October 30, 2016

Happy Halloween......I guess

Okaaay, mushrooms and an elf??  
For more spooky (and just downright weird) photos, just type
vintage halloween photos in you search engine.  

I have never been a huge fan of Halloween.  Even as a child, I delighted in the candy, but otherwise could take or leave it.  I don't like scary movies.  I don't like it when someone jumps out from a closet in a scary costume for the sole purpose of making me scream, or pee myself.  Although to be fair, I didn't pee.  However, I did let out an enormous skelloch when one of my co-workers decided to play a prank on a number of us.  When my kids were small, I took them trick-or-treating, but I never enjoyed the experience, which is probably why I have so few photos of them in their costumes.  I have friends that are the opposite of me ~ they have huge Halloween parties....and spend a lot of money for decor, food, drinks and of course ~ costumes.  I was shocked to learn that this year, your fellow Americans will spend approximately $77 per person for the "holiday".  Considering I don't spend a dime, and I'm sure there are many more like me, that's a lot of mulah.
As far as I'm concerned, I prefer to turn off the outdoor lights and hunker down with a movie like "Finding Dori".

I did present my research on Monday.  It went pretty well, considering I was a blubbery mess on the inside.  My classmates were quite complimentary, which surprised me.  I had huge armpit sweat rings after....so I guess the antipersperant wasn't prepared for the onslaught of standing in front of class and talking for half an hour.
It is a small class of 7 students....only one guy in the group (other than the prof).  At first I thought the guy was ok, seems fairly smart, well traveled, speaks Russian and was in the military.  But, I've since revised my opinion, to include obnoxious.  But, whatever, it has to be somewhat intimidating to be in a class with that much estrogen.  ha ha  The women are really interesting though.  We have the quiet one (besides me, lol) who always seems angry about something.  I don't know what her story is, but whenever she speaks, it's worth listening to.  Perhaps she wants to hit us over the head with her brilliance.  There is also the slightly "goth" student who is in the habit of wearing dark purple or black lipstick.  I've never understood goth, and never saw any attractive qualities of goth makeup.  She's a pretty smart cookie though.  Not very talkative, but smart and insightful.  We have what I see as the typical smart college student, part of a sorority, always smiling, just your all around nice person.  She's extremely likeable. Probably has a 4.5 average.  We also have a student who is tall and beautiful....I think I might have mentioned previously that her mentor was the man who was to teach our honors class but was suspended for sexual harassment (and subsequently fired).  She's a very nice woman, with a charming accent that I can't quite place (South American?  Mexican?).  Her research involved immigration, so perhaps its personal for her.  Dunno.  But I like her, when I originally didn't think I would.  Of all of us, she has missed the most classes.  I don't know what our prof feels about missing class, but I think she's taking a big risk.  Lastly, we have a late comer who I know the least about, except that she works at the coffee shop I meet my professor.  Very quiet.  She is due to present this coming Monday.  I'm sure she'll do well, and I need to read the articles she provided so that I have some clue what she's going to talk about.   ~I wonder if anyone is going to wear a costume to class on Monday, and am betting I will see plenty of costumes on campus~

I have been trying to plan my classes for next semester, even though my adviser said the schedule isn't technically set until Nov. 1.  One class is online !hallelujah! but the other choices will require I obtain "permission" from my co -workers.  There are two classes I'd enjoy that are Tues and Thurs from 11-12, so I'd have to be gone a couple of hours from work on those days.  One is from 5:30 to 8 on Wed.  I would normally jump at the chance to take a class in the evening.  However, the topic is US Policy, which is most likely the most boring topic ever in the history of history.   I truly do not want to take that class, but I might be forced to if my co-workers aren't happy about me being out of the office during the aforementioned times.  I guess we'll see.  I will discuss it with our office manager soon, once the finalized schedule is posted.  I shudder at the prospect that I will have to go through this process three or four more times before I'm done with my degree.  Ugh.

Well, have an enjoyable week!
Love, 365

October 29, 2016

Making my way to the polls.......

