photographer. artist. author. singer. songwriter. musician. teacher. student. humanitarian. visionary.

Posts tagged “spring semester

One Semester to Go

I’m pretty excited that I only have one semester remaining before obtaining my bachelor’s degree in psychology. I’m almost there!

Here are just a few of the obstacles I’ve overcome since my academic journey began 5 years ago:

  • Dropped out due to chest pains and stress- 2010
  • Asked for $1,200 school debt to be forgiven so I could return (It was.)
  • Had a breakdown and had to temporarily withdraw 2011
  • House’s foundation crumbled/flooded due to freak thunderstorm/flood- causing my children and I to be homeless- 2012
  • Car accident which caused me to have to drop 1/2 my classes- 2013
  • Filed appeal to have balance deferred so I could complete AA degree
  • Filed (full) refund appeal for math course-2014 (won the appeal)
  • Filed another appeal to have 6 classes (erroneously added) removed from remaining course load (won the appeal)

It’s definitely been an uphill battle, and what should have taken me many more years to complete, I was able to complete in just 3 years. (Associates degree in Behavioral Sciences and a CPC/Certification in Substance Abuse.)

I’ve worked so hard and have fought through hell and back to be able to get to this point- relentlessly– and can finally see the finish line just ahead. My final semester begins in two weeks; and my last 5 courses are:

  • Marine Biology (Bio. elective)
  • Psychology of Personality (Psych)
  • Sensation and Perception (Psych)
  • Senior Seminar/Capstone Project
  • And that damn Statistics class

After I graduate in May (2016), I’ll have the summer off before beginning my Master’s in Forensic Psychology. Things are looking pretty good. 🙂 I received all A’s last semester so this next semester, it will be extremely important to make mostly A’s as well so that I can get into my Master’s program.

The years are flying by! Another year is gone. This year was the hardest year of my life. I have no doubt that 2016 will be a much better year on many levels.

I’m coming for you Bipolar Barbie-Q!

Early edit from 2009, from my Photoshopping days (friend’s daughter)

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IU East: You Rock my Socks!

I’m sitting here in a semi-daze, stunned. I’m not used to receiving phenomenally good news. Actually, it’s usually the opposite. Life has been a little crazy lately. As I previously mentioned, I’ve had to file several appeals with my university, because I was initially told that almost 90 credit hours would be accepted as transfers-in. That would’ve meant that I could’ve graduated in May of 2016- a bit earlier than what would’ve been considered “standard”. (By about a year.) So I was pretty excited by that news a year ago, and that was part of the reason why I chose my school: IU East. It’s a top-notch school- one of the best in the state, in fact.

So again, when my adviser told me (only 4 months ago) that my previous advisers had made a mistake, and that they would now have to take away almost 30 of my credit hours, I lost it, understandably. I don’t have $11,000 for the remaining credit hours. Plus, it would’ve meant that I would have had to put off my graduation date by another year. Needless to say, all of this has taken away my academic shine and I began thinking that taking a year off was probably in store for me in the immediate future. In short, I was disenchanted altogether- to say the least.

My adviser told me that she had tried to plead with the graduation board on my behalf, but came back with the news that they “never make an exception”. I may as well not even try, and count my losses with my wins along the way in this academic journey. And, for a little while, I felt myself giving up. I just didn’t have it in me to put up a fight, really. At least, in the beginning. But as time drew on, I became angry. I couldn’t believe that a school could commit such an egregious oversight and tell me to clean up the mess, as it were. It just didn’t seem fair!

Really, I was supposed to contact my adviser and go through that channel. But when things get serious, I like to handle matters myself. So, I filed an appeal. I didn’t even tell my adviser. I just did it. I pleaded my case and provided documents to substantiate my claims. And then I waited.

That was several weeks ago. I had already decided to drop my Statistics course a few weeks ago, and then filed a refund appeal, because I felt my professor was entirely incompetent. I lost the appeal due to “insufficient evidence”, although I provided the committee with 9 accompanying documents. Perhaps that was a bit much. Live and learn!

That was an $800 loss, no biggie. So when  I checked my school email today, I wasn’t expecting to find what I did. I heard back from the 2nd appeal committee and they relayed to me that they had decided to make an exception (!) and shaved 6 classes off of my advising worksheet/audit, meaning, instead of needing to take 11 more classes to graduate, right now, I only need 5. This is a huge victory!

