago.  So, there's some discrepancy, which is driving me nuts.  I remember the transmission shop telling me they did not want to change the fluid because sometimes it creates more problems in older vehicles.  But when the current shop called the other shop, the guy told them they did change the fluid.  But I distinctly remember him telling me they didn't.  So, shop #1 said that if they did, it was a problem for it to look so dark after 1100 miles ~ but if they didn't it would be normal.  Ugh.  And of course, the paperwork is in my glove box.  Romeo is really upset, because it implies that ~ in the worst case scenario ~  I have a transmission problem.  Which is a huge problem because it would cost more to replace the transmission than my jalopy is worth.  All I can do at this point is hope for the best.  Cross your fingers for me, will ya?

Love, 365

Treading the waters........

Happy Belated Valentine's Day ~ a holiday that is highly over-rated  and downright cruel to some..... You know how I can tell t...