All photos courtesy of Bing Images
Is that an otter?  I suppose they let anyone in!  
I wish I were this cute, though.

Actually I almost did post a selfie on FB with my "I voted" sticker stuck 
to my nose.  
I may take another try at that & do it anyway.

Brilliant.  Sadly true.

Well, I picked my turkey.  We'll see how it all turns out soon.
Personally I will be thankful when I don't have to watch/listen to anymore political ads.

Love, 365

October 23, 2016

That awkward moment.....

(courtesy of bing images)

A little over a week ago, I was doing a little shopping on my day off.  It was a relaxed day, I was on vacation, classes were over for the week.  I'm in Chico's looking for a top to wear to work, I turn around, and right there!  is a friend that I hadn't seen or spoken to in nearly two years.  Not because I hadn't contacted her ~ I had left a voice mail, and then texted her right after I was hired at my new workplace ~ to let her know, and then never heard from her.  I figured "well, maybe she moved to Boise", where one of her best friends had moved to, and where I knew she had visited several times.   All I could think to do was say hello! and how have you been? and then watch her try to scramble around with some excuse.  She kept rambling on, so when she took a breath, I said it was great to see her, and I really need to finish up here and get going.  She tried to continue talking, but I just walked away.  Ranks pretty high on the 2016 scale of awkward moments.  

I have to "present" my research tomorrow.  I will be spending most of this afternoon tweaking my power point and reviewing the salient points.  I am both anxious and not....I have confidence in my research and not......   I can't wait until it's over.  Ironically I was going to volunteer to go first, but the Prof. beat me to it.  It makes sense, as I have already written a paper, even though the research continues.  

I have decided to drop the Italian Renaissance class.  I didn't do that well on the mid-term, it took forever to receive my grade, and then another couple of weeks for feedback.  The feedback was vague and implied I didn't understand the readings.  I'm willing to admit that perhaps I didn't interpret the material in the way they intended, but in my defense, I was making 100 on all of the quizzes.  So, how am I to know I'm not interpreting the material in the way they intended?  I didn't realize that there would be no feedback at all, and I was horrified to see that all of the papers one has to write are all turned in at the end of the class ~ no chance for feedback there.  So, I figured, why stress myself out trying to finish the class by 10/31, and dropped.  What I learned: I don't enjoy "independent study".  

Well, gotta run!  Have a great week, and don't forget to vote!
Love, 365

October 16, 2016

Change is both good and bad......


In my small little circle of the world, there have been so many changes ~ employment changes top the list in the past 20 months.  I was hired to a new dental office in Feb. 2014.  Overall, I am very happy and content ~ of course I would like to earn more...my social security "earnings" statement shows I am earning 5 to 6 thousand less per year.  But you know, it's tough to put a dollar amount on the fact that I no longer work for a micro-manager who would cuss at me and slam his hand on the desk (you know, in case I wasn't paying attention), and a co-worker who is the most toxic back-stabbing bitch alive.  I haven't had hives on my neck since I left.  And, I have more vacation time after one year of working than I ever would have at the previously mentioned house of horrors.  He made no secret of the fact that we would never have more than 2 weeks of vacation time - ever.  Personally, I think he resented that he would be paying us for not being at work, nose to the grindstone.  In February I will have a bit over 3 weeks of PTO.  I can't wait to figure out where Romeo and I will go next summer ~ which takes me to the next change, some of which you might be familiar.

Romeo left the corporate world ~ not by choice, but by layoff ~ and I somehow talked him into going into teaching.  The man can lecture like no ones business, ha ha.  I know because I've been on the receiving end many many times.  He took classes to earn his interim teaching license, and will earn his regular license after presenting his hours spent teaching and taking a few more exams.  He has a position now teaching middle schoolers in a smaller school than his first go-round, and is happy with the new school.  We've always heard how poorly teachers are paid...but it's a wake up call when you see that check!  One surprise is the reluctance of our own Albuquerque Public School system to hire new teachers that didn't obtain their original degree with the intent of teaching.  They prefer "career" teachers, not those that have stumbled into teaching after years doing something else.  Romeo has met lawyers and engineers, etc., that are now teaching.  I suppose from their point of view, taking up teaching as a means of lessening the transition of working full time to retirement doesn't show enough enthusiasm or dedication.  Given the sad state of affairs of our public school system, it kind of looks like they need to shake things up a bit.  Reluctance to hire these teachers when they are short of teachers is, in short ~ stupid. 