From what I know, this has never happened in the history of this school. It’s unbelievable. That will save me roughly $6,000- $7,000 off my tuition. I have a total of $4,100 for my spring semester, so that means that I’ll need to pitch in a grand or so for my remaining class, and if I push for the summit and take 5 classes in the spring (January-May of 2016), I’ll be able to graduate with my B.S. in Psychology then, in May, and begin working on my Master’s in Forensic Psychology the following semester, in August of 2016.

This is the best news I’ve received in a long time. 🙂

And I have to say it: IU East, you just changed my entire life’s course. THANK YOU.

And Al, if you’re reading this, a million thank you’s for encouraging me to file that appeal. You have no idea how much I appreciate your support. And, I wish you much continued success in the future and have no doubt that you’ll continue having many more successful solo exhibits. 😉

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For a Special Friend ♥ ╬ ♥

You know who you are! 🙂

I hope you like your little butterfly. (Or, mad rabbit, according to Mandy Tator Tots.) Made today from things collected on the back deck.  I know it’s nothing compared to the masterpieces you create without even trying- forever making art with your fingers absentmindedly- but all things considered, I hope you like it just the same. xo
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Two Days to Go

I spoke with my adviser today who confirmed that I have 25 credit hours to go before I receive my B.S. in Psychology. I need 120 total, and I have over 100 already, but my problem is that I need 36 hours of upper level courses in my major. So, I’m buckling down and preparing to finish up my final year. I have two finals to go (which I’ll take on Saturday) and then I get to take the summer off. I always feel so haggard by this point, as if I’m clawing my way through the finish line- one bloody fistful after the next.  We worked out my schedule for the fall; it looks like it’s going to be:

Personality Theory
Evolutionary Psychology
The Psychology of Learning
Statistics for Health Professionals

That’s a barrel of wild fun if I’ve ever seen one.

Time to veg out on some cooking shows with my culinary masterpiece: a baked pork chop with a can of cream of chicken dumped on top. Gourmet! Strangely, I get a sadistic thrill eating my lukewarm slop while watching those prissy chefs grate truffles over imported foie gras.

Today’s walk: Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.4 (Clearly still obsessed with dandelions)
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A Very Special Thank You to a Very Special (Extended) Family

I’m far too excited to sleep. I’ve only got 2 weeks left in the semester! I’ve been up for hours researching Master’s programs and trying to decide if I want to move away when I begin working on my PhD. That’ll be a few years from now but I’ve actually been thinking of moving much sooner. My kids are all grown and everybody’s on their own, pretty much, but I can’t leave my mother, so I’m sticking around this ole town. At least for a year or two more. (But it’s in the cards.)

The major hurdles are over this semester and I’ve only got my term paper on OCD to tighten up and two finals remaining. That’s reason to celebrate. 🙂 The mood around the house is jovial and I’m feeling packed full of love!

For anyone who may be reading this who has chosen to follow my blog and has offered your support over the weeks, months, and years, both emotionally and artistically, I want to take this time to thank you. I started out writing this blog so that my kids could have a piece of me when I’m gone. And, so perfect strangers might read my story (BIO) and see my pics and be inspired. I’ve had a lot of hard knocks in this world, but they’ve only served me. I like to tell people that the more cuts you have in your stone, the greater your shine, and that’s so true.

What’s started out as a lone walk through bloggie land (more than three years ago) has turned into me claiming several hundred of you as family, and you certainly are. You’ve supported me, held me together (stapled, tied and glued!), encouraged me when I was downtrodden, and made me laugh when I thought it impossible. I love all of you. ♥ Oh! And thanks a whole heap extra for encouraging me to hang in there when I wanted to quit school (a million times)!

Thank you guys- friends and strangers alike. Here are some flowers for you. 🙂 MUCH LOVE. xo And Oloriel, if you’re reading this, the 2nd pic is especially for you. I thought of you when I was editing it- it totally reminds me of you. :0)

Taken two days ago- Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.4 vintage film lens
(I’m totally in love with this rocking lens.)

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One more thing. SAMI, if you’re reading this, I want you to know that I MISS YOU VERY MUCH. I hope things are well, and I hope you’re still toughing out that journalism major! I also hope “other situations” are better too. I miss our many chats. Lots of love to you. X


My Beautiful Life

Money isn’t the answer to life’s problems, but it sure does help.

Josh and I are in a really good place right now. We’ve been doing some deep work on our relationship. What would have ruined us emotionally a year ago, we’re able to talk through and make emotional compromises and sacrifices. It’s amazing what a few well-placed rules can do for your relationship!

We’ve integrated a few, simple rules into our relationship that we hold in high regard. Our first one is: never interrupt. Before I began studying psychology (5 years ago), I was unaware of how much I interrupted people. I would focus on their subject, and before long, without even realizing it, my thoughts would bounce around like popcorn- and I was jumping into their sentences with similar experiences or something “pertinent” I thought would add to the conversation. And not to excuse myself, but this is not an uncommon thing for many people. Few people have the mental and emotional restraint to hold back their thoughts until there is an empty space in the conversation. And not to be sexist, but men do seem to be able to master this artful skill more successfully than women.

I guess my son, Brian, helped me also more than he’s even aware of. In an argument once (our only “email battle” that we’ve ever had), he accused me of being a narcissist. These days, this is a common slag against parents. I’ve read kids saying their parent is a narcissist many times lately. At first, I was angry when I read it. But then I came to the conclusion that in his anger or not, he still made the statement for a reason. Would he ever accuse me of being a kangaroo if he were angry? Of course not! it’s not on the radar because I’m not a kangaroo and it’s obvious. But the very fact that he did call me a narcissist- even in anger- and the fact that it made me angry to read that tells me that there was some level of truth to it. It wasn’t my truth, but it was his.

When he stated that, I immediately dismissed it as youthful arrogance on his part. What does he know? He’s all of 18! But then later, in the quiet chambers of my mind, I dissected myself. Do I try to make things about me? When he’s talking about his life, do I try to make it about my life suddenly? How often do I talk about myself? How often do I mention my own situations and experiences when he’s discussing his? And how often do I interrupt others?

These were some troubling questions that actually scared me when pondering. I couldn’t deny that he was right- to some degree. Looking back, I’m so glad he said that to me. I needed the reprimand. What it caused me to do was to become more aware of other peoples’ experiences and each person’s unique “voice”. I’ve worked very hard at this since he’s pointed it out. I’m mindful- always- of not interrupting others and I’m more careful now.

So, back to Josh and I. We’ve been working on some potential land mines that had the power to rip us apart. Through our careful navigation, we’ve been able to better communicate and show care and attentiveness while the other is talking. And again, it’s amazing how that one little rule (to never interrupt) has transformed our relationship- entirely. We seldom argue any more. It’s a beautiful thing. :0)

Also, for the first time in many years, we’re in a really good financial place! We’ve been able to pay off all of our credit cards and put back more than $1,500 in savings. We only use one of our credit cards actively, the rest are 100% payed down and we’re choosing to simply “garden” them- leaving them untouched. We may live in a mobile home, but darn it- we own it. Our home and car are payed for. Also, being home owners comes with additional perks.

We picked up a 40 inch flat widescreen for our bedroom wall, so now we have this enormous queen sized bed with a gajillion pillows on it and a really awesome widescreen on the wall at the end of the bed. Also, I’ve just ordered a new Lensbaby Composer (kit) + a Super Tak SMC 28 MM/3.5 and a Carl Zeiss 35/2.4- 3 new lenses! Life is pretty damn good right now.

Brian is spending the night here with his girlfriend, Amanda, so I’m off to make some ribeyes and collard greens + toasted whole grain baguettes (with EVOO + pink Himilayan sea salt and assorted fresh cracked green, pink, and black peppercorns, of course!).