My sister had been working in the corporate world as an insurance adjuster - you know, writing policies and quoting premiums for companies that need coverage for their trucks, etc.  Truthfully I am not completely sure of all she does!  But, as she decided to live in a small town in Texas, she had to face quite a commute to get to her high paying corporate job.  Over time, the commute became unbearable, so this year she quit and took a similar position that is much closer to home.  Sadly, from day 1, she really hasn't enjoyed it.  She complains that she is working harder than she ever has (probably because small businesses make the most with the least number of employees by necessity), and recently is really ticked off because the boss hasn't given her the raise she promised after 90 days of employment.  And is using the "I don't have that written down in my paperwork" ~ because it was a verbal agreement.  So, my little sis might take an insurance underwriting job that she can do from home ~ at an even larger cut in pay ~ so that she can have more control over her life.  And I hope she does it, because being miserable at work is really the worst.  

And finally, Ami (whose blog you can see here) has transitioned to a new job, and like the rest of us, is struggling with the change.  A new job can be both a blessing and a curse.  You might earn more, or less.  You might have less stress or more.  Transitioning from hundreds of co-workers to so few you can count them on two hands (or even one) can be an eye opener.  

As the title states: change is usually both good and bad.  

Love, 365

October 6, 2016

For Richard Dawkins, it's my way or the highway....

Charles Darwin
Origin of Species

In our honors class, we have been studying Darwin's greatest achievement....his narrative Origin of Species.   We've also been reading a book about his life, which is really fascinating, although it is hugely long, and I've only read about 1/12 of it.  Then we were to watch a movie narrated by  Richard Dawkins on the Genius of Darwin.  I thought, ok, sounds interesting.  And it is, up to a point.  There are 3 parts to the movie.  I only watched about 10 minutes of the first one....and he explains right up front that he has no belief in God.  Ok.  He really does do a decent job of explaining how Darwin's theory works.  And then, he interviews Wendy Wright, a conservative christian.  I had to flinch, not because I felt sorry for Wendy, but because Mr. Dawkins (a biologist, although my professor used the term "naturalist") is so completely lacking in tact.

Do I believe?  Well, I admit that it sort of depends.  Having grown up with a deep belief (but not fanatical), it has been difficult to merge those beliefs with the science I'm learning.  I still have moments of belief, but they grow further apart as time goes on.  But this isn't really about me.  It's about my thoughts on Dawkins, who seems to be a caveman who wants to hit every religious person on the head with the "there is no god" club.  

~He says that the theory (and yes, that is what it's called) of evolution is fact.  And I happen to believe in evolution....the evidence is overwhelming.  But in science there very few absolutes.  So that is my first point of contention.  He uses these examples:
"You don't believe the earth is round only if you're an astronaut"
"You don't believe that Napoleon existed only if you're a historian"
"Gravity exists...if you doubt that, go jump off of a building"

The reason he uses these examples is because they are simple and irrefutable.  And "religion is made up".  You can almost see how angry he becomes when a creationist asks "for proof".  To his credit, he does not ask them for proof ~ probably because they would give the "faith" answer.  It's not faith if you require proof, right?

But seriously ~ there are scientists out there that actually believe that the earth is less than 10,000 years old, even though the earth is estimated to be 4.55 billion years old.  Scientific American has an interesting article here if you are interested.

Although Dawkins readily insists that Darwin didn't believe in god, it would appear that this is his belief, but not fully accepted by everyone.  My professor seems to believe that Darwin did believe, but apparently there is controversy surrounding that as well.  In this website, American Thinker, they argue that at best he became an agnostic.  