Yeah, life is really good right now. 🙂


Spring Semester

You read that correctly. It’s positively confirmed that I’ll be returning within a week to begin my spring semester. BUT- it’s only part time- 2 courses (because I do need a break). I’m used to tackling 12-21 credit hours per semester and so this will be a cake walk. (Sort of.) My two chosen classes are Social Psychology (on the 300 level) and Behavioral Neuroscience. Taking two courses isn’t hectic at all. I’m stoked that I’ve just been inducted into the Honor’s Society at IU East. Hooray! 🙂

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That’s pretty rockin’. I’m pretty sure I’m only 27 credit hours away from receiving my B.S. in Psychology. I’m also pretty sure I’m addicted to going to school. Some people are adrenaline junkies; I’m a grade junkie. I still have a whole ‘nother week to loaf around and I’m taking full advantage of it.

Hasta luego, amigos.


Miracles Abound!

School starts Monday, so this may be my last post for a bit. I’ve made some minor adjustments to my schedule, and my new classes are:

Intro to Social Work
Social Work Practices [including 30 hours of mand. volunteer work-location of my choosing]
Abnormal Psychology [schizophrenia, eating, sexual, emotional, and psychological disorders]
Biology: Connections and Impacts [focusing on stem cell research, DNA,and Heredity]

I’m so excited! I’m taking on a major course load, but am super excited (especially) to be taking Abnormal PsychologyMore good news: I’ve been accepted to Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) to begin work on my BA in Sociology (minoring in Psychology), starting in June. My dreams are literally coming true. 🙂 (Yes, that’s a smiley face!)

But here’s where the miracle comes in: I have running water again- already. This morning, I called three local plumbers and compared prices and time frames. The earliest I could get a plumber here would be Friday (and then Wednesday- five days away), and the prices would start at $90 per hour, and that’s just so the plumber could stand in the yard; pipes, other equipment, etc. would end up in the hundreds. I had $50 on my Paypal card from selling a print. Bare bones.

Eventually, I want to go to poverty-stricken countries and work with street kids, teens, battered women and the elderly, so I’m not allowed to complain and gripe from having no water for four days. But I still need to take a shower and do my dishes before school starts! But how?

I noticed a work van across the field from my place. I couldn’t make out his service number, so I took a telephoto shot of his truck, zoomed in and read it. Voila! I called him immediately, as he was finishing up his work for the day. I asked him if he fixed busted pipes; he said he’d stop over and have a look. (I tried to control my excitement.)

Being the wheeler and dealer that I am, I met him in the yard 20 minutes later and we struck up a fast deal. $150. I asked him if he would accept a post dated check (for $160, for 3 weeks away) and almost fainted when he accepted. I gave him $40 cash from my print sale and a new book from my shelf (as a tip) and he went to work immediately, and I do mean immediately. (All told, I ended up tipping him $50, which was the least I could do.) He wasn’t even wearing a coat! A fresh, new snow had just begun to fall and I felt a bit guilty that he was out there sawing and connecting PVC pipes in the cold. The man was nothing short of amazing.

He left twice to go and purchase new parts and other things; he came in and checked my water heater and faucets and in less than 5 hours- he’s gone and I have running water again and can take a hot shower! I feel like the least I can do is promote his business so that if anybody Googles him, they’ll be able to read this. I really wish I could do more, but I’m limited.

J. B. Gohl
Remodeling
Alterations Repairs
(502) 379-1094

Absolutely awesome service, super friendly repairman- goes the extra mile- BEST DEAL IN TOWN.

There you go. For what it’s worth. ;0)

Even some people in the nicest houses with loads of cash still have busted pipes tonight. I’m counting my blessings daily.

Miracles abound. 

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Road Kill

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The last month or so has been so horrendously awful that I haven’t been able to write anything. Everything has been so bad: I’ve been like a dying woman on a deserted island.

School has been kicking my butt…as usual. I’ve been incredibly bitter.

On the brighter side of things, I have only my Public Speaking class to polish off. And then, my fall semester begins on August 15th- no summer break for me. I’m working through it all. I keep reminding myself that I only have one semester to go before I get my degree. The joy will be short-lived as I’ll move right into my B.A. in Criminal Justice. It’s never ending, isn’t it?

Tomorrow is Josh’s birthday. He’s been saddened by the fact that he hasn’t been able to go and visit his family. He’s been crying lately…

Last night something really crazy happened. Josh and Brianna and I had just returned from a trip to see Heidi in Bloomington. After blowing back into town, we stopped at Kroger to pick up some cat food. Josh and I had been bickering much of the way home- who knows what started it this time- we’ve both been on edge lately given the circumstances- and when we walked out to the car, we saw that it was surrounded by no less than 5 cop cars. It was crazy! Brianna was in the back seat and was slumped down, holding Heidi’s cat, Numa, and the cops were shining flashlights all in her face and all inside the car.

I asked what was going on, and one of the officers sheepishly apologized saying that they’d had a call stating that “somebody had left a toddler in a carseat in the back- alone and unattended”. I was furious!

I explained that Brianna was actually 19 (thank you very much) and that we were “just fine” (thank you very much).

Good golly…talking about pissing a woman off. I’ve pretty much had it with the Barney Fifes in this town “playing cops”. I wasn’t really as pissed at the cops as I was at the very ignorant people who’d called.

After the cops had completely cleared out, I was told that the people who had called the cops on us were actually the couple right across from us in the parking lot, holding their baby. Lovely.

I drove around to them and confronted them, saying (and playing dumb, totally), “Excuse me, do you know who called the cops on us?”

“Um,” the woman said, stuttering, “Yeah, um, we…we didn’t know who was in there- we thought it was a baby and…we didn’t want to snoop but…” (yada yada yada)

“Listen,” I said, ” Always make sure that you know exactly what you’re doing when you call the cops like that. You can destroy people’s lives. You have to make sure that you know exactly what you’re talking about before you just ‘call the cops’ all right?”

I was supremely pissed. We were in there for all of 5 minutes!

K. Moving on…

Josh is doing schoolwork: we’ve really been through the wringer lately. We’ll be able to take a much needed vacation in a few more weeks. Life has been a little… too exciting lately.

Until we meet again!


Glutton for Punishment

By now, I’m guessing that I like to take on far more than I can handle. I like the pressure and I like to be challenged. I added two more classes to my course load (Earth Science and Health Psychology), as if Public Speaking and Pre-Calculus weren’t enough. It will be an interesting semester for sure.

If all goes well, I’ll be able to intern this summer at a substance abuse clinic (or behavioral health facility) and possibly graduate before the fall semester, where I’ll return to work on my bachelor’s in Sociology. Perhaps I’ll minor in Criminal Justice, but I’m not sure yet. 

I don’t want to fit into a little box and do what everybody else does, I know that. I want to specialize in particular areas and develop programs and such. We’ll see where the road leads. People don’t understand why I don’t want to use my talents (singing, composing music, etc.) in a bigger way, such as- on a stage. But I have no desire to ever “be famous” – it’s sickening what the world does to people, and what they allow to be done to them. Famous people have almost no rights! They’re not allowed to speak freely- lest they lose “fans”- they’re not allowed to do what they like when it’s all said and done. They sign a contract, and they’re bought and owned, no longer freely their own person. There’s nothing attractive about that to me- not for all the money in the world. 

Besides, people want to worship other people, and there are some that love to be worshipped with lots of “followers”. Gag.
It all sickens me…

I like what Jesus said, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” 

That’s part of the reason I despise Facebook and Twitter so much. People feel the need to tell the world what they’re doing 24/7. (Get over yourself already!) I call it being “Facebook Famous”- and there are millions of wannabees. 

The world seems full of marshmallow people these days, blowing powdered sugar up each others’…noses. Flattery…super-sweet cynicism with an extra batch of exclamation points. They leave their calling card “great shot!” (etc. etc.) and few really take the time to actually “comment” on things these days, or critique something with heart. What are they after? I will tell you. They want to be noticed. Simple as that. “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.” So they go around, commenting (in two or three words “drive-by comments”) or better yet (note the sarcasm) they’ll simply press the “like” button and hope that they’ll receive a reciprocal “like” and perhaps gain a new “follower”. It all just makes my stomach turn. 

That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with following a blog. I do follow a couple myself. I just really can’t stand the whole “I have 1,565 Facebook friends and 500 people are “following me!!” <<<< Take a freaking leap off of a cliff already and swim in the sea of reality for a while. Shut your internet down for a month or two- get away from everybody in the world- and just sit among the trees- listen to the wind and do some soul searching. The superficiality of social networking has really gotten on my last nerve, along with the egos of all who devour it.

I think I’m done with my rant…

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