Dawkins also interviewed a priest, who has a scientific background and asked how he reconciles his understanding of evolution with his faith, where we get this little gem, and is what I first thought of for myself: Evolution is true, and god created it.  

Are we hedging our bets?  I did read one person's theory on why religion still exists, because it doesn't really cost anything to believe, and if it turns out to be true, I'll still go to heaven.  Wow.  That one kind of hit home.  I think this comes from the human desire to have our cake and eat it too.

No matter what you or I believe, we have the freedom to believe in it.  And that's where Dawkin's attitude grates.....he wants to smack you over the head with it.

Love, 365

October 5, 2016

Has the vacation started yet??

I am sooooo sick of politics.  First there's the Hilary/Trump debate, then the vice-presidential debates, and another go at the presidential debates on Sunday.  We are planning on renting a movie instead.  Really, we won't miss it, as there will be review after nauseating review, with tons of clips from the debates anyway.  Not that I want to hear/watch any of it.  Ugh.

And yes, I realize it's only going to get worse the closer we get to election time.  Double ugh.

Romeo is actually enjoying the new school.  One of his classes has only 4 students in it, and the rest have less than 20.  I am so relieved....although I know it is his habit to be enthusiastic at the beginning, and then pick it apart later.  Hmmmm, come to think of it, that's pretty much how I would say I spoke of my workplace as well.  To be fair, I'm really pretty happy there, with only moments of irritation ~ and I don't think it gets much better than that.

In my honors class we've been discussing the impact of Charles Darwin in science.  His personal story is really fascinating.  Sadly our Professor seems to take the fun out of everything by interpreting the story and his writing of Origin of Species in regards to politics and religion......and a little bit of implication that Darwin was a bit of a coward for not "coming out" with the fact that his theory basically takes God out of the equation.  Admittedly, in that time period, it would have meant that he would be excluded from any kind of high society.....and his family was desperately trying to make themselves part of the upper class in England.  Lots to think about.

Well, I had all kinds of other things I thought about writing, but they've all gone the way of the Dodo bird.  I really need to write them down so that I can recall them when I'm actually at the computer.

Love, 365

October 2, 2016

Albuquerque's International Balloon Fiesta!

I took these last year......
Notice the finger hanging out of this monster's mouth....ha ha
Up and away....
We were standing right in front of "Airabelle" the cow....she is ENORMOUS!
The end :-)

We didn't go this year.....neither of us felt the need to get up at 3:30, get to the park n ride by 4:30, and then ~ desperate for coffee ~ burn our tongues on the hot brew.  It is a lot of fun to go, the food is similar to the carnival offerings...so good but fattening and delicious.   When we first moved here we went every year for about 4 years, so fun with the exception of how early you have to set the alarm.  I did score a balloon ride one year, and loved it.  It was free, which was why I was able to do it, and although I haven't flown again, I will do it again sometime.  

Romeo starts his new job tomorrow.  He seems so much more relaxed than he did last time.  His class sizes will be much smaller (probably a bit over 15 as opposed to 30), and the school is much smaller as well.  He is concerned that the students will be behind in their studies, since they've had a substitute since the beginning of the school year, but I think this is the type of challenge he will look forward to.  His previous employer still has ads on Craig's List for teachers, and I don't see that changing.  One of the first things I asked was if he had a desk and chair, and with relief, he said yes.  At the previous school they had decided that teachers don't need desks or chairs, so he was on his feet the entire day, and his plantar fasciitis really flared up.  I really don't understand why they believed that teachers would be more effective if they couldn't sit down.  Baffling.  

Well, I finally got my grade for the mid-term.  And it was worse than I thought, at a 76.  The way I see it, I will finish up this class and if the final grade isn't very good, I just won't transfer the class to UNM.  Just one more reason I dislike this program with BYU.  And I didn't get any feedback, but I will be sending the instructor a request for feedback.  We'll see how long that takes.  

Looking forward to vacation time!
Love, 365

I get it......

  My face when I realize my 23 year old replacement at work believes I'm a washed up old has-been, haha. Me, thinking, that in 3 days I